About the author, Jessica Harris

Jessica Harris

Jessica Harris is the founder of Beggar’s Daughter, a ministry dedicated to walking with women who have an addiction to pornography. Telling her own story of porn addiction and struggle with lust, Jessica seeks to help other women find hope, healing, and grace. Jessica shares resources and insights from her own journey on the Beggar’s Daughter blog and occasionally travels and speaks on the topic of female lust addiction and how churches can minister to women who struggle. She resides just outside of Washington DC where she works as a teacher and serves on the Biblical counseling team in her church. She is a regular contributor for ThePornEffect.com and is the author of Love Done Right: Devos - A Journey From Lust into the Love of God.

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64 thoughts on “How Do I Kick Masturbation Addiction?

  1. Thank you for this article, seldom do I see things written about female masturbation, wonderful article. I will download this and have it for our women who work with female sex addiction.

    • What???? Hold on… There is nowhere in the Bible that states masturbating is a sin. People are human and it is completely natural. In fact, masturbating helps people who want to have sex to have self control. It’s a good way to not get pregnant, get a disease, or become promiscuous. Good way to hois dout until marriage. It’s also very good for your health as well as mind.

      Now with that said, it should be done in private and should be practiced infrequently so you dont damage the sensitivity of your sex organ. Porn is definitely a good habit to kick. Porn gives a stimulation to the brain that can harm the way you think about sex, how you should look, act, and feel.

    • Chris,

      Thank you for your comment. First off, I want to point out that not once in this article did I state masturbation is a sin. I agree, there is no verse in Scripture that speaks of masturbation as a sin. I have actually addressed this on one of the Q & A pages on my site. This article specifically deals with an addiction, and any addiction is sin.

      That being said, it is very important to note that because something is natural does not mean it is God-honoring or good. It is ‘natural’ for us to lie and seek our own good. Beyond that, I would be interested to see studies that support that masturbation is good for your health and mind in a way that say, exercise, would not be.

      As far as it being a good way to hold out until marriage, as a 28 year old virgin, I stand here in testimony of the fact that it is not necessary. As a woman who once struggled with compulsive masturbation I also disagree with the assertion that it helps people have self-control. What it does is helps people get satisfaction without risk or relationship. They get to have get to have sexual desires met, as you pointed out, without risk of getting pregnant, getting a disease or becoming promiscuous, but also without intimacy at all.

  2. Thats well and good, but what happens when husband was spoiled by so many women in the past that didnt require how to please them. I have a problem getting hubby to get orgasmic with me and it always was like this. oh BTW hubby is/was a musician the other women were ‘groupies’. Is there counseling for this problem of female orgasm?..males are guarenteed it

    • zipporah – Interesting question and common problem (unfortunately). There is counseling available for women for just about anything nowadays, so I imagine you could find someone to talk to about female orgasm. The Journal of the American Medical Association reports that 43% of American women suffer from some form of “Female Sexual Dysfunction.” But as far as your husband is concerned, remember that men who have been very sexually active or who have watched pornography heavily have trained their minds to be very self-centered about their sexuality. This is unfortunate for you and for him. You are missing out on each other. “In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself” (Ephesians 5:28). When a man treats the woman’s body with the same respect with which he would treat his own (including in the bedroom) then he will also reap the benefits of her pleasure. The one book in the Bible that describes love-making in detail, the Song of Solomon, paints a picture of mutual pleasure, and I believe this is by design.

    • Zipporah,

      Obviously, I can’t offer counsel from a little 150 word comment left on a post, but I think I can say for certain that this isn’t necessarily your problem. In general, women take time. We have to be romanced, and if your husband isn’t used to romancing, then yes, the whole experience is going to be lacking. From where I stand, it sounds like you might actually benefit from marital counseling of some sort. It’s like Luke said, pornography really trains people (not just men) to be self-centered about their sexuality. You can get all the counseling in the world for you, but I am not necessarily certain it is all your problem. If he sees this as an issue, then it may be a good idea to work on ‘falling in love again’ and helping him learn how to truly love (not use) women. If he doesn’t see it as an issue, then pray for ways to help him see how important it is to you.

  3. Really good article. Thanks. It is good to hear about someone helping women and being firm on the topic of fantasy.
    However, a difficulty is that in reading this as a guy it does stir up temptation when you as a female are sharing (particularly testimony). Unfortunate – yet true. I’m not sure of the solution. It did remind me of my continued brokenness and need for transformation!
    Maybe if the target audience is unisex, then application of truth needs to stay that way?

    • @Rob – It cannot be denied we are speaking in “mixed company” here. Each post is targeted to its own particular audience (many posts, for instance, are probably not suitable for children). The hope is each post will be clear enough at the beginning of it whether the post is intended for the specific reader. Let us know if we can improve on this.

    • Rob,

      Sorry. Over the past three years, I have found that one of the ‘hazards’ of this ministry. I get that response, in general, a lot. Being modest about a sexual sin while still being open enough so that people know you’re real is difficult. That’s the primary reason why I don’t make a habit of sharing my testimony in a room full of men. That’s also why it’s best to focus on the grace that we all need instead of the sin we all commit.

      I know it isn’t comfortable and I definitely did not mean to offend anyone and it is certainly NEVER my intent to cause trouble for my brothers in Christ. I take that very seriously and actually questionned this post for that reason. I will say this though, women need to know that a person gets what they’re going through before they’ll listen to you, so if I had presented the truth ‘generically’ it would have completely missed the women who struggle.

      Thank you for your feedback. I really do appreciate it.

  4. Jessica,

    I appreciate your article. I am breaking free from a 24 year battle of pornography addiction. Today is my 68th day of sobriety. But the area of self-gratification has been on going issue.

