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Defeat Lust & Pornography 8 minute read

Women and Masturbation: Talking About It Openly

Last Updated: October 17, 2023

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.

  1. Mimi

    Bunch of weirdos in this comment section. We are truly living in the last days. Right will be wrong, wrong will be right. God destroyed Sodom and Gamora for many reasons, and sexual immorality was one of them. You can’t sit around knowing that the feeling of wanting to do this, is lustful in itself. It’s a way to justify your sin. God didn’t die on that cross for us to sit here acting like we don’t need his forgiveness simply because we “want to feel good.” I encourage every young woman to read the Bible for themselves, and pray to God about your struggles and not listen to people who are blatantly saying that sexual immorality isn’t wrong. I can’t wait to begin my “Breaking free from the chains of pornography and masturbation” conference soon. So many young woman confused and led astray.

  2. Toni J

    Thank you for your honesty. I have been struggling with masturbation for years and I also pray and can go without it. Then I am tempted again. Please pray for my freedom and deliverance. Also if anyone has recommendations for Christian therapist or groups o would appreciate it.

    • Moriah Bowman

      Hi Toni!

      I have two suggestions for you:
      1. Find a therapist here.
      2. Check out this blog post, which I believe applies equally to both porn and masturbation addictions—specific to women!

      Blessings!
      Moriah

  3. LeftIsRight

    Masturbation is fine and there is no God. It makes me so angry that the Bible and other religions have poisoned so many minds and made people feel guilty, weak, and ashamed for their own human biology.

    If I believed in sin, one of the greatest would be indoctrinating a child to hate themselves and their own feelings by threatening eternal torture upon them if they don’t act like little worshipping robots. Like, who could look a child in the eye and threaten them with torture? Especially if all they’ve done is masturbated which is normal and healthy.

    Shaming children for masturbating leads to poor mental health and a damaged sex life in the future.

    Also, you stated that you can’t worship God and serve yourself at the same time. I say, so what? Does your God really need his ego stroked every minute of every day? If so, then what a narcissist, don’t you think?

    • Mimi

      Why exactly did you even read this article if you don’t believe in God? Were you bored?

  4. I struggle with some of the mentality expressed in “the church.” We have formed mechanisms to deal with problems. Accountability. While it may be well intended all it has amounted for me is a confessional booth of owning up to my latest blunders and inability to keep the rules. And all it has done is create shame and the feeling that I’ll never get it right.Isn’t. Satan our accuser? He has nothing but time on his hands to grab us by our back collar and drag us through the mud and get in our face everyday pointing out every sin we’ve committed and tell us we’ll never get it right and that God is unhappy with us. Thanks be to God for Romans 8:1. I am Romans 7 but am thankful that 8:1 tells me God isn’t disappointed in me and has removed my shame from me. Why can’t we live in this freedom? God has already given it to us.

    Next, I hear all the time about spiritual disciplines. So am I to stand at attention and salute God like he’s my commanding officer and ask him what his orders are for the day? How is it that we seem to order our lives like our relationship with God is some duty rather than a relationship to be enjoyed? We don’t consider our spouse and kids to be a discipline to keep up on do we? Isn’t it about a desire that drives us to a commitment to connect and be a part and share our lives with each other? And that out of this we form the discipline to manage and cultivate via priorities?

    We seem to categorize sin in ways where we rank them. Or we classify some sin as addiction while others we don’t. All sin is sin. Albeit some of the consequence differ. I know a Christian therapist who admits she struggles with profanity. I struggle with masturbation. My friend can’t drink enough coffee in a day. My brother probably watches too much tv. But then we are glued to the Food network or some talk show where everyone wants to express their opinion. Social media is a straight up addiction for a lot of people if we are honest. How is it that some of these behaviors are socially acceptable but because I enjoy giving myself an occasional orgasm I need an accountability partner to stop this behavior? All you instagram addicts out there…better go get an accountability partner. We have created this rule keeping system that does nothing but set us up for shame, guilt, and regret. We are flesh. We live in a world that is evil and belongs to the devil. Is it not God’s grace that gives us hope? I’m not saying we don’t have friends and mentors to talk to and share our struggles with. I have done this and found some of it to be helpful. But at the end of the day we each have to cultivate our relationship with God. It isn’t about keeping the rules. It is about as I draw closer to God and allow him to be my first love that we are able to grow in his grace and knowledge. Yes our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit and we are called to be holy. Absolutely! But we are never going to get it right all the time. God understands that and isn’t standing over us waiting to chop us up when we do fail. It is about a love relationship. In Christ I am accepted and loved because of his work on the Cross. End of story! And thanks be to God that he is our resurrection and life. Our living hope! God wants us to walk in freedom. I want that but my flesh gets in the way. Romans 7. Remember 8:1 though. So yes, we will struggle but God is for us and we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.

