Men are the Weaker Sex

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The last two weeks have brought good news for proponents of abstaining from sex until marriage. Two Fridays ago, for example, the House Energy & Commerce Health Subcommittee released a report which said abstinence-only education is superior to so-called “comprehensive sex education.” The subcommittee, which has jurisdiction over the nation’s federal sexual education policies, released its report almost concurrently with a report from the National Youth Risk Behavior Survey, which reports 53% of high school students are abstinent and two-thirds are “currently abstinent.” And just last week Mitt Romney referenced abstinence in his speech to the NAACP, saying, “A study from the Brookings Institution has shown that for those who graduate from high school, get a full-time job, and wait until 21 before they marry and then have their first child, the probability of being poor is two percent.  And if those factors are absent, the probability of being poor is 76 percent.”

Of course, one can dismiss the House report as mere hyperbole from social conservatives, but that does not take away from the fact that abstinence is the most effective form of birth control (100% effective!) and the effects of unmarried sexual activity among teenagers (and people in general, and women particularly) are fairly well-known. Additionally, the utter failure of “comprehensive” education is evident in the rate of out-of-wedlock births and higher divorce rates among those who are not abstinent until marriage.

Rather than rehash the debate over public policy related to abstinence, however, this piece examines two specific aspects of abstinence and chastity: how chastity and the relationship between men and women is viewed in the Bible and how today’s sometimes hypocritical view of men and woman who “sleep around” was originally designed not as a way to put women down… but as a recognition of natural law related to men and infidelity.

First, the Bible. Over the last 40-odd years, feminists have made the claim that the Bible is sexist. Citing, for example, the oft-misquoted “wives, submit to your husbands as to the Lord” and warnings from various prophets to men that they should resist the wiles of women, they have convinced a good deal of society that the Bible is indeed intended to demean women. Yet in examining these and other quotes, the case can be made that the Bible – to use the feminist language – is instead sexist against men, casting them as subordinate to the fairer sex.

Of course, the Bible isn’t actually sexist (it actually reveals the strengths and weaknesses inherent in both men and women), but using the language of feminists, consider the following:

  1. The Bible consistently warns men against sexual temptation from women. It rarely warns women against sexual temptation from men.
  2. Thus, the Bible is admitting what natural law and various religions have recognized for thousands of years – men are, by and large, weaker when it comes to resisting sexual temptation than women.
  3. Thus, women in the Bible actually have, to a degree, more power than men. Look at Judith, who manipulated the head of an entire army into trusting her in only a few days, only to have her kill him when the moment was right, or Solomon and David, who ignored literal conversations with God because of their lack of sexual discipline, or Samson, who was led to his own death by his wife.

Feminists have more of an argument when they point out that many people in America are hypocritical when it comes to sexual immorality among the sexes. Example: a male who “sleeps around” is seen in some circles as cool or powerful. A woman who “sleeps around” is seen in, shall we say, a less hospitable light in some circles. Yet we hypothesize that this was originally due to a negative view of men, not of women.

Consider the following: at its core, acceptance of men sleeping around essentially admits that men don’t have discipline when it comes to sex. Women are looked down upon because they are considered beings of higher discipline and control. Thus, the expectation that women be more chaste is actually a compliment.

This is not to say men should be praised or otherwise not critiqued for sleeping around. Not at all – immorality is immorality, no matter who engages in it. It is indeed hypocritical of segments of society to accept or praise men for immorality while shunning or demeaning women who do the same. However, there is a solution, albeit one that puts perhaps unfair responsibility on women: ladies should hold themselves to a higher standard of when to engage in sexual relations.

Look at it this way – men who are often very willing to impress a woman to sleep with her. If she tells them they’d better get their act together, or she won’t, they either will acquiesce to her or find another, more sexually willing partner. But if women revived their roles as sexual gatekeepers rather than permissive collaborators, this would induce men to control and rise above their lust rather than constantly satiate it.

This is not a new idea, using the sexual weakness of men to make them better human beings; a number of Kenyan women famously declared they would not have sex with husbands and partners unless war was avoided in 2009, for one example. While the actions of the wives were, Biblically speaking, immoral, this effort does reveal the effect of lust in men’s lives and women’s ability to exploit this sin or, preferably, shield men from it, via their behavior or even their self-presentation.  It also is reminiscent of the new Facebook meme making the rounds: for women who dress a certain way, it’s like rolling in mud – you will attract attention, but only from pigs. If women want fewer pigs around, they may have to make the first effort.

Of course, as Catholics, we do not believe men and women should date solely for satisfying sexual desires. Sex is not just an added bonus of marriage or a mechanism for baby-making – it’s a “mutual exchange of the gift of the person,” as alluded to in Genesis 2:23 – 25. However, asserting this truth about sex requires the collaborative effort of both genders, even if some Theology of the Body texts assert that men should bear the primary responsibility of promoting physical chastity. If society is in a moral tailspin, why quibble about who should pull up on the controls? When women treat their bodies with dignity and respect, men are eventually forced to do the same. This change will help men reform themselves and become the moral authorities they need to be.  Like Christians who develop a relationship with God that grows from fear of Hell to respect to love, women could force men to become better, and recognize the true dignity of women they wish to be with.

About the authors

Dustin Siggins is a policy and politics blogger who regularly contributes to HotAir.com, HotAir.com’s Green Room, Race42012.com, and RightWingNews.com. He is the co-author of a forthcoming book on the national debt with William Beach of The Heritage Foundation. 

