There are a lot of resources geared toward Christian adolescents and men for guarding their eyes, minds, hearts, and bodies. Talks and conferences and books and apps for accountability to stay away from porn. Sermons about men not looking at women with lust.
And there are a lot of resources geared toward Christian adolescents and women for how to not have sex and to “protect” Christian boys and men from stumbling. From covering our bodies as teenage girls to consistently uncovering our bodies as wives, the general idea seems to be that men think about sex an awful lot. And women should avoid being thought of in that way at all—except by your spouse—and in that case, Keep him captivated, girl.
Here’s the thing. This teaching doesn’t do either gender any favors. It can lead to a self-fulfilling prophecy where guys feel powerless against their sin. It can distort the way girls think about their own eyes, minds, hearts, and bodies when it comes to men and sexuality. We overanalyze every interaction, worrying about coming off as flirtatious or suggestive.
It also ends up heaping a disproportionate amount of shame upon women who find themselves in need of help guarding their own eyes, minds, hearts, and bodies. If lust, porn, masturbation, and fantasies are men’s issues, women who struggle in these areas may wonder, What in the world is wrong with us?
Women and lust: It’s complicated
Let’s say it loud and clear for the folks in the back: Lust is not just a man’s issue. Many women struggle with images and fantasies both before and after marriage. Statistics show more and more porn users are women. And because of the aforementioned baggage, they believe their bodies are bad, their sexual desires unnatural, and they’re doomed to struggle with sexual brokenness in secret.