How Can I Satisfy My Sexual Desire If I’m Destined For Singleness?

woman-chalkboard_450x300This may be the hardest blog post I’ve ever written. Single women have been writing to me this week with one question: “How can I satisfy my sexual desire if I’m destined to remain single my whole life?” In part, this question is coming from women who’ve recently read Pulling Back The Shades, a candid look at erotica, intimacy, and the longings of a woman’s heart, which I co-authored with Dr Juli Slattery. But the truth is the question has been coming my way for a long time and I’ve managed to dodge it. My motivation to answer is impaled on the horns of a dilemma: do I, a married woman, pass you on to some one else with more “experience” for the answer OR do I tell you the truth which is undoubtedly not what you really want to hear in which case you may happily use my married status to disqualify the advice? Today I’m mustering up the courage to go for the latter.

Here goes.

My answer begins with a question.

I have to ask “why are you asking?”

It seems to me that the question is loaded with that angsty appeal we learned when we were children and mom said it was time for bed, “Ah, mom! One more book…one more page…one more sentence.” It is human nature to plead for what we have been told cannot—at this certain point in time—be ours. In this case, “Oh, come on! Can I look at ______…touch _______…just maybe I could ______….” It seems to me the question is wrought with you begging permission from me to wiggle past God’s truth about the sacred act of sex being confined to the marriage bed.

Right about now is certainly the moment you’ll be rolling your eyes and saying, “But, you’re married. You don’t understand!” So let me introduce you to the voice of the 30-something single author of “Sexless in the City”, Anna Broadway. She wrote the following in “True Love Obeys: Why We Abstain From Premarital Sex.”

 

 “Years back, when working on my memoir (of “reluctant chastity,” yes), I spent an evening babysitting the daughter of some friends. After the baby had gone down, I picked up a volume of collected C. S. Lewis writings they had out, which included advice I’ve never forgotten. The gist was that it’s all too easy to slip into preaching the gospel on the grounds that it’s good for you rather than simply that it’s true—a tendency that must be avoided. I wish I could remember the reasons he gave, but appropriately enough I only remember the truth itself: truth ultimately has to stand on its authority, not its efficacy.”

 

The truth is that God designed sex to be enjoyed within the context of a marriage bed. It’s as simple and as terribly frustrating as that. While it would be nice if there were a caveat for those who never get married, that would deny the sanctity of the act of sex all together wouldn’t it? The marriage bed should be honored by “all,” not just those who have one. (Hebrews 13:4) This is difficult, but true.

I realize you have sexual needs that are not being met, but would it surprise you that I’ve been through periods of that very frustration as a married woman? There have been seasons in my marriage where Bob and I could not find one another let alone meet each others needs at any level. A good many visits to our marriage counselor and prayer has brought us close, but I find myself knowing that in the golden years certainly one of us will be gone before the other…maybe in full body or maybe just in mind. Would you have me cry out for permission to alter God’s truth then? No. For times of sexual longing, I will choose the answer I’m just about to give to you because it’s the only one that’s ever worked.

I bumped in to a single friend at the Waffle Shop today. (Please don’t confuse it with the Waffle House from which I practice an entirely different kind of abstinence. To the locals of State College, the Waffle Shop is what Tim Horton’s is to Canadians. Good morning comfort.) My friend, who like all my older single friends admits she’s still open to marriage if God brings it her way, told me that the simple fact is that her sexual desires rest quietly when her love relationship with Jesus is tended to with passion. I believe it was God’s will for me to hear her say those words because I’ve been a wimp as I avoided the writing of this next paragraph all week.

Here’s the answer you really, probably, most-likely, don’t want to hear, but desperately need: you don’t need an outlet for sexual expression, you need more of God.

No doubt you’ve heard the trite phrase, “Singleness is a gift.” It’s only trite because we misunderstand. (And often those rolling the phrase off their tongues are equally uninformed. Like trying to read the words of Shakespeare without knowing what they mean, they can’t express it through their interpretation because they have none. Just hollow words.)

The very single Apostle Paul knew what he meant when he called singleness a “gift” in I Corinthians 7:6. And my dear friend and single author Carolyn McCulley expresses it well when she writes this about the passage in Sex and The Supremacy of Christ:

 

“It’s not a gift in the way we might think about it on our birthdays or at Christmas: “Do I like it? Do I want to keep it? Can I exchange it for what I really want?” There are several Greek words that could be translated as gift in English. One word denotes a gift presented as an expression of honor. A second euphemistically infers that a gift is more a matter of a debt or obligation. A third denotes a free gift of grace, used in the New Testament to refer to a spiritual or supernatural gift.”

 

Carolyn went on to so beautifully point out that the kind of gift Paul was referring to is the third: a gift of grace. The Greek word is charisma and is used to in the New Testament to describe a supernatural or spiritual gift. Other such gifts specifically listed in the Scriptures include faith, healing, miracles, prophecy, speaking in tongues, having words of wisdom or knowledge, being a prophet, pastor, apostle, teacher or evangelist.

Does it seem like a good old round of “One of these things is not like the other” is in order? Don’t be so quick! In God’s eyes, your singleness is a spiritual gift. I believe that Carolyn has tapped into the missing puzzle piece that the Church needs to lock singleness squarely into its proper place.  We just have to look to see what all these gifts have in common.

