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November 06, 2006



i checked out his blog profile and noticed this:

"Most enjoyably, Mark is the father of three sons and two daughters."

he lists marrying his wife among his accomplishments, right up there with getting saved and graduating college. yet for all his sage-like marriage advice, his own wife does not make the cut for 'most enjoyable'. indeed.


Mark and his pastor buddies sit around and talk about how their wives have "let themselves go" or aren't putting out to such an extent that he has to "take one for the team"? I'm just flabbergasted. These guys are losers.

I truly believe---listen up, Mark---that any woman who has given birth knows more about what it means to be a woman that most men know about being men. (Boy, we could get into a big discussion about personhood there!) Yet Mark and his buddies not only find these women unattractive but have to blame them for treating them and other women as mere objects.

Nothing but the hottest virgin-slut for men of the cloth. And after all they do for us, aren't they worth it?

This is just an advertisement for the centuries-old degradation of women, holy writ for fundagelicals.

I remember listening as I grew up to the fundamentalist preachers talk about "if the barn needs painting, paint it!" as a rationale for women looking good for their men. I remember asking my mom after one such sermon why she listened to that crap. Some things haven't changed.

Dallas Tim

I don't even know what the word "Gay" means anymore. Yes, supposedly it means you're attracted to the same sex, but that's too simplistic (and I'm not one for overcomplicating things).

What about the heterosexual guy who goes to prison and then after years in prison starts to "you know what" other guys? Did they "turn gay?" Or are they just acting like a dog who humps your leg and is just trying to get "it" anyway that they can, even if it means abandoning what they would have originally preferred?

Please understand I'm not trying to label or criticize every homosexual, only trying to figure out if someone (heterosexual)could just decide one day, "Hey, I wonder what that'd be like? I think I'll give it a shot."

I think homosexuality is a perversion of what God originally intended, but I'm not trying to make enemies and if any gay person takes offense at my being honest, I'm sorry.

I think, as Greg mentioned, that much of what Mark D. said is worth hearing. Men are bombarded by sexual images every SECOND of our lives. I have a beautiful wife, but my attention is caught like any other man's when a gorgeous woman walks by. I agree with Greg that "respect" and "honor" should be key words in our dialouge with our wives, but reminding women that they should be aware of men's WEAKNESS in this area (sex) and that it doesn't help when a woman forgets that a man's visual simutaltory capacity is overwhelming.

I appreciate when my wife says "Call me when you're on your way so so I can look good for you." She doesn't HAVE to (and I've never asked her to) but she wants to "stimulate" me and I don't mind a bit.

Of course I say all that and then we have Prince Charles cheating on Diana with Camilla Parker Boles. That puts my argument on it's head now doesn't it?



What "gay" means to most gay men is this: think about how you feel about women, and are a little bit squicked out by the thought of doing the same sorts of things to men. Now reverse it. That's the experience of most gay men, and it starts early on (barring repression): het boys might be captivated for hours by a clandestine picture of a topless woman, but typical of kids who turn out to be gay is to feel the same level of attraction to your own sex rather than the opposite sex. (Read *Christopher's post in the last thread, too; he quotes someone who puts it better than I have here.)

There are plenty of resources at your fingertips if you honestly feel like investigating this.

Re: women taking care not to "provoke" men, I don't want to be ungracious, but [I probably will anyway, heh] being perpetually single and working at a university in a part of the country where female students don't tend to wear much compared to other parts of the world, I've found a way to cope in such a way that I can be respectful of both myself and the space and security of other people--especially my female students--without feeling the need to tell women they should cover themselves to make things easier on my personal mental life. I daresay this is something that most men could do if they put their mind to it, and I tend to think it's a worthier task than pushing for voluntary "dress codes". Hugo has given commentary along these lines that has been helpful for me.


I agree that we have too long reduced a healthy view of sex and sexuality to “true love waits”. We act as if sex and sexuality has no intrinsic value and holiness unto itself. We act like healthy holy sex is just about not having sex out side of marriage. Really? Is that all it’s about??? If we do that will we automatically have healthy sexual lives???

I have been married for over 12 years and I can tell you that I think almost everyone is broken in some degree sexually. My wife and I have both been on an incredible journey over the last 12 years and both of us have experienced a lot of healing- but we still are on that journey. One thing we resolved not long ago for our children is that we want them to have healthy sexual lives and we do not want to make it all about keeping their virginity until they get married.