    What you stated is true, about masturbation being selfish and its all about the self. I do know my weaknesses, and working on memorizing scripture. I’ve taken a Beth Moore challenge in memorizing the book of James. But I also appreciated your comment about “not making it easy”…I will say, toys have been a puzzle to me…Over the last year, I’ve made purchases I shouldn’t have but instant God conviction sets in, and within a day or so, I throw them away….but the temptation remains to continue to purchase them. So I appreciate you addressing the issue on toys/vibrators.

    I’m a 32 year old single Christian and amazingly through my addiction to porn, I’ve actually been able to remain a physical virgin and intend to stay that way until God provides a godly man for me.

    But know that you are speaking out and reaching out to women who NEED to hear it….

    Appreciate your heart to serve those in bondage! Blessings to you!

  5. I asked God how I can handle my high libido and temptation to masturbate because my husband works away from home a lot and for some reason has stopped working at bringing me to climax during sex. The desire and need gets so strong it hurts and consumes me until I just give in to relieve the pressure and get on with my life. God showed me to use that time to pray HARD in praises to Him, and pray for my husband and our marriage bed. I can keep busy. I can exercise or do a project.

  6. Thank you thank you THANK YOU for writing this.

    In my struggle, masturbation was there long before I got into pornography or erotic fiction, and I’ve kicked the last two but masturbation still hangs on because it is such a grey area. No one I ask can give me a straight answer, the bible doesn’t mention it specifically, and in times of temptation I use it as an excuse.
    Thank you for writing so honestly.
    I kind of picture masturbation like a Goa’uld from Stargate SG1 (sorry, I’m a sci fi lover). They’re parasites that get into people’s brains and take over their brains and bodies. In one episode, doctors managed to cut off the long tail this creature had, but the parasite couldn’t fully be removed, the head was clinging tightly with all its might.
    Likewise, I think that masturbation, and really, selfishness, are the root of all our struggles, and we can chop off the fruit but it’ll keep coming back unless we destroy the root. In Stargate, they had to appeal to a race with higher technology to destroy the parasites.
    We can appeal to the highest power! He can change us from the inside out.

    • It is also unfulfilling. A healthy, God-created and God allowed marital sex life is fulfilling, no matter how often you “do it.”. It might be changed up a bit, but there isn’t this addictive need for harder core stuff to get the same if even any result. Masturbation is unfulfilling and you need harder core stuff….which helped prove to me that it is against God’s design.

      I am still not sure how I feel about spouses separated by career circumstances or illness “relieving the pressure” so to speak, so long as their thoughts are on their spouse. For me, even fatasizing about my husband became utterly wrong because he could not live up to my fantastical view of him. Also, I was at it several times a day because it was so unfulfilling. I also found it harder to enjoy sex with my husband and I would wish for him to just get it over with so I could finish myself off (especially since for some reason, he won’t).

  7. I will be posting a video on you tube soon regarding this vey important subject. I have overwhelming evidence from Scripture that masturbation is absolutely NOT a sin. You see there is no sin: homosexuality is not a sin. Did Christ die in Vain. According to the church he died in vain. Please look for this video soon. Jesus said when you know the truth it will make you free. The churches have had you in the bondage of sin.

    • Interesting thesis, Henry. Let us know when your video is up.

      I agree with you: masturbation in and of itself is not a sin. I talk about that in this post. But lustful fantasy is a sin, and if masturbation is a fruit of that sin, we should guard against it.

  8. I feel sorry for all of you who read this article and actually feel guilt for a practice that does not hurt anyone else. I understand why you would want to refrain from masturbation in a marriage because it fires up your sex life, but especially to advise a single girl against the practice is beyond me. This is why so many women get married and cannot have orgasms with their husband. It is because they don’t know their own bodies. If you ignore the natural feelings in your clitoris and constantly shove down any desire with guilt and repression your body will no longer be your own. You would recognize good feelings, and you may never orgasm with ease during sex with your husband. You are truly missing out. I don’t think it is an addiction at all. God gifted you with a glorious clitoris which ONLY serves the function of providing sexual pleasure. Why would it even be activated on a woman’s body if it wasn’t meant to be enjoyed? Why wouldn’t the clitoris instead be deep within the vagina so it could only be stimulated through Christian-sanctioned intercourse? How can it possibly be healthy to shame yourself of a natural healthy urge that does harm to no one? Masturbation can be very fulfilling contrary to what this article states and has many health benefits including increased blood flow and circulation, stress relief, and pain relief. I’m sorry to hear such restricted close minded views here. I hope this comment doesn’t get deleted just because it’s contrary to the article’s intent. I respect your faith, I just think it’s awful to take a woman’s sexuality away from her because you think it’s dirty. God bless.

    • We are all free to believe what we believe but I have to disagree with you on the fact that masturbation does’nt hurt anyone else. I have dealt with an overactive clitoris since I was 4 years old I would try all kinds of things to get relief. Medically I have a high testosterone count which I think might have something to do with it since at four I was not introduced to anything but the leaves in the backyard. I have lived my life feeling ashamed, inferior and as I got older would have sex with anything that moved just about. It all started with masturbation. I am 52 now I tell myself no more and then boom I am right there doing it again. It just happened that is why I came here I heard Dr. Weiss testimony on daystar and I need help. I dont want to do this anymore. I know the Lord forgives me but if while I am in the process of pleasing myself and I am thinking of perverse things how long will He put up with this behavior? I want to be free once and for all, I know also spirits are attached to this action I dont know exactly who they are by name but i want them to leave me alone IN JESUS NAME! thank you

    • Thanks for saying this, and thanks to CE for not deleting it. You are 100% correct. While a woman could conceivably wait until she’s married to learn how to orgasm, it isn’t likely to happen during intercourse.. Statistics state that 70% of women cannot orgasm that way, so some sort of digital, oral or toy stimulation is necessary, whether by her or her spouse. Logic dictates that she would be more relaxed learning by herself first, then applying what she has learned when with her husband. There is no logic though in denying single women this natural tonic.

