“Men are pigs. They can’t help themselves.”
I hear the sentiment from all kinds of women in all kinds of places. This stereotype shoots across cultures and religions. Men cannot control themselves around women. Men are lustful. Men only think about sex.
I’m sure this is a real problem within the male race. However, this stereotype implies two falsehoods:
- Women do not wage a similar battle against sexual temptation.
- Men should not be held accountable for sexual sin because they have no control.
The other night I stumbled across Proverbs 7. The author (Solomon, I believe) recounts a situation with a seemingly clueless young man and a crafty, seductive woman. The woman spends the chapter luring the man into her home to have relations. The man spends the chapter being lured. Simple enough. Although the man in this scene falls for this provocative woman’s tactics, Solomon does not speak of any stereotype indicating this man had no control. He, instead, points out this man’s lack of wisdom. Then he warns his own son, and he teaches him that wisdom will protect him from women like “her”.
He says, “Let not thine heart decline to her ways, go not astray in her paths. For she hath cast down many wounded: yea, many strong men have been slain by her. Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death.” (v. 25-27 KJV)
Tell me: If men were not able to control their sex drives around women, why would Solomon even bother with this statement? Solomon knew that saying “No” to a woman like that would be difficult for his son. But he also knew that it would be possible.
I thought it was interesting that men, in general, take most of the heat for being sexual aggressors while this woman in Proverbs made all the moves. The man was an almost-innocent bystander. No, he was not completely innocent. But he was also not the leading offender. She dressed up like a harlot. She caught him. She kissed him. She perfumed her bedroom. She invited him home while the husband was away. She did most of the dirty work.
Next my mind wandered back to the story of Joseph. Joseph was doing his work, taking care of Potiphar’s household when “his master’s wife cast her eyes upon Joseph; and she said, ‘Lie with me.’” (Genesis 39:7 KJV)
Joseph, being a man and everything, lost all control and screwed around with the beautiful woman… Oh, wait – that’s not what happened?
Once again, the woman victimized the man. She pursued his affections. She did everything in her power to seduce him. When Joseph turned from her advances, she became angry and framed him.
It seems to me that modern society turns its head from scenarios like the two above. These are definitely not the only instances of sexual sin referenced in the Bible. Throughout the Bible, men and women are shown battling sexual temptation. I referenced these two specifically because they seem to embody the issues that are often ignored these days.
Let’s face the facts: Both genders are guilty. Humans lust. Humans struggle with sexual temptation. Enough with this “He’s a man; he cannot help it.” Enough with this “She’s a woman; she can’t be in it just for sex.”
Once we quit pointing figures, we can begin to work on solutions.