Lust is not a guy problem–it’s a human problem. If you’re a woman who has struggled with any sort of lustful sin habit, including masturbation, you’re not alone. Millions of Christian women (single and married) are facing similar temptations every day. We, as women, are not immune to lustful sins any more than men are.
I am going to be very open and transparent in this post because I want you to know that Christ has the power to help us overcome our sin and to find lasting victory. Then we’ll dig into what the Bible has to say about masturbation and why I believe masturbation is a sin.
My Own Sin-Struggle With Masturbation
Jump back in time with me.
As a single girl in my mid-teens, I remember crying out to God one night in desperation. My desire for sexual intimacy was so strong that I felt like I couldn’t bear it anymore! I honestly wasn’t sure how I would survive until marriage with such strong sexual desires. “How is this a gift?!” I questioned God through my tears.
I knew how much God valued purity and holiness, but it seemed impossible to stay consistent for any length of time. I tried to control my lustful thoughts, but they seemed to overpower me more regularly than not. Masturbation had become a common theme in my life.
I didn’t know for a fact if it was wrong or not–but something deep in my heart told me it wasn’t God’s best. The guilt I felt after satisfying my lust was like a heavy dark cloud that lingered until morning.
My struggle with lust and masturbation became a constant companion throughout high school. I was on a roller coaster of winning the “battle” one week and losing it the next.
I was growing sick and tired of it.
As I entered my junior year of high school, I came across a little book that changed my life forever. It’s Joshua Harris’ well-known, little hardback book titled, Sex is Not the Problem, Lust Is.
For the first time, a lightbulb went off in my heart. After devouring that book, I gained a biblical understanding of my God-given sexual desires.
I realized that my sexual “drive” wasn’t the enemy. My sinful heart was.
God created our bodies with the capacity to enjoy pleasure and there is nothing wrong with that in and of itself. The problem comes when we allow natural urges to drive our hearts and actions to sinful places.
My eyes were slowly opened to how holy God was and how weak and needy I was. Instead of trying to muster up good behavior, I fell on my knees and cried out to a Holy God in humble desperation. I confessed my heart of pride and selfishness and asked God to forgive me of my lustful sins and for worshipping idols above my worship of Him.
For the first time, I felt free. Free!
My battle with lust wasn’t over, but I was more victorious than I had ever been before.
Masturbation was no longer a normal part of my life.
In fact, from that point on until I got married (seven years later), I only gave in to masturbation a handful of times. Now, don’t get me wrong–I still fought against lustful thoughts in my mind on a regular basis, but they weren’t the theme of my life anymore.
I share my story with you to let you know that victory in Christ is possible. You are not alone in your sexual struggles. We serve a powerful God and no sin is too great for the Cross of our Savior to conquer.
We Aren’t Victims of Our Sexual Desires
Now, let’s talk about women, masturbation, and what the Bible has to say about the topic.
Our modern culture tells us that our sexual urges are like balloons on the verge of popping, and we need to release the intense pressure every now and then.
Although it might feel that way sometimes, God has given us the power through His Holy Spirit to say no to the flesh and yes to righteousness. We are not victims of our sexual desires.
“But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh” (Galatians 5:16).
The truth is, the more we give in to our sinful desires, the more we fall prey to their grip.
We continue to crave but are never satisfied (James 1:14-15). That’s how sin works. It promises satisfaction but always leaves us empty and hungry.
Regardless of how strong our sexual urges may be, as Christian women, we are commanded to live pure and holy lives for God’s glory and our greatest joy. “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God” (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5).
God will give us the strength we need to walk in righteousness–we just have to make the choice to strive after it wholeheartedly.
3 Reasons Why I Believe Masturbation Is Sin
Is it a sin to masturbate? What does the Bible have to say about masturbation? While the Bible never explicitly mentions masturbation, it does talk a lot about related topics. Here are three reasons I believe masturbation is a problem for Christians:
1. Masturbation is usually fueled by lust.
While engaging in masturbation, it is very common for pornographic images (whether imagined or seen) and erotica to be used to fuel the act. From what I’ve experienced and researched, it seems that sexual fantasies accompany masturbation around 99% of the time. Masturbation isn’t a solo act, but one that is often fueled by lust.
Although the Bible never addresses masturbation directly, it addresses sexual immorality and lust many times. Lustful thoughts are toxic to our mind and heart.
Related: Can you masturbate without lusting?
1 Corinthians 6:18 says, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body.”
Galatians 5:19 says, “Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality…”
Rather than seeing how close we can get to the line of compromise without going over, we should do everything within our power to stay as far away from the line of sin as possible.
Even if you claim to masturbate without lusting, why go there? Why allow yourself to be vulnerable to sin?
As long as lust is allowed to grow in one’s heart, the temptation to masturbate will probably always be present. We find lasting freedom only when we attack our lustful sin at its root and do everything within our power to destroy it.
2. The Bible teaches that sex is relational.
The Bible clearly teaches us that God created sex to be enjoyed between one man and one woman within the context of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:9). God created sex to be an expression of our love for our spouse and a way to create intimate bonds with one another.
Within marriage, sex should always be about loving and serving the other person, not about getting what we want.
When sexual intimacy is ripped out of its God-ordained context, it is no longer about loving and serving someone else, but about serving self. Masturbation fuels selfishness.
As Tim Challies says, “Masturbation is inherently self-centered. An act meant to be shared toward two people is completely and exclusively about one person, all alone.”
Outside of marriage, sexual pleasure is isolated from “community.” It is isolated from serving another. It is isolated from loving another. God never intended sexual pleasure to be enjoyed as a solo act, but as a gift to be shared and given within marriage.
3. Masturbation can be a form of self-worship.
As Christian women, our goal in life should be to “love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind” (Luke 10:27). We cannot fully serve God and serve self at the same time.
We can’t worship a holy God and satisfy our lust simultaneously. We can only do one or the other. Either we’ll choose to deny self and worship Christ, or we’ll choose to deny Christ and worship self.
Masturbation elevates self to be the center of our worship–the center of our heart’s affections.
Galatians 6:7-8 is a sobering reminder, “Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.”
We cannot worship God and worship self at the same time.
Winning the Battle Over Masturbation
Regardless of how often or little you struggle with sexual sin (namely masturbation), you are not out of reach of God’s conquering power. Christ died on the cross so we would no longer be slaves to sin.
“We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin,” (Romans 6:6).
If you desire to conquer your struggle with masturbation, there is no better time than now to humble yourself and confess your sin to the Father. Freedom begins today.
This post is the first half of a two-part series. In the second half, we’ll continue chatting openly about how we, as Christian women, can find lasting freedom from masturbation.