Is It Okay To Be Christian, Single… and Sexy?

This guest post by Antwuan Malone is asking the question: Can you be Christian, single and sexy? Likewise, I tackle this “sexy” question over at his blog. Head  on over to read my perspective, as well.

I wonder how Jesus feels about the way we dress today? Back in the day, Jesus probably rocked some sandals. What would he wear today? Jeans and a Tee? Khakis and a polo? A suit? Leather pants?

Would Jesus go swimming? And if so, would he finish P90x first, or do some pushups to, you know, make sure his pecs had a little “pop?”

Did Jesus ever have a crush? Ever care about being attractive, about being sexy?

I know. We can’t answer those questions. And frankly, it feels a wee unfair to even ask. Scripture doesn’t show Jesus concerned with girlfriends or attracting women, ever. I guess a wife and kid wasn’t in the plans for him (and for good reason).

But if that’s the case, what can Jesus teach us about attracting the opposite sex? How would Jesus respond to the question of whether it’s okay for single Christians to be sexy?

Obviously, I can’t say for certain, but I’ll give it a try. Let’s begin with what “being sexy” even means?

I’d say “being sexy” is appealing favorably to the sexual preferences of men and/or women. Being sexy grabs someone’s sexual attention and produces sexual desire.

So maybe it’s better to ask if it’s okay to be desired? Or to want to be desired? Or to try to get people to desire you… sexually? Most of you will probably say no. But me, I’m not so sure. I see desire as a core element to who we are, even relationally.

Perhaps I’m treading a thin line here, but I don’t see most desire as bad. And, as a form of desire, I don’t think sexual attraction is bad either. While Christians should stop well short of overemphasizing sexuality as the main means of attracting a mate, we should also realize how silly it is to think we can turn off our sexual attractiveness receptors at will.

Said more simply, if I like brunettes with green eyes, then I will always notice a nice looking brunette with green eyes. And maybe, on some primal, physical level, desire her. Sexually. Is that desire the same as lusting? And if so, then we must ask whether Christians should purposely position themselves to be sexually desired, to be lusted after.

Again, “No!” is likely the answer. But I’d challenge by offering the proper splitting of hairs between lust and desire. The two aren’t equal.

It’s perfectly normal to desire chocolate cake while on a diet, to recognize the inner yearning for cheaty chocolatey goodness. But it’s illogical to assume being on a diet means chocolate cake doesn’t even look delicious, or that it isn’t at all tempting. On the contrary, the diet probably makes it more so.

But that desire is deniable. Refutable. Controllable.

Lust is different. Lust is desire squared. It’s desire out of control, desire waiting to act on its momentum. Desire not mastered, untamed, unyielding. Lust is opportunistic and ambitious, waiting for fulfillment like a lion waiting to pounce on its prey.

Lust is what Jesus spoke of in Matthew 5:28, saying“…whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery…” To lust here places intention, and thus sin, on the person doing the lusting. The verse could be paraphrased, “Whoever seeks women to lust after has already committed adultery…” The problem, then, is theirs.

Yet, at the same time, we are not free to lead others into lust. While we are free to be confident, and to express style and care for our appearance, we must also be careful about flaunting our sexuality to the world. Truthfully, if you’ve got it, you don’t have to flaunt it. You can just dress it nicely.

So me, I’d stop short of saying sexiness equals lust.  Sexual desires and attractions are as natural as our appetite for food. Thus, a  single Christian man or woman can be sexy, maybe even should be in some cases, but that sexiness is not, and should not become an occasion for men (or women) to stumble… at least on purpose.

Does sexiness equal lust?  Why or why not? Do you think you can be single, Christian and sexy?

Antwuan Malone is a freelance writer and blogger at www.antwuanmalone.com: Candid Christianity. There he likes to engage in relevant Christian conversation about challenges facing the church both from within the church and outside of it. To read more from Antwuan, check out this great post.
 

 

56 thoughts on “Is It Okay To Be Christian, Single… and Sexy?”

  1. A married woman, and a single woman, or a married man, and a single man,…They are all people created to bring glory to God with the entirety of their lives. It could just as easily be asked, “Is it okay for a married woman to dress sexy?” It seems to me, any defense used to excuse it in a single woman(man), could be used by a married woman(man).

