Today, A Year of Biblical Womanhood is just pissing me off. I’m in the chapter where the #BiblicalWomanhood virtue of the month is BEAUTY, and I’m being subjected to the vile shit that gets spewed at women and labeled as “biblical teaching”:
You should be so beautiful and sexually available to your husband such that he “will be so satisfied that even if another woman entices him, he won’t be tempted.”
“Wife, it is your God-ordained ministry to your husband to be his totally enthusiastic sex partner, ready to enjoy him at all times… If you don’t score high points here, you are providing an opening for your husband to be tempted by other women.”
Rachel Held Evans summarizes (and effectively debunks) this toxic message that is getting sent to women: “Stay beautiful, or your husband might leave you…and if he does, it’s partially your fault.” Her book does a good job at sharing the devastating effect this idea has on women, and I want to add my perspective. I am a married guy. I have never had an affair, but I have looked at porn, which is close enough to infidelity to qualify me to talk about this.
In the times when I looked at porn or got “tempted” by another woman, it was because I felt bad and I chose an unhealthy way to make myself feel better. It was because I felt powerless in life, and it felt good to imagine myself to be the sort of man that women don’t say No to. It was because it felt good to have the illusion of intimacy without the complication of relationship. It was because I lacked the courage to be fully present with the real woman who knew me inside and out and wanted to embrace me anyway. It was because the risk of real relationship (which includes both Yes’s and No’s) was too much for my brittle manhood to handle.
It comes down to this: My problems were not my wife’s fault. Not even a little bit. And those who say my problems were the result of her not acting sufficiently like a will-less porn object — not only are they twisting the Bible, but they are monumentally stupid.