Me, Instagram Boobies, Happy Wife

by ShaunKing on March 31, 2013 · 71 comments

(This post has not been edited for errors.  These are my raw thoughts.  I apologize in advance if the word “boobies” offends you.  If it does, lighten up.)

UPDATE :: This is the first blog post in FOUR YEARS that I’ve enabled comments on.  Hoping to have a lively discussion.

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If you noticed in the title, “Instagram Boobies” was sandwiched right between “Me” and “Happy Wife”.

That was on purpose.

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Last week, I handed my wife my iPhone to show her a hilarious picture of Kevin Hart on Instagram.  After she saw it, she decided to simply scroll through my entire Instagram feed. No big deal.  We have an open book policy where we always have access to everything the other does, so I didn’t think twice about it.

But, low and behold, with just a little bit of scrolling, there they were… Instagram Boobies.  More than just boobies to be all the way real.  Before I knew it, my happy wife was no longer happy and I had some explaining to do.  Nobody wants to see T&A on their husband’s phone.

WARNING :: I am about to REALLY put myself out there.  Feel free to judge away!

superman_kryptonite

Online boobies are like kryptonite to me.  I’ve never had an affair.  I don’t look at offline boobies.  I don’t have a porn problem, but when I see boobies online I have a hard time not looking.  It’s my weakness.  I don’t google search them, but if they pop up somewhere in my social media feeds, I take a look.  I’m not saying it’s ok.  I am way better than I used to be but they get me everytime.

2 years ago I got in pretty big trouble with my wife for this and I pretty much just stopped using Facebook because of it.  Long story short: women that I was “Facebook Friends” with had booby pictures up and I checked them out.  Not cool.

I stopped the behavior.  I knew better.  I wasn’t going to let any Facebook boobies get between me and a happy wife.

So – let’s get back to Instagram boobies.  This is where it gets tricky.

  • In part because of my Facebook booby problem, I mainly follow men on Instagram, but I always feel like this is a bit weird.  Know what I mean?  Plus – dudes post Instagram boobies too.
  • How do I choose if it is ok for a woman to follow or not? Do I search her pics first for booby shots to see if the coast is clear? That would also be weird and kind of self-defeating.
  • So, I follow my wife, other women in my family, my daughters, some old female classmates from Spelman or from high school, some women from the church I used to pastor, and some women that have been supporters of mine online.
  • I intentionally don’t follow (or have any honest interest in following) porn stars or booty models or women that are known for showing off.  I just follow family and women that I know somehow.

Then, women that I know, think of myself as being friends with, start posting booby shots and provocative poses.  99% of what these women post has nothing to do with boobies.  Let me just show you what you I’m talking about and then ask some questions.  We’ll discuss it all in the comments section here.  Maybe I can even get the women who posted the photos to join in…

Here are the 3 pictures that got me in trouble.  They are public and all 3 of them were shared publicly.  I respect all 3 of these women , got permission to post these photos from each of them, and think of them as my friends on some level or another.  After I show you the pictures I want to ask some questions…

1. This was from a classmate of mine from Spelman when I attended Morehouse.  So witty.  We wrote together for the Maroon Tiger. Just a random shot for St. Patricks Day I guess.

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2. This lady has been a huge supporter/defender of mine online.  A great person.  I honestly don’t know the backstory of this shot.

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3. This young lady used to attend my church. I know her parents.  She was in high school when she attended our church.  Now she’s in college. Born leader.

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Sooooooo….

It is true. I follow these women.  I respect them.  They posted these shots.  I saw them. Blah Blah Blah.  I didn’t follow them for these types of shots and didn’t expect them when I followed them. I didn’t unfollow them when I saw these shots either.  That’s how my wife saw them in my feed.

Here are the questions I have for you all…

(These questions are not that well thought out.  I don’t think anybody ever called me sexist. I’m a pretty progressive dude, but forgive me if my questions are the wrong questions.  I’m just trying to have an honest discussion.)

1. Is it OK for women to post these types of photos?

2. Is it inconsiderate for women to post these types of photos if they know married men are following them?

3. Should a married man follow women on social networks at all?

4. Should a married man unfollow a woman on Instagram (or elsewhere) after he sees they post these types of photos?

I have thoughts of my own on all of those questions.  They aren’t as easy to answer as they seem. All I know is that real boobies trump Instagram boobies any day and I can’t jam up what I got going on offline for something goofy online.  HAPPY WIFE = HAPPY LIFE

What do you think?

  • Jay

    This feels very straightforward to me, I have no idea why it is controversial….must be my upbringing. It just seems so incredibly complicated otherwise. And reduces the importance and value of trust in any relationship.

    Yes no yes no.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Haha. Can you break it down a bit more Jay? :-)

  • Jay

    Sure. The value of a male and female relationship extends beyond sex and attraction. To account so intensely for these factors just because of gender is to ignore the other parts of these relationships you have. Trust and love keep your relationship strong…and these don’t change that.

  • Jay

    That said, do what you feel is right for y’all. That’s even simpler. :)

  • Jonathan

    I think this is a problem but in context of what is temptation for you. It’s unreasonable to ask ALL women to not post pictures like this. However think of the what instagram is…its pictures. Kind of have to ask yourself why are you following them in the first place. Just don’t follow them if they consistently post stuff that’s an issue for you.

    Also for the most part if you wait 5 min on instagram the pics are out of your feed. I think they would consistently have to post provocative photos to get an unfollow from me.

    I think saying all married men shouldn’t follow all women is a little extreme.

  • Ree

    1. Yes, if she wants to be objectified.
    2. No. Your marriage isn’t her problem.
    3. Yes, if the women keep it professional and classy.
    4. Probably

  • Sinead Roy

    Two questions. Would you feel comfortable with your wife/daughter posting something similar? If your wife is uncomfortable about it, is that not more important than other people’s opinions?