Do you know what the common denominator is? A person cannot live in the full authority and power of any of them without the power of God’s Spirit. Oh, you can pretend to teach or even pastor a church but there’s a difference between those who fake it and those who are fueled by the Spirit of God. Some are just barely getting by and will fizzle out, their insignificance leaving us with little or no fruit. Still others: blatant “false teachers” leading people further from God not closer to him. But then…there is the real deal. The person so full of God that their gift of teaching or pastoring makes room for them no matter their personality, background or stature. These are the ones whose gifts change lives.  Whose gifts are good for others. (I Corinthians 12:7)

Which are you? Are you the single woman who is just barely getting by who will become an insignificant spinster one day? Or are you the kind that’s more dangerous, leading the lost further into their lostness? Or is your singleness fueled by the power of the Spirit so that you are one who uses it for good, leaving a legacy of lives changed?

You cannot use your singleness for God, nor endure it without a deeper abiding in the Spirit. In the next few weeks I’m going to blog about how you can practically meet what I believe are the five deep longings in your heart, but the fact is it will be like giving a brand new baby a steak to chew on unless you first latch on to a determination to be Spirit-fueled. You’ll have no spiritual power to chew on what I pass your way if you aren’t full of God.

It is my hope that as you learn to tend to your love life with Jesus, you’ll find as my Waffle Shop friend did that your sexual desires rest quietly. A short while after we met up, she sent me this:

 

“Another snare for singles is often to have such an influence from the world that we forget our time here is really short. When you have more of a heavenly kingdom mindset, it becomes easier. We will be in eternity with Jesus so it is less important that we satisfy our needs while on earth. I have always desired to be married, but God has kept me single so far and I can be content in the state that I am in as long as I keep my eyes on Him and not my life or status of life.”
This, too, seemed another nudge from God to be brave as I write to you today. It rings true with how I’d already chosen to end what I imagine will be a disappointing and controversial blog. Here’s what Carolyn McCulley wrote several years ago:
More importantly, when we are almost faint under the strain and worry of wondering if singleness is to be forever, we need to be reminded that there is an end to singleness: One day we will be at the wedding feast of the Lamb and we will be His bride. Even if we receive the gift of marriage on this side of heaven, that’s not our ultimate goal. It is a shadow and a type of what is planned for eternity and, like all things on this earth, it will have its conclusion in death. Our Father knows the time when earthly gifts will be distributed and when they will be no more; He knows, as well, when the heavenly wedding feast will commence. We can blissfully rest in the knowledge that the future is better than anything we think we’ve missed now: Jesus is preparing us for the eternal rewards and eternal joys of a future He’s told us is too inexpressible for us to understand.
Whether single or married, when our sexual needs aren’t met it is not really about our bodies at all. It is about our souls. The problem is not that our sexual desire is so strong. It is that our spiritual desire is so weak.

 

 

Written By
More from Dannah

The New Year’s Feast: Day 2 Getting Lost In the Ordinary

Day 2 • Getting Lost In The Ordinary • Finding Him In...
Read More

260 Comments

    • Bethany Scanlon has a really good blog addressing this issue of the desire to marry. She strongly believes that women need to be proactive in seeking a mate. It’s like looking for a job. Since we didn’t all go to Harvard, we’re not all going to marry Brad Pitt, but we could still have a happy life with the man right for us. I think that analogy is helpful to me (My own) because it reassures me that I can find a mate but to broaden my expectations.

      http://bethanyscanlon.blogspot.com/?m=1

      My background: A romantic, idealistic 42-year-old virgin (turning 43) who never even had a boyfriend. Why? 1) Overweight for many years and now obese – 222lbs at 5’8″); 2) hair loss for 20 years, necessitating a wig to cover the thinning of my hair; 3) self-sabotage due to fear of rejection and years of shyness around men.

      Now I’m not so shy anymore, but I feel unattractive. Please pray for a miracle for me because I still unabashedly want to get married. I don’t think the question is to abandon your goal to seek Jesus more – you should seek Jesus with equal vehemence, married or unmarried.

      The question is being practical about how to “knock, and the door will be opened… Ask, and you will receive… Seek, and you will find.”

      Dannah, what I as a single would like from married church members is this:

      Passionate intercessory prayer for a miracle for me to fall in love & marry a godly man that I find attractive, intelligent and kind.
      Practical help: ex: matchmaking – “Hey, I have a great guy that I’d like you to meet..”
      Loving honesty: Suggest what needs to be improved in my appearance, what annoying unconscious habits that I might have.

      If I was looking for a job to meet my financial needs, you would provide me with practical advice in addition to spiritual encouragement. Well, I’m looking for a husband to meet my sexual and emotional needs – why is this any different? I need practical, proactive, honest advice for this area of life too.

      One more thing to consider: praying for your single friends to get good Christian husband is excellent spiritual warfare. Why? Because the devil doesn’t want more Christian marriages populating the world with more Christian babies. So praying for and practically advising church singles is a powerful way to fight the devil. Remember Jesus said, “Don’t worry about anything, but pray about everything.” Well, the more people praying, the better!

      • One more thing: I want a godly man whom I find attractive, intelligent & kind. Am I the female version of that? Well, I think except for the physical appearance part due to my excess weight and hair loss. Can you pray for me to lose weight and grow back my hair so I can become attractive to my godly mate?

        I can echo the feeling of pain and isolation that so many women have shared so far. Being single in your forties feels much worse than in your 20s because most of your peers are paired up. Let’s just be honest – it’s hard! I think that’s another thing that singles would like to hear – validation. Something like, “I’m so sorry that you’re going through this – it must be really tough.” Just enumerating some of the real-life instances that make singles feel left out can make us feel like we’re crazy feeling the way we feel.

        I still believe in miracles by prayer & being sensitive to God’s answers.

