Who's Responsible For "Impure" Thoughts: Men Or Women?

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Man with cross and sexy woman
When men fantasize about women, should women be held responsible for their impure thoughts?

One friend mentioned that throughout the course of his day, opportunities to fantasize are virtually endless. Whether men are driving down the street and see a racy ad on the side of a public bus, watching a Victoria's Secret commercial on television, or catching a glimpse of a girl jogging in a sports bra, scantily-clad women are everywhere, and that is just the way it is. In light of that fact, he says it would be really cool if church could be the one place men could go and not be bombarded with sexual images; however, he also added that instating certain dress codes and forcing women to cover themselves up isn't necessarily the answer. The Church Convinced Me Not To Have Sex

"No matter what, there's always going to be some guy fantasizing," he said, "because every guy is attracted by something different—whether it be a certain body part or a certain look. You can't really control how a guy is going to respond."

That's why he said he chooses to sit in the front row at church. "That way I know I won't have any distractions. It's just me, the pastor, the worship team, and God."

"But," he continued, "if women would choose to be a little more conscious of how they dressed and how it affected us, I think I speak for a lot of men when I say that we would definitely appreciate it."

Another of my male friends said that he feels a lot of guilt whenever he is tempted to fantasize, and that it can make for a rather frustrating and awkward church-going experience. He said the thing that bothers him most is that it seems like women have a double-standard sometimes. For example, he said he's noticed girls at church who wear really low-cut shirts and then have cross necklaces hanging in between their cleavage.

Responsibility is a very shaky and elusive concept and it differs from one situation to the next. For example, if a woman is getting dressed and fleetingly thinks about throwing on a t-shirt with a plunging neckline because she secretly hopes that the cute guy who always sits in the row behind her is going to notice and be attracted to her, is she then partially responsible if he does?

Well, yes. And let the woman who has never dressed a certain way to gain attention from a guy cast the first stone.

We choose to either indulge that urge by dressing and acting a certain way towards the men we encounter, or instead choose to be modest and restrained. And sometimes it isn't an easy choice because the message we get every day is that the quickest way to get noticed and to get ahead is by using our sex appeal. It's a daily temptation, and just like the men around us, sometimes we cave.

But it's not always about attention. Sometimes we throw on a strappy sundress simply because it's fashionable, or because it's hot outside and we want to be comfortable, or because we want to feel pretty—not for anyone else, but for ourselves. And if a woman is dressed a certain way for any or all of the above mentioned reasons, does that mean that she is the one responsible when a man sees her and starts fantasizing about her?