Erica Szalkowski is a graduate assistant at the Center for the Advancement of Catholic Higher Education at Mount St. Mary’s University, and is pursuing her Masters degree in Business at Mount St. Mary’s University.

  • Tisantir

    Isn’t is so that the Church regards polygynous marriage as sometimes permissible but polyandrous is always beyond the pale?

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  • David

    Something feminists and Catholics can agree on: women are better than men, and for this reason, men suck.

    • Michelle

      Is that the misguided conclusion you have made? Men don’t suck David. That’s not what Catholics believe either. It is what feminist believe. What I have never understood is why feminists deny who they are – women – in order to become who they despise – like men? Feminists missed the mark when they claimed that men and women are the same. What real catholic feminism teaches is that men and women have equal dignity as human beings, but we were created inherently different so as to compliment each other. That difference does not make one better than the other, but rather makes them special in their own way. That’s the way we were created and meant to live. 

      • David Casson

        Catholics say things like, “As the woman goes, society goes” and “The woman sets the bar in the relationship.” They write comments (see this page) speculating that Satan tempted Eve first because she was morally superior to her husband (because all women are morally superior to men), that Jesus became a man because men are the morally inferior sex, and that the value for which Jesus died was the purity of Mary. They write an endless number of articles on why men suck (like this one), but are strangely silent on how women fall short of the call to holiness, unless of course they are instructing women to somehow make men stop sucking (as this article does). They write booklets for women detailing a dozen ways women are victimized by men, and booklets for men detailing a dozen ways they victimize women. Catholics constantly repeat the notion that the sexes are complementary and equal in dignity but this is clearly NOT what Catholics believe about the relationship between the sexes. I’m tired of the double-talk. Catholics and feminists do indeed agree that women are better than men. And they should come out into the open and say so, in explicit terms.

        • Alecto

           Oh, p’shaw.  Women aren’t angels and men aren’t devils.  However, the excuses for bad male behavior persist in Catholic culture.  If a man somehow manages to be celibate, he is elevated to sainthood…overnight.  If women are, well, then, they’re simply doing what they’re supposed to do.  Since the sexual revolution women are as complicit in bad behavior as men, but unlike men, they have to bear the brunt of their bad behavior.  You cannot complain about single parenthood without looking at male abandonment of women.  Women contract HIV at far higher rates than men.  Women pay a higher emotional price for illicit behavior than men. 

          Men justify other men’s personal and moral failings.  Women don’t seem to have the luxury of that since women have no problem criticizing other women – it’s called “catty” for a reason.  I hope you can at least agree that where men and women fall short of holiness, and a pregnancy occurs, it is a further failure when a man abandons her?  I would not have one more single parent on this earth.  Fathers and husbands are just as important as wives and moms.  Whatever happened to men living up to their responsibilities?  To wanting families?  To wanting to be dads, husbands?  Somehow that was superceded by glorified “playa” behavior. 

          • David Casson

            In all honesty I cannot see any of what you are saying in your first or most of your second paragraphs. I’m also not really sure that what point you are making. Anyway, I will respond to a few points specifically from your second paragraph: 

            (1) I do not see that men justify other men’s personal and moral failings. Nor do I see that women criticize other women. What I see happening frequently is exactly the opposite. Women may be catty sometimes toward each other, but in my experience, if a criticism is made about women in a general way, women present a united front against that criticism, no matter what it is or how truthful it may be. Men do not act this way when men as a sex are criticized. Yes, individual men like myself may object for whatever reason, but there is always a larger group of men who will agree with that criticism. You can see that dynamic taking place on this very page. So I have not seen that men justify each other’s behavior or that women attack each other, at least not when it is understood that the subject is the relationship between the sexes (its current or historical condition).

            (2) I agree it is a further failure when a man abandons a woman. What is your point?

            (3) Many, many men do live up to their responsibilities. Most of the rest want to be dads and husbands and want families. ‘Playa’ culture is a minority culture.

            You’re sort of demonstrating exactly what I’m talking about: a litany of complaints about men, men as victimizers, women as victims. I’m used to this by now. But I don’t follow the point that you’re making or how it relates to my prior comment.

            • Alecto

              1. As a rebuttal to your argument that “women present a united front against that criticism, no matter how truthful it may be”;  Sarah Palin underwent hell from a substantial and planned assault by other women.  The nature of the objection was her politics, but still, she got no pass or defense.  

              2.  Point:  Where are the men?  What’s wrong with the men?  Why won’t they be men?  If there is an epidemic of single parent women, it’s because the men aren’t stepping up. 

              3.  Where you been?  I suspect the reason you fail to see what I’m stating is that you are from another generation.  Let me write that the “playa” phenomenon is widespread in many communities.  It has spread from its minority roots.  Crisis regularly writes about the alarming rates of illegitimacy in this country.  Do you think perhaps that may have something to do with “playa” culture?

              Men do indeed suck.  However, we need and want them not to suck!  Stop sucking!  Do you understand that?

              • buckyinky

                 Well, men, there’s motivation for you…

              • David Casson

                1. That is not a rebuttal to my argument. What was criticized was Sarah Palin, not women in general. I’ve seen forty or more of these ‘Men are the Weaker Sex’ articles for every one for women. The last time I saw one article that took a compassionate view towards men (it was about single fathers) it was overrun by women talking about themselves. It’s all about how great you women are and how bad we men are – just like your comment. Just like this article. Just like feminism. As far as I’m concerned this is the zeitgeist.

