In the February 2005 issue of Reader’s Digest there is a column by Michael Crowley entitled No-Strings Sex: Teen girls are buying into the sleaze we’re selling them. I think for many years it was viewed as guys being the ones who were initiating sex and the girls were being pressured into going along. What is now being discovered is that it is the girls who are becoming the aggressors. There was a Newsweek report in 2004 that showed married women were the ones initiating affairs. We act all surprised because for so long we have thought it was the other way around.
I personally don’t find this all surprising. It is the natural result of a culture where the males are no longer men. John Eldredge in Wild at Heart wrote:
Finally, every woman wants to have a beauty to unveil. Not to conjure, but to unveil. Most women feel the pressure to be beautiful from very young, but that is not what I speak of. There is also a deep desire to simply and truly be the beauty, and be delighted in. Most little girls will remember playing dress up, or wedding day, or “twirling skirts” those flowing dresses that were perfect for spinning around in. She’ll put her pretty dress on, come into the living room and twirl. What she longs for is to capture her daddy’s delight. My wife remembers standing on top of the coffee table as a girl of five or six, and singing her heart out. Do you see me? asks the heart of every girl. And are you captivated by what you see? (p. 17)
The main reason why this sexual aggression has suddenly become evident with teen girls has very little to do with TV, music, and magazines. It has everything to do with men who do not delight in the women in the lives. As men try to discover their “manhood” through sports, career, pornography, or through sexual conquests they become distant from women. When women feel they are not the delight of their fathers’ or husbands’ eyes, they will go seek it in one form or another. Sex provides the perfect counterfeit to what they are seeking, because it is so close to the real thing. But to be lusted is not the same thing as to be cherished. To have sexual intercourse is not the same thing as intimacy.
Our response as the church is not just about monitoring the entertainment and other media that shapes who we are, but it also needs to focus on teaching boys about what it means to be a man and girls what it means to be woman. This is not simply about sex education, this about helping our youth make the transition into adulthood.
I don’t know much about girls, so I am not going to speak to that. What I want to touch on is how to help a boy become a man. We, as a society, lack a celebration or a ceremony which helps a boy understand that he is now a man. In our society you become a man when you have sex. Therefore, as a church, we have to look for ways to educate the young men in our care on what it means to be a man, and find ways to give them responsibility so that can experience that transition.
I thank God that I grew up on a farm. That provided a natural transition because as we grew older Dad would give us more responsibilities. From mowing the lawn, to driving a tractor, to hauling manure, and doing field work I was granted more responsibility with age and it was if Dad was saying, you are more of a man now. The vast majority of boys do not experience this, and most of them are not given responsibility of any kind.
Here is what I feel God calling me to do: help boys become men. I believe the problem is not Hollywood (the entertainment industry) but it is our culture’s lack of having a perspective about the future. We don’t think about the consequences of our actions, we just do it. Therefore we have raised a generation of males who don’t know what it means to be a man, and a generation of girls who are longing to be the delight of their man’s (husband or father) eye.