Women "Going Solo" Sexually

Sandra Glahn's picture

Lots of Christian leaders have sought in vain to find masturbation mentioned in the Bible. It’s just not there, so perhaps we’re going overboard when we categorize it up there with murder.

When they can’t find anything on the topic, some folks point out what they consider the next best thing—mention of “unused seed.” And they take readers to the story of Onan, found in Genesis 38:6–10. Onan’s story is part of the faith-legacy of Tamar, one of the faithful women in the genealogy of Jesus.

Tamar’s husband was evil, so God struck him dead. And Old Testament levirate law said that when an Israelite man died childless, his brother needed to marry the widow, impregnate her, and name the first son for the deceased—to give the dead brother a remembered name. (Having one’s name forgotten was the absolute worst.) Enter surviving brother-in-law, Onan. Now, while Onan was perfectly happy to enjoy Tamar’s body, he wasn’t so hip on the idea of becoming a daddy. So he “withdrew” right before he ejaculated, sending his sperm to the ground.

The point of the story: um, not the evil of coitus interruptus. The point is about Onan’s heartlessness and selfishness. So he died too. Later, when the father-in-law, Judah, was widowed and failed to provide Tamar with the remaining brother, she seduced Judah in keeping with levirate law. We make her a bad-girl of the Bible, but when Judah realized what had happened, he admired her righteousness.

See how ridiculous it is to connect Onan’s story with masturbation? It’s even a stretch to link it with petting and “outercourse.” This story is about evil, about one selfish brother refusing to show kindness to another.

That said, Jesus does have some stuff to say about solo sexuality. He says lusting after someone to whom one is not married is equivalent to engaging in the act itself. And unless men and women can find a means of sexual release without actually thinking, it’s tough to justify masturbation. No, we shouldn’t make it the scarlet “M” some have made it, leading to suicides over shame. But we also shouldn’t advocate for it (though I do think there are times when it may be appropriate—such as a woman thinking about her husband away on military duty.)

I had a writing student once who revealed through his fiction that his wife left him because she preferred her own hand to his. (He later revealed the story was true.)

And I spoke at a women’s retreat in Munich two years ago where a brave woman gave a testimony about how masturbation had controlled her. Yet despite her debilitating compulsion, she eventually gained victory over her habit through Christ. It was a tough road that involved confession and personal accountability.

Self-gratification is an equal-opportunity temptation. If we even talk about masturbation in the church, we usually direct our words only to guys. Yet women also struggle. As one Christian wife shared, “I got into masturbation, phone sex, [and] cybersex” as a teen. She had discovered the password on her family’s satellite TV service.

It doesn’t help that the makers of some women’s razors have styled and marketed them subtly as sex toys—vibrators that their friends or kids won’t see and “figure out.”

If you have a teen and your daughter lingers in the shower or tub with her electric razor (with the top removed), it might be a good time to have a talk. And switch to disposables.

Incidentally, when I did research for "Sexual Intimacy in Marriage," I heard from women who started using vibrators but then found it a challenge later to receive pleasure from the “real thing.” They wished they’d never started.

It’s unpopular to treat masturbation and porn compulsions as sins rather than natural manifestations of healthy sexuality. God did make sex, and He intended it to bring pleasure and joy. But sexual gratification also has its boundaries—for our own good.

Christian counselors working with sexual issues emphasize that victory requires non-sexual intimate community, prayer, and accountability partners. Lust causes shame and isolates, so sexual compulsion usually feeds loneliness, which drives lust. The cycle can be partially remedied by Christian fellowship.

Victory is definitely possible—just not alone. Somebody trustworthy has to know. Maybe you could be that trustworthy person for someone who’s struggling. Or maybe that struggling person is you?

 

Also see the follow-up post "The Single Christan Woman and Sexual Longing" here: http://blogs.bible.org/tapestry/sandra_glahn/the_single_christian_woman_and_sexual_longing

Comments

Sue Bohlin's picture

Bless you, Sandi, for tackling this subject directly and compassionately. Having ministered to sexually broken people for 10 years, I am very familiar with how masturbation can become an idol and a bondage for women just as it can for men. Christian women can be confused by why they feel shame and guilt for something the culture assures them is a normal part of healthy sexuality. But we live in a sex-saturated culture that values sexual pleasure as a right as well as one of the most important experiences in life. The Bible doesn't support that view, and in fact values self-control and purity instead.

I was recently speaking at a conference for people struggling with sexual issues about the lies we believe and the truth to replace them. When I exposed "Sex is a basic need" to be a lie, it was a jaw-dropping "lightbulb" moment for a number of people. They had always believed we need sex the way we need air and water and food. No one had ever told them it is not  needed to live or even to be healthy. (See also: noctural emissions.) It certainly explained why they were angry at God for giving us a need, as they saw it, and then forbidding single people to engage in sex. (And if He had indeed set up the world that way, it certainly would indicate He was a thoughtless, mean sadist. But He's didn't, and He's not.)

It can be tough to quit masturbating because of the changes that happen in the brain when one has a chemical addiction. (See this recent Salvo article: http://www.salvomag.com/new/articles/salvo13/13hilton.php) And since hormones (which are body chemicals) are released into the brain during foreplay and orgasm, these chemicals cause changes in the brain that can demand continued, and increasing, sexual experiences--because it's an addiction. One of my friends deeply resents masturbation's hold on her; she says it is a form of self-injury rather than gratification.

Thank you for bringing this out into the light. Great blog post!!

Sharifa Stevens's picture

I am SO glad you wrote about this, Sandi. Thank you for compassionate, straight-forward, and unflinchingly honest writing. We in the community need to grapple with this openly.

As a Christian widow, I struggle with my feelings about this topic. I totally understand its addictive power as well as the feeling that the "real thing" cannot compare. But I am also conscious of the biblical commands of self-control and purity. Thus the struggle. Thank you for a sensitive conversation :)

Can you recommend links or resources of testimonies of how people have overcome this problem?

Sue Bohlin's picture

Here's an answer to email containing links to several resources: http://www.probe.org/site/c.fdKEIMNsEoG/b.4223081/k.C97/I_Need_Resources_for_My_Porn_Addiction.htm

I have found that the enemy has a greater hold on this "secret" especially for women. You've been bold about talking about the pink elephant in the room (that no one talks about). Women do struggle with sexual addictions and the christian church that I grew up in emphasized purity for young ladies in a broad stand point. The enemy managed to make me feel singled out that it's not suppose to happen to girls. So how could I possibly tell anyone? This blog has been helpful for me to understand the grace and mercy of God and to turn towards Jesus and allow Him to heal my heart and mind and to not allow the enemy to convince me that I am not worthy of the love of my Heavenly Father. Please intercede on my behalf for the overwhelming love of Christ to pour through me.

Sue Bohlin's picture

Friend,

You are SO not alone! The percentage of women struggling with an overwhelming sexual habit (including virgins who have never even dated, who have trouble confessing they're sex addicts) continues to grow thanks to the internet and the easy availability of sex toys.

