In the wake of the tidal wave of men losing their jobs in Hollywood, the government, and the media, men are rightfully paying attention. Finally. As a father of three girls who spent years keeping boys away from my daughters, this subject is near and dear to me.
We live in an highly-sexualized society on the part of both men and women, but this message is for the boys. We need a change of thinking. Regarding how we think about and behave with women, many of us need to be told “cut it out.” I’ll explain, but first I want to affirm something good: the pursuit of a person of interest.
If you are interested in the woman, go for it. No one is saying to stay away from someone you are drawn to and find interesting and fun. Romantic love is still a beautiful thing. I don’t hear heterosexual women saying they do not want men or don’t want them to show their interest. I hear interest in meeting and entering a relationship with a man. If you are interested in her, let her know. If she is interested, good for both of you! If that turns into a lifetime partner, even better.
But if she is not interested, stop pursuing her
This is where many men get it wrong. Base instincts kick in and rational behavior disappears. There is no excuse for unwanted advances on a woman. None. If she is not interested, stop pursuing her. That’s it. Just…stop.
Stop pursuing her when you hear her say “no” to you. Let me be specific about that.
“No” means no.
“No thanks” means no.
“I’m not interested” means no.
“I don’t feel like it” means no.
“Not now” means no.
“We’ve been drinking” means no.
“I’d rather be alone” means no.
“Don’t touch me” means no.
“%$@# off” means no.
“I changed my mind” means no.
“Let’s just go to sleep” means no.
“I’m not sure” means no.
Silence means no.
If you are uncertain, assume it is no.
If you are still unsure, especially when it comes to sex, watch this: Consent: It’s as simple as tea.
If she is not interested and you continue pursuing her, It becomes criminal
If she is not interested and you continue calling, showing up, or tracking her, you are a stalker. Stalking is bad. Stalking is a series of actions that make her feel afraid or in danger. Stalking is serious. Stalking escalates over time. Stalking is a crime. Stalking does not get you the girl.
According to the National Center for Victims of Crime, you are a stalker if you do some or all of the following:
Repeatedly call her, including hang-ups.
Follow her and show up wherever she is.
Send unwanted gifts, letters, texts, or e-mails.
Damage her home, car, or other property.
Monitor her phone calls or computer use.
Use technology, like hidden cameras or global positioning systems (GPS), to track where she goes.
Drive by or hang out at her home, school, or work.
Threaten to hurt her, her family, friends, or pets.
Find out about her by using public records or on-line search services, hiring investigators, going through her garbage, or contacting friends, family, neighbors, or co-workers.
Other actions that control, track, or frighten her.
If she is not interested and you continue pursuing her and then force yourself on her sexually, you are a rapist. In case that is not clear, rape is a when one person forces, coerces, or manipulates another person to have sex. In other words, you have sex with her against her will. With attempted rape the same issue applies: she doesn’t want it. Don’t miss that. She doesn’t want it. No means no. See above for what that means. Rape is a crime. Rape destroys women’s lives. Rapists go to prison. And if it weren’t unbelievably obvious, rape does not get you the girl.
A word to Christian men
If you call yourself a Christ follower, there is another dimension to this. All of the above applies to you and you also have a higher calling in male-female relationships. You are to recognize the intrinsic value in every person and honor those who by God’s providence and grace were created female.
The problem is Christian men often don’t. Single Christian women are on to you. “The men I meet who say they are Christian are like any other man; they want to know what effort they need to go to in order to get me to bed.” Men, is that the best we can do?
So consider these things as you consider male-female relationships as a Christian man.
God expects self-control. Yes, you have urges. You were created as a sexual being, but self-control applies to this area of life just like it applies to learning to play a sport or become a musician. The Bible lists self-control as a “fruit” of the Holy Spirit.
God expects you to honor women. This means no objectifying, patronizing, minimizing, or sexualizing. This means you think about and see women as independent daughters of God whose primary purpose is not for your benefit or pleasure. This means that hatred of, contempt for, or prejudice against women or girls — misogyny — has no place for you as a Christian man.
God gave us sexual expression for marriage. I know. That’s not popular. This needs a lot of nuancing to unpack concepts like fears about commitment, what it means to be a man, the influence of the sexual revolution, forgiveness, the calling of some to singleness, balancing truth and grace, lingering puritanical sexual ethics, the definition and meaning of marriage, biblical worldview, the authority of Scripture, and what to do with Biblical examples of sexual expression apart from marriage. At the end of those discussions will be a high vision of the sacredness of marriage and how an individual’s passions are to be lived out in this gift of God called marriage.
God will not give you someone else’s wife. Some will say, “God brought us together.” No, God didn’t. That was you. You did that yourselves. Others object, “But she no longer loves her husband.” Ok. She’s still his wife.
God will not tell a married man it is ok to be in a sexual relationship with a woman who is not his wife. That is called adultery. God is unequivocal and unflinching about that. If the other woman is married too, refer to the previous point.
God expects you to set the example for others. Man up here. Be the example for your children, other men, friends, co-workers, fellow students, and perfect strangers. Let them see a man of good character. Let them see a man of God.
Maybe one outcome of the #metoo era will be a re-grounding of the men. Maybe in the future our sisters and daughters can have a different world of men surrounding them. It starts with you and me, men. Let's get this right.
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