I was in elementary school—just a child—when I began masturbating. By junior high, I had added pornography to the mix. In high school, I was deeply engrossed in sexual addiction. Those were dark days for me. I wasn't a Christian, but even then, I knew I was in bondage to something dark. I was controlled by a lust I couldn't find freedom from, no matter how hard I tried to free myself from its grips.
Without context from the Bible, there was still something inside me that knew masturbation and porn were perverse. And I wanted to be free from it. When I gave my heart to Jesus at the age of 16, those struggles didn't miraculously disappear. However, within two years, God gave me the freedom from both I had always desired. By His grace alone was I able to step into the light, free from the bondage that had entangled me for so long.
The thing about my journey is that I had no one to talk to about it. Culture was open to a man's struggle with it, but not a woman's. And for a long time, I thought there was something wrong with me; that no one would understand my struggle because I was the only one. But I'm here to tell every woman out there wrestling with masturbation, porn, and other sexual addiction that you are not alone. It's not just a man's problem; you can talk about it—in fact, you should.
Is Masturbation a Sin?
Before we go any further, I think it's essential to address masturbation as a sin. As I've shared my struggle with it, I've had people ask if it's a sin or share that they don't think it is. So, let's talk about that. Is it a sin? Yes, it is. Even though the Bible doesn't explicitly call out masturbation, there are verses supporting that it is.
First, we must define lust to find its connection to masturbation. A good definition of lust would be to take something you desire and remove God and respect for others from the equation. It's often associated with sexual desires but can be something you crave that excludes God and others.
Masturbation, in almost all forms, includes lust. How so? Because in nearly every case, visual arousal is included. For men and women, it's almost impossible to carry out the act without thinking of someone in a sexual way. And this is lust because it takes God and respect for that person out of the equation. We are all created in God's image and are His children. When someone thinks of a person in such a way, they are disrespecting a brother or sister in Christ. They are by definition lusting after the other person and, therefore, committing sin against them but ultimately against God.
What Does the Bible Say about Masturbation?
"Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 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; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you." – 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8
To further support that masturbation isn't God's best or desire for you, there are two more verses I would add to the debate.
- 1 Corinthians 10:23, "All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up."
- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20, "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body."
What Young Women Need to Remember
Again, at its core, masturbation is lust. There are many things in this world that we have the choice to engage in, but as believers, may not be beneficial to our walk or purpose. It is best to refrain from engaging in those questionable acts. I desire to inspire women who are caught in this sin to think about how you live your life as a child of God. It's not about how close you can get to the line; how far you can go before it's technically sinning. It's about living a life that is free in the blessing and favor of God and glorifies Him.
Your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit; a place for the glory and power of God to reside. And any defilement of it is an act against God. Take in and act out those thoughts, words, and actions that bring glory to your Creator. This is a life pleasing to God—a life that honors Him. Now, with a foundation of why masturbation is, in most cases, sin, let's talk about a woman's struggle with it. Whether it be to fulfill arousal from an emotional and passionate daydream or simply because of physical desire, it's happening to more than just a few women, even Christian women.
These women may feel like they're alone like I did, but we have to start talking about this more openly. We have to be honest within the Church because the only way women are going to find freedom from lust is if we talk about it. Sister, if you are caught up in lust you can't shake, you are not alone. I was trapped for so many years and know how it feels to wrestle with the hopelessness, but I also know you don't have to wrestle alone.
Here are 4 ways to find freedom from masturbation:
1. Keep Going to God
Like the persistent widow in Luke 18, keep going until your plea is answered. I cried out to God so many times, and even though it took a lot of praying, my request was eventually answered. This struggle must first and foremost be brought to God; He wants to work through this with you. Invite Him in and go to Him in prayer often.
2. Memorize Scripture
The number one way to defeat sin and temptation is with the Word of God. It's how Jesus overcame Satan's temptations in the desert. Find verses that strengthen you in this area, memorize them, and when you are tempted, speak them over the moment.
3. Talk to Someone
A key component to overcoming any addiction is accountability. Confession has this beautiful power to release us from bondage. And when you can talk about your struggle with a godly person you trust, you're adding someone to your corner who has your back. Who can ask you the tough questions. A person that can help you walk this journey. When I find myself struggling with an issue, I always find myself a friend to talk to about it and invite them in as an accountability partner.
4. Dust Yourself Off and Keep Trying
So often I resolved to stop masturbation, and would fail, falling into shame. Then, I'd determine to stop again. In your wrestle, you may fail. But don't allow the shame to engulf you; to make you give up. Keep pursuing faithfulness, my friend. God sees your wrestle and encourages you to keep fighting the good fight. And when you do fail, know that through repentance, there is grace in exchange for condemnation.
If you're a woman caught in a pattern of masturbation, there is hope. And if you are a church leader, please, create space for people wrestling with this to find hope and discussion within the Church. Let's be a family that helps our sisters in Christ through sexual addiction.
Brittany Rust has a passion to see people experience the truth of God’s Word and the power of His grace through writing, speaking, and podcasting. She is the founder of Truth and Grace Ministries and For the Mama Heart, and hosts the Truth x Grace Podcast. Her latest book, Here I Am, is now available everywhere books are sold. Brittany lives with her husband, Ryan, and son, Roman, in Castle Rock, Colorado. Learn more at www.brittanyrust.com.
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