As you asked: Lord Jesus, I lift up this sister and all who share her struggle, asking You to let her see Your loving, non-judgmental face of compassion toward her. Help her to receive the comforting truth that You completely understand, and Your grace is sufficient. Comfort her heart and draw her close to Yours.

first, thanks for discussing this.  I don't think most Christians can discuss this openly...

here's my question....

I have recently lost my love to an affair, and he isn't coming back.  We had a good sexual relationship before this and I enjoyed sex.

What am I supposed to do now, with those desires and longings?  Is masturbation an option that isn't about lack of purity?  Can a separated wife have those desires and fulfill them herself?

Sandra Glahn's picture

Wow. How devastating. I'm so sorry for your unspeakable loss--made all the more painful because it involved someone's choice to do wrong. 

You raise a good question. And here's the thing--I doubt if you "go solo," you will feel much relief. Afterward you will feel more devastated as you remember how much better it was when it was about oneness and mutual love rather than completely about physical pleasure. It may constantly open a wound. That said, I can't speak to the rightness or wrongness of it. I would probably lean toward it being okay sometimes. But you will have to ask the Holy Spirit to help you know what thoughts are Christlike as you wage mental war.

I will say this--Christian fellowship, deep fellowship, has been known to at least help those with deep, unfulfilled sexual longings. And be sure you have relationships that include touch--a hug, a touch on the shoulder. We all desperately need touch--God made most of us to require it for growth. (Those on the Autism spectrum would be an exception--often touch repels them.) Some of what feels like sexual longing is a longing for deep connection and human touch. 

I  highly recommend the book, Holy Longing by Ronald Rolheiser. It addresses beautifully this complex issue. 

Thank you for bringing this subject to light. I struggled with masturpation and lust starting over 8 years ago. I use to feel alone in my struggle. When I was a sophomore in high school the Lord delivered me from it. It was no longer a temptation for 8 years. As years went by I met a few other girls that were struggling with it and was able to encourage them and pray for them. After 8 years I recently have started struggling with it again. I believe its because I've been going through a desert trial time in my life for about a year, and have been feeling a bit depressed and lonely. I keep thinking that it was just a one time thing, but I've found myself slipping more. It's made me realize how weak I am in the flesh, and that it wasn't myself who overcame it 8 years ago, it was Jesus, and I need His same healing like I did 8 years ago. I've been feeling embarressed about it, because I was encouraging others who were struggling with it before I fell back in.  But I know God is grater. 

Sandra Glahn's picture

Thank you for your honest words. They serve as an apt reminder that life in Christ is an ongoing process, and that victory comes from continually depending on the Lord and His strength. 

 

Thank you so much for writing this. People tend to believe men are the only ones who have to deal with these things and that makes it hard for women to find support. I have always struggled with sexual sins. I saw my first porn movie in elementary school and had  semi sexual experiences up until i was 18, where i finally lost my virginity. I used to be very promiscuous, thinking that sex meant that a guy was attracted to me. I can honestly say that i am only 23 and i have had some sort of sexual relations (kissing, blow jobs, etc) with over 40 men and had actual sex with 26 of the 40. I used to substitute sex for love and now i have a problem with masturbation. I feel like i always have to do it. Now that i am saved and living for God i have no problem not dating and being by myself. But i cant go long with out having to masturbate. I always pray and ask the lord to take away my desire to lust and masturbate and he does and then it always comes back. It the worse feeling in the world, knowing that you did something displeasing to God, but i can't help it. I can go for weeks and weeks at a time and then i end up doing it again. This last time i did it, i had promised God i wouldn’t do it again and then i did and started crying. I want the lord to be pleased with me. I go to a wonderful supporting church but i am not comfortable sharing my struggle with my church family. Is there anything i can do to help stop masturbating or thinking about masturbating? What kind of steps can i take as a Christian to help me live a life of holiness away from masturbation and lust?

To the young 23 year old. Your life story will become a beautiful testimony for God's glory. Satan does not want you to suceed because of it. The word of God promises he will be a husband to the husbandless. If you think of yourself as his and begin to read the scriptures and learn how he loves you and the value and beauty you have in his eyes, you will soon find yourself so inlove with him, you will no longer be able to settle for anything less than what he wants for you. Then, you will find yourself stepping into the fullness of the blessings of God for your life in a whole new way and with a whole new power. My prayers are with you.

Sandra Glahn's picture

 

First of all, thank you for your honesty. I rejoice with you that Christ has set you free and is growing you toward transformation.

As for breaking your vow, the Bible reminds us that God knows our frame--that He made us from dust. We are broken vessels. When you do fail, I recommend praying through Psalm 32 and Psalm 51--which David reportedly wrote after sinning with Bathsheba. Confess your sins to God and to a trusted friend (more about this in a minute). Believe in His grace. And celebrate the Lord's Supper as a tangible reminder that Jesus paid it all. 

The fact that you can go for weeks without masturbating and then you feel compelled again to do it suggests to me that your hormonal cycle is at work. Some times of the month are going to be a lot tougher than others.

God made us for community, and a lot of studies suggest that victory over sexual compulsion is most likely to happen only in the context of community. I think you need at least one accountability partner with whom you can share your struggle, confess your sins, and receive prayer and support. I encourage you to contact "Setting Captives Free," which has an excellent online two-month free Bible study course called "The Way of Purity." Their ministry can connect you with a mentor who understands and can support you on the road to victory.  

God bless you, sister, as you wrestle with the old and seek to put on the new. You are loved.

Thank you so much for all the honesty and resources concerning this topic. I have been struggling with masturbation and lust since I was 14 - I'm about to be 29.

I was delivered 6 years ago by the grace of God and through fasting and prayer, but recently in the past 2 yrs it has resurfaced.

I am still a virgin but feel like such a hypocrite for falling time and time again in this area even though I have not actually engaged in intercourse, sinning in our hearts is sin as the Bible says and this leaves me feeling so guilty as I hate the feeling of knowing I disappointed the Lord and have broken his heart. I too feel more of a strain once a month and I try my best to be vigilant, but I have been falling more lately. I am soon to be married to a soldier overseas and I believe my current struggle is due in part to what you mentioned....the lack of physical touch for comfort...it is a very difficult strain on one emotionally knowing your loved one is daily in harms way and not being able to hear their voice for months or even word of how they are for days/weeks....

My biggest fear is that I may have damaged my physical capacity to enjoy what my husband gives sexually since I have been masturbating for so long....I am surrendering this area to the Lord once more and praying the Lord can reverse any of the damage I have done to my sexual capacity within marriage, but do you have any other advice on this area??

i am a recent widow who lost her husband back in june of 2010. i have been feeling lonely and sometimes depressed over the fact that he's gone now and i miss him so much. i have been struggling with masturbastion since age 22 and but wasn't a christian then but now that i'm a christian i'm finding myself struggling with this again and again. i have sought the Lord for delieverance and still this thing keeps coming upon me, i have read your other post on this subject and find that other people have struggled just like i have some have sought the Lord for help and still find themselves doing the one thing we say feels good.  in reading your last post on this subject i find that it is a hormonal thing and we as women and men go through some hormonal changes in our lives but my question is how do we overcome this?  

