At http://www.peacefulwife.com, we have looked at PMS (Part 1 and Part 2) and peri-menopause and menopause (Part 1 and Part 2) and how EASY it is for us as women to become hateful, easily angered, depressed, overwhelmed, irritable, vengeful, unforgiving, resentful, disrespectful, mean, icy and totally ungodly when we have these crazy hormonal changes. (Pregnancy and post-partum hormones can do the same thing, sometimes even worse than PMS!!!) Sometimes we feel completely out of control – we do the things we don’t want to do – and what we want to do, we don’t do! As women, we totally get that PMS is not in our heads. We realize that we practically feel possessed during those hormonal times and that it is SO MUCH HARDER than normal to avoid certain sins. This is when the spirit may be willing, but the flesh is very weak. How desperately we need understanding, grace, forgiveness and mercy from our men during these times!
Our crazy hormones are often a REASON that we fall into temptation for certain sin at times (anger, rage, disrespect, contentiousness, control, worry, fear, idolatry, gossip, unforgiveness, impatience, losing our temper, bitterness, keeping record of wrongs, divisiveness, dredging up the past that we have already supposedly forgiven…).
But our hormones do not excuse us from sin.
We are still accountable to God for our obedience to Him.
AND PRAISE GOD!!!! Jesus Christ can give us victory over sin by His power and His Spirit living in us!
I am about to introduce you to a radical topic. I hope you are sitting down!
MEN ARE POWERFULLY IMPACTED BY THEIR HORMONES, TOO – on a physical, biochemical, neurological, emotional, mental and spiritual level. Just like we are powerfully impacted by our hormones!
This topic is complex. I am barely scratching the surface in this post.
TESTOSTERONE (link to webmd.com’s directory for testosterone issues)
If you look up testosterone as a drug or as a hormone – you will find a long list of “side effects” and effects. As a pharmacist, I think studying about hormones is fascinating! It is a sneak peek into the wisdom of God and His design for masculinity and femininity. All men and women have some testosterone (unless there is a major medical issue going on). Men have MUCH MORE testosterone than women (about 8-10 times more), thankfully! But even women have small amounts of testosterone – it gives us a sex drive, that is a good thing to help motivate us to want to marry and it is a good thing in marriage!
Some of the primary functions of testosterone in a man’s body are to
- create bigger and stronger muscles
- increase energy
- enhance concentration
- increase the height and stature
- deepen the voice
- create a greater sense of aggression/competition in men (so they are prepared to fight if necessary and to work hard and do their best in battle and in securing their livelihood)
- create body/facial hair
- increase libido
- empower sexual performance for men
Testosterone is the primary male sex hormone. It is the main hormone that makes men, men! That is God’s good design.
- For more info on testosterone and how it affects men and women biologically and psychologically, here is the Wikipedia’s article on testosterone.
- For more on the differences between male and female brains and how God designed us to be different for His good purposes, check out His Brain, Her Brain by Dr. Walt Larimore MD.
Men have cycles of testosterone levels – but they tend to be more of a daily cycle. Most men reach their peak levels of testosterone in the morning. That is why husbands are often more prepared for physical intimacy in the morning than at night.
Men who have very high testosterone levels have been associated with tendencies towards increased aggression/fighting/competition and, of course, with increased sex drive. But testosterone levels are a bit tricky. Two men can have the same levels and have very different results. MANY things affect testosterone levels – whether a man is in a relationship with a woman or not, if he is in a competition, if he has been exercising, if he has been watching sexually explicit movies/tv programs…)
God’s design is good:
How wonderful that God made men to be able to capture visual images in their minds of their wives to carry with them into battle or on long journeys. A man is meant to only have images of his wife to cherish in his mind. Unfortunately, in our fallen world – our culture and society today provides a constant stream of visual temptation that can be extremely difficult to navigate for men – even for godly men who desire to only have pure thoughts.
Resources for helping us to understand the spiritual battle men face today against visual temptation
WOMEN AND TESTOSTERONE
Women who have naturally higher levels of testosterone tend to have issues with facial hair and acne, and have an increased libido. Some birth control pills actually contain small amounts of “androgenic” hormones (testosterone-like substances) that can often increase sex drive in women.