  • http://twitter.com/tatiana_noel PopDaMollyI’mSweatin

    1. Yes, if she thinks she’s beautiful and wants to share that (whether for good attention or bad)

    2. No. She can’t control anyone else’s marriage status or the “follow” button all day.

    3. Yes, if following them for respectful or honorable reasons.

    4. I’ll answer that with a question: Should a married man close his eyes and ears to anything beyond the four walls of his house? Because sexual provocation is everywhere.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Great thoughts Sinead. That was the first thing my wife said to me. She asked how would I feel if she followed dudes that posted the equivalent – I didn’t like it.

    I didn’t post the blog so I could learn what to do in my marriage, but to see how people felt. Know what I mean?

  • Bronte Velez

    I think in the age, advent, and proliferation of social media and networking, it is easier to indirectly seek affirmation. I think most women post “provocative” photos – and many times consciously – to seek that affirmation. If you look at my Instagram none of my photos are like the above photo. I actually posted it as a result of a conversation I had with a friend. I assured him that the less clothes I have on and the “sexier” face I make, the more likes I will get. I also discussed how more people follow me on Instagram then on Twitter and he said, “People don’t care what you have to say Bronte…they just care about how you look.” That really struck me as I believe our physical selves are not our true selves and that objectification is something I highly want to avoid so that the light I want to share always shines through. In any case, I think if there is significant trust in a relationship, it’s ok to still have female friends. Just because you’re married or in a relationship doesn’t mean you become blind to what is aesthetically pleasing. I think when you act upon it is when there are definitely some problems. I also believe you have to know your limits. If seeing images of a woman you know and have access to are making you dishonest and lustful in the lieu of you being married, I would think it best to not follow those women to maintain the sanctity of your marriage. I think you can find the photo pleasing to the eye but the affirmation… the love… the praise… THAT needs to go to the woman you have committed your life to. You need to follow that woman above all. I have lots of other things to say about this but maybe I’ll see where the conversation goes. lol

  • Megan

    Very much agree, except for number 3, since a lot is going to depend on the man, his wife and his marriage.

  • Megan

    So glad to see the male/female heterosexual relationship and the impact of sex on it being discussed. Society has opened up the freedom for us to connect in non-sexual ways, we need to start maturing in that area, Christians included.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dc.engster Diane Engster

    I am an older woman married to a progressive male clergy. Only the middle photo seems “provocative” to me. I wouldn’t care if my husband had the other two on his phone and probably not the middle one if it was just one aspect of the person. I don’t think men and women are expected to lose their sexuality when they marry but its all a matter of degree. Maybe for you personally, the degree is too much. If so its something you and your wife should talk about and work out.

    I used to follow you on facebook and was very excited about the projects you would start when you moved. Then, I really wondered where you went after your initial enthusiasm. Its a shame that your ministry is being affected by this because you feel like you have to cut off contact with people who believe in what you have done.

  • Megan

    Re #4, I have zero qualms about defriending/unfollowing/blocking ANYONE on FB/Twitter/wherever if their posts cause some sort of disruption in my life and mental/emotional/spiritual well being…racism, sexism, homophobia, general stupidity…it’s all fair game when it comes to me maintaining internal peace online. If I care about them, I’ll tell them why politely and if I want to continue a relationship with them, I’ll do it elsewhere, accepting that this may just not be a part of their life I need to share.

  • kim

    Guess it boils down to trust on all sides. .”do you trust me enough to know that I wouldn’t hurt you? To know where the line is?” Pretty impossible to filter life out. Boobies are IN church too right?

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Absolutely Megan. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to step out there and have this conversation in the first place.

  • http://stephenmatlock.com/ BetweenTwoWorlds

    Great topic.

    On the one hand, I am probably a complete feminist in saying “Women shouldn’t have to do anything to hide who they are because men behave badly.” The problem men have with pictures is a problem that men have, not a problem caused by women. Speaking as a guy, it’s my problem.

    On the other hand, speaking as a guy, pictures/images stimulate. I can choose to continue the stimulation by continuing to look, of course, but there’s no way that I know of to turn off that initial stimulation. And I can’t always know in advance that someone might post any picture in particular. It’s based upon knowledge of the person.

    So for me the answer is: don’t put yourself in a position where you’re likely to be stimulated. And make it a policy that people should know that everything they post can and will be reviewed by your wife or husband.

    So–

    1) Women should feel as free as men to post what they want with the same restrictions for their own propriety. It is a public medium, and anyone posting any picture needs to realize that the internet is forever. Women shouldn’t have a separate freedom that’s less than men.

    2) It’s kinda weird for a woman to have a married man follow her on Twitter, know it, and then post pictures that are edgy like this, but it’s the married man’s issue in the first place. (I would say the same of a man who did similar things, but then I can honestly say I don’t know how that would work.) There’s a certain trust involved between two people who know each other in the amount of stuff they share. What I’ve experienced is that the married women I know are more restrained. But that’s my issue and my experience.

    3) I generally don’t know if someone I’m following is married or not, but if someone is, and posts pictures I can’t handle, I’ll unfollow with polite regrets. I’ve been lucky in having people who are restrained, I guess.

    4) So if a married man sees these pictures, it’s probably a good idea to unfollow. If it becomes a pattern where the same kinds of pictures keep getting posted no matter whom you follow, then the problem might be in the type of people you’re following. And if it’s you, then you should probably not follow these people in the first place.

    It’s a good idea to have your wife able to review anything posted. And it is a GREAT thing that you have that comfort with your wife that you can do this, AND that you can talk about this and respond to it.

    And to be honest, this post is making me do some more thinking about what I’m doing on the Internet.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Hey Diane! Thanks for your comments. NO!! This hasn’t affected my life or ministry at all. Did you know that I no longer pastor in Atlanta, but lead a charity called HopeMob?

