Why Christian Females Ought to Be Concerned About Their Dress and Sexual Behavior
Some Principles to Consider About Modesty
By Philip A Matthews
To the Young Women I Know:
We live in a world that encourages females to flaunt their sexuality without any regard for how it affects the rest of the world around them. This is contrary to the principles of the Bible, from the Torah to the New Testament. It is also contrary to Mother Nature, scientific facts, and good common sense. This little note is written for Christian girls and women who, by definition of their belonging to God, should want to please Him and not fall into the same mentality that non-godly females possess. That is, if you are a woman of God, you must have a different mental attitude about your body and your sexuality.
In the Torah (Genesis 3), we discover that one of the first moves God made after Adam and Eve sinned was to make them some clothes. This was because God knew that in this new fallen, sinful world, there would need to be some very strict and definite limits placed upon human sexuality because of its awesome potential to corrupt and destroy the world. So He covered human nakedness with clothes (Genesis 3:21) and created marriage as the only legitimate container to express human sexuality (Genesis 2:24).
Therefore, the uncovering of human nakedness that we see in our world today is a complete violation of the Torah’s design to keep human nakedness under wraps and human sexuality under control. It is truly puzzling to Christian men why spiritual women and girls still want to uncover their bodies or accentuate their sex appeal even when they know it is a violation of the Bible.
Sexual Purity [From Practical Holiness by Philip A Matthews (2004)]
This area [regarding sexual purity], which could actually be included in the previous section [about the “lordship of Christ in every area of life”], has been pulled out for special treatment because Satan pulls this one out and the world concentrates on it. Sexual sins and immorality are often the most common sins around and the hardest to bring under God’s control. But for holiness to prevail in one’s life, sexuality must be brought under the lordship of Jesus Christ. Holiness asserts that God, not oneself, is the owner of one’s sexual powers and reproductive rights and privileges. If God is not in control, then it’s not holiness.
Because some of the most common sins occur in the area of sexuality, the apostle Paul exhorted, “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity… because these are improper for God’s holy people” (Ephesians 5:3 NIV). From the Old and New Testaments, sexual impurity can be defined as every sexual behavior, attitude, or thought that is not contained within the confines of marriage between a man and a woman. Sexual purity is essential to practical holiness. This not only requires avoiding the physical sins of adultery, fornication, homosexuality, lewdness, and uncleanness, but also avoiding the mental sins: fantasizing, impure thoughts, pornography, various internet-based “virtual” sex sins or cybersex, phone sex, etc. (See Jesus’ word against mental adultery in Matthew 5:28.) There seems to be no limit to the modern forms of sexual behaviors that violate God’s design and intentions for human sexuality.
Trying to have and maintain sex appeal outside of marriage, or trying to direct one’s sex appeal to the rest of the world in general, is not according to holiness. A person does not have to take special pains to hide his or her natural beauty or attractiveness, but allowing it to be accentuated for sexual objectives, using it to satisfy feelings of pride, self-esteem, or the need to conform, or using physical beauty to satisfy one’s desire to attract attention or for other selfish purposes, is contrary to holiness.
Both women and men of holiness should practice modesty of dress and behavior (1 Timothy 2:9-10; 1 Peter 3:2-5). In America, some women come to church in pants so tight that the brothers standing behind them have to concentrate on resisting the devil while trying to “lift up holy hands” unto the Lord. Others wear dresses so short or form-fitting, with splits so high or necks so low, that some churches stock shawls and mini-blankets for their sisters to cover up with. And similar comments could be made about the way some Christian men dress. The fashions of this world for both sexes, but especially for women, are generally immodest and indiscrete, having been created under the influence of the spirits of lust and sensuality, and as such, should not be the standards adopted by Christians “professing godliness.” What you wear as a Christian does matter, and God does care about the issue. This is because one’s external physical appearance is usually an indication of one’s internal morality: Placing one’s self on sexual display is a moral decision associated with one’s inner moral and emotional state. If God didn’t care about this, He would not have given us any principles of instruction about modesty and sexuality in His Word.
Practical holiness involves not only dress, but also carriage and comportment. Flirting is a behavior that is contrary to holiness. Holiness teaches both sexes how to carry themselves “modestly,” so that they don’t behave in ways that are sexual, even though the world may not care and may not know such behavior has sexual overtones. A lot of what we do in our society today emanates directly or indirectly from the spirits of fornication, lust, and sexual looseness. For example, notice the common behaviors listed below, all of which are just fine by the world’s standards but contrary to the principles of modesty and propriety: sitting wide-legged and provocatively (women and men), taking up various positions in front of the opposite sex, omitting pieces of clothing no longer deemed important by the world, discussing certain sexual topics in mixed company, coarse and indiscreet talking, indulging in too much touching and physical contact between unrelated persons of opposite sexes (i.e., familiarity), deliberately getting into compromising, sex-charged situations (like driving across country with a member of the opposite sex to whom you are not married), etc.
