13 minute read

4 Reasons Women Struggle to Be Honest About Their Sexual Sin

Last Updated: October 14, 2019

Kristen Clark

Kristen Clark is married to her best friend, Zack. She is the co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries and author of Girl DefinedLove Defined, and Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. She is passionate about promoting the message of God-defined womanhood through blogging, speaking, mentoring young women, and hosting Bible studies in her living room. In the end, she’s just a fun-lovin’ Texas girl who adores all things outdoors and drinks coffee whenever possible.

Being honest about my past struggles with sexual sin and masturbation wasn’t easy. In fact, I didn’t want to be honest about it. I didn’t want to confess it. I wanted to shove those struggles into the deepest darkest corner of my life, never to be seen again.

But I knew that wouldn’t work. Sin always has a way of making its way to the light. As a “church-going Christian woman,” I felt so ashamed and embarrassed that I struggled with lust.

I thought sexual sin was supposed to be a male issue.

I assumed I was the odd one out, which made me less interested in sharing honestly about my struggles. I figured I was just a strange female with a hyper sensitive sexual drive.

If only I had known then what I know now. I wasn’t the odd one out. I wasn’t a weird female. I wasn’t even hypersensitive. I was (and am) a very normal female with common sexual temptations and struggles.

Since then, my eyes have been opened to the fact that lust and masturbation aren’t just male issues. They’re human issues.

This has become even more apparent as I’ve worked in GirlDefined Ministries for the past four years. I’ve received hundreds of emails and comments from Christian girls and women—just like me—who think they’re the only ones struggling.

As I scan through the many emails, I feel like I’m reading my own story. Each woman shares how hard it is for her to be honest. To be open. To tell someone. She feels alone and isolated in her sexual struggles.

Related: Silence–The Sound of Female Sexual Shame

As women, being open and honest about our sexual struggles isn’t easy.

This fact really got me thinking. Why is it so hard for us to speak up? To get help? To confess our sexual sin? As I’ve interacted with dozens of women on this topic, the reasons seem to be similar across the board. There are common threads in how we’re all feeling.

After gathering the data, I narrowed it down to four reasons why we as Christian women aren’t honest about our sexual struggles.

Each “reason” begins with a lie. And these lies are what often keep us from being honest. If you struggle with being open and honest about your own sexual sin, see if any of these four lies ring true in your life.

Lie 1: I’m the only female who struggles with lust and temptation.

I believed I was the only female who struggled with sexual sin. This made it feel impossible to be honest. However, the more I realized that I wasn’t alone in the struggle, the easier it was for me to confess my sin and seek accountability. Sister, you’re not alone either.

Lie 2: Sexual sin is supposed to be a “male issue,” so I must be weird.

Bookstores are filled with purity books directed toward men. Churches often host purity studies for men. Whenever lust is mentioned, it’s often referred to as a “man’s struggle.” This reality has caused many Christian women to feel isolated, alone, and weird when it comes to their own sexual struggles.

But the reality is, we are not weird. As Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” As women, we are sinners who struggle with sin too. Yes, even sexual sin. Lust is a female problem too.

Related: Not Just a Man’s Problem

Lie 3: Everybody views me as the “good Christian woman,” so I can’t be honest.

Our reputation and pride often keep us from being honest about our own sin. Ironically, by staying silent, we’re actually being even more dishonest about who we truly are. Don’t let your “good Christian woman” image keep you from being authentic about where you’re at.

Christ died on the cross because we’re sinners—not because we’re perfect Christian women (Romans 3:10). We desperately need His transforming grace and forgiveness in our lives. Confessing our sin is the only sure path to freedom.

Lie 4: Maybe what I’m doing isn’t really that bad after all.

The longer we keep our sin hidden, the more we will try to protect it, excuse it, and shield it. We tell ourselves the lie that “it’s not that bad.” We convince ourselves time and time again that it’s okay. That it’s not hurting anyone.