    Haha! Maybe I overstated the problem a bit much.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Wow man!! Thank you so much for your thoughtful and balanced feedback. I’m hoping some others can chime in on you posted. It’s been so long since I had comments on my blog that I’m not early as skilled of a moderator :-)

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Hey Bronte! Thanks a ton for chiming in with a perspective that actually surprised me. Say the other stuff you are thinking too :-)

  • http://twitter.com/QueenElle1980 Elle_Mac

    1. In my opinion, a woman should be able to post any type of photo she wants, provided she is willing to take any of the possible flak/judgements she may receive.
    2. The husband & wife have taken the vows. It’s their responsibility to guard and protect their marriage, not anyone elses.

    3. As a married woman I would only be ok with my husband following women he is related to. I would want to screen any other women he wanted to follow. Sexist? Probably. But like I said, it’s necessary to guard your marriage, and I don’t want any potentially harmful gates/doors being opened.
    4. Absolutely, without question. Though following certain woment may start off innocent enough, it could easily turn into checking out the Instagram, FB, Twitter, etc. feed just to see if any boobies, booties (and any other part that grabs a man’s attention) has been posted. When it comes to marriage, it’s usually better to err on the side of caution.

  • http://stephenmatlock.com/ BetweenTwoWorlds

    “2. The husband & wife have taken the vows. It’s their responsibility to guard and protect their marriage, not anyone elses.”

    This should be tattooed on people when they get married, it’s that good.

    I hope you are involved in counseling. You will save many people many, many days of grief with your insight.

  • Oliver

    Great topic. My wife and I have no problem acknowledging when someone is attractive. I dont follow booty models (at least ones I dont know personally :-) ) , pornstars are out of the question in any arena, and we dont “like” the status of random sexy people that other friends may “share” publicly out of respect for each other. And we cant help if one of our attractive friends post somewhat provacative photos. Social networks are public forums. But if she thinks someone is attractive, she’ll tell me. If I think someone attractive ill tell her. Communication is everything man. And you shouldnt do anything that should make your wife/husband insecure. Kudos to your wife for at least stating she had a problem with it. Its better than her harboring it and not saying anything later on. I just hope no one thinks once you get married (or in a relationship) that you or your spouse will find other people of the opposite sex completely unattractive. You can acknowledge that someone is attractive without physically or mentally lusting after them. And if these people are your friend then you should have some sort.of established boundary that all people involved understand. I know for us guys its hard because women can be so fine. But its the wife man, she deserves to know that shes the number 1 woman, 100 percent of the time.

  • Sinead Roy

    Sure. I understood when I read the blog that you had already made a decision that would honour your wife’s feelings about this. I guess my questions were directed to other readers rather than to you. Sorry if it came off as anything else.

  • http://twitter.com/QueenElle1980 Elle_Mac

    I’m glad you could appreciate my comment. I’m not a counselor (though I’ve had a number of people suggest I go into the field), just extremely passionate about wanting people to have successful marriages.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    YES OLIVER!! Great thoughts bro.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    :-)

  • Socalgirl

    I guess I don’t understand why women want to post these types of pictures anyway, particularly the last two. What is the purpose? I wouldn’t be upset, and probably wouldn’t even know, if my husband stumbled across something like this on Facebook. I don’t think I’d care really either. My philosophy is, if I trust you, I just do. If you do something to make me not trust you, that’s different. I don’t consider looking at pics like disrespectful to your wife. If you called them up about it, that’s different. There’s a lot on the Internet. I don’t have time to monitor my husband’s online activities. I just trust him not to do wrong by me.

  • http://www.facebook.com/geno.washington.9 Geno Washington

    When matters of temptation may apply,think on the old adage, “A picture is worth a 1000 words.” Should it depend on which “words” used to defend or define what can be viewed with many differences or can a pic be posted with the purest of innocent intent guarantee that it won’t be viewed in wrong frame of mind?

  • Rai (Wifey)

    Well I reckon I’ll chime in here. Let me first say that I am not an insecure woman. Shaun and I spent 2 years dating long distance when I was in high school and he was in college. We were 16 and 18 and were in the most highly sexualized time in any young person’s life. I came to a very important realization during this time. I knew that I was pretty enough and had a lot of other things going for me. But I came to the realization that no matter how pretty I was there was always going to be someone prettier. And no matter how “banging” my body was someone else’s was going to be better. I knew that it was impossible for me (or any other woman) to be sexy or smart or enchanting enough to keep a man faithful. Don’t believe me? Ask Hale Berry or Evelyn Losada or any other gorgeous woman who’s ever been cheated on. A man stays faithful because he wants to. Period. It’s not about me. Coming to this realization really freed me because I no longer felt like I was in competition with other women. I want to be pleasing to Shaun, so I take care of myself. And even after 3 babies, some dimples, dings, and extra poundage, I’ve still got it. At least the guys that tried to hit on me at the DMV and the mall this week think so…lmbo! But again, faithfulness is not about any of that. Either Shaun is committed to me or he isn’t.
    That being said, over our 12 years of marriage I have come to understand the importance of guarding ourselves against evil. Shaun and I are still very young. At 33 and 31 men and women our age are still highly attractive and are not afraid to show it. He likes the way women look and I like the way men look. The enemy would love to use this and anything else to destroy us. Affairs always start innocently enough. They always start with a look, and then a thought, and so on and so on. Take Matthew 5:27-28 (The Message)

    “You know the next commandment pretty well, too: ‘Don’t go to bed with
    another’s spouse.’But don’t think you’ve preserved your virtue simply by
    staying out of bed. Your heart can be corrupted by lust even quicker than
    your body. Those leering looks you think nobody notices-they also
    corrupt.”-Jesus

    Plus, I really don’t like the double standard. If you (Shaun) saw a picture of a man in his bed in his underwear on any of my feeds you’d totally lose it! You hate it when I look at Idris Elba’s twitter account. I can only imagine how you’d feel if it was a “real” person catching my eye. A good rule of thumb in any marriage is the basic golden rule…do unto others.

    Know your weaknesses and protect yourself against them. Period.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Hey Honey,

    Thanks for this. You are right on so many levels. In the end, what works and doesn’t work for some people doesn’t always apply to everybody. I know what works for me and you know what works for you. We also have to always be communicating what our boundaries are for each other and what makes us uncomfortable.

