Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Are Women’s Breasts for Men’s Sexual Pleasure?

The Cultural Assumption

So… are women’s breasts designed by God to give men pleasure? Are we really supposed to think about breasts sexually? Does the Bible teach that???

The church today has bought wholesale into the culture’s sexualization of the female breast. And because of one or two scripture passages, they have failed to discern that this notion is not, in fact, Scriptural.

“Let Her Breasts Satisfy You…”

Here’s the first passage… Solomon tells men with regard to sex:
“Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;” (Proverbs 5:19)
But does that mean that God made women’s breasts to pleasure men?

To be sure, the passages is about sex. “Let your fountain be blessed” is a pretty clear (almost graphic!) reference to the male ejaculate. The entire passage covers Proverbs 5:15-23. And the main point is, “Guys, find your sexual fulfillment at home with your own wife only.”

It’s in this context that we find the reference to breasts... without quoting the entire passage, here’s the nut of it (Proverbs 5:18-20 - NASB):
18 Let your fountain be blessed, And rejoice in the wife of your youth.
19 As a loving hind and a graceful doe, Let her breasts satisfy you at all times; Be exhilarated always with her love.
20 For why should you, my son, be exhilarated with an adulteress And embrace the bosom of a foreigner?

Read It Pornographically? … or Biblically?

We read “breasts satisfy” and our minds immediately jump to pornographic imagery of men ogling and fondling large breasts and think, “Wow, the Bible actually endorses that!”

But what does “Let her breasts satisfy you at all times” really mean?

Well, Let’s put on our biblical thinking cap and consider it thoughtfully.

Since there’s a phrase that comes before it that is constructed as a parallel thought, “As a loving hind and a graceful doe…”, then it is safe to say that if we cannot articulate how these two statements are similar, then we do not yet understand the passage.

First of all, we have to acknowledge that this passage of Scripture is poetry. And as poetry, we should expect some “poetic” language… phrases and thoughts that draw parallels in our thinking that help communicate the intended message in an artistic way.

So… how ARE “hinds” and “does” like breasts satisfying?

Well, first of all, it can’t be about the simple sight of female deer (hinds and does are essentially synonymous). It must be in the fact that these female deer raise young deer. And for a long time, those young get their nutrition solely from their mothers. NOW we have a potential connection between the deer and breasts!

So… what is the primary purpose of breasts? They feed babies, right? The satisfy babies... that’s what breasts do best!

Breasts Satisfy… everyone knows that.

Solomon Is a Poet

Solomon wants to tell men, “be satisfied with your wife alone.” But as a poet, he picks up on the concept of breasts satisfying babies and paints the picture of a man being satisfied by his wife the same way that breasts satisfy babies… and for a baby, that’s the only source of satisfaction he has! And so it should be for a man.. satisfaction in his own wife alone.

It’s a literary mechanism that actually works really well…   as a metaphor, but also as a creative and artistic turn of the phrase.

Breasts are something that is a unique physical feature of women. So, Solomon invokes the reference to the breasts to speak of the entire woman. The proof of this is in the fact that if you changed Solomon’s words to, “Let her femininity satisfy you at all times,” you can see that the core meaning of Solomon’s teaching is not lost at all as it applies to the overall message of the passage. The only thing lost is some of the artistry of the poetry.

Fawns find their only source of satisfaction in their mother, that “graceful doe.” Men are to find their only source of sexual satisfaction in their own wife.

Then there’s the poetic mechanism of parallelism so common in Hebrew poetry… two phrases which either mean the same thing or opposite things. In this case, they mean the same:
Let her breasts satisfy you at all times;
Be exhilarated always with her love.
This is not, “Enjoy a body part” and then “focus on the love”... those are two different messages. Rather, the meaning of “Let her breasts satisfy you at all times” is actually equivalent to “Be exhilarated always with her love.

The “breasts” are an artistic reference to all that is a woman. This is not a passage that proves that God made breasts to be sexual turn-ons for men.

And No… Song of Solomon Doesn’t Sexualize Breasts Either…

The other passage often used to defend the sexualization of breasts in the bible is Song of Solomon.

But that book speaks equally of every part of a woman’s physical beauty—showering each body part with the same sort of accolades… including her hair, nose, and teeth. It is only the breast-obsessed mind that reads the passage and finds any peculiar sexual attention on breasts.

We as people of the Word should not act like people of the World.

The World sexualizes breasts.

God’s Word does not.

— Matthew Neal


See also

No comments: