Why Magic Mike Can Hurt Your Marriage
It’s Wednesday, when we talk marriage! I write a post, and then you all can link up one of your marriage posts to the linky below! Today we’re going to talk about what turns women on–or at least, how a woman’s libido works as opposed to how a man’s libido works.

And to do that, I’d like to talk about the movie Magic Mike. A ton of readers have been emailing me and writing on my Facebook Page asking my opinion on watching it, so I thought I had better chime in!

Magic Mike is about a bunch of male strippers who are being trained to give women exactly what they want. It’s based roughly on Channing Tatum’s  real life, I guess, and it’s just a raunchy “fun” movie (that’s how it’s being described). Women apparently are all ready to flock to see it.

So what do I think?

Let’s go backwards just for a moment and look at how our culture ended up here.

For the last hundred years or so there’s been a concerted effort to get rid of morality–and God.

People wanted to be free to do what they wanted without being burdened by having to do what’s right, or having God tell them what to do. They didn’t want guilt. They wanted humanism.

But what stood in their way? The family. Marriage. Marriage and the family are profoundly moral institutions. They rely on things like commitment, and love, and selflessness. And having children within marriage also relies on chastity outside of marriage. None of that was seen as a good thing. That was all holding us back–holding women back, because marriage and family hurt our career aspirations, and holding all of us back because we couldn’t focus on happiness, but we had to focus on duty.

So it was necessary to get rid of marriage. And our society has almost done that. Divorce is rampant. Cohabitation is commonplace, almost the default today. And single parenthood is normal.

But there’s one stubborn thing that is preventing the wholesale rejection of marriage, and that’s women’s need to see sex as something more than physical.

As we’ve talked about before, and as I go into length about in The Good Girl’s Guide to Great Sex, for women, sex is largely relational. When a woman takes her shirt off at the end of the day, her husband immediately starts thinking sexy thoughts. When a man takes his shirt off, a woman tends to think, “Is he going to put that in the laundry hamper?” We don’t tend to think, to the same extent, “Oh, come get me, hubba hubba.” It’s not that we NEVER want to be taken; it’s just that what turns women on has far more to do with feeling safe, and feeling cherished, and feeling loved, than it does purely visual stimuli.

That’s a problem for our culture, because a woman who wants a stable, committed, long-term relationship to have great sex isn’t going to be happy with our hooking up society. So we have to ignore this side of women, and promote instead the idea that women’s sex drives are the same as men’s are–that what turns women on is the same thing that turns men on. So we create shows like Sex and the City which show women on the prowl. We write magazines like Cosmo which are dedicated to women having sex with as many men as possible, and portraying that as glamorous. And now we have this movie.

(By the way, none of this is to say that men DON’T need committed relationships. They absolutely do. Their need for love and relationship is just as great, but it manifests itself in different ways. For us, the way you see it most is in our sex drives. That’s what’s going on here.)

Now, if women were truly aroused primarily by anonymous sex or by visual stimuli, then Playgirl, back in the 1970s, would have been as popular as Playboy. But it never was, and eventually it was mostly bought by gay men. If women were as aroused by visual stimuli as men, then male strip clubs would be just as common as female strip clubs. But they’re not, because we fundamentally don’t work the same way. Seeing a guy strip is not what turns a woman on to the same extent as feeling pursued and cherished.

That does not mean, though, that women can’t be pushed towards more anonymous sex–that what turns women on can change. That’s what Magic Mike is about!

And that’s exactly what’s happening, which is why movies like Magic Mike are being made and are resonating with people. The more our culture portrays women as being turned on by the same thing men are, the more we start to internalize that message. I hear 13-year-old girls all the time commenting on how “hot” some guy is, or noticing his “6-pack abs”. I do not remember ANY of that from when I was 13. We talked about guys being “cute”, but never “hot”. We were thinking more that his hair was cute, not that he had great abs. Our culture is starting to affect us.

So now 30% of porn users are female. We’re being drawn to this stuff, because the arousal centres in our brains are starting to get activated by things that didn’t used to activate them before. And thus we’re literally rewiring our brains (porn has this same effect on men, by the way).

Why is this movie hitting a nerve with women? Because its message is “celebrate your sexuality! Have fun!” And most of us do want to be sexual beings. We do want to just have sex with abandon. We want passion. At our hearts, we yearn for it within a marriage relationship, but that yearning is still there. And this movie promises to tap into that.

Interestingly, the whole Magic Mike “male stripper” phenomenon tends to be something that women do WITH FRIENDS. It’s social for us, it’s not solitary like it often is for men. The movie wouldn’t work if women were going in there predominantly on their own; it works because they’re in a group. It’s seen as something fun we’re doing to validate our own sexuality.

That’s the whole background. Here’s my take away: this sort of thing, many moons ago, would have seemed bizarre to most women. Now it is seen as mainstream. That’s because our culture has subtly but relentlessly been feeding us this message that “women need to throw off the shackles! You’re sexual beings! So go out and claim it!”

But we were not created to be sexual beings in isolation, hopping from one man to the next, becoming aroused simply by the idea of having sexual power.

Our sexual power is most unleashed in marriage (which is why married women have a far easier time achieving orgasm when they make love).

So please, steer clear of this movie. It may look fun, but it honestly is doing damage to women’s sex drives. I am not a man. I do not want to think like a man, or become aroused like a man. I love the fact that what is sexy to me is love and relationship. Besides, how would you feel if your husband went to a movie about female strippers? You’d be incensed. Somehow we think this is different because at heart we know that women don’t work the same way. So if we see a movie like this, it’s to make us excited about sex! It’s to make us feel more in tune with our desires! And that has benefits for our husbands, right? No. Not any more than 50 Shades of Grey does. It’s going to change you from the way you were made to be. It’s going to make sex LESS about your husband and MORE about only the physical. That’s not good.

There is nothing wrong with being aroused by the male form–most women are to a lesser or greater extent. But fundamentally God created women so that what turns women on is being chased and cherished. That’s our half of the equation of how marriage mirrors God’s relationship with the church. And that’s what marriage is for. The more we dabble in things like this, the more we create problems for ourselves responding sexually within marriage, and the more we turn sex into something that is purely physical, and not emotionally or spiritually intimate.

That’s my take. What do you think?

Christian Marriage Advice

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