 

i very much agree that seeking the help of others that are going through it or have went through it is the most possible way of finding the answers we seek i believe in God's direction for our help and still seek to find my help with struggle. thank you and God bless.

I'm so sorry for your loss. The loss of a companion and the intimacy you have had is incomprehensible. May I encourage you to direct your thoughts to the man you loved as you have these thoughts and temptations--so at least they focus on a relationship God blessed rather than violating one of your other brothers? It will help you keep from sexualizing other relationships. 

You ask how to get victory. First of all, you succeed one day at a time. It will overwhelm you to think about "NEVER" doing it again. Instead, look at today. "Today by the power of the Spirit and with the help of friends, I will succeed."  

Studies suggest that only a tiny percentage of people overcome this sort of temptation on their own. I believe that's why we read "Confess your sins one to another that you may be healed." You probably need at least one friend whom you know will ask you tomorrow how you did today. Knowing that person cares, is praying, and will ask is a tremendous help in overcoming the powerful pull. We were made for community. Notice in the Lord's prayer that the terms are plural: "OUR Father, Lead US not into temptation, but deliver US from evil." God did not design us for iSpirituality. He designed us to need the body of Christ for give and take. Finding a group will also allow you to help others, which will give you a stronger sense of purpose.  

May God grant you a sense of his grace and compassion today, along with a conviction that the power of Christ and the resurrection are stronger than sin. 

I recently lost my fiancé to a car accident and we did live together. We lost our virginity to eachother a d at the ttime we thought it was ok because we were getting married. I know that is was sin and I repented. I am now struggling with sexual desire to masturbate and I'm not sure what to do! I can do this act with only thinking about the feeling itself rather than a person. Is it okay to do it if I'm only concentrating on the feeling? I'm struggling and I have been praying for deliverance but it keeps returning.. 

 

Hello, 

my name is Jennifer Luby and I am a French TV journalist working for French Television magazine programs in the US. The program I work for addresses parents and young adults, as well as teenagers. 

I am currently working on a story about the purity movement and purity rings. We had the opportunity to meet with people who chose to remain abstinent until marriage, some promoting it through events for high school students. 

Now I am looking for people, ideally a young woman, who used to wear that kind of ring few years ago or until recently and who don't anymore. 

No judgment is to fear as I only wish to understand why she wore one/not anymore. France being not too familiar with the idea of "purity" this is an interesting topic for us. 

If you wish to call me to talk about it, forward my email to anyone or have any suggestions of where I should look for to find someone, it will help a lot. 

Best regards and thanks for your interest in our project. 

 

Jennifer

 

 

 

 

Jennifer LUBY

producer & journalist

USA : (00 1) 347 781 6332

Skype : jennifer.luby

FRANCE : (00 33) 6 10 75 39 93

jenluby1@hotmail.com

 

REEL 

http://vimeo.com/jenniferluby

Thank you for this post Sandra, and thank you for your comments Sue and all the others!
Indeed, masturbation can become a bondage for women as well, and I know what I'm talking about. I discovered it age 13 or 14, and then it became a part of my life. Even after I was baptized into my current church, at age 23, I continued pleasing myself. At age 20, I lost my virginity - in fact, I had sexual intercourse with two men before I got baptized, and this hasn't made it easier for me in terms of sexual desire.
When I was around 30, it became kind of excessive, and I was aware of the fact that I was unable to stop it in my own power. Then I attended a camp meeting, and the Pastor spoke about this subject. This really hit me, and I was then determined to stop this vice. And I managed to stay sober for 2 1/2 years! However, then I was animated again through satellite TV (women undressing and touching themselves for men who could call and talk live with them), as well as an online afair that I had at that time. The following 7 years, it was a struggle for me - with times being sober for up to 9 months or so. I knew it was not right, but there was always some kind of trigger and I would fall back into the habit. Of course my unfulfilled desire for a spouse has not helped me to refrain from laying hands on myself. 
I'm 40 years now, and I have managed to stay sober for 2 1/2 months now. The last episode of M was triggered through a stressful situation which had brought me out of balance. It's hard for me to go without any sexual release. This touch hunger is very real, and also I'm still not free from fantasies. These wonderful sexual imaginiations keep creeping into my mind. Of course I pray that the Lord may provide me with a husband very soon - however became aware that I have to overcome this habit while I'm still single. After all, I cannot expect my future husband to satisfy my sexual desires whenever I think I need it. Yet these cravings are very strong, and I don't know what to do with them. And I think there is no human answer. I will just have to patiently wait and ask the Lord to help me to live with this desire right now - which He has instilled in me!

Sandra Glahn's picture

Thank you for sharing a story with which many women will relate. I appreciate that you liken your battle with M to alcoholism, where you "stay sober," but constantly fight temptation. The war against the flesh is real, but you are not alone!

I'm currently struggling with this topic, I don't feel like I have anyone to talk about this stuff.  Is there any way I can email you a brief question?  I'm just looking for some advice on the matter.  Thanks.
- K

Sandra Glahn's picture

Certainly. You can reach me through the contact form on my web site at www.aspire2.com. 

I think this artilce is very narrow-minded.One doesn't need to think about someone else or lust after soemone in order to masturbate. If masturbation inculded lust I could understand the sin. But, masturbation in and of itself, I don't see the issue.
That's like connecting the usage of perfume to sin. Many,not all, women wear perfume to attract men. Does that mean that they automatically lust after men making perfume usage a sin? No. 
Just like connecting lust (a sin) with perfume (in the clear) in my example was far-stretch, so is your reasoning in this article. Of course if you're lusting after someone and imagine having sex with them while masturbating is sinning. 
Maybe I missed something and I am open to hear/learn more. But the reasoning in this article doesn't come accross as being logical. 

Sandra Glahn's picture

The mind is the most powerful sexual organ we have.
You are right in saying that not all masturbation stems from lust. But I've talked to enough people who can't separate the act of masturbation from lustful thoughts (by far the majority of people w/ whom I've spoken) to be skeptical.
But even if it's possible, I think we need to step back and look at the bigger picture. What's the purpose? Why did God make sexual response? Yes, sex was intended for pleasure, but it was intended to be a unifying experience as two become one, not as one becomes one. It's tough to see masturbation as a unifying experience. 
The purpose of perfume is good fragrance. That might or might not involve attraction of the opposite sex. But the purpose of sexual response is to unify two as they become one. It's tough to see that as neutral.   Sorry if you don't follow my logic. It seems so clear to me! :)

Thank you for posting this. I'm 34, divorced from an abusive husband. I was sexually abused as a child. Finally after years of counseling I have a grounded Christian Certified Sexual Addiction Therapist with extensive training in abuse. I used to have a Christian counselor who actually encouraged masturbation. 
I'm new to recovery. Does the urge eventually get better? It's been just over 3 weeks since my last time. I made a commitment to myself, God, and my counselor for purity & no more masturbation or pornography. Right now I'm going crazy with that urge. I don't want to give in. (I suspect hormones might be in play right now too) I have a wonderful non judgmental woman who is grounded in scripture for an accountability partner. She keeps setting up rewards for even small steps. But no one can be there all the time. We're looking at not just the behavior but the thoughts & beliefs about myself behind it. I have health problems that prevent exercise. I'm trying every distraction I can think of. How do you deal with it when it's all you want to do yet you're determined not to do it? Will it get easier?