I am not saying that I want my kids to have intercourse outside of marriage; my wife and I will be the first ones to tell them that it is in the commitment of our married relationship that allows us the intimacy to grow and express our sexuality together in a healthy way. I am saying that I want my kids to be whole, and I do not want to deceive myself or them into thinking that just because they abstain from intercourse before marriage that is all they need to do to be healthy sexually. Why is it we define this gift from God by this single parameter?

I don’t think that sexual promiscuity or even homosexuality is healthy sexuality, but neither is sexuality narrowly defined by fundamentalist churches that limit it to just what they think it is abstaining from. I think letting others in the conversation is a good idea, like “feminists and gays and the intentionally celibate”, we could all learn a lot from each other. Like I said, though I think homosexuality isn’t healthy, a lot of homosexuals had long abandoned the false idea that what we can somehow separate what we do sexually from who we are. Though I would not want to free them from all conviction/guilt, I do think they have overcome a lot of false guilt that we all put on ourselves in this culture for just being the sexual creatures God made us. They are in some ways more free and have a lot more figured out then many in the church who think sex is just about when you are allowed to have intercourse.

Gay or not, Haggard did not find sexual wholeness just by having sex with his wife inside of marriage, this is why he looked someplace else. Apparently Mark Driscoll isn’t finding it in his wife either because he sees sex and sexuality just as getting his needs met. Ultimately Haggard and many others are looking for something more. A gay encounter makes no difference here, the problem is the message of healthy sex and sexuality is lacking in the church and we have sold our people a bill of goods that lied to them saying it is ALL about abstinence. I think a lot of men and women in the church are set up for disappointment because we told that the key to healthy sexuality is marriage. This does nothing for those who want to be healthy sexual beings as single people and if/when they do get married they have no idea why their sexual lives aren’t magically healthier because they are now aloud to have intercourse. The church’s message about healthy and holy sex and sexuality is too small.


Lisa in FL

I find the idea of women "letting themselves go" because they are married to pastors absurd. Women who are insecure, who have low self-esteem, may tend to gain weight, though. Maybe the husbands of those women might have something to do with that?

"Cause for laziness?" Pastors' wives are the least lazy people I know. (I used to be one-- I get more more "lazy time" now that my husband has changed professions, thank God.) The type of women Mark is talking about are spending all day chasing after multiple preschoolers, possibly homeschooling the elementary aged ones, along with keeping a spotless house for small groups, prepping for her Sunday school class, and who knows what else. How many of these guys are saying, "Sure, honey, I'll be thrilled to watch our five kids for an hour every day so you can go to the gym."



I read Driscoll's drivel yesterday and I was so mad I was sputtering. Then I shrugged and said, "Well, what do you expect?" He doesn't get it.

I just love how you can't even comment on his blog unless you're part of an inner circle of attendees at his conferences. It's just like his ministry, he does all the talking and he doesn't want any discourse about it unless you're a "yes-woman."



Thanks for responding to Dallas Tim, especially in a calmer fashion than I might have, about the myth of male weakness and how it is indeed possible to train yourself not to let your eyes stray toward all the potentially tempting targets around you (and like you, I'm a college instructor who often has to practice this restraint). While I like much about Hugo's blog, this is probably the place where I've learned the most from him.

Dave Rattigan

I just about puked when I read the bit about pastors' wives who "really let themselves go".


"I think, as Greg mentioned, that much of what Mark D. said is worth hearing. Men are bombarded by sexual images every SECOND of our lives. I have a beautiful wife, but my attention is caught like any other man's when a gorgeous woman walks by. I agree with Greg that "respect" and "honor" should be key words in our dialouge with our wives, but reminding women that they should be aware of men's WEAKNESS in this area (sex) and that it doesn't help when a woman forgets that a man's visual simutaltory capacity is overwhelming."

I appreciate what you're attempting to say here, if I'm understanding you correctly. I don't know if I can go with you on the "weakness" part of your statement. However, I must say that I'm a little bit flustered at the apparent notion based on the responses on the blog that the issues of "respect" and "honor" in sexuality in a relationship only go one way. In short, they only apply to how a man should treat a woman.

It surprises me in this alleged enlightened society we are in now at how ignorant people still are about men and the fact that they are different than women. It's so ironic to me that we have so many books and essays about the difference between men and women these days, and yet we see and hear a total lack of moderation in the application of the rules of sexuality.

