The Truth About Sexiness

{By Caitlin Muir}

I recently came across a fantastic article called “Sending Sexy Back.” It’s fantastic in that it calls out a subtle twist of words and sends it packing.

In the article, the author notes how sexy has morphed from that slightly naughty word that meant arousing sexual interest to  “the embodiment of everything a woman desires. Now being sexy means you are desirable, confident, powerful, and beautiful all wrapped up into one very tiny little word.”

That sounds pretty great if you ask me. Who doesn’t want to be sexy?

But all of a sudden, sexy has been transformed from an intimate moment to a lifestyle to be on display 24/7.

Let me just say up front that I don’t think either version of sexy is a sin. There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be “desirable, confident, powerful, and beautiful.” Those are admirable traits. It’s when we put the sexy lifestyle on a shelf and worship it as an idol that it becomes a sin.

Don’t think it’s an idol? Try these questions on for size:

  • How many times have you seen “Sex” or “Sexy” on the front cover of a magazine?
  • How many calories have you counted in the last three months?
  • How many extra hours did you spend in the gym before swimsuit season?
  • How many different kinds of cosmetics are in your makeup bag?
  • What do you think is the ideal size – 2, 6, or 12?
  • What percentage of your bras are pushup bras?

Some of those questions hit home for me as well.

Advertisers insult our intelligence by offering to “millionize” our eyelashes – as if smearing bat guano across our eyes will suddenly cause our lashes to multiply and cause men to crumble at our high-heeled feet. Because that’s what we want, right? To be beautiful and powerful, desired by all who happen to have the fortune to glance in our direction. We can have all this (and more!) when we buy the newest tube of mascara. *

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be “sexy” but sexy is only half of the story.

As women, we’ve been created for so much more.

If you look at the way Jesus treated women, He never objectified them. In Jesus’ day, women were viewed as property and “unclean” by many members of the religious community. For Jesus to talk to the woman at the well was scandalous, as was letting Mary wipe his feet with her tears and hair. And we can’t forget about the way Jesus showed pity on the woman who was caught in adultery!

He spoke truth and love in their lives, interacting with them as an equal instead of as if they were beneath him. Jesus loved women.

There’s a disturbing trend in Christian circles that says God doesn’t want you to wear makeup or to embrace being pretty. I think that’s a lie and it’s crippling a lot of our sisters. It seems like a knee-jerk reaction to the way women are objectified and encouraged to objectify themselves.

Nowhere in the Bible is “plainness” encouraged or touted as a shortcut to godliness.  

One of the most interesting passages on beauty is one that rarely is brought to light. If you flip through Ezekiel 16, you’ll see that God celebrates beauty and even encourages it in His Beloved.  The passage speaks of how God lavished jewelry, beauty, and fashion on his beloved. (Verses 12 – 14)

If we were going to take sartorial cues from that passage, we’d be some of the most gorgeous in the world.

In verse 15 we see what God doesn’t like; His beloved trusting in her beauty instead of in Him.

The previous verse explains that He didn’t have a problem with her becoming known for her beauty. He delighted in her beauty and encouraged it. Did you read that?  He encouraged it. I believe that he placed in the soul of every woman the desire to be recognized as beautiful. To be delighted in.**

It’s okay to be beautiful. God delights in your beauty.

What’s not okay is finding your identity in it.

That’s why in the early church, women weren’t supposed to be only known for their beauty. Not because wearing gold or having braided hair was evil but because there is more to a woman of God than mere sexiness.

When you find your identity in your body or your sexiness, you aren’t finding it in God.  When you relish your power, you are denying God’s. That’s when the trouble starts.

There’s no way that all of us can be sexy 24/7. And even if we could, what society defines as sexy changes quite often. In the 50s, it was curves. In the early 2000s, it was androgyny. Now we’re just trying to find healthy.  It isn’t healthy to try to be the –est all the time – sexiest, prettiest, smartest, etc.

When we settle for being simply sexy, we’re still settling. We’re settling for enslavement to self, unrealistic expectations, and a beauty industry that would have us compete wholeheartedly against nature and airbrushed models.

As a daughter of the King, you are worth so much more.  Do you believe that?

*In all honesty, I haven’t tried the millionizing mascara. Even if it did work, I would rather my eyes didn’t look like they had fur lining them. I do have a weakness for Maybelline’s “illegal lengths” mascara though.
** (Intrigued by that thought? Captivating by Staci Eldridge is a great book)