    • I’m not sure “logic” dictates anything here. The real issue at hand is what mental associations are attached to the act of masturbation. How we train ourselves mentally during masturbation has great ramifications for our future sex lives.

    • Elle – you are totally missing the point of the article. It’s about addiction. I personally have been sexually addicted for decades. I’ve been married 15 years and still struggle with this. I have no trouble having orgasm if my wife and I have sex but generally I don’t want to wait until my wife and I have sex. I want sex when I want it. When i’m in my addictive loop, I have no desire to be in union with my wife or God, but would rather fantasize about having sex with someone else. If I feed this addiction by masturbating, I’m separating myself from my wife. What you are suggesting is that we should feed our addictions. That’s a Satanic interjection into this argument. Ask any Satanist what the goal of their belief system is (whether they actually believe in Satan or not) and it is to fulfill their own needs. Think about what you are saying before you speak. You are using the reasoning of the world. Masturbation is not good, and sexual union is to be enjoyed between two people who love each other, not one person gratifying their self, especially if they are married or ever plan on getting married.

  9. Even though I am male, I appreciate the fact that women are receiving help in their time of need to obtain solutions. One of the important things I find in talking about masturbation is that when you start honestly talking to someone about your problem/addiction, and making yourself accountable verbally to someone you trust of the same sex, it is the start of dealing with your problem/addiction and dealing with fear of communication. Masturbation is the frustration of being lonely. I really believe that dealing with this fear of communication about masturbation, porn, fantasy and erotic fiction toughens us up as humans and christians, spiritually to face the heat of our battle and win. I am from Australia and I have done a course caled ‘Valiant Man’, produced by Dr. Allan Meyer; web address http://www.careforcelifekeys.org . I’ve personally met Allan and he is very passionate about men have inner healing and women as well. There is ia course designed for women as well. If you go to the website you find all the information you need. I know there are plenty of courses out there but few which covers it with a spiritual perspective without smokescreening like ‘Valiant Man’. In other words it is said like it is so that we are able to honestly and fearlessly face our problems. God Bless all those who are standing and facing the battle in the arena and not sitting as a spectator wishing they could fix their problem. Your victory is at hand, step by step and little by little.

  10. I know I have a problem. I was strongly addicted when I was younger and after I got baptized I thought that I would be set free. I had someone pray for me and it still affects me, not as much as it use to and now I’m able to stop myself before I go too far but I still feel trapped. I know what I’m doing isn’t right, I’m not married and afraid of not being able to give my future husband the best because of it. I don’t know who I can talk to, I don’t know whether I am on the way to delivery or if I’m still stuck.

    • I am also going through the same thing. My body is so used to it it doesn’t even need much prompting. My mind wanders during lectures, tutorials and even exams (I almost failed last semester). The images we create in our head when we masturbate are sinful and there is no denying that AT ALL. We all know that it is not “godly” images that get us turned on. “Know the truth and the truth shall set you free” – John 8:32

  11. This is an excellent article. But I’d like to add my comment to the point: Do Not Make It Easy. On that point, I’d like to add a way of making masturbation much more difficult.
    Many, if not most people are not aware of Modern Chastity Belts. Sure, we’ve heard about how they were used in previous centuries, but their current use is limited mostly to a fringe group of BDSM.
    I think that is very sad. A Christian who is trying to make giving in to masturbation as difficult as possible could be helped in their pursuit of holiness by a Chastity Belt.
    This is extremely radical thinking and I know that. Many people will turn back because of the stereotypical image that comes into their head, but Chastity Belts are completely safe. They are hygienic, effective and comfortable. In other words, Christians who deal with a temptation to masturbate have only one excuse in at least not considering this option: Ignorance.

  12. What do you do when you’ve been asleep and wake up realize that you’ve been masturbating in your sleep? I told my husband about this incident and he didn’t make a big deal about it. I felt guilty.

    • I know what you’re talking about! I’ll wake up in the morning and notice evidence on my hands, but I don’t remember doing anything. Two things trouble me about this: 1) I’ve wakened up to myself already in the act, and at that point, it’s a lot tougher to stop. It’s possible, but I more often than not have given in (and lustful fantasies are almost always a part of it after I choose to keep going). It’s frustrating knowing that just because I go to sleep not giving in does not mean I won’t be faced with the more difficult temptation later on in the night by waking up already started. It’s an issue of self-control with me as much as it is about lust.
      And 2) It must be such a habit that I am doing the physical act, or at least starting it, in my sleep. The habit–actually, I’m going to use a stronger word–the addiction of masturbation has such a hold on me by this point that I will unknowing start it in my sleep. I don’t want that. That is bondage and I need Christ’s help to be free.

  13. Leah,

    Thanks for writing in and being so honest (even with us ladies ridiculously outnumbered).

    Two things:

    1. Your comment intrigues me because I’m not certain that we define ‘masturbation’ the same way. Women may fantasize in their sleep and therefore be aroused, but as for the physical purposeful act of masturbating- I’ve never heard from a woman who does that in her sleep. Not saying that it doesn’t happen, just that I’ve never heard of it.

    2. Which brings me to my second point. If you are not purposing in your heart to do it, or making a conscious choice, then I don’t know that it is right to feel guilty. Does that make sense? Many women write in asking, “If I have sexual dreams in my sleep, have I sinned?” and my answer to them is “no.” Dreams are interesting things- sometimes inspired by what we have seen that day, or by our deepest fears, and sometimes inspired by nothing at all. If you are masturbating in your sleep or having sexual dreams you are no more guilty of immorality than you would be guilty of murder if you dreamed of killing someone.