    When will we cease asking, “how far is too far,” and begin asking, “how holy is too holy?”

    just my opinion, and I’m often wrong.

    1. I hear you Jonathan. In fact, I think we will be tackling this same subject for marrieds very soon.

      I think, “how far is too far” and “how holy is too holy” both carry the same sort of pitfalls. An extreme in either direction could cause problems, in my opinion.

      At any rate, thanks for the comment. :)

      1. I agree, both extremes can cause problems (thought I would argue that an extreme in holiness primarily brings problems because of our misunderstanding of what holiness is, and our tendency to hold an idol we call “holiness”)

        I wasn’t so much speaking of the extent, as I was the inclination. It seems we always like to know how “close” to sinning we can get, without it being sin. Rather than asking the question, “how Christ-like can I be.”

        Remember, as God, Christ is holy. In fact, It is the only attribute of God that He elevates to the third-degree in Scripture. Christ isn’t just holy,…He is holy, holy, holy. But it is not the reverential, stand-offish, “I can’t do that, I’m a Christian!” that many of us parade as holiness. He ate, loved, died for, got His hands dirty (with blood), and bore the iniquity of the worst of sinners (me being one).

        But I’ll get real for just a second. My wife is smoking-hot! Seriously. And she would continue to be smoking-hot in a denim skirt, maternity jeans, mom-pants, sweats, or, God-forbid, bald from chemotherapy, or scarred from a car accident.

        Unless we see this, how can we possibly hope to be rocking, side-by-side with our spouse well into our 80’s?

        Just a couple more thoughts, and as always, I’m often wrong.

        1. Thank you, Jonathan, for bringing up a crucial aspect of this discussion. If sexiness is not about lust, that means it is not about the objectification of the person deemed ‘sexy.’ In other words, your wife is hot regardless of what she wears or ‘shows off’ because sexiness is about more than her body or the sexual gratification it offers, but about her person-hood and your relationship. The kind of bonding God creates us for is related to sexuality but it is not about sex.

          1. precisely. Sexy isn’t wrong, because sexy is something that you are or aren’t, with or without certain types of clothing. It stems from the inside and works it’s way out. And, that is more than just words. It really does work it’s way out! I am not merely copping out by saying, “oh honey, you’re beautiful on the inside.” As Shakespeare said in his great sonnet(severely paraphrased)”do I love you because you are the most beautiful thing out there? Nope, you’re the most beautiful thing out there because of our love.”

        2. We are definitely on the right page about holiness. In fact, I have some ideas I’ll be writing about very soon about what Christians call “holy”.

          No doubt your wife would be “hot” to u in those various scenarios (in one way or another), but I guess it’s difficult for me to see them all equally.

          The point I wish to make in the article is that, whatever we find sexy, we’ll find in multiple people throughout our lives. If I’m candid in my particular response, I’m saying that my idea of what is sexy (internal or external) is not laser-fixed on one person. The attraction, chemistry, etc that make up “sexiness” (along with internal factors) can/will cause me to be attracted (and maybe even to desire) anyone holding those qualities.

          So for me, it feels good to say sexiness has a form of exclusive unconditionalism to it… I just don’t see it that way.

          But that’s my take.

    2. Jonathan,
      Great questions you pose here. As Antwuan shared, you are reading our minds, as we will be attempting to answer the very same question next Wednesday.

      I love the question too: “How holy is too holy?” Is there really such a thing?

      It has got me thinking…

    3. I really like your response. I am confused though, sorta. I am a widowed man, 40 years old and have not had intercourse with a woman since my wife passed 4 years ago. I think God expects some physical attraction, right? He understands about erections, feelings, certain desires. We are talking about an omnipotent God who created everything including sex and all of its tennants. I think this question is viable. Obviously two (Christians) who who have no sexual attraction are going to have a nice honeymoon, experience the beauty of oneness with their partner. Sex is pleasurable too. The human body is the only body of any living creature to be made to enjoy sex. So if you’re having a quickie for fun, or making love with an evening of romance, God has geared us both ways. The pages of Song of Solomon would be blank. Were all of the graphic feelings amd desires, the instant they said “I do?” No, the built up before that. I know some Christians would disagree, but I think masturbation is a release from sin, so u don’t do something based on an elevated sexual desire. I am not a scholar or theologian, but that’s my two cents.

