I suspect your answer to that question is a fast no. After you read this post you may be less sure.
In part, this post is a result of a comment “B” made a while ago that included “I’ve often wondered this, if good men are secretly thrilled that all of that eye candy is out there, or if they ever feel assaulted.“
Yes, exactly. Sometimes it feels like we’re being sexually assaulted.
If you think using the words “sexually assaulted” there is an attempt to lessen the horror of the kind of things we usually think of as sexual assault think again. My intent is to help you understand how difficult this can be for a man. If a man wants to limit his sexuality to his wife, any woman who exposes too much of herself is using his God-given sexuality against him. He doesn’t want to see her that way, and he doesn’t want the way it affects his mind and body. Even if he’s able to look away physically, mentally, and emotionally, he’s still being violated. He is being drawn into a sexual situation against his will. If this happened once or twice a month it would be bad enough, but many men are faced with this multiple times every day!
I know some of you get upset at your husbands for being affected by this. We have a choice about how we act, but we don’t have a choice about reacting to it. It would be like men walking around waving snakes at women to scare them. They would be tapping into a hard-wired mental process and causing distress. Women could choose how they responded, but not being startled or scared by it.
Yes, there are women out there who use their sexuality to manipulate men. But there are also plenty of women causing men problems who have no clue what they are doing or greatly underestimate how much of a problem they’re causing. Let me offer an example that will help you understand how men’s minds work when presented with something sexual.
A while back we were at a church sitting behind a young woman in a fairly modest dark dress you would see in a business setting. The only problem was the hot pink bra straps showing on both shoulders. I know, you’re thinking a bit of a bra strap is no big deal. But you don’t have a male mind. The straps, especially being so bright, invite a man to think about what the rest of the bra looks like. It invites him to think about what she would look like without the dress. It invites him to undress her with his mind.
You will say this is a choice and he can choose to not go there. You’re right, but this doesn’t change the fact he’s been given an invitation and he has to deal with it. Some men have gotten good enough to dismiss this kind of thing without fully processing it. But this takes a great deal of effort and self-control, and many men who would rather not go there struggle to avoid accepting the invitation. Even if they resist, the mental battle is difficult and costly. And if he has to do this kind of battle many times a day it can do some significant damage to him.
One way some men deal with this, and this was my choice many years ago, is to mentally attack the woman. She’s horrible, and she should be ashamed. This path can be twisted so that the man has to look to see just how much a woman is showing so he can be properly offended. Yes, it’s a justification for looking, and yes, that’s all on him. When a guy is this way he will find something to be offended about. I bring this up because I think some women use men like this as a way of excusing women who need to deal with showing too much.
I wonder if this has something to do with the apparent increase in men with low sex drives. Are they working so hard to not lust they’re pushing their sex drive down? Are they so overwhelmed by what’s forced on them day in and day out that they can’t respond normally to their wife?
The long and short of this is some men are anything but thrilled at all the eye candy out there. Some of us don’t want to see it. I think most men who don’t want to see it gradually get better and better at looking away with both body and mind, but it’s a long difficult path. I pray your husband is trying to avoid all the invitations to lust that are thrown at him, and I pray you can understand how those invitations can be a form of assault.
~ Paul – I’m XY, and yes, this kind of stuff can feel like assault.
I’ve been having a tough chat with J about this today after this posted. My thanks to her for trying to help me see more clearly on this. Part of the issue is how we define “sexual assault”.
When I google those words, the box google puts to explain things says, in part “The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behaviour that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.” (Taken from RAINN – the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization)
Based on that definition, showing way too much of your body is assault regardless of your gender. (I’m thinking of men in bike shorts that leave NOTHING to the imagination.)
But is that definition going too far? Is it making things into assault that we should call something else? I’ve taken a very wide view of assault, with things on a continuum from rape to leering and everything in between. I see all of them as hurtful and damaging to our sexuality. Some are far more so, and how bad they hurt depends on the victim too.
It is using this wide continuum for “sexual assault” that I feel what a woman shows can qualify as assault. HOWEVER – if you don’t define sexual assault on this wide continuum, but have a narrower definition of things well beyond sights or words, then what I’m talking about is not assault.
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