Something I want my daughter to be very aware of, is how Christians get confused about how God created men and women and their respective sensualities. She’ll undoubtedly run into some Christians later in life who truly make her question whether or not it’s “ok” for women to be sexually attractive. She’ll wonder is it ok for a single Christian woman to be sexually attractive to godly men or if it’s wiser to somehow hide her physical beauty? Is it ok for a married Christian woman to be sexually attractive or should she ONLY be considered sexually attractive at home for her husband’s eyes?
I’m not talking about modesty issues here, they are important and do make it an easier or more difficult stumbling block for a godly man concerning the issue of lust… but this post is addressing the issue of sensuality and simply being an attractive woman. I’m sorry sweet girl, but this is more than likely going to be an issue in your life. You’re already uniquely gorgeous as a baby, and I can only imagine how stunning you’re going to look at age 16.
Sexual Attractiveness… Feeling sexually attractive
I read a post a few weeks ago where a Christian mommy blogger literally said if something makes you feel sexy, you probably shouldn’t wear it outside of your home, but only wear it in privacy. Your husband should be the only one you wear anything sexy around. I do understand and agree if it’s only applied to things that are immodest or something meant to seduce (lingerie, low cut tops, very short skirts etc.), but many many things can make a woman sexually attractive, and it gets confusing when “anything” that makes her feel sexy (sexually attractive) should be forbidden outside the home.
Heels… dresses… her long flowing hair… perfume… mascara… red lipstick…. Are they wrong? Are they somehow sinful because they reveal a woman’s sensuality and often make her feel more like a sensual woman (aka “sexy”)? A few years ago I heard a Christian pastor preach from his pulpit that a woman’s sensuality is sinful. He may have meant her sexuality or her ability to seduce, I’m not sure… but it just didn’t sound right to me.
This kind of thinking has never made sense to me and has always made me feel sorry for the people who live this way… almost as thought they aren’t wholly female but instead are cutting off a huge portion of who God made them to be. I actually believe this kind of thinking stunts a woman’s personal growth and damages her sensuality… making her think it’s wrong or bad for her to ever appear sexually attractive outside her bedroom. To believe she has to become an asexual woman and lose her sensuality just because it may tempt men who aren’t her husband is so against what God would want for His daughters I would think. I hope to help my daughter understand that her sensuality, her enjoying feeling like a woman, is God-given because HE is the one who made her female and created beauty and thus, sexual attractiveness.
When God describes (allegorically) the way He saved Israel, He tells the story of Him saving an infant who was aborted and left for dead in the dirt covered in her mother’s uterine blood. Nobody wanted her, but God had compassion on her. The baby girl is taken in by Him. She grows up under His loving watchful care. She becomes sexually attractive, and He marries her, and then helps her revel in her feminine sensuality.
“You grew up and became a beautiful jewel. Your breasts became full, and your hair grew, but you were still naked.8 And when I passed by again, I saw that you were old enough for love. So I wrapped my cloak around you to cover your nakedness and declared my marriage vows. I made a covenant with you, says the Sovereign Lord, and you became mine.
9 “Then I bathed you and washed off your blood, and I rubbed fragrant oils into your skin. 10 I gave you expensive clothing of fine linen and silk, beautifully embroidered, and sandals made of fine goatskin leather. 11 I gave you lovely jewelry, bracelets, beautiful necklaces, 12 a ring for your nose, earrings for your ears, and a lovely crown for your head. 13 And so you were adorned with gold and silver. Your clothes were made of fine linen and costly fabric and were beautifully embroidered. You ate the finest foods—choice flour, honey, and olive oil—and became more beautiful than ever.
You looked like a queen, and so you were! 14 Your fame soon spread throughout the world because of your beauty.
I dressed you in my splendor and perfected your beauty, says the Sovereign Lord.”
This passage is so interesting to me in the way the Lord describes how he lavishes His love on her with things that enhance her physical beauty. Even a nose ring is something He gives her… just so different from the way Christians think these days. Anyway, it is clear that her beauty is what made her sexually attractive, her growing breasts and hair, and then jewelry and fine clothing, etc. Very interesting to me that God tells us all this.
But back to question or point of the post: is being sexually attractive wrong or something that should be hidden? From the looks of Ezekiel 16, it doesn’t appear to be.
