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Kia Stephens

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April 17, 2017

To the Woman With Father Wounds

April 17, 2017 | By | 8 Comments

I was wasting time on Facebook when my emotions made an unannounced visit.  Out of nowhere they instigated the worst ugly cry of 2017.  There I was, innocently scrolling through images when I stumbled across an article about Simone Biles and Sasha Farber’s waltz to You’re A Good Good Father on Dancing with the Stars.

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Kia Stephens

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January 30, 2017

Dating & the Daddyless Daughters Part III : How the Daddyless Daughter Views Sex

January 30, 2017 | By | No Comments

It is difficult to talk about the subject of absent dads and daughters without talking about sex.   We are familiar with the data that states women without fathers are more susceptible to getting their needs met from sexual relationships with men.  Coming up on the next episode of digging deeper we are going to take a closer look and the impact absent dads have on the sexual relationships of their daughters.

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Kia Stephens

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October 18, 2016

Dating & Daddyless Daughters Live Stream Hangout

October 18, 2016 | By | No Comments

In this intimate live stream hangout with Tiffany Wilson of www.tiffytalks.com we talked about how fathers impact the decisions we make in our dating relationships.

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Kia Stephens

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September 18, 2016

What Cosmo Won’t Tell You About Great Sex

September 18, 2016 | By | 12 Comments

As a culture we are fascinated by sex.  And somewhere sitting on the top floor of a New York City skyscraper is a marketing executive that knows this about you and I.  Which explains why every time we buy groceries our eyes are bombarded by the latest and unapologetically audacious title on the cover of Cosmo.

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Kia Stephens

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November 10, 2015

How a Woman’s Clothing Impacts a Man Part II

November 10, 2015 | By | 10 Comments

Every man in the room watched her walk past.  She had legs that reached the ceiling, weave that touched the floor, heels about 3 ½  inches high, and a mini dress that hugged her frame like saran wrap.  Something in me cringed because two of the men with their eyes fixated on this women were married.

This is shocking but oh so common, maybe even accepted as manly behavior.  “A man is going to be a man,” some say.  I have even noticed the wandering eye of men out with their wives, who take a second sometimes third and fourth look at another woman.  

Maybe you have seen it too, or been on the receiving end as the woman looked at or the one ignored. In their book Every Man’s Battle, authors Stephen Arterburn, Fred Stoeker, and Mike Yorkey call it “visual foreplay”. In their chapter on “Just By Being Male” they had the following to say about visual stimulation.

Our eyes give men the means to sin broadly and at will.  We don’t need a date or a mistress.  We don’t ever need to wait.  We have our eyes and can draw sexual gratification through them at any time.  We’re turned on by female nudity in any way, shape, or form.

They go on to say, “. . . For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay. . .  Just like stroking an inner thigh or rubbing a breast.  Because foreplay is any sexual action that naturally takes us down the road to intercourse.

Maybe this is why Jesus himself said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. Matthew 5: 28 (NIV)

Yet, even with this widely known understanding about men, why is it that sexually provocative clothing is more and more readily accepted and prevalent?  I would argue that there is a symbiotic relationship between the man who looks, and the woman who desires to get attention for her appearance.

She is getting a need met too.  The woman receives affirmation and the man receives visual stimulation.  This is otherwise known as lust.  But lust is never satisfied; it always demands more, leaving the partaker empty.  

As a result the clothes get tighter.  The skirts get shorter.  And more skin is revealed until there is another exchange.

 

A glance

A smile

A catcall

A number

Existing in her heart is a gnawing fear that if she is no longer considered attractive, she will decrease in value.  So she works diligently to maintain her sexy image because every woman is a competitor and every man a conquest.  This occurs all while the gaping wound in her soul widens.

Instead of dealing with the root cause of her actions she masks them by focusing on how she looks.  Appearing seductive on the outside but broken on the inside, she finds herself stuck in a vicious cycle.  Many times her wounds have been created by the physical and emotional absence of her father.  

So what is the solution?  How can a woman who has grown dependent on external validation from men ever change?  The answer is she must make a conscious choice: every second, minute, and hour of the day to be affirmed by God.

One of my absolute favorite stories in the Bible is that of Jesus and the woman at the well.    The Bible does not speak of this woman’s wounded state, but it does mention her history.  She had been married five times and with a man who was not her husband at the time she met Jesus.

