An Honest Conversation
- October 23, 2019
- Lydia McCord
Today I want to talk to you about something that is so incredibly under discussed. Its widely accepted in our world today and is a large part of our human sexuality, however, it is rarely, if ever, open for conversation and I want to break the stigma today if you will allow me to. I understand this is a sensitive topic and can feel too intimate, however the lack of literature on it and safe spaces to discuss it, I believe, is damaging. So, without further ado, today I want to talk to you about masturbation.
Growing up, it was seemingly widely understood that guys masturbated often while consuming pornography. We spoke a little bit on this in the modesty blog. Growing up I thought not only was it okay that this was a normal practice among male teens, but something they had to do for their bodily wellness. Now I understand that instead of bodily wellness, these practices were promoting mind, body and spirit dysfunction.
We will dig into that a little more but here is where I want to open up the floor. It was understood that boys did this and it was just a casual thing. But girls? Now that was never talked about, even though as of a 2013 study, 91% of women masturbate (The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Volume 7).
I as a young teen heard about it in 2 circles, spoken about once in each and never again- a secular one and a religious one. In the religious circle it was just lumped in with other sexual things that shouldn’t be done. In the secular circle, it was encouraged and praised. Later on I had women speak with me in private about masturbation. They asked me if it was wrong? If so was it for males and females? Was it necessary in some cases? What did the Bible have to say about it? These were women who had searched for resources on the topic and had found no information. This conversation is not being had. It’s awkward to drag out into the light because it’s intimate. I debated and prayed over this topic for a long time. I spoke with a range of females about it and a male or two as well and got secular and spiritual opinions. Because here is the thing, our Creator created sex, so why is it one of the topics we most avoid? If it is not spoken of and taught on in the church, it will be talked about somewhere else.
So, let’s first go through is it necessary. I asked a male this question because I really didn’t know and he said no. It’s like any desire that’s not a need, health wise, you will be fine without it, even better off. He said that the feeling of need for masturbation stemmed from lust many times fed by pornography and a wrong view of women. All things we don’t want to feed yet we use masturbation as a way to quench desires brought about in an unhealthy way and then call it a need.
This, I believe, is partly where the dysfunction comes in. If males (as well as females) grow up being taught that the practice of lusting after and objectifying women (and/or men) and then masturbating to relieve those desires is needed and healthy, when it comes to having a healthy relationship in all aspects- sexually, emotionally and spiritually- it will be extremely difficult and we will have to re-learn how to view sex. No longer is it all about us and if we view it that way, it will not be a successful relationship. But masturbation teaches us that it is all about the individual and their desires and pleasure.
So let’s get into that better off portion now. Are we really better off only sharing sexual intimacy with our spouse? That is so crazy counter-cultural its not even funny. So let’s dig in. God designed us (the book of Genesis chapter 1 verse 27) (Psalm 139 chapter 13, verse 16) so He knows our needs, the things He designed us for. He also designed sex and intimacy and He designed those things to be shared between two people who are one flesh (the book of Genesis chapter 2, verse 24) (the gospel of Mark chapter 10 verses 6 through 9).
Solo sex is teaching us that we are just fine all on our own and I know our culture is preaching that to us right now, we are “boss lady’s” and we are all we need and no one completes us but us and
It. Is. All. Crap. One big pile of it.
We were created for community and relationships. Christ completes you and He made you to be a part of His church, His bride. We are not made to go it alone, bear all our burdens on our own two shoulders. But the world says we are and we can and… it’s lying. People LIVE LONGER when they live in tight knitted communities.
Okay so sex? The most intimate of intimacies, is not meant to be done by oneself. It’s meant to be shared with one other person who will be your person till death.
Now love, I don’t say any of this to spark guilt or shame in you, there is way way way too much of that crap tied to sexual conversations. I say this to open up a spiritual conversation about something we have swept under the rug forever and a day and I want answers. I want resources. I want a safe space to discuss difficult things. I want TRUTH to envelop this subject. So kick that shame and guilt right back to wherever it came from it’s not doing anybody any good and let’s just be honest and seek the truth out together.
Okay so sex is made for intimacy. Masturbation teaches what our world does today- instant gratification, so of course the world would teach sex with yourself is awesome. You can have it whenever you want, you don’t have to pour into another person and grow a relationship out of love, commitment and trust. You don’t have to romance someone, learn their like and dislikes, be patient with them. Nope. You can just have a cheap orgasm whenever. This can be damaging when you do have a relationship that requires pouring into, love and commitment. Why do all that work when you can just be your own partner? Not only that, how are we going to know how to be patient with someone else or besides that- ourselves?? When we use sex outside of what it is meant for it will not function how it was created to.
So let’s answer the question that maybe some of us are asking- What if someone is as single as anything? What then? Love, the truth doesn’t change based on our circumstances. But God, He can and will sustain us if we let Him, through anything. Paul says he learned how to be content no matter what he was going through because God gives him the strength! Yes, you know, that verse that we take out of context and use it to say we can be famous or achieve all our dreams because, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me” yeah, Paul is in prison when he is writing that and he is saying he can be content in any situation- prison, ship wrecked… whatever is going on he can find contentment in Christ. So whatever our circumstances are we can be content in Christ too by Him strengthening us. (Paul’s letter to the Philippians chapter 4, verses 11 through 13).
When Paul is writing to the church in Corinth he talks about not letting things lord over us, including fornication i.e. sexual immorality. We are to surrender every part of ourselves to God, that includes our sexuality. (Paul’s 1st letter to the Corinthians, chapter 6, verses 12 through 14). Not living in or for our flesh and it’s desires is vital to a healthy walk with God (Paul’s letter to the church in Colossae, chapter 3, verse 5).
So in all of this, we have got to get past the guilt and shame, the hiding this subject in the darkest shadow and allowing it to make us feel alienated. Listen to me- YOU ARE NOT ALONE. You are not estranged, you are not dirty or unloveable. Jesus Christ covers you in His perfection and makes you blameless before the almighty, creator God.
That doesn’t mean we should not work towards holistic wellness and put an end to practicing things that condition us towards wrong thinking but it does mean we don’t have to stop talking to God because we’re struggling with something we don’t want Him to know about.
It doesn’t mean we can’t have community while we are working through this issue. There is so much healing that takes place in communication, vulnerability and honesty. The less we speak on this the more tight of a hold it will have, the greater shame it will invoke.
My challenge to you is to talk about this. To let people know they aren’t alone and to you yourself to not cut yourself off. We always think we are alone until we open up to someone and find that they are in the same boat. I’m not telling you to go shout about it from the roof tops or post about it on social media, lol I’ve done that for you to get the convo rolling. I do not think it’s wise to be open with people who may not be spiritually mature, confidential about your struggles, etc. etc. so that is not what I am suggesting. However, I encourage you to not bury this deep down and allow it to become a cause of shame. You are loved, you are not alone, you are not less than and there is nothing you can do to make God not desire you.
Let’s grow together and sharpen one another, shall we? In every aspect of our lives, leaving nothing to live and fester in the darkness.