Sandra Glahn's picture

Dear Emme,
 
The honest truth is that I cannot make any promises that it will get easier. It certainly could. But there's no guarantee. I will say that your age suggests you are probably at the height of your sexual peak. So through the  process of aging you may find that you have less of a struggle. Also, as you suggest, there is probably a hormonal element in play. It sounds as if your body is performing a perfectly natural function at mid-cycle.
 
You are wise to have an accountability partner, to look at the root issues, and to celebrate every little victory. Three weeks is awesome! 
 
The "New England Journal of Medicine" found that the ingestion of 25 grams, or less than an ounce, of licorice has a significant anaphrodisiac effect. I'm not recommending that you go this route, but you should know it's available:

Read more: http://www.livestrong.com/article/258607-what-herbs-decrease-the-female-libido/#ixzz2Jyav81Po
 

Thank You Sandra,
I did look at the article. I can't take herbs because of some serious health issues. I know I'm human & part of that will include desires. I'm just hoping the part of "it's all I can think about" is just a stage and will get easier. I know I've been conditioned since childhood to use masturbation so this will take time. I'm so afraid of giving in & messing up. I don't want to do that.
Emme 

Thank you so much Sandi for your blog! I wanted to hopefully help someone else. I'm still new to this journey, but as of tonight I've made it just over 7 weeks without masturbation or pornography. To be precise, that's 50 days, or 1,200 hours! That shatters any other record since my early teen years & I'm 34 now.
 
I won't say the desire is gone. Far from it, but I've made it this far. I'm still learning to see this as  victory because I still struggle, but I realize I have to look at this as victory because it is.
 
A few things have helped so much. Maybe they can help someone else.
 
First, very carefully being able to tell at least one person, hopefully more than one. I do have a counselor and an accountability partner. I've also been suprized by peolple God has brought along. Just a handful know about my struggle. When I feel like I'm close to giving in, that's when I call my accountability partner for extra help. She always checks once a week too. Yes she asks if I've masturbated or viewed pornography, but even more, she builds me up & lets me be vulnerable with my feelings. I'm striving for purity not just absence of sinful actions.
 
Being taught to count the hours & even minutes is a big help. Minutes of victory add up. It makes it seem bigger and as big of a deal as it is. Along with that, someone taught me to envision God saying "Well Done" not just for every day or hour, but every minute or temptation resisted. Being enslaved in this sin, that's hard for me to do, but I know it's truth. Making God the center of this is vital. Not just to ask for help (even that is hard sometimes) but realizing He's cheering me on in this.
 
I think the biggest, and hardest thing is something my counselor had me do. I'm learning to identify the whole cycle. First, what makes me want to masturbate or watch pornography? Yes, sometimes it's just hormones,  but for someone like me who has been enslaved by it, it's often deeper. Ask what is going on now? Am I stressed, tired, lonely...? Then look at my feelings, and then the hardest part, my belief. I'll be vulnerable here with one of my beliefs for someone else's sake : This is an idea of how I do this.
 
"I feel a desire to masturbate. What triggered it? I made a mistake. What's my feeling? I feel stupid and like a failure. What's my belief? I am a failure and I don't deserve good things." After that no wonder I want an immediate escape! Of course I know it's a cycle that in the end will start all over again with the guilt of masturbating. So the key for long term succcess for me seems to be learning how to dispute and tear down those arguments that are lies (although they feel like truth to me!)  I'm learning to voice those beliefs with my counselor and accountability partner. Lots of time is spent in scripture. It's not easy but the more I hear truth, the more I can believe it's for me (I still have a lot of doubt, but God can handle that too)
 
To many this might sound silly, but it works for me. For every week I make it, I get a small reward. Like nail polish, lip gloss, mocha latte. I often buy them in advance. First to remind me I can do this & then seeing this tiny bottle of nail polish calling me keeps me going. There are consequences too if I do slip, but they're tailored to me and are designed to help me succede not to shame.
 
Finally, my original question was "do the urges get better?" I can say they have. There are some days all I can do is distract, distract, distract! But it's not the only thing I think about now. 
 
I don't know what the future holds. I'm guessing ups and downs. I've tasted freedom now. That feels so much better than momentary pleasure!

First of all I want to say that I really appreciate the tone of this article. I have looked for help on this topic online several times before, and would only ever find people who would say that masturbation is an obvious horrible sin, or people who would say that it is no sin at all. 
Anyways...
I stumbled upon masturbation by accident when I was around 14. I didn't really know that I was masturbating at first, I just knew that I liked how it felt. Once I began to realize that what I was doing was masturbation, I started to feel guilty. 
However I couldn't convince myself to give it up. I didn't understand, if God disapproved of this, why did He not straight up say in the Bible that it was wrong? Why would He leave that grey area? I basically justified my continued practice based on the fact that there is no "thou shalt not touch thyself" in the Bible. I was also upset that God let me discover masturbating at all. I had never struggled that much with sexual temptation. I was a virgin and stayed away from pornography. So why did this have to happen? I was already hooked on it before I even knew what I was doing was wrong and it just seemed unfair. 
Now I am 21. I am still a virgin and have not even kissed a boy. Sex used to be no temptation at all for me but now it is constantly on my mind. I use masturbation when I am lonely or even just bored. I am frustrated that God still has not brought the right man into my life. I feel like things would be fixed if I could just be married because then I could release my urges without feeling like I was doing something wrong. 
My relationship with God has been fading these last few years. I still know he is there but I feel no desire to read His word or pray. It seems like the only time I do now is out of guilt or out of fear for my soul. 
I never asked for this. 
I used to think that God loved me and had a special husband planned for me.
Now I feel like I just won't ever be loved by anyone. 

From the original article:
 
"Later, when the father-in-law, Judah, was widowed and failed to provide Tamar with the remaining brother, she seduced Judah in keeping with levirate law."
 
Where do you get the idea that this is "in keeping with levirate law"?  This was before God gave Moses the Law --- and in the Law God gave, sex between a man and his daughter-in-law carried the death penalty.  She did wrong: let's just say it plainly and not whitewash her conduct. 
 
"We make her a bad-girl of the Bible, but when Judah realized what had happened, he admired her righteousness."
 
He didn't admire her righteousness --- she was hardly righteous, posing as a prostitute in order to deceive & conceive.  He simply acknowledged that she was "more righteous" than he was --- which was very faint praise, given what a rogue Judah showed himself to be.  Tamar was indeed a "bad girl" of the Bible, but that's part of the wonderful way God works: He, in His grace, chose her to be part of the line of the Messiah.  It's a picture which gives hope to us sinners.  We needn't try to make out she was anything other than a "bad girl": exculpation is the world's futile game... 
 
