Archive for August 15th, 2008

15
Aug
08

Pole Position

All righty, then! Mrs. Blue suggested that I needed to stick to the spiritual mostly, and I’ve been good. It’s been what, something like three weeks since I covered a sexual topic as a specific blog post?

I’d say we’re overdue. I am, after all, still Deacon Blue.

So, as you might now have guessed by the title of this post, I am clearly going to talk about either penises or strippers. Since the only penis I really care about is my own (I frankly think women got the much more attractive sexual anatomy and I really don’t like to cogitate on johnsons all that much), that leaves strippers.

Miz Pink touched on the topic of strippers back in her “Pro Sex” post in early June, and I’ll probably end up repeating some of her points, but what I am going to try to do here is twofold (in other words, prepare for a longish post): Try to assess what the biblical view of stripping would be, and try to give some practical relationship-oriented advice for men and women who are dating or married and wonder if a guy going to a strip club is altogether a bad thing. (No, I’m not really going to address whether women seeing male strippers is a bad thing, because I have yet to encounter a man or woman who really worries about any ill effects from that activity; for women, it really seems to be novelty most of the time—a lark—whereas men can take their visits to the strip clubs quite seriously. But you can probably extract at least some of the points here and just change the gender.)

First, let me tackle the biblical, and considering they didn’t have strippers really back in the day, this is going to largely be conjecture. Yes, as Salome showed, there were women who could dance sexy and get men to do some questionable things, but the idea of men just being able to go into a joint and pay for women to get naked for them just didn’t happen, I don’t think. Generally, if men were paying money for nudity, they wanted prostitution to go with it.

Now, Jesus did talk about “lust in our hearts.”

You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. (Gospel of Matthew chapter 5, verses 27-30)

First off, let’s dispense with the idea that you need to remove body parts to save your soul; Jesus is simply trying to illustrate how detrimental sin is and the consequences of it. Also, there is no sin (except blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which is hard to commit by any born-again person and is a topic for entirely another day) that can cause you to lose your salvation once you have it. This doesn’t mean we should actively sin, but if it were possible to sin enough to lose your salvation, Jesus’ sacrifice would mean nothing, because none of us would know how far his atoning death covered us; we’d still be living under the fear of sin and the power of the law instead of grace and faith.

But his comment that looking at a women with lust is a sin is important, as we need to identify sins in our life and root them out whenever and wherever we can. So, what does he mean? Any of my longtime and loyal readers know how I feel about porn (Porn Again Christianity and Porn Again Threat Assessment) and I saw a neat post recently from Black Girl In Maine on the topic, too, titled “You, Your Man and Porn.” Basically, I don’t see porn fitting into the “lust in your heart” thing because you cannot commit adultery with an image of a person you will never meet. Even in Jesus’ day, there had to be women who looked sexy even if they weren’t trying to. To suggest that a man, any man (or woman looking at a hot dude, either) can see someone attractive and not think, “That person is sexy” is ridiculous. It is a stimulus-response and cannot be controlled.

However, the problem comes in if you let yourself fixate on that person. Because a real person in real life is someone with whom you can commit adultery or fornication, particularly if it’s someone you may run into again, that you see pretty regularly, with whom you work, etc. So Jesus’ admonition, I believe, is for us not to let ourselves start playing around with scenarios in our mind because the more we do, the more we are likely to turn them into reality. And if we’re imagining ourselves in detailed sexual activities with someone mentally who is someone we see in real life, that is something that would be sinful because it also comes down to coveting that person.

So, how does this translate to strip clubs? Pretty unclearly, I’m afraid, and I suspect it will have more to do with your intent than anything else. To me, personally, a strip club is simply 3-D interactive porn. I’ve never viewed live Web-cam porn stuff but I have been to strip clubs on several occasions (though only two times since getting married). To me, the biggest difference between the two is that you get to be truly up close to the woman in a strip club. But even so, I have never looked at a stripper and really imagined having sex with her. I allow myself to be aroused, I appreciate the sexiness of it and I like the well-feigned interest in my libido, but I never look at these women as potential bedmates. That just seems, tacky and disrespectful.

No, for me, they are women working hard at doing a job. They put a lot of effort out to entertain me, as any entertainer in a non-sexual venue would as well, and I tip them well for their work and I am polite to them to a fault. I see a good stripper and a good, friendly waiter in much the same light; it’s just that the services being provided are starkly different. (Oddly enough, though, the conversation is often very similar.)

Now, I have known guys who try to get (and very rarely succeed in getting, by the way) a stripper’s phone number. I know of only one person who’s ever gotten a date. Strippers, for their part, generally don’t imagine sex with their customers. Ever. In some ways, they may be less sinful than the men at the clubs, even though they are they ones getting naked.

Some guys, I know, go to the clubs and do have lust in their hearts for these women. And for those who are married, this is a patricularly bad thing. It detracts from, and distracts from, their marriages.

So, it’s context, really. If you’re in a club, you need to be really clear about why you are there. For the most part, though, particularly if you’re married, it’s time to hang up going to the places probably, or doing so on the rarest of rare occasions. The places are expensive, and there are better ways to put your money and your libido to work in a relationship. I went to a club last year (or was it the year before) just out of curiosity, and it just didn’t do anything for me. The women are younger than I would ever date if I were to become single, so the one table dance I got was pretty unmoving for me. The woman was nice though, and I hope her college courses are still going well. Short of attending a bachelor party, I couldn’t imagine much reason I’d enter such a place again. Partly that’s age and my personal form of maturation; partly that’s the Holy Spirit keeping me in check.

Much like with porn, I don’t think strip clubs are by definition bad or good. They are certainly fraught with more peril in terms of potentially acting on sin impulses or “sinning in your heart,” but they are still a far cry from prostitution, which can combine fornication and adultery and several other sins in one package and leave you with a nasty disease. The vast marjority of women have nothing to worry about in terms of their men going off to such places, except that they will come back home wanting some action, most likely. But, still, there is the mental aspect that Jesus warned us about, and it bears watching.

Would Jesus approve of men going to strip clubs (or women for that matter)? No. He also wouldn’t approve of you telling your spouse to call in sick for you when you’re just wanting a day off. There is no Sin-o-Meter, as my father-in-law often preached; it’s all bad in God’s eyes.

I can tell you one thing: Jesus would go to strip clubs if they had existed in his day. He just wouldn’t have been going to check out the flesh; he would have been fishing for souls, just like he did when he hung out with thieves, prostitutes, gamblers, cheats and just plain average folks.




Deacon Blue is the blogging persona of editor and writer Jeffrey Bouley. The opinions of Jeff himself on this blog, and those expressed as Deacon Blue, in NO WAY should be construed as the opinions of anyone with whom he has worked, currently works, or will work with in the future. They are personal opinions and views, and are sometimes, frankly, expressed in more outrageous terms than I truly feel most days.

Jeff Bouley

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