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Some eventually became girlfriends, while others remained simply good friends. Stories that metaphorically and realistically banish or exile women from thought and place so I could feel safe and powerful. You can guarantee that in cultures where extreme modesty is the norm like Muslim culturemen gasp!
Here, I want to write as self-consciously and honestly as I can about the experience s of being a man regarding sex and modesty. But how can you look at someone like the woman we just encountered without having sexual feelings?
First, it is absolutely a reality for men and boys that sexual desire can feel overwhelming, all-consuming, and thus, unsurprisingly, frightening.
It was hard to focus and I felt weak and powerless around them. I had prayed and fasted about it constantly, and felt little strength in return.
Stories about learning to be strong and courageous while surrounded by frightening temptation everywhere I turned, thereby transforming women around me into either enemies or potential enemies should they choose at some point to not dress according to current acceptable standards, on my behalf.
Sure, he sometimes felt the urge to self-gratification or wanted to get more intimate with girls than was appropriate, but he viewed these as issues common to human beings generally and felt that virtuous living and basic human decency ensured that there would be appropriate boundaries that it was ok to occasionally struggle with.
Was he just pretending? He was a man, it seemed to me, truly and positively empowered. But it is an unalloyed good to be able to understand ourselves in ways that allow us as men and women to interact with one another in the bonds of love, confidence, and friendship, not fear, anxiety, lust, and distrust.
The more robust the neural pathways of eros, the more prone you are to feel lust at home, even as stimuli dissipate with familiarity and habit. Maybe he was on the edge of sanity, barely holding it together, putting up a brave though false front.
How were we to be strong and stay faithful? Many will be understandably concerned that a different narrative will simply cause us to devolve into wanton permissiveness and excess on the parts of both women and men. The way we dress impacts those around us, especially guys.
More than any other thing, it will be a climate of fear, anxiety, and powerlessness that will create dependency in ways that lead to sexual addictions of various Christmas gift just started dating, which we know are rampant in our communities.
It made sense, I thought.
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He loved girls, he said, and had always wanted to be with them regularly. Two things, then, must be acknowledged. Frankly, I was devastated. That part is important. I understand the impetus for concern with the quote—I myself have been a firm advocate for the responsibilization of boys and men for their own thoughts and behaviors.
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I told my companion that it really bothered me seeing so many women in various states of undress. My companion and I occasionally discussed the temptations we would daily encounter, but for the most part we struggled on in silence.
He felt free and unperturbed. The question, of course, is how this is or should be the case more on this in a moment. Stories about girls and women being centers of uncontrollable desire and lust that must look and act in particular ways in order to tame the beast within me. What was untrue, however what remains untrueand this is point number two, were the stories that had produced that anxiety and powerlessness in the first place.
Sex is constantly being re-discovered to be an increasingly complex phenomenon.
I think this is at least one of the roots of the constant need to present virtue and modesty as acts of vigilance and courage—because fear lies at the heart of what we are trying to confront but doing a poor job talking about.
He just smiled, shrugged, and said nothing.