    What translation was that scripture? That was good.

    You didn’t tell me about the DMV :-)

    I gotta get home!

  • http://twitter.com/mikayladreyer Mikayla Dreyer ☮

    Shaun–

    I’m loving reading this discussion. Just wanted to take a second to thank you for hosting it. Your humility and willingness to be vulnerable here shows a lot of strength and the kind of leadership I want to see more of: honest and real.
    This is a really personal subject and I’m sure one many others have encountered- I love that you’re not too proud to admit your weaknesses and share with others so they might learn, too.

    And so many props to your wife, chiming in on the comments and standing her ground. Y’all are just an awesome couple

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Thanks a ton Mikayla. It actually wasn’t easy to write. You never know what folk are going to think. My hope w/ my blog for years has always been to write about topics that affect real people right now. I’m glad this connecting w/ you too my friend.

  • Andrea

    1. Is it OK for women to post these types of photos?
    I’d say that it’s as ok for women as it is for men… but I may not mean what you think I mean. In either case (man or woman), you’re putting this out there for the world. The Internet is forever and you cannot control where the content you put out there goes (no matter how many settings you think you have). Here’s why that’s important:

    a) To mirror what Ree said: sure, put it out there if you want to be objectified. Adding to that, as a potential employer (or partner), it goes beyond objectification and introduces attributes you may not want communicated:
    - lack of self-control,
    - lack of awareness around what appropriate attire/behavior might be,
    - that you aren’t intelligent (because you’re selling a different image),
    - that physical attention is what you’re looking for,
    - that you do not actually own your sexuality but that you need other’s approval/praise, and
    - that you don’t understand the permanence and prevalence of the Internet — which may end up embarrassing me, my family, my company, etc.

    Now, regardless of whether all of these things are true or false, is this what you want to communicate to a potential employer or partner?

    I really don’t think it’s about “am I messing with someone else’s marriage” but that it’s more about “what content am I sharing with the world and what does that communicate about me?”

    b) I’m all about owning one’s sexuality, but owning your sexuality is not the same thing as advertising it online.

    2. Is it inconsiderate for women to post these types of photos if they know married men are following them?
    I don’t think having married men following them should really be a consideration. Is it appropriate if single men are following them? Does using one’s body as currency — and a much louder piece of communication than a business plan, dissertation, or confession of love — ever become appropriate unless that is, in fact, your job? Gonna go with “no.” Ladies and gentlemen, you are worth so much more than that!

    To be fair, photo #1 isn’t an inappropriate photo — yes, boobies are present, but she’s also female (it’s gonna happen), she’s fully clothed, and it’s definitely more silly/flirty than provocative.

    3. Should a married man follow women on social networks at all?
    Again, I don’t think being married should have much to do with it. Married men should not follow women on dating sites, but social networks are intended to be more public. Good rule of thumb: if you would have lunch with someone (and it wouldn’t cause any marital static), then follow away! If they prove they can’t be an adult (e.g., they’re posting inappropriate things that may cause marital static — or things that simply damage the image of the person you know them to be), let’em know what’s going on. Sometimes, folks don’t realize they posted something publicly that wasn’t meant to be public, or they’re really not thinking about what they’re putting out there (the reminder may be helpful). I wouldn’t “blanket rule” this one, though — know your limitations, temptations, and don’t get in over your head. But generally speaking, we cannot build positive, healthy, cross-gender relationships with other people if we start segregating ourselves on social networks.

    4. Should a married man unfollow a woman on Instagram (or elsewhere) after he sees they post these types of photos?
    If it’s a habit, yes. One photo? Again, I’d mention to them that it may not be the best material for a public place (as a gentle reminder)… but if their response indicates that they’ll likely continue to do it, yeah, I’d go ahead and unfollow them. I’ve unfollowed men who do this, too, for the same reasons. Making it difficult for others to respect you as a professional or as an adult doesn’t benefit anyone.

  • DisneyCyndi

    My short, sweet answer ( and this is after 30 yrs of marriage). If my husbands not ok with it..then it’s not ok. If I’m not ok with it…then it’s not ok. So if it bothers, offends or angers Rai I say go with what Rai says. Marc and I are not young anymore but we are not old either. Temptation has no age. I would not be ok with this in his timeline ( granted he’s old fashioned anyway and would probably not be ok with it. And like Rai said ( in the short few yrs I’ve “known” you two ) I can’t see you being ok with it if the roles were reversed! I think a lot of ladies post pics not so much to be “provocative” but because it’s the thing to do. They don’t see the harm in it so why should someone else. I’ve had this conversation with my 20 something year old daughters. Even if they meant it for “innocent” somebody will use it for evil if given the opportunity. I have a rule with my social network contacts…if at all possible if I’m following a man on twitter or Facebook if possible I follow his wife as well. I try to keep conversations “open” and any conversation is always available for Marc to see. In our position I’ve seen to many marriages fail because what for some starts out as innocent can quickly turn into an affair. I recall a post you wrote a while back about accountability in your marriage. It opened my eyes to some stuff. It’s stayed with me to this day! You may not be a “pastor” anymore but I happen to think those principles can be applied to any job! And again I say if it bothers Rai then it’s not worth it! By the way I’ve missed your blogs ( and Rai’s)!

  • DisneyCyndi

    Man, so much for short and sweet! lol

  • http://winoandcaveman.com/ Dustin Christian

    1. I think it’s perfectly okay as long as she’s aware of the reactions that they’re likely to receive and are prepared to deal with them in whatever manner she sees fit. Honestly, none of those pictures seem very provocative to me.

    2. I don’t think it’s either considerate or inconsiderate. Why should “your” situation dictate her actions?

    3. This is highly dependent on individual relationships. My wife and I have no problem with either of us following members of the opposite sex or even past partners. Your mileage may vary.

    4. Not necessarily. If that’s ALL she posts, maybe. Again, I don’t find any of those pictures very provocative, but one has to use their own judgment.