                2. With women initiating 70% of divorces, I don’t think it’s fair to say that men aren’t stepping up. It’s more like they are being kicked out. Let’s not forget the glorification of single motherhood: it’s chic.

                3. How can you reasonably say the ‘playa’ phenomenon is widespread in many communities? What communities are you talking about? Colleges? Ghettos? Seventeen year old virgins who get together to learn how to pick up a girl at a bar? Come on, ‘playa’ culture is NOT widespread. People don’t watch Two and a Half Men because they admire Charlie Sheen. They watch it to laugh at him.

                Men will ‘stop sucking’ when you women stop blaming us for all the problems in the world and start working with us to fix it. Until then, none of us are getting anywhere.

                • Alecto

                  1.  I clearly wrote “P’shaw, women are NOT all angels and men are NOT all demons.”  You conveniently twisted my words and ignored what I wrote.  I don’t know what your motivation is, but you seem to be hellbent on blaming all women for the condition of men and I’m not going to let that stand. 

                  2.  You don’t cite a source for that 70% rate.  Of course when a marriage fails, both are at fault.  It is a modern tragedy.  I know many, many single mothers, and none, I repeat NONE wants to be carrying the load alone.  Of course like many of your statements this is simply anecdotal and so I do not expect you to accept that.  I can only speak from my experience with other women. 

                  3.  Which communities?  Professional settings, men in college, men in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s, and some beyond that age.  I am clearly never going to persuade you that this phenomenon has taken root in society, but I can tell you that among the women I know, and the experiences many young have, that is a problem.  Why the unwillingness to believe that men can behave badly and do?  I am obviously not writing that all men are bad, but it does appear that the modern man is less chivalrous, than men of even a generation ago. 

                  • David Casson

                    I won’t go into much detail here, because the fact is I don’t think you’re interested in an honest discussion. When you live in a world in which most of the articles about women are designed to tell women how bad they are or how they victimize men, and most of the articles about men are designed to discuss how great they are or how they’re victimized by women, when the entire public discourse about men and women morphs such that a woman who protests being treated like a bad slave is roundly castigated by everyone, when it’s considered normal and acceptable to read articles titled ‘Women are the Weaker Sex’… then we can talk. Right now, this conversation is too easy for you.

              • David Casson

                By the way, Alecto, as far as your statement, “Stop sucking!” – believe me, the feeling is completely MUTUAL.

                • E_bs

                  David and InBlack, are you both Christians? By your comments you sure don’t come across as very nice.
                  I don’t understand the anger at this alleged “men suck” culture. It seems to me that you have a bruised ego over this whole thing.
                  What ever happened to chivalry, politeness, manners- gone out the window maybe? Why worry how others are acting and look at yourself- getting rid of the bitterness s a start.
                  Then maybe read and contemplate on the life of St Joseph- he is the best example of what it is to be a man- obedient, self-controlled, kind, warm, pleasant in his communication to all. Just a thought….

                  • David Casson

                    Hi, e_BS: Thank you for your sincere, kind-hearted advice. But why worry how others are acting? Look at yourself. Are you sure that insincerity and duplicity come from Christ? That’s not very nice, you know. I would urge you to beg Jesus for the grace to treat men justly rather than with vacuous piety. Then perhaps you will have the courage to treat all of God’s children as they deserve, and not only the pretty ones. Just a thought….

                  • David Casson

                    By the way, e_BS, I await your thoughtful correction to Alecto.

                • Alecto

                  Misogynist.

                  • David Casson

                    Misandrist. – LOL, I said only EXACTLY what you said, in reverse. If that makes me a misogynist it only stands to reason YOU are a misandrist!! Hahaha…

              • Inblack

                Alecto – Why are you attacking men?  This is brainless generalization and bigotry. 
                1) Where are the men? Here.2) Why won’t they be men? This is nonsense, I see plenty of young men in our church who are spectacular Christian men.3) If there is an epidemic of single mom’s it is because men are not stepping up?  More non-sense.  Many single mom’s are single moms by choice.4) Men suck?  What is wrong with you?  How can you condemn all men?  You are a bigot and it is a sickness, I suggest you see a doctor.There are many upstanding men and many upstanding women.  Do some “suck”?  Yes, some men AND some women fail to do what is right, but your sexist bigotry is un-Chrisitan and immoral.

                • Alecto

                   Defending women does not equate with attacking men.  Society does not consist exclusively of the men in your church, but I am glad to read it. 

                  Apparently the hyperbole only works in one direction – men continue to castigate all women, but we’re not allowed to do the same. 

                  I am a bigot?  Wow?  I suggest you are the one with the blind prejudice.  Whatever you choose to do about it is up to you. 

                • Alecto

                   One more thing, had you bothered to thoroughly read the thread, you would have seen that David first wrote “Men suck”.  I was merely using his words. 