Tim, I can't honestly go with you on your statement of weakness and how a woman presents herself because, speaking only for myself, attraction is only part of how a woman dresses or presents herself. It takes more than the presence or site of a beautiful woman to get the engine ignited. If it did, I would contend that I have some fairly predatory tendencies when it came to women. One thing I took from your statement is that women need to be a little more cognisent (sp?) of a man's sexual makeup, and I completely agree. I think women are just as guilty of men as being ignorant in the respect and honor department when it applies to sexuality, or even intergenderal relationships.


I'm a little disturbed by Driscoll's "by God’s grace have been faithful to [my wife] in every way since the day we met" attitude. It seems that Driscoll believes that he has no independent commitment to his wife that has any meaning, that were it not for his commitment to Christ he would be upto his armpits in extra-marrital affairs, feeling no obligation to be faithful to his wife simply out of respect to the vows he made to her.

Case in point: he writes of the woman who emailed him topless pictures that was "thankfully" intercepted by his assistant "and never got to [him]." (An assiant, we later find, is also a married man, making Driscoll's ethics a little shakey; but, hey, what good is a staff if they can't lead you away from temptation?) What would have happened if it had got to him? His commitment to his wife isn't strong enough for him to see a set of boobs on a computer screen without throwing his commitments to the wind?



Excellent points. Perhaps this would be a good place for Driscoll to hire a gay man, boobie screener. That would prevent his married assistants from tossing their Christ-empowered commitments to their wives at the sight of naked boobies.

Dallas Tim


Thanks. I think that's what I was trying to say. It's not that sight alone brings guys to their sexual peak, only that it's much more of a factor that it is for women (and again, that's not to say that women aren't stimulated by sight at all.)

I appreciate Leighton's comments that resisting temptation is basically a matter of "Putting your mind to it." You can't just ignore it and hope you'd do the right thing if a situation presented itself. You have to be more proactive than that and train your mind to (at least as much as you can) recognize the warning signs ahead of time.

I see girls (young girls) in church all the time and wonder "Does their dad know they're wearing that?" or "Does he know what I'd be thinking about doing if I were 18 and she was taking to me?"

I think a lot of men are like trained Tigers. They jump through hoops of fire and stand on their hind legs whenever the trainer cracks the whip, but push them to far, or give them the scent of blood they revert back to their natural predatory mode and attack.

Jesus' comparison of looking at a woman lustfully being just like adultery, goes right to the heart of the matter. We have to have a radical transformation on the inside or, like the Tigers, the scent of blood will eventually reveal who we really are.



We'd all be better off without privates.



It takes more than the presence or site of a beautiful woman to get the engine ignited. If it did, I would contend that I have some fairly predatory tendencies when it came to women.

So I'm fairly sure you're not actually saying this, but what this sounds like is that if you're sufficiently aroused, you'll take what you want and it's the woman's own damn fault for provoking you. That doesn't seem like much of an ethic to me.

I'm all for sharing equal responsibility for gender relations, but part of what this entails in my mind is a zero tolerance policy for violent crime--human men are different than dogs or horses in that we can resist the call of our hormones, particularly when they would lead us toward violent coercive actions toward other people, and trying to come up with exceptions where it's okay to let go and do what you want regardless of whether other people give consent leads down a road I would prefer to see untraversed. (I'm not talking about things being understandable, either; with enough thought and empathy every human action is understandable, but you can understand something without condoning it.)

Another part of what good gender relations entails, in my mind, is spending most of my time on the matter (not necessarily all, I won't say, but I can't think of exceptions off the top of my head) talking about what it's good for other men to do--mostly because, as a man, I tend to think I have more cred, but there are important historical reasons as well. Male society has a history of doing its best to control women, and it's too easy a trap to fall into. As the old rationales go, women are weak, so men need to control them to protect them; men are "weak" sexually, so men need to control what women wear. There's the illusion of symmetry because you're saying the words "both sexes are weak", but both cases entail more social control being handed specifically to men rather than shared equally between men and women.


You have to be more proactive than that and train your mind to (at least as much as you can) recognize the warning signs ahead of time.

I appreciate your aside where you point out that the sum of any efforts we make will never be perfect, and might not even be enough. Nobody (at least nobody my age, I tend to think) is going to succeed completely; I know I don't, but I keep trying every day regardless, and it is getting easier as time goes by.

What I want to nit-pick about the tiger analogy, though, is that humans have a lot more capacity for foreknowledge and self-examination and self control than tigers do; I get tired of hearing the argument from distant relatives that women had better watch themselves or men will start raping them when they get out of line, and it will be their own faults, too. I prefer to have people take responsibility for their own actions; provocation isn't the same as justification.

