My name is Jory Micah and I love sex.
Wow, that is embarrassing to say. I feel like I am admitting to alcoholism for the first time at an AA meeting. I wonder when the Church made it weird for women to say that they love sex. It doesn’t seem odd for a male minister to get up in front of a crowd and give “sex talks” to an audience, who are sitting on the edge of their seats, of course.
So, why is it uncomfortable for a female minister to give “sex talks” and to say without apology that she enjoys sex with her husband and lots of it?
Several months ago I received an email from a man who was very respectful. We had been emailing about theology and such for a while, so I knew he was not making a pass at me and was genuinely asking me a serious question. He said,
“So, has anyone ever pointed out to you that your dimples are adorable? Do you think that, while unspoken, this is one of the problems that men have in the church when it comes to younger, female pastors? That they simply can’t handle being attracted to the preacher? I’m sure you’ve had to remind more than one person that you’re married (ahem), but thanks for the compliment. I’m curious, though, if you’ve ever thought about this in context with the rest of your work.”
I sort of brushed him off and gave him a super “feminist” answer,
“Yes, I have considered this, but this is something men will just have to get over because it is not fair to discriminate against someone based on their looks.”
Later that evening I chuckled while I told my husband about the conversation, and he replied, “That is actually a really good question and point.” Well, that’s annoying of you to say, I thought.
In that moment though, I realized that I did not take my “theology buddy’s” question seriously enough. I still stood on my super “feminist” answer, but I needed to wrestle a bit more.
What are we female preachers supposed to do, put bags over our heads every time we preach? I can’t hide my dimples, for goodness’ sakes!
I know; whenever I get asked to preach, I will go out dancing the night before with my girlfriends, wear extra eyeliner and red lipstick, plaster my teased curls with hairspray, go to bed late without washing my makeup off or brushing my hair (or my teeth), roll out of bed the next morning, throw on some sort of moo moo dress, grab my Bible and head out the door. That ought to scare everyone into repentance!
All jokes aside, could the problem lie with the idea that Church has oversexualized women?
Could it be that we have created a culture that focuses too much on the exteriors, rather than the heart of the preacher? I mean, even the guy preachers are into those “hip pastor jeans.” You know, the ones with the designs and crosses on the back pockets (Note: the ones that are actually NOT hip anymore).
We gals could easily ask why these preachers are trying to draw attention to their behinds. I am all about dressing modestly when preaching, but perhaps it’s time that we get our heads out of the gutter and into the Word of God. Female preachers should not have to dress in a cape to get a little bit of R-E-S-P-E-C-T.
The truth of the matter is that the Church has been missing out on the female voice from the pulpit for a very long time and we have a few things to say about sex too.
First of all, a lot of us love sex and it is a myth that all women hate sex. It is also a lie that all husbands have stronger sexual appetites than all wives. I learned that from a women’s Bible study I was involved in years ago. Most of the women were frustrated because they wanted more sex than their husbands did.
Lies breed shame in telling the truth, which is why many Christian lay women and preachers alike are embarrassed about their sexual needs and desires.
If men in the pews cannot even get past our dimples enough for us to teach them about communion or something very unsexy, how will they get past the fact that we have breasts, when talking about sexier topics? The Church continues to receive its sex ed from a male perspective only and then we wonder why there is so much confusion and unbalanced information.
Christian married couples need to hear both male and female preachers talk about sex.
A woman can offer a perspective on having a healthy sex life that a man cannot, and vice versa. We must teach boys and young men to look at the heart of a woman, rather than her body and face, so that when they become men, they can listen to a “pretty preacher” without being distracted by her looks.
In the past, the Church has put an unreasonable amount of responsibility on girls and women to dress like nuns, but this is just not realistic in our culture (unless of course, one is a nun). Obviously, we should seek to dress appropriately, but women cannot be held responsible for men who have lust problems, and female preachers cannot quench their callings because of the way they look.
