Christian Living


So Much More Than Sexy

Chris Carpenter - Director of Internet Programming

CBN.com - What are men really looking for in a woman?  Not what you think.  Driven by a culture that caters to the notion that “sex sells”, women often feel pressured to look and act in such a way that conflicts with who God intended them to be.

In his new book, So Much More Than Sexy, author Mark Atteberry sets out to dispel the modern myth that women are only attractive to men if they are sexy in appearance and in spirit.

CBN.com Program Director Chris Carpenter recently sat down with Atteberry to discuss what really attracts men to women, what drives them away, and how to avoid the pitfalls that women can so easily fall into.

First things first.  What qualifies you, as a man, to write a book that is about women?

At first glance, you wouldn’t think I would be qualified but I was raised by a woman.  I married a woman.  I raised a woman.  I have been a pastor for 35 years.  I have had hundreds and hundreds of women in the church that I have ministered to.  I have done counseling sessions with women.  For 35 years I have listened to women talk about their frustrations, struggles, and anxieties.  A lot of these ideas have been bubbling inside of me for a long time.  I have had kind of a ringside seat.  I think any pastor does to watch people struggle.  It is not that we don’t struggle ourselves but we are around so many people who are struggling in their walk with the Lord and there are issues going on in their lives.  From that point alone I have developed a lot of thoughts and ideas regarding the struggle that women face in our culture.  So, that is where the book really came from. 

Why were you so interested in taking on this topic?  Most men would run a mile in the other direction due to the sensitive nature of some of the topics you discuss.

I think women in our culture are under tremendous pressure.  For one thing, I would not want to be a woman in our culture.  I think they are under incredible pressure to try to fit into a certain mold, a stereotype if you will, that culture has cut out for women.  I think it’s Satan just creating this mindset that women have to try to be sexy and look sexy.  I think that pressure leads a lot of women to make some bad choices in life and go down some roads that later on they are going to wish they hadn’t gone down.  You can see it in all age groups but particularly in young women who struggle with how they are going to present themselves to the world.  The inspiration for the book was simply to try relieve some of that pressure for women and help them understand that it is ok to be sexy.  God invented sexy.  There is nothing wrong with it if it is in its proper perspective.  I think God wants and men want women to be more than that.  That is what this book is about – how to be more than just sexy.  How to be godly.  How to have integrity.  How to have character.  All of this in the context of being a sexy woman.  You can be both.

I don’t think I have ever asked this question and I have done a lot of interviews over the years.  My question is … in your opinion what makes a woman sexy?

(laughs) Personally, and I can’t speak for every guy, but for me being godly is sexy.  In one of the chapters, “Girls Gone Mild”, I give ten reasons why godly beats sexy.  The tenth reason is that godly is sexy to a godly guy.  If you are a godly guy, if you are a believer, if you have morals and values, and you meet a girl who stands for the same thing, that is the greatest attraction in the world.  Whereas, if you meet a girl who is drop-dead gorgeous but then you realize she’s not a believer, or she’s got low morals, then you are turned off.  To me, godly is the new sexy. 

There is no moment in a guy’s life more thrilling then to meet a physically attractive woman and then to discover that there is more to her than meets the eye.  It is so thrilling to find out that she is also godly, has character and integrity.  But there is no more depressing moment in a man’s life then to meet a physically attractive woman and then to realize that is all there is.  There is nothing else there.  She is an empty shell.  She has no character or integrity.  To me, I just think that is such a profound thing is that most men are looking for more than sexy. 

You have a chapter in your book called “Male Repellent”.  Without reading it I think I have a pretty good idea what it is about.  For people reading the book what is “male repellent” and how can you overcome it?

Male repellent is just like insect repellent.  If you want insects to stay away from you, you get insect repellent.  If you want men to stay away from you, then you pick up some male repellent.  There are some very common ones.  One is male bashing which is extremely popular in our culture.  That’s where it’s at these days.  It’s where you get the laughs in the sitcoms by making the male figure look like a bumbling idiot.  I don’t think most Christian women would be hardcore male bashers, but I think they might be soft-core male bashers.  They might be the kind of people that would laugh at an anti-male joke.  They might be the kind of people that would tell a thing that would be kind of embarrassing to their husbands.  My point is that guys hate that.  Nobody wants to be a punching bag.  If you are around a woman who is just anti-male, you are going to pick up on that real quick and you are going to be gone.

What is the ultimate male repellent?

It is desperation -- the desperate female.  Unless you are a desperate male – most guys have an internal Geiger counter.  I call it “desperation emotional radioactivity”.  That is the radioactive woman.  That Geiger counter kicks in and starts making all kinds of noise when you get around a woman who is desperate.  She will sink her claws into you any way she can.  And you think, ‘Uh oh.’  For example, you are one hour into your first date, and she is already telling you what baby names she has picked out.  Most men are thinking, ‘Whoa.’  I remember when I was single and I would get around a desperate female I would think, ‘Oh my, where is the nearest escape route?’  The thing about desperation is that it just destroys women because, if they are desperate, they compromise.  That’s the problem.  Being desperate leads you to compromise and lower your standards.  And then the next thing you know you are dating any old guy that comes along and you have sacrificed your values.  It leads you down this road of destruction.  So, I really harp on that and how you should not be desperate.

What are some ways that a woman can overcome “desperate emotional radioactivity” if she in fact has succumbed to this?

One of the ways is to pay attention to what is happening to other radioactive women.  If you think about it, you will never see a happy, desperate woman.  All of the desperate women you will ever meet are all unhappy.  They are all miserable.  They all made bad choices.  They are all suffering for those choices.  So, if you just pay attention to the horrible lives they are living, that should teach you something.  Another thing is to rethink your need for a man.  Most desperate women think that they have to have a man to be happy.  They have to be in a relationship.  They convince themselves of that.  So, they just lower their standards in their desperation.  They go out and grab any man that comes along.  Well, then they end up being miserable.  My point is you don’t need a man to be in your life to be happy.  You need God in your life to be happy.  If you have a man in your life that’s great but, if you don’t, you can still enjoy a good movie.  You don’t need to have a man sitting beside you to enjoy a movie.  You don’t need to have a man beside you to enjoy a beautiful sunset.  You can enjoy those things by yourself or with a friend.  But you don’t need to have a man to be happy. 

Another thing is to be conscious of the signals you send.  If you send off desperation signals, basically what you are saying is that your life is unhappy.  You’re miserable.  That is why you are desperate because you don’t like the life you have so you are desperate to find somebody to rescue you from that.  But think about it.  If you send off that signal why would anyone want to have a relationship with you?  Why would a man want to be in a relationship with a miserable person?  I want to be in a relationship with a happy person.  I want to be in a relationship with a healthy person, not a miserable person.  So, you almost cancel out any chance of attracting a male by being desperate.  You are showing him through your desperation that you’re miserable. 

After people read “So Much More Than Sexy” what do you want readers to get out of the experience?

I would like women to feel like a lot of pressure has been lifted – that they don’t have to obsess themselves over so many of the things that pressure says they need to be worrying about – that they can just concentrate on their relationship with God and be who God created them to be, and not be conformed to the world.  They can be transformed by the power of Christ and live above all that.  They can still be sexy but be more than that.

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