From the mailbag: marital rape rants, sexual attraction, and more

Sometimes I receive anonymous e-mails like this:

You wrote on the subject of marital rape….and you decided to twist the bibles words on the subject. I can only assume one would do this to make themselves feel better about the fact that they themselves are rapists. I was raped in my marriage for 5 and a half years. I’d like to know your point of view once something this horrible happens to someone you love. GOD is discussed with you. Shame on you! It’s people like you that give Christians a bad name. Fuck you cunts!

Ignoring the vitriolic language,

  • If I was being “raped” I wouldn’t stick around with that person for 5 and a half years.
  • Neither would I be going around looking for blogs talking about how there isn’t such a thing as “marital rape” to basically wallow in my own misery and PTSD.

The few actual victims of rape or sexual battery I know basically don’t want to talk about it and/or have moved on with their lives. They don’t wallow in their own victimhood and seek out others to try to convince them that they’re bad people. It’s only when you get those who were convinced after the fact that it was rape by feminists (e.g. regret sex or bad breakup/divorce followed by reframing of everything that happened in the relationship to something bad).

In any case, I encourage said reader to accept God’s salvation for their life. Then to look at God’s plan for marriage in 1 Corinthians 7 with different eyes. The wife’s body is the husband’s and the husband’s body is the wife. It’s about mutual giving to each other to meet their needs. There is no right to deny meeting their needs.

Moving on.

I just have a question regarding beauty and how it relates to the Bible for male sexual attraction. I will admit that I do struggle with this since most people I know state that inner beauty is the only true beauty. It makes me feel really guilty of superficiality. It is really confusing because, despite the church’s insistence that personality is all that matters, my experiences and biological reactions tell me otherwise (even my male friends seem to focus a lot on looks quite often). This all cannot just be an accident. I only considered dating people first because of physical attraction and arousal. Almost 95% of my crushes were based on looks to be honest. How do I reconcile this issue when people parrot verses such as Prov. 11:22; 31:30 and 1 Pet. 3:3-4 which, on the surface, seem to completely obliterate the idea of outer beauty (especially Prov. 31:30). What is your interpretation of these passages?

As for the objectivity of beauty, how do we make sense of other cultures who seem to define beauty differently? Is there a way in which objectivity can still exist despite diversity? the only thing I have come closest to arguing for objective beauty is by stating that God has intentionally set a standard of beauty in the same way that certain things in nature are just naturally beautiful like patterns and order in nature like flower petals following the Fibonacci sequence. There must be a particular order or form of the female body in order to be considered beautiful that isn’t centered on subjective reactions.

I ask you because I know that you are able to help me with my struggle. Hopefully you’re able to respond soon and may God bless you. 🙂

I find this pattern of thought to be very common among young men in the Church.

The Church and even fellow Christians, like the culture, try to demonize men for being attracted to a woman’s feminine beauty.

Obviously, I’ve written before on why sexual attraction is important to marriage.

It goes without saying to the young Christian men out there: you are not alone.

If you have certain preferences for physical beauty in a woman you shouldn’t feel ashamed of it no matter how many people — even Christians — try to shame you or make you change your mind. Things like grooming practices are your freedom in Christ to look for. We know that men are sexually attracted to certain traits in women: youthfulness, facial structure, waist to hip ratio, and symmetry are universally attractive. The past few posts were on that.

If other people want to deny reality that’s up to them. There are certainly enough people trying to live the “Eat, Pray, Love” divorce fantasy to their own demise.

Stay strong. Continue to build your foundation on Jesus. Understand that most people want to criticize you just because you are a man with preferences. Your preferences are your preferences. Don’t try to change yourself for other people’s approval.

I think this would be an interesting trend to hear your commentary on. The mainstream media has for years been in complete denial of any reactionary/socially conservative shifts in the opinions of millenials (and the upper bound of Generation Z.) Now, it seems they (NYT) are willing to accept that such a shift is in motion, albeit with some of their usual condescension. As a member of the 18-24 age group, I find this fascinating.

https://www.nytimes.com/2017/03/31/opinion/sunday/do-millennial-men-want-stay-at-home-wives.html?_r=3

From what I’ve seen in general, no.