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I don’t know who wrote this but note #5:
Ten Reasons Men Should Not be Ordained Pastors
10. A man’s place is in the army.
9. For men who have children, their duties might distract them from the responsibilities of being a parent.
8. Their physical build indicates that men are more suited to tasks such as chopping down trees and wrestling mountain lions. It would be “unnatural” for them to do other forms of work.
7. Man was created before woman. It is therefore obvious that man was a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment, rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. This is easily demonstrated by their conduct at football games and watching basketball tournaments.
5. Some men are handsome; they will distract women worshipers.
4. To be ordained pastor is to nurture the congregation. But this is not a traditional male role. Rather, throughout history, women have been considered to be not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more frequently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.
3. Men are overly prone to violence. No really manly man wants to settle disputes by any means other than by fighting about it. Thus, they would be poor role models, as well as being dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
2. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep paths, repair the church roof, change the oil in the church vans, and maybe even lead the singing on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the Church.
1. In the New Testament account, the person who betrayed Jesus was a man. Thus, his lack of faith and ensuing punishment stands as a symbol of the subordinated position that all men should take.
It is a symptom of our culture to objectify women which is deeply engrained in church culture as well. When women are sidelined because of the difficulties they may pose to some men, then these men will never be challenged to grow beyond their inappropriate response to women. Women have had to deal with fancying male Christian speakers for years so this is not something that should hinder women speaking/leading. And what about those who prefer the same sex? Struggling with the looks of the speaker is not an issue confined to men!
Having said that, I do think women need to think carefully about how they dress up front – just as men should do. No need to make life more difficult for other people than it has to be – you can’t do anything about your physical attributes but you can choose not to draw attention to them and where possible, this is something you should do – clearly you can’t do much about your dimples (nor should you try) but you can make sure your knickers for example aren’t showing! As I had to tell a female friend of mine at college once – she was prone to wave her arms around. If she wanted to wanted to throw her arms above her head then she had to think more carefully about her dress and how it reacted when she did this! She still dresses adventurously but adopts a longer hem length when speaking!
After all, who wants someone to be thinking of your body/outfit when you want them to think about your words you’ve spent hours crafting and praying over?
Totally agree! 🙂
I have been a professional counselor for almost 35 years. You would not believe the number of women I have counseled who have told me that they lust after their pastor. It is a problem for women too. Hence, the argument that a woman pastor will distract is off-base. It’s a human problem not a gender problem.
A bit of trivia (I can’t verify the truth of this statement)…my understanding is the reason why there is a screen making the feet of the organist difficult to see was because it prevented men in the congregation from lusting after her ankles. 🙂
Such great points!
I wonder if we struggle sometimes (men and women) because we lust or are attracted to “power people”.
Ya, I think so!
I also counseled a young man who was struggling with same-sex attraction. He lusted after his male pastor…
Yes, another good point.
Great, great, great, great, GREAT!
Thank you Parker. Hey, sorry I have not got back to you about doing your show. Will you email me open dates you currently have (as of now) and I will get back to you. Perhaps sometime early December?
This is really good. My wife and I had a similar conversation just this morning
Thanks Scott! 🙂
“We must teach boys and young men to look at the heart of a woman, rather than her body and face, so that when they become men, they can listen to a “pretty preacher” without being distracted by her looks.” Amen! It is a culturally ingrained reaction.
I agree that it is mostly cultural.
I disagree. Men tend to experience sexuality more visually than women and tend to be more sexually attracted based on appearance, NOT because of culture but because of biology. We shouldn’t force boys to be more like girls just because you don’t understand male sexuality.
We should teach boys boys that it’s ok to be boys and it’s ok to experience sexuality the way they were designed to, at the same time we should teach them to be masters of their desires and not allow their desires to master them. Our biological responses and brain wiring are ok, but we should be more than just that. We should be able to learn from a woman preaching without being distracted by our base desires, and understand that it’s OUR desires to control, not her appearance. That’s part of what it means to be a real man.