        • Michelle

          It’s sad you understand things this way. Actually, nothing is farther from the truth. Because women set the bar in relationships, then there comes the greater responsibility for women to behave accordingly. Men have problem with lust? It would help if women would act dignified and dress modestly. The harm has come with the feminist mentality that states that women should be able to dress immodestly AND then expect men to respect them. Now, that’s surely a double standard!  – The late Archbishop Fulton Sheen stated that “woman is the measure of the level of our civilization”. The moral level of any society is formed by women – Which is why the devil went after Eve FIRST. If he could get her to fall, then Adam would follow.  It’s actually interesting too you believe that Catholics claim women are superior to men since those outside the Church have always accused the Church of suppressing women and being anti woman. Bottom line is that women and men have a great and important role to play in society. Both are needed, and both need to be holy, because as St Catherine of Sienna is well know for stating “Be who God meant you to be and you will set the world on fire”. We are both called to holiness, both in our own distinct way. The reason men feel worthless today is because the feminist movement has degraded men by at the same time degrading women.

          • David Casson

            The thing is that I do not believe Catholics have historically claimed that women are superior to men. I believe this is something that has started to happen recently and is the result of feminist influence on Catholic culture. In fact, in my opinion, we Catholics generally are influenced very deeply by the culture around us, so that it takes a lot of work for us to extricate ourselves from it. And if this is true… well, feminism is arguably one of the most powerful cultural forces at work today. Men are developing an inferiority complex, and women a superiority complex. I don’t believe this comes from Catholicism. I believe it comes from feminism. And I believe Catholics — Catholic men above all, for men seem to be more eager to denounce themselves than women are to denounce them, and that’s saying something — wind up using Catholic theology to support what are basically feminist ideas. For example we want to know why Satan went after Eve first. It seems to me that if we were in the opposite cultural situation, that if men walked around deprecating women, and women walked around deprecating themselves, and if everywhere you went women threw each other under the bus because of an almost pathological self-loathing, we would probably find people using Catholic theology to support the idea that Eve was attacked first because she was inferior to Adam. This is not to say there isn’t an answer to why Eve was attacked first — of course there is; it’s just that I find the Eve-was-better answer highly suspect because it so matches the particular zeitgeist of our day, which is contemptuous of men. Does Tradition back this interpretation? Or is it only in the first decade of the third millennium that this answer has appeared, this day in which feminism has almost totally triumphed over Western civilization? Is the answer feminist, or is it Catholic? I can prove nothing, Michelle, because I make a terrible theologian, but as you can see I’m highly suspicious this is feminism talking, not Christ’s Bride. I’m open to counter-arguments.

            All this being said…

            Some things you’ve said support the idea that women are morally superior to men as a matter of nature. For example, if women set the bar for the whole of civilization (&c), what reason can there be for this if not the natural moral superiority of women? It seems plainly obvious to me that the truth-value of the first idea depends entirely on the truth-value of the second. Women cannot set the bar for a civilization unless they’re quite simply morally better than men. Is there any other explanation?

            If this is the case, then on a deep level (though not on the more superficial level of practical, day-to-day living), the idea that men and women are complementary sounds tongue-in-cheek. Oh, yes, sure, women and men are complementary: the way a teacher and her student are complementary. Moreover, if you are more moral than me, how can you fail to have more dignity than me? Your morality involves your entire person; it’s a question of who you are. To say that you are moral means that you are coherent, that you stretch toward Christ with your entire being, that you consummate the dignity of the human person. Here we are saying that women are morally superior to men. It seems crystal clear to me that you can’t say this on the one hand, and then say, on the other, that women and men are equal in dignity. 

            Again, I believe today’s Catholics implicitly support the superiority of women. I wish they would say so openly.

  • Pargontwin

    This nicely complements the recent scientific study that found  that men are “hard-wired,” if you will, to respond to visual cues, while visual cues alone are not enough for women.  Or perhaps I should say, this fact of biology, even when we were not consciously aware of it, has always been the underpinning of the social conventions that had women carrying the bulk of the responsibility for chastity in relationships. 

    An example of how this old attitude shaped gentlemen was beautifully portrayed in a second-season episode of the TV show, Rizzoli and Isles:  When walking among dockworkers, Jane Rizzoli is inappropriately touched by one of them.  When told about it, her older male partner, Korsak, becomes very irate and tells the dockworker in no uncertain terms to keep his hands to himself, that Rizzoli is a LADY. 

    Conversely, the modern attitude about casual sex is the one that has harmed women.  Humanae Vitae was downright prophetic when it said it would “objectivize” women; it has downright enslaved us.  While feminists bemoan the older attitude that overlooked men’s immorality while shunning women who behaved the same way, why don’t you ever hear any of them complaining about the way men treat women who WON’T “put out”? 

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  • Alecto

    This will only be meaningful information when women can use it to justify depriving men of their rights as they have done to women throughout history.  In case you were wondering, yes, turnabout is fair play.

  • buckyinky

    1.   The Bible consistently warns men against sexual temptation from women. It rarely warns women against sexual temptation from men.2.  Thus, the Bible is admitting what natural law and various religions
    have recognized for thousands of years – men are, by and large, weaker
    when it comes to resisting sexual temptation than women.

    Wait a second…I’m not so sure about this.  It may be that the Bible speaks only specifically to men about sexual temptation because, by and large, religious instruction is almost always addressed directly to men, especially in the Old Testament (e.g., Proverbs, containing many admonitions for men to stay away from sexual temptation, is basically a father’s instruction for his son). 