"That said, Jesus does have some stuff to say about solo sexuality. He says lusting after someone to whom one is not married is equivalent to engaging in the act itself."
 
Oh no He didn't!  What He said was that it was equivalent to engaging in the act in the heart --- it is not the same as actually carrying out the act in the flesh.   We must take care not to distort His words, even if we are doing so with good intentions.  I remember hearing R. C. Sproul refuting the idea that an act "in the heart" is equivalent to the act itself.  (An atheist lawyer had made a convincing case against Jesus, and his case rested on this very equivalence --- an equivalence which Jesus didn't actually teach!) 
 
...But these quibbles aside, I agree with you! 
 
Masturbation is not stated to be sin, yet it's hardly God's best for us.  Also, I was very heartened to hear you speak out against sex-toys: these things can really mess up a woman's sexual response very badly, and ruin intimacy with her husband (or future husband).  Hands and fingers are one thing (and as you say, may be permissible for spouses who are apart through military service, etc.), but dildos & vibrators are quite another and are just bad news. 
 
Lastly, I put my objections first in my comment, because I always like to get them out of the way and end on a note of encouragement!  I hope my corrections have been helpful! 
 
May God guide you in your ministry, Sandra. 

I got married at age 25 and can't remember having an issue with masturbation before then, even though I engaged in sex before marriage. My experience with masturbation therefore started in marriage, and it did not present itself as a factor in my Christian life because it was for the most part used in foreplay and possible occasionally at other times in marriage. My painful issue with it became evident after separation after being with my husband for 12.5 years. The separation happened at the end of January 2000.
After separation, masturbation was never something I engaged in excessively, but I found that as often as I did it I felt the pangs of guilt and a sense of condemnation. This was very painful and unsettling for me. I came to a point where I committed the act like once every 2 or 3 months, but each time I did it the guilt and pain inside were so strong that I would wrap my arms around myself and squeeze myself as if trying to squeeze the pain and guilt out. Sometimes the guilt would remain with me for about 2 or 3 days before I normalized.  Masturbation made me feel so unholy and un-Christian. My faithful Lord would always renew my relationship with Him after the guilt passed. I hated doing this thing and I struggled for a long time, crying out to God each time for deliverance because, although the Word of God says nothing about it specifically, I soon learned it must be sinful because of the after-effect.
I felt hopeless, as it seemed my tears and pleas to God for deliverance went unheard. Each time, I would confess the sinful act to God and ask for His forgiveness; then one day I told the Lord I would no longer ask for forgiveness for committing the act as I was tired of doing so and I felt He too was tired of me coming to Him about the same sin. Then, one day I got this grand idea. The idea was, God takes a promise very seriously, so, surely if I promised God I would never masturbate again I would have to honour my promise because of how serious God was about promises made either to Him or to anyone else. I went ahead and promised God with every morsel of seriousness I could find, and felt a sense of freedom because surely I would overcome this besetting sin now.
I was to be painfully disappointed as I found myself returning to the act again and again, feeling more like a dog because of my now broken promise to the God who jokes not with un-kept promises. Then came the time when I got to the brink of giving up hope of overcoming this besetting sin, and my future looked dim because I felt I would ever be sinning against God in this one area of my life. I know there is no perfect Christian, because as much as we know we have been born again, we have the Spirit of God living in us and keeping us in the Presence of God, we are serious and committed about our walk with God and we desire with all our hearts to dwell in the centre of God's perfect will for our lives.... we still do falter, fail and fall from time to time, not as a lifestyle, but as imperfect human beings who dearly love and want to serve a perfect God to the best of our ability.
On a day in about September or October 2008, I did the act again.  My guilt and pain were deep and real, and as usual, I hugged and squeezed myself tightly and groaned.  Right after, with my eyes wide open, I very slowly, in pain, turned my head from the left to the right and as soon as my face was facing the extreme right, I closed my eyes. 
Immediately upon closing my eyes, I had an encounter with God the Deliverer.  As soon as my eyes were shut, I saw Jesus staring me right into my closed eyes, and as immediately as I saw Him, I heard His voice saying as loudly and clearly as ever in my spirit, “Oh my child, how could I not forgive you.”  Then, as quickly as that, the encounter was over, and the guilt and pain vanished immediately. 
I stared into the eyes of Jesus as He stared into my closed eyes.  That was the first time in my life I saw love.  Love can be seen. The Word of God says that God is love.  It was as though I was staring into two deep oceans made of pure, pure love.   I saw the eyes of Jesus, and they were made of pure, pure, love. 
That experience happened towards the end of 2008; this is now approaching the end of March 2013, and in over four years, due mainly to other painful emotional circumstances in my life, I have masturbated no more than four times, being still without a husband and having fallen into sexual sin once in eight years.  I still feel guilty and repent whenever it happens, but it does not eat my guts out with pain.  I do not take any comfort in this; I want to stop completely, but God knows where I am.  But this one thing I know - -God knows our hearts, and He knows this walk with Him is not a piece of cake; it’s a fight, it’s downright war, we are heading to perfection, and He has promised that He will always cause us to triumph in Christ Jesus.  Let us therefore continue to fight the good fight of faith steadfast and un-moveable despite the falls and bruises.  Remember, this is an ongoing war, but as long as the Spirit of God within us urges us on, let’s get up again and again and continue the fight until, at last, the final victory will be ours.  Just be a man or a woman after God’s own heart, craving what He craves for us, fighting for what He craves for us, and we will never be less than victorious, because He has promised us victory if we continue to strive and contend for the faith.

Sandra Glahn's picture

Lurline, I appreciate the time and honesty and vulnerability demonstrated here. You took the risk of sharing your life that others might benefit. You are right about so much, but especially about this--as God's dear child, you are deeply loved.  

Romans 8:1 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you[a] free from the law of sin and death. 3 For what the law was powerless to do because it was weakened by the flesh,[b] God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh to be a sin offering.[c] And so he condemned sin in the flesh, 4 in order that the righteous requirement of the law might be fully met in us, who do not live according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
STOP FEELING GUILT. You all are saved, we are under the grace not under the law. God sees your hearts. He knows we are in the fight!!!
Sin will be always sin, thats' why Jesus came!!!! Otherwise he would not have come
Fight it, pray over it, but if  you do it,  try to do it only for a physical relief. Ask God for forgiveness and keep fighting until you get deliverance or God gives you a husband.
He does not change the way he sees you or the love he has for you. He knew it even before the first time you did it. He is not surprised, he is not desapointed. What he is seeing is a daughter fighting to be better. Guilt opens the door of your mind and your thoughts to the devil who will keep us sad...
if you fell  and M, ask God for forgiveness, ask for the power of the Holy Spirit as you can't do it in your own strenght, (thats why we fell over and over again) and ask in the name of Jesus who already paid for that and for all other sins.
KEEP PRAYING, KEEP FIGHTING, KEEP PRAISING GOD....
 

