The Joy of Thinking

What came first for you?

“There may be those who have first felt mere sexual appetite for a woman and then gone on at a later stage to ‘fall in love with her.’ But I doubt if this is at all common. Very often what comes first is simply a delighted preoccupation with the Beloved–a general, unspecified pre-occupation with her in her totality. A man in this state really hasn’t leisure to think of sex. He is too busy thinking of a person. The fact that she is a woman is far less important than the fact that she is herself” (C.S Lewis, The Four Loves in The Beloved Works of C.S Lewis (Grand Rapids, Family Christian Press), 263).

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4 thoughts on “The Joy of Thinking

  1. Well, here’s an answer from a woman: the preoccupation with him as a person, in his totality. Sexual desire then followed. That’s the norm with most women. The culture likes to take it a given that men are hard-wired exactly the opposite. It’d be nice to find out it’s not true.

  2. I think it might be wrong-headed to parse these things out, but having said that, I can’t think of a time that someone’s appearance has been the first thing that attracted me to a woman.

    Unless you count a smile as ‘appearance.’

    It has, more than once, scared me away (unattainable beauty, that sorta thing).

  3. I think that for the majority of men, the stereotype holds true. There are, of course, exceptions.

    Personally, I would count a smile as “appearance.” It is external beauty.

    I confess that for myself, this is the way I was and still am. The great danger is deceiving ourselves into thinking that sexual attraction is “by nature” wrong. The reality is that male sexual attraction to the appearance of women is inherently “created” good. It is the men themselves who are sinful, not their original humanity (or so the Lutheran Confessions seem to think –FC I).

    The problem (as is always the problem) is the sinful abuse of the healthy male attraction to the female. This abuse is the lack of self-control with regards to it, as well as the idolizing of this attraction through pornography or professed “love” as in “total enfatuation” –which is idolatry. Both of these abuses ignore the reality of the woman’s person, making her but an object to be either coveted or worshiped.

    Sadly, without the Spirit of the Living God, sinful simply cannot man keep himself from these actions which he does not even distinguish, let alone know that they are wrong.

    But on the bright side, through the Truth of the Gospel, Christian men are freed from their abuses and failings to focus on the positive redeemed side of sexual attraction: a healthy marriage.

    I also am not sure I agree that women do not generally pay a good deal of attention to appearance. The male sex symbol is an icon in our culture as well. And from what I have seen in the world, women care a great deal about a man’s externals. It may not always be about a winning smile, but its externals nonetheless.

    And again, I don’t know that this is “inherently” bad. It is being deceived that externals reveal truth or value that is the real problem. We live in a world that has externals, and we are not gnostics. We don’t condemn the world for its physicality. The struggle is how to live in a physical world as sinners who don’t want to sin. Hence, we need the cross.

    Thus my thoughts…

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