    The blanket claim that natural law and historical religion consider men as weaker in the area of sexual temptation is also very doubtful.  Women historically have had fewer opportunities to exercise lustful inclinations; this doesn’t prove that they are less lustful.  With the advent of the glorious sexual revolution, can we say that women have proven themselves particularly chaste once the fetters were removed?

    • Pilgrim

       So, Buckyinky, would you claim, then, that women and men are equally burdened by the temptation to lust?

      • Inblack

        Pilgrim, this is not a proper question.  Are black less intellegent than chinese, are jew greedier that others, are muslims more violent, are gypsies more trustworthy.
        What you are trying to create is a generalization for a stereotype.  You might better ask, are not both men and women burdened by temptation.  
        The focus of the church is the individual’s struggle for goodness and acts of mercy, NOT stereotyping groups. 

        • buckyinky

           I disagree that this is not a proper question.  If it was asked in good faith, which I have every reason to believe is true of Pilgrim, the true answer to it can be very helpful in understanding what tendencies we each have in respect to our sexual nature as male and female.  I can see how an exploration of the question and the answer might aid one in an avoidance of near occasions of sin, for example.

    • buckyinky

       Hello Pilgrim,

      That’s a good question.  I’d hesitate to say they are equally burdened, simply because it’s an impossible thing to measure, men and women being so different.  What causes a woman to lust will most likely present little or no obstacle for a man, and vice versa.  So from the ground, because, for instance, a woman is entirely unaffected by a certain lust which is a pitfall for almost every man, it does not mean that lust does not have different manifestations for women that can affect almost every woman in its own way.  In fact, I’m quite convinced that this is more than likely the reality of things.  It seems to bear itself out to be interpreted this way at least from modern-day experiences.  Women show themselves just about as likely as men to go against reason and violate pledges of fidelity to a spouse.  It seems reasonable that this can be chalked up to lust, and if so, it seems then to be affecting women just about as often as men, even if in different ways.   

      From a different angle, I’ve read at some time some very interesting thoughts from a Vatican cleric, who rated the seven deadly sins according to both sexes’ respective greatest struggles.  For men, I believe lust was rated the highest, but it was not rated highest for women.  Even if this were the case however, are women stronger because their greatest vice is pride or perhaps envy rather than lust?

        

      • Pilgrim

         Good points.  I do understand what you are saying.  With regard to your last point, I think the author of this particular article was not calling men the weaker sex in general, but only with regard to lust.  Whether he is correct in that assertion is another point.  I suppose I have always thought about lust affecting men more than women, but I haven’t thought of women as better or stronger because of this, in the grand scheme of things.  For example, jealousy, among other sins, seems to be a pitfall for women in particular.

        I think you’re right that women are just as likely to leave their spouses, if not more so, than men.  However, I am not convinced that the reason is lust.  Speaking as a woman, and imagining myself in that position, I would think it would be because of the ego, and a craving for love and attention.  This other guy might make a woman feel more “in love” (not quite the same as lust, although it may manifest itself in sexual sin),  and make her feel prettier, more important, more valued, more flattered, that sort of thing.

        Anyway, I’d like to hear more about the seven deadly sins according to both sexes.  I’m open to having my mind changed about all this.

        Thoughts?

      • buckyinky

        I think there might be two different matters relating to the
        article we are trying to discuss.  One is whether men are more likely than
        women to lust, and the other is whether lust is the only thing the authors of
        the article had in mind in labeling men the weaker sex.

        Regarding the first, a definition from the good ol’ reliable Catholic Encyclopedia for lust is
        “The inordinate craving for, or indulgence of, the carnal pleasure which
        is experienced in the human organs of generation.”  The simple and
        straightforward meaning that this definition applies to the sin of lust makes
        me tend to think lust, per se, is in fact a greater weakness for men than for
        women.  There is something in men that particularly enjoys earthy
        pleasures (a good thing, by the way) that can be turned on its head into
        inordinate lust.  This carries over into
        non-sexual matters as well.  For
        instance, I just love my wife’s almond-chicken rice casserole.  It tastes SO good – MMMM!  This zeal for
        earthy pleasures does not seem to be present to the same degree in women from
        what I observe (although chocolate seems to throw a bit of a monkey wrench into
        my theory), and therefore the same weakness to lust is not present either.

        You could be right about the authors meaning men are only weaker specifically
        in the area of lust.  I guess they would have to confirm this for us to be
        sure.  If this is, in fact, all that they meant, the article is very
        misleading in its aim to confine the scope to that specific sin, so much so
        that, absent further clarification from the authors, I’m inclined to think they
        mean it to cover more than simply lust as defined above.  The theme of
        their article seems to be that men are weaker than women as regarding the broad
        spectrum of sexual sins, lust being only one, and a very narrow, aspect of
        this.  The article does not talk very specifically of the carnal pleasure
        involved with sex, but rather the tendency of men and women to infidelity and
        “sleeping around,” regardless of any lust that may be involved in the
        matter.  Their position that men are naturally weaker as regarding the
        broad spectrum of sexual sins appears to be insupportable based on the behavior
        we have seen from women in recent decades. 
        It is a matter of fact that women throughout history in most societies
        have been limited in their opportunity to commit sexual infidelities as
        compared to men.  This has predictably
        resulted in fewer women throughout history committing sexual infidelities, but
        it does not prove that women are stronger in resisting sexual temptations.  In fact, that most societies throughout
        history have seen fit to place boundaries particularly on women regarding
        sexual opportunities – it seems intuitive, to say the least, that this suggests
        women are particularly weak in fighting sexual temptation, thus the need for
        the restraints.     