Sandra Glahn's picture

While I find much with which to agree on the above comment, I must say that sometimes guilt is the Spirit nudging us toward righteousness. James tells us to mourn and weep over our sin. That is not to say we live there, but there is a place for righteous guilt.
Also, many many people who struggle with masturbation do not find that marriage brings ultimate relief. Or they find that it helps for a while, and then they fall back into their old patterns. It's a battle. And I want us to have reasonable expectations. 
Two essentials to winning: repentance and accountability. One must have both. 

I had a Christian  therapist who took that stance of no guilt  without ever giving me any help to move on. I’d be stuck in the sin-guilt-confess-sin-guilt-confess cycle over and over. You're right that without the Holy Spirit we can't change. I think we have to make sure we know the difference between shame and guilt. Shame is I AM something wrong. Guilt is I DID something wrong. I agree with Sandra that sometimes we need that guilt, it's conviction. He is waiting with open arms for us to look to Him. I'm not perfect in my journey, but I do agree with Sandra that repentance and accountability are key. Accountability isn’t about making sure you follow the letter of the law, it’s learning how to change and overcome. Confession and learning how to change have to go hand and in hand. That has been crucial in my winning the war with masturbation.
I also have to say that in my experience marriage isn’t the sole solution. In my case I brought in a sexually broken woman. For me, masturbating any time I wanted before I was married made it harder to connect with my husband the way God intended. As a personal view, continuing to masturbate while married, takes away a chance for real intimacy (I do agree with the original post that there are times it may be acceptable and even good) but why would I want to rob myself at a chance for holy intimacy in a God Given marriage?
 

I am so glad that read this post and am able to see that I am not alone in this addiction. I am 16 and I have been addicted to masturbation since I was 12. I was about 6 years old when I began to have sexual urges. Ya I know super young. At the time though I had an idea of what sex was, I never fully understood it until I was about 12. That is the age that I found a website where young writers would post their stories for free hoping to find a publisher who enjoyed their stories enough to publish them. Though I was not a writer I was and am an avid reader. about a week into surfing the site hoping to find a good book I came upon a writer who mainly wrote porn, I knew porn was wrong
but I have always been curious about things I knew little about so I began clicking. At the time I knew a lot about sex since I lived on a farm where we bred animals and my mom was very open about sex and answering all of our questions with an age appropriate answer. But something I knew NOTHING about was masturbation. In my heart I knew what I was doing was wrong but the feelings it gave felt so good. And 4 years down the road I have never been able to stop. Yes I have had small victories like instead of masturbating on an average of 3 times a day I have been able to stop for a a week sometimes 2. But then the huge need to do it again comes creeping back and I cave in. I have also been able to stop looking for more porn. But who knows how long that will last. When I first began masturbating I thought that it would help me not to become a slut by fulfilling my need with a man. But it just made it worse. Yesterday I went a dance and their was a man there
that was obviously lusting about me, He wanted to leave the room and
be "alone" I knew from the way his eyes lit up that their was nothing on his mind but sex. And you know what? If I had been alone at that party with no one to miss me if I left for a while I would have had sex with him. I know deep in my heart I would have. Sometimes when I have not masturbated for a while I will wake up being so aroused that I can barely move. I want to stop. I want to be pure for my husband. But the older I get. The worse I seem to get. I would love to find  accountability partner, But it seems all the support groups are all for men. I have decided to day to start the 6 week no masterbation. Please pray for me that I will be able to complete this challenge. And thank you for posting this! Its good to hear that I am not alone.

Sandra Glahn's picture

You most definitely are not alone!
If you will send me your email via my web site at aspire2.com, I will connect you with a sister experiencing the same struggle who would love to help provide accountability.  

Corina, I just want to hug you. First I want to say CONGRATULATIONS! You’re looking for help. I wish I would’ve had that strength as a 16 year old!  Your story is so much like mine! I masturbated since childhood, pornography for me started with a book in my Christian school library. The librarian actually recommended it as a good romance novel. It was a book with a sex scene I’d rate maybe PG-13. That was all it took & it’s all it takes for many women.  It’s true about support groups. I looked. I’ve been where you are... Waking up feeling so aroused. I tried to set goals of weeks without it. It’s so much pressure & the last things God wants you to feel. I never made it very long.  I’ve been taught to count seconds not just weeks and without God and others, I can’t do this at all! We need to be taught how to overcome this, not just a “don’t do it” mentality. Every thing in life requires us learning. You have quite the wisdom to see how your sexual boundaries are being broken down too. BUT you want help. I see that as a good sign! You found a place to ask. If you haven’t, please contact Sandra. Just look at her blog here. No judgment will come from her at all! Keep reaching out. You are so much more than an addiction. You are priceless!

Hi, I would really appreciate some input. I married at a young age to someone I believed to be a good Christian man, he was a minister. A couple of years into our marraige, he began to fantasize about what it would be like to be with another woman sexually (I didn't know this at the time). He ended up leaving me, our young child, denouncing his faith, and ruining his life. I waited for him, with arms open, offering complete and total forgiveness for anything he might have done... but he refused me. We are now divorced as he impregnated someone and wanted to marry her and demanded a divorce.
 
Of course, all of this completely broke my heart. I have spent the last 10 years working very hard to care for my child and myself. I do not date, I do not have sex, nothing at all like that.  My child is autistic and doesn't want to cuddle. I have no friends at the moment because it's difficut for me to meet people and because I am very shy as well. I am being starved for touch. I do masturbate sometimes, but I clear my mind and don't think of anything at all. Sometimes I praise the Lord for blessing me with my body- hopefully that doesn't sound too weird. I don't need to think of anything or anyone, so I just assumed that it was okay. 
 
When I was married, I had a much higher sex drive than my husband and he often turned me down when I would try to be intimate with him. Likely part of that had to do with his secret porn addiction. So, I know that I have a high sexual drive and I long to find a good Christian husband. I just wait and hope and pray that the Lord will provide me with one someday. 
 
I suffer horribly, though. I go weeks and sometimes months with no touch from anyone. I don't often get hugs or anything and I am so ashamed to ask people to hug me, as it seems just pitiful that I don't have any friends or anything. Most of the people my age are either married with families or "party types." I haven't been able to find any friends who are like me- I'm not interested in drinking and "going out." 
 
I work odd shifts in and do have to work every other Sunday, but it is an essential job that has to be done in a hospital. I do worship the Lord and read my Bible and teach my child. But I don't go to church. The churches in my area have not been very welcoming to me and do things that really bother me (such as wasting tithe money on fancy things and having "starbucks" type business running in the church). 
 
I have gained weight due to depression and I have no clothes to wear to church. I cannot afford to go buy clothes to wear to church at this point. Once I tried going in the only clothes I have and people were not kind to me, so it made me not want to try going back. I have had serious setbacks in my ability to socialize as I believe my brain chemicals are no longer balanced due to my loneliness. 
 
