In Defense of Shaunti Feldhahn

Does Shaunti Feldhahn encourage men to use pornography? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.

Recently, Christian author Shaunti Feldhahn posted on her Facebook page about how her and Craig Gross have negative reviews for Through A Man’s Eyes, and how apparently Shaunti is saying that it’s okay for men to watch porn and women need to accept that this is how men are. Of course, most every book will get some negative reviews and points will be misunderstood. This is one point I think there is no way someone could misunderstand her on.

My first entry into Shaunti’s books was to read For Women Only. A woman actually recommended I read it to understand my relationships with women better and this was long before my wife Allie came into my life. The next after that was For Men Only and at this point, I was not married yet so I laughed some at the thought of men reading it to get more sex, but not as much as I do now. (Wait a second. That is what it said isn’t it? Maybe I should see if I can find my copy around here somewhere….) Finally, I read Through A Man’s Eyes and thought that the book was practically a biography of my own walk.

If anything I suspect is behind this, it is that many women don’t really want to accept what was said in that last book. They don’t like the thought that most husbands out there struggle with lust. They don’t like realizing that most husbands out there really do think about sex that much. Feminism has come around with an effort to try to tame masculinity. Men are hideous and shameful just because they are men.

The story starts with a man who goes off to work and in the morning, he’s thinking about the love making he and his wife had last night. As he goes throughout the day, he is surrounded by advertisements of beautiful women and real beautiful women at the office. He works to avoid temptation all day long. Then he gets home to the one woman he can delight in and lo and behold, she wants to hide herself from him as if it would be just awful if he saw her body.

If a woman thinks this is something far from the truth, then she is just wrong. I have written about this on a post about a man’s world. I urge women to think about being on a diet and then passing through the ice cream or the candy or cookies section of the grocery store. That is the only thing I can think of comparable to what we men go through.

Why do we go through it? We go through it because we love God and we love the women in our lives. This includes those of us who are single. The only female body I delight in is my wife’s. One cannot say other women are not beautiful, but their beauty is not for me. Why would I chase after and wonder about another woman’s body? My wife’s body is blessing enough for me.

Despite saying that, I realize that is a battle I face every day. Shaunti was quite right when she spoke about it being hard on a pastor even in a church when a lady in the front row is wearing a top that is more revealing than she probably realizes. This isn’t saying women need to go around wearing burkas or something of the sort, but there does need to be a mutual understanding. Men are very visual and they need to be aware of that.

Are men for the most part visual? Yes. Does that justify it? No. As someone with Aspergers married to someone with Aspergers, I have a saying about why we do what we do because of our Aspergers. It is an explanation, but it is not a justification. Why are men tempted with porn and looking at other women? Because we are visual. Is that an explanation? Yes. Does that justify it? Not on your life.

Many men watch porn because their sexuality is so much of who they are. It is where they find their identity. If they can feel like a man and feel appealing to a woman, then they are the man. That’s the bad news. It is a constant battle. Here is the good news. Their wives can know how to best reach them. Don’t let an unknown woman on a screen have a love affair with your husband. You do it.

Nowhere in Shaunti’s writings does she endorse or approve of porn. Nowhere. It is unequivocally wrong. What is realized is why men do it, and that is part of the solution. One of the steps to knowing how to deal with it is to know why men do it to begin with.

If you are a woman condemning what you read about, try and talk to your husband and ask him if the description in the book is accurate. Of course, some men are vastly different. Sometimes it is the woman with the higher drive in a relationship. Their wives just can’t get enough of it. (And as Mark Gungor says, if you are one of those men, then I think I speak on behalf of all men when I say “We hate you.”) Many men are like this and keep in mind, Shaunti wrote this with someone who is a man who runs a ministry to help people stop using pornography.

Some of you may have critiques of Shaunti on other grounds such as her methodology and such. I cannot speak to that. Those are issues I am sure Shaunti takes seriously. This is one area there should be no misunderstanding on. I find the notion that Shaunti is fine with pornography use completely groundless. I instead happily recommend her material and think many marriages would be better if we would learn from it.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

  • gromit45

    Well stated!

  • Dan

    Both “For Men/Women Only” books should be required reading for spouses.

  • Dan

    Women don’t want to accept some basic truths about men, especially if it means acknowledging the probability that those truths exist within their husbands. They see these issues with men’s nature as a threat to their security and don’t realize knowledge of them and how they affect men can be used to help their husband resist and overcome them. Wishing it wasn’t so doesn’t make it not so. Denial will likely exacerbate any problems while understanding the issues can allow both to work to defeat them.