I imagine after five marriages with five different men one would have accumulated some wounds.  In fact, she was probably already wounded prior to her first marriage.  Searching for something in the arms of each subsequent man, she was not satisfied and Jesus knew it.

Instead of speaking to her natural thirst He spoke to the thirst in her soul.If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.”   John 4: 10 (NIV)

It is this same thirst for validation He seeks to quench in the heart of every woman.  

 

How a Woman's Clothing Impacts a Man Part II Meme 1

Through His word God offers us an endless supply of deep soul satisfying affirmation.  It is not based on anything we wear or don’t wear.  God’s affirmation is given freely because of who we are in Him.  

How a Woman's Clothing Impacts a Man Part 2 Meme 3

 

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Kia Stephens

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November 1, 2015

How a Woman’s Clothing Impacts a Man

November 1, 2015 | By | 10 Comments

Skin tight skinnies, low neck lines, and shirts that rival lingerie entice us. We are lured into apparel stores like flies to raw meat by magazines that tout pencil thin cover models with seductive eyes and parted lips. The message they overtly communicate is, “Women must be sexy.”

And even though we know it’s a lie we believe it as we squeeze our size 8 body into some size 6 pants.  We can’t be outdone by the woman next to us; risking the possibility of seeming average.  So we show a little leg, buy a taller heel, and put some Spanx on that belly in order to replicate what society tells us is desirable.

When will it end?  Or will we constantly find ourselves trying to outdo ourselves in a battle we are going to eventually lose.  Age, pregnancy, and the stress of life create the perfect storm on a woman’s body.  Thus leaving us with a mere memory of our 20 something figure.

Like walls closing in we feel the ever encroaching pressure to keep our appearance up.  We attempt to halt the inevitable aging process from happening all the while younger and more fit versions of the female form parade around in clothes that leave little to the imagination. Whether on television, social media, or the grocery store there are those who showcase themselves in front of us, our sons and our husbands.

Recently, I was scrolling through Facebook when I came across yet another scantily clad woman.   It wasn’t just her clothing but, the front and back pose along with her greased up body that was so shocking.  Part of me has become slightly anesthetized to the ever increasing nudity of women but this time was different.  I knew her.

“Whaaaaat?!!! Does she really have her behind out there like that?,” I thought but didn’t say.  And so in response I did what any good Facebook stalker would do and looked at her likes and comments. As you could imagine there were many.  

One brave woman complimented her physique right before she cautioned her about putting her body on display and challenged her to consider the impact her nakedness had on men.  In this oversexed society where men rape, molest, are addicted to pornography, and cheat on their wives, I agreed with her statement.   

As I continued to scroll down I saw two counters to her argument.  In short they basically said it was not the responsibility of the woman to monitor what she wears, but the responsibility of the man to “control his lust”.  Additionally one of the replies added the all too familiar argument that Christians should not judge other people.  

So the question becomes, whose responsibility is it?  Should the woman monitor what she wears or the man monitor what he sees.  I think there is a responsibility on both sides but for the sake of this blog post I will only address the women.

As a girl who grew up without her dad I was on the prowl for male attention.  I learned early on that I could get affirmation based on my outward appearance.  And so I have been the younger partially clothed female before. In his book, Always a Daddy’s Girl, H. Norman Wright had this to say about a woman.

It is from her father that a girl needs to know that she is attractive, that her conversation is interesting and that her creativity is worthwhile. If her father applauds her mental and spiritual attributes during her formative years, she will learn not to rely solely on shallow qualities like sex appeal to attract men as an adult.  Affirmation from her father in proper doses will convince her that she is an important person, not a sex object.

Single Daughters & Silent Fathers Meme 5

Women are more than what is between our legs, but our clothing is the billboard that can communicate otherwise.  Now I am not saying that my barely clothed Facebook friend was looking for male affirmation, but she did have the appearance of a sex object.  Since men are visual, we  as women have to determine how we want to present ourselves.

We live in a “don’t tell me what to do” society.  Very few women welcome a rebuke regarding their clothing but God does have an opinion on the matter.  In Philippians 2:3-4 it says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.”

How a Woman's Clothing Impacts a Man Meme 2

This doesn’t mean walk around in a house robe, but it does mean if I am a Christian God wants me to examine my motives for what I choose to wear. Ouch!  I, just like the next woman,  love a good pair of leggings hugging my curves but in light of Paul’s comments I need to ask myself a few questions before slipping into some.