What finally brought me to my knees and compelled me to confess my own sexual struggles was the reality of how ugly my sin was before God. When I held my sin up next to God’s holiness and beauty, I fell to my knees in brokenness and repentance. I realized that I had been worshiping my own desires and pleasure above my Creator. Jesus is worthy to be honored and praised (Revelation 4:11). May we strive after holiness in every corner of our lives.

Did any of those four lies ring true in your own heart?

If you’re currently struggling to be honest about your sexual sin, I can’t encourage you enough to reject the lies and pursue truth. Talk to someone. Maybe a good friend, a mentor, or just any godly woman. Freedom begins by bringing your sin into the light.

James 5:16 says, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”

Sin is weighty. It’s heavy. The longer we carry it with us, the deeper the burden grows. Don’t stay in the dark any longer. Whether it’s a porn addiction, adultery, masturbation, erotica, or something else…don’t keep it a secret any longer. Freedom in Christ is much sweeter than anything our sin can offer us. As Galatians 5:1 powerfully reminds us, “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” Freedom is worth fighting for.

Related: Resources for Women Who Struggle With Porn

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  • Comments on: 4 Reasons Women Struggle to Be Honest About Their Sexual Sin
    1. Michelle Mckay on

      What should I do if my husband no matter what can’t please me. My x husband cheated on me and left 5 years ago and I touched myself once in a great while. I was the first one to give myself ” well you know” . I married last year to an amazing christian man. I don’t use anything I build up so many hormones from almost going with my husband, and it’s almost annoying where I have to do something. I’m afraid to ask my husband to do this and that. He’s not much of an explorer, so that makes it harder for me to feel like he does. I sometimes get upset, because it’s so easy for a man and it’s very hard for me. I feel like I’m just a thing for husband. It makes him feel bad or I lie and say i have. I think alot of woman arnt satisfied in their marriages ( still madly in love) but isn’t having any pleasure. Our bodies build up those sensual hormones that aren’t being treat by the one person who should” our husbands” so no list enters my mind. I desire my husband but it’s hard to be pleased by him. Please give me advice

      Reply
      • Kay Bruner on

        Learn to masturbate to orgasm for yourself, and if you want, teach your husband what works for you. The Bible does not condemn masturbation; there’s nothing wrong with masturbation; many women can only achieve orgasm this way. Your sexuality is yours to discover and enjoy. Please do. Peace, Kay

      • A Daughter, Wife and Mother on

        I think it is really irresponsible to encourage anyone to masterbate in order to learn how to orgasm (or for any other reason for that matter). Especially someone who struggles with it. When a person masterbates, they are responding to the feel of their own hands, a particular amount of pressure and speed and so on. It is IMPOSSIBLE for another person to replicate that feeling. You CANNOT teach someone else’s hands to feel like your own. I know from personal experience. I struggled with masterbation in my youth and found myself continuously frustrated that my husband (when we first got married) was unable to make me feel the same amount of pleasure that I had when I was doing something myself. His hands weren’t as soft, even when he used less pressure it was still more than mine and so on. I was frustrated because my husband’s hands were not like mine.

        It sounds like this woman has already become accustomed to her own hands and the WORST possible advice to give her is to tell her to grow even more accustomed to her own touch. If she does this she will just be cementing the fact in her own mind that it is her own touch that creates pleasure for her. A female orgasm is a very mental thing. A woman has to allow herself to relax in order to achieve it. If she is focusing on the fact that her husband’s hands just aren’t getting it right she is NOT going to relax. She will be tense and frustrated. Again, I know from personal experience. And the only thing that turned that around was forgetting everything I thought I knew about my own pleasure and allowing my husband the freedom to create my pleasure. I stopped wishing he could do things like I had done them. And guess what. I now orgasm (usually multiple times) every time we have sex. Yes, if I can tell I need more or less pressure, I say so. If I need it slower or faster, I say so. In those moments our body just knows what it needs and wants. And that knowledge doesn’t come from doing those things ourselves, contrary to popular belief. It comes from the sensations we are feeling in that moment.