      • buckyinky

         [Sorry, the line breaks made that difficult to read…didn’t expect the formatting to do that.  Let me try to post again in case it makes it easier on the eyes:]

        I think there might be two different matters relating to the
        article we are trying to discuss.  One is whether men are more likely than
        women to lust, and the other is whether lust is the only thing the authors of
        the article had in mind in labeling men the weaker sex.

        A definition from the good ol’ reliable Catholic Encyclopedia for lust is
        “The inordinate craving for, or indulgence of, the carnal pleasure which
        is experienced in the human organs of generation.”  The simple and
        straightforward meaning that this definition applies to the sin of lust makes
        me tend to think lust, per se, is in fact a greater weakness for men than for
        women.  There is something in men that particularly enjoys earthy
        pleasures (a good thing, by the way) that can be turned on its head into
        inordinate lust.  This carries over into
        non-sexual matters as well.  For instance, I just love my wife’s almond-chicken rice casserole.  It tastes SO good – MMMM!  This zeal for
        earthy pleasures does not seem to be present to the same degree in women from
        what I observe (although chocolate seems to throw a bit of a monkey wrench into
        my theory), and therefore the same weakness to lust is not present either.

        You could be right about the authors meaning men are only weaker specifically
        in the area of lust.  I guess they would have to confirm this for us to be
        sure.  If this is, in fact, all that they meant, the article is very
        misleading in its aim to confine the scope to that specific sin, so much so
        that, absent further clarification from the authors, I’m inclined to think they
        mean it to cover more than simply lust as defined above.  The theme of
        their article seems to be that men are weaker than women as regarding the broad
        spectrum of sexual sins, lust being only one, and a very narrow, aspect of
        this.  The article does not talk very specifically of the carnal pleasure
        involved with sex, but rather the tendency of men and women to infidelity and
        “sleeping around,” regardless of any lust that may be involved in the
        matter.  Their position that men are naturally weaker as regarding the
        broad spectrum of sexual sins appears to be insupportable based on the behavior
        we have seen from women in recent decades. 
        It is a matter of fact that women throughout history in most societies
        have been limited in their opportunity to commit sexual infidelities as
        compared to men.  This has predictably resulted in fewer women throughout history committing sexual infidelities, but
        it does not prove that women are stronger in resisting sexual temptations.  In fact, that most societies throughout
        history have seen fit to place boundaries particularly on women regarding
        sexual opportunities – it seems intuitive, to say the least, that this suggests
        women are particularly weak in fighting sexual temptation, thus the need for the restraints.     

        • Pilgrim

           Hi, Buckyinky – I appreciate the time you took to explain your thoughts, and they definitely make sense to me.  I think I was generalizing too much, and perhaps the authors did the same, in thinking of lust and sexual sins as synonymous. You pointed out clearly that they are not and that the discussion is not as simple as that.  It’s not helpful to men or women in this discussion to misunderstand the differences in the sexes.  Thanks for helping me see it a little more clearly.

          I would question your last point that.  Rather than boundaries being placed on account of women being particularly weak in fighting sexual temptation, perhaps boundaries were places because of men’s respect for women, and also because women ARE the weaker sex physically.  To place them in situations where they would not be taken advantage of easily would be proper and respectful.

          Which brings me to another thought – how stupid for feminists to claim that it was so “unfair” for women to be held to higher sexual standards than men, and so work for the lowering of those standards.  “Men find it much easier to sleep around and be immoral, and dangit, I want to do that, too!”  Psssh.  Maybe argue that men should have somehow been held more accountable, but not that women should be held less accountable.  Anyway, I digress…

          • buckyinky

            I would question your last point that.  Rather than boundaries being
            placed on account of women being particularly weak in fighting sexual
            temptation, perhaps boundaries were places because of men’s respect for
            women, and also because women ARE the weaker sex physically.  To place
            them in situations where they would not be taken advantage of easily
            would be proper and respectful.

            Yes I agree, good thought.  It could be both of our assertions are true in that particular sexual restraints on women throughout past societies served as a guard against the sexual weaknesses in both women and men, killing two birds with one stone.  While the egalitarians loathe this reality, the reverse (that is, particular sexual restraints on men, but not on women) would not accomplish the same desired effect, even if they were practicable.

            Actually the fact that the reverse is not practicable is very important.  A society where the bulk of women are restrained sexually will inevitably see some women unrestrained by accident (a few will always fall through the cracks).  The damage to society will be minimal in that these unrestrained women, being relatively few, but still practicing the natural feminine tendency to be discriminating in sexual selection, will tend not to corrupt many men.  If the reverse were put into practice, with the bulk of men being put under particular sexual restraint and not the women, the inevitable few men that would “slip through the cracks” will wreak more damage to society by corrupting basically as many women (they being unrestrained) as they possibly can, the natural masculine sexual tendency being very undiscriminating.

            The reality throughout history, at least as I have understood it, has been that societies have placed a particular restraint on women in sexual matter, and have not placed as strong of restraints on men, but haven’t ignored their chastity as unimportant either.  While the cad may not have had as much social stigma as the slut throughout history, neither has he been looked upon very favorably.  This seems to me a natural ordering of society, with perhaps societies that have been more Christian emphasizing more so the inherent virtue of chastity for all, regardless of the natural tendency of things.  All these restraints, for both men and women, seem to have been thrown out the window in total in recent decades however.  We live in crazy and perilous times. 