I think that those who want a stay at home wife are generally becoming more vocal about it, especially the women who realized that working a career isn’t all that. In fact, a career even sucks most of the time.

Those in the age group may be more vocal about it, but what actually happens is a couple of scenarios. The trends from what I’ve seen are DINKs — double income no kids, swearing off of marriage altogether, and/or cohabitation without marriage. Maybe marriage “in the future.”

on a separate note have you ever thought about doing a post on:

– Use of Yoga
– Use of New Age Treatment, Corporate Exercises in the Workplace.
– Use of Charms, Amulets, Zodiac, Tattoos Elements etc…

Consider this post on this topic my response.

In general, the first two “things” have some basis in actual science namely the interaction of the nervous system and its surroundings. The placebo effect is one part of this.

In particular, yoga, tai chi, and other movement based systems with incorporation of poses and deep breathing tend to relax and destress the body. There’s nothing “mystical” about the process as God has made the body to respond well to relaxation. He even created the “Sabbath” just for us for relaxation!

Overall, I think Paul’s statements in 1 Corinthians and Romans about food sacrificed to idols basically apply mostly. Other people can try to make things an “idol” and add all their “voodoo” to it, but at the end of the day God made the body and if we use movement, deep breathing, and other techniques to relax it, exercise, and stay healthy then why would we condemn such a thing?

However, for those who are weaker in the faith, I would not flaunt the believer’s freedom to do those things in front of them. Also, I would stay away from labels like “new age” as they can tend to leave a bad impression for you in the eyes of non-believers and believers.

In regard to “Use of Charms, Amulets, Zodiac, Tattoos Elements etc…”, there are no such things and that is generally considered witchcraft in the Bible. Stay away.

That’s all for this mail bag. Feel free to comment about these topics if you agree or disagree.

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29 Responses to From the mailbag: marital rape rants, sexual attraction, and more

  1. The first email reminds me of a point well-learned: how do you know someone is lying about themselves on the Internet? They won’t stop talking about what happened to them. (Someone who’s lost a leg doesn’t need to talk about it; it simply “is”.)

    On the last one, it’s always really important to segment out from worldly activities what they’re doing vs why they’re doing it. A Christian should always steer clear of Yoga or Tai Chi. You cannot separate the religious aspects behind the activities from the practice of them. Martial Arts are normally fine, however, since they’re actually relatively modern Combat Arts with only some religious aspects tossed in. (And that’s only a few of them. Any of the SE Asian ones are pretty devoid of it.)

    The human body, however, does have systems that work in certain ways. Deep breathing exercises can be extremely valuable, but that’s a wholly physical approach to a physical response issue.

  2. @ LG

    On the last one, it’s always really important to segment out from worldly activities what they’re doing vs why they’re doing it. A Christian should always steer clear of Yoga or Tai Chi. You cannot separate the religious aspects behind the activities from the practice of them. Martial Arts are normally fine, however, since they’re actually relatively modern Combat Arts with only some religious aspects tossed in. (And that’s only a few of them. Any of the SE Asian ones are pretty devoid of it.)

    If you’re doing yoga off of a random person demonstrating a movement off of Youtube, ok.

    If you go to some place that does yoga with tons of mystical/religious practices thrown in, definitely probably not the best idea. That would be more akin in Jesus’ time to going to a temple and participating in the ceremonies.

    The first one is movement, breathing, and stretching. The second one is where you can go off track.

  3. RICanuck says:

    Yoga is sexist!

    Every time I see a mixed group doing yoga, the men are always at the back!

  4. SapphireYagami says:

    if what the woman says is true, its not that easy to just walk away or report a rapist. Most who do report the crime people dont believe them. So in this case if what the woman says is true and the fact that you and one other blog that I have read says ‘martial rape ‘ is not a thing shows that you easily dismiss her and then you say stop playing the victim.