    If, however, you had a sexual dream, woke up aroused and then chose to masturbate, that’s an entirely different story. In that scenario, you choose. We don’t make conscious choices while we are sleeping. I wrote a blog on this a while back:

    http://beggarsdaughter.com/when-rest-betrays-us/

    That being said, if this is something that is occurring often, you might want to see if there are triggers for it and if there are ways to avoid those triggers. You are welcome to e-mail me if you’d like to discuss this in a less public setting.

  14. Thank you for this post! I’ve struggled with masturbation for a few years now. Not regularly, but even then, that’s enough. I know I’ve not been honoring God’s temple.
    I never thought I’d actually deal with this. I hate it. I love Jesus so much and feel so sick to think about this sinful act. I keep asking for His cleansing and forgiveness. I’m 31 and single, so loneliness is a regular visitor. This isn’t an excuse, just a fact. I’ve never told anyone about this. Just recently I shared this with a trusted Christian counselor, who I hope to be my accountability person in helping me, by God’s grace, overcome.
    Please pray for me.

  15. Thank you for this post. I was molested when I was a very young girl. Because of that situation I became addicted to masturbation without even knowing what sex was. No one can tell me that it is “right” or “healthy” because even in secret, and at the age of 6, I knew that I was wrong. I was never able to talk about it, find help, or allow God to step in to my situation. I felt trapped in a never ending spiral of lust, shame, guilt, disgust, and isolation. I grew up loving the Lord, and I knew that I was trapped in was sin. It really is a battle in the mind. I had to learn to seize control of every thought that crossed my mind. What you meditate on is what you eventually do. But after struggling with it for almost 15 years of my life, I took on this wrong identity. I felt dirty, disgusting, perverted, like a freak show, permanently damaged.

    BUT Ephesians 2 says, “And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath just as others. But God who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been save), and raised us up together, and made us sit in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”

    He sees me as pure, as righteous, as a holy daughter that He calls His own. Realizing that God views me in a completely different light than sometimes I view myself has been the most powerful tool in setting me free.

    Now that I’m walking towards marriage, this article helps me see that the battle for change was worth it. I want to walk into this covenant with pure and selfless love.

    Sorry to write a book… I usually never comment on anything at all.

    Thank you!

    • Dear Kailey,
      I was very impressed to read your post. As a youth minister for 23 years in my church, I have been given the chance to pray with many young people,boys and girls for Inner Healing. Through a Prayer teammate called Reliving the scene with Jesus, with profound results.
      I think kids,teens,and young people are looking for love and acceptance. I have many Holy kids,teens,and young people because of thief struggle and healing. I think you are right in that women are treated very unlovingly by society and even by some Christians because they think it is more ok if boys struggle with Masturbation, but if girls or women struggle with Masturbation, they are seen as not normal or thought of as freaks. They aren’t ,they are just wounded by what they’ve been through in life. There is always HOPE!

  16. Masturbation isn’t necessarily “self”, i.e. solo, nor is it sex. It is a sexual act that may be done to oneself or to another person. Since it isn’t sex, nor is it intended to replace sex, it doesn’t have to conform to anyone’s definition of sex. It is simply part of the sex drive, the desire to have sexual relations.

    Since masturbation isn’t sex, then reason #1 fails. Since masturbation isn’t selfish, reason #1 fails again. Selfishness means to please yourself at another’s expense, or with disregard to others. Masturbation serves a valid human need, esp. in males, and is harmless and not prohibited by God. Some think that lustful fantasies are what makes it sinful, but they fail to properly define lustful fantasies, first of all, and secondly, if God thought it was wrong He would have said so, right about the time he warned us not to have sex with our pets and our in-laws. He’s not a prude.

    Since having sex, having orgasms, is a healthy habit, not an ‘addiction’, then neither is having orgasms by masturbation an addiction. However, if a person is compulsive, using masturbation to alleviate emotional pain for example, that is a misuse of their sexual appetite. Most of the guilt and shame people have about masturbation is man made often by religious hypocrites, esp. if they’re males. There are some “down” feelings that occur after masturbation, among them a lack of prolactin that is in four times greater quantity post coitus versus masturbation. This chemical is what balances out the dopamine high of sexual pleasure. This naturally created dissatisfied feeling– though the body and mind has found some release through orgasm– is what causes part of the down feeling after masturbation. It’s purpose I think is obviously to prompt us to seek out a sex partner rather than be alone. It’s kind of harsh to pile more shame on people for a sexual habit that is so commonplace, harmless and one that God Himself chose to not discuss. Let’s not add to His word.

    I agree with point number three, that there needs to be moderation as to devices, scenarios, romance ideas and toys. It’s the same with guys getting hooked on porn; they get conditioned to unreal situations.

    It seems to me that the writer called masturbation “sin” without biblical warrant. God has given us His list of sexual taboos in Leviticus 18 and many of the things that some think are wrong, He has no problem with. I recommend going with His list which is consistent throughout the rest of the Bible.

  17. I find it sad that the god myth is again being used to make people, or in this case specifically women, feel they are wrong/evil/sick to masturbate. Masturbation can be a problem where its practice takes too much time or turns the person away from friends, family or just living a fulfilling and productive life but like many things such as watching TV, reading, playing computer games it can be a fun and enjoyable thing to do when relaxing. Its widely held by medical experts that it is in fact not only a normal thing to do but that it has benefits to the individual and their relationship as it reduces stress, eases period discomfort, helps us get to sleep, makes us happy (if goddists don’t fill us with guilt!), helps us know our bodies and so makes partner sex more successful. In fact as its free, harmless, fun and good for us it should really be promoted and de-stigmatized, not made taboo. Yes I masturbate, sometimes alone, sometimes with my husband and I will continue to do so as its not immoral, its not a ‘sin’ and I’m not one of the psychologically damaged people that think a non existent god is there voyeuring them as they do it and judging them evil.

    • The premise of the whole post is masturbation “addiction,” which I think is would agree with your statement, “Masturbation can be a problem where its practice takes too much time or turns the person away from friends, family or just living a fulfilling and productive life.” That’s the nature of addiction.