Holiness also requires sexual purity and propriety in courtship, a term that is no longer part of our modern vocabulary. Dating, largely defined by the world, has replaced it, and dating has few, if any, standards of decency and propriety required. Decency and propriety are also terms that are swiftly passing from our modern vocabulary. Very few sexual rights and privileges are saved for marriage, even among many Christian couples. All of these and other behaviors involve the principles of sexual purity, although the world makes almost anything acceptable.
But remember, the slide into sexual cesspools like Sodom and Gomorrah is not sudden but gradual: little by little “good, decent” people discard certain practices of propriety and abandon certain sexual standards as unnecessary, until sexual impurity becomes “normal,” eyebrows are no longer raised, and red flags of warning no longer go up. We know the world is in trouble when we routinely see Christians going to church, supposedly to meet with God in His awesome holiness, dressed in some of their most revealing, tightest, most sexually appealing outfits—and think nothing of it. In the world’s sexual system, it is normal, acceptable, and even expected for the female to be an object of sexual attention. A large part of what we call “beauty” is nothing more than blatant sexuality on display. We see examples of this every day with the typical couple: The man will be basically covered entirely, but the “beautiful” young woman next to him will be wearing clothes exposing, half revealing, suggestively clinging to, or otherwise accentuating most of her female parts. It is important that Christian women and men make it clear by their actions that they are not part of, reject, and do not believe in such a corrupt sexual system.
Now all of the above focuses on sexual behavior. However, we should focus a little on spiritual honesty regarding such behavior. People must be extremely honest when dealing with sexual behavior (or any other behavior, for that matter). Their only spiritual desire must be to please God alone, not themselves at all, or they will never be able to change any of their sexual misbehaviors. The truth is that men and women love themselves sexually; they love being sexually tempted, even if they don’t yield. They love the exhilarating feelings that accompany sexual things. They love having sexual thoughts and fantasies, even illicit ones (i.e., outside of marriage). And to fall out of love with these thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, to give up the right to indulge them, and to maintain purity in this area, requires an honesty that very few Christians have. Thus, when people claim that they want to be closer to God or be like Jesus, they should honestly ask themselves if they really want absolute purity in the area of sexuality.
Today’s Attitudes Are Very Inconsistent
In their ignorance and insecurity, most girls of the world are very inconsistent about their desires. Hopefully, you will go beyond that. For example, you want to be appreciated for who you really are (on the inside) and you feel insulted when males look (or lust) at you only for your attractive body parts—BUT you continue to put your body parts on display for all to see and admire as if that really IS all that you want to be appreciated for. You want men to respect you, and not view you as just a “piece of meat.” But you first need to respect yourself and quit dressing or acting like you are nothing but a “piece of meat.” You don’t want to be objectified, but you insist on encouraging males to view you only as a sex object by the way you dress and carry yourself.
So this is the rule to go by: If you want to be given a chance to be appreciated for your true beauty, then hide some of your superficial beauty so somebody can notice and appreciate something besides your flesh.
Dispelling/Debunking the Common Feminist Response
The common feminist response to the above idea that females should cover themselves adequately and modestly is this: I will wear whatever I want to wear, and if men have a problem with it, then that’s their problem, not mine! They don’t have to look!” Well, that attitude itself has a real problem: According to Mother Nature and scientific research, it is an absolute fallacy that should never be repeated again!
The feminist attitude above is based on the idea that a male’s response to sexual stimuli is entirely voluntary. This is simply not true, and lots of research and studies prove this. Much of the male sexual response to females is involuntary and automatic, something he does not cause or control at all. In fact, it is quite animalistic, almost an instinct. Every sexually appealing sight or image triggers a shot of testosterone, the male sex hormone, to course through his body whether he chooses for this to happen or not. After lots of such stimuli, his overall testosterone level is raised above normal. He is affected involuntarily. This is scientific fact, as shown in the three references below:
Men who watch a sexually explicit movie have an average increase of 35% in testosterone, peaking at 60–90 minutes after the end of the film, but no increase is seen in men who watch sexually neutral films. Men who watch sexually explicit films also report increased optimism and decreased exhaustion. Previous research has found a link between relaxation following sexual arousal and testosterone levels.
From “Bikini-clad Women Make Men Impatient”
“Images of sexy women tend to whet men's sexual appetite. But stimulating new research in the Journal of Consumer Research says there's more than meets the eye. A recent study shows that men who watched sexy videos or handled lingerie sought immediate gratification—even when they were making decisions about money, soda, and candy.
Authors Bram Van den Bergh, Siegfried DeWitte, and Luk Warlop (KULeuven, Belgium) found that the desire for immediate rewards increased in men who touched bras, looked at pictures of beautiful women, or watched video clips of young women in bikinis running through a park.
"It seems that sexual appetite causes a greater urgency to consume anything rewarding," the authors suggest. Thus, the activation of sexual desire appears to spill over into other brain systems involved in reward-seeking behaviors, even the cognitive desire for money.
"After they touched a bra, men are more likely to be content with a smaller immediate monetary reward," writes Bram Van den Bergh, one of the study's authors. "Prior exposure to sexy stimuli may influence the choice between chocolate cake or fruit for dessert."