Things that typically make women sexually attractive to men that are visible even when they’re dressed modestly:
- Youth or appearance of youthfulness in her face (good skin)
- Slender body type
- Proportional breasts and hips and waist ratios
- Long legs
- Long healthy hair flowing down her back
- A positive or cheerful attitude
All these things have nothing to do with showing too much skin, and yet from what I’ve read through polls and studies (and asking my husband if it’s all true in his opinion), men can be “turned on” by all these things even if the woman isn’t using her sensuality in a bad, seductive way toward others. There’s a reason why Muslim men force their women to hide their shapes (that would reveal breast, hip, waist ratios) under large burkas, hide their faces in some cases (that show their youthfulness or female features), completely hide their hair from sight, many even don’t allow their women to wear makeup or perfume when out, those things are only to be worn for their husbands. Basically, in Islam, a woman is sinning if she reveals any part of her God-given sensuality (feminine body ratio Breasts:Waist:Hips, feminine hair, feminine facial structures, etc.). Everything feminine about her, even her desire to wear makeup or perfume – her very sensuality, the very things that make her female, are looked upon as too tempting, sinful, and should be only kept for the eyes of her husband. Being female is dangerous in their minds. All signs of being female must be covered up. Why is that?
It’s because being a beautiful female is equated in the male mind as also being sexually attractive, they are basically one and the same thing.
When men watch porn for instance, they tend to look at the women’s faces much more than just their body parts (from studies tracking where they were looking most of the time). Whereas we know when women watch porn, they actually don’t look at the faces as much as men do, but instead spend most of the time looking at the sexual body parts… mostly the genitals. It’s fascinating to me that men actually look more at the **person** in porn or they at least notice it more and focus on it more, whereas women are the ones who are sexually objectifying the people in porn by only looking mostly at the bodies or body parts. Society would tell us it’s the other way around.
A Dangerous Beauty
A woman’s sensuality or sexual attractiveness is extremely powerful, and since it’s powerful, it’s also extremely dangerous. A sexually attractive woman, no matter what she’s wearing (think very modest clothing) is still going to be sexually attractive and draw sometimes unwanted attention to herself at times. I used to believe that this unwanted attention was bad and even a curse of some kind. In the Bible, we see a clear example where this scenario can be dangerous when Abraham believes his wife Sarah is so beautiful (sexually attractive to other men), that the rulers in the foreign lands they were traveling in would want her for themselves (to make their wife and have sex with) and kill Abraham. She must have been extremely sexually attractive in order to garner the attention of men like that – men who could have had any woman (and did!) that they wanted. I highly doubt that Sarah was dressed “slutty,” or improper in ANY way at all that caused these men to want her so badly. And yet she was still sexually attractive enough to the highest value men during that time (rulers over whole kingdoms!) to draw unwanted attention to both her and her husband.
So yes, daughter, being sexually attractive can be dangerous, and as we see from reports in the news of couples being attacked when out on dates and the young woman being gang-raped while the boyfriend or husband is held down or beaten… being sexually attractive or desirable can *still* be dangerous no matter what you’re wearing. However, if a woman dresses slutty, yes, it will draw more negative attention from BOTH men and women because it’s inappropriate or too revealing. Yes, it can make her life far more dangerous and even make her more likely to be raped, even though modern day women don’t want to admit that.
Men, unless they’re gay or dead, will always notice a sexually attractive woman, even if she’s in a modest one piece bathing suit. Sexual attractiveness does not automatically mean showing too much skin or dressing slutty.
Your sensuality is very complicated, but it is a gift from God meant to edify you, and bring pleasure both to you and your husband. In Ezekiel 16, it was clear that His beautiful woman became “famous” for her beauty, yet it wasn’t in a sinful way. Her sin comes later from pride (due to her beauty) and because of her pride, she becomes an adulteress and mistreats God’s love and care for her.
Eve, like the woman in the allegorical story, was one of God’s most beautiful creations, and her beauty – feminine beauty and attractiveness – reflects God’s taste and art. Yes, they had to “hide their nakedness” once sin entered the picture, but when He gave her fig leaves to cover up, you notice He didn’t hand her a burka type outfit. 😉 Even the animals skins they used were probably not very long in length or full-body coverage.
There is a reason He created you the way He did, as a woman, meant to enjoy her femininity and not to hide it all under a burka and hijab. Dress carefully and modestly, but don’t believe the Christians who preach that sensuality is sinful… which really translates to everything that makes you female, needing to be hidden.