Very well said, “Yep”.
Well, I really don’t think that men being so visual in church has anything to do with church culture. It has much more to do with the inherent physiological, biological wiring in men. Males get a testosterone dowsing in the womb, which completely rewires the brain for developing spacial skills, compartmentalizing, competing for turf and hierarchy, and igniting the visual circuitry (Louann Brizendine, “The Male Brain”). (Female babies do not get this dowsing of testosterone, allowing their brains to develop super high abilities in the areas of communication, emotional memory, reading faces and tone of voice, and relational connection.) Males get this dowsing again at age 13 or 14, which lights up the visual circuitry and sex drive even more. The area of the brain devoted to sex drive is 2 1/2 times larger in men due to the male hormones & hard wiring of the brain (Louann Brizendine, “The Male Brain”). I believe this was all God’s design, of course, because He wired us different on purpose. I guess my point is that I don’t believe Church culture is to blame for men being so visual. What men DO have to learn is how to manage their hard wiring, and not let it dominate and control them. There is no “off switch” for men being visual, but they can certainly develop some character and maturity in how they handle it. And you’re right that our young men certainly need to be taught to pay attention to the heart and who people are inside. Hope I didn’t offend anyone :/
Thanks for sharing your perspective! 🙂
How do you explain and deal with women who are more visual and spatial and much less nurturing? Not all women fit in your box. I guess I don’t fit in your church either. My God given gifts were buried for years. No more. Move over and let me in, I’m going to accomplish great things.
Tendencies that apply to the majority of a group are not the same thing as “a box” that ALL people in said group fit into. Men tend to experience sexuality more visually than women, tend to more be more sexually attracted based on appearance, and tend to have higher libido than women. All mostly due to testosterone and how the male brain is wired.
In fact I would guess that Jory’s experience of women with higher libido than their husbands was a group of older women around age 40. That’s when testosterone declines in men and increases in women, so for the first time in their lives women experience a libido approaching that of what men have experienced their entire lives. But even still the increase in libido experienced by most women in that instance still pales in comparison to the libido of men at the height of their testosterone levels.
I am sorry, but I don’t buy this stuff. These “science” arguments don’t align with reality and no, they were all women under 30 who had higher sex drives than their husbands.
These “science arguments” are biological facts. They’re not opinions that you can just disagree with. They’re facts that make up reality.
But thanks for clarifying the age of those women. I was actually surprised by that. Just goes to show how anecdotal experiences aren’t the same as scientific facts, because someone could easily have that experience that particular group and mistakenly think it’s representative of men and women as a whole.
I know the “facts” you name. I have studied them too. But, they are generalizations and I question the research now.
New things are being discovered in science all of the time. Even if one set of facts are true, there may be an entirely additional set of facts that add to our overall understanding. It doesn’t surprise me at all Jory that the group of women were under 30.
Exactly, science is ever evolving…
How do you know that scientists aren’t experiencing particular groups of men w/ high libidos and women w/ low libidos and mistakenly thinking that group represents the whole?
That’s how research works. You get a group of participants that represents the general population (but even that’s not completely accurate b/c “representativeness” is based on certain criteria and different studies may have different criteria). Then they generalize their results to the whole of a population, based on their sample group.
There’s research showing women think about sex more than men think about sex. There’s also research showing the opposite result.
Exactly, this is why I don’t just accept social science blindly anymore.
Yes I see your point. I think where we get into trouble is trying to compare apples to apples, when they are really apples to oranges. It’s not necessarily that men think about sex more or women think about sex more, it’s that they approach sex completely differently, and are just wired differently. For women, it is inherently tied to emotional and relational connection, to the state of the hormones, the time of the month, and all kinds of other factors. For men, it’s pretty straightforward: visual and physical. Can you imagine a husband going out with his friends all day, and not communicating with his wife at all, then when he comes home he watches TV for an hour, then he wants to be physically intimate with her? How would that go over? Not at all! But if you flip the script, and the woman is gone all day and doesn’t communicate, and then comes home and watches TV and then wants to be physically intimate, the guy will be all for it! We’re just different, and we really should learn to embrace our differences. It’s not that one is better than the other, it’s that God made us to fit perfectly together like two pieces of a puzzle.