Dallas Tim


Yes, my tiger analogy fell short. Your comments make sense and I agree that we DO have the ability, as humans, to anticipate probable situations.

We can't know EVERYTHING that might happen, but you know the old saying "Failing to plan is like planning to fail."

Anyway, thanks for taking the time to respond.


I think you misunderstood me. What I was trying to say is that you can't give into "weakness" at the sight of a female showing skin, and then blame it on her. I don't buy that argument.

But something else I am not buying is this idea that it's 100% up to the man to show respect and honor when it comes to sexuality in a relationship. Both man and woman should be willing to give and to compromise in all components of the relationship, including sex. As men, we are expected to know that women are different than us and we are expected to act upon that understanding. Why shouldn't that be reciprocated?



If you mention a specific way in which it's not reciprocated, I might be more confident that I know what you mean.


If a husband wants to have sex and the wife doesn't, the husband has to accept that.

If a husband hasn't had sex with his wife for 6 months, he still has to accept that and go to bed horny. But if he snaps at the kids, snaps at her, isn't sleeping well, etc., then he's once again the bad guy.

Women are a lot smarter and more in control than some of you give them credit for.


I'm not sure how your Rumsfeld would feel about that.


er...that was aimed at phil's levity but you all posted comments too fast for the joke to work in chronology :(



If you didn't want to have sex with your wife for six months, she'd "just have to deal with it" too. It's not a gender-specific issue; either partner can withhold sex.

In your hypothetical example, I'd say the couple in question needs counseling or, if one partner is unwilling, legal separation might be on the table. Situations like that aren't resolved by talking about general rules for gender interactions; there are some very specific relational issues in play between the two partners that will need to be addressed, and general appeals to equity and fairness are too broad to really approach problems that specific.


I'd say that once you reach the point that you're working on rules for sex, the relationship is at a very bad place.


Unfortunately, I don't think it's that hypothetical. You guys might (or might not) be suprised at the number of married women out there who have "rules" for sex. Of course, these same women were raised in the Oklahoma Bible Belt culture where a good Christian girl gets a husband in college (if not before) and if she doesn't, there is something wrong with her. As a result of wanting to be a good Christian Oklahoma girl, she is pressured to marry a guy she's not even attracted to.

I'm sure that has nothing to do with the ungodly high divorce rate in Oklahoma.

But that's another topic for another day. :)

David Loar

If Haggard does enter rehab and begin recovery, I wouldn't presume where that will lead him with his life.

Mark Laaser was an ordained UCC minister and pastoral counselor. He became involved with some of his clients. He lost his ordained standing over 20 years ago and it was not restored. Yet, Mark is one of the two most prominent people in the world in working with all sorts of people, but particularly churches and clergy on sex addiction recovery. (the other is Pat Carnes). He and his wife are the two major leaders internationally in Couples Recovery.

Officially Mark is no longer a "minister". Yet, I think God has led him to a ministry that is beyond the church as we know it.
Faithful and True Ministries

I remember when Bill Clinton's affair with Monica Lewinsky came out and impeachment hearings began, Jeb Magruder from the Watergate crew and spent time in prison, was consulting with our church on a capital campaign. I asked Jeb what chance Clinton had to begin recovery in the White House. He said "none." My wish was for Clinton to resign, not for poltical reasons, but so he could get help.

I don't wish for Haggard a return to church ministry. I wish for him a spiritual, emotional, and physical recovery and then wherever God chooses to use him.

David Loar

Dallas Tim

Could we please start using quotation marks around the word "Christian" when using it as a label for a type of marriage where either parnter (or both) treats the other like shit. There's nothing Christian about that.

When Paul says appropriate husbandry includes the attitude that led Christ to "Lay down His life for (His bride) the Church..." then demanding this or that doesn't seem to fit. And let me just add that I can be a very demanding, impatient, a-hole at times myself.

And Greg, your line about the marriage not doing so well if you're making rules about sex was pretty funny.

I think if people on this blog have "rules" they should share them with the rest of us so that our experience can be heightned...


How many posts have there been about "rules" in bed, and yet not one crack about how kinky that sounds.

I'm disappointed.