      However, I disagree with your statements about “the god myth.” Care to share why you think God is a myth?

    • I couldn’t agree more! Masturbation is not a sinful thing, nor does it lead to sin. Masturbation is only bad if it takes over ones life, or becomes an addiction. For a single person, however, masturbation up to several times a day is normal, not a sin, not harmful, not a cause of alarm. This is just another ploy to use a god to make people feel guilty about a very personal thing. I certainly don’t want some god watching over me when I am masturbating!

    • I’m following what you’re saying, but the chief source of disagreement you have with the author is not your opinions about porn, but your opinions about God. The key question for both you and the author is this: What makes you think you are right about God?

  18. Please…i need help…it’s very difficult to fight lust…please…i was crying when i was reading this…i know i displeases God whenever i masturbate…and that’s what i hate .. i do what i know that is wrong…help me my fellow sisters in Christ…i’m struggling…

  19. I have struggled with this as well but I am happy to say I have not masturbated in a LONG time now. I think I have kicked the habit since it has been more than 6 months since I’ve slipped up and masturbated.

  20. This is a topic I have been going back and forth on in my mind. I just can’t seem to find a solid answer anywhere because it is such a gray area. I can remember masturbating early in my childhood just because it felt good. (I had no idea what I was doing at the time, and there was NO fantasy involved.) Now, as a single woman in my twenties, my sex drive is extremely high – and I definitely have a strong desire for marriage. The Lord, however, hasn’t seen to bring the right man into my life yet. I want to honor God and my future husband. Masturbation, for me, is not too frequent. It is a way for me to physically release built up sexual tension and also really helps my severe menstrual cramps. I have prayed about this time and time again. If masturbation is completely separate from fantasy, is it wrong? I can’t get a clear answer from anyone and it’s so frustrating. I have considered that I may be making excuses as in, “well, if I can’t have sex…how far can I go by myself?” I’m beginning to think that indulging in this may not be wise – because it opens the door for more later on and invites the temptation of sinful fantasy. On the other end of the spectrum, I just don’t get it. I want to get married – but there is no guarantee that will happen, which means no sex for a Christian. Would it be healthy to go through life without the sort of release that masturbation does bring? I hate not knowing whether or not I should feel guilty. All of the sexual tension I am experiencing drives me mad. I have had sex dreams in the past. More frequently, though, are dreams of simply being held, kissed, and touched. I want to be a godly woman – and I do not want to disappoint the man I hope to marry. Maybe this has become too complicated for me; I really don’t know.

  21. Hi, Ruth,

    Thanks so much for commenting and being so real. Please know that your questions are probably shared by every woman who has ever been honest enough to sit down and think through this issue. The questions you have asked show a lot of thought and wisdom. I don’t think you are making it too complicated. I think you are trying to honestly honor God with your life and make sense of His will.

    It is such a gray area in our lives and in our culture too. So, instead of coming right out and giving a “Gospel-truth” answer about masturbation, let me put forward some thoughts that you can hopefully pray through.

    Ultimately, you have to be convinced in your heart. I can sit here and try and tell you a hundred and one reasons not to, and then someone else can come by and give a hundred and one reasons why you should. This has to be something that goes ‘beyond’ reason.

    1. Sex is not a right or even a need. Humans have basic drives- hunger, air, thirst, survival, etc. Our sex drive is our ‘motivation’ per se for reproducing. I like what one author said (paraphrased), “God said ‘be fruitful and multiply’ and then He made that fun.” However, of all of our basic human drives, sex is the only one that isn’t a necessity. You won’t die if you don’t have sex (you might feel like you’re going to at times).

    In modern culture, we have come to expect sex. We demand it. It’s part of life. We have turned it into a need, and when God doesn’t seem to be meeting that need, we get a little creative in how to meet it ourselves.

    2. Orgasm is not the only form of sexual release/satisfaction. I recently spoke with a woman who has been married for six years and stated that in that span she has only climaxed twice, yet, always feels satisfied when the encounter is over. She still feels bonded to and connected with her husband and THAT- not her own sexual ‘release’- is the intention of sex within marriage. It is two becoming one.

    Masturbation, is a ‘fast track’ so to speak to the end result. Imagine growing up on microwave meals, then suddenly being asked to cook something for Thanksgiving. That process of cooking will seem, long, tedious, frustrating and prone to error. When it isn’t perfect (and it often isn’t), depending on your expectations, you might get frustrated. It’s messy. It’s complicated, takes patience, and practice but many people enjoy cooking, not just the eating part. It depends on what you have been trained to do. Masturbation trains your body to grow up on microwave meals- the only satisfaction is this, and now. (Does that make sense?)

    On that same note, I find it very interesting that you seem to ‘struggle’ with romantic dreams. It’s like you’re eating microwave meals and dreaming of cooking. Ultimately, it seems like you are actually longing for romance, not simply sexual release which is actually what most women who struggle with lust and sexual sin are looking for.

    3. Don’t worry about the disappointed husband. That can feed back into the cycle. You think about your future husband, and get worried that he will love you less because of this, so you begin to fear a lack of intimacy from someone you haven’t even met yet (which might explain the dreams), and then you get anxious, and sexually frustrated, and then you masturbate to relieve that frustration, and then you feel guilty, and you’re back at square one. Since, as you said, the husband is not a guarantee, cut him out of the equation and let this be a decision you make for the sake of honoring God. Any man worth his salt will extend grace, forgiveness, and compassion toward you.

    So, to wrap this book up and specifically answer your questions:

    Is it wrong without fantasy? My answer is yes. If sex as God intended is to be between a husband and a wife, then masturbation is outside of that intention, regardless of the fantasy. You are seeking the release without any of the ‘work.’