  • TheGreatDanaJ

    1. I don’t think women should post photos like that. I think that it’s vain. I really don’t like seeing images of women who post photos of themselves every single day. They look like objects in my opinion. A photo of yourself is cool every once in a while. But why are you in your underwear? Why are yours boobs hanging out? I don’t get that part. Unless you are Playboy or work in that industry there’s no need for a regular person to post that sort of thing. I’ve unfollowed both men (taking shirtless workout and body shots daily) and women taking sexy photos of themselves (frequently) simply due to how vain they appear.

    2. I think the women want attention in the form of “likes” and comments as validation. They aren’t considering the married men in that way. And your marriage isn’t of concern to the women posting.

    3. I don’t think it’s terrible for a married man to follow women on social networks. Women should be held accountable for their posts and if the posts are too much people should unfollow.

    4. A married man should unfollow if the images are too much to handle. That’s on any social network.

  • http://twitter.com/garylamb Gary Lamb

    1. ) Obviously it’s a free country and women can post whatever they want. That being said, I do think it shows a deeper issue. I think it shows insecurity, the need for validation, and lack of respect for themselves by doing so.
    2.) The Bible says we will give an account for ourselves. I’m not sure their responsibility should be that men see it but I do think they should be aware of how men are looking at them and the thoughts that are going through their head.
    3.) I think it is acceptable for me to follow women but there has to be boundaries. On FB I let me wife know every woman that sends a friend request. I then unsubscribe to 90% of the photos on FB. I chose to see only status updates. I think everyone has to have boundaries. What guy doesn’t like seeing a woman with their stuff hanging out? Obviously this has gotten me in trouble in the past and it is a huge issue in my life. Therefore like I teach addicts, I put up boundaries and don’t put myself in a position to see things I shouldn’t see.
    4.) I would say yes. You made NO bones about the fact that is is a struggle and would be for ALL guys so why follow someone who could have get a small toe hold on causing you to blow it.

    Submitted respectfully who had no boundaries 4 years ago and lost it all.

  • http://www.facebook.com/bernard.johnson.7 Bernard Johnson

    1. Yes. These pics appear to be pretty clean and not classless.
    2. Not inconsiderate at all. The viewer has the right to unfollow if offended.
    3. I think it is cool for a married man to follow women online, but if wifey has an issue with it, maybe not.
    4. Not necessarily. If he can handle it and the wifey has no problem with it, all good.
    HAPPY WIFE = HAPPY LIFE

  • http://twitter.com/saaasbo Ann Tremain Smith

    Well said!!!!

  • Nancy

    Hi there, I’m a new reader. Just found you this morning via a FB friend who shared your “former church insider” post – which was a great read, btw. This was a brave post to write. I’m really inspired by your honesty. In response to your questions… while they are good questions in and of themselves, and worth our time and consideration, I’m not sure they are the right questions for this particular issue of yours.

    I think that the answers to 1 & 2 are really complex and require looking at our culture and society and media and really getting to the root of WHY women are posting photos like that, before we can even begin to discuss whether or not it’s ok.

    Numbers 3 & 4…the answers will be different depending on who you talk to and what their particular struggles might be. But ultimately, I don’t think these questions will help you with your particular problem. Perhaps instead, a question to ponder might be…

    Does “following” these particular women on Instragram deepen your sense of meaningful connection with them? If it does, great. Proceed with caution and find a way to deal with your issue. Because it is, ultimately, your issue. Not hers. She is not dangerous to you just because she has “boobies.” Women are not inherently dangerous because of their body parts. But if following them on instagram is not deepening your sense of connection with them, let it go and unfollow them. I think that if media and technology does not encourage real and meaningful connection, if you are just using it to pass the time or check out for a while, looking at your feed instead of looking at Rai or your kids, then it’s time to reevaluate its purpose in your life, yeah?

    Anyhow… thanks again for the honest post. I enjoyed thinking it through and being part of the conversation.

  • Skegeeaces

    I have to say I LOVE this discussion! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE IT!

    You know, it is SO hard to feel pretty these days. I can only imagine that women post such pictures because they need to feel affirmed (or reaffirmed) in their beauty. Is it the best way to go about it? Um, NO. But my Lord, do I understand it.

    I *personally* don’t put up booby shots because: 1) I am married and those belong to my husband. Point blank, period. 2) While it’s attention getting, it’s not GOOD attention. Lots of women have boobs. Mine are great, but not that special. 3) I am accountable for causing other men to stumble. We’d like to think we live in a bubble and that “What-he-does-ain’t-my-problem-so-what?!”, but the Word clearly says that isn’t the case- at least for believers.

    Actually, a LONG time ago (when my husband and I were just engaged), his phone buzzed with a text message from his good friend while he was in the bathroom. I picked it up to read the text to him through the door (lol, yes we’re that couple), but I happened to notice an earlier part of the conversation- where they were talking about how hot the receptionist’s cleavage was. Hurt my feelings? Uh, yeah. Was I pissed? You betcha! Did the receptionist have any idea, did she do it on purpose? I don’t know, but I felt more sorry for her than angry.

    I just don’t think people *think* these things through? Like Rai said, stuff starts out innocently enough. “Eh, it’s just one sexy shot. Can’t hurt anybody!” or “Eh, it’s just one look. Can’t hurt anybody!” I think the problem comes in when we don’t know when to take these things seriously. This isn’t a stumbling block for everyone, but NO ONE should assume they’re immune to sin. Perhaps we’re all best serve if we “look less, show less”.