In response to Driscoll's comments, I'll just say that although they may be out there, I've never yet met a pastor's wife who "lets herself go" more than her husband has.
And the other problem I have with his reasoning is that we learn from Hollywood gossip rags that beautiful, sexually-available woman just does not equal fidelity by the man.

annie neruda

All you men have been talking about these slutty women who are making you stummble. However, I went to a christian university and the girls that dressed sluttily always had boyfriends and all the other boys who weren't dating them spoke of them as goddesses. All us who wore t-shirts were basically dateless until we borrowed some clothes. Lets let the bullshit double standards go why don't we. If you don't want sluts then don't watch those movies and don't date the girls who dress like that and you might see a turn around in female behaivor.

And as to all you poor christians who aren't getting enough in the sac, you should be aware that most good little christian girls are hearing about sex for the first time on their wedding night. I have many christian friends who waited for marriage and then were very hurt, physically, on their wedding night and are now terrified of sex. They are also not getting much foreplay or any orgasms. If the girl doesn't like sex she isn't going to do it.


I couldn't agree more with many of these comments here, and i admire the eloquence and the turn of a phrase this blog employs. I do have to protest one thing, though: why lump the Apostle Paul in with Driscoll misogynistic? The one passage refered to about Eve as deceived/sinning first is not the misogynistic statement that it is taken to be by most Paul-haters. In a lecture by a church history prof from UCLA back in the day at Fuller, Paul was dealing with some matriarchal and possibly homocidal pagan cults that were dominated by female priestesses who practiced their own version of misandry, and he was pushing back to suggest against that particular, localized misandristic status quo. The Apostle Paul was the guy, after all, who said the husband's body belongs to the wife, a statement which he rarely (never?)seems to get credit for among those joining the feminazi dog-piling on him that is so popular in some circles.



Welcome. While I appreciate the attempted contextualization of Paul's words, there are far too many misogynistic passages in Paul to explain them all away.

Kristen and Annie,

Glad to have you back.

Dallas Tim


If you're tyring to say that having sex before marriage makes for a better sex live after marriage then I guess at some point you must have learned to enjoy it. Why couldn't you have learned to enjoy it after marriage.

As a guy, I will tell you GUARANTEED that no man married to a woman would say "I'm glad she had sex before she met me because we have a better sex life now because of it."

There isn't a guy on planet earth who wouldn't love to say "Yeah I was her first and we had to learn how to do all the right things, but it was a great learning process and now it's awesome."

There are just as many girls who have sex before marriage and don't enjoy it either. To say that the reason is because of marriage is illogical.

Sure you can be an idiot with regards to sex in or out of marriage, but saying that you have friends who are terrified of sex because their first time was bad had nothing to do with marriage. What, every girl who has sex for the first time before marriage says it was awesome? C'mon.


In reading some of the comments and Driscols own, I am a bit confused.

When you say "let herself go" exactly what do you mean?

Because if we are referring to a healthy sex life then you shouldn't say "most pastor's wives" because while my wife may just be a youth minister's wife doesn't fit Driscol's description.

We (my wife and I) have seen what an unhealthy initmate sex life can do to a couple period. And this includes me being unselfish, and knowing that sex isn't just a release.

I believe that if pastor's and their wives understood sex is a good thing to be enjoyed and not so dirty has "true love waits" makes it.

What I just wrote probably made no sense and was completely irrelevant.


Annie's post has me really confused now.

From what I understand, we men are bad for only wanting to date the "sluts" in college. But yet, we need to date the "sluts" to make sure that we get a girl who enjoys having sex. Because if we get the "good girl" who waits until marriage, we're likely get someone who isn't going to enjoy sex.

Annie, I want to thank you for affirming my fears that with women, we men are screwed either way. :)

annie neruda

I did wait until my husband to have sex. I am not saying that being a slut is a good thing to do or the only way to enjoy sex is by having it before marriage. I am telling all the pastors and christians that they are raising girls who have not heard much about sex and then are forever terrified by it from the wedding not on. I am basically saying be better lovers because if someone likes something they will do it a lot. If you don't know something, hate it the first time, are you going to want to do it a lot? Nope


Honestly, guys. Annie's point isn't that obtuse. We insist on a standard of beauty based on the pornification of the culture, but we don't want the girl to embody the standards of the pornification, just the look. They are valued for maintaining a standard of beauty that is nearly impossible for most women without personal trainers and cosmetic surgery budgets. We then reinforce the system by dating girls or preferring girls who embody the system, pay lip service to sexual ethics while trying to bed the preferred girls, and ignore the women who, physically beautiful or not, have paid more attention to character, intelligence, grace, social justice, etc. Follow this up with a strange silence about the goodness of sex within church, and many Christian girls do go into their wedding night with absolute fear.