    Most victims of crimes, it is not that easy to get over something that is traumatizing, easy something like rape. Now are there women who cry wolf when it comes to rape, yes there are and that factors in to people not believing those who come forward, if this was on campus, most universities actually just cover up rape crimes that happen at there school and if a male was raped, many wouldn’t’t even believe them cause many think a male can not be raped .

    Rape ,the act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or against a person who is incapable of giving valid consent, such as one who is unconscious, incapacitated, has an intellectual disability or is below the legal age of consent.

    So even though a wife or husband says I do and are suppose to give their bodies freely to another doesn’t mean you force or manipulate your partner into giving you sex.

    Would you let your wife just take something from you constantly without your consent?

  5. anonymous_ng says:

    “I just have a question regarding beauty and how it relates to the Bible for male sexual attraction. I will admit that I do struggle with this since most people I know state that inner beauty is the only true beauty. It makes me feel really guilty of superficiality.”

    Stop listening to those people.

  6. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    The first quoted email about marital rape struck me as very odd. There is something fundamentally wrong. Presuming it was written by a woman, signing off by insulting you with the old English word for female genitalia is not something a woman would do. A normal woman would want that part of her anatomy respected, if not revered. But, maybe I am naive. My guess is that it was written by a deeply conflicted male feminist.

  7. Pilgrim of the East says:

    very interesting opposing view on yoga – https://edhird.com/2013/04/05/yoga-more-than-meets-the-eyes/

    @SapphireYagami:

    its not that easy to just walk away or report a rapist

    it’s really easy to file for divorce – do you think that being raped in relationship makes it so hard it takes the victim 5 years?

    Most probably it was just: he pressured me for sex and didn’t care if I wanted it or not but I developed unhealthy obsession with him, so I didn’t leave him regardless of anything he did – do you really think that in such case it’s the (forced) sex that’s root of the problem?

  8. @ Pilgrim of the East

    Interesting perspective.

    I disagree that it’s about “Christianizing” something.

    However, if someone is so adamant about denying “Christianizing” something then what about Christmas? Christmas is/was founded as a pagan holiday. If you follow the Scriptures on the census decree and around harvest time, it’s most likely that Christ was born at the end of summer/fall. Yet, the winter solstice celebrations and so on were absorbed by Christians to celebrate Christ’s birth. I assume these people would not be celebrating Christ’s birth on Christmas because of its pagan origins (but of course they celebrate Christmas…).

    Additionally, many “poses” or “movements” are used in say gymnastics, physical therapy, and other sports related disciplines. Such movements themselves from a sport or discipline we wouldn’t say are pagan rituals. To be honest, I don’t see too much of a difference if you’re just working movements as compared to a sport or if it’s “yoga” for instance.

    Perhaps dance is a better analogy. There are definitely pagan dance rituals, but pagans do not have a monopoly on dance as it is an expression of worship even in the Scriptures (e.g. Israelites danced after they crossed the Red Sea, David danced when the Ark was brought back, etc.). Basically, I don’t think the ‘ dance forms’ in and of themselves are idolatrous. Intent and knowledge obviously matter.

    However, if one is persuaded and/or convicted to be removed from such things, it is quite easy to pick another sport/discipline that does not have potentially dubious roots.

    Edit: Andy has a similar position but explains it a bit better than I did: https://edhird.com/2013/04/05/yoga-more-than-meets-the-eyes/#comment-2945

  9. @ fuzziewuzziebear

    True, you don’t hear normal women talking about that. But there are ardent feminist women who are more vulgar now, and like to use words to “take them back” and “repurpose their meaning.”

    But if you are correct about it being a male feminist, I wouldn’t be surprised.

  10. @ SapphireYagami

    Yeah, I don’t buy it.

    Wives divorce husbands now for reasons as simple as:

    1. I’m bored.
    2. I’m unhappy.
    3. I think the relationship has run its course.

    There’s very little stigma against divorce now. If said woman was actually “raped,” she could get out whenever she wanted to at no cost to her. Also, she could immediately claim to other people she was “raped” by her husband and she would get the sympathy of almost every man and woman on the face of the earth.