    Would it be healthy to go through life without masturbating? Sure thing. It may feel like you’re going to go insane, at times, but there are other ways to relieve tension and to cope with the different things you mentioned.

    I hope that helps. Please know I’m right there with you. Just turned 28 on Tuesday and still single. I get it! and it’s hard, BUT, I will say, the longer you go without it, the easier it gets. I’ll be praying for you!

  22. I wonder if it’s too late to ask a question! But here it goes. I just started struggling with masterbation about a month ago. I know what triggered it. The fact that I just moved away from home to a very liberal area and the fact that I’m now away from a man I’m really smitten with. I fantasize about him constantly. And miss him a lot. Masterbation has made me feel So GUILTY! Especially since I’m lusting after someone who I just can’t have and am having to pay the price of massive guilt in missing him. I’m 22 and attending a university in Berkeley. The vibe of where I’m living has bluntly encouraged me to masterbate to release tension. The stress of studying here has built up in me, and there are times where I don’t feel so bad because I’m being told so often that it’s normal. But by not being in church anymore, of course I’m not going to hear otherwise. I just wanted to share my new struggle, so that’s why I’m commenting. But I do have a question about sex in general. Being so attracted to this man, I’ve been introduced to the fear of not being good enough for my husband because of inexperience. For some reason this thought of my future husband being so experienced brings fear in me. Is it really wrong of me to question how things are today? That it would be really really likely that I’ll end up with someone who isn’t a virgin, but I’m here trying so hard to value mine? I somehow feel that this is weirdly tied into my masterbation.

    • Anie,

      I apologize for not seeing this earlier! I can definitely understand so many of your struggles- from masturbation to relieve stress, to conflicting feelings about whether or not it is OK, and how your choices now will play out in marriage.

      First, let’s tackle the overall issue of your current struggle. You liked this guy. You wanted this guy. Now, you are missing this guy. To cope with that, plus deal with the added stresses of college life, you have turned to masturbation. It’s both a sexual release and a chemical release for you, giving substance to your fantasies and at the same time helping you escape your reality. I think you touched on one huge part of your struggle when you said you are not attending church anymore. What are you doing to grow your faith? Do you feel like you need to grow your faith? Because here is what can happen (and I am not saying that this is what happened with you, because I don’t know). We can get our minds and hearts set on something (a job, a guy, a car, whatever), and we don’t realize it, but we begin to idolize it. It becomes that important to us. Then, when it falls out of our reach, we can experience any range of emotions from disappointment to anger. This is often directed at God- the one we feel is supposed to love us. Doesn’t He want us to be happy? At this point, a wedge is driven into our faith.

      Instead of stepping back and reevaluating our priorities, we can be guilty of wallowing in our misery or finding other ways of getting what we want. That is precisely what fantasy is. We cook up this scenario where we, not God, are in control and where we get exactly what we want. Masturbation gives us a physical reward for that fantasy. It feels good and makes us feel good, but at the same time, is draining because it’s one-sided and sex just wasn’t meant to be one-sided. So, again, we can experience a range of emotions from guilt to frustration.

      When you throw stress into that mix of emotions, masturbation also becomes a way to relieve stress. Even without the fantasy, it is a means of escape. I know many college women who contact me struggle most during exams week. It’s just an easy fix, but it is a temporary one, and when it’s all over, that stress returns.

      Alone, we might be able to handle any of these emotions. We learn how to cope with anger, disappointment, frustration, and so on, but when they all pile on us at once, they can smother us. So, the only means of coping we really know is escape.

      I want to encourage you to unpack these different issues and tackle them one at a time because they are not as connected as you might think. First is this issue of the man back home. Instead of lusting after him, turn your desire toward him into a learning experience. It is not wrong to be attracted to a man, even sexually, but the reality is, this one is not your man. We are told to think on truth. Truth is: you are not married to him. What about him, though, attracts you? Are there character traits you find attractive? Maybe he’s a great leader, or sings bass, or has killer blue eyes- whatever those are, make a note of them. Then, make a note of some of his flaws. It sounds like you might have romanticized him and need to bring it back down into reality. If you can’t think of any flaws, then you don’t know him as well as you think you do.

      Second, you need to plug in to the body of Christ somehow. This is especially true because you are in such a liberal area. You are one little light trying to shine in a storm, and you need the body of Christ for encouragement, accountability, and to speak truth into your life. Even if it is a Christian group on campus, find some way to plug in with other Christians and receive strength from them.

      Thirdly, when it comes to the stresses of college life, I think you will find them eased greatly if you can shed this emotional baggage and get plugged-in to a community of believers. No, that doesn’t magically make your final exams or clinicals go away, but it will help them not look so huge. Even just having a group of friends to talk with can help you cope with that stress in a non-sexual way and in a way that actually helps alleviate the stress, not just numb it. When I was in college, I would go for regular walks with different friends, just to share what was going on in our lives, to help us not be overcome by different circumstances. It’s a pattern I still maintain to this day. I have found it is the healthiest way for me to deal with stress. Find a way that works for you- a way that actually relieves the stress- some people go for a run, some people write (I do that too), some sing. Learning how to properly cope with and avoid stress is an important life skill.

      As for your concerns about sex in marriage, they point more to the character of the man than they do the actual issue of sex. No matter how experienced the two of you are, your first time together will still be your first time together, which means it’s a completely new experience, even if neither of you are virgins. It’s true that many Christians are having sex outside of marriage, don’t let the fact that you haven’t make you feel guilty, and if you meet a man who has, extend him grace. It does not make him better than you, and if he acts like it does, find yourself a new man- one who will respect you and the boundaries you have established for yourself.

      (Wow- sorry. That was a book!)

      Please feel free to shoot me an e-mail if you have any other questions. I will be praying for you.

