There are many differences between men and women.
Shopping habits.
Time needed to get ready.
Emotional needs.
The way situations are approached.
We could go on for days. People have made careers out of exploring this topic.

As the diagram above shows: we see things differently. Where many women see an array of color, men see the basics. It’s actually how our minds work in general. When Carrie (my wife) would wear a skirt when we were dating, it would get my blood pumping. When we went to the beach, well, it was off the charts. When we finally said our “I dos” we were ready to, um, well… you get the picture. I was emotionally drawn in, but much of it was visual for me.

For many men, the visual leads to much more. That’s why so many men struggle with pornography addictions.8 out of 10 men view pornography on a regular basis according to a recent LA Times poll. That poll included people of varied nationalities, faiths, and backgrounds. Men struggle with purity. And, in full disclosure, women enveloped in pornography has risen 300% since 2001. This isn’t just a guy issue anymore.

Purity is an everybody issue.

And purity isn’t just about faith or believing in God. The NY Times released an article in April of this year that showed couples who live together (faith or not) have a much greater chance of divorce because of the “cohabitation effect.” Purity (out of the context of faith) is about keeping yourself in the best possible place in mind, heart, health, etc. When faith is brought into the picture, it’s about honoring God with the things you say, the way you act, what you think on, what you allow in to your mind/heart, etc.

I used to be neck deep in sexual addiction. Through recovery groups, study, accountability, and God’s working on me, I’ve been free from that for a number of years now. But, the temptation is still very real. And, I believe it’s a real issue for both men and women, because it can creep into our lives in such subtle ways. On the purity front, there are two things that have exploded onto the scene recently that actually scare me for women. My wife and I have discussed these and she’s the one who actually brought them up… 50 Shades of Grey (the book) and Magic Mike (the movie).

I don’t like to be known for things I’m against, but rather things I’m for. I’m for purity. I’m for great marriages. I’m for men and women who are single to be pure in their endeavors as they lead a single happy life or choose to look for a spouse. I’m for people doing honorable things. The things that honor an amazing God. God is for purity. Which is the biggest reason I’m for it. This quick hype over these things in media tell me something about marriages, men/women, and relationships:

Sex sells. It’s an easy way to draw attention. It plays to the most basic animal instincts.

Marriages with unfulfilled sex lives. If you aren’t happy with what’s happening you turn to the imaginary. Porn, sex novels, erotic movies- they all play to the dream side, not reality.

You need to have more date nights and sex. My wife and I make sure we have time away from our kids and enjoy our times of intimacy. When you are having so much fun with your spouse, you don’t have time for sex novels or erotic movies.

Single people filling a void. If you’re a single lady, you’ve probably stated at some point in your singleness, “I don’t need a man!” during a night out with your girls. That’s fine if you’re looking to remain single. But usually it’s voiced out of anger from being hurt. And so, to cope with any hurt, we as people tend to fill the hurt with something else. In this case, erotic novels and male strippers. I used to fill it with porn and alcohol. I’ve had friends who filled it with drugs and cheating, or working too much, or shutting down and being extremely introverted to cover up the pain. That never solves the problem. It only pushes it deeper down, but it will return one day with even more of a vengeance if it’s not dealt with.

Relationships built on false assumptions. Say you watch a lot of porn, read erotic novels, see explicit movies or have done so in the past. At some point, those images, sayings, and scenes become part of your life rolodex. They’re ingrained in your mind. When you enter a relationship, these things will play a role (whether you mean them to or not) in how you view, treat, and function in the relationship. Ask anybody who has ever been enveloped in that type of addiction. The tricky part here is- it’s the subtle things that we view as socially acceptable that will begin to desensitize us to being the purest individual we can possibly be for our current (or future) relationship.

It’s hard to keep your heart pure. Not just in this time, in any time in history. There isn’t anything new under the sun. It’s just packaged and presented in a different way. It isn’t easy to guard your heart against such things. But, if I were to buy my wife 50 Shades of Grey or send her out with the girls to see Magic Mike, she might as well buy me a porno. Because it’s causing the same damage to our purity.

Single, married, divorced, widowed- guard your purity.
God is for it, so you should be too.