    Women with actual battered woman syndrome and/or are recovering from it don’t go onto the Internet to experience their pain/suffering again.

    In any case, marital rape does not exist. “Forced” sex in marriage is not rape, but it is against the spirit of the covenant. The husband or wife can sin by denying sex, and the husband or wife can sin by forcing sex on the other (but it’s not rape).

    However, it should never get to that point in the first place as both the husband and the wife promise to take care of each others needs in marriage. Those more concerned about their “rights” are also violated the covenant of marriage because they are called to “love” and “meet the other’s needs.”

  11. SapphireYagami says:

    rape is sex by force , its in the definition.

  12. SapphireYagami says:

    filing for divorce is easy,reporting a rape is not. Many dont believe those that report it due to the fact that many say she either asked for it by wearing a certain type of clothing which in reality the clothing has no effect on the victim to be chosen. if that was the case, then little babies or young girls that are violated were asking for it then.

    I know many people mostly females and one male who have all been raped by either a family member or a close family friend. they never reported it and for one the trauma caused multiple personality disorder.

    So yeah, its easy to file for divorce but not so easy to report a rape and if they do report it, will the rapist actually stay in jail. Many don’t even though that’s where they belong.

  13. @ SapphireYagami

    Rape is… “unlawful sexual intercourse or any other sexual penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth of another person, with or without force, by a sex organ, other body part, or foreign object, without the consent of the victim.”

    Consent is given via marriage, and marriage makes sex lawful. Hence, it’s not rape.

    It is a sin, but it’s not rape.

    filing for divorce is easy,reporting a rape is not. Many dont believe those that report it due to the fact that many say she either asked for it by wearing a certain type of clothing which in reality the clothing has no effect on the victim to be chosen. if that was the case, then little babies or young girls that are violated were asking for it then.

    Sure, but the person in question was not prosecuting for “rape.” This post is not about whether she should have prosecuted for “rape” or not.

    She supposedly CHOSE to stay in her marriage for 5.5 years after she supposedly was being “raped.” That’s extremely unlikely. If someone thought they were being raped they would get out of the situation, especially since (1) divorce is easy, (2) not as stigmatized, and (3) she would garner massive sympathy by simply accusing him. Therefore, it’s likely that she was convinced afterward [by feminists] that her having sex with her husband when she “wasn’t feeling it” or “didn’t want to” was “rape.”

  14. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    I think that rape is the lever that feminists lean on to transform fear of men to hate. From what I see, healthy men seek acceptance through sex and that would preclude rape. However, my outlook may be all too beta.

  15. @ fuzziewuzziebear

    Certainly.

    Feminists have taken “control” so to speak by loading up tons of words like negative connotations.

    “Patriarchy” is probably the most prevalent example of something that is good but they have warped it into something where the vast majority of people, even Christians, feel that it is a bad thing.

    Christians have acceded to this by making up stuff like complementarianism which try to combine the Scriptures and some form of ‘legitimatized’ feminism.

  16. SirHamster says:

    @ Looking Glass

    A Christian should always steer clear of Yoga or Tai Chi. You cannot separate the religious aspects behind the activities from the practice of them.

    I’ve heard that Yoga incorporates Buddhist or other religious rituals in its forms/practices, but what is wrong with Tai Chi religiously from the Christian PoV?

  17. Lost Patrol says:

    warped it into something where the vast majority of people, even Christians, feel that it is a bad thing.

    I had a conversation with my own senior elder about this very thing. I had never heard of complementarianism until reading Dalrock. I told him it struck me as a compromise position between secular egalitarianism and biblical patriarchy. An attempt to placate the implacable.

    He was bothered by my use of the phrase “biblical patriarchy”, and this is a man who has very nearly memorized the bible over the course of his life. That is how well he knows what is in there.

    He asserts that complementarianism is the biblical model. Also, that it was probably not correct to refer to egalitarians as secular.