  23. Jessica: I have really enjoyed reading alot of your post and info. I have found them to be very good and accurate. Yes I do struggle with lust, for 40 years. that is another story. I would like to address the ISSUE of masterbastion (that is my struggle) and biblically is it wrong. In lev. 15:2-18 “2: Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When any man hath a running issue out of his flesh, because of his issue he is unclean.” The hebrew deffinition is seminal or menstrual Flux. For me if the man and anything that he has touched is unclean the that to me says it is worng. All throughout leviticuss talksabout unclean things and we are not to have part of that and avoid them. So I would have to a say based on leviticus masterbation is wrong.

  24. I was really relieved to know I’m not alone in this masturbation struggle. As a 44 year old divorced woman, I’ve really struggled with missing sexual intimacy with my former husband. I too, like someone else mentioned, have awaked from very intimate and explicit sexual dreams and have masturbated often in my sleep. I have resorted to watching a good bit of porn the past few years, mostly because I really desire sex still, and I honestly don’t know how to stop. I feel a huge void, and I was never even sexually active until I got married at age 24. I was a virgin, and remained monogamous during my 18.year marriage. I do have to say, I equated sex with the feeling of being loved, adored, and wanted… and I still desire those things, badly. I think hormones have a lot to do with it too. My sex drive got really high when I got into my mid 30’s, and hasn’t really slowed down. I have had sex with other men since after my divorce, but somehow, masturbation has seemed like a better solution, because there’s no heartbreak involved. I wish I could stop, though. But honestly, having an orgasm is the most pleasurable physical feeling, and I don’t know the solution. I’ve even masturbated many times while recalling having sex with my former husband. Is that wrong? I just wish it wasn’t so difficult, and have often felt like sex only causes more problems than good. Thank you for this article. Again, it made me realize I’m not alone, and that I’m not weird, and that I too can use a lot of prayers to deal with this overwhelming desire.

    • Lyn,

      Thank you for being so honest and sharing. I have to say I never really know what to say when dealing with divorced or widowed people who struggle. I feel like that struggle has to somehow be so different, and it’s hard to say whether it is wrong to recall sexual encounters with a former spouse. I wish I had a cut and dry answer, but I don’t. I can definitely speak to the issue of watching pornography. If you feel like you have always equated love and sex, watching pornography will continue to compound that lie. In other words, you won’t really be able to convince yourself otherwise (that love and sex are not the same) while actively watching porn.

      I want to encourage you to pick up a copy of Sexual Sanity for Women by Ellen Dykas. I feel like it may offer some insight into your struggle and perhaps some help. A good portion of it is dedicated to untangling the sex=love lie.

      I am very sorry for what you are going through. My parents divorced after 8 years of marriage, and it still bothers my mom 20+ years later. It is very heartbreaking.

      Prayers with you.

  25. Great insight i’ve gained through this post, everyone struggles with this, I believe we should focus on God, I can name you a few triggers to masturbation, some G-rated movies, dreams that led to choice, being too free(nothing to do), alone in a hostel, sex is a gift from God, we need prayers, patience, self-control, encouragement and motivation from God to stay pure until we get married, it is hard but possible, though I am still struggling, so my point is we can have sex within the boundary of marriage, outside of it you are sinning.

  26. Thank you so much for this piece. How I wish there were a support group for young ladies struggling with this. I’ve struggled with this problem( I don’t like to say the word, makes me feel dirty ) ever since I was ten. I’m sixteen now, and I wonder, can I ever quit totally? Can I get free? It kills me. There’s so much guilt and self-loathing afterwards, and I just can’t understand why I decide to go back again and again when I know I get depressed right after. I want to be CLEAN. I’d very much appreciate it if you had some practical steps to quit. Thank you.

    • Hyy nicole I cn relate to what you are saying..I’m addicted too bt I’m few days clean incase u need to tlk I’m here.also I need sum1 to talk to

  27. Though it hasn’t been clear about masturbation I feel as if it has effected my life style. Almost as if masturbating has become a routine for me and I don’t like feeling as if I need to depend on it. I just hope your steps will help me…

  28. Well
    As a 39 year old single chances to have a partner who is unmarried is slim to none, also it is said that is wrong to date a diorced person so I believe that dating is reserved only for singles. But I am in a critical age. Also most men marry for children and at 40 nobody would want a woman who is sterile. however most of my life was spent on making l.v. e with images in my mind, so i rarely aimed for a marriage relationship. I hd some intimate relationships in the past but i began to deslike the idea of being in a relationship because images of tv actors that are hot and imagination was more powerful than having to spent your sexuality with a husband for the rest of your life. I was always happy with it, went to church and confessed and had communion but this thing was so important to me that i would turn to it, even more because i have no parter. for some of you it is wrong but tell me what about a person who doesn’t attract a man? AND HAVE NO PARTNER and is at an age in which this can happen are slim to none? do you think it’s easy to quit thinking about two actors having sex when you are sleep or have free time, i rarely go out because all my friends that used to go out withme now found their soulmate and most of them are married not easy to find unmarried pals at my age…. going out alone is the only thing i weould do when i’m really fed up to be watching some movies or playing some ps3 games. which i haven’t done lately because i miss going out… the point is, why is life difficult for those who are satisfied with having sex alone? please help, if you want to email me i would be happy to hae a friend that i can email.

  29. Good article. I too struggle with masturbation . I have been single for almost 5 years but the desire to self please is almost uncontrollable. I know we must rebuke the flesh and plead the blood of Jesus, but I allow the flesh to win. This is a disease to my souI. I want to enjoy pleasure in a marriage with the man of God that is coming to me. I just want stop giving in to lust. Please pray my strength in the Lord.

