The “M” word – It is possible and beneficial to shut the door.
As a Christian single, a sexual being, I would sometimes masturbate, while being careful to guard my thoughts against lust. I wasn’t sure how else to live out the life as a single with a sex drive. But then God taught me that it was possible and beneficial to live without this. I decided to close the door on masturbation. It was an easy thing to turn to when the door was open, and an easy thing to avoid when the door is closed. It is pretty fun having no areas that the devil can whisper shame over me in! And honestly, my life has felt so free, full, unhindered since then. I feel like I have tapped into more depths of what God has available for me now. It’s incredible.
Part 1 – Why?
Masturbation with porn (or playing through mental images) is something the Bible speaks clearly regarding. In Matthew 5:27-28: Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
But what about masturbation without lust, i.e. masturbation while ‘taking every thought captive’ (2 Cor 10:5) Let’s discuss that! Here are my views on masturbation, as a single person. Reasons I don’t want to masturbate:
- It teaches me that sex is self-serving. “Get yours” is an ‘encouragement’ heard among women, as a response to “Guys have been doing this forever, it’s time for women”. God’s design of sex was not created as something where people would take from each other (unfortunately, this is prevalent now, as the world’s way of sex has strayed far, far, from God’s way). Rather, it was designed that a couple would give to one another – as an expression of their intimacy and love, rejoice in each other’s pleasure, enjoy sex together with no desire to look outside of each other for sex.
- It teaches me that sex is a great escape for pain and negative feelings. If I turn to masturbation in times of loneliness, tiredness, boredom, sadness, stress, etc. it becomes easy to then form an addiction around it. You train your brain to believe that orgasms are an escape for pain and you make a pathway in your brain that tells you, ‘Whenever you feel pain, quick, there is a remedy for that!’.
- I don’t like the emptiness that I feel afterward. God’s design of sex wasn’t intended that the climax would immediately be followed by being alone in bed. Sex was meant to be part of intimacy that was present before sex and would also be present after sex.
- It feeds my sex drive. Because I am single, attempting to live following God’s instructions for my life, I want to lull my sex drive to sleep. Lisa Bevere (a Christian author and communicator) speaks about singing back to sleep whatever has been awakened before its time. You know how if you spit a lot, your mouth will begin producing more saliva? The more often you wash your hair, the more oil your scalp will produce? The more you feed your sex drive (through watching sex in the media, fantasizing, and masturbation), the hungrier you will feel. When my sex drive is lulled to sleep, I feel content instead of frustrated!
- When I have an open door to masturbation, it is easy to turn to that when it’s not necessary. It reinforces the points above, and it doesn’t bring me long-term happiness. I want to close the door on masturbation, for those reasons.
And choosing to close the door to masturbation does not mean that you will sit trapped inside a closed room, frustrated and needy. No, when you close the door, and roll over to look to the other side, you see what was there all along – a wide open door – the heart of God. Wide open meadows, diving into the limitless depths of His heart for you, where you WILL FIND all that you need.
Lord, you alone are my portion and my cup;
you make my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord, who counsels me;
even at night my heart instructs me.
I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.
Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices;
my body also will rest secure,
You make known to me the path of life;
you will fill me with joy in your presence,
with eternal pleasures at your right hand.
He brought me out into a broad place;
he rescued me,
because he delighted in me.
You have not given me into the hands of the enemy
but have set my feet in a spacious place.
Part 2 – How?
I have been learning some ways to lull my sex drive to sleep:
I choose to not watch sex scenes. These can suddenly appear on even a PG television show. I look at the IMDB parent guide, and without reading too carefully (because that in itself can be graphic) I decide if I’m going to watch the movie. In this season where I desire my sex drive to be sleeping, I have a pretty low tolerance of what I can handle without waking stuff up, but I want to keep it that way!
I know my own limit for conversations about sex, sexuality, and even romance. Sexuality is not shameful, and Christians SHOULD be talking about it in a respectful way, but for me, I have a maximum capacity for how much talk I can handle before that cup overflows and wakes stuff up. I shamelessly let people know when that limit is approaching, and excuse myself from the convo.
If stuff is happening, if you’ve already fed a thought, and it’s turning into pretty fired up feelings, but you don’t want to masturbate:
- Change environments. Move around, go for a walk outside :).
- Thank God for His perfect design: He designed your sexuality – it is not sinful. He knew that you would have x number of years in singleness. He is not surprised by this, therefore He has a way for you to be able to walk it out!
Your sexuality is not shameful; include God in this part of your life too. We can tell Him, “Hey God, my hormones feel like they’re raging right now. Quiet my hormones that I would not burn with lust. I trust You. Paul said that being single was wonderful; that in singleness a persons’ affections could be fully Yours (1 Cor 7:35). But also, You designed the concept of marriage and sex, and You said that it was good. In my singleness, my desire is to know You as my First Love; that that would remain through singleness and marriage. Let it be so. Bring me deeper. And if Your plan is marriage for me, help me to be postured for that, in Your perfect timing.”
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