Tim Tebow claims virgin status, but in a high-profile publicity stunt a controversial website is pledging $1 million to anyone who can prove she has slept with the Christian NFL superstar.
Two respected Biola University professors are helping Christians make sense of why Tebow is under such attack.
Ashley Madison, an online married dating service for “discreet encounters” that bills itself as the “most recognized name in infidelity” is offering up the bounty. The site glibly tweeted, “We’re just worried it might cost us millions!”
“Sports and sex (and of course, infidelity) go hand in hand,” said Ashley Madison head Noel Biderman in a statement. “If Mr. Tebow is indeed abstaining from adult relationships, I would encourage him to find a nice lady or two and enjoy his youth and fame as much as possible. I guarantee that no man of Tebow’s stature could survive a season in New York without succumbing to the temptations of the city.”
Ashley Madison’s offer is good through Tebow’s debut season with the New York Jets.
Biola professor Tim Muehlhoff says his first reaction on the $1 million bounty was to focus on how masculinity is socially constructed in often negative ways. He’s deeply disturbed by comments like “sports and sex (and of course, infidelity) go hand in hand.”
Why? Because, he says, as a culture we subscribe to a form of hype-masculinity that views virginity as a weakness. He points to the movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin, noting it implies that the worst state of affairs in which a man can find himself is being 40 and a virgin.
“A few years ago James Doyle studied masculinity in America and identified five traits that serve as a script for men: Don’t be female, be successful, be aggressive, be self-reliant and, most importantly, be sexual,” Muehlhoff says. “Tebow is attempting to rewrite this view of masculinity by challenging the idea that success is most important—for Tebow, God’s approval is more important—and that sex is imperative to being a man—again, obeying God’s directive to abstain until marriage trumps pre-marital sex.”
As Muehlhoff sees it, Tebow is threatening the status quo. Due to his popularity—he was recently included in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world—Tebow is challenging America’s gender script for masculinity and Christianity.
Biola professor Erik Thoennes looks at the $1 million bounty this way: In an age when sexual promiscuity, abuse, disease, dysfunction, confusion, obsession and perversion abounds, we should admire and learn from the discipline, character and principled example of Tebow.
“Undisciplined, selfish, irresponsible self-gratification is ruining more than our economy; it’s destroying God’s good intentions for sex and the cost of that is devastating,” Thoennes says. “In an age when women are constantly objectified, evaluated, demeaned and abused—and marriage and sexual purity are mocked—we should all do our best to denounce this absurd publicity stunt.”