“What Is Sexy?” Exploring The Question Of How A Biblical Ethic Of Worship Shapes One’s View Of Sex And Sexuality -- By: Mark Liederbach

Journal: Southeastern Theological Review
Volume: STR 07:1 (Summer 2016)
Article: “What Is Sexy?” Exploring The Question Of How A Biblical Ethic Of Worship Shapes One’s View Of Sex And Sexuality
Author: Mark Liederbach


“What Is Sexy?” Exploring The Question Of How A Biblical Ethic Of Worship Shapes One’s View Of Sex And Sexuality

Mark Liederbach

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“What is sexy?” is arguably the most frequently asked question (directly or indirectly) in contemporary culture. One need only consider the many and varied businesses, media outlets, celebrities, and industries that rely on the adage “sex sells” to see the ubiquitous nature of the question. Further, when one considers that the cultural upheaval related to questions of sexuality, sexual preferences, gender identity and gay marriage, all rely on how one answers the question “what is sexy?” it is not difficult to see why exploring an answer to this question is so culturally important. This essay explores the biblical foundations for understanding “sexiness” and then develops nine ethical principles related to properly answering the question “what is sexy?” in everyday life.

Introduction: Is “Sexy” In The Eye Of The Beholder?

Perhaps the question that is implicitly asked more than any other in our culture is “What is sexy?” I say implicitly because it was not until recently that the lingerie company Victoria’s Secret explicitly made the question the central element of their ad campaign.1 And, of course, that same company answers the question (and then capitalizes on it) with an overly physicalistic definition of “sexy” that parades silicon and Botox enhanced, surgically altered, semi-anorexic women around in the company wares. But aside from this explicit ad campaign, the question lingers behind and drives advertising for everything from toothpaste to shampoo, from cars to cookies.2 It is the dominant idea behind the front covers of myriads of tabloids and magazines and recently even a major network television company ran an ad campaign describing NASCAR as the “most sexy” sport.3

Interestingly enough, when one seeks to find a definition for sexiness at the pop culture level it is virtually impossible to discover any discussion of substance. Instead, one finds publications, like People Magazine, that annually creates a list of “the 50 most beautiful people,” or like Victoria Secret’s, that publishes a list of the people with the most sexy eyes, smile, curves, etc. but none of which actually spell out specific criteria by which such lists are determined.

Indeed, a person need only do a brief study of fashion trends and models to discover that the ...

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