        The Bible may not speak specifically about masterbation, but it does speak about sex often enough. And it is only supposed to be between a husband and wife and it is supposed to be done together. The Bible never talks about sex in the context of doing it with yourself and I think that is very telling. And I also think the science behind orgasm is very telling. When we orgasm, our brain releases a chemical that allows us to bond to our partner. For a woman it is the same chemical that she releases when she breastfeeds her baby in order to help her bond with her child. So it only stands to reason that if a person masterbates and orgasms, the only person they are bonding with is themself. And I don’t know about you, but that sounds incredibly lonely. I don’t think God ever intended for us to bond with our own flesh. That, of course, is an opinion, but one that I feel makes sense with what I know about my Heavenly Father and the science behind these bodies He so lovingly created for us.

      • A Daughter, Wife and Mother on

        Michelle, I’d like to speak directly to you now. I feel a lot of compassion for you, because as I said in the previous comments, I can relate to parts of your story. Specifically where you had learned to orgasm on your own and now have difficulty achieving it with your husband. Please hear me. The reason you are having difficulty is because you have learned to respond to your own touch. The feel of your skin, the amount of pressure you use and so on. More masterbation will not help you to orgasm with your husband even if you attempt to teach him what you do. His touch will never feel exactly like yours. You will just end up more frustrated when he isn’t able to replicate your own touch. And frustration will make you tense which is the perfect recipe for NO ORGASM. The reason you are having trouble is because you are frustrated and tense when you just can’t quite get there. And if I had to take a guess from my own experience, you probably go into sex fearing that you probably won’t be able to get there and will have to take care of things yourself or go without. It is those kinds of thoughts that you need to start rejecting if you want to turn things around. You need to forget what you have taught your body to respond to through masterbation and give your husband the freedom to give you pleasure. You said you don’t think he is much of an explorer, but have you invited him to explore you? Do you guys talk about sex? If not, I HIGHLY recommend it. My husband and I have gotten to the point where we can discuss our sex life like we’re talking about the weather. We’re that comfortable about it. And that didn’t happen overnight. It took intentional effort on both our parts to get over our own insecurities and be completely open in our marriage. And that is some of the best advice you can give about any aspect of marriage really. Talk, talk, and talk some more. Be open, honest, and vulnerable about everything. Adam and Eve were naked more than just physically in the garden, I believe. I believe it was symbolic for how we are supposed to be with our spouse (and with God). Totally naked emotionally and personally. And yes, we are supposed to be comfortable being totally naked physically with our spouse too.

        Please talk with your husband. Please begin to put in the hard work of rejecting what you have taught yourself about pleasure. It is hard work, but totally worth it. And please don’t feel as though I am judging you because as I said, I have been there too. It is hard when you love someone so much, but feel as though they just can’t please you. It is a horrible lie we teach ourself. And the other lie we teach ourself in the process is that we are the only ones who can please us. That we are the only ones who have that power. We need to be willing to give that power to our husbands. And as I said in the previous comments, there is nothing wrong with giving directions when your husband isn’t quite hitting the right spot the right way on occasion. It took me a while to realize that my body just knows what it needs to orgasm in the moment. That knowledge does not come from previous masterbation, it comes from allowing myself to respond to my husband’s touch and knowing what HE needs to do to help me achieve orgasm.

        God brought you and your husband together. He want BOTH of you to have a fulfilling and pleasurable sex life TOGETHER. Please believe that God has the power to transform what you have learned about pleasure and orgasm. Please believe that He designed your husband to give you pleasure. But you and your husband need to communicate about your sex life if you expect things to get better. I will be praying for you, Michelle. God Bless!

    2. Stephen Bauer on

      Thanks for the article! Not so ironically these are a couple of reasons Christian men battle this also. The fact that I am the only Christian man or at the least very few who battles this. That is lie number one and then I am trying to be a good Christian man so if other Christian men find out I will have been a bad example. The enemy uses it to isolate us from each other. Yet if more of us talked about it in our small groups we could help each other.

