A while back, another blog posted a metaphor for how men struggle with lust - due to women who dress immodestly. I think there is some merit to it. I am paraphrasing, but the metaphor goes something like this...
Women who are concerned with good health and exercise have to really struggle not to eat the chocolate (or other tempting food they like) which is sitting out on the counter. It takes all the will power a woman has to say no, stick to healthy habits, and put the chocolate aside. Now, imagine if someone followed you around every day, with chocolate, and offered it to you. Over time, your will power might break down, unless you were constantly vigilant. This is what it is like for a man struggling with lust due to women who dress immodestly.While there is some merit to the analogy, I want to point out that if someone is following you around and tempting you there is always the St. Paul option (see Acts 16:18).
Second, it is always a choice to say "yes" to the chocolate and allow the temptation to fester. The desire, itself, for chocolate is not the problem. It is what you choose to do with that desire that is the problem.
Finally, women aren't generally following men around and tempting them. Rather, the man's eyes are wandering and the man needs to have more custody of them.
I have heard many excuses for the men who can't control their lust:
- "If she didn't dress that way, then she wouldn't be seen as an object."
- "Men can't control themselves when women dress so provocatively"
- "Just boys being boys"
In order to be clear, let us define lust. Some think it is any sexual thought about someone else. It is not. Rather, lust is the entertainment of sexual desires for a selfish satisfaction. Here is how JPII put it:
"Reducing the riches of the perennial call to communion of persons...to mere satisfaction of the sexual 'need' of the body."In other words, lust is using another person sexually (whether they know it or not).
The Catechism says:
"2351 Lust is disordered desire for or inordinate enjoyment of sexual pleasure. Sexual pleasure is morally disordered when sought for itself, isolated from its procreative and unitive purposes."So, lust isn't just a thought that pops into your brain without you choosing it. Rather, you take that thought, entertain it, and use it as your own. This makes the thought an act of your will - you choose it. If you don't take ownership of it, then you can't be forgiven nor can you start to work on real chastity.
So, regardless of a woman's ignorance, imprudence, lack of modesty, and bad choices - it is NEVER A WOMAN'S FAULT YOU CHOSE TO LUST AFTER HER!
Let me say it again - despite a woman's reckless behavior, lack of concern for your chastity, failure to show charity to her brother - the man who lusts is the one who is to blame for the lust.
This is not to say that women should wear immodest clothes (see this post for the argument against immodesty). In fact, immodesty can be sinful, just as lust is.
Rather, it is an argument that shifting the blame of a man's lust to women who dress in a certain manner is a lie. The truth is if we love our sisters, we men will step up and take responsibility for our choices and our need to work on self-control.
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