        • I pass up on almost every relationship, I have no trouble with conversation and being myself, and encouraging others to be yourself. Its the only way to find that true mate. If we both are being ourselves, so we honestly can decide if its…The One… So always be yourself and encourage the one your thinking of to do the same. No surprises, we know what were up against. Till death do us apart. I’d love to be with someone, sounds nice. But i want her to love me the way i love her. If i cant wait to see her. I want her to feel the same. Once we have been through difficult times, its then that our true selves are revealed. While being tested or tried. Then we both can honestly decide if we are right for each other. If i dont feel the same level of affection, the want, the willingness. ect.. Im done. no point in trying. We feel it, or we dont. I myself want the lady who is always happy to see me, as I would be to see her. Our energy and quality of love would be unmatched. I will wait as long as it takes to find the lady who feels the same for me as I do her. There are times of feeling isolated, alone, not complete. And it can hurt. That empty feeling. That…Its never going to be. I just focus on the reason. Which overpowers any emotion when i remember. Only for love. Only once will i marry. to me thats the right thing to do. and it gets me through the rough times, every time. I get an inner feeling of consolation, self-respect and strength. Staying firm and steadfast to what i feel is the right thing to do. About your personal situation- I will Pray for you. I also study a great deal on the human body. Raw fruits and vegetables eat mostly. If your willing, eat the seeds and skins-they contain more of what our bodies need. During a week, eating raw and of every color, this is where skins play there role. Red, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Purple, ect. Even if its just a bite. Our body will signal us when we have had enough of anything. or not enough. After six months of raw, colors, skins, seeds, ect. Our body will produce cells that work optimal, there best. Some cells take six months to go through there process before being renewed. Then everything within functions better, including hair/nail growth, and every thing our bodies were made to do. You will feel it after six months. Just by including raw fruits and veggies, skins, seeds, and colors. Eating whatever is ok. Just decrease the foods we all know aint the best for us and increase raw, skins, seeds, colors. I have practiced this for twenty+ years. I do not get headaches. Sore muscles. Bone aches. Its rare to even get a serious cold/flu. very mild. years apart. And I work construction Tile, gutters, concrete. I dont wake up to being in pain from previous days labor. and i push myself to the limit and beyond. So I to believe in miracles, i get one every morning. Hope for you the best Elizabeth. May the cup of your joy and happiness overflow. Forever a friend to all. Unconditional love. Terry R. from Lincoln NE.

      • (The word says to not be ancsious about anything but in prayer fasting and suplication bring forth your requests to the Father.). Suplication means begging.

    • I do agree, and I have found this to be true; each person has two sex drives. The carnal one that burns and is only about pleasure, and the God-given one that is a warm, empowering calling to unify with the one God has called you to complete this mission with to His glory. Believe it or not, if you think about the godly sexual desire and what that means (see https://bible.org/seriespage/11-sex-and-spiritual-christian-1-cor-71-7), it can actually kill the carnal sex drive. And, since both sex drives-at their core- are a longing for reunification with the Creator, what I call a “prayer high” and most would call deep communion with Christ in prayer has satisfied it. BUT JESUS HAS TO CHOOSE TO GIVE IT TO YOU, YOU CANNOT OBTAIN IT YOURSELF. If Jesus does not allow you to have this enough to be satisfied with staying single, that might be a clue that He has marriage in mind for you. To be clear, this is a good article, but I dislike how it kind of has the approach like it’s assuming and pushing all to try to be single forever with an “oh well” kind of attitude. I want to clarify that Paul made it clear that ones called to be celibate are “having no necessity”. I disagree with “reluctant celibacy” and don’t believe that lines up with the God’s Word. Most are called to glorify God in marriage, FEW are called to glorify God through celibacy; few can. I want to reiterate GOD HAS TO GIVE YOU THE POWER AND CALLING TO BE CELIBATE FOREVER, OTHERWISE YOU WILL FAIL IF YOU HAVE BEEN CALLED TO MARRIAGE! I feel like the article is trying to push people to never marry, is all. And, on the issue of masturbating, yes, if you lust during, it is definitely a sin. My sexual desire is so insane that I need no lust to do what needs to be done and this seems to be unique. But, anyhow, yes, I would agree with the later comment that it’s not God’s best. However, I have tried to not masturbate before, and what happened after a year made it very clear that I was called to be married lol! I literally had no control over my body, and I’ve found that the only way to keep my libido down is to be unhealthy on purpose (which IS a sin). So, I try to suffer through as much as I can even when it gets physically painful (girls have that problem too), but if it gets to build up after too long or if I’m about to go out somewhere I always masturbate. I’d rather risk some sin falling on my head than risk condemning myself and another, embarrassing my Lord, myself, my family, lose the one I have been waiting on, and not even be able to think clearly because of my drives and lust. It IS how I give no place to the Devil, and make it to where the demons can’t use my own body against me.

  • Yes. You are so very right. Single women want nothing of what you have to offer when it’s the very church that judges their singleness, treating them as if they are somehow lacking because they have no partner. Not to mention ostracizing them, or at best “overlooking” them when planning events and/or parties. Sex isnt the only thing that makes your life so very different from ours. Its more than lack of a partner in bed, more than an empty home, or the knowlege we will die as alone as we live. What makes singleness in the “church” so excurciating is that when it comes to the “church” this “gift” you claim we have is treated as unworthy & looked down upon with something closely resembling contempt.

      • I’m glad you’ve never felt ostracized from your church family, but that’s not everyone’s experience. When most evangelical churches are so family-oriented, a woman (especially past the age of 35) simply no longer fits in if she does not have a husband and/or children. Church can be the loneliest, least supportive place in the world for a person living life as a virgin life out of obedience, especially when this was not something that the person desired or planned on, but ended up there out of trying to be faithful to God’s Word. For the most part, no one in most churches is able to relate to that life experience, which only magnifies the isolation and loneliness than many older lifelong singles live in. As vital and important as the presence of God is in a person’s life, it does NOT make up for having someone to share your life with in the long run. The sense of emptiness, loss, isolation and painful disappointment only increase as the years go by. It’s just a fact that some of us have to live with.