  2. For my sake (a single guy) lets hope its ok for other Christian single people to dress sexy. Im trying to find a smoking hot wife, not some girl with a long jean skirt and a christian t-shirt.

    just sayin.

    1. Darrell,
      You have me cracking up…

      What you don’t want a nice Christian girl in a long flowing denim skirt (or better yet, denim jumper) with hair down to her butt, and a t-shirt that reads: “Jesus is whassup…in my life.”?

      ‘Cause, I don’t know, that could be pretty sexy…

    2. Darrell: I write to bring you hope. It’s possible. My wife is H.A.W.T! No, that doesn’t stand for anything other than hot. Smoking hot!

      Nicole: Sorry, I had to write it. No denying the truth.

  3. Darrell. Love your comment. My husband said the same thing and continues to do so. He can describe down to the thread what I was wearing when he met me and yep….I was SMOKIN HOT!!!! C’mon girls…it ain’t bad to acknowledge and enhance your natural attractiveness to the opposite sex. Our inner joy in the Lord comes bubbling out in the form of attractive and flattering clothes. Why would we seek to wear frump to reflect inner beauty? If you’re not sure what “attractive” and “flattering” are, rent the first four seasons of “What Not To Wear.” Just sayin.

  4. Loved this post. I am recently “single” after a 10 year marriage and year long separation. I am constantly at odds with myself about how I dress, modesty, etc. It’s a weird line to walk, for sure. I will NEVER wear a long denim skirt and a christian t-shirt to prove my loyalty. What I’m learning is that inner beauty is reflected in how we take care of and present ourselves. And I truly believe that sexy has to do with both the inside and the outside!! Thank you for posting!

    1. Lindsay,
      I don;t know the details, but nonetheless, I’m sorry to hear your marriage ended.

      I think you touched on something so important–self respect. When we take care of ourselves, outwardly, it is a reflection about how we feel inwardly.

      I have written here before about wives especially needing to spruce up for their husbands. We bless them and ourselves.

      I agree that sexy is inward and outward!

  5. Love the way that this discussion is presented.

    I would image that the distance between desire and lust for men is a bit shorter than women (light travels pretty fast, both of these are grounded in sight rather than the totality of the senses). That said, I think that there was something said here that bears a bit of repeating before the question of “allowance” is even addressed: lust is indicative of unhealthy or destructive motives.

    If the bearing of ones presentation (appearance, intellect, etc.) is to cause or imprint willful destruction towards the mental or spiritual condition of another, then no, its not ok to be sexy (single or not). Desire (as its described here) is something not pushed, and not usually framed towards destructive tendencies. Can sexy (lies on the line between lust and desire in psychological circles) be non-destructive? Not if there’s no outlet for the single. Its always destructive to them in that case, therefore sexy induces lust. That can’t mean sexy equals ok.

    Side note: what’s with the trend of certain economic clusters and the “trophy wife/mother that illicits more sexiness than singles” thing? There’s an acronmyn for this, but I’d rather not. That’s even more dangerous nes pas, when you are taken and advertising to folks that can’t have?

    1. Interesting…

      “Can sexy (lies on the line between lust and desire in psychological circles) be non-destructive? Not if there’s no outlet for the single.”

      That’s an interesting set of words you posted there. So for you, sexiness always leads to lust for the single person, right?

      (and I am familiar with this acronym. Perhaps we will discuss more about that next week)

      1. Sexiness received/pondered without an outlet for that enegy can (some would argue ‘usually’) leads to the mindselts and behaviors that we usually associate with lust, rathther than those we’d associate with desire.

        I’m with others in this conversation who’ve stated that ‘sexy’ is the perspective not of the owner of the appeal, but the person who is looking towards the person who has the appeal.

        A woman who wears pure and mature faith is amazingly desirable and sexy. Amazingly. Her physical features usually fall away towards being accents when that’s the case too. For this single guy, there aren’t a lot of those, much more rare than the women who would use trinkets, skin, and culture to pull attentiveness towards them, rather than let it emmenate from within them.

  6. Absolutely! God intended men and women to find each other, marry and have sex! He programmed us with pheromones and other scientific-y stuff that I can’t expound on. The Song of Solomon is all about finding your mate sexy.