  18. @SirHamster:

    Anything with a Zen component is something to steer clear of. A lot of damage has been done with “it’s just meditation”. What the Bible means by “meditate” and what Eastern Religions mean by it are utterly different, even if we use the same term in English. (This is one of those classic co-option moves; also causes confusion.) It seems benign but it isn’t. Eastern Meditation is actually about hyper-activating specific sections of the brain. (You can do this with phrase-repetition chanting of *any* form, to really up the effect.) Once activated, it becomes a positive feedback loop. Makes you feel “great”, but you’re pretty much forcing your body to make you feel better. (What’s the difference with drugs? Drugs are just less work.)

    Christians should never be attempting to induce a “trance” state, which is what anything with Zen really is about. Both Yoga & Tai Chi, even if disconnected from their explicitly religious connotations, perform the physical moves to further the religious aspect. While there’s enough Yoga positions to cover technically even standing straight up, the normal collection is the problem when you’re doing them together. (Practices don’t last a really long time without serving some function.)

    If a Christian is talking about getting into either, suggest to them a good Calisthenics & Flexibility routine. That’s actually far more useful, adds practical utility to their lives and doesn’t cause weird issues that can be stumbling blocks.

  19. dvdivx says:

    Men are in the back of the yoga class so they can see the women in tight yoga pants in front of them.

  20. fuzziewuzziebear says:

    Deep Strength,
    You may have explained why feminism is not very popular in Eastern Europe. That is where Orthodoxy prevails and there are actual “Patriarchs” in major cities. 🙂

    In all seriousness, in one thread on SSM’s old blog, I think we all came to the conclusion that feminism and Christianity are incompatible. Anyone that tries to put them together is more a feminist.

  21. @ Lost Patrol

    He was bothered by my use of the phrase “biblical patriarchy”, and this is a man who has very nearly memorized the bible over the course of his life. That is how well he knows what is in there.

    He asserts that complementarianism is the biblical model. Also, that it was probably not correct to refer to egalitarians as secular.

    That’s crazy.

    Any cursory studying on the topic would show that “complementarism” and “egalitarianism” terms arose in like 1980s or 1990s… in response to the sexual revolution and feminism. Not the best things to associate Christianity with to say the least.

    I’d argue that Patriarchy should not even need to be qualified with Biblical Patriarchy or Scriptural Patriarchy, but most people wouldn’t get it.

    It’s a good thing that it unsettles him though.. hopefully he’ll explore the Scriptures on why that is and come to the correct conclusion.

  22. Out of Nod says:

    In regards to email two, I would add the following:

    1 Corinthians 7 stipulates that marriage is good medicine for those who are burning with passion. In a sex positive light, I would say that you should be attracted to your women.

    The stories through out the bible often describe key women as beautiful (starting with Eve – who I think is the pattern that all men seek). Rebekah, Rachel, Ruth, Esther, Bathsheeba, Abigail, Michal, all of these women were described as beautiful. If the bible makes such distinctions, I think you are in the clear.

    Philipians 4:8 tells us to think on things as such as beauty (what is lovely).

    Bottom line, God programmed men to be attracted to women – if they weren’t attractive we probably would not have much to do with them. Like most things, this attraction has been tainted by sin but that is where seeking God in the matter is important.

  23. Mark MacIntyre says:

    Re: Meditation.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with meditation, so long as you’re not specifically focusing your attention on anything ungodly. Meditation is simply a state where you relax your mind, usually by focusing on the present moment. Studies link it to reduced depression and other benefits.

    To say that it is unChristian is like saying that it’s unChristian to eat vegetables just because Buddhists are vegetarians.

    Meditation is of great benefit to people who tend to having overly busy minds and find it hard to relax. It has been used successfully to improve the behaviors of rowdy children in rough inner-city schools. Again, it is simply a state of relaxation via refocused attention.

    The mental state in mediation is very similar to what you find in people who experience a state of flow when jogging or doing basic tasks that require relaxed attention. It’s also similar to the trance state people experience when watching TV and movies. Frankly, if anything in this context is a potential problem, it’s watching TV or movies.

  24. @Mark MacIntyre:

    Part of me just wants to rib you for using “[s]tudies link it to reduced depression and other benefits” in a Praxis discussion of Christian Theology. But I won’t go there, hehe.

