The other day on FaceBook I read a post from one of my friends that went something like this:
[Name] is getting her hair bleached blonde and her boobs done so she can look like the type of woman that men want.
Like many people on my FaceBook friends list, I do not know this woman personally. We have become “friends” through the part magic and part scientific phenomena of Kevin Bacon. Although we have mutually chimed in on the occasional post or comment, I don’t believe that we have ever met. It is possible, however, due to my often-shifting circles of connections and travels, that we have. What I do know about her is that she is a political conservative, loves animals, and is married, seemingly happily so. She will often post about the same.
“…is glad to be sharing the night with the man of her life and her best friend.”
“…is counting the minutes until [her husband] gets home Can’t wait to spend time in with him.”
“…[my husband] just made the most incredible dinner (menu follows)…he is the greatest man in the world.”
Of course you know that while scanning through my Live Feed, the word “boobs” jumped out at me, not only because of the obvious reasons, but also because of the rarity of its appearance among my list of friends. It is true that a great portion of my friends are female, and therefore many of my friends have boobs. It is also true that the remainder of are friends is male, and therefore, many have an interest as well. What makes the mention of boobs rare is that most of my friends consider themselves Christian, and therefore, don’t often refer to the subject in polite online company. This does not suggest that we (as Christians) don’t think about or talk about women’s breasts. Quite the contrary. Nor is it meant to imply that because this woman mentioned these things in a public setting that she is not a Christian. She, as far as one can tell, most certainly is. It is simply a point that what we think or discuss in our “real” lives regarding sexual things doesn’t often make it to our virtual ones.
As I scrolled down my home page, peering into the daily happenings of friends, family and strangers alike, I stopped in my tracks at the boob-related post. I noticed that there were a few comments, and my curiosity was engaged. What had happened in this woman’s world to not only give her this thought, but to also prompt her to make it public?
To no surprise, the first comment was from a friend who was obviously closer than I was. It was a female who not only inquired about what was wrong, but also offered the affirmation, “You are beautiful just as you are.” What was most telling was the original poster’s comment to that comment.
” …I’m just so tired of all of this crap! I feel like we live in this fake world where we have all of these fake women who get all of the attention from men. They look at these women and fantasize about them without even realizing that these women would never even give them the time of day. These women aren’t even real, but we have to live up to them. I am just so tired of finding a stash of magazines like Playboy or Maxim hidden somewhere with these fake women in them that society has called beautiful. I have just decided that I am going to have to get fake tits and bleach my hair so that I can be considered as attractive. Don’t men even know that all of these women have been doctored, not only on their chests, but by the magazine as well??? How is a flat-chested, freckle-faced woman like me able to be attractive when these other women are out there as the ideal?”
Now, before I move on, let me say that the above post is a paraphrase of what was actually said. Though I had the idea for this article from the moment that I read what she had written, it did not occur to me to copy her post until later. When I returned to her page, it was gone. Apparently her friends had been able to coax her off the silicone and hydroxide ledge, and thus no need for the passionate outburst to remain public. Two B cups saved. Whew!
What is important about the paraphrase is not its accuracy, but some of its content. In my memory, there was more profanity than I used above. I seem to remember the word ass being used (more than once). There also seemed to be a lot more anger than I have captured here, but I can’t be certain. What I do know is that the words tits, Playboy, Maxim, stash, flat-chested, freckle-faced, and fake were all part of the original. I have included them because of the insight that they give to not only the sad events of my FaceBook friend’s day, but also the scenery they provide for this article.
It is impossible to be certain about the events that transpired that led to these posts and comments in the middle of a Wednesday afternoon. I have thought about contacting the woman to ask about details (and to even see if she or a friend have a copy of the original post). After much consideration, I decided that it (like other FaceBook posts of similar nature) was deleted for a reason. Furthermore, I am not sure that the six-degree relationship that we have is strong enough to make such an inquiry, especially with me not only being a man, but a married man. A married man of the cloth at that. What I am pretty sure of at this point is that I will send her a copy of this article to serve hopefully as a point of encouragement to her. Oh, and I am also fairly certain that it will require more than just a good dinner to make her husband’s impending arrival at home into a happy one.
Not having specific details about what happened, I feel somewhat confident of the basic unfolding of events. It appears that my friend stumbled upon a collection of periodicals that was owned by her husband that she feels that were also “used” by him. Again, I am not sure, but I got the distinct feeling that is was her husband who was the guilty party and not the husband of a close friend or relative. I imagine that if it had been the husband of a friend, she would have used phrases like “Maybe we should all go get our breasts done.” Or, perhaps, she would have generally alluded to “all the cute women” whose husbands look elsewhere rather than the specific “flat chested, freckle-faced” variety that she described. Whether she is flat chested or freckle-faced has not been confirmed by this author, as I purpose not to look at women in that way, even more so after she brought it up.
