The Sexiness of Vulnerability

Every now and then, I read something that causes me to think of something in a way that turns my previous personal definition on its head.

To be vulnerable is to demonstrate that you are confident about who you are; that you aren’t afraid of your weaknesses. It shows trust and perpetuates trust. You can’t have true love without vulnerability.

Turn-On # 5: Vulnerability
Vulnerability is not the opposite of confidence, as some men seem to assume. I see your willingness to be vulnerable with me as a huge statement of confidence. And, it makes me want to support you, and take care of you. Not in some mommy/boy way, but in this, “Oh, wow, he trusts me!” way. Not only that, it makes me trust you. If you’re willing to get vulnerable with me, I’m going to be less guarded with you. And you never know what fantastic places that could lead us to.?? Trust that I can support you in the moments where you need to be held, listened to, or even just to vent. Trust that I’ll still be here when you’re through it. And as you trust more, so will I trust you. – What Women Really Want: 10 (Sort Of) Secret Turn-Ons for Men Who Want to Know!

Don’t want to accept this from a post with the word “Turn-ons” in the title?


Listen to C.S. Lewis talk about vulnerability in, The Four Loves:

“To love at all is to be vulnerable. Love anything and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one, not even an animal. Wrap it carefully round with hobbies and little luxuries; avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket – safe, dark, motionless, airless – it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. The alternative to tragedy, or at least to the risk of tragedy, is damnation. The only place outside of Heaven where you can be perfectly safe from all the dangers and perturbations of love is Hell.”

PS: The rest of that “Turn-ons” post is pretty good, too! Enjoy.

I Just Called To Say I Love You

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care, I do
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart, of my heart,
baby of my heart
Stevie Wonder

For all you husbands out there wondering if calling your wife in the afternoon to say, “I love you” gives her warm fuzzies — it does.

(So do those text messages detailing what you’re looking forward to doing after the kids go to bed.)


Can’t Be Tamed : Truth for Parents About Miley Cyrus’ New Video

Danger: Raven by Giant Ginkgo (via Flickr)

Mommy-blogosphere is a twitter today with the release of Miley Cyrus’ new music video, “Can’t Be Tamed”.

In it, Cyrus looks like a raven who forgot to get dressed for the day. (Do ravens even wear pants?) She sings about her intentions while dancing on the poles of her birdcage.

Many parents have daughters who have grown up with Cyrus’ alter-ego, Hannah Montana. Perplexed over how to explain this change to their daughters, they are afraid they may have to tell them that they are no longer permitted to listen to their beloved singer because she is not who she used to be.

In the words of Soraya Roberts of the NYDailyNews,

“Writhing in a large nest within a giant birdcage, the 17-year-old pop star, wearing S&M-style gear, looks provocatively at the camera complaining that she feels like a specimen.

She proceeds to engage in some raunchy pole dancing, her plunging body-hugging black bodice, complete with expansive bird wings (the curator in the video says she is a member of the extinct species Avian Cyrus), leaving little to the imagination.”

The article is accompanied by this poll:

“Do you think Miley Cyrus’ new video is too saucy for a 17-year-old?

Yes, where are her parents?!
No, she’s almost an adult.
Who’s Hannah Montana?

The emphasized concern, of course, is that feathered Cyrus is not legally an adult.

As a millionaire who makes her own decisions about most of her life, however, she is essentially living as an adult, proving that Americans still hold age as a standard for maturity vs. self-reliance or life experience.

It is an especially interesting double standard, given that many Americans are at peace with sending 18 year old men off to war. Teens shooting “bad guys” in the head is okay, but it is shocking when Cyrus wears a black corset that provides more coverage than most women wear at the beach.

Frankly, Cyrus’ video portrays exactly the kind of behavior I’d expect from a woman struggling to handle the massive amount of attention from strange men in her life. She is trying express her own sexuality, but is attempting (poorly) to tell them they can’t touch her unless it is on her terms.

It’s easy to do our part by clicking on,”Where are her parents?” to vote our outrage. How often, though, with our own children do we discuss sex? This video is just one more example of why we must discuss it with our daughters, while they are still young. Should we allow just any man to touch us? How does Cyrus’ message mesh with her actions? Are her words consistent with her suggestive behavior? Why do we wear modest swimsuits, anyway?

When we think that people under 21 (yes, even Christians) do not have sexual desires, we kid ourselves. Realistically, it is parents who are embarrassed to talk to anyone younger than 21 about sex. Kids talk about sex all the time, at the level that they understand. Even young children know something’s going on between their parents, which is why they get flustered when their parents are kissing or holding hands in public. They have a feeling that it is somehow connected to things private.