  • http://twitter.com/sheenalashay Sheena LaShay

    Hi Shaun, as mentioned I wrote a blog post in response to this since I’m the “provocative” woman in the middle. You can read my response in the link below and many of those questioning my motives with subjective judgements can also read my response to.

    http://sheenalashay.com/2013/04/re-shaun-king-my-breasts-his-wife/

  • http://www.facebook.com/DwayneDuggerII Dwayne Rodney Dugger II

    Good post! I don’t think unfollowing those women is necessary. It seems you and your wife have a healthy relationship and great communication. The fact that you have open dialogue with her concerning this is great! These pictures in my opinion are harmless. Women have breasts, par of life (lol). My wife and I have open dialogue about this kind of stuff too : )

  • http://twitter.com/WokenUpinVegas Vega

    I won’t be able to post as eloquently as many of the others, but for what it’s worth…

    1. I think it is up to the person what they post – anyone is free to post whatever they want, but they are not free from the judgment or reaction of others, and they may be (often are?) unaware of that. For that reason, I don’t think it’s a great idea for women to be posting photos like that.

    2. Isn’t it up to the married party to unfollow/restrain themselves? I wouldn’t personally censor or tailor anything (including language) just because of anyone who would happen to follow me. I don’t think it is inconsiderate unless it is deliberately aimed at the married person, or is overly x-rated.

    3. Yes! Most don’t post offensive or inappropriate images or material, and I don’t think you can rule out the whole gender based on just a few members. I would be really hurt to think a man had stopped following me for that reason, and would rather them say something to me.

    4. That’s really up to that person…if it affects you, then you probably should unfollow. If I was married, I would probably unfollow if I felt tempted by the photos someone was posting.

    I love reading your blog and the choices of topic are great :)

  • Kris

    Man your wife was preachin!! What a word to me and my future marriage… Faithfulness is a choice! Anyways…

    I would tell any woman to be wary of what she posts and how she exposes herself properly. It’s simply by virtue of modesty and discretion. Dressing like a hoochie or flaunting a little too much on instagram isn’t necessarily sexual immorality or sinful behavior, as many Christians would like to label it, it’s simply immaturity! Just like I don’t put all my business out there because there are certain parts of my life reserved for certain circles around me. Bottom line… Why would you want all of instagram to see your booty? Follow your own convictions, and form those convictions from scripture and most importantly from YOUR relationship with Jesus. That’s the bigger picture.
    I’m not saying they need to be careful because I NEED THEM TOO. The pictures of the girls above are all gorgeous! Like for real they are all beautiful women. But I wouldn’t tell them to watch they post for MY SAKE. Just like your wife said faithfulness is a choice… So is lust! No woman on earth can MAKE me lust after her. Are we as men so weak now that we can’t stand up and fight our OWN inner heart problems instead of trying to make women hide their bodies like some 1800′s amish church women?? For goodness sake women, flaunt a little! Nothing wrong with exposing beauty. I slip up plenty, but it is not any woman on earths fault. It’s my sin nature and a reminder that I need Jesus ALL DAY EVERY DAY.

    With that said, I want any woman to respect herself. Not because of some rules or laws or social pretenses in whatever culture she yields from… but because she is worth it. There is no way we can ever draw some sort of line to determine “how much skin is too much” or any crap like that. I sure don’t find a modesty list in the Bible. What would I say to women? Love yourself. To some of you, grow up and learn how to love yourself properly. What does it look like to love and respect yourself? I don’t completely know. But I know it starts with not giving yourself to just ANYONE and by keeping certain parts of your life (and your body) private to some/most/all etc.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Hey Sheena,

    Thank you so much for your honest response & critique on your blog. For real. Even though you pretty much ripped me to shreds and made me sound like a 13 year old boy, I’m glad to have sparked this conversation. I knew going into it that I wasn’t quite using the right words. So few of us talk about this type of stuff that it’s pretty easy to be clumsy. I tried! Haha.

    Rooting for you as always.

    -Shaun

  • http://www.cheshire-grin.com/ Andrea

    Quick question, Shaun: did I mis-read your questions? I read them as “women in general” and “photos like these,” instead of them being about “these three women.”

    I have the feeling that my comments are being read as a judgement of “these three women,” when that’s not at all what I intended. (I even included a brief disclaimer in the form of “unless that is, in fact, your job…”)

    I think the point is really: “be mindful of what you’re communicating. If it’s exactly what you want to communicate, ok, simply be mindful of it.”

    Does that make sense?

  • http://twitter.com/sheenalashay Sheena LaShay

    I’m glad you wrote this post Shaun. Your honesty has always captivated me, so I really appreciate it. But you know, I had to be honest too. Issues of sexuality, social media, gender issues, how we’re connected to one another, how we express ourselves…. these are all things I love to explore, talk about, critique and learn about, so thank you.

  • Kym

    Yes, No, Depends, Depends. These posts are what people choose to represent about themselves, their likes, dislikes, interests, beliefs. Censoring that is tantamount to telling an artist to remove a piece of their creative art out of their portfolio because “some” people can’t handle it.
    As a teacher, I am big on personal responsibility. If we are expecting people to censor what they choose to post under the guise of “personal responsibility”, but yet don’t even expect the offended/sensitive/embarrassed viewer to look away, unfollow, or exit the program, then we have a double standard.
    The bible says that we must be able “possess our own vessel” and if that means unfollowing some people because of what they choose to post …. So be it.

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    You understood me correctly Andrea. I wasn’t trying to pass judgment on these 3 women or I would not have posted their pics and subjected them to such criticism. I was just trying to gauge how people felt about the broader topic.

  • http://twitter.com/sheenalashay Sheena LaShay

    Does the above photos lead you to believe that the women, including myself “give ourselves to anyone?” Thats a very far jump based on a dance picture. Also, the notion of “giving myself” to someone versus “having a shared experience” which I’m assuming you meant sexually, also outlines an issue that needs fixing when it comes to teaching girls and women about sexuality. Also, if we are to go with your notion that certain parts of our lives and our bodies should be private to most or all…what parts would that be if you are to articulate it? In theory, this sounds so nicely written but honestly, just what does that mean? Do you feel that Olympic gymnasts or tango dancers have implied issues of not respecting themselves and give themselves to anyone? Because I’m a dancer and an athlete beyond, the fact that I’m a woman. Would you write that same kind of response if I posted an image of me in a pose in a leotard as I was performing a floor routine? I wonder….