The manner in which a man may “use” these magazines could infer a myriad of things. On the most benign end of the spectrum, the women contained therein were objects of ogling. In her mind, they were at the least viewed with some form of affirmation, which was quite the opposite of the disgust that she felt about them. The minimum transgression that had taken place (according to her thinking) was that he had viewed with a nodding head what she had shaken her head at. The levels of martial insult only rise from there. As they cross the spectrum of intensifying transgression, there (I believe) comes a fork in the road in which what may be most hurtful to a wife and what my be most sinful in the eyes of God diverge.
The First of Two Potential Evils
To a wife (PERHAPS), the most hurtful thing that could be taking place between the husband and these paper dolls would be that he would be masturbating to their pictures or to the imagination thereof. This is often considered a deeply hurtful thing to many wives. To them, it is not only a betrayal because of the secrecy, but also it is a blow to their self-esteem. On one hand (forgive the pun), the idea of looking to someone or something other than her as an outlet for sexual fulfillment wreaks havoc on trust. Many wives believe (though often times mistakenly so) that they are in sexual sync with their husbands. They think that men are only thinking in sexual arenas when they are with their wives, because that is often the case with themselves. Some women naively believe that because they have sex nearly every time they desire to have sex, that their men are walking the same road. In most relationships nothing could be further from the truth. It is this potentially shocking discovery that can be very hurtful to wives, especially because they feel that they were in one accord in this most vital area.
Let me interject here that most woman will stipulate that they know that sex is at a different place of priority on the husband’s list of have to’s and get to’s. I am not implying that women are so naïve that they don’t sense the unspoken pressure to “bump up” sex on their life lists. This occurs simply because they are not always afforded the luxury of getting through all of the have to’s before sex pops up on their husband’s list. In this respect, wives sometimes turn a sexual get to into a have to not because (as is often mistakenly implied by men, and many time therapists, clergymen, comedians, etc) they don’t want to, but because they need to. This transposition of sex under a different list heading is sometimes misinterpreted as women not liking sex as much as men do. In my limited research and personal experience, that is nowhere near the truth. As a person who has spent years as a counselor to individuals and families, I generally accept the position on this subject proffered by my spiritual mother nearly 20 years ago. “When a woman who is physiologically and psychologically sound says, ‘I don’t like sex,’ it is because she is not doing it right.” To that I say Hear hear!
The pain can come when a woman has been operating under a relational delusion. “Because I was satisfied with our sex life, I assumed that you were too,” is a difficult reality to have shattered. Furthermore, there is an unwritten rule in the marriage bed that “we have both been saving ourselves for this moment.” There is truly a bonding experience in the moments after both parties have just experienced some form of sexual release together (orgasm or otherwise). There is an intimacy to what “we” have just shared, because we did it together. The stereotypical wife may feel especially good about this moment because it not only represents a time of pleasure and closeness, but also a moment of accomplishment. She has “met the needs of her husband.” This becomes significantly more exaggerated because many wives have (up to that point of that particular act of sex) carried a sense of guilt because of how long it has been since they were intimate with their husbands. Oftentimes, when a couple has gone more than 4-5+ days without sexual release for the husband, the wife will be operating from an underlying sense of both compassion and appreciation when moment finally rolls around. The compassion stems from the idea that “I know that life has been busy, and you have been waiting.” The appreciation comes from the idea that “I am grateful for your understanding and patience.”
Wives can sometimes think that “when we, as a married couple, are finally able to clear our lives enough to have sex with each other (which I as a wife enjoy just as much as you), it is based on the assumption that we have arrived at this place in our “to do” list together. It is clear that we are at this point from a logical, agreed upon progression. It is on both of our lists of things we have in life. Most of these things we have to do. Others, we get to do. It is now sex time, and I as your wife, get to do it with my husband. But, everything it its proper place. First, the have to’s, then the get to’s.” If a wife discovers that her husband has been “using” a magazine or any other form of sexual imagery (photographic or otherwise) to masturbate, it can smash this myth of sexual agreement rather brutally.
