Who is Responsible for Men’s Lust?

Photo by Drew Hays on Unsplash

A few weeks ago I wrote a post about types of femininity to avoid if you want to change a man.

One type is seductive femininity and I used Bathsheba as an example.

Since then I’ve been thinking about David and Bathsheba quite a bit and I think I, along with others, haven’t been fair to Bathsheba.

Growing up in church, I received the impression that Bathsheba was to blame for David’s sin. In fact, David is often portrayed as the victim of Bathsheba’s indiscreet bathing on her roof.

Because she exposed herself by bathing on the roof, and she was so beautiful, David couldn’t help himself and committed adultery with her.

But, what if the story was a little different?

The Bible gives no evidence that Bathsheba resisted David, but neither does it give evidence that she didn’t.   

Could Bathsheba have resisted David if she wanted to? He was the king and she the subject, and that put her in a difficult spot – saying no to the king was no light thing.

So, while there is no evidence of violence or force, it is possible that Bathsheba was innocent and David raped her. (The definition of rape being sex without consent.)  

While it appears that Bathsheba may well have been innocent, David’s case is different. The Bible clearly states the steps he took to commit adultery with her:

  • He was home when he should have been at war.
  • He went onto the roof because he was restless (bored?) – pacing up and down.
  • He saw Bathsheba and then lingered, looking.
  • He took the effort to find out who she was.
  • He called her to him.
  • He slept with her.

David had multiple opportunities to resist the temptation, but he didn’t – with tragic consequences.  

Women Urged to be Modest

In Christian culture women are urged to be modest so that they don’t make men lust after them. I agree with this idea, but it’s one-sided – making women responsible for men’s lust.  

It creates the impression that men are weak and have no control over their thought-life. Women better be careful how they act and dress so they don’t make men sin, and men, well, they were just made that way.

Is this fair?

Are women responsible for men’s lustful thoughts?

I’m not saying that women should be immodest and flaunt themselves – which is what the world urges them to do.

Women do have a responsibility toward men – it does make it difficult for them to keep their thoughts pure when women flaunt their curves.  But women are not responsible for what men choose to think about.

Everyone is responsible for their own thoughts and behaviour.

So, instead of men blaming women for their immodesty, and women accusing men of having dirty minds, each should take responsibility for what they can and should control.

God’s Design

Take a few steps back with me.

God designed men and women differently.

He made men to notice and He made women to enjoy being noticed.

This design plays out in the world of pornography – men are attracted to porn because they crave visual stimulation. Women are attracted to porn because they imagine themselves being that woman on the screen, receiving the attention of men.

Outside of Christ, and outside of marriage the design becomes toxic, but within the context of marriage, the design is beautiful!  

Things fall apart when neither one takes responsibility for how they were designed.

What are women responsible for?

Women are responsible for preserving their self-respect by dressing and behaving modestly, and not inciting lust in men.

Because the average woman enjoys being noticed by men, it can be a big temptation to flaunt what they have – and many do. And this makes it difficult for the men who are trying to keep their thoughts on the right track.

What are men responsible for?

Men are responsible for their thought life – where they allow their minds to wander, the images they look at, and the fantasies they indulge.

Men are responsible for how they talk about women to other men, how they treat women (cat-calls and whistles?), and for how they view women – either as precious beings to be protected or bodies to be ogled and used for their own pleasure.

In men’s defence, there is a difference between noticing and lusting. Just because a man notices an attractive woman, does not mean he is lusting. It’s what he does with that initial interest that matters.

When men and women return to God’s blueprint, each taking responsibility for how they were designed, they become their brother’s (and sister’s) keeper.  

What are your thoughts about men’s and women’s responsibility in this area?  Did I miss anything? Leave a comment and let’s talk!

About The Author

Jennifer Lovemore

Jennifer has diplomas in relationship counselling and CBT (Cognitive Behavioural Therapy), is a certified SYMBIS facilitator, and is certified in TPM (Transformation Prayer Minsitry). She lives in South Africa, has three grown children, and is married to her best friend – Richard.

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