        • I agree with anonymous. Church has be the place where I have most strongly felt my singleness and childlessness. I have been in church culture for a lengthy time and it is more often than not marriage that is focused upon. In sermons and leadership. As a 30+ single it is one of the factors that has lead to taking time off from church.

          • I have done that too Ann. It’s worse because it has become too painful for me. 🙁 Instead I listen to the word on TV and read my Bible.

          • I came close to leaving my church when we had a pastor who seemed to glorify marriage. One time I was in a fellowship meeting with age-level peers and the pastor started a discussion on how everyone met their mates. I walked out of the room because this was not a discussion I could contribute to and it was painful to listen to others share their stories because I’ve had a number of relationships go nowhere. Another time he planned a breakfast that was only for married people and that hurt me very much. One day in our adult Sunday school class he declared that “marriage is the best thing that has ever happened” and I felt like saying “Excuse me, am I missing out on something?”

        • Hello … i m a student. I hv completed my college. I m not being in any relationship uptill now. I dont have any girlfriend. But by seeing any girl the thought process of sex starts in my mind. Even in idle time this thought process continuously runs on my mind. Also most of time i satisfy it by masterbation but it creates health problems. And all this affects my daily routine. I m not abling to concentrate on my studies.. plz suggest what can i do

          • I’m glad you wrote, Karan. Masturbation is a controversial topic. And one a lot of women and men have questions about. I’m usually more focused on the struggle women face.
            In one women’s magazine, 65% of 18-25 year olds admitted to masturbating while looking at porn online. In the same magazine a reader comments:
            “When I was younger, I turned to the Internet to read up on this masturbation thing I’d been hearing about. It was enlightening, and I ‘m thankful I had those online resources in the privacy of my bedroom.”
            When I was speaking at a Christian college, the Dean of Women told me that a decent pocket of women on the campus were doing the same thing. How did she know? They were sharing links with each other…and tips.

            Here’s some of what i wrote about that in What Are You Waiting For. I hope it helps you:

            First of all, is masturbation a sin? Well, the bad news is that the Bible offers no direct teaching on masturbation . Does that mean we don’t have any information in Scripture to direct our behavior when we feel tempted? Not at all. We have to look at other principles to answer our question.
            Masturbation is a sin if it involves pornography or lust.
            Christ blows the ill-fitting door off of any inkling of defense that the internal sexual thoughts we have for a man who is not our husband is OK. In Matthew 5:27, he says: “you have heard that it is said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” Obviously, if it is sinful for a man to lust after a woman, it is also sinful for us to lust after a man. If your eyes and mind are engaged in pornography or visual sexual fantasy involving a guy when you are masturbating, you are sinning.
            Masturbation is a sin if it has become an addictive pattern in your life.
            If you are controlled by or enslaved to it, it is a sin. The Apostle Paul wrote, “Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything.” (I Corinthians 6:12) The church of Corinth had been misinterpreting a teaching about “everything being permissible.” They had excused certain sins by saying that Christ had taken away all sin, and so they had freedom to live as they pleased. That’s not entirely true. Paul said that though some actions are not specifically sinful in themselves, they are not appropriate because they can lead us away from God and his appropriate intentions for our sexuality. If you cannot fall asleep at night without the ritual of masturbating, or if you find yourself planning your life so you can be alone to masturbate, it has become addictive.
            But that leaves us the gray area that many scholarly Christian psychologists, and theologians have debated for years. What if you occasionally masturbate in a quick moment—and I do mean moment—with no thought of lust and without any harm to your body? Is that OK?
            Let me first say that I don’t think you should beat yourself up over it, or consider it a “sick, vile, filthy and disgusting” secret that “drives a wedge between God” and you. (I think those are the words of my friend who wrote me today. Maybe they fit for you as well.) The greater depth of shame concerning masturbation vs the lack of shame for outright sexual intercourse amazes me. When a girl comes to me for counseling concerning masturbation, she is often not capable of uttering the words. There’s something unique about the heart’s response to this act. Though this does not make it right or wrong, one thing I am sure of: the response isn’t rational. Masturbation is a universal act for guys, and a common one for girls. There is no need to bury yourself under a heap of shame. You will survive this and so will your relationship with God.
            But, why then, do so many people feel so bad about it? I think discomfort with it is a logical check and balance to protect the purpose of the marriage bed. What is that purpose? To bring us into intimate communion. The authors of the aptly named Authentic Human Sexuality, describe sexual desire in the context of a drive to community.
            “Deeply embedded within each one of us is a divine longing for wholeness that sends us reaching beyond ourselves to God and others. Sexual desire helps us recognize our incompleteness as human beings and causes us to seek the other to find a fuller meaning in life….Authentic sexuality urges us toward a rich sharing of our lives.”
            Lauren Winner answers the “sex is a game” mentality with the same theology when she says,“ a robust yet judicious understanding of the communal nature of sexual behavior requires that Christians enact both a thicker understanding of sex and a thicker understanding of community. To return sex to its proper place within creation, to revivify a gracious and salutary sexual existence, we need to root out modern and hyperindividualistic notions about sex, and come to understand the place of sex in the Christian—and human—community.”
            It is this deep pronouncement of community, and the sacred—perhaps sacramental approach to sexuality, that calls me to label masturbation a missing of the mark of God’s purpose for my sexual desire. My sexual desire is meant to draw me to my husband, and any response otherwise abuses and misuses that desire. By very definition of the Greek and Hebrew words for sin used in the scripture, masturbation would be a sin for me.
            How’s that work for you, a single girl waiting for Mr. Right? I think it’s critically important to view your sexual desire as a calling for your future husband, and to avoid developing habits that will rob you of your ability to allow him to bring pleasure to you. Be careful and do everything you can to avoid falling into masturbation. I think it misses the mark of God’s best for your sexual desire.
            But don’t be surprised if you experience some temptation. We are, afterall, sexual beings. During the course of their lives, approximately 40% of women will awaken sexually aroused, and possibly even having a spontaneous orgasm. This is called “noctural orgasm.” It’s natural and may be a part of God’s design to release sexual tension, much like a wet dream for guys. Don’t be condemned by temptation.
            However, be aware that habitual masturbation could train your body to be hyper responsive to self, and make it difficult to be responsive to your husband’s stimulation. Self-pleasure—while it cannot be viewed as the end of the world, resulting in a complete spiritual melt-down to ground zero—must be viewed as a hyperindividualistic response to a desire created to point you to marital communion.