When a wife discovers what she believes is evidence that her husband has been masturbating (to any form or image including her own), it is a tough pill to swallow. This is even more difficult when she believes that both partners have been holding their desires in check until the moment they could be together. This sudden realization that it has not been as long a time for him as it has been for her is like a slap in the face. Furthermore, the feeling that during each session of sex “they” were relieving sexual tension that “they” had had building since the last time that “they “ had had sex has now become a lie in her mind. One of them has been delaying gratification for a moment “they” could share. The other has been having his cake and eating it too. (Now, this entire line of thinking speaks to the fact that most women haven’t the slightest clue about a man’s sexuality at all. More on that later.)
At this point in a married sexual relationship, trust in under siege. A truly tormented and suspicious wife (and maybe justifiably so) may begin to be suspect of the amount of expressed pleasure that her husband exhibits during sex. Is his desire and delight too little or too much? If it is too little, he can’t hide it. If it is too boisterous, he is hiding trying to hide it. In either case, he is condemned. He has released himself “extra-martially.” It is at this point that some truly tormented and suspicious wives (and maybe justifiably so) become technically sophisticated. The paranoia that the lack of communication and transparency has created will literally bedevil them with a skeptical eye over every matter. They will begin to slyly inspect the quality of their husband’s erection, the “tautness” of his scrotum, or even the amount and force of his ejaculate. The whole time they may be wondering, “Is it consistent with a man who has been waiting x days for sex?” This is torment indeed.
Another issue about masturbation in marriage, whether it is known or not by the wife, is the feeling of failure that it can produce in a wife (and sometimes vice versa). When a man masturbates apart from his wife’s awareness or involvement, there can be an attack on her psyche of inadequacy. On the surface, she may battle with the idea of a lack of frequency in providing sexual release for her husband. This to her becomes an issue of quantity. The deceptive feeling that “We are not having enough sex to keep him from seeking additional release” may haunt her. An even greater battle arises if she feels that there is a lack of sexual fulfillment in their marriage. This speaks to her as an issue of the quality of the sexual relationship that they share. “The sex that we do have isn’t good enough for my husband,” she may feel. For a woman to have either feeling reveals that she does not truly understand the true sexual nature of her husband.
The issue of awareness is also key here. There is a great error made when it comes to a wife being “aware” that her husband masturbates apart from her direct involvement. On one hand is the fact that some men think that their wives’ awareness is also their endorsement. That is not always the case. It is a matter of real, honest discussion that needs to take place if it is a factor in marriage. There are no doubt certain marriage scenarios in which such an arrangement of awareness and endorsement may work. I suppose that with certain physical, psychological, and situational issues that may be the case. I have known of cases in which mutual sexual expression has been either permanently or temporarily abandoned.
I have seen cases of injury, etc. that have made sex either not mutually pleasurable or not mutually possible. I have also seen times when one of the parties has just not been in the frame of mind to focus on the issue of sex. A case that comes to mind is when a woman was facing the prosecution of her father for the sexual abuse that he had done to her. It is understandable that sex would be far from her mind. It is further understandable that she “gave permission” to her husband to masturbate. Walking this out was certainly difficult for both of them. He would obviously struggle to accept her offer simply because he would want to show the solidarity that if “she” was hurting then that meant the “they” were hurting. At the same time, she may genuinely want him to engage in sexual release because knowing that he was “taken care of” would be less pressure than knowing he was “holding out.” Otherwise, she may be trying to carry her own emotional pressure and the guilt over his “sacrifice.” Walking through times like these take such deep levels of love and trust. If the wife does not make the first move, the husband may be seen as selfish for inquiring. If he acts too quickly on her offer, the same may occur. And so on.
The final issue of awareness and endorsement of masturbation is that sometimes wives (husbands too) may consider giving such permission to justify abdication of their martial role. “I’m okay with whatever he does as long as it doesn’t bother me,” is not a healthy marital perspective. It may seem like the easy road, and may also be an acceptable temporary marital path at different seasons, but it is certainly not the marital ideal.
The Certain of Two Potential Evils
Now we come to the place of the real “sin” that may have occurred. It concerns the issue of Exclusivity. This is an absolute essential for the Christian married couple. We will deal with that in future posts.