The truth is, “Should a 17 year old express sexual feelings?” is the wrong question to be asking. Instead, we need to broaden our perspective and ask, “What should people, including adults and teens, do with sexual feelings?”

For starters, sex is a good thing; a gift from God.

However, it is for people who are married.

Instead of pretending sexuality and birdcages don’t exist, parents who have seen Cyrus’ new video have an opportunity to talk to their children about it in the context of thinking critically about everything they do.

From the food we eat to the entertainment we buy, we need to constantly be challenging ourselves and our children to check our hearts and actions against the true standard, God’s Holy Word.

Quote: Roger Ebert’s Tweet on Breasts

Gustav Klimt : The Three Ages of Woman (detail)

“Am I odd? Cleavage doesn’t awaken my feelings of lust, but those of the hope to be comforted. Cleavage. It speaks to us from the time before memory of love, comfort, warmth, softness and food. Cleavage. Oh yes. Cleavage.” – Roger Ebert, via Twitter. (Tweet #1) (Tweet #2)

This is a beautiful quote describing the nurturing aspect of breasts! (Did you know the word nurture and nursing have the same Latin root, nutritus?) I’m making a note of this quote for the next time I teach on breastfeeding during my Bradley Method natural childbirth classes.

Reminds me of the feeling of peace and comfort captured in Isaiah 66:11-13 :

For you will nurse and be satisfied at her comforting breasts; you will drink deeply and delight in her overflowing abundance. For this is what the LORD says:

“I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the wealth of nations like a flooding stream;
you will nurse and be carried on her arm
and dandled on her knees.

As a mother comforts her child,
so will I comfort you;
and you will be comforted over Jerusalem.”

As we see here, the Creator even uses breasts in an analogy, demonstrating that He knows and cares how we humans think, feel and function, and that such wording would resonates within us with understanding. I can’t even think of a clearer metaphor, can you?

God made breasts. God made the warm fuzzy feelings of both desire and comfort that humans naturally associate with breasts. He made these feelings work together to form a loving bond – between mothers and babies, and between husbands and wives.

Praise Him!

As Christians, let’s not be embarrassed to tastefully mention breasts, m’kay?

By the way, Klimt is one of my favorite painters. A large print of Mother and Child (detail from The Three Ages of Woman), used to hang in my living room back home, just above the rocking chair where I would often sit and nurse my babies.

(HT to @clergygir1, my Twitter friend Jen, who is a breast cancer survivor, for ReTweeting this! Please check out her encouragement-filled blog, Clergygirl : Waving a flashlight through the murkiness of life.)

Casserole Sex

There were no less than 2,000 tab-A-into-slot-B bits of advice, tips and tricks being advertised on the covers of the women’s magazines at the entrance of my grocery store checkout lane this evening. I counted. There were enough bedroom pointers for a different one each night for almost five and a half years.

I find it funny that in each monthly issue, the same magazine finds 100 or so more of the “best” tips. It’s endless, and it sells.

Don’t get me wrong… I’ve been married for almost 10 years now, and I have z e r o complaints in this department. Sex is awesome, it should be frequent, and it’s a very integral element to a healthy marriage.


My gripe with the onslaught of shallow women’s magazines is this: Sex is presented is as the be-all-end-all shortcut to happiness. Yet the inundation of the act makes it as ordinary as a dinner menu. Hmm… what will we eat tonight? In fact, I bet that if the word “sex” was replaced with “casserole,” readers would never notice.

Let me just say, from a great deal of experience, that it is easier to have sex than a meaningful relationship with someone. Sex can be a substitute for real intimacy and oneness, rather than an extension of it.

Since most who read these types of magazines for advice don’t understand true intimacy, they will never have satisfying sex. Like a person who lacks cooking skills, they know there is something missing, but they don’t know what it is. It’s easy for them to think that if they just try new things every night for five and a half years, that one of them must be the winning combination to bliss. This mystery makes it very easy for magazines to appeal to the unsatisfied crowd – the same crowd who buys a cart’s worth of prepackaged foods each week.

Casseroles – with endless ingredient combinations of canned condensed soups, frozen veggies, ground meat, mushy noodles, par-boiled rice – are easier to make than the perfect steak (I like mine medium-rare with blue cheese crumbles or a fresh herby churrasco sauce, thankyouverymuch). However, they are not as satisfying.

If you have a deeply-in-love, committed, trusting relationship with someone, the rush of sex is infinitely more penetrating because it’s a mind + body + soul experience. If you’re not satisfied in your relationship, it’s probably not the fault of your sexual abilities as much as it is with the relationship itself. Delicious relationships are not built upon 15-minutes-to-the-table shortcuts.