Yesterday was Go-Topless Day in many cities throughout the USA. Though organisers have tried to make it an international event, it is still mostly Americans who celebrate it big. It involves parades where women march topless and men wear bikini tops or bras. The event was started in 2007 by a funny (and false) prophet named ‘Rael’ who started a UFO religion. I was asked for a Biblical response to the event. So, I have racked my brains trying to bust out some ideas... I have two thoughts.
First of all, try to find them as they may, the moralists won’t find exact modesty codes in the Bible. Nowhere does it say how much make-up a woman should or shouldn’t wear, how long a skirt should be or what is proper bathing attire in mixed company. We do not have strict rules here so let’s not add to God’s word by inventing some and thus bring a curse on ourselves (Rev. 22).
But secondly, the Bible does hold out the idea of modesty as an attitude - but it may not be for the Amish-esque reason you’ve grown up thinking. The popular notion is that Biblical modesty is an idea rooted in the fact that God is somehow anti-sex. The reason is thankfully just the opposite. God created erotic excitement and he wants to bless mankind by not having us completely ruin it.
Let me flesh this out.
A few years back, a psych student proved that what male students thought of as ‘sexy’ changed with the seasons. She would have male students rate various images on a computer screen according to how sexy they thought each was. What she found was that in the winter - when the female students were well covered - it didn’t take much for a male student to find an image ‘sexy’. But in the spring and summer time - when they were surrounded by females who were much less covered – it took considerably more for the man to notice and rate an image as sexy.
This should be common sense. In a culture where women are mostly covered, the sight of a half-naked woman is exciting to a man. In a culture where all women are half-naked, it no longer is.
The Bible says ‘The marriage bed should be kept undestroyed.’ One way to keep the marital bed an exciting place, is to reserve some things for it. If our society went publically topless, the sight of his topless wife would no longer be exciting for the man. There is a reason that both internet pornography and the need for Viagra both exploded around the same time. Regular porn use didn’t make men more potent in bed, it made them less excited and, therefore, more impotent. In sexualising everything, we made sex less sexy.
So, for the love of God and of sex, I do not wish Rael and his topless crew well in their quest to get women to walk around topless all the time. Sure, it would be exciting for a day or two, but the novelty would wear off soon and what has traditionally been kept for the bedroom would no longer be as exciting. While not trying to erase feminine beauty from the public square – aka the Islamic burka - let’s keep a few things a surprise for the marriage bed – surprise does serve to enhance, not detract, from erotica.
Hope you found those thoughts a nice pair.
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