          • Karan, you should masturbate when you need to; get plenty of sleep, exercise, and healthy food; spend time on your spiritual practice; and work on talking with girls when you have the chance. Dannah appears to have misread your name, and is writing to you as if you are a girl, so ignore the advice about keeping yourself for a future husband. Good luck!

          • So sorry if I misunderstood your age, Karan. Thanks for pointing that out “L”.

            I would suggest that masturbation is not a great recommendation. While I don’t know if God looks at it with as much harshness as some believers, I do know that he did not create sex to be a solo sport. In your late thirties and early forties, he provides nocturnal dreams to women which releases sexual tension. You should not feel guilty about those. But my advice would not include pursuing masturbation as it can become habitual and addictive.

          • All I can say is thank you God for leading me to you today Dannah. What started out as a ball of confusion with our summer Bible study a few weeks ago…1st passage we had to read was 1 Cor 7, has brought me here. As a single (never been married) mother, the topic you finally braved is so hard to find gritty answers to (not just “embrace it as a gift”), Paul frustrates me at times, and then confronting the topic of masturbation (even typing it feels weird) also. I love your frankness, your honesty (that stands on Truth), and your committment to speak truth in love.

            …sorry if it doesn’t make sense, I’ll probably look back on this comment later and want to edit it, sometimes my emotions get the betterof me, and i just have to get it all out…lol

        • Let me play a Devil’s advocate.
          Aren’t you talking about a rare case here?
          Paul and your friend have a true gift of singleness because their action backs up their words.
          If singleness is a gift, why single pastors are so rare? ( Isn’t action louder than words ? ) Can you name any pastor who has been single and over 40? All pastors I’ve known are married , usually when very young. if leaders cannot handle their urges , how do we expect most Christians handle urges with stronger faith. Think about Dam analogy; no controlled release of water until a dam cannot hold accumulated water anymore . then what happens ? Disaster. Did you see Evan Almighty? What you saying is let’s build a stronger and taller dam while we see many dams have been destroyed by water.( I know young Christian who committed fornication and ended up stop going to church and keeps living with her bf. I even know a youth pastor got pregnant who later committed abortion to cover it up. )
          Isn’t there a serious problem in protestant teaching / environment? Let’s look at facts which don’t lie : divorce rate among Christians , porn problem, fornication rate , adultery rate etc.
          if you have to live without sex for 1 year, than let’s talk again.
          btw, don’t get me wrong. I don’t disagree with you totally .
          I know I must expect suffering for the Lord. then why not joyfully? I admit that once in a while I am very frustrated ( even thought of taking pills to rid sexual desire ;no fornication for 10 years ) but joyful most of my time because of the Lord.

          • Hi Kim

            I was sexually active and then decided to obey the Lord. I went without sex successfully for several years. I didn’t die. It was hard! I was lonely and had urges. I get the frustration.
            A dam analogy doesn’t “hold water.” (Ok, I had to go there.) The main reason being that God did create innocent releases for both men and women in the form of wet dreams and nocturnal emissions.
            I do know of some very godly and very happy single ministers, both male and female. Not one of them has wished to be single and all of them are still open to marriage if it happens on day, but all of them are also very successfully celebate.
            It’s not really “protestant” teaching you need to be concerned with, but the Bible. Take it from there. It’s a hard truth, I know. I’ve lived it.

        • I agree with anonymous. The church tends to seperate the best of friends because one of them gets married and now has a different status so u can really no longer hang out. So the single friend now has to associate with other singles.

        • You are soooo RIGHT!!! Its not just the church either. I am well educated, traveled, do lots of volunteer work and all anyone ever asks me is why I never married. I am 40 now and it is like my accomplishments don’t matter if I don’t have a man standing next to me. Why am I considered a ‘loser’ for not having a husband. Why do I need a man to give me value when I should only have God to give me value?

        • I understand this. The same feeling of loneliness and being alone hits me hardest while at church. BTW, I’m a 52 year old celibate bachelor. There’s that stigma of being made to feel “less than.” God didn’t intend this for us. It was brought upon us by those who call themselves our brothers and sisters who are supposed to love us.

          • This makes me really sad. I’m sorry, Jack the worship team drummer. Each week you bring us closer to Jesus and the way we sometimes handle the topic of celibacy and sex and singleness makes you feel further from him. Please forgive us.

        • I agree too… and I wish the church did more to help connect single people who might want to meet someone to marry. I remember as a kid my dad used to go to Christian singles events at churches but I’ve never heard or seen of any as an adult. If you go to Bible studies they are for women, or couples, most times. There’s no real good way to meet anyone.

