The fallout from the Ashley Madison leak shows us that there is a critical sexual disconnect between men and women.
Most women are completely dumbfounded at the Ashley Madison scandal, asking, How could it be so easy for so many men – including godly, Christian men – to visit such a site?
Most men are completely chilled at the Ashley Madison scandal: thinking, There but for the grace of God go I.
There’s something more important here than the Ashley Madison issue itself: a vast disconnect between men and women on modern sex-related issues that affect nearly all men and boys every single day – but which many women aren’t even aware of. While actual infidelity affects only a small percentage of marriages, the factors creating online temptation impact everyone. And we women don’t always understand why.
Our men are vulnerable in ways most of us never realized. Our sons have a target on their backs. They need our support, prayer and awareness as they stand against the temptations of this culture – or as they work to heal their lives and marriages from poor choices.
After years of research and multiple nationally-representative surveys to investigate the inner lives of men and boys for For Women Only and Through A Man’s Eyes, I now believe if we women understood just five key things, it would change how Christian men handle temptation. Just to be clear: men are 100% responsible for their choices. But that doesn’t mean we women have to sit helplessly while our men are out there facing temptation alone.
So for every woman who wants to understand and support her man (or her son), here are five key facts:
Fact 1: Due to how their brain wiring interprets attractive sights, men in this culture are constantly being sexually stimulated.
Although we can’t get into the brain science here (see this article for more), the bottom line is that a straight man can’t not be sexually stimulated when he catches sight of the female body in the spandex shorts or the low-cut top. Even if he doesn’t want that pleasurable stimulation, it just happens. If he wants to honor his wife (and God) in his thought life, he instantly has to choose whether to shut down that stimulation by looking away or thinking about something else. A few minutes later he will have to make that choice again. And again.
Fact 2: Visual-sexual stimulation salves a man’s hidden vulnerabilities.
Men have far more self-doubt than women realize. Pleasurable stimulation hits men right where it hurts, and makes them feel better. One man told me, “A guy might be feeling like a failure at work but being intimate with his wife — or with pornography, which is the counterfeit — makes him feel like he does measure up. It is a salve that goes very deep.” When a man is intimate with his wife, he experiences true comfort and care. When he turns to porn he avoids intimacy; it is the counterfeit solace of the alcoholic’s bottle. And it is terribly ironic that his counterfeit indulgence triggers his wife’s own vulnerability – her worry that she is not enough for him.
Fact 3. The visual and emotional temptation looms large.
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SOURCE: Christianity Today The Exchange – Shaunti Feldhahn