The authors believe the stimuli bring men's minds to the present as opposed to the future. "The study demonstrates that bikinis cause a shift in time preference: Men live in the here and now when they glance at pictures featuring women in lingerie. That is, men will choose the immediately available rewards and seek immediate gratification after sex cue exposure."
Pretty Women Make Simple Men
Men become simpler in the presence of a beautiful woman.
A spate of recent studies suggests that beautiful women can indeed provoke dangerous outcomes unintentionally, because they induce men to take risks, make mistakes, gamble more freely, and generally behave impulsively. In one study reported by Richard Ronay and Bill von Hippel, skateboarders at a skate park in Brisbane, Australia, performed riskier tricks when an attractive female stood nearby. The good news is that they performed more successful tricks than men who were not skating in the presence of a beautiful female, but the bad news is that they didn't know when to quit; they aborted fewer ill-advised tricks midway through, and failed to complete tricks successfully more often than skaters who weren't observed by an attractive female…
But if skaters are risk-taking, there can be no more calculating pursuit than chess. Yet, male chess players show the same penchant for beauty-induced risk-taking. Swedish researchers Anna Dreber, Christer Gerdes, and Patrik Gransmark examined the chess moves of 626 male chess experts. Using both real games, and online surveys, the researchers found that the male chess experts made significantly riskier moves when their opponent was a beautiful woman. This result is particularly striking, because it shows that chess experts--arch rationalists if they exist at all--are prone to the same biological weakness as the rest of the male population.
Although they differ along many dimensions, male skateboarders and chess players are united by their biological maleness. Males are biologically driven to impress attractive women, and they're also at the mercy of testosterone, the same hormone that prompts aggression and other forms of impulsivity. There's plenty of evidence to suggest that attractive women promote risky behavior among men because they activate short-sighted biological urges. Evolutionary psychologists Margo Wilson and Martin Daly have discussed the tendency for men to behave impulsively when they initially rated the attractiveness of a dozen attractive females (but not when they similar rated a dozen less unattractive females).
The men made a series of choices between small monetary amounts that they could hypothetically take home today, and larger amounts that they could only take home at some point in the future. For example, a man who would rather have $20 today than $50 in a month is more impulsive than a man who is willing to wait a month for the larger reward. Similarly, in their study, Ronay and von Hippel showed that the skateboarders experienced elevated testosterone levels when performing in the presence of an attractive female, and this rise in testosterone also predicted their willingness to take risks. Finally, research by Dan Ariely and George Loewenstein showed that men who were sexually aroused tended to make riskier decisions and reported being more likely to engage in morally questionable behavior to seek sexual gratification. Together these findings suggest that the presence of attractive women, which elevates testosterone and arousal levels, in turn encourages risky and myopic behavior.
So obviously, sexual images and stimuli from sexually attractive females automatically affect males, without them choosing to be affected at all. It is NOT “his” problem alone; it is his natural body reacting naturally, according to the dictates of Mother Nature. As shown in the last article above, as a female, you simply do not know how much power you truly have. Of course, you cannot help that you are beautiful. But you can avoid being blatantly sexual. Maybe you are free to do it or wear it, but it triggers involuntary responses in most males—including your father, your uncles, your cousins, and sometimes even your own brothers. It’s like putting a nice juicy steak out in front of a dog, then whacking him if, from an automatic, involuntary instinct, he reaches for it. This in no way excuses a male to violate the law or make some improper move towards a woman; it merely explains what he may be up against. Ultimately, a male must control himself regardless of the sexual appearance or behavior of any female.
Of course, feminists can still claim that it’s HIS problem, because they didn’t cause him to be male. Why should his maleness limit their freedom to do whatever they want? And this might be an okay attitude for feminists, but it is totally unacceptable for women belonging to God. And this is why: We ARE our “brothers’ keeper.” Love requires that we must be concerned about how our actions affect those around us, especially our fellow Christians. If something I do causes my fellow Christian to sin against God or to be extremely tempted to do so, then because I love my fellow Christian, I will limit myself from doing that thing. Or I will simply not do that thing around him. This principle applies to all Christians, female and male, regarding any action I might be free to take. Love requires me NOT to place a “stumbling block” in my brother’s or sister’s path. Here is the scriptural support for this principle:
Romans 14:15—So if what you eat hurts another Christian, you are no longer living by love. Don't destroy anyone by what you eat. Christ died for that person.
Romans 14:20—Don't let your appetite [desires] destroy what God has done. All foods are fit to eat, but it is wrong to cause problems for others by what you eat.
1 Corinthians 8:13—For this reason, if food is a cause of trouble to my brother, I will give up taking meat for ever, so that I may not be a cause of trouble to my brother.
Romans 14:7—We do not live for ourselves only, and we do not die for ourselves only.
So the conclusion for righteous, godly women and men is for us all to wear the clothes and comport ourselves in a manner that does NOT accentuate our sex appeal or create problems in this area for our fellow Christians. This is totally scriptural.
In love, may God bless you.
November 4, 2013