A somewhat sweaty, tight-skirted, dancing woman with a sexy pout and come-hither eyes.
A young couple on a date, sexual tension electric in the air, barely able to keep their hands off of each other.
A single woman, chastely dressed (complete with cross necklace), kneeling in prayer (and clearly uninterested in sex).
A married couple, dressed in loosefitting sweats and cuddling on the couch, spending a tepid night watching a movie (without a bit of that aforementioned crackling sexual tension).
These kinds of images surround us, informing our cultural perspective on women and sex. But do these two-dimensional stereotypes stand up to real-life scrutiny? Is that racy, seductive woman dancing really the epitome of female sexuality? Does that young, unmarried, and highly-hormonal couple really have the corner on sex drive while the boring, married, been-there-done-that couple’s sex life obviously pales in comparison? Is the Christian single woman—who has committed to stay sexually abstinent—really devoid of desire and sexual longing?
Honesty and life experience both lead us to answer with a resounding no. These flimsy stereotypes serve us poorly, doing little to help us understand and value the complexities of our God-given sexuality. The sexy harlot versus the chaste virgin motif is simply a false dichotomy, for we all are sexual beings—and the drives and desires within us are much more nuanced than the stereotypes suggest. And while the sex-driven single and the sexually-dull housewife may hint toward real temptations women face in different stages of life, they are little more than clichés when viewed in light of the whole and healthy sexuality God has created for both women and men.1
Beyond Harlots and Virgins
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