Can You Be Sexy and Modest?

Very interesting discussion on Anne’s blog on modesty. Check it out and then come back because I have some questions for you.

This whole modesty issue is something I struggle with as a single woman … knowing where the line is. And the line is very fine, I think, between sexy and slutty.

So how in the world does a single girl remain sexy and modest? It’s HARD, in my opinion.

Summer is my favorite season. I love tank tops and shorts and sundresses. And yes, even halter tops and bathing suits. For me, this isn’t an issue of modesty. I just love the sun. But that’s because I don’t think the way men think.

It’s easy for me to forget what a struggle this can be.

What do you think?

12 thoughts on “Can You Be Sexy and Modest?

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  1. I think it is easier for bigger busted women to come off looking slutty in something as simple as a tank top when that wasn’t their intention. Luckily or unluckily, I don not have that problem. I think it is ok to show off the boobs every once in awhile. I guess I’m not as modest as I thought.I’m going to have to think about this some more and post my thoughts on my blog a little later. I’ll link up to you if I do.

  2. That blog made me blush because I posted a bikini pic on my blog the other day. Whoops! But it was for artistic purposes…And no one reads my blog but my mom, my husband, and you. :)I know some men who say tank tops are just fine–no biggie. I lived in Amsterdam and this was definitely their attitude. Other men I know pass out at an ankle. So what’s a girl to do? But one can definitely be modest and sexy–because, ask any honest worthwhile man, what’s really sexy is a woman’s confidence and attitude toward herself.

  3. I’m so not good at this but would love to know your conclusion if you ever figure it out. I agree that it’s much easier for “ahem…smaller” woman to be sexy then larger when it comes to halter tops and just about every shirt in style right now. Anyway, just wanted to say hi.. like your blog and am jealous of your hiking pics. I miss CO.

  4. Leah, thanks for the comment! I’m still not sure where I land on this whole issue, but it’s definitely something that I’ve been contemplating a lot lately.Where were you in CO?

  5. This is hard for me to say, but I think there are some sacrifices Christian girls need to make for the sake of their Christian brothers. Just because something is cute and fashionable doesn’t make it automatically OK. There have been a couple of times I’ve not purchased something because it looked a little “too good.” Not saying I’m the Queen of Modesty or anything, but I do think Christian women shouldn’t strive to be “sexy.”

  6. I don’t know, Suzanne. I’ve always desired to be sexy … but maybe it depends on how one defines sexy. (“Sexy” in the Amazon, for instance, would probably be a whole different thing.) :)But I’m not so sure I agree that it’s wrong for Christian women to be sexy.

  7. I think this is one of those topics where grace is desperately needed. Yes, women need to be aware that their bodies can be tempting for men. And besides that, we are the temple of the Living God. How we dress reflects how we view Him.However, women in Islamic countries wear burqas because men claim that seeing ANY part of a woman will cause them to go crazy with lust. (Slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean.) I think you need to be aware of the competing issues here, lay it before God and do what He calls you to do.And then leave it be. Like Paul says in Romans, don’t judge and don’t look down on others. Let it be, and live in the grace and freedom God gave to you. I worry that this is one of those areas where the Pharisees would have a hayday.

  8. Since I posted my above comment, my blog traffic mysteriously tripled in a day. Said pic has been removed. :)Women are sexy, and I think we can glorify God in our sexiness. (By sexy I don’t mean 6 inches of cleavage.) God made us beautiful beings on purpose, and we reflect his image in this beauty. And God made us sexually attractive to attract. It’s not a mistake, and it’s not wrong. But us women can choose how we use this gift–destructively or to glorify God. I don’t think that means hiding it, but it does mean asking God for wisdom and guidance. Usually we know in our hearts if what we’re wearing is too much. As Napoleon Dynamite once said, “just follow your heart; that’s what I always do.”

  9. David and I talked a lot about this last night, and to my surprise, he puts a lot more of the responsibility on the guys.That was encouraging to me for some reason. It makes me think that at least my husband, even though he might be the only one in the world, is willing to take responsibility for his own struggles. He said he gets frustrated when he is asked to jump through hoops because other people are irresponsible, so he doesn’t think that we should be asked to. Basically, his message was that men need to buck up. This is the world they live in, and they’re still going to be held to account even if women are wearing less and less.That being said, of course he says that it makes things easier for him if women don’t leave their boobs exposed, but he also thinks that women should be allowed to dress the way they want to (within reason) without having to also take responsibility for other people’s sins.However, he is very analytical, perhaps more than most. He says that there is some clothing that is just degrading for a woman to wear, and in that case, his mind goes more toward the, “Wow, probably wouldn’t really like to hang out with that kind of person,” rather than the, “Oooh-la-la.”He also makes a distinction between looking and LOOKING, which I think is valid. When he used to struggle more with this, he used to beat himself up if he even looked at a girl on the street. Any girl. Just because she’s there. But guess what guys? More than half of the people on the planet are girls. You are inevitably going to look at some (OOPS), and you need to be able to handle it. Dave said he can tell the difference between a look and a LOOK, because a look feels the same as when he looks at the skateboarder with the four-foot chain hanging out of his pocket. People are fascinating. That’s the way it goes. And I think it’s acceptable for us to notice when people are “put together well” or “beautiful.”I do think, though, that single people have it much harder. David told me that it’s much less of a struggle now that we’re married because, well, he can get some relief. He’s satisfied (without going into too much detail), so he’s not nearly as vulnerable.Single men need that sort of outlet and don’t have it. Single women want to get attention but don’t want to be seen as slutty.It’s a tough battle.I’m rambling. All this to say that I was encouraged by our conversation (which I was definitely not expecting; I was sort of expecting to end up in tears), so I think that maybe you can be encouraged too, somehow.That’s all. Love you! Goodbye.

  10. Thanks Ellie, for sharing Dave’s thoughts. I am curious as to what a man’s opinion is, although I’m sure there are a wide variety of opinions. But I am encouraged. So … thanks.

  11. Dawn told me to read your blog. So here I am! :-)First, depends on how you define sexy.Second, a woman can be naked and still have an attitude of modesty (does that make sense?). I think of the story in Corrie ten Boom’s book – she and her sister were stripped naked and had to walk in front of men. That did not make them immodest. YET, a woman can dress modestly and still be VERY sexual in the way they act.So I guess it is more of an attitude in many ways. A heart attitude (aren’t all issues this way). Are you trying to have a man look at your boobs or butt? Or are you just trying to stay cool on a hot day? Are you flaunting your body for all the men? You have to ask those questions of yourself. Ultimately, if you feel God is convicting you on this issue, listen to Him – not the world.

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