Welcome to the most requested blog!
I receive hundreds of messages about masturbation from people, mostly young girls, who have nowhere to discuss this taboo subject. I mean, masturbation is a tough topic to tackle. At best, it’s embarrassing to talk about – and at worst, it can be a cause for your guilt and shame. Nonetheless, the purpose of starting this blog was to be a safe space in the corner of the internet to get vullnnnerrrabllllee. So, if your friends or the church isn’t going to talk about it, we will.
Before we jump in, I want to say I am sorry. I am sorry you don’t feel the freedom to talk about masturbation openly. I am sorry Christian purity culture has encouraged you to believe you are dirty because you masturbate or it makes you go blind (a stranger told me this is what his youth pastor said... ah what the heck!). You feel overwhelmed with guilt and shame is trying to silence you. I am virtually sending you a hug through the screen. Catch it? Also, let me applaud your courage right now to read about a subject that spends more time in the darkness than light.
How common is masturbation?
Firstly, let me say that masturbation is VERY COMMON! Even if your friends don't talk about it, there is a high chance it’s a part of their daily life. According to the World's Largest Masturbation Survey with 13,000 respondents aged 18-74 across 18 countries (yes, this was a thing!):
This study was done in 2018, so I guess the numbers are higher now – especially during quarantine, ‘cause many of us were bored, lonely, and missing a human’s touch!
Note: the stats between men and women are close, aka let’s debunk the myth that masturbation is “male-only”!
Is masturbation wrong?
Masturbation is either “hush-hush” in your community, or there was a brief discussion or joke with your friends where things were implied. If you were like me and you grew up in the church, then all you were taught about masturbation is “it’s bad” and “don’t do it.” But how helpful has this advice been if most of us masturbated during this last week?
The ethics of masturbation is not black or white. It’s GREY. So, chill with me in the grey for the next few minutes!
If there’s one thing you remember from this journal, let it be this; the fact that you want to masturbate or watch/read a sex/kissing scene is evidence that you are a sexual human. Your sexuality is a beautiful gift from God and is part of your divine design. You cannot turn off your sexuality. It is an integral part of who you are. But you do need to control and manage it. It's like a burning fire that gives you warmth and comfort, but if you don't manage the fire it will burn down your entire house. Only you can decide what to do with the fire. 🔥
Some people believe there is a way in which masturbation is a healthy practice when it is done for sexual release rather than sexual gratification. As in, you do it but your thoughts are far from lusting, and porn isn’t involved. Especially for those who pursue lifelong singleness, or for the married person when sex is not possible due to distance or other factors.
An opposing belief is that masturbation is lusting, and therefore a sin. It doesn't allow you to “keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper” (Phillippians 4:8). It shortchanges God’s design for sex and trains you to “go it alone”. It re-wires your minds to lust after images and scenarios which have not yet been given to you by God. Aka, the fire is burning outside the fireplace.
The best advice I can give you is to ask God if masturbation is right or wrong. Pray for God’s wisdom and guidance. Then, follow your peace and trust your conviction. You might already have a gut feeling.
What do I believe?
When I was twelve, my mom gave me “the talk” on a weekend away in the mountains at a charming bed and breakfast in New Zealand. I could not contain my smile while we ate french toast with extra maple syrup because I was happy to have a rare chance to spend time alone with my mom. She taught me about sex, puberty, and finally, masturbation, saying “it’s okay, just don’t get addicted to it”.
Flash forwards decades later, I concluded that masturbation isn’t a healthy practice or use of my time. Nonetheless, I’m grateful my mom intentionally took shame out of the conversation. When I am uncertain about something, I ask myself: “does this elevate or compromise my relationship with God?”. I concluded that masturbation is a compromise. The feeling afterward confirmed this. I wouldn’t feel good. I felt like a kid who stole candy from the supermarket. Simply put, masturbation may be permissible, but I decided it was not beneficial.
So I dare you to ask yourself: do you feel masturbation compromises or elevates your life? Is it a healthy or unhealthy habit? What does masturbation make you feel about yourself?
Read on if you want to better manage (or perhaps, even stop) masturbating...
So what’s your story?
Maybe you started masturbating at a young age before you had any idea what you were doing or the language to explain it. You were exploring your body and these new desires that arose with puberty.
Maybe from a young age, romantic movies were your favorites. But one day, your body responded to a kissing scene. Then you craved more and your brain insisted on chasing the first high. Slowly, you begin watching things you wouldn't have tolerated a year earlier.
Or maybe you were exposed to porn in primary school; a friend in primary school showed you a magazine, or you caught a family member consuming porn, or an accidental google search took an interesting turn. Chances are high as the average age of first exposure to pornography is 11 years old.
However you started masturbating, this “happy shot” became difficult to resist, especially when you have an imagination and sex drive.
Months went by, and you would be all good, then you would masturbate. At some point, you would feel guilty and stop. I call this cycle “wash, repent and repeat.” Do it – you feel bad – swear you won’t do it again – two months later, you do it again. Or perhaps you don't have the strength to resist. Now, masturbation is an addiction, and you can’t let a few days can’t go by without giving in. As one of my best friends, Stefanie Rouse, says, “addictions are rooted in healthy desires being met in an unhealthy way.”
Now, the dark hole of guilt is eating away at you, even if you haven’t done it in a long time. According to science, shame accelerates the pain cycle. This pain cycle sounds like this:
Does this sound familiar?
You can find freedom!
I found freedom, and you can too. But your freedom comes with a price and is something you have to fight for constantly.
Side note: I use the word “freedom” because masturbation feels more like chains than wings. And the more you indulge in it, the harder it becomes to resist it until it becomes an addiction/habit.
You can find freedom when you realize something about God’s love.
Are you ready for the liberating truth!?
God doesn’t stop loving you, even when you masturbate. He doesn’t look away and think, “gosh, how could you do this?”. His love isn’t based on your actions. It’s constant and unbreakable, no matter what you do. I dare you to repeat this to yourself when you are feeling shame or right after the act:
“GOD HAS NEVER LOVED ME MORE THAN THIS MOMENT. "
Say it, again and again.
God gave you a sex drive. God has compassion for the reason you want to masturbate. Behind the action of masturbating is a beautiful desire for intimacy and to be loved. I encourage you to be honest with God. He’s the most empathetic person you can ever engage with. Ask Him to make it easy for you to find freedom.
I’ll end with this; you are not alone. God can offer you freedom and forgiveness. But more than asking forgiveness from God, you have to forgive yourself, over and over again. You are capable of stopping the habit. And please know, you are not less than because of this. You are simply human with a fire that you’re learning to manage.
Okay, say it one more time with me…
“GOD HAS NEVER LOVED ME MORE THAN THIS MOMENT"
By the way, I’m going to share my “guide” with more practical solutions in the next journal!
Journal of a Virgin