        • My now ex husband left me after almost 35 years of being together. I was heartbroken.
          It has been almost 3 years. I am very lonely as any woman would feel. I have prayed
          the desire of my heart to God for a husband. I miss the companionship, affection, and the sexual
          Intimacy. I would like this blessing to be restored to me as it was to Job. I have prayed mightily
          for months about this to no avail, just silence. I am healthy, fit,and trim, yet zero prospects. I want the passion of a loving relationship again. It apoears most single Christian men do not attend church or
          even desire to remarry. They must just stay home and satisfy their sexual desires witj computer porn, without having to deal with a live woman who they think will take their freedom and money. Why would God put this desire in us, wants us to be sexually pure, yet does provide a spouse or lead us to one either. I am very discouraged seeing no change at all. Not seeing the benefit of sexual purity for me. And it is never preached for men to follow sexual purity, just women. Did God just give up on directly helping women such as myself? So far my trust has had zero results. The few Men that are single and want marriage last about 6 months on the singles market. When God does not help women, no wonder they accept non Christian men.

          • Hello Helen. Your hurt is palapable. I’m so sorry that your husband was not faithful to stay in your marriage. I’m sure you are legitimately lonely. You have so many conversations in this one messages. I’m not sure where to begin, so I’ll just start with this. You must find your satisfaction in Christ alone or all the men in the world falling at your feet will not satisfy you. Even just one good man could disappoint you. How do I know? Because I know something about falling in love with the idea of falling in love without realizing that the only Source of love that I really need is God. A man, if he chooses to provide one, is just a bonus. The happiness in my marriage is from the fact that I have happiness in Christ. This will sound pretty cliche right about now, but I assure you it is true. I wrote a book about it that explains it in detail. It’s called GET LOST: A girl’s guide to finding true love. I hope you’ll find a copy of it and dive in if you’re not too mad at me from what I’ve written. God has not given up on you. Don’t give up on him.

          • Helen,

            So much of what I’ve read on this page is painfully true. Many peoples sentiments that are expressed here resonate with me deeply, but I particularly relate to yours. I wanted to just give you a word of support and encouragement. You’re not alone in your frustration.

            Similar to Dannah’s story, I went about love and sex wrong for decades. I’ve suffered a nightmare marriage. After a bitter divorce, I had yet another sex-based relationship with a woman, (a Christian woman, I might add). That relationship also collapsed. Words like “hurt” and “heartbreak” don’t even come close. I was devastated. I was at rock bottom, and came extremely close to giving up on it all.

            Fortunately, my life has turned around. I’m now trying to live and love in the ways I was never taught, and never shown. I’m blessed to have a female Christian counselor who is helping me to navigate through this very foreign walk. I say “blessed,” because although I love my church, my “church family” has absolutely failed to reach me on this topic. It’s as though “single” REALLY only means “20-something” at church. Single at 46, and hoping to get love right once and finally, I feel my hurt is invisible to these people.

            I have come to see sex as sacred. In trying to live by faith, I am living a celibate life as I hope to find a real God-sent wife. It has been well over two years since the last time. No, I don’t like it. It’s frustrating. I search online for support in coping with the frustration, and always I come back to articles like this. The advice is the same. As a believer, I concede that it’s true. And yet, true or not, it feels like the words are being spit in my face.

            Married pastors make jokes about it, thoughtlessly laughing as they say “it won’t kill you.” Maybe not. Still, I would like to see these pastors not touch their wives for two years or more… just to show me how “easy” it really is.

            In your comment, you said that “it is never preached for men to follow sexual purity, just women.” That’s not true. I’m living the same frustrations that you are. And, as Dannah alludes, the “brush-off” advice we singles get from our married brothers and sisters who don’t actually have to deal with it… well, it frequently feels more insulting than encouraging.

            You also said, “Why would God put this desire in us, wants us to be sexually pure, yet does provide a spouse or lead us to one either. I am very discouraged seeing no change at all.” I feel your pain. I do. I wrestle with this question daily, and it never gets easier. I understand, and I feel this hurt, too.

            Nonetheless, I am attempting to remain as “sexually pure” as I can, in the hopes that it will pay off when and if God brings me someone to love. I am putting a lot of faith in the notion that it will matter. To God. To her.

            And like it or not, after the pain of enduring this season of unmet, unfulfilled, unrecognized and unspoken needs myself… You can bet it will matter to me if she has done the same.

            Hang in there, sister. I pray God will bring you love.