A final thought that we will also deal with centers around what I said earlier about a common misunderstanding that women have about their husbands. Most men are not drawn to the women in these magazines, etc. because of the messages that the models’ bodies are sending, but rather what their minds are relaying to the voyeurs. For a woman to think that a man is lusting after the double D breasts is to say that she doesn’t really understand pornography at all. If the truth be told, most pornography models are not voluptuous unless you are dealing in the highest levels of quality and $$ publications (Playboy, Maxim, etc.). When you get to those levels, you are dealing with the top 1/100 of a percent of women that are considered “beautiful.” This, along with a lot of airbrushing and Photoshop, help create this “beauty.” I do not say this in quotation marks to be mean. I believe that all women are beautiful. I say this because what society calls beautiful is often mistaken to be the ONLY thing considered beautiful. At the same time, the rest of the adult world of magazines and pictures presents nothing more than a caricature of a woman – where everything is over-pronounced and exaggerated. It is not materially different than a young girls chap stick. She thinks that wearing double-bubble-lemon-berry is awesome, and that putting it on 20 times an hour can only make it better. It takes maturity to realize that that is an idea that is beyond crazy, and one that she will not embrace in a few years.
So, what then is the issue? Why these women and these magazines? It is simple. These women communicate that they want sex. That they like having sex. That they are okay being viewed in a sexual light. That they are uncomplicated. That they are there for his ogling and pleasure. It is undemanding. It has no past hurts and no future expectations. She is not distracted by time of day, nor bills, nor children. She is just there for him. The key to capturing your man’s sexual attention is not to be trashy or “less than a woman;” it is to find this sexual light in his eyes. I say that you are very much being a wife when you are offering your husband what he is really after – someone he believes is okay with him being a sexual being. With these magazines, he can be a sexual male, even if he isn’t that great of a communicator, housekeeper, bill payer, etc. Does he have that with you? The truth of all truths is that men have this uncanny ability to be sexual at almost any given time. You could have just found out that the world is going to end. Your husband, as a good man should, would be delighted to comfort and console you about the loss of your children’s futures, dreams, etc. He would also, however, not be opposed to a quickie before everything crashes to the ground. This doesn’t make him insensitive. It makes him male. The ladies in the book let him be that way for a few moments as an escape from the real world that will be waiting for him when the pages close.
Some points to consider…
- Are you willing to let your husband ogle you? Can he look at you in “that way” with those thoughts on his mind without fear of being shamed, belittled, or judged?
- Does sex only occur when you are BOTH participating and receiving pleasure? Do you make time/space for his pleasure apart from your own? Do you encourage him to masturbate with you? Do you offer him stimulation when he is in the mood, even when you may not be? Would you dance for him and let him “lust” for you? Not just on special occasions, but as a part of your on-going repertoire?
- Do you keep him sexually tired? You may be surprised to know about just how often your husband would like an orgasm. Inquire to see if he would like one daily, or every other day. You may find that 2 or 3 times per week of intercourse and actual sex are good for you both, but that an unsolicited manual stimulation (hand job) along with a strip tease (in which you star) may be wonderfully welcomed. What costs you five minutes twice per week could fill in the gap in your drives. Little things like this will not only keep him happy, but also keep you moving. When you have a house to run and a life to live, you may really appreciate the no-mess, no fuss liberty that these things provide.
- These little fillers are not to be replacements for your joint intimacy which should always be growing and getting deeper. Nor, should these things make you feel cheap or resentful. It is just another way of pleasing your husband. You are exclusively offering it to him, and he is exclusively directing his appetites, acceptance, and anticipation towards you.
- If you have a man that is not stirring his sex drive by outside words and images (other than healthy and godly publications like this or this group – which you share together), then he should be able to maintain his desire. If you find that routine intimacy together and fillers like this in between are still not enough, then some talk needs to happen. Is he into porn? Is he getting aroused by others and fulfilled by you? This is a violation of Exclusivity, and it is sin (more on this in future articles).
Please know that I have made a lot of assumptions about men and women here. I am very aware that the roles of desire can be reversed. We will deal with that in time. This is just a response to a sincere wife that was really wrestling with some hurt feelings from someone that she loves but was not able to understand.
Finally, on a personal note: I read Maxim for the first time when Connie and I got married. I was interested in the sex tips and tricks and articles. I was a newly married man, and all that they were talking about was finally “legal” for me. The Holy Spirit, however, convicted me. The truth is that the women on the cover and in the pages caught my eye. I knew that I had to make a change when I could sense a slight arousal from the magazine that I walked into the bedroom and completed. In all honesty, I have NEVER thought about another woman when I have had sex with Connie. I have, however, had flashes that have popped up during our intimate times. To be ultimately honest, I actually lost feeling because I shifted focus to cast them down. I knew that such thoughts were a sin that God would not be pleased with. The magazine had to go along with all of the covers, and monthly girls (even though partially clothed). I knew that I could gain the knowledge I was seeking without having to compromise my Exclusivity standard in the process. That life lesson is a big part of why we began this group in the first place.
I hope this helps foster some real discussions and communications with your spouse.