  5. Ashley

    Hi Moriah, I found masturbation at an early age. It’s hard to quit because it’s so easy….i thought if I showed my friend it, that he could help me stop it, but now he’s hooked..if I’m not going after porn then is it still sinful?

    • Moriah Bowman

      Hi Ashley,

      I think this quote from the blog captures my thoughts on masturbation perfectly: “Although the Bible never addresses masturbation directly, it addresses sexual immorality and lust many times. Lustful thoughts are toxic to our mind and heart.”

      If masturbation is causing you to think lustfully or turn to sexual immorality, then I would definitely say it is sinful. If not, I think that the lines are not drawn clearly, at least in biblical terms. I would advise you to avoid talking to your male friend(s) about this. Like you have observed, it can cause them to have lustful thoughts and even turn to masturbation themselves. Is there an older woman or mentor whom you can turn to and ask for guidance and accountability?

      I hope this answers your question!
      Blessings,
      Moriah

  6. Jessie

    Moriah
    Thank you. I reached out to a therapist and am going to get help with this. I’ll be okay. I’m able to function just fine with the rest of my life. This is a private struggle. I work out and lead a healthy life otherwise. I know I don’t have the gift of singleness for sure and I don’t believe i have an addiction. Just a habit that i need to redirect myself away from. Thank you for this blog and the work you are doing. I’m going to get through this. We all fall short in areas of holiness. I know people who have a Starbucks addiction but no one seems to say much about that. Addiction to sports or anything else for that matter. We all struggle with something but it doesn’t mean it’s an addiction. Priorities are important for sure and how we manage our time. I’m going to figure out how to manage this and get on top of it. In the meantime I’m going to start looking for a husband.

  7. Moriah
    Thank you for your advice. I’m working on trying to masturbate less. Like not every single day. When I do I orgasm rather easily but feel good physically the rest of the day. It helps to relax me. I struggle with anxiety too. That feeds my impulse to do it. I’ll try your advice though

    What helps you? How do you deal with it? What do you do when you give into it?

    • Moriah Bowman

      Jessie,

      I apologize if I didn’t make it clear, but I do not struggle with this. However, as the Covenant Eyes blog manager, I read a lot of comments and stories from women who do.
      That being said, I would encourage you to read the other comments on this post from women who have also struggled with masturbation. For most addictions in general, being able to identify your triggers and redirect yourself when you are tempted is a huge part of recovery.

      Blessings,
      Moriah

  8. Moriah I masturbate daily and want to be free. I’m 26 and I love the feeling of orgasm. It is overpowering for me and I can’t stop wanting it like it’s a drug. What I struggle with too is masturbation has helped me actually express my emotions more freely. I am able to experience this rush of pleasure and I can’t stop wanting it.

    • Moriah Bowman

      Jessie,

      Thank you for sharing your honesty and desire to change. Do you have a close friend or mentor whom you can reach out to and share your struggle with? Have an Ally to walk alongside you into recovery can be incredibly helpful.

      Another tip is to make a list of activities that you can turn to when feeling tempted. For example, when you feel tempted to masturbate, instead go for a walk, call a friend, or move to a public space where you cannot masturbate.

      I believe in you! The freedom is worth the fight.
      Blessings,
      Moriah

  9. Jess

    Moriah Bowman,
    I haven’t tried to share the journey/struggle yet, its hard to admit having such a vice, i feel i should have the strength to stop this on my own for good but yet here i am

    • Moriah Bowman

      Jess,

      It can be difficult to muster the strength to share your journey/struggle with someone else, so do not feel guilty about that! If you aren’t ready to share it with someone yet, continue praying and spending time in Scripture. I am a firm believer that God can and will help us overcome our trials.

      Praying for you!
      Moriah

  10. Jess

    I’m a 25 yr female and found masturbation at age 13, it was fun at first but soon realized how bad it was and tried to quit but was hooked..had the moments of saying I’m done with you masturbation and will live for God from now on, marked a calendar for each successful day, but would eventually stumble upon a trigger that I figured Satan wanted me to find and would be compelled to do it again..it’s as if the habit forcibly married me at the altar and I keep telling it that it’s over but it keeps me as it’s partner..I feel foolish for falling into this trap thinking it was great, I want to be perfect for the Lord, but i’m bound to this disgusting habit

    • Moriah Bowman

      Jess,

      Praise God that you have a true desire to find freedom from this! The trap of addiction is easy to fall into—for all of us—and you are not alone. Do you have a trusted friend or mentor whom you can share this struggle with? Having someone walk alongside you through recovery can be a huge encouragement and help.

      No journey to freedom is perfect. We all will stumble and even relapse. Continue clinging to God and know that though not one of us is perfect, we serve a Savior who loves us and accepts us as his children.

      John 3:16-17, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”
      Blessings,
      Moriah

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