    That said, there’s a huge difference between wearing clothes that accentuate your features and those that are lurid. I think society has confused the terms sex and sexy the same way you suggested they’ve done with lust and desire. Being practically naked is not sexy. Wearing a burqua isn’t either. There’s a fine line there. Dressing tastefully and exuding confidence – there’s nothing sexier in my opinion.

    1. Jennifer,
      What a great point about there being a difference between accentuating your features and purposefully being alluring.

      I think one speaks to self-confidence and self-respect. While the other speaks to a lack of confidence and attempting to find it in the wrong places.

    2. I absolutely agree. I see young women at the mall (taking my son to a movie) not more than 19 maybe 20. Yes my eyes go there, but 90% of the time, it’s out of sadness or embarrassment for them. I think where are their parents and who are their mentors. No offense, but you see the same thing at church. Women falling out of their clothes, men that wear tight clothes… The area/church I go to has about 6k members. The majority are mid 20’s and 30’s. I think sexual overtones are very present. Women need to remember, men may be looking for smoking hot, but they ALSO wouldn’t want to have a woman showing all of her talents. Guys do like some mystery.

  7. Oh Lawd have mercy! I could go off on this topic. F’real.

    Sexy exudes past denim skirts and turtle neck sweaters. If we’re honest, a woman in a burka could be sexy. But female sexiness and sensuality is a weapon to be used EXTRA carefully.

    If the twitch in your hips and the bounce of your chest is drawing more attention than your comportment, disposition, and language, we’ve got a problem.

    And from a female perspective, guys who passionately love Jesus without beating the bible over your head are SEXY. And dare I say, fiiiiiiiine too!

    1. Bianca,
      You kill me. Everytime.

      Yes and yes, that if your sex appeal is drawing more ooh’s and ahh’s then your God appeal, there is indeed a problem.

      And as for a man in love with Jesus being HAWT, I so agree. That is exactly what I wrote in my post over at Antwuan’s blog. And yes, you can say fiiiiiine too. mmm hmmmm.

  8. Absolutely, sexy is so much more that just clothes worn. But with that said, men and women view these differently. I’ve heard several women say that a man who loves the Lord passionately, is sexy. To which I wholeheartedly agree! I have not heard one guy say that (maybe they just haven’t commented yet). It is a fine line that singles walk to attract the opposite sex. I hear so many females who want a man to want them for more than just their body, but then wear overly sexy or provocative clothing. In my opinion, men are first attracted by physicality. So it’s a hard road to navigate sometimes for women. Let’s face it, guys and girls are different, and look for different things in the opposite sex. Antwuan and I did a podcast a while back about this very subject. It’s posted on his site if you want to listen.

  9. It continues to amaze me that so many Christians seem to have long ago concluded that sex is intrinsically evil. Okay, maybe we’ll give you just the tiniest bit of sexual leeway, within marriage, as long as you keep it entirely behind a closed and locked door, and never discuss it anywhere with anyone else. And for sure never ever display any aspect of sexuality anywhere except to your spouse, within the confines of the marriage bed. Because, you know, it’s evil.

    It’s basically a sex-negative approach. Sexuality gets a negative association by default, with only one exception to that negative classification.

    Oh, you’re not married? Sorry, you’re not allowed to ever think a sexual thought, or project any kind of sexuality, or have a sexual feeling. You’re screwed – and not in that good (I mean evil) sort of way.

    Somehow I don’t think that the God who wired both males and females for sex intended for that intrinsically negative attitude to be the Christian approach. But, I could be wrong.

    1. Thanks, Ed! If there was a “Like” button for your post, I’d hit it. Often in the past I’ve felt like a eunuch as a Christian single – after all, thinking about sex isn’t allowed, because that’s having “impure thoughts”; obviously sex outside of marriage is prohibited; as a woman I have to watch how I dress and present myself, for fear of tempting a man to “lust” – no frontal hugs for me!; and as for…well, I was going to add another issue that starts with the letter “m” but began to blush…uh, that’s not allowed either, so…gosh, what’s left? Especially for those of us never-marrieds with no propsects in our fifth decade of life?

