Monday, March 7, 2011

Does Modesty Put a Price on Sex?

You don’t have to look very far to notice that morality isn’t high on our culture’s acceptable behaviors list. In fact, anymore it is assumed that if a guy and girl like each other they will soon bed each other. They don’t even have to always like each other. Modesty and chastity are not sought after qualities in our society.

According to Wendy Shalit, author of the book A Return to Modesty: Rediscovering the Lost Virtue, the loss of modesty in our society has created men who feel no need to work hard for women. It used to be that men felt obligated to respect and honor women personally and sexually.

Shalit says, “How can we expect men to be honorable when a large number of women consistently send them the message that they don’t have to be?” She goes on to ask “What if all women expected a lot from men? What if all women were faithful and expected men to be faithful ? Then treating a woman well wouldn’t be some ensnaring ‘net,’ it would be the state of affairs. If you didn’t act honorably, you simply couldn’t get any women. Sorry, no women for you.”

But that is not the case anymore. Slate Magazine reported last week that while women seem to still hold the “sexual purse strings” they don’t charge that much for it anymore. The price for sex in today’s economy is very low.

According to Slate, that maybe shouldn’t be the case. Women now hold the majority on most college campuses, while the men their age are back at their parents’ homes playing video games. Young women are more likely to be successful in the job market then young men. There is now a great gender disparity in all of the venues where women would typically meet that special someone. And Slate says that where women outnumber men, men now have the upper hand. A man can fail in class, fail at work, and even fail in relationships, and yet can be assured that he will most likely still find sex from willing women. Women have lowered their expectations and men consistently meet the minimum requirements. So women are now left with two choices: stay single and chaste, or take your chances on a guy who won’t work for your affection.

For today’s modern woman, the choice to them seems fairly obvious.

The feminist movement has birthed a generation of women ready and willing to take up the task of earning a college degree and working in the business world. What it has also done is made some men less ambitious and thus less likely to go to school or work to provide for a family or future family. But what it hasn’t done is change the rules regarding sexual behavior. If anything, according to Slate, it has made sex more easily attainable for lustful men. Women now are acting like “men” throwing off sexual restraints. But they aren’t acting too picky about who they choose as a partner. Men don’t have to work for women anymore because the women are just offering it to them—at no cost.

Shalit would conclude that the answer is more modesty. If women simply chose a chaste life men would work harder for them and women would be happier. But is that really the final answer?
There is more to this story than simply encouraging chaste behavior among young women. God created us for pleasure, most certainly. But he created us for pleasure with one person only, in marriage. And more than that, he created men with an innate desire to pursue a woman and work for her affection, and as much as women fight it, deep down they know he created them to receive it. Why else would there be so many romantic movies depicting this very thing (albeit skewed)? Hollywood has picked up on something that draws women—the pursuit. The gender disparity reveals something more troubling in our culture.

The Slate article highlights a deep void in our society. Men and women are living outside of the way God created them to be. This manifests itself in numerous ways, but the conclusion remains. No amount of ambition on the part of men or chasteness on the part of women will change the deep need in their souls—the need for Christ.

Sure our culture needs more modesty and restraint. But modesty and restraint without Jesus is mere willpower that will not save in the end. When Jesus approached the woman at the well he didn’t just tell her to go and live a chaste life and stop sinning sexually. He knew that wouldn’t save her ultimately. Rather he told her to go and sin no more because her sins had been forgiven (John 4:1-26).

Articles like this are helpful in understanding our culture. These are the people we rub shoulders with every day. Hurting, confused, and lost people, desperate for the living water that will quench the deep thirst in their souls.

3 comments:

debt said...

So sad, but a great post! This is exactly what we are talking about this month in our women's discipleship groups. The distortions of God's design. Christ is the answer and He is our hope!

Anonymous said...

"the loss of modesty in our society has created men who feel no need to work hard for women"

i.e. Men don't have to pay women as much anymore, whether with our time, our money, or our resources (which are interchangeable). Or perhaps it's another symptom of debt-driven society, where we "buy now, pay later" (the man pays during and after divorce). Regardless, as long as it is men working for men, it remains slavery.

Anonymous said...

Correction: above should be "as long as it is only about men working for women, it remains slavery."