In this particular context, it seems like the core concern with women "regulating" sex--or, more likely, as Annie has described it, women having anxieties about sex to the point where they don't want to do it at all--is not gender relations, taken in the abstract. Rather, it's the misogynist church culture that dictates to girls and young women that their sexuality is the property of their fathers and their husbands, rather than being their own to govern (or steward, depending on your point of view).

While boys and young men also get a certain amount of this unwise "abstinence is the only option" and "your worth before marriage is defined by your virginity" talk, it comes down much harder on the girls. Boys at least have the competing cultural pressures to be experienced and knowledgeable about sex, so the pop-culture and church pressures tend to equalize one another in such a way that most men who grow up in churches wind up basically okay with their own sexuality. (Whether they can hold successful egalitarian relationships is another matter, but they are able to acknowledge and respect at least their own needs.) Women in churches, by contrast, don't have that counterbalancing force; there are competing voices in popular culture, some of which say that a woman being sexually mature is a deeply necessary thing, others of which say it's horrible and will make her a worthless slut who deserves whatever harm comes to her at the hands of men. Consequently, a lot of women tend to listen to the voice in pop culture that corresponds to the voice they hear in church and wind up hating and fearing their own sexual existence.

Given this, it seems a bit short-sighted to say things like "oh, women should also respect men and their need for sex" when participation in a male-centered culture that treats women as cattle to be owned is precisely the reason so many are uncomfortable with sex to begin with.

For the record, Tim, I have a half-dozen blog-friends who are glad their wives had sexual partners before them. There's a sense in which they think it was very freeing to have their physical connection parallel their emotional connection, without having to spend years in counseling or taking things slowly while one party or the other (and it's not always women who have these concerns, it just happens more often) comes to terms with the fact that they're not a disgustingly evil person for enjoying a physical sensation. Multiple partners is certainly not the only viable option, but it's also not inherently bad unless you take the medieval view of women's sexuality being a piece of property that men are entitled to have sole ownership of. I prefer not to think of people in terms of ownership.

Dallas Tim

"I have a half-dozen blog-friends who are glad their wives had sexual partners before them. There's a sense in which they think it was very freeing..."

I'm not doubting that people say things like that, but it sounds very superficial. Again, if ANY guy tells me, "Yeah, it would be hard to learn how to/enjoy sex with a woman doing who was also doing it for the first time," then I'm calling "Bullshit."

That's relegating sex to just the enjoyment of the act and not the marriage of the emotion involved. No guy, whether he admits it or not, takes joy/pride/a sense of freedom, in knowing his wife shared the same emotions with him as she did with others... period (Or if you're a woman, that your husband did with another woman).

I'd ask those same blog-friends if they would mind if they're wives were having sex with other people now because if sex with others makes it better with them, then they should encourage it. Truth is, they don't want to share (and shouldn't) either now or in the past.

I know, there are people who go to the swinger clubs and have multiple partners and talk about how great it is. All I ask is how does someone deeply in REAL EMOTIONAL LOVE with another, watch as their partner shares themself with another? That just sex with complete emotional detatchment.

Anyone who has to go to counseling because he/she was a virgin on their wedding day has deeper problems than just the sexual aspect.

There are way more people in counseling (women mostly) because still can't seem to find the relationship/love that they thought automatically came with having some guy on top of you for 5 minutes.


"Given this, it seems a bit short-sighted to say things like "oh, women should also respect men and their need for sex" when participation in a male-centered culture that treats women as cattle to be owned is precisely the reason so many are uncomfortable with sex to begin with."

All of this talk about a "male-centered culture" might have been relevant in, say, 1955.

It's not anymore.

To sit there and hold onto the old rhetoric of women being scared, confused, and so influenced by culture contradicts what "I" see from the culture and what I hear and observe from the women in my life and in the real world. Most of the women I see in the real world have apparently decided that they don't need men to be happy, and men can take or leave what they see.

Just as I would not say that women are manipulative in a general sense, I would expect not to be told that women are scared, fearful, potential victims. In this suggested power struggle between women and men, I would say that women have more control than you would suggest based upon the women I see day in and day out, and not the prototype that gets written about in some academic journal. You can choose not to be influenced by the culture. Isn't that what this postmodern view of the Kingdom is about? Choosing not to be influenced by the culture, but rather be countercultural?

So why does this not apply to women and their perceived helplessness in the battle of the sexes?

