Displaying items by tag: sexual wellness

Embracing Femininity

by Lora CurrentEmbracing Femininity

Several weeks ago, I was working remotely in a coffee shop when a woman tapped me on the shoulder. I looked up from my computer as she leaned close to me and said, “I just wanted to tell you that you look so feminine.”

This took me off guard. She didn’t say, “You look pretty” or “I like your dress”.

I spent a great deal of time thinking about that comment, trying to understand the peculiarity of her using the term “feminine” rather than a more usual compliment.

The definition of “feminine” is just “having qualities or an appearance traditionally associated with women or girls.” However, when she said, “You look so feminine,” I heard much more than a usual compliment. I heard, “You look beautiful,” “You are strong,” and “You are gentle,” all at once.

Femininity is a complex mixture of beautiful qualities and characteristics that showcase what only a woman can. Femininity is attentive yet gentle, direct yet humble, confident yet aware, and independently dependent.

Unfortunately, the term “feminine” has been wrongfully smeared in the eyes of many women. It has become a dismissive term or rather a dismissive quality, that women now try to avoid as they strive to live bold and empowered lives.

Femininity has been shaped into an insult to say, “You are weak,” “You are needy or incapable,” “You are less than a man,” or simply “less than.”

There has even been a cultural revolt against the style or look of femininity with oversized fashion, unisex clothes, and a veer toward a more masculine physique.

Present culture tries to minimize any difference between male and female actions, looks, roles, and distinctions and says, “We are the same; therefore, we are equal.”

As a result, femininity has been an innocent casualty in a battle to discover what we perceive to be the true worth of ourselves and our gender.

"So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them." - Genesis 1:27

However, even many who consider themselves feminists have rejected the false idea of dismissing femininity, saying we need to empower femininity itself rather than deconstruct the reality of true masculine men and feminine women.

To understand femininity, or rather to understand the beauty and significance of true femininity, we must first understand the beauty and significance of the distinct differences between men and women.

My argument is we are not the same; therefore, we are the other’s perfect complement

"The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.'" - Genesis 2:18

Women and the unique distinctions and qualities of a woman not only aid society, men, and families but also serve as an incredible complement to men in society and family. In the same way, when men take on the responsibility of being masculine men, they are not the equivalent but rather the perfect complement to women in society and family.

The unique role of each gender is intentionally designed for a specific purpose, which we each benefit from daily.

As a woman, intrinsically feminine, I rely on the men around me for leadership, protection, strength, and structure. In return, I offer insight, safety, encouragement, and patience. These roles are easier to see and appreciate inside the context of marriage and family, and within a mother’s role versus a father’s role.

However, there are many benefits of these differences outside of marriage and children. The dynamic of roles that I laid out applies to my relationship with my father and brothers, with my male boss, with the men in my church, and with other men who have specific relationships in my life. The exchange is a transaction in the sense that each party gives and receives; however, it is not a forced effort where we strain to be able to provide our side of the equation.

The beautiful thing about women is that we naturally lean toward femininity and exhibit feminine behaviors such as gentleness, sensitivity, empathy, charm, and collaboration. Because women were created and designed to be nurturers, those traits come naturally.

We should not feel pressured to suppress the want or desire to be feminine, to succeed like society says we do. In fact, when we embrace who we truly are, and our natural inclinations, we can fully utilize and benefit from the traits and qualities we have. The quality of femininity is to be valued and aspired to as we see the positive effects it has on our relationships, life circumstances, and personal growth.

Though, that is not to belittle uniqueness or individualism. For example, I am a woman who does exhibit some more masculine traits such as directness, goal orientation, and assertiveness. Those are qualities that I value about myself and that have allowed me to achieve the goals I have set for my life. Most of us express some degree of both masculine and feminine traits.

As women, we are capable of a great deal, including many tasks, jobs, or roles deemed “masculine.” And although there are times and seasons when we must step into those areas, we will always revert to our natural design and characteristics of femininity.

My warning is that when we embrace masculinity to the point of losing our feminine, definite qualities, we create a turmoil inside ourselves that is seen all too often. We will never have peace while fighting against who we are.

