The Gentlemen's Club
Updated: Feb 21
Gentlemen's Club (definition): a nightclub for men that features scantily clad women dancers or strip teasers. (Merriam Webster Dictionary)
When someone mentions a nearby gentlemen's club, everyone imagines the kind of hangout defined above. But I have a different definition in mind: a real gentlemen's club is a group of married men who encourage each other to act like gentlemen - to stay faithful to their wives their entire lives. These men have the capacity for a life of sexual fulfillment far beyond the philanderers of their day.
When a man opens his heart to a woman outside his life partner, he begins a process of moral decline. By gazing at someone else's sensual beauty, his wife immediately loses her status as his one-and-only, and his heart is torn in half. If he has children, his guilt and grief only intensify. Why? Because the man has gained a certain knowledge that he was never intended to have. Let me explain.
The Magic of Testosterone
One of the greatest gifts from your creator is your male hormone. It's like magic. Whenever you make love to your wife, your testosterone places an invisible pair of rose-colored glasses over your eyes. You gaze at her alluring curves and say to yourself, "nothing can match the beauty of this sight - not the sunset, not the ocean waves, not a Lamborghini." Even your wife doesn't fully comprehend her power to captivate you.
The same thing happened to Adam. God took a rib from his body and shaped it into a woman. He then presented her to the man in all her ravishing beauty. He was familiar with all the animals that God had made, but had never seen a woman before. What was his response?
This is now bone of my bones
And flesh of my flesh.
She shall be called 'woman,'
for she was taken out of man.
Adam and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame.
Adam was swept off his feet by his beloved Eve. She was God's special work of art - the most beautiful creature on earth, and the mother of every living human being. Adam had no need for another woman when he already had the best.
Starving your Testosterone
This is how your male hormone works. If you never set your gaze on any other woman, your wife will always win the beauty contest. Why? Because your hormone enhances her natural good looks and makes her exquisite. You are blissfully ignorant of other women. The more you starve your testosterone, the more attractive your wife becomes. It doesn't matter if she is old or young, blonde or brunette, sleek or full size. As Solomon put it,
When you are full, not even honey tastes good,
but when you are hungry, even something bitter tastes sweet. (Proverbs 27:7, NCV)
and in another place Solomon said,
Like a lily among thorns
is my darling among the young women. (Song of Solomon 2:2)
When you regard all other women as thorns and your wife as the sole lily, you will have harnessed your libido for all its worth. However, the minute you set your eyes on another female, you obtain a knowledge that you don't want. It will eat away at your wife's special place in your heart. Before long, the new images in your mind will shove her off her throne, and someone else will reign in her place.
The Downward Spiral for Women
The prince of darkness has but one strategy to tear down God's work of art - to puff up man's pride and destroy woman's esteem. They often go hand in hand. An arrogant man thinks that one woman is not enough to satisfy him, and his wife learns that her beauty is insufficient to keep him. Her dream of being his princess is shattered, and she is whittled down to being his mistress.
If he breaks off the relationship, things only get worse. She tries in vain to attract a man with good character, and finally settles for a temporary arrangement just to feel loved again. For some women who continue this struggle for years, the cycle of attraction, abuse and rejection can bring them to the point of suicide. I am convinced that Satan will not stop his relentless attack on marriage until he has turned every man into a sex offender and every woman into a prostitute.
During the last century, one man who encouraged this trend on a national level was Hugh Hefner. With his first publication of Playboy magazine in December, 1953, Hefner started a sexual revolution that reshaped the way men viewed themselves and their partners. It inflated men's egos and diminished women's self-worth. Dr. Stephen Watts, professor of history at University of Missouri, authored the book, Mr. Playboy: Hugh Hefner and the American Dream in 2008. After 40 hours of interviews with Hefner and several days of combing through the archives of his Playboy Mansion, Watts made this startling conclusion (page 459):
…seeing women only as sexual creatures diminishes them and threatens to undermine a larger creed of human equality. With its unwavering emphasis on female nudity and sexual appeal, Playboy tends to slight other valuable dimensions of female life and experience in favor of the erotic.
America’s modern culture of self-fulfillment has created new difficulties. In a society of playboys and playgirls, for instance, family attachment, the basis of any society, has grown more difficult as gratification-seeking individuals find the sacrifices of marriage and childrearing increasingly hard to justify. Even more importantly, the culture of self-fulfillment molded by Playboy and others has made it difficult to conceive of the public good. Maintaining commitments beyond the self, for many modern citizens, has become an alien, if not incomprehensible, notion.
This degradation of women is actually not a new phenomenon. Sadly, it is as old as humanity. In a mural painted on the wall of an Etruscan tomb near Tarquinia, Italy in 490 B.C., two men are seen torturing a woman during a sex act, using a whip. Unfortunately, today we are witnessing a return of these horrors through books and films like E. L. James' Fifty Shades of Grey.
This reality underscores an important truth. The originator of sexual pleasure is none other than the Most High God. Every aspect of our sexuality and human reproduction manifests his brilliant design. Throughout the scriptures, God takes complete credit for all the pleasures of life, including sex, as the psalmist says,
in your presence there is fullness of joy;
at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.
(Psalm 16:11, ESV)
When the prince of darkness tempts someone to do wrong, he cannot offer any greater pleasure than what God has already made, because all pleasure is a gift from God. All he can do is present a twisted version of God's pleasure, a tawdry counterfeit of the original. As King Solomon so aptly put it,
The woman of wisdom says,
"Come and eat my food, and drink the wine I have prepared."
The woman of folly says,
"Stolen water is sweeter, and bread eaten in secret tastes better." (Proverbs 9:5, 17)
Notice the difference in quality. If you heed God's advice, your sexual union with your wife will be endowed with the best steak and wine, as it were, and will last your entire life; if you follow the evil one, your sexual escapades end up as cheap thrills - stolen bread and water.
To become a member of heaven's gentlemen's club, we must follow the example of God himself and focus our entire life of love on one woman.
The story of Cinderella is a picture of this kind of love: the prince passes over the most eligible maidens in his kingdom, and chooses to place his crown upon a poor but beautiful servant girl. We see this kind of love illustrated in the 6th century BC by the prophet Ezekiel, when he describes how God chose his forsaken people Israel to become his beloved wife.
You grew up and became tall and became like a beautiful jewel. I made a promise to you and entered into an agreement with you so that you became mine, says the Lord God. Then I bathed you with water, and put oil on you. I put beautiful clothes made with needlework on you and put sandals of fine leather on your feet. I wrapped you in fine linen and covered you with silk. I put jewelry on you: bracelets on your arms, a necklace around your neck, earrings in your ears, and a beautiful crown on your head. You ate fine flour, honey, and olive oil. Then you became famous among the nations, because you were so beautiful. Your beauty was perfect, because of the glory I gave you, says the Lord God. (Ezekiel 16:7-14, NCV)
You will never know what it feels like to be a king until you act like a king. When you can follow God's example by giving your wife everything you have - your money, your time, your affection, your future - she will radiate with the joy of feeling loved by you, and treat you in return with a deep respect.
If we men can help each other pursue this kind of love for our wives, we will find ourselves the privileged members of a real gentlemen's club.
Illustrations, in order of appearance:
Frank Bernard Dicksee, Romeo and Juliet, 1884
Gustave Dore, The Formation of Eve, 1866
Kat J, photograph of a woman crying, Unsplash
Photograph of Hugh Hefner in Playboy After Dark, 1970
The flogging grave in the necropolis of Tarquinia, Italy
Edmund Blair Leighton, The Beggar Maid, 1898