          • Dear Helen, that was my late mom’s name too. You are not alone, “Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind…” To me, lonliness is a reality, yet, it’s also a state of mind. I am saddened, more than you know regrading your loss, and the experience of many of my equally beautiful and brilliant gems, like you as a Christian sister having undergone such tragedy. I have been in consecrated prayer for days now, and at 3:58 am am let to tell you this: I was single and celebate until I was 45 years-old. Yes ma’am! Jesus is a keeper! Amen. To those who want to be kept, that is. I messed up with my son’s dad, less than a man, not a Father figure…. My son’s a gift, and apparently so is life as I almost died, and would have had I not found out I was pregnant with him. I had fibroids & cists covering my entire uterus, two attached to my intestines on the left and right were the size of mini, medium sized basketballs, and the vase-shaped one which tore up my left fallopian tube, and stretched it like a rubber band, along with eight enlarged gallstones, and too frequent hospital stays, excruciating sciatica, all wrapped in the package of lonliness.. .. It wasn’t until I cried out to God, and clung to Him like an addict needing a new perspective. Thank God for a heart transplant! What’s meant is, the moment my flawed human perspective was yielded in humble exchange for His all powerful, all seeing, all knowing one, inner strength, divine resolve to persevere beyond the “shame,” guilt, melancholy bouts of confusion, fear, and all types of unhealthy mental “fog,” became increasingly less of a precedent than cherishing this hollow time with “daddy,” Abba Father, and allowing Him, wooing Him back into every secret, sacred, inner place of me, His daughter, that rightfully belongs to Him. He’s not surprised by anyone, nor anything in life! If He allowed it, He has the right to do so, sovereign authority. If He allows the pain, He is and has the only cure. Most of our greatest triumps and transformations result out of failure and excruciating pain as flesh must die. At times, it tries to live on, and “daddy” has to use external pressure in order to get us, and others through us, to the next level. T.D. Jakes wrote a book entitled: “Can You Stand To Be Blessed,” some years ago. Suggested. Nevertheless, I’m fifty now, and filled with verve and rich wisdom. God never forgets, yet we sometimes need to. Help someone else out of your pain, out of your struggle, out of your issues, so the entire “body” in your sphere may heal. Sexual purity is for men and women, bottom line. What we perceive we have, i.e., being ‘fit and trim,’ is least important than what God gives us to fulfill His perfect vs permissive will upon earth in a predetermined timeframe. Predetermined by God. We must work our faith lest we become idle, and become “salt having lost its savour.” Focus on pleasing Christ as your husband, help other married women, help singles like yourself with the gifts you have within that are unique to you. Their are many people in your sphere dying for such as yourself to listen, to share and comfort them. Only then will you be comforted within as well. That’s being fufilled! Having another flawed human being/man isn’t your purpose on earth, nor anyone’s. Knowing God, being known of Him, getting and embracing, and fulfilling His life perspective & purpose, while aiding others in obtaining theres is rewarding and commanded. “God supplies our every need…” How about “Thank you Lord for allowing me to experience life on earth in covenant with another, while sharing my life with you in ways none other, no man, can ever fulfill. Amen! P.S. God’s not concerned about you worrying about other women accepting non-Christian men as much as He’s concerned about you accepting, loving, and falling maddly in love with Him. He was gracious & gave you 35 years in a culture wherein marriage is a joke, and lots of us have yet to experience. Gratitude my dear, sheer gratitude! Agape to you! There are times when God chooses to win an unsaved man/woman for the sake of the gospel and specialized ministry: divine marriage. Remember, “His thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are His ways your ways….. They are higher, says the Lord.” God loves the saved and unsaved. Christians have accepted the gift of forgiveness, yet we all sin and fall short of God’s glory daily. that’s why “we live to die daily.” Repentance is key! None of us has arrived. We are all under construction! Peace!

        • Same thru with single mothers. Sometimes it me feel like I’m an outcast in the church since I made a mistake and now a single mom.

          • You are not alone. You did not make a mistake. You gave the miracle of life. Find a church that makes you feel more welcome or join a moms group where you can share your loneliness and find some encouragement. In my church, single moms are served with love and we have a lot of them!

        • I hate being a single 39 year old woman. I have not been on a real date in 6 years. In church I feel like an outcast. Older woman wonder what is wrong with me and younger woman speculate I am gay. The only time I feel like I am part of a church is when they need volunteers… because “you are not married & don’t have kids like normal women”… Paul’s business about unmarried serving the Lord has been used in a way to guilt me into serving more in my church than any other woman. This makes me bitter. I am good enough to serve in 10,000 ministries but not good enough to have a Godly man but me a cup of coffee? When I express my desires for marriage I am judged because I need to “stop making marriage an idol and focus on Jesus.” I make friends easily but when they find Mr. Right they quickly get too busy for me.. the friendship changes and I am left to wrestle with my own unanswered prayers.

          As a single, I feel like I get very little support from the church.

          I spent my days in such lonely isolation. I do not view singleness as a gift but as a punishment from God.. I have no husband, no kids and spend my holidays alone. This was fun in my 20’s when I tried to convince myself that my independence was good. When God created Adam, Adam was in perfect intimacy with God. Before the fall they had a close relationship. God still decided it was not good for him to be alone: here I am in a fallen world wishing to meet a Godly man and feeling left out. I am tired of pretending my church family is enough to satisfy the longing I have for marriage & human relationships.
          Years of pretending I am ok to mask my loneliness has taken a toll on me and it is all too much. I have cried out to God more times than I can count and I feel like my prayers fall on deaf ears.

          I hate when they say “Jesus was single”. First, Jesus died at 35. Second, he had 12 followers who traveled with him everywhere. Third, he was the Son of God and knew his mission in life was to die for us. I don’t think marriage was something he even desired. To compare my life to Jesus is silly and minimizes the loneliness singles in today’s church feel.

          Paul. I wish Paul never wrote that garbage about singleness being a gift. Do you know how often those verses are thrown in my face?

          Honestly, I don’t think God loves me. I often consider suicide because of the deep loneliness I feel.

          • Hello Snowflake. I’m concerned with that last sentence. How can we help you? Could you call our office and one of us will talk with you? The number is 814-234-6072. We’d love to encourage you and pray with you.

            Yes. Singleness is lonely, but it should not push you to suicidal thoughts. There may be other things your heart is longing to deal with leading you to such extremes. We aren’t lisensed counselors, but we’re very skilled in helping to connect people to the right organization with counselors.

            I’d also like to send you a book I wrote about loneliness.

            Praying for you, dear one!

      • Well, ostracized is a stong word. Unwanted? That’s probably a better choice of terms. I’ve been single all my life. When I was college, it was perfectly fine to be single. By the time I was 30, it was definitely not OK. And by age 40, they really didn’t want me around. I was technically “welcome” to attend services, but there wasn’t an appropriate sunday school class. One for the divorcees (single parents). Several for the married couples, several more for the youth. None of them are a match, and I’m not wanted in any of them. I can’t even be a volunteer leader for the youth, because a never-married man over 40? You just can’t trust a guy like that, might be a pervert who will molest one of the 4-year olds, or perhaps rape one of the 13-year old girls (or worse yet, one of the 13-year old boys). Can’t invite him to one of the adult Sunday School get togethers (parties), because he will hit on one of our wives (or one of our wives will hit on him), beside, he’s over 40 and never married, he’s just a freak.