Basically, what should I do- do you have any words of wisdom or hope for me? Is my clear and empty minded touching of myself a sin? I don't use any "props" and I don't think of anyone or anything. 
 
Am I doomed to suffer alone because my husband abandoned me? Many Christian men won't marry a woman who has been divorced, although I have read and reread many scriptures that lead me to believe that I am free. Even still, I feel so very alone and I have no idea how to build a social life in the church as I am so different from most of the people in my community. I am strong most of the time, and I try to find as much joy as I can, but sometimes I just feel so alone. 
 
Thank you.

Dear “wife” I can also relate to your post some, although I tried to masturbate without thinking of anything and always ended up in a fantasy. I think Sandra is right, you need connection. Healthy hugs as well as an inner connection. At times I was drawn into lesbian pornography too as well as straight. I realize for me me it was (and still is, the desire isn’t totally gone) about wanting not just touch, but also connection with someone else.  I’m concerned you’re at a huge risk for what I went through. I wanted to feel loved. I still struggle with the “can people really love ME?” part.

I was praying for you as I was figuring out what to say and I remembered this verse Psalm 68:6 “God sets the lonely in families, He leads out the prisoners with singing...” That is my prayer for you. I’d encourage you to try what Sandra said about small groups or studies. Many churches offer “contemporary” services on Saturday nights where the dress is very casual. At my friend’s church jeans and t shirts are the normal. If you’re unsure, even call or email a church and ask what the dress is like. I know how scary that is to get out, but you do belong. I don’t know where you’re at, but I have been divorced. For me, Christian counseling has been vital. I’d urge you to pray about it. It may really help you with how lonely you feel. One big thing I’m just now learning is my identity. God doesn’t see you as a divorce statistic or anything negative. He sees His daughter whom He loves.

Sandra Glahn's picture

Dear Sister, I'm so very sorry for your pain. What a difficult existence!
Of course you feel alone! :( You were made for human interaction, and you need physical touch. You also need the body of Christ, both for what you have to offer in terms of your gifts and perspective and for what other believers can provide in terms of gifts and perspective. I urge you not to neglect gathering with other Christians (Hebrews 10:24-25). If you find you just can't do a "worship service," find a small-group Bible study such as Precept or Community Bible Studies where you can belong to a small group with a flexible meeting time that's safe and caring, where they won't care what you wear, where you will find the love God made you to need. 
The "solution" here is not to counsel you to stop touching yourself. Rather, look deeper. Why do you need your own touch? Because, as you say, you have a longing for human touch that is not being met. The longing is holy and God-given. Let it drive you to find community. (I also highly recommend the book THE HOLY LONGING.) 

Hi. I've been married for three-and-a-half years now and it's been so difficult for me sexually. I didn't think this would be a problem i'd have to face but it's really a big one now.
In the first year of our marriage, my husband (who is also a pastor)  would only make love to me, say, once a month or once in two months. Even when I came to him and started touching me, he would reject me and say "Marriage isn't all about sex!".
Can you imagine that from August 2011 (when i got pregnant) to September 2012 (13 months) my husband didn't even touch me, kiss me etc. It was terribly frustrating for me, and I have complained to him about this several times. He is so absent emotionally.
He says he doesn't know if it's a health problem he has, and he would talk as if he would do something about it but it doesn't just change.
I want sex at least twice a week, so i get so frustrated because it seems his libido is far lower than mine.(it's true that he is amazing when he finally makes love to me but frequent love-making is, i believe, absolutely vital in marriage). This has frustrated our marriage as I feel a lot of resentment towards him. I find it sometimes difficult to forgive him. I feel so lonely.
Honestly, the fact that i feel anger and resentment towards him scares me a lot. I am a christian and strongly believe in the Word of God. I'm scared to go to hell because of this reccurrent resentment and unforgiveness i feel towards him. Right now for the past over a week, i haven't uttered a word to him and he doesn't seem to care.
I'm not trying to boast but i have sacrificed so much for him. He is what he is today because of me. A lot of blessings came into his life because of me. He came from a very poor home and i'm from a very well-to-do home. I have been a good wife to him, so i really do not understand why he treats me the way he does.
As a result of all of the above, I tend to masturbate from time-to-time (say once or twice a month or once in several months) to release some of the sexual tension. I avoid it if i can and  I've made sure i don't get addicted to it, but i know sometimes it is inevitable. I'm so mad at my husband and blame him for this because i honestly believe that if he were touching  me more and being more emotionally and romantically connected to me, his wife, I won't have this problem.
I want my husband and prefer to have sex with my husband instead of with myself.
Please, what should i do? I need some advice here and I know prayer works also. Please help me because i'm exhausted. Thanks.

Sandra Glahn's picture

Dear sister Linda,
 
How sorry I am to read of your agony. It must be so difficult.
 
A man typically has low desire for a number of reasons, not necessarily in this order (and for many reasons in addition to these): (1) he desires only men; (2) he has a health problem, such as low testosterone or medications that kill libido (such a depression or blood-pressure meds); (3) He has experienced sexual trauma; (4) He is extremely angry.  
 
Because your problems started as soon as you married, I suspect in your case it is probably #2. The two of you either need some long, honest talks with clear goals for help (e.g., "I promise see a doctor by X date"), or marriage therapy. It is more difficult to forgive because he is not sorry. He is not imagining what it is like to be you and treating you as he would want to be treated, yet he is a minister of the gospel. That makes it tougher for you. He needs to lead a life consistent with scripture.
 
Unless you have long, honest talks, he has no way of knowing how deeply you feel the rejection. He needs to know your longing, including your masturbation and your spiritual fears/guilt. He needs to know that you take responsibility for your actions, but that he is also creating a situation where you are more vulnerable to temptation (which is what Paul said in 1 Cor. 7 would happen). I suspect that  unless you have a third party helping you, he (sadly) probably won't have the motivation to fit a doctor visit into his schedule.
 
As for your fear that you will  go to hell for your resentment and unforgiveness, it is important for you to understand that nothing can ever separate you from the love of Christ. Ephesians 2:8-9 reminds us that we are saved by grace, not as a result of works, including perfect forgiveness of others. We are saved and kept by the blood of Christ. Romans 8:1 says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. But you are right in remembering Jesus's words that you must forgive. The Lord's Prayer includes, "As we forgive our debtors."
 
But you cannot show him grace on your own. Beg for the Spirit to help you. And tell a friend who can hold you accountable. I urge you to get help for your marriage before it crashes!
 
Please, everyone reading this, say a prayer for this dear sister. 

Dear Linda,
I want you to know I'm praying for you. I can't imagine the kind of rejection & loneliness you're feeling. I was actually going to say the exact same verse from Ephesians that Sandra did till I read her post. You don't deserve any shame and there is no condemnation for you. I too encourage you to get help. If he won't go, then you go for yourself. I can imagine being a pastor he might have some fears if someone found out. (Or maybe use it as an excuse?) There are many ways for good Biblical counseling. Many counselors now offer Skype counseling if that works better for you. (Personally, I see a counselor via Skype and it feels like being in the same room) and many Christian therapists are used to seeing couples for issues with sexual intimacy. It's more common than anyone talks about. I know it's so scary, but please reach out. You took a big step already by posting here. Just one small step at a time. Remember, God will never leave or forsake you. He loves you & cares about this part of your life too!