          • buckyinky

             To clarify one thing that I thing ties back to the article:  I think it is a common fallacy, a perhaps a fallacy of the authors of this article, to equate the discriminating nature of feminine sexuality with a tendency toward chastity.  By definition, to be discriminative is to require many conditions fulfilled before giving consent.  In the case of feminine sexual discrimination, it does not follow that these conditions are necessarily the conditions of chastity.  I would argue that the natural feminine state is at best indifference whether her discriminating nature is also chaste, and that chastity is as much a struggle for her as it is for the man; she needs grace to practice it just as much as he. 

            Her struggle is more subtle perhaps than the man’s, he seeming always to sin in matters of chastity with abandon.  But the fact that she calculates and discriminates before sinning against chastity does not make her state any better in virtue. 

            • Pilgrim

               Yes, I can agree with that.  If women just naturally tended towards chastity, we wouldn’t be in the predicament we’re in, would we?

              And interesting thoughts on how the world wold be if the tables were turned and the attempt was made to place restraints on men more so than women.  I’d never thought of that.

      • buckyinky

         Well, that didn’t work much better – oh well.

  • finishstrongdoc

    Not to mention that the subtlest creature in the Garden of Eden approached the woman first, not the man , knowing that if he took the morally stronger first, the weaker would easily follow. Men and women are equal in dignity, but different in gifts. Having lost the Ideal Woman, the man lost heart quickly, and surrendered to knowing evil, whatever the consequences. Instructive, then, is what God promises the man & woman, and foretells of salvation coming *through* a woman (Gen 3:15), just as salvation was lost *through* a woman. Jesus was tempted like any man, but didn’t sin; God chose to become human through the weaker moral vessel (manhood) to accomplish our complete salvation. Jesus, the Warrior, fought and won. Mary, the Model of Purity, showed humankind what Jesus was fighting for.

    • David

      Seems like we’ll find any excuse to bash men these days.

      • Michelle

        We do live in a male bashing culture. You can thank the feminist movement for that!

      • Alecto

        Is that figuratively or as so many poor women are, actually? 

        • David Casson

          What?

    • Pilgrim

       Finishstrongdoc – you haven’t given any reasons/proof that women are morally stronger.  I have a hard time believing that.  You’re right that men and women are equal in dignity, different in gifts.  But I think we should add that we’re equally fallen.  “Morally stronger” makes it sound like women aren’t as fallen as men.  I can tell you as a woman that we are definitely just as fallen.  I think the devil had his reasons for approaching the woman first, but her moral superiority wasn’t one of them.

      • finishstrongdoc

        It is instructive that God addressed the woman first in assigning penance for disobedience, and that God became man through a woman. God does things in the most perfect way.

         By conquering the woman first, Satan was offering (it seems to me) a challenge to God that seems to suggest that he had destroyed the one of the two with the greater service to offer to God; that of being the gender through which humankind would always issue forth. God didn’t destroy this greater gift, but put pain in childbirth as the the consequence for sin.

         Cain offered produce of the ground as sacrifice for sin, while Abel offered from the flocks. God recognized Abel’s sacrifice, but not Cain’s. Why did God not recognize Cain’s offering? I suggest it’s because he offered that which represented the lesser ( representing man’s penance; to toil) while Abel represented toil and flesh (toil and pain and blood, representing the woman’s penance), the greater.

        By stepping back from one’s gender, and trying to see things through the eyes of the Bride of Christ, things come into clearer focus. It is quite easy to see that the gender with the more attachment to spiritual matters is normally the female.I don’t offer these thoughts as anything other than speculation, but they certainly don’t come from a desire to “bash” my own gender. 

        I submit my thoughts to the judgment of the Church, which holds, for me, the last word on these matters .

  • Michelle

    As the woman goes, society goes. Prime example: Eve vs Mary. And in more common terms, “the hand that rocks the craddle rules the world”. I have always believed that women set the bar in a relationship.

  • Rowan Wood

    It’s disappointing to see men abdicate their own responsibility in chastity. It takes two, after all.

  • PD

    I don’t think the Bible is sexist in spirit. But I think the English translation of the original Aramaic and Greek text is the problem. Genderless words for “human” gave way to “man”, and I strongly believe certain parts of the original texts were never translated into English. How could a woman have been CAUGHT IN ADULTERY ALONE, for example? 

    Of course, the Bible speaks highly of women and I think every Christian woman should proudly stand tall as a treasured child of God through Jesus Christ, no matter what the world makes us feel.

  • Guest

    I don’t think women are less lustful than men. Women have always had societal checks on their ability to satisfy their lust. Pregnancy outside of marriage, punishments for adultery or fornication that were far harsher than the punishments for men, fathers who exercised tight control to keep their daughters ‘marriageable’, husbands who controlled their wives for fear of them getting pregnant by other men and raising offspring not their own, female mutilation, etc. The list of serious complications and restraints for women to have sex outside of marriage put a much greater damper on the exercise of their urges than what existed for men.