Aaron, I totally disagree with this. I used to think this was true until I got married. For my husband, it is for sure more about emotions than straight up visual and physical. So, I know first hand, this is not accurate. If he is the exception, then fine. But, I would venture to say with about 3 billion men in the world, millions of men are like my hubby and don’t care for these stereotypes.
Oh ok, I can see where some of your perspective is coming from in that case. It definitely sounds like he is an exception in this area. And there’s nothing wrong with that. God wired him that way. That’s just not the majority of guys in my experience. But there’s a place for everyone, for sure. And I’m glad you two fit well together. Well, I’ll stop blowing up your comment page and move on. Blessings. Wish you the best!
God bless Aaron! 🙂
Sorry that you don’t buy the science. I do. Louann Brizendine’s books “The Male Brain” and “The Female Brain” are full of incredible research and info, as well as Dr. Caroline Leaf’s book, “He Said She Said.” Dr Caroline Leaf is also a Christian author and speaker based out of Gateway Church. One has a Christian approach and one has a secular approach. But both have been studying the brain for decades. I also realize there are always exceptions, and didn’t mean to say ALL men or ALL women are a certain way. Anyway, I was just sharing my thoughts on it. Like I replied to Susan, I was not trying to say that I don’t believe in female speakers or ministers, regardless of how attractive. I am definitely all for it! Blessings
Hey Aaron. Of course, I am aware of the science and also Dr. Caroline’s research. The thing about science is that we like to say it is “fact,” but usually the conclusions are “theory” based on facts…Often theory changes because the scientist did not have all the facts when the theory was created. I think this research needs a lot of growth before I will buy into it like I buy into gravity. Thanks for being for female ministers! 🙂
Susan, you are right that some women are wired more visually and with greater spatial skills. I certainly didn’t mean to make you feel like I was putting you in a box. As a general rule, men are more wired that way. But certainly there are always exceptions. And you would certainly fit and be welcome in my church 🙂 I was not trying to make a “This is how it should be in church” kind of statement. I am ALL for female ministers, leaders, and speakers, regardless of what they look like or how they are wired visually, etc. I was just making the case that men tend to be biologically wired a certain way, and we can’t just flip a switch and change that. It happens from the womb and literally affects the development of the brain, hormones, and the body. But yes, not everyone fits into a particular box 🙂 And ALL are loved and ALL have a purpose 🙂
I truly appreciate and understand your perspective. One of the most wonderful worship leaders I ever worked with was a young, attractive woman. Her dress was always very modest but fashionable; she was a wonderful example of godliness and beauty to my two young daughters.
As a pastor, my issue is not with your point – it’s valid – it is with your attitude. In the ministry, should we not always be concerned with those who are “weaker vessels”, “bruised reeds”, or those who are of weaker faith.
The attitude that people should just “get over it” really has no place in the ministry. Like it or not, there are men (and women) in the church who have a problem with lust. Most of them are trying to “get over it”, but to hear that from their preacher is wrong.
I have preached on the subject of sex, as well as had a “Sex Talk” with my congregation. There is nothing wrong with a pastor – male of female – preaching or talking about sex. It is something the church has been lacking for sometime. However, I cannot see any situation from the pulpit where it would be appropriate in mixed company for a pastor to declare “I love sex and a lot of it.” Especially as a young, attractive woman, you are sexualizing yourself in the eyes of many in your congregation and become a stumbling block most the men, regardless of how godly they are.