Women can and should be leaders. Women can and should be able to live independently. Women can and should be courageous. However, in terms of living fully within who we were created to be, women should strive to be, act, and look feminine. This does not mean “weak and incapable,” but rather empowered with the peace and fulfillment of being a woman. Understanding and appreciating all the responsibilities and benefits that come along with that.

When the woman came up to me in the coffee shop, I looked up from my computer as she leaned close to me and said, “I just wanted to tell you that you look so feminine.”

I smiled and said, “Thank you, I try.”

The Power of Prevention in the Pregnancy Help Movement

by Lori Kuykendall, President of Beacon Health Education ResourcesThe Power of Prevention in the Pregnancy Help Movement

Planned Parenthood boasts itself to be the largest provider of sex education. Given their business model of providing abortions (and now the second largest provider of puberty blockers and cross-sex hormones), it makes sense that they would want greater access to students through sex “education” in schools and community groups. Those students are potential clients. If they follow their “comprehensive sex education” guidance to use condoms and/or birth control, they will eventually need their contraception services, STI testing and treatment, and tragically too often, abortion.

I was hired by Women’s Pregnancy Center in 1995 as the Teen Outreach Director. The new position was created by the Board and directors who said, “We want to reach the girls before they need us.” God had given them a clear calling to go out to local schools, churches, and community groups with a prevention program. I was a new college graduate with a degree in health education and a calling to full-time missions. God answered all our prayers, and we got to work!

Developing Our Calling

Too many clients were sharing comments like “No one ever told me that…” or “We thought we wouldn’t get pregnant if we…” or “We had sex by accident.” Too many didn’t know God’s good plan for sexual integrity nor the dangers of sex outside that plan. In response, we developed a medically accurate, age-appropriate program for public schools and a faith-based version for churches and private schools.

Many centers, like Women’s Pregnancy Center, have felt a calling and the capacity to offer prevention programs to help address the abortion issue further “upstream.”  Many are now active in area schools, churches, and community groups sharing a clear message of abstinence-until-marriage, or what is called Sexual Risk Avoidance (SRA) or Optimal Health Education. Some centers develop their research-based programs and others use national curriculum.

About the Curriculum

Prevention/SRA programs share life-giving truths about the risks of pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and the emotional risks of nonmarital sexual activity. They present the miracle of life and fetal development. They encourage positive character development, healthy relationships, and respect for the inherent value of every person. Effective programs deliver clear messages using trained, relevant presenters and help to establish a community of support for making the healthiest decisions for physical, mental, emotional, social, and spiritual health.

The Tremendous Impact of Prevention/SRA Programs

Heartbeat’s vision is “to make abortion unwanted today and unthinkable for future generations.” When we help prevent crisis pregnancies among young people through clear guidance away from nonmarital sex, we are reducing abortion among that population. When we teach a classroom of teens about fertilization and the earliest days of development, we are making abortion less wanted and life more evident. My favorite benefit is the long-term one: when we are helping young people save sex for marriage, we are strengthening those marriages and their future families and having a strong, healthy impact on future generations.

There is great power in prevention for pregnancy help centers. If your center is already active in this space, stay trained and advocate well for SRA programs in your community. If your center is considering prevention outreach, keep an eye out on our Live Virtual Classes page in the Heartbeat Academy. Watch for an announcement of the next possible online course; "Prevention and Community Outreach for Pregnancy Help Centers” is in session now and may be offered again at a future date. And if your center is not feeling the call or capacity to do so, look for other organizations in your area who are and explore ways to partner.

Romance Revolt

I want to love and be loved.by Dr. Joe Malone, PhD, CFE, LWMC, CPT

Women often express to me that they like it when a man displays chivalry toward them. They like to be treated like a lady. (This is why Jane Austen’s books and Hallmark movies are so popular with women!) Women have an innate longing for traditional courtship, traditional marriage, and traditional family. In other words, they want the kind of life that, in many cases, their great-grandparents and grandparents had. A life of fulfillment in a committed relationship for a lifetime. They want to get back to romance. That’s why I believe there is a “romance revolt” taking shape across Western societies.