    This isn’t your grandmother’s “that’s the Devil’s work!” argument. The practical & physical realities of Eastern Meditation, whether explicitly religious or not, exist. They are, in fact, both testable and somewhat effective. That doesn’t change my point. Eastern Meditation is a process of mental “emptying”, fleeing from ones troubles and hyper-activating the positive response sectors of the mind. Though self-affecting, it’s fairly minimally different from trying to drug your problems away. The exterior costs are just much lower.

    The Christian form of Meditation is some combination of: isolation, prayer and focus on the Word. This isn’t just the “approved” approach; it is the approach that will reinforce your Faith not degrade it.

    https://infogalactic.com/info/Hesychasm

    Mystic traditions have existed in Christianity for a while. The issue is that repetition of a specific phrase for a while will force the mind into the “trance” state. Trance is like any altered mental state: drunk, stoned or high as a kite. It just happens to be caused by the forced release of an extremely large amount of “positive” neurotransmitters. Simply because it isn’t some form of drug does not change the net-effect or the very problematic result from use & rapid abuse.

    Eastern Meditation sits somewhere between caffeine and inducing hypnotic Trance states. Which is I stated, “[a]nything with a Zen component is something to steer clear of. A lot of damage has been done with ‘it’s just meditation’. ” That statement means exactly what I meant by it, though it also doesn’t mean “you’re going to Hell if you’ve ever done any meditation!”. Christians should steer clear and do the things that increase Faith, just in the way that Christians shouldn’t be getting plastered on the weekend.

  25. Samuel Culpepper says:

    Marital rape is an oxymoron. I suppose according to this wankers definition, I am guilty of sexual assault every time I grab my wife’s ass or squeeze her tits without asking permission first?

  26. Mark MacIntyre says:

    @Looking Glass

    Perhaps we are arguing slightly different points, so I want to clarify. When you argue against meditation, do you just mean meditation with Eastern religious/philosophical overtones, or all kinds of meditation other than the Christian version you outline below?

    “The Christian form of Meditation is some combination of: isolation, prayer and focus on the Word. This isn’t just the “approved” approach; it is the approach that will reinforce your Faith not degrade it.”

    Are you also against meditation that, for example, involves just sitting quietly with a relaxed focus on your breathing?

  27. Deep Breathing exercises are simply that. For a lot of people, they’re very valuable. It’s a physical practice that has physical & psychological benefits. The Bright Line shows up when you start adding in any of the hypnotic aspects to any of the Eastern practices. If you’re in a group and someone can drop a “now, focus your chi” without a hitch, you’ve found yourself in the wrong spot.

    As I said in my first post, and repeated, “A lot of damage has been done with ‘it’s just meditation'”. That wasn’t an off-the-cuff remark. It’s the reality. Pre-1950, the word meditate lacked one of the definitions we use now.

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/meditate

    See Intransitive #2. It’s a converged word; likely with the instinctive desire to confuse Christians. This is one of the methods they use to confuse of about the Lord: subtlety change aspects of the language to make it difficult to explain things properly. Which is precisely why Christians should “steer clear” when it comes up in a non-Christian context.

    “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” Matthew 10:6 ESV

    Christians gave up being “careful” a long time ago. It’s cost us quite dearly. Anything in the realm of religious practice from another religion would be approached very, very carefully. Food is food; it doesn’t mean you should be offering it up to a local pagan deity as well.

  28. Cane Caldo says:

    Hilarious fact: Yoga is what you get when British calisthenics are subjected to Indian nationalism after Indians are tired of British rule, but recognize the benefits of Western exercise. Before the 20th Century yoga was a mental/spiritual activity; no poses, no “asanas”.

    Long story short: It’s an Indian fairy-tale, and people susceptible to fantasy fall for it. The benefits of yoga are no more than the benefits of good old push-ups, jumping jacks, lunges, stretches, etc.

    http://www.newyorker.com/business/currency/iyengar-invention-yoga

  29. Pingback: The questionability of eros | Christianity and masculinity

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