Tell women in small groups, women’s bible study or other venues it is good to enjoy sex all you want. But when you sexualize yourself to men then callously tell them to “get over it” you are in danger of putting upon them the same oppression you so vehemently resist being put upon women.
just going way, way out on a limb here but I’m thinking that Ms. Micah was talking about sex exclusively with her husband and not, as this post implies, with any willing parishioner on Sunday Afternoon!
Hi Curtis, as I state above, a woman admitting that she loves sex is HUMANIZING herself. It’s a healthy starting point for conversation for married couples if they both accept that sex is great for both men and women. Thinking that sex should be enjoyable for one party and endurable for the other will end up with disappointing results for both.
You would think. 😉
That was a ridiculous and unnecessary comment. How in the world did you come up with that? He was simply saying that she should be concerned with the weaker vessels and not callously say, “Get over it.” We should not compound another brother or sister’s burden just in order to exercise our freedom. It isn’t sexist or legalism, or saying that women should dress like nuns. It is about love, putting the needs of others before our own, having compassion for the weaker vessel raised in an over-sexed culture. How does saying, “That’s your problem. Deal with it,” display the Christ-like love that was displayed on the cross. What beautiful picture of sacrificial love. Jesus, not desiring to drink of that cup, willingly chose to submit to the supreme act if love, saying to the Father “Not my will but your be done.”
Let me be clear, there is nothing wrong with loving sex. There is nothing wrong with dressing in a way that reveals your beauty. It isn’t about right or wrong. It’s about love for our fellow brothers and sisters. It’s about bearing one another’s burdens and not making them feel isolated in their struggle to maintain mental purity.
And she doesn’t have to dress like a nun either. No one is saying that. I’m just saying it not loving to have a “It’s your problem, not mine,” attitude toward lust. It is possible to dress in way that accentuates your beauty, while, at the same time, not becoming a stumbling block for someone struggling with lust.
And, of course, I am not saying that anyone could prevent all lust. You could dress in a robe and veil and some one might lust over what is behind the robe. So, I am not saying that you are responsible for another brother or sister’s lust. I am just saying that you should, in a reasonable way, be considerate of their struggles.
No one wants to desexualize women or thrust the heavy weight of guilt upon them , for something totally beyond their control. Women shouldn’t have to make themselves to plain and unattractive to avoid someone from lusting after them but they should be willing to avoid wearing clothes that reveal more than necessary. It’s not about control. It’s about love.
Jerry – I agree with you, but there has been an imbalance in which those who have “lust problems” are loved more than girls and women who are simply dressing normally. I am trying to correct an imbalance, which is why I am presenting another perspective. I think we are “both” right on this one.
HAHA Curtis…you crack me up! Yes, lots of sex with my husband only.
Hi Chris. I hear you. I really do, but you have assumed to know the intent of my heart, which is a bit of a turn off.
Regardless, I agree with caring about people who struggle with lust, which is why I wrote, “Obviously, we should seek to dress appropriately, but women cannot be held responsible for men who have lust problems…”
However, there has been a massive imbalance in the Church, placing way too much responsibility on women. I don’t believe women should have to dress overly modest due to other people’s sin struggles. When I preach, I do dress overly modest, as most men and women do. But, women can not be held responsible for other people’s struggles. Which has happened for far too long.
So, if a woman dresses normally, and men are lusting over her, that truly is their own personal issue that they should seek pastoral care for.
Hey Jory! Love this! I disagree with anyone who says if a young attractive woman (why does it even matter that she’s young and attractive?) says that she loves sex and lots of it that she is sexualizing herself. On the contrary-SHE IS HUMANIZING HERSELF! We have a heart problem in the world and the church. We’ve been taught that men are the subjects and women are the objects. We as women need to debunk the myth that we don’t care about sexual climax and sex is not a BIG deal to us. It is. There is much healing that needs to take place in the body of Christ. Dehumanizing of women is one of our saddest sins.
Nothing breaks my heart more than a marriage in which the wife rarely/never achieves orgasm because the husband is too worried about his own climax…and then “those men” wonder why some women say they don’t like sex.