Once again, all I'm hearing from you guys is that I'm supposed to just accept the lack of moderation and compromise in the rules of love and sexuality because:

A.) The culture tells women they are sexual objects, in spite of the fact that the Oprah culture we live in tells women they are also valuable creatures.

B.) Women instead choose to believe they are part of the sexual "cattle drive" over Oprah.

The thing is, pop culture and the church's True Love Waits culture are both lying; they are lying to men just as much as they are lying to women. They are telling us that women are poor, helpless, scared creatures and we're a bunch of beer-guzzling ogres that can just take what we want when we want it. Both sexes are getting fed a false sense of reality and sadly some of you seem to be buying it.


It ultimately doesn't matter what Oprah says. Oprah provides empowerment, true. Some thoughts:

1) There are conflicting messages
- advertisements, television/movies, etc., that portray "normal" women as stunning, despite the rigors of life
- church messages that clearly devalue women, make them objects for the convenience of and service to men
- a machismo backlash in our culture that objectifies women as sex objects
- Oprah herself, for chrissakes: "Gayle and I went shopping on Rodeo Drive..."

2) The power structures are still in place, and that is ultimately all that matters
- men still generally are the "leaders" in business, community, church, and home
- men still frequently make more for the same work
- the gift that so many women give of staying home to raise children is completely unvalued not only by society but by husbands---it's very easy to think that what we do ("make money") is more important and to create conditions in which our wives "let themselves go"

One of the few things I remember from college came from a freshman seminar that studied "Movements for Justice in the 20th Century". One of our texts--I wish for the life of me I could remember it--argued that people did not gain rights in the 20th century until the ruling structures had found another avenue through which to exercise the same power. So women and blacks were not given the right to vote, for example, until men had secured legal power for corporations and until the whites had moved families to suburbs. That has stayed with me for over 20 years now.



I'm not talking about the culture at large. I'm talking about the church.


Still my point remains that both church and culture at large are mired in cliches, assumptions, and lies about male/female relations. And I don't want people taking Mark Driscoll's misrepresentation of how males view women and their changing physical appearance as a general mantra for all men.


It's hard to understand what you mean, Jay, when you demand that women owe honor and respect to men in the sexual arena. Your example was a woman being sexually unavailable to her husband for an extended period of time. There can be any number of reasons for scenarios like that, but I would conjecture that at least a plurality of such cases could be remedied by the man putting out real sexual effort. So what you suggest as an example of women not giving sexual honor and respect, is probably most often the man thinking only about his own sexual needs. I don't buy the idea of some women just not liking sex. Some women may have come or been driven to dislike sex, but naturally they must like it because they've evolved to like it.

That said, sex is both easier and harder for men. It is easier if you view satisfaction (orgasm) as the end; this of course too narrow a view, however. It becomes more difficult for men when they take the view that mutual satisfaction is the goal of sex. In this case, satisfaction can't be substituted by orgasm, because for most women, orgasm is only the beginning of sexual satisfaction. Biology is working against us here. It is easier for use to reach orgasm, and so it is somewhat natural for us to be lazy about sex. When we are, it makes sexual satisfaction virtually impossible for our partners. Women generally require much more attention both physically and emotionally both before and after sex. If a man is unwilling to do the wooing that a woman requires for sexual satisfaction, then he is relegating her to the status of object when he complains that she doesn't give it up often enough.

Now it may be the case that a couple's or an individual partner's sexual or psychological past perpetuates sexual unavailability as a side effect of post-traumatic stress. In such cases, agape love demands patient endurance from the man in your scenario, not grumblings about going to bed horny.


Getting back to Driscoll a little bit... I used to live right near his church. I stopped in once to see what kind of literature they had out. Sitting at the church reception desk were the typical kinds of brochures about beliefs, structures, etc... I read through one about "tough quesions" or something like that and it had an entire section dedicated to very detailed descriptions of when exactly it was ok and not ok for a man to masturbate. I just thought that was so bizarre... that it's THAT central to the church, to have it sitting out like that, to have such a detailed treatment of it! (btw, for Driscoll it is not always wrong... so long as you are whacking off to pictures of your wife when you are away on a business trip... or if you are a single guy and can manage not to have any sort of image in your mind.)

This, coupled with a friend's recent visit to the church where he counted Driscoll making off-the-cuff sexual references (not serious, theological statements, just jokes or "guy remarks") FIFTEEN times in FIFTEEEN minutes during the sermon has really made me wonder if it's just a matter of time for Driscoll... it just seems like it all spells out "addiction."

