Sunshine & Modesty (Brief Thoughts)
It’s been uncharacteristically sunny in Portland lately.
I’ve encountered a bunch of men who are dressed attractively, in various levels of skin coverage. Because I’m attracted to men, I’m attracted to some of them. But guess what - I recognize that these sometimes-shirtless-leggy dudes exist for more than my attractions, that they chose to dress themselves for a billion reasons besides “flaunting” or “tempting” me. So, I notice their attractiveness to me and I move on with my day.
Sometimes I say this aloud to help walk me through the process:
1. Oooooooh, that person is attractive to me! I wonder what it would be like to…
2. Whoa, Maynard, that person is made in the image of God, not you and your attractions.
3. Oh. Right! Hey, ice cream for lunch sounds amazing!
That’s it. I shut down lust when I acknowledge that I am not God and people do not exist for me and that it’s okay to be sexually attracted because that’s part of my biology working and OOOOOH, ICE CREAM YUM.
You may have a slightly different process. It’s cool. It’s yours.
Here’s the thing though. I know it’s counter-cultural inside and outside the church, but I propose we give women the same agency we give men to choose their clothes (on any part of the conservative-liberal dress scale) for personal and legitimate reasons.
Don’t assume that people are dressing, moving, or existing for you and your attractions. Especially if you’re a straight man who has a lot of inherent cultural power, be really careful about this. Your attraction does not supersede the autonomy of the person you may be attracted to. Neither does mine.
Also, for the ten billionth time: sexual attraction is different from the sin of lust.