For whatever reason, people equate having sex with coming of age. For men especially, the way they earn their “man card” is by having sex with someone. Of course, we all know the double standard of our society is that if a man sleeps with ten women in two months, he’s a man, but if a woman sleeps with ten men in two months, she’s a slut. Some try to argue that we should treat the woman like the man and praise her for her prowess, but the fact is both the man and woman should face some harsh criticisms for their choices.
Among Christians – at least from Al Mohler and Mark Driscoll – comes from the ability to live on your own, have your own place, be married, have children, and so on. While this might be an indicator in some situations, it is not a universal indicator. For instance, if we take their ideas of manhood and apply it to Christ we quickly summarize that Christ wasn’t a man (He had no home, didn’t have a job, and His mother followed Him everywhere He went).
So what is manhood? What does it mean to be a man? More importantly, what does it mean to act like an adult? I have known many men and women who sleep around, but should not be considered adults because of their immaturity. I know of someone who is married, has a child, has a home, and owns his own company, but is still childish. Should we call him a man despite the fact that he acts like a child on the weekends?
Manhood is found in the ability to live a virtuous life. There are many men who lead a life of virtue who do not sleep around – in fact, sleeping around and leading a virtuous life are antithetical to each other – and other men who lead virtuous lives, but have no home or haven’t found a stable job due to economic hardships (or just a delay in deciding what to do). Manhood isn’t defined by your circumstances, but rather by who you are and how you react in those circumstances.
Are you chaste, that is, outside of marriage do you abstain from sex or pornography and for those inside of marriage do you abstain from affairs? Then you are a man. Do you display temperance in all that you do, not rushing into anger or actions, but instead evaluating and controlling your desires? Then you are a man. To you give to those in need or help those in need? Are you self-sacrificial for the needs of others? Do you display charity in your life? Then you are a man. Are you diligent, patient, kind, and humble? Then you are a man.
Living a virtuous life, not by having sex or living on your own or having a career, gains the “man card”. Anything short of a virtuous life simply doesn’t cut it.