Is my reason for wearing this selfish?

Am I being vain or conceited?

Am I looking to my own interest or those of others?

This is an individual evaluation although Christ does admonish older women to teach the younger women.  I believe this is what the commentator was attempting to do even though it was not well received. The message she was trying to communicate is the absolute heart of this blog post.  

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Celita Williams

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October 12, 2015

How Fathers Impact Gender Identity

October 12, 2015 | By | 2 Comments

This is for the female
That seemed to have a little more male than fe
When it came to the word she
She had a just a little less of the “s”
And a little more of the “h” and the “e”
This is for the woman that was a little more sour than sweet
This is for the woman I used to know
The woman I used to be
This is for the woman in me

When I was a child I quickly learned what I liked and did not like.  I knew very early on that I liked to play outside, ride my bike, play basketball, and explore the world (or neighborhood) around me on my own terms.  I also knew that I did not like wearing dresses, playing dress up, playing with dolls or confining myself to someone else’s idea of fun or appropriate “girly” mannerisms.

What I was discovering was so much more than just being a tomboy.  So much more than just being the sporty girl in a crowd full of pink bows and frills.  As I aged, the “girly” gap between me and the other females around me only grew larger.  Their seemingly innate feminine maturity increasingly outweighed my own and I realized that this is not something I could just grow out of…this is something I would have to work through for the rest of my life.

My struggle was for an appropriate identity at the root of my core self.  My identity as female did not feel comfortable or appropriate well into adulthood.  This is not the classic story of a little tomboy that grew out of her “boyish” ways, but the, nowadays, all too familiar story of what seemed like a little boy trapped in a girls’ body.  The main point of this post is not to make any sort of political stance one way or another about gender identity and what any one person should do when wrestling those feelings, but the point of this post is to highlight just how influential the words of others can be when navigating a personal crisis – especially the words of a father.

How Fathers Impact Gender Identity Meme 2

I experienced all the taunts that one would expect “She talks like a boy, she walks like a boy, shoot she even claps like a boy!” OR “When are you going to grow out of this phase (speaking to an 18-year-old me)?”  But the most painful and confusing taunt of all was not from friends or church members or family, but from my father.

With a big smile on his face, a little chuckle under his words, and while addressing both my sister and I, my father once said, “God gave me just what I wanted…a daughter and a son!”

On the inside I sank.

On the inside I felt a sharp pain shoot through my stomach.

It was as if the wind had been knocked out of me.

Even if the church member said I acted “like” a boy, or the stranger often mistook me for a boy (with my short hair and baggy clothes), and even, EVEN if I preferred to carry myself in a manner consistent with “boy-dom” because that is how I felt comfortable for the moment.  ALL of that could have been overcome and redeemed with a fundamentally communicated understanding and unwavering stance from my father that I was always his little girl.

My countenance
I wished never gave away anything
Except don’t play with me
Thinking
That I had played everyone else successfully
But in the process I played myself
Because I carried myself like a dude
A homey
But inwardly, secretly
I wished that somebody
Would treat me like a lady

His words are forever ingrained in my psyche.  It is his words that had the power to propel me into the femininity that I had shoved aside.  Now don’t get me wrong, my father and I have an amazing relationship today and he has expressed repeatedly that he is pleased with the woman that I have become, but this does not change the fact that the words of a father play a powerful role in a daughter’s image of herself and her level of core confidence.

As I entered adulthood and my battles with my identity only became more confusing I had to learn to put aside the words of my earthly father in exchange for the words of my heavenly Father.  Zephaniah 3:17 “For the LORD your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.”

My heavenly Father delights in me, He calms me, He sings over me with joyful songs…He accepts me. How Fathers Impact Gender Identity Meme 3

It was in this understanding of His acceptance, and the level of acceptance I eventually saw demonstrated in His followers, that gave me the confidence to begin exploring what femininity looked like for me.  No, it did not look like my female friends growing up, and it did not look like my girlfriends’ in college, but there was a version of womanhood that I could embrace once I had a safe space wherein I could search.  Today I am not without my inner battles or occasional thoughts that my version of “female” is just not “female” enough, but even still the woMAN in me could become the WOman in me once I found the healing, accepting, and comforting words of a Father.