      I have benefited from Christian and secular 12 step groups. I have found more love and acceptance in secular than Christian. This should not be. We need each other. None of us has “arrived” and I will battle sin until the day I die. I love II Cor chapter 1 the first ten or fifteen verses.

      Steve

      Reply
    3. A Daughter, Wife and Mother on

      I don’t think God ever intended for us to bond with our own flesh *in a sexual context*. Our sexuality was given to us by God in order to become one flesh with our spouse in a physical sense. Sex and our sexuality is so much more profound than us simply feeling good and having an orgasm. That part of it is an awesome bonus gift from God of course, and as I said before it helps us to bond with our spouse in a very profound way. If I have one piece of advice for Michelle, I’d simply tell her to talk to her husband honestly about what happened after her first marriage, tell him that she struggles to reach orgasm and suggest several fun nights of body exploration for the both of them. And I would suggest a nice glass of wine instead of masterbation. Sex and orgasm is about bonding. About doing and learning together. Not learning by yourself and then teaching someone else how to do what you do to make yourself feel good. You need to give up that desire for control and allow your spouse to be the one who gives you pleasure. I don’t believe for one minute that the only way that some women can orgasm is through masterbation. That is simply a lie that they have taught themselves to believe through masterbation. If you start to believe that you alone hold the key to your own pleasure, you won’t believe anyone else is capable of giving you pleasure. It is arrogance that is keeping those women from orgasm. Not a real physical inability to orgasm any other way.

      Reply
    4. A Daughter, Wife and Mother on

      And I think another alarming piece of your advice, Kay, was when you told this woman that she can teach her husband what works for her “if she wants”. As if it could also be a healthy option to just keep her pleasure through masterbation to herself. Completely separate from her sex life with her husband, where she isn’t receiving any pleasure at all. I just cannot believe this. Your advice was just a huge red flag in my opinion. I think is always a bad a idea when people try to separate sexual pleasure/orgasm from the spouse and the marriage. Our sexuality does not belong to us any more than our bodies do. Both belong to God. God did not give us our sexuality for us to explore by ourself. It was given to us as a gift to explore with our spouse within the covenant of marriage. The idea that our sexuality is our gift for ourself is a totally selfish point of view. It was a gift from God given so that it could be given to another and received from another. Marriage and every aspect of marriage including sex is supposed to mirror Christ’s relationship with the church. And no aspect of that relationship can be selfish. M asterbation is rooted in selfishness. I realize I am expressing a lot of personal opinions, but you were also expressing a personal opinion when you told this poor woman that the answer to achieving orgasm with her husband was to masterbate and then teach him how to be like her own hands in bed (which as I said, is physically impossible). Or not to teach him at all and just go about pleasuring herself while simply tolerating her pleasureless sex life with her husband.

      Kay, I will be praying for you and this poor woman.

      Reply
    5. A Daughter, Wife and Mother on

      I am honestly floored that the people associated with Covenant Eyes aren’t speaking up about Kay’s destructive advice to this poor woman. And I’m kind of starting to wonder where my own comment is as well. I know the process of publishing comments seems to take a long time on this site, but still. Michelle has obviously been given some advice that could seriously harm her marriage and I think someone, even if my own comments aren’t published, needs to give this woman some advice that can actually improve her marriage rather than leave it in shambles. I wish some of the wise people from Covenant Eyes would speak up.

      Reply
      • Chris McKenna on

        Hello, everyone – thank you for your patience. I have accepted the various comments that were waiting in moderation. I’ve read Kay’s comment and all of yours. I believe you’ve made your point very clear. I’d like to lend some balance.

        Covenant Eyes does not take a stance on masturbation. We do believe that sex is intended for marital enjoyment, as you have stated, between spouses – full of communication and openness. Can that include masturbation? Maybe – probably very infrequently at best, in order to avoid the issues you have pointed out about teaching the mind and heart to bond to self instead of to your spouse.