  30. Thank you for this article and thank you also for explaining to several male readers who struggled through the post, that despite any temptation spurred, this topic needs to be addressed to women in particular. Just as this is so frequently done for “just men” and most women can’t even complain that we suffer too. It was helpful to get insight from someone else who struggled. Have you reached a point where the temptation never even arises any more, or is it still an ongoing battle? I’ve never been into porn in any way due to the fact the industry is built on the degradation and abusive treatment of people, the majority being women. Yet in terms of masturbation built on the idea of fantasy, has certainly been an on going struggle. I came from a physically abusive childhood, and my own father left the family when I was around 10 years old. I suppose in truth, wouldn’t know what a healthy romantic relationship would look like if it slapped me in the head…not only because of my home experiences growing up, but that even to this day as an early 20-something year old, have yet to experience any mutual romantic attachment at all, to anyone. That plus the fact my life and jobs have required a lot of moving, a lot of losing friends, a lot of feeling isolated and alone. Of course I don’t want to make it seem like I’m giving an excuse for my behaviour, but I’m only trying to provide you a backdrop of where I’m coming from.

    I suppose it’s still exceedingly difficult to get around the idea that masturbation is entirely selfish, I certainly know it can be but when I leave after a 9 hour shift and come back to an empty house, it hurts. No one to ask who their day was and discuss how mine went of dinner. Make dinner by myself, sit and eat by myself, watch the last bit of sun disappear in the sky by myself. How’s that presentation coming along that’s due the following day? I don’t know…no one to get insight from at home. You could take the bus and meet with someone to discuss it before work, oh but if I do that I need more bus fare for my job and that’s not an option… I start to think about what life would be like if I met someone who actually loved me here on this earth, what God has in store for me in the future. Deep down, all I’ve ever wanted out of life was to be able to express my love to someone unconditional and completely and that they might feel the same way about me. I’ve prayed about the matter more than I can even remember, been prayed for by others in regards to the issue, have fasted before in the past, and have read of the Scripture over and over again. And those things do typically help for maybe that hour, maybe a day, maybe a whole week or if I’m lucky, a month or over but than that loneliness will creep back up and depression seeps in. Sometimes fighting feelings of depression, feeling alone and unloved, is like fighting against the tide.
    What makes matters even more excruciating is that the Bible doesn’t really address it in particular. It’s not about sex for me, it’s about marriage. Being able to care for someone inexplicable and have those feelings returned. In the Bible, it’s like oh have lust? Lonely? Get married. The Bible reconized most people will forever have this need to have a partner by them to confide in and share their most intimate feelings. With that being said, the Bibical phrasing nearly pins marriage as the go-to solution. Summarizing, not quoting of course, but it’s like it’s telling you For some people it’s that easy, but when your slightly on the Plain-Jane side and no godly man (nor anyone in general, haha) seems to be in the least bit interested in you in the romantic sense, it makes you wonder… Hmm is something wrong with me; I’m not pretty enough probably, godly men still want a looker; maybe it’s not God’s Will even though I’d like to care for a partner and have children, etc, my mother said she didn’t want me and my father left, why would you think any man would think of you more highly than they did, or maybe God just wants you to be His and no one else’s?… The list of self-worry and doubt goes on and on and on.

    I just feel I’ve tried everything and after nearly 10 years of failing God…I don’t want to fail Him any more. Disappointing Him so many times has left me hating myself. At the same time, some small part of me can’t help but think somehow that He’s disappointed me a little bit too. All I wanted was a husband I could help care for and love who would do the same for me; a partner. The same thing GOD seemed to suggest, command even imply most people are conditioned for…but for me? Nope. Nothing but a bunch of empty promises, heartache, pain, self-deprecation and depression. What makes matters sting a bit more now is after all these years of prayers, close friends who used to joke they weren’t even interested in love are now either just happily married, closing on their 5 anniversary or expecting their first child. All the things I’ve ever longed for thrown in my face. I know I’m not the only one going through something like this, but I’ve just moved, new churches, new people. The Christians I know going through something similar are nowhere in meeting radius to me. I just feel trapped. If I didn’t care and felt I was entirely in the right, I wouldn’t be even typing all this now or have gone these years fighting like I have. I want to break the habit. Personally for myself, I know my masturbating is a sin not because my yearning for a husband is wrong or selfish but because its problems stem from both fear and doubt of God’s plans for my life. But after years of no results, sometimes it just feels like empty promises.

    • Oh, sweet Ami, you have no idea how much your comment resonated with my own life. I’m still single and turn 29… tomorrow, actuallly. Just last night I was having a very similar conversation with a friend. She and I had sat in church together several weeks ago talking about singleness and relationships, and as it always seems to happen, two days later a guy asked her out and she is on cloud 9. I joked with her that this it how it happens. I go out to dinner with a friend and we talk about singleness and next thing I know, she’s married. It is so easy to sit there and wonder, “God, what is wrong with me? Am I invisible?” I think the worst for me is when a guy I like comes to me for help with a girl he likes who doesn’t like him back. I seem to draw those types, and I have no idea why.

      So, I definitely get it. I have friends who are done having kids because they already have 5. All of my college roommates have their husbands and families. My closest friends for the most part are all married. My younger brother is getting married in July. And you sit here and think, “If marriage is a good thing, and it honors God, then why isn’t He letting it happen?! What have I done wrong?” And then you stand in front of the mirror nit picking at how you look, how you dress, how you act, how you speak. You find the million and one things wrong with you and beat yourself up. I get it, painfully so.
      I really wish I had answers, but I really don’t. Like you, I come home to an empty house, make myself dinner for two- because the leftovers will be lunch the next day. It’s rough, but I think what you are dealing with are a few different things that are stacking on top of you and crushing you a bit. Masturbation is a coping mechanism for you, not a “problem” per se. It is how you are choosing to deal with other problems in your life.

      Honestly, if you want to shoot me an e-mail, I would be happy to talk with you more about this. I don’t want it to turn into the world’s longest reply to a comment. But to answer your basic question, this is something I still deal with, and like you said, it’s not always selfish. Shoot me an e-mail. Let’s talk.

      Praying for you.

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