Women have an intricate hormonal cycle that also includes estrogen, progesterone, FSH and prolactin. Women tend to have a peak of sexual desire/drive around the time of ovulation each month. Many women have a much higher sex drive those few days around ovulation each month.
Here is Wikipedia’s article about how hormones, especially testosterone, impact libido in men and women.
I think we as women can understand that a man’s libido and aggression is also greatly impacted by hormonal levels, just like ours is.
There is a continuum of differing levels of testosterone and the issues it causes in men – just like there are variations in hormone levels and in PMS symptoms in women. And there are spiritual, social, psychological, past abuse, past sin and other health issues involved in all of these things as well. Some men have huge struggles with visual temptation and/or aggression constantly all day every day. Some men don’t struggle nearly as much. As men age, their testosterone levels decrease and the visual temptations and sex drive generally decrease. Many times, this happens as their wives hit menopause and have more testosterone in their systems and actually have an increased sex drive. Yes – this can be a recipe for frustration. I think it is also a source of frustration for many marriages that men tend to reach their sexual peak in their teens and women usually peak in their 30s.
So, just like women are GREATLY affected by our hormones and sometimes it can become SO DIFFICULT for us not to fall into certain sins when our hormones are raging, men are also GREATLY affected by their hormones and sometimes it can be SO DIFFICULT for them not to fall into certain sins when they have raging hormones.
The hormones we deal with are a bit different.
The sins we are most prone to may be different.
But we are all affected to some degree by our hormones (the flesh – the Bible would call it) and we all face temptations.
Thankfully, as believers in Christ – we are no longer slaves to sin, but slaves to righteousness! God gives us the power to choose not to sin and to live in holiness!
Women are not spiritually superior to men because our temptations and struggles are different. Men and women are equally sinful and equally in need of the power of Jesus Christ to give us victory over our sin.
WORKING AS A TEAM
I pray that we as women might develop empathy, understanding, grace and forgiveness for our men as they struggle with their hormones and their temptations (ie: visual temptations, lust, temper, aggression…) just like we need empathy, understanding, grace and forgiveness as we struggle with our hormones and our own set of biggest temptations.
(If your man is pressuring you sexually or is acting aggressively or violently towards you – please get godly help ASAP!!! That is not ok! If your man is cheating on you, you do not have to stay with him. You are not in a covenant relationship before marriage, so you are free to leave if you see major unrepentant sin issues. Don’t think you can change him! You can’t! Only God can change people. Ladies, let’s be sure that we are not pressuring men sexually or being violent with them, either. Please seek to be the woman God desires you to be. And seek a man who loves Jesus and is totally committed to Him!)
Just like with women:
Men’s strong hormones are often a REASON for temptation for certain sins.
But their hormones do not excuse sin.
Men are still accountable to God for their obedience to Him. PRAISE GOD, Jesus Christ can give men victory over sin by His power and by being filled with His Spirit!
If we can support, pray for, encourage and extend grace and mercy to each other - we can be much stronger as a team than we could ever be individually. How I pray that we might seek to understand our men and to be squarely on their team, in their corner – as we face the struggles and issues of the flesh together. (I am assuming you are only dating/courting a godly man. But even godly men have weaknesses and struggles with sin. No one is perfect. We are all human! We all need the grace and mercy of Christ!)
All of this is part of our process of sanctification – God making us more and more like Christ. This is part of us dying to self and submitting totally to Jesus every day as a living sacrifice. God can renew our hearts and minds and can set us free from the power of our sinful nature as we crucify it, dying to our sin and our old self – and we live for Christ alone.
EPHESIANS 6 - God gives us His armor and weapons!
10 Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.13 Therefore put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
I CORINTHIANS 6
12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. 13 You say, “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both.” The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14 By his power God raised the Lord from the dead, and he will raise us also. 15 Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ himself? Shall I then take the members of Christ and unite them with a prostitute? Never! 16 Do you not know that he who unites himself with a prostitute is one with her in body? For it is said, “The two will become one flesh.”[b] 17 But whoever is united with the Lord is one with him in spirit.[c]
18 Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body. 19 Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; 20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.