I’ve been having some conversations recently with a good male friend of mine who is not a Christian. I like to talk to him about women because we disagree about women, and Lord knows I love to disagree with people. Anyway, he’s read my rules for chastity, courtship, etc., and he considers them, and me, quite weird. He is coming from the position of having a great deal of sexual experience with women, whereas I strictly avoid sexual activity for a variety of reasons. And what we disagree about is this: I think it’s wrong to have casual sex with women who offer themselves to a man before marriage, and he thinks it’s permissible as long as he warns them that the relationship is going nowhere afterwards.
First, let me talk about where we agree. Both of us agree that most women today have lost the art of making a man like them without using sex appeal. We are in broad agreement that the right way for a woman to make a man like her is by being feminine. And we agree on what that means – showing the ability to be a wife and mother. If a woman talks to a man, rages against feminism, listens to his plan, and tries to help him with his plan, then he will like her (because he needs her and appreciates her). Also, it’s important that she have a plan of her own that he can help with, and she should let him help.
Now where do we disagree? Well, I think it’s a bad idea for a man to submit to casual sex with a woman who is unable or unwilling to set boundaries and have a Christian goal for the relationship. I think that casual sex is an inappropriate technique that some women use to make men love them without demonstrating that she really understands him or wants to help him. Sometimes this is done inadvertently because the woman has never learned how to deal with men appropriately, but sometimes it’s done deliberately.
Here are three reasons why men should not accept an offer of casual sex:
Reduced courting capability
A lot of men spend a lot of time and money and the best years of their lives pursuing a lot of different women for sexual gratification. But the pursuit of casual sex takes away from the goal of having a helpful wife and effective Christian children, (e.g. – children like Dr. J or WLC). It takes up time and resources that are better spent on building up teachable responsive girl friends. Chasing non-marriageable women also detracts from learning apologetics and theology in order to impress the tiny minority of women who want an involved nurturing husband and effective children. There is no way to assess a woman’s fitness for marriage and mothering through casual sex. It has no value whatsoever when it comes to courting because it removes the self-control needed for objective evaluation. Casual sex doesn’t show women that you can lead your future children, either.
Reduced vulnerability and romantic capability
I would not be able have sex and separate without suffering permanent emotional damage. In other areas of my life I make lifelong commitments, e.g. – to my pet bird (he’s 20, average lifespan is 15-18), my roadster (mint condition after 10 years), to my friends, (some friendships lasting over a decade), etc. I subscribe to the velcro theory of sexuality – the more you attach and separate, the less well you can attach. I simply do not believe that men who do intimate physical things with women can be as vulnerable and susceptible as when they remain chaste. Casual sex kills the man’s ability to love. If you want to be a knight, you have to be capable of chivalry and romance. If a man has casual sex with enough women, he will likely develop a low opinion of of the trustworthiness, wife-capability and mother-capability of women. He becomes cynical and predatorial.
Causes women to doubt God’s existence
Every woman was made for a relationship with God. When a woman uses sex to try to get a man to pay attention to her, to love her and to commit to her long-term, it usually fails. Sex doesn’t make a man who doesn’t want to marry suddenly want to marry. Without a Christian worldview, the woman may not realize how to tell a good man from a bad man, and how to drive a relationship through to marriage. If a woman has sex with enough men, she may develop a low opinion of the goodness and reliability of men. She may think that she is handling men correctly and that the relationship should work out. But the trauma from failed relationships with unreliable men can cause her to suffer emotionally, and even to doubt God’s existence or goodness. Christian men should therefore avoid casual sex so that they don’t push women away from relationships with God.
Now I haven’t actually experienced this problem of women throwing themselves at me to make me “love” them, but if someone finally did offer me drunken hook-up sex, I hope that I would remember my little list.
But I might also remember something else.
Consider this passage from “A Man For All Seasons“, a play by Robert Bolt. The lead character Sir Thomas More has refused to compromise with King Henry VIII over the legality of divorce, and now the King wants to have his head chopped off. More’s daughter Meg tries to convince to take the oath supporting the divorce in order to save his own life.
Meg: Then say the words of the oath and in your heart think otherwise.
More: What is an oath then, but words we say to God? Listen, Meg.
When a man takes an oath, he’s holding his own self in his own hands… …like water.
And if he opens his fingers then, he needn’t hope to find himself again.
Some men aren’t capable of this, but I’d be loathed to think your father one of them.
That’s how men should try to be with their chastity. I agree that it is almost impossible not to see things and to think things that are unchaste – but I am talking about doing something unchaste. Men need to avoid that, at least. The problem is that men don’t realize what they are giving up by being unchaste, because they don’t study these issues to know the costs, the lost capabilities to love unselfishly, or the virtues that give them honor with God. No one tells us. Instead of reading “A Man for All Seasons” or “The Faerie Queene”, we pick our role models off the bottom shelf. The schools are no help at all, many parents are busy, and the church just orders people around without any arguments or evidence.
But my main point is that even if there wasn’t a woman left in the world who believed in chastity, courting, marriage and family, that would still not be a justification for a Christian man to give up on his ideal of chastity.
I am pretty opposed to marriage right now because of the way society and government has gone with divorce courts, feminism, public schools, high taxes, etc. But even if marriage seems irrational now, I still think that offers of casual sex should be rejected. I can still make friends with Christian women and treat them nicely. Maybe something will change… lower taxes, school choice, marriage penalty abolished, shared parenting, charter marriages, etc., and then marriage will make sense again. Right now, it just seems like there are too many policies that make it irrational.
For anyone who would like to see chastity in action, I recommend picking up the old 1960s spy series “Danger Man” on DVD, starring Patrick McGoohan. You can see some videos here and here. I like to give these as gifts, along with movies about virtue like “A Man For All Seasons”, “We Were Soldiers”, “Amazing Grace”, “Horatio Hornblower”, “Gettysburg”, “The Crossing”, “Henry V”, “Ivanhoe”, “Cyrano de Bergerac”, “Bella”, “Fireproof”, etc.
- Does being a virgin before marriage affect marital stability?
- What is the meaning of white roses?
- Is Mark Driscoll afraid to hold a woman accountable for her own choices?
- The Wintery Knight’s greatest fears about the future
- How to communicate requirements to a Christian woman during courtship
- How feminism made women unsuitable for marriage and parenting
- Why men should refuse a woman’s offer of casual sex
- What has Michele Bachmann got that third-wave feminists haven’t got?
- How Christian women can make Christian men marry without using sex appeal
- John Piper’s questions to ask before you get married
- Does a man’s decision to marry negatively impact his service to God?
- The rules for friendship and courtship between Christians
- What Christian men want from Christian women… in paintings!
- Why Christian men should be chaste
- Should Christians marry non-Christians?