It’s funny–over a decade ago my mom told me the same thing when I asked her. She said that it’s a myth that women aren’t as sexual and the resistance comes from a lack of consideration of their needs.(She told me to remember that.) She pointed out that a concern for her needs means she’ll be more interested and a lack of concern will make it easier for her to have roving eyes.(There’s a turning the patriarchal party line on its head! :))
To be honest, I am irritated with this sort of comment from your correspondent. It’s such a moot point and without any theological substantiation.
There are a lot of handsome, charismatic, attractive, appealing leaders out there, both women and men. So? What has that got to do with anything. I’m sure there are many many many women who are attracted to the male preacher on the platform be he fat and hairy, or skinny and forgetful, just because his preaching hits the spot. They say men are attracted to beauty and women are attracted to power. That may or may not be so, but people are attracted to all sorts of things in other people, not just their dimples be they male or female.
There are many reasons to be distracted from the preaching, including thinking about lunch after the service. It’s just too darn convenient, and more evidence of the biased thinking that subverts women’s authority, to say that women are too attractive to be allowed to preach. It’s reasoning that could be used for both genders.
Give me a break!
I hear ya Bev! The fellow is definitely FOR women in ministry…He was asking an honest question that was on his mind. It didn’t bother me, but I do agree with all the points you made.
I agree with jorymicah. I believe it’s about time that we got a female voice from the pulpit addressing not just issues in the church that affect women but even in society
Amen Faith! 😉
Omg I got so mad reading this! I don’t know how you’re able to stay positive and be kind.
“So, has anyone ever pointed out to you that your dimples are adorable? Do you think that, while unspoken, this is one of the problems that men have in the church when it comes to younger, female pastors? That they simply can’t handle being attracted to the preacher? ”
Really?! So they’ve never thought that maybe some make pastors are really hot? I mean one of my pastors growing up was hot but I had to get over that and check my heart if I did “lust” or whatever. Female preachers would be a great thing bc guys have got to realize that they’re not the only ones who face sexual temptation and think about the opposite sex in a certain way. I hatred hearing the phrase “men are visual, that’s why they struggle with lust. Women are more emotional.” I used to wonder what happened with me bc I sure as hell was visual too! These myths are killing the church!
Yes, women struggle with lust too! That is SO true. Sometimes more than dudes. Thanks for bringing this up Elizabeth!
I have noticed for years now complementarian pastors and proponents talk about men’s ravenous sexual appetite compared to the disinterest of women. I’ve often wondered if complementarian theology becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy because the reverse scenario is what I have encountered in many conversations over the last couple of decades with many women in non-hierarchical relationships.
What a cool article. I have NEVER heard this discussed in any way, shape or form. Thanks!
Thanks so much Stephanie! 🙂
I so appreciate the candor and your courage to broach the subject. I would like to comment on the great question from the respectful reader mentioned in your article if I may.
Maybe we could answer our brothers with a similar question. What has half the Church done when they find themselves attracted to the young male preacher with his flashy smile and afternoon shadow? What have many of us done when we noticed how buff our health conscious minister has become or the middle aged preacher with white hair who looks like Richard Gere?
I don’t know about you…but most of us process the attraction, thank God for our spouse, and remember that we are not a brute beast without a moral compass and or a free will. Most of us have been choosing to trust we can find the grace to filter the attraction and still receive from our brother what God may want us to see, hear and know about Him. Is there any reason why our brothers can not do the same?
Or is the Christian formation process different based upon gender?
Great points Angela! So true!
The female pastor at our church dresses provocatively in stretch jeans and tightly fitted tops. It makes me angry that she has succumbed to current popular dress standards and yet she is supposed to be an example of a Godly woman. The female song service crew members also dress sexy in figure bare clothing. This has bled into the church in which young ladies in the audience file the pews scantly clad. I find this interesting as well as disturbing to witness the church being seduced by their own women or “sisters in Christ”.