What if we actually ask men about lust–and it turns out that the majority don’t struggle with it?
That’s the focus of our podcast today–what does the “all men struggle with lust” message do to us?
Before we get started, a quick behind-the-scenes look at how crazy my life is right now. So on March 2 The Great Sex Rescue launches–and it’s such an awesome book! I’m so proud. Based on our survey of over 20,000 women, we look at the evangelical teachings that have stolen great sex from couples, and we rescue and reframe them to be in line with Jesus. Let’s just have great sex, people, not weird guilty stuff!
It’s available for pre-order now, and if you want a copy right away, you can pre-order and then join my launch team! It’s super easy, and the first 100 to sign up get some other fun stuff! Plus you’ll get access to Facebook lives and more. So pre-order first:
The Great Sex Rescue
Changing the conversation about sex & marriage in the evangelical church.
What if you're NOT the problem with your sex life?
What if the things that you've been taught have messed things up--and what if there's a way to escape these messages?
Welcome to the Great Sex Rescue.
And then join the launch team!
But not only is that book launching March 2; our book The Good Guy’s Guide to Great Sex, which I’m writing with Keith, is due the same day at Zondervan (different publishers!). So we’re really busy behind the scenes.
To write The Good Guy’s Guide, we decided that we wanted to test a hypothesis. We wanted to see whether all guys actually do struggle with lust. So we asked a whole bunch of questions about lust in our men’s survey.
Originally, we weren’t going to talk about these findings until The Good Guy’s Guide came out. But they were so explosive, that we had to share now!
So listen in!
Prefer to watch the video (where we’ve got some cool graphs)? Here you go!
Timeline of the Podcast
0:40 Today’s topic: Lust!
3:15 Joanna’s Stats Corner: What do the numbers say about men and lust?
15:28 So, what’s going on for those guys in the 35% we found?
22:57 How Keith and Sheila have handled this in their own marriage
31:02 RQ: I can never be alone with a man?
34:43 How do women feel when men ‘bounce their eyes’?
45:55 Women are not a threat for simply existing
50:37 YOU should reap what YOU sow
Main Segment: So not all guys lust
I don’t want to put all the numbers in a blog post, because I do want to save some for the book (plus we’ve got some great findings on porn use, too), but let me give the big picture. Around 75% of men say they struggle with lust. But when we give them the chance to lust, or struggle with lust, in multiple different scenarios, the majority do not. Roughly 40% say they have a “mental rolodex”, where pictures of beautiful women they’ve seen in person or in porn pop up on a daily basis. We also asked about how they would act seeing a good looking woman in a variety of scenarios. And in those scenarios, less than 15% would struggle with lusting.
So here’s what our hypothesis was, and what the data seems to bear out: We are equating noticing a woman is beautiful, and being sexually attracted to a woman, as lust.
But noticing is not lusting. And I truly believe that we have caused so much shame where there didn’t need to be shame.
Sure, some men struggle with lust, as do some women, and more men do than women. But that does not mean that this is every man’s battle, or that it is a battle that cannot be won.
But you know what? The more a man believes the “every man’s battle” message, the more likely he is to lust. So can we please start talking about this better?
Incidentally, people often accuse me of being anti-man when I challenge the “every man’s battle” idea. I don’t think this is anti-man at all. I think this is very PRO-man. Hey, guys! I believe in you! I believe that you can act honorably. I believe that God did not make you to sin or to have a special sin that you can’t eradicate. I believe that you can respect women, and that most of you do.
Reader Question: My boyfriend was upset about my male co-workers
Keith joined me to talk about this one! This was a comment, not a question, but I thought it was worth discussing:
I dated a conservative Christian guy who got upset that I would go to our teacher work happy hours and be the only woman – even though ZERO inappropriate things were happening, and I don’t even drink. He also believed I should never be alone with a male coworker – but I co taught a course with a male 30 years my senior. How were we supposed to work on curriculum if we could never be alone? Navigating what made my boyfriend feel comfortable in my work environment was absolutely insane. I finally told him – this is my job. Get comfortable, or we can’t be together. I have never felt uncomfortable with any of these men – the fact that YOU do is your own issue. We ultimately ended things, and my now husband has zero concerns about any of this. Those rules are so objectifying in their own way – as if men and women can’t just be coworkers and friends but MUST have some kind of sexual tension between them. I understand the desire to avoid temptation – but treating women like they are constant temptations seriously limits their ability to work and grow in their work.
Keith works in a virtually all-female environment, and always has. He shared about his experience, and how I’ve always been okay with him being one-on-one with female co-workers, because he’s teaching them. And he doesn’t sexualize them. And they respect him and he’s earned teaching awards, too.
Some may disagree, but the Billy Graham rule would never even be tenable in his work situation. And if I were paranoid about the women he were with? Our marriage would be a mess.
Now, if a husband gave you reason to be paranoid, different story. But let’s not assume that all male-female relationships are automatically sexual.
Why Bouncing Your Eyes Isn’t Honorable
Each week on the podcast, leading up to the release of The Great Sex Rescue, we’re looking at a different evangelical teaching that has affected women’s sex lives for the worst. Last week we did “boys will want to push girls’ sexual boundaries”, and this week we’re launching the “all men struggle with lust” message. So get ready for more posts on this coming up, before next week’s podcast on how she’s not his methadone to help him get over a porn addiction!
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Things Mentioned in this Podcast
- Noticing is Not Lusting
- 12 Things Churches Can Do to Help Men Overcome Lust
- Why Bouncing Your Eyes Doesn’t Honor Women
- Keith’s epic post on lust
- Lauren Chastain’s epic thread on Twitter
- The Great Sex Rescue! Pre-order it now–and if you want access soon, why not join our launch team? All you have to do is write a review for it, but you’ll also get access to special Facebook Lives and more!
- And don’t forget to redeem your pre-order bonuses, including our scorecard and rubric for healthy sexuality!
What do you think? Is this a freeing message for men? How do you think the “every man’s battle” message affected you? Let’s talk in the comments!
The Healthy Sexuality Series
Leading up to the release of The Great Sex Rescue on March 2, we'll be looking at one harmful teaching a week, and point to how we can talk about this better.
And we'll launch each new teaching in our podcasts! So these are the topics coming up:
- The Gatekeeping Message: Boys will want to push your sexual boundaries, so girls are responsible for stopping boys from going too far
- The All Men Struggle with Lust message: Why Every Man's Battle Backfires (January 28)
- Have Sex So He Won't Lust/Watch Porn: Why Women Aren't Methadone (February 4)
- The Obligation Sex Message: Turning Sex from a Knowing to an Owing Makes it Ugly (February 11)
- "He Has a Need You Don't Have": Why Talking about sex like it's only a man's need becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy (February 18)
- The Entitlement Message around Sex: Can't we just be nice? (February 25)
And don't forget to pre-order The Great Sex Rescue! Send us your receipt and we'll send you pre-order bonuses!
Sheila Wray Gregoire
Founder of To Love, Honor and Vacuum
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