How Fathers Impact Gender Identity Meme 4

I Opened up the scars and hurt spots for someone I trusted to see
Someone who loved me
That first someone being God
So I could be touched and felt and experience proper healing
That last someone being people
Those true friends
That weren’t turned away when being exposed to the ugly
And therefore they became part of the discovery
As I found the woman beneath the layers
The beauty queen

And I’m not only talking about the shape of my body solely
Or the clothing
But the character built and the confidence established
That allowed me to allow others to know me
This is for the woman
If any
Who are feelin’ me

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Kia Stephens

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June 29, 2015

4 Lessons Learned From Jesus and the Prostitute

June 29, 2015 | By | 12 Comments

As much as I hate to admit it, I’ve been judgmental. I have formed opinions about women based on their clothes, amount of skin revealed,  number of tattoos, you name it; I’ve judged it.  It sounds bad coming from a professed Christian, but the subject matter compels me to be painfully honest.

My periodic perceived superiority over “women like that” has kept me filled with pride, unable to get the catastrophic plank out of my own eye.  I spent my life drawing the line of demarcation between them and me.  This all changed one Monday morning in February as I sat stuck in rush hour traffic.

This article is featured at Gentlemenhood.  Click here to read the rest of this post.

 

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Kia Stephens

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February 15, 2015

7 Reasons Why a Sex Act Won’t Soothe a Love Ache: Part III

February 15, 2015 | By | 3 Comments

7 Reasons Why a Sex Act Won’t Soothe a Love Ache:  Part: I

7 Reasons Why a Sex Act Won’t Soothe a Love Ache:  Part: II

Like many, I learned about sex from friends, TV, movies, and Saturday night slow jams.  To say my perspective was skewed is an understatement.  I knew about the physical but it took me years to understand God’s original design for sex.

Reason 4:  Sex Was Not Intended To Soothe a Love Ache

The purpose for sex has never been a non-committal band aid for undealt with wounds. If this were true, it would require sex to become an entity unto itself, rather than a component of the much larger institution of marriage.  God’s aim for sex was to create something new: a union, a child, a family.  “That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.” Genesis 2:24 (NIV)

Why a Sex Act Won't Soothe A Love Ache Part III (1)

And though it seems like God’s intent is some irrelevant and archaic after thought, truth cannot be ignored.  Sex is not designed to mend the broken, end loneliness, or vindicate the victimized. Although, this can be a temptation whether single or married.

“I’ll hurt him the way he hurt me!”
“I don’t want to be alone.”
“Men do it all the time.”
“I just want to be loved.”

These activating thoughts originate with an ache and, if allowed, can lay the foundation for devastating behaviors. But attempting to soothe an ache with an act will only widen the wound.  If you are sensing you have an undealt with ache, masked by a sex act, I have a few suggestions.

Give God your wounds and yourself some time to heal.  Resist the temptation to anesthetize your ache with an act.  It won’t work; it was never designed to.

Reason 5:  Sex is Not Just Physical

We are triune beings consisting of a body, soul and a spirit.  When we have sex, the common misconception is that it is merely physical, but the truth is that with each sexual encounter our spirit and soul are intertwined as well.

If sex is just physical, memories, names, people, and scenarios, would not linger in our minds.  We would easily be able to move beyond the act; but we are not.  To use sex as healing balm for our wounded souls is to create further damage that can take a lifetime to repair.

I think that is what the apostle Paul was saying when he said, “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.” 1 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV).  He stood at the sexual gate of temptation and said, ‘Ruuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuun! Don’t do it!”  And it wasn’t because he was trying to confine us to a dull bland pleasureless life.

He was attempting to save us from a potential lifetime of regret.  He was aiding us in laying a foundation for a family.  He, like God, wanted us to build a relational infrastructure that was rooted in the love of God.

Love desires to give and not get, wait and not rush, and sacrifice rather than indulge.  

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Kia Stephens

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February 8, 2015

7 Reasons Why a Sex Act Won’t Soothe a Love Ache: Part II

February 8, 2015 | By | 8 Comments

7 Reasons Why a Sex Act Won’t Soothe a Love Ache: Part: I

The world watched in disbelief as Iyanla Vanzant interviewed the father of 34 children with 17 different women.  I too was saddened but not surprised. Men give love to get sex and women give sex to get love.  I am not sure who said this statement first but it’s painful truth was supported by the behaviors of the mothers.

In one episode we learned that three of the women were pregnant at the same time.  These mothers were beautiful and intelligent, yet they made poor choices regarding the most intimate gift a woman can give a man. I am convinced their behaviors were governed not by the act but the love they craved. Painfully, these women found out a sex act won’t soothe a love ache.