    • Dear Anon,
      I hear your pain–I’ve lived in the churches that don’t even realize they are ignoring (at best) singleness! I’ve been in churches where I was told that they have a singles program (which turns out to be the college and career meat-market-so-you-don’t-end-up-single’s group), grouped with the adult singles who are “special” (including the down syndrome, mentally challenged, and autistic), or grouped with the divorcees with children and ex’s who have no view from our side, or even worse grouped with the 65+ widows with their grandchildren’s photo gallery in their purses. There seems to be no place for the 30 something to 50 something single woman–even our families think there’s something wrong with us. I’ve been there! At it is painful.

      As you say below: “Church can be the loneliest, least supportive place in the world for a person living life … a virgin life out of obedience, especially when this was not something that the person desired or planned on, but ended up there out of trying to be faithful to God’s Word. For the most part, no one in most churches is able to relate to that life experience, which only magnifies the isolation and loneliness than many older lifelong singles live in.” That’s all absolutely true in my experience!

      But I have to respectfully disagree with you that “As vital and important as the presence of God is in a person’s life, it does NOT make up for having someone to share your life with in the long run.”

      In the long run, God’s presence makes up for EVERYTHING! “He is sufficient.” Does that mean I’m not lonely? That I don’t feel the pain, isolation, loss, or emptiness? No! I feel all those things, and I even question God with them. But as a loving Father, His chastisement is “where were you when I formed the Earth from nothingness?” Our entire purpose on Earth is to glorify HIM. That He gives us any blessings at all let alone salvation from our sinful nature is His prerogative because HE IS GOD. But wanting what the Jones’s have, be it a marriage or a new car, is simple covetousness and jealousy.

      Learning to curb these longing feelings is maturity. Learning that God is Big enough, Humungous enough, Stupendous enough to help us overcome them, THAT is the purpose of singleness as a “gift.” Because when a house is divided against itself it cannot stand, and we cannot serve two masters: Christ and anything else we elevate to godhood in our little minds (money, sex, loneliness, or cultural norms).

      This article may be the closest I’ve heard to the capital T TRUTH. Marriage divides us against ourselves, so God has given us a gift to work through our singleness to the point of coming to know that He is truly LORD and Master of my life and He is the ONLY focus worthy of my attention. When I really learn how BIG my LORD is I will have “the desires of my heart” because any desire that does not align with His desire for my life is fruitless. And if He doesn’t want me to be married because He has something planned that only I can do to Glorify Him, well then, it’s my desire to be single and be used of Christ for His glory.

      Not my will but THY will Oh, Lord!

      Hope this helps,
      Sus

      • Sus,

        Thanks for your response to my post. However, I think you misunderstood what I meant when I said, “As vital and important as the presence of God is in a person’s life, it does NOT make up for having someone to share your life with in the long run. The sense of emptiness, loss, isolation and painful disappointment only increase as the years go by. It’s just a fact that some of us have to live with.” I was not saying that I did not recognize or accept God’s sovereignty in the situation. As you yourself admit, you still experience loneliness, pain, isolation, loss and emptiness. The presence of God can be a sustaining grace for you in that, but it does not exempt you from it, now or in the future. The fact is that older singles especially struggle with these things in a way that those with Godly, healthy marriages often do not, and with much less support and care (or none at all) from the body of Christ. Stating that fact is simply being honest about the challenge of living in the church as a never-married, childless woman. It is not being jealous, covetous, immature or rebellious against God. God’s sovereign will for some of us does include the life-long painful loneliness and disappointment that can come with singleness and childlessness, and it is not always easy to accept that, especially in our family-oriented evangelical culture. Coming to a place of acceptance of God’s will can be a lengthy process for some of us. We should be able to be honest about the challenges, and not have to “put on a happy face” and pretend that we’re completely okay with it when we may not be at this point. God is not put off by our honesty and is merciful to those of us who struggle and suffer as lifelong singles – I only wish the body of Christ was also. It is not.

        • Anon,
          You’re so right, and we have to fight the bitterness of feeling like life is unfair or God gave us less or damaged blessings. I’m not sure if being honest about the challenges includes the “long face” that I’ve seen on some women or the bitterness. Our Lord is forgiving and His will is perfect, whether we “like it or not”!

          Sus

          • I’m several years late to the party here, but Sus, you misunderstand the situation. It’s fine to feel that life is unfair…it absolutely is unfair. Do you really feel, Sus, that life is fair? Who ever said life is fair? Human trafficking, urban murders, the refugee crisis, and yes, unwanted singleness. Unwanted singleness is an unfair human condition. If you don’t like “the long face” that you see on some women, then please do the human race a favor and cast your judgmental eyes elsewhere. As far as God giving us “less or damaged blessings,” hey maybe He did! That’s His prerogative. There are trials in life, and some of us can hope for our reward later. Feeling that life is unfair is not akin to “bitterness, ” oh dear friend Sus. It’s simply a fact. But marital status is only one part of our lives. There are many other blessings that may compensate for the trial of singleness. But it’s not up to you, Sus, to force that perspective on others. Why don’t you try a dose of Christian compassion? You know that Christian compassion that you usually save for those who lack food, clothing, and shelter? Why don’t you give some of that compassion to those who lack an earthly family? You have a big enough Christian heart to do that, don’t you? (Don’t you? Hmmmm).

      • Sus,
        I have been through some spiritual struggle lately about my awakened