I'm probably just cynical, and I'm not trying to falsely accuse Mark Driscoll of anything... just pointing out the weirdnes factor. I've just known too many pastors with sexual addictions. I don't know if it's that widespread in the culture at large or if there is something about the profession that breeds it. Regardless, fifteen times in fifteen minutes (in a sermon that was not addressing sex in any kind of serious way) is just weird.


"I don't know if it's that widespread in the culture at large or if there is something about the profession that breeds it."

I don't think the profession breeds it entirely by itself. I do think it doesn't help. Especially with the types of ministers who are workaholics.


An unanticipated benefit of stopping church attendance for me has been that this stuff--the "impure thoughts"--really isn't an issue anymore. I chalk it up to not sitting in small groups with guys beating themselves (pun intended) for "failing" during the week, week after week after weak. It's a 'try not to look at the pink elephant in the room situation'.

Now, to be sure, it's a choice that I need to make in the moment. For instance, when I was in Vegas for business a few weeks ago, I was very, er, aroused by the sexual climate. But I think it's much easier for me to make the choices to be respectful in my thoughts and behavior of other women and my own wife now that I'm not bombarded with the angst attached to this topic in the church.

Kevin Powell

I wonder if sexual addiction in pastors (if it an epidemic) has to do with loneliness. Clergy live notoriously lonely lives. I wonder if sexuality is a form of longing for an intimacy that they have trouble finding in their lives.

But I think the real problem of Driscoll's argument is that he lets Haggard (and men in general) off the hook too easily. It's not Haggard's fault he stumbled, it's his wife's. If the wife won't put out, then of course men have to go elsewhere to get their sexual needs met, as if sexuality is at the core of a marriage.

As Dr. Phil says, if a couple's not have sex, its a symptom of a deeper relational problem. I think he's right.



Maybe I would have been better understood had I not used such an explicit example. My point is broader in scope; it has more to do with respect and honor in the relationship as a whole than just in the bedroom.

With that said, I'm seeing some contradictions here. I'm hearing that if a woman doesn't want to have sex then there's a problem with the relationship as a whole. Yet, the next thing I hear is sexuality isn't tied into love. Which is it, because I'm frankly confused.

I've withheld my statement that much of a man's need for intimacy and love and his feeling of attractiveness is tied into his sexuality because many on this board wouldn't hesitate to let me know that I'm a pig. However, if we assume that a man's need for intimacy is tied into his sexuality, why isn't an "effort" required from women to try to understand that. Why is the church and culture so dismissive of that?

I also want to point out here that anyone who implies that the church doesn't send mixed signals to men about their sexual identity has never stepped a foot inside a church. Growing up in the church, we are told if we masturbate, we have evil little minds. If we're into pornography, we objectify women. If we aren't having sex with our wives, it's our tough luck. Never mind the fact that a large part of a man's emotional significance is tied to his sexuality (sorry, but I'm not letting that one go). Men are required to understand women, but women are seemingly not required to understand men, and the only legitimate component of a healthy relationship is based upon how a man makes the woman feel. That's such an irritating deception, and really is at the heart of my cynicism about relationships.



You appear to be extrapolating from personal experience and then making more broad assumptions than are warranted. This statement: "Never mind the fact that a large part of a man's emotional significance is tied to his sexuality (sorry, but I'm not letting that one go)." First, not sure how you want to defin sexuality. Activity? Proclivities? Preference? So if a person is intentionally celibate, say, a priest, is his emotional significance then stunted? And what does that say about Jesus, who most likely never had sex? What about men who have taken monastic orders? I'm afraid that if my emotional significance is tied to my sexuality, and I still don't know how you're defining it, I will always feel a bit off balance depending upon my frequency and quality of sexual experiences.


"You appear to be extrapolating from personal experience and then making more broad assumptions than are warranted."
And you'd be wrong.

I admit to you that emotional significance is internalized. Yes, a priest is denying himself of that, along with intimacy. Right or wrong, in a general sense, if your wife doesn't want to have sex with you, you'd feel that she wasn't attracted to you. That may or not be the case, but isn't it on her at least a little bit to tell you why or seek help for it?

You can try to sell me on this whole idea that women are these helpless damsels with self-image problems that are afraid to have sex, but I'm not buying.

They are smart enough, valuable enough, and POWERFUL enough to take some responsibility in the relationship. That's all I was trying to say, and apparently not plainly enough.

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