What is the foundation of this? Well, I believe it starts with the beginning of human history. From the very start, God made human females to be a "one man woman."

“Your desire will be for your husband...” Genesis 3:16 CSB

Currently, we seem to be in a season where there is a relational revolt happening all over the Western world. I call it a “Romance Revolt.” Women are beginning to demand the return of romance and respect between the sexes.

A Lesson From History

It is common for many people living in the 21st century, who are largely unaware of history – especially the history of sexuality – to think that the natural course of things is for cultural conditions to become more and more sexualized as time goes on. However, it should give us great hope to know that in fact, history is not linear but cyclical in its nature; we have gone from periods of sexual integrity to sexual anarchy and back several times in the last several centuries.

The pendulum swinging back and forth has been the actual course of history.

“What has been will be again, what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” Ecclesiastes 1:9 NIV

For over a thousand years, from the beginning of the Middle Ages to the 1600s, there was more and more sexual integrity practiced by society. That started to change from about 1660 to approximately 1800, with more and more sexual anarchy being practiced during the period of what is ironically called “The Enlightenment.” From approximately 1800 until 1920, there was a return to predominant sexual integrity in what is called the “Victorian era.” From 1920 into the 21st century, we have experienced more and more sexual anarchy. But I believe that the pendulum is beginning to swing back to sexual integrity.

We must recognize that history goes in cycles and is not a linear straight line going from more sexual integrity in the past to less sexual integrity and more sexual anarchy as time has gone on. There’ve been times of sexualization in society and then times of greater sexual integrity in response to the harm that the culture has experienced because of sexual anarchy. I believe, and the studies show, that we are at the beginning of one of those times.

Studies Show…

This seems to have started to take shape as early as 2015 when the dating app, OkCupid, shared its new survey research data.

OKCupid ResultsIn 2005, OkCupid had begun asking questions like “Would you consider sleeping with someone on the first date?” In contrast to 2005, in 2015 every single demographic group was more likely to say “no.” Heterosexual women were the statistical leaders with 25% being less likely to say “yes.” When they were asked, “Would you date someone just for sex?” again, every single demographic group said “no” more than in 2005. There was an overall drop of 10% in 10 years. (Kelly Cooper, 2021)

More evidence that agrees with this trend is a large U.S. national research study of over 3,000 young adults and high school students that was released in 2017 by Harvard University. It found that a large majority of young adults are overestimating how many other young people are hooking up. This study also showed that 85% of young adults would prefer other options over hooking up, such as hanging out with friends or having sex only within a committed relationship. (Weissbourd et al., 2017)

Back To Romance!

What do women really want? Their God-given, innate nature compels them to want to get back to romance! From both my personal experience and extensive research I have found that a large majority of women want to return to a world where there is commonly a relationship of love and respect between men and women. This entails returning to a culture where sex is reserved for its proper place: within a meaningful marriage full of true love and romance!

I will leave you with this to support that perspective. I conducted 21 qualitative interviews with single, post-college women. There were 12 questions asked altogether. The following is an excerpt of an answer to a question about hookup culture versus romance and attitude toward chivalry:

“I want to be treated like a lady. I want to be spoiled. All the doors opened, chairs pulled out, escort me down the sidewalk. The whole nine. My grandfather wrote my grandmother’s name in the sand while he was in the army, took a picture with her name and sent it back to the United States with his letter.”

For more perspective on this, I invite you to join me for a recently recorded conversation with Lora Current. Watch it here!



1. Kelly Cooper. (2021, August 10). A Digital Decade: Sex. Theblog.OkCupid.com; OkCupid. https://theblog.okcupid.com/a-digital-decade-sex-c95e6fb6296b

2. Weissbourd, R., Anderson, T., Cashin, A., & Mcintyre, J. (2017). The Talk: How Adults Can Promote Young People’s Healthy Relationships and Prevent Misogyny and Sexual Harassment. In Making Caring Common (p. 6). https://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/s/mcc_the_talk_final.pdf


Recorded Conversation: Women's Sexual Wellness