  10. When did sexy become synonimous with sexual? As a single Christian female I’ve been called sexy in my sweats at the grocery coming from the gym. I think sexy is often defined by the person doing the looking. That said dressing sexy to feel good about yourself or to show off the body God blessed you with shouldn’t be wrong either. I think it’s wrong for Christian women to intentionally be sexual. Women know when they are getting ready and the thought going through their mind is exactly how their sexy outfit is going to turn men on so they can tempt one to sleep with them. What seems like such an outward facing argument…really comes down to the insides..IMO.

    1. I think it’s pretty hard to no make “sexy” sexual. Take the “sex” out of sexy and you just have general attractiveness.

      I do agree that sexy goes past certain clothing, style, etc… but I’d maintain that sexy does equal sexual. I can’t think of any other way to define it. Perhaps you could help me.

  11. I’m a married Christian woman ( for 18 years!) 38 years old, mom of three, and I will say, even in modestly fitting jeans and a t shirt, I’m hot. I know that sounds arrogant ;) I dress Pacific Northwest casual most of the time (nobody could mistake it for a sexy look- too cold ) but if hubby and I are going out on a date, I DO dress sexy. Not just because he likes the look but because he likes all the men out there to see that he snagged such a sexy wife.

      1. Oh, I will!

        Another thing about sexy… Christian or not, cleanliness is the first part of sexy IMO. This is a trait that seems to be in danger nowadays.

  12. I like what Bianca said about how “Sexiness exudes past…” clothing, or even physical attributes. I think “sexiness” has so many different meaning to so many different people that it’s hard to say, in reality, whether or not it’s okay to be sexy and single. Because some people may attach it purely to the physical. While some people may attach it to the emotional, the mental, the spiritual, etc. I really like your take on this though Antwuan.

  13. Whooo boy! Great discussion going on here!! LOVE IT!!

    I think it’s totally okay for Christians to be sexy (sexy, to me, incorporates confidence, character, personality & physical appearance) but there is a HUGE difference between sexy and provocative.

    Sexy incorporates the entire person. Anyone can be attractive…but if there is no personality, no depth of character and most importantly, no deep-rooted relationship with God to round out the physical appearance, sexy loses its’ appeal pretty quickly. As someone else said, there is nothing sexier than a man with a love for God that is greater than his love for anyone or anything else…if he happens to be intelligent, funny, good looking, and into me? WOWZA!!!!! Excuse me while I find a place to sit down…my knees just gave out.

    Provocative, on the otherhand, is just sex. It’s not necessarily wrong/sin to be provocative however I think the only place it can be okay is in marriage at home behind closed doors – as a single person I shouldn’t be purposely turning the minds of those I encounter to sex. Yes I want to be attractive to others but I want my outward appearance to reflect my inward heart.

    It is nice to be desired…to know that someone finds you attractive but is able to control themselves and conduct themselves appropriately. It is not nice, in fact I find it rather degrading, when a person lusts after me. Rather than being a person, you become an object. I don’t ever want to encourage that.

  14. My co-worker told me recently that her son (age 8) got in trouble at school for saying that his classmate was “sexy”, well, according to the way we are defining the word in previous comments, was he wrong? Maybe this 8yr old girl WAS confident, smart, witty, etc. Obviously, I don’t agree with this his comment towards her or do I think that that word should even be in a child’s vocabulary…but, is there “age appropriate sexyness”? I say that sarcastically, but with some seriousness. When can you tell your daughter that it’s okay to be “sexy” or to tell your son it’s okay to appreciate “sexiness” in the opposite sex?
    These are more rhetorical questions really, but I think it’s still something to consider. I’m glad that we all seem to pretty much be on the same page, but unfortunately there’s a whole lot of other people (especially, the next generation) that think otherwise. I grew up in the “Britany” generation-Britany Spears to be exact and she agrivated me more than anything not because I was jealous…of her crazy abs…okay, maybe a little…but because I knew that from now on the majority of my peers would try to follow in her footsteps and I would be seen as the dork…with the metaphoric jean skirt. (Please note that I do not wear jean skirts or jumpers.) ;)

    I understand that simply dressing for your bodytype and dressing to appropriately to accencuate your attributes is considered acceptable by Christians and hopefully it is however, there are always fine lines. Let’s just say that I’m a little bit uh, top heavy, if a girl with a much smaller chest wears the same shirt that I do and we show the same amount of cleavage I GUARANTEE that I will be the one to get dirty looks, not her. Why is that?