  • Kris

    The amount of assuming you just did might be too much! I didn’t think I had to lace my entire response with disclaimers and clarifiers but alas, here we are. Like Shaun has said, I’m not going to find the right words. Especially if I’m a man speaking too/of women. I purposely didn’t speak much of the above photos and the only point I made about them was that all three ladies represented were beautiful women. I would never make judgements on people I have never met before. So try not to run with generalized statements, mainly and obviously aimed at single, maturing young ladies as opposed to an established woman like you. You took the general statements I made and applied them very personally to yourself and defended yourself on grounds of being inappropriate. Also did you not read what I wrote? I said I could never draw a line as to what is appropriate or not, that’s personal. Don’t try to talk to me like I don’t anything about a dancer or an athlete, my fiance’ is both. Leotards, short shorts, tank tops, etc. I’m used too it. I know dozens of successful Christian models that have done great work that some have been offended by… so this is not new to me.

    Art and sports are so different from sexuality. But there is a fine line… If you posted a “dance” picture and your BUTT naked, that’s just immature. At that point, where are the boundaries? And with them, where is the respect?

  • http://twitter.com/sheenalashay Sheena LaShay

    It wasn’t my intent to come across as defensive. I’m just wondering how we can further articulate this conversation. I think so many of us are talking “in theory”, “in ideas” but “practically”, what actually works….that is what I wonder. I applied your “general” statements to me “personally” so that we can stop speaking in generalizations. I’d just love to see this conversation go one step further. I think we’re only scratching the surface.

  • SoulEyes

    We as individuals are responsible for our own filters in life. Placing the burden on someone else (in the case of this post, women) to be mindful of those filters is inappropriate and oppressive. If such photos cross a personal boundary and serves as a weakness, one has the responsibility to protect oneself from the weakness and not cross self-imposed boundaries; not other people.

    To answer your questions:

    1. Is it OK for women to post these types of photos? Sure. It’s well within their personal rights. Why should a man’s problem/situation/issue dictate what a woman posts? (Unless she’s his wife, but that’s a different topic.)

    2. Is it inconsiderate for women to post these types of photos if they know married men are following them? Absolutely not. Why should one police themselves and alter who they are just because it crosses a personal boundary of another person?

    3. Should a married man follow women on social networks at all? It’s acceptable for married men to follow women on social media. However, if doing so proves to be a personal problem for the man or for the sanctity his marriage, unfollowing would be in his best interest.

    4. Should a married man unfollow a woman on Instagram (or elsewhere) after he sees they post these types of photos? Depends. Personal judgment and knowing the boundary of one’s marriage serves as the measuring stick for this question. If following women who post these types of pictures serves as a stumbling block for a married man or would present an issue in his marriage, then of course, unfollow.

    Key Takeaway: Self accountability (or in the case of marriage, mutual accountability with your spouse). Know your own boundaries and filters, taking responsibility upon self to uphold them.

  • s

    If the answer to 3 was No, would I have to delete all my facebook friends as a bisexual?

  • http://twitter.com/sheenalashay Sheena LaShay

    My best friend thought I was angry with you Shaun and I think for five minutes you thought the same. I also had a few more thoughts…not as many as yesterday so I had to write a part two. Just wanted to share to further the dialogue. I also lacked some compassion, so I had to put that out there too.

    http://sheenalashay.com/2013/04/sexuality-social-media/

  • BroConrad

    You have to be kidding…if you have to ask the answer is no. Why would you or they have shots like these on social media. I will say when I saw your “The Outside View of a Former Church Insider :: 10 Honest Observations” I thought, this guy has got nerve in a good way! I like what you said. I am a pastor in France since the early 90′s and find your comments constructive…But when I saw this…you have got to be kidding me. Give me one good reason to have women, young or old sending you photos of themselves…given the social media climate and you know what I am talking about…just look at those who have been trapped by this…get serious! At least as serious as your honest observations…keen insight in the one…blindside in the other…circumspection is the operative word my friend. Brother C

  • http://www.ShaunInTheCity.com/ Shaun King

    Haha. These women didn’t send me these photos. Do you have Instagram in France?

  • http://blog.billsamuel.net/ BillSamuel

    I’m not going to tell women what they can post. None of these were anywhere close to porn, and I didn’t even see any “boobies” in the third one. I’m not sure what’s going on if lots of your FB friends are posting photos you find titillating. I’ve got hundreds of women FB friends and I almost never see suggestive photos from them. #3 may depend on the married man. If you’ve got a problem, take the steps needed to deal with it. Normally, I see no problem at all with this. Mature people should be able to have friendships with people of a different gender which don’t raise any issues of moving into a romantic or sexual relationship.

    I’m glad you have an open book relationship with your wife. That’s important, and is key in this area. I have a number of times gone to lunch with a woman when we were both involved in a cause or spiritual group. My wife always knows about these lunches, is always welcome to come along, and never has to my memory. There is no issue of a romantic or sexual relationship in these. It is just the same as when I go out to lunch with a male friend with the same connections. Not everything is about romance or sex!

    I agree with HAPPY WIFE = HAPPY LIFE. To me, it’s part of the covenant of marriage for me to act so as to increase my wife’s happiness. As I grew more responsive to her and less selfish, I found my marriage richer and that both of us were happier.

  • Ben Kennedy

    Hey man. The way that I deal with that is just to not spend that much time looking at social media. That doesn’t mean that I don’t care about it. I do. But I don’t get on sites, read every post, and look at every picture. It’s a priority issue for me.

  • http://twitter.com/brittonwesson Britton Wesson

    Wow. I understand the context of the blog however if you struggle with this and other guys struggle with it, why post the pictures at the end? This post reminds me of 1 Cor. 10:23 and could easily be a stumbling block for someone who follows this blog. Don’t count me as a follower of this blog. Disappointed that we take grace so far.