Reason 2:  Feelings Often Camouflage as Truth

One glance, touch, or word from the opposite sex is enough to create a flurry of activity in our bodies.  Signals race, temperatures rise, hormones are released, and we are led like sheep to the slaughter by our emotions.  Although God made us to feel, our feelings do not always represent truth.

In fact, emotions can deceive us with convincing rationale. “This feels right!”  “He’s the one.”  “You deserve to be happy!”  “This one is different.” And so boy meets girl and the two experience what Andy Stanley calls “chemistry”, in part 1 of The New Rules of Love Sex and Dating.

The conversation is great. You can talk for hours.  He makes you laugh and you have so much in common.  The natural progression is a sexual relationship. Right?

Passion and ecstasy replace common sense and for a moment, emotional deception clouds sound judgment.  But when the cloud lifts and the light of clarity shines through we are left with the offspring of our deceit: disappointment, regret, shame, and guilt.  I too have birthed these unwanted children many times over.  Women who grow up without the love and affirmation of their fathers are susceptible to finding themselves in physical relationships prior to marriage.  This reality was explored by  Dr. James Dobson, in his book Bringing Up Girls.

“They (girls and women) are at maximal risk today.  They are tender and more easily wounded than their brothers.  And politically correct or not, I maintain that their inherent emotional nature makes them more easily manipulated.  A longing for love and connectedness lies deep within their feminine souls.  This is why they open themselves without commitment to guys who might, given a miracle give them the affirmation they crave.  They don’t seem to get much pleasure out of the perverse acts they perform.  They are hoping against hope that some adolescent boy” (or man) “out there will fill the void and ease the ache inside.  And increasingly, those unmet needs are created by something missing in the girls’ relationships with their mothers and /or fathers.  Usually it is the father!”

But we are not subject to our emotions.  In the intensity of the moment our emotions must submit to our minds.  We control them and not the reverse.  The only way to distinguish the lies from the truth in our emotions is to rely on the author of truth.  “If you continue in my word, then you are truly disciples of mine; and you will know the truth and the truth will make you free.”  John 8:31 – 32 (NIV) Though difficult, it is possible to override the potency of our emotions if we are willing to ask a few critical questions and respond with gut-level honesty.

If sex was extracted from (the non-marital) relationship would it survive?   

If you asked him to wait till marriage would he? If no, why not?

In the absence of “chemistry” what is the foundation of the relationship?

I am not a coach, counselor or expert but I am a woman who has mistaken feelings for truth more times than I’d like to admit.  In my opinion, the above questions should be answered by every unmarried woman in a sexual relationship.  If it is love, he will wait,  but if the reverse is true the relationship is most likely worth losing.

Reason 3:  Sex is Not Love     

Growing up, I have struggled to know what love from the opposite sex should look like.  In my naivety the Bible has become my Love for Dummies guide.  On this journey I have discovered four types of love.

Agape is selfless, sacrificial and unconditional love.

Eros is the physical sensual love between a husband and a wife.

Philia is close friendship or brotherly love.

Storge is the family love, the bond among mothers, fathers, sisters and brothers.

A committed marital relationship should have all four types of love and a dating relationship should have three out of four.  Sex outside of marriage, no matter how great the “chemistry”, is not the eros kind of love.  Thus reducing that mountaintop feeling to lust.

There have been many times I thought I was in love, but when I measured those relationships against the love in the Bible I realized what drove many of them was not love at all.  And like the 17 mothers, the question becomes if it wasn’t love why would I stay?  The unsettling truth is, at the time, I did not believe I was worthy of love so I settled, afraid that I’d lose the substitute if I raised my standard for the real.

But that fear did not come from God.  “For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7 (NIV)  So I let go of my substitutes believing God was more than capable of providing me with the real thing.  I had to learn to allow his word to be the  barometer for relationships with men

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trust, always hopes, always perseveres.”  1 Corinthians 13: 4 – 7 (NIV)

Love desires to give and not get, wait and not rush, and sacrifice rather than indulge.  Love looks, sounds, and feels like God.  As His daughter this is the example He gave and the standard He has set for our male female relationships.  If your standard is beneath His; raise it.  You are worth more than a love substitute.

Why a Sex Act Won't Soothe A Love Ache Part II

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