    But I do think women and men are lustful for different reasons. Men are more interested in the satisfaction of their physical lust. Women are more interested in sex as a way of satisfying their lust to feel loved. Just because the motivations are different doesn’t mean the urge to satisfy them are less intense. I actually think the whole “it’s harder for men to be chaste” is nothing but an excuse for male bad behavior. I especially resent the muslim view that men need to be protected from their own lust by forcing women to wear rediculous garments. IMO, that attitude demeans men by making them little more than animals when it comes to their sexual urges.

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  • TheZore5

    When I first looked at the pkoto at the beginning of the article it appeared to be a bird with spread wings, silhouetted against the blue sky—maybe a fitting way to see what true male/female relationships grounded in love for the other’s full person can become–wings of true freedom to know each other and benefit from growing together.

  • Inblack

    Pathetic.
    This kind of sexist anti-man bigotry has no place in the Catholic church.1) The bible speaks to men because the bible speaks to men.2) Having made a logic error to start, you use it to reinforce your unproven proposition that natural law recognizes this “fact”.
    3) This is as bigoted as calling jews greedy or calling blacks violent.

    There is no place in the Church or civil society for this kind of smug bigotry.

    • Cord_Hamrick

       Eh, I’d say, give it a second reading. I think the title is an attention-grabber which doesn’t quite reflect the intent of the article.

  • Carson Weber

    Yay.. another piece of media denigrating men.  This time… in Crisis Magazine?

  • Guy

    I don’t understand why pleasure is even a part of God’s design because it creates temptation to sin.  If sex could merely be what it’s supposed to be (union of spouses and procreation of children) and not confer pleasure then there would be no difficulty at all of men being the weaker sex in this respect.

    • Cord_Hamrick

       Ah, but that would not be God’s style, and it wouldn’t make adequate allowances for our fallenness.

      Consider: Are there not important duties — perhaps something like balancing your checkbook or changing the oil in your car or the air filter in your A/C — that you find difficult to remember to do on time? Things that because you have no natural instinct which drives you to do them, and no direct pleasure in doing them, you could easily forget to do until they were long-overdue and problems began to accrue as a result?

      Well, just look at what happened to the population of Europe when people became able to easily have the pleasure of sex without the trouble of childrearing! In some places the whole social model, certainly the fiscal sustainability of the welfare state, has collapsed from low birth rates.

      I think it’s fair to argue that:

      (a.) It’s God’s style to give us pleasure in doing that which is good: Eating, breathing, sleeping, procreating. These would exist even in an unfallen world, not because they’d be necessary to drive unfallen beings to do good things, but because they’re a bonus and our God is generous; and,

      (b.) In a fallen world, if sex and childrearing and relationship and family-building were not instinct-driven and often pleasurable, we selfish creatures would never bother with them, and the whole race would have died out eons ago.

      So, yeah, I know what you mean: The sexual instinct in humanity is so powerful, and our ability to exercise self-control so weakened by our fallen nature and concupiscence, that it seems like it’d be easier to just do without the unruly raptures and the instincts which underlie them, and procreate as dispassionately as we floss.

      But it’s a fallen world. All too many people don’t floss, or floss enough. I think about the implications of that, and it occurs to me that, for all the happy ridiculousness of sex, maybe God knew what He was doing.

  • Rebecca

    I have to say, as a woman, I find this piece somewhat offensive.  It basically argues that men are too weak to control their sexual urges and if they screw up, it’s because they can’t help it!  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that women shouldn’t dress and behave modestly, or stop sleeping around, you’ll get no argument from me on that score.  But I’m tired of this whole premise. 
    It’s been said that the Victorian era had this pathological fear of female sexuality; I am now beginning to suspect that the modern world actually has a deep, pathological fear of male sexuality. 

    • Cord_Hamrick

       Rebecca:

      Your interpretation of the intent of the piece doesn’t square with mine. Are you sure that the authors are trying to argue that men are helpless? (“…they can’t help it!”) Do you see any sign that the authors wish to absolve men of all moral responsibility for sexual holiness? I don’t.

      Are they not rather…

      (a.) showing that the accusation that Scripture dismisses the dignity of women is very arguable and tenuous; and,

      (b.) showing that as we strategize our way towards both individual holiness and healthy male-female relations, we must take into account the relative strengths and weaknesses of each group?

      That interpretation of the authors’ intent seems at least equally in accord with their words, and a more charitable and reasonable thing to assume they have in their hearts.

      I can’t know, of course, but I wonder if the attention-grabbing title applied to the piece (not necessarily applied by the authors, you know, although it may have been) might not have slightly  prejudiced you against its content?

  • Ashley

    Wow I really liked this article and it helped me view this in a better way! Personally, I think even if woman were modestly dressed, waited until marriage, there would always be ONE guy who would try to find somebody to sleep with or somebody to butter up to get them to sleep with him… But I do believe that decent men, if woman make them wait, they will wait :D and it may make them better people who knows? Plus I’m sure guys are attracted to beautiful woman who are also VERY beautiful on the inside. I think guys are attracted to woman with a godly spirit or who possess the fruits of the Spirit which are self-control and all those good things.

    This was an interesting article! :D And it gave me a new perspective. And it helps me realize my role as a woman.

  • Bono95

    The actions of the Kenyan women sound a lot like those that caused the English “Reformation”. Anne Boelyn refused to be simply Henry VIII’s mistress. She wanted to be queen, and refused to have intercourse with Henry until he’d gotten Catherine of Aragon out of the way.

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