  • NarrowAlf

    Hey Shaun, thanks for writing this. My friend shared this article with me, and having read it, I smiled in places, mostly because i’m all too aware of all the points you made and feel similarly.
    As a film maker I am connected on all the social media platforms, as I need to stay in touch with what’s going on, all the relevant people etc. And generally as a human being i’m very sociable and as such have a very eclectic range of online friends. I see these kinds of pics all the time.
    My yard stick is as basic as this: If I feel the slightest pang of guilt, or my partner touches my spirit when I’m looking at these kinds of photos, then I shouldn’t be looking and better just keep it moving. Simple!
    It’s a woman’s perogative if she wants to post such pictures, but she had better be aware of the ‘type’ of attention she will get.
    A married man should have no issue follwing whomsoever he chooses, it’s all about the intent, and WHY he is following whoever.
    That’s my 2pence for now!

  • http://profiles.google.com/rgechristian Rhonda Christian

    I am Dustin’s wife and I agree with basically everything he said. I post boob pictures sometimes, but not trying to be provocative. As I suspect the first lady’s situation is, they are just very much THERE and I don’t bother hiding them. It’s just a little cleavage. But again, YOUR relationship is yours. If it bothers Rai, then you should ask her what she would have you do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=590277593 Marilyn Brenden

    Photos such as these should only be shared between a man and his wife. No woman, married or single, should be posting such things to anyone else no matter what their friend’s marital status or gender is. If you are posting these things, it creates thoughts in men’s minds and that is wrong for a woman to do. The pictures are inviting men to have inappropriate thoughts and this is a no way for women to behave. When men see pictures like this, they should immediately unfriend the woman for their own protection and to protect the feelings of their wife or girl friend.

  • http://twitter.com/RagsToRighteous CJ Horecky

    I appreciate the honesty and humility. I think this is one thing that almost every husband struggles with. It’s so easy to get comfortable with the occasional eyeful and not realize the devastation that it causes our wives to know that we do that. It brings death on so many levels.

  • Jon

    Shaun,

    I came across your blog from a Church Marketing Sucks email today. I read that post, then another and commented then on to this post. I love your frankness. I wish more Christians were willing to openly put stuff out there, admit we are not perfect and admit our lives are messy too.

    1. Is it OK for women to post these types of photos?
    While I personally wish I did not have to worry about stumbling across pics that will open that door for me, if the woman is not a Christian, I cannot ‘judge’ her actions. She is not bound to the same level of responsibility that I am. If she is a Christian, I would hope she (and men too) would consider what effects her actions, whether online or in RL, have on others. We are admonished to not do things that will lead others astray.

    That said, everyone will have a different standard for what they think is too much. In the end it is up to me to keep myself on track.

    2. Is it inconsiderate for women to post these types of photos if they know married men are following them?
    I don’t think married/unmarried should be the defining point here. Each person needs to decide for his/herself if he/she thinks what he/she does will hinder someone or not. But even thinking it might hinder someone is not an absolute line. There are times when we need to step out and people will be offended. If Jesus always worried about what others would think, he would never have won salvation for us in the end.

    3. Should a married man follow women on social networks at all?
    I have plenty of women friends who are very important to me. Most of them are also very important to my wife. I don’t see any reason our friendship cannot extend into the digital realm. I have even made friends in other places who have added to my life and my wife’s. I don’t see any reason to change that unless someone just cannot handle the temptation at all. I figure that will spill over into their ‘RL’ also (while acknowledging it is way easier to be ‘lead’ astray online than in ‘RL” for me too)

    4. Should a married man unfollow a woman on Instagram (or elsewhere) after he sees they post these types of photos?
    Only if he can just not handle it.

  • http://c-mog.blogspot.com/ Drae

    I figured I would answer the questions before reading any comment so as to not have my answers compromised.

    1. yes its ok for women to post these photos; IF the expectation of being looked at as more than a sex object or object of desire is no where near the forefront of their mindset.

    2. Yes it is very inconsiderate yet again if the woman’s mindset is geared more towards to my first answer (see number 1) then really it’s not their concern at all.

    3. In my opinion the men need to know what type of person are they following and why. put these women on a trial basis for character. Read their comments and see some of their personal pictures online (if you can). If they seem to post a bunch of selfies in lingerie then you pretty much know what type of person they are to some degree. If they have a lot of family shots and say church shots, then yet again you kind of get a general idea of their character and values.

    4. A married man you say. I would say yes only because of the temptation to look or search for something provocative. Once the image of seeing certain shots has entered your mind, that image will always come up as a precept warning of who that person is. Is it fair? unquestionably not, but because of what they put out there and you saw it, you are not going to have that image of them come up first when you see their name.

    Having said all that I will say for me personally I have unfriended certain woman on facebook for this very behavior. when I get a friend invite I check them out first and foremost. No different than if some female who looks older but acts like a child comes up to me. The first thing I am gonna ask for is ID (thankfully I’ve never had that issue). Women should be more mindful of the type of people they attract. The attitude of “if you don’t like it turn away” isn’t always possible and sometimes harder for some more than others. At the same time, men, if you know you have a problem with “boobies” as my brother stated above (as do i lol). Then you need to do as Paul stated in the bible and buffet your body against these attacks. That’s just what these are, however “innocent” ones intentions are. These are attacks on your character and integrity; and if you don’t take the necessary precautions to protect yourself, before you know it you will be saying “how did I get here”. The devil is cunning and patient and as far as he knows it, he’s got all kinds of time to get at us. Starts with a photo, then a video, then chat, then a visit. Everyone needs some accountability and responsibility, but do we really think people will do that? nope because this a me me me society. – be blessed and a blessing

  • Tiff

    Job 31:1
    “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”

    If Job saw these pics on Instagram, whether he was lusting or not, he would unfollow or get off of the website all together. It’s all about preventative measures.

  • Tia Sugah Brown Harrison

    Welll. It depends on the follow as to ehy you NEED yo follow them. Yes, it’s ok for them to post whatever they want to post on THEIR page even though they know you are following them. If it makes your wife happy by unfollowing them, then infollow but..if the ladies and you have a history that’s just friends, then I think you should keep that friendship with them. Nothing more.

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