    I have a very difficult time shopping for clothes because if a shirt is a size Large for my chest area then the waist is huge on me. If I get a Small or Medium to flatter my waist then I end up like Dolly Parton’s daughter. But, with that said I have ALWAYS (even before I was married) tried to consider mens’ perspective on how I dress. So, should I just dress how I want to and leave it up to them to fight with lust/desire/whatever? No! I’m not trying to say that I’m all that and a bag of chips but it’s a common thing that woman’s large chests and men’s eyes go hand in hand sometimes. But, again, who am I to aid in someone’s stumbling, whether that man is Christian or not, Married or not. I don’t know if they’re married and it doesn’t matter-I am not here to aid in someone’s stumbling, period. I wish others thought the same way.

    Are there Christian ladies out there that have their “church” clothes and then their “going out on a date with husband clothes”? Why is one dress acceptable to wear around men (let’s say men who happen to also be out to dinner with their own parties) but you wouldn’t dare wear that dress in front of your Pastor, etc???? This is a question I’m posing to myself, too. There’s some clothes I own that I wouldn’t ever where to a family function but I would if my girlfriends went out for a girls’ night….is that wrong? I’m thinking ‘yes’, dang it.

    I am no fashionista, but I know what looks nice on me. Behind closed bedroom doors I can dress as sexy as I want to, for my husband not someone else’s.

    Maybe I’ll start a revolution of women who only wear long jean skirts and ‘one size fits all’ XL t-shirts that say proudly “My brains are sexy!”….uh, or maybe not.

    Anyway, there’s my thoughts…yours? :)

    1. Hey Ashley,

      You bring up several good ideas and points here. Your battle with whether you are being provocative with your clothing is probably one many ladies have to worry about.

      I agree that people find various things attractive and that often women are objectified despite what they wear (with the my muslim black robe sisters as the exception). And this is one of the point I think Jesus was making… that lust is most often the fault of the luster, not the lustee. (though there are certainly scenarios where both parties can be at fault).

      IMO, the desire to attract the opposite sex through physicality is not that big a deal. It is like most other things, it should be moderated by the Spirit inside us.

      As for kids. It’s funny, because with my kids, I have tried to tell them to be open with me about who they “like” and who they don’t. Not because I want them to grow up too fast, but because it shouldn’t be that big a deal. It’s a parenting opportunity for sure, for me. I won’t let my kids say sexy (cause they don’t know what that means) but I might interchange the word with what they do mean. At 8, a kid is just saying what he’s heard when he says “sexy.”

      Anywho, thank you so much for reading and for your comments! have a great day!

  15. Thank you for this article, I was struggling with being out of place in our Bible reading organization. Almost all female members have very long hair, wears skirts only and don’t wear make-up. Only around 2-3 of us wear pants and those “forbidden stuffs.” One time I received a text message from them that gives me all the criteria of a godly woman, I feel that they’re judging me.

    I’m also an avid anime fan. Do you think dressing up as a sexy anime character is not proper, even if it’s done in a convention and not in public? I’m not showing any cleavages.

  16. Recently, a man that I have been talking to for a short period of time told me that I was sexy. This threw me off and concerned me because for one, no one has ever said that to me and two, I questioned if the Lord would approve of someone having these thoughts about me period. To understand this a little more, I don’t dress provocatively….at all. I am a conservative dresser and never show anything that would draw that kind of attention. The guy said that my intellect and the way I hold a conversation was the sexiest thing about me, but it still made me think of that word as dirty and shameful. I didn’t know what to say so I just changed the subject. Does anyone relate or have any thoughts?

  17. So I was reading some comments and alot tend to focus on the idea that part of being sexy is about whats on the inside. Well hears an example of that. One of my friends is seemingly perfect (but not actually perfect). She’s confident yet modest, happy, outgoing, attractive, well put together, funny and smart and loves Jesus!!! Well as a choir, me and her and a bunch of our other friends went on a choir retreat. My bestfriend who is a guy was hanging out with the guys late at night at the retreat and they asked each other out of all the girls, who would they want to have sex with. And my best friend told me that more than half the guys said they would have sex with my Jesus loving friend! Proof in my mind that being sexy is okay, if not great because she loved Jesus and that made her the way she was and that made her sexy!

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