        I also sense that the commenter has been taught to feel overly shameful about masturbation. And, to be honest, the Christian church’s approach to purity often implies a shackling amount of shame attached to anything other than a woman simply complying with her husband’s every wish. Although missing some of the caveats that you included about the dangers of habitual masturbation, Kay’s response seems to intend to remove that unnecessary shame, which I agree with.

        To the woman who left the initial comment, you have been given a lot to think about in a situation that I’m sure already feels overwhelmingly difficult. Covenant Eyes deeply desires for you to discover a full, God-honoring sexual experience with your husband. You’ve expressed frustration that seems to come from a lack of communication. In your words, “I’m afraid to ask my husband to do this and that. He’s not much of an explorer, so that makes it harder for me to feel like he does.” I do not believe much will change unless there’s open dialogue. For example, does he know that you masturbate? Also, I’d challenge you to push back on the lie that orgasm is some sexual objective that is the only definition of a sexually satisfying relationship with your husband. Again, this is not a condemnation, but in my own experience, over time, masturbation tends to teach the brain that orgasm is ultimate and it’s necessary to get there as quickly as possible. These ideas have the potential to become harmful within marriage, over time.

        So, my words are ones of “communicate” and “be aware of what masturbation can do” and then I need to leave the rest up to you.

        May God give you grace. And, may that grace give you and your marriage strength.
        Chris

      • A Daughter, Wife and Mother on

        Thanks for the response, Chris. I apologize for the multiple lengthy comment and for being so impatient. I was just really concerned for this woman and where her marriage might end up if she took Kay’s advice at face value without being aware of the damage that it could do. I’m actually a little embarrassed for going on such a lengthy rant, but I just really wanted to try to help Michelle actually strengthen her marriage rather than focusing solely on her own pleasure.

        I definitely see where you are coming from and have a lot of respect for the way you approached this woman’s problem and the advice you gave her. I didn’t intend to shame this woman for her past masterbation or even her future masterbation. As a person who used to struggle with it, I would never intentionally try to make someone feel shame about it. I definitely don’t agree with the shame angle when it comes to masterbation or sexual sin. But I do believe in being brutally honest about the damage it can do.

        Also, could you please remove my name from your comment? Thanks! And thank you again for your response. God Bless

      • Chris McKenna on

        Done! I’m sorry for including that. It was a good dialogue to have among people who in the end, all care very deeply, which often carries passionate thoughts :)

    6. Thomas Weyandt on

      As I man I can only say that I feel the Church taught me to be ashamed and deeply ashamed of my sexuality in any context and I carry that shame to this day. I am 63 and never married had maybe five girlfriends in my life, if that and have given up hope that I will ever find any and I go to a small church where everyone is spoken for anyway and have few friends.

      I also have a chronic mental illness, another area where the Church failed as 32 percent of pastors hearing that a parishioner has mental illness will discount the diagnosis and claim that it is the result of sin in one’s life or other action of Satan. We mentally ill Christians have the stigma about mental illness and the only time it is in the news is when there is a mass shooting but effective treatments do exist today and I thank God that my two pastors, both of whom are women, have no preconceived erroneous notions about mental illness but are willing to listen and help for mental illness can screw up, as it has in me, my relationship with plus decades of Satan’s lives about God’s character. Helping this is that one pastor has a regular job helping the mentally retarded and they are both wonderful ladies.

      Most contact I have with women, having a single female friend who is not interested in any kind of dating me, comes from their being mental health professionals like my psychologist, case manager, one of my psychiatrists, mobile psych rehab worker and peer specialist. I also take several antidepressants and anti psychotic drugs with my diagnosis being schizoaffective, obsessive compulsive disorder, panic disorder and borderline personality disorder and I have been in continuous treatment since 1975 and my income has been SSI,not SS, disability and I live in one room apartment in public housing.

      Reply

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