I'm a 33 year old. Never been in a relationship, held, physically touched, kissed by a man.
What to do with this sex drive and need for love?
Its tough and a daily struggle!

Dear Single:
 
Yep, it really is tough, and it really is a daily struggle. My situation is similar to yours, so I sympathize, and hope it encourages you to realize that you're not alone in the desires and struggles you have. Here's an excellent blog post by Jonalyn Fincher that encouraged me greatly. I found Tim Alan Gardner's Sacred Sex helpful in thinking about the purpose and stewardship of sexual desires and relationships.
 
One of the biggest lessons I've learned in the last few years is that both my sexuality and sensuality come from God: I enjoy and appreciate that my body is made to give and receive pleasure in many ways. This includes feasting my eyes on a Texas sunset, relishing a cold soda on a hot day, fixing a meal that my friends enjoy, getting a bear hug from a dear friend, and yes, exploring my own body. Pleasure is a whole-being experience, and it has helped me immensely to learn how to delight in being part of God's creation.
 
Why do I say all this? For one thing, in our socio-cultural context, our imaginations are constantly shaped to seek out sexual pleasure as the primary kind of pleasure to experience physically. That can frequently make us feel as though, if we don't fit a stereotype of the "right kind" of attractive/available person, we're invisible, undesirable, unloved, and unvalued. But there is no advertising or magazine or porn film that can alter the truth of Romans 8.38-39, and somehow, by the grace of God, dealing with all of this starts with the love that God in Christ has for each of us.
 
But we're still embodied, and God can seem very far away and decidedly NOT embodied in those moments when we just want to be close to another human being. And not just close, INTIMATE. I've discovered that constant encouragement to focus on my sexual impulses - their existence and their fulfillment - elevates the means above the end: two people sharing their bodies is a means of giving each other pleasure to become wholly open and vulnerable to the other, to become one. The story of Adam and Eve begins the thread of one-ness in community; St. Paul continues that story in Ephesians 5.
 
This is all the foundation - how do we build a life on it? Honestly, sometimes I do take care of my body's desires, usually after I've taken in media that stokes my imagination and shapes it to focus on my pleasure and how to get it. Other times, I tell a friend what I'm dealing with, and put it out there so that I don't start feeling like I have to carry around something shameful or disgusting, because my body is neither of those things, and neither is my desire.
 
But mostly, I've come to understand that my primary desire in the moments when physical pleasure rules me is the longing for intimacy with another person. Not just sexually, but because I long for who I am, as a person, to be noticed, valued, and significant. And the best way I have found to recognize and remember the truth of Romans 8.38-39 is give myself to others in friendship, to be open and honest about who I am, about who I hope to become, and to help others do the same.
 
I hope this helps. Perhaps it may help to mediate on I John 4.18. But above all, please know that the goodness of God encompasses our entire life, not just our spouse and our sexuality - live in hope.

Dear Single Forever,
 
I can totally relate to where you are, and so can many women. I feel like God wants you to know He sees your struggle. He doesn’t condemn you for it. He knows it is part of how He created us, to desire intimacy. He’s proud of us when we seek out His way, and when we do mess up, He’s there with open arms to forgive us. It’s so easy to just give in instead of following what God says about true love and purity. Being totally honest, I was definitely there this week! For me, I'm learning that taking both a spiritual and natural approach helps.
 
One of the first things I’d encourage you to look at is how you see yourself. I noticed your screen name. Unless you know God’s plans for your life is to be single your whole life, (and that is an amazing calling!) don’t think of yourself as Single Forever. Ask Him how He sees you. I can guarantee it’s not by your relationship status.
 
I have several things I do that help.  First, is something a friend suggested, I ask God to help me put my sexual drive on a shelf for now. Sometimes that’s an hourly prayer! (And you have done an excellent job of recognizing sex as a drive not a need! Many Christian therapists mistake it as a need.) I can’t control this without God’s help. I’m sure you know this already: our culture is saturated with sexual messages. Even commercials for things like groceries can have sexual undertones. More and more I understand the verse in Song of Solomon 2:7 “I adjure you, O maidens of Jerusalem…Do not awaken or arouse love until it pleases!” It’s so hard to do that in our culture. Not to mention, you were created with these desires. So, don’t feel guilty about having them. It’s normal!
 
Another thing I do is pay attention to my triggers that make those physical desires more intense. There is no one set rule that applies to everyone. I know where I’m at in my monthly cycle can set me up for those to be more intense, it’s normal. For me, TV shows don’t usually affect me as much as a romance novel, even if it’s clean. I also tend to avoid most love songs, even ones that are under the “Christian” label. It makes me long more for a romantic relationship. So pay attention to what triggers it more and try to avoid them. I know sometimes it can feel like everything is a trigger though.
 
I think you really hit is well when you said about the need for love. Of course you need that. We all do. A pastoral counselor was explaining to me just last week about the 4 kinds of love. In the way she explained it, Agape love is the highest form. It’s God’s love for us. There is Storge love, that’s the kind we experience in a family. Then there is Phileo love, that’s often called “brotherly love.” It’s the kind of love between friends. Eros love is the romantic and often physically expressive love. Each has its place. God’s love for us is the ultimate form of love. We all also need the love of a family, whether biological or as a family in Christ, and we also need the love of friends. Focusing on giving and receiving those loves, helps me so much. Healthy touch is a good thing too; a hug between friends. She told me in many ways Eros love, on its own, is really the lowest form. It’s easy to be physically intimate without really loving. Real Eros love will encompass all the other loves, loving someone like God does, loving them as a friend, loving your spouse because they are family.
 
There is also one more thing I do when I have those overwhelming desires. Not only do I pray for myself, I also pray for my future husband. Surely he has those desires too. 
I wish there was an easy answer, but there isn’t. What I will say though, is I’m learning to value myself so much more as I focus on the love God and others have for me. When I focus on giving and allowing myself to receive the love of God and others, it helps decrease the physical desires.
I'm praying for you!

Ok I've read loads of people's advice on the subject of "M". I have yet to ever see one person to give advice for single women. By that I mean never sexually active never been in Love never been in a relationship for that matter AND over the age of 30! 
 
Hormones increase with age and because a woman who has never had sex or even M the body is in over drive even more. Try waiting until being married with raging hormones worse then teenagers. 
 
What advice do you have for these women??? Pray and hope it goes away? I think God himself would have to kill off the hormones in the body for that. 
 
It would be nice for once to have some lady in the Christian circle who actually has experienced this past their 20's to give advice on the subject. 

Sandra Glahn's picture

Thanks for your question, Jodie. Check out my post, The Single Christian Woman and Sexual Longing, in which I asked some singles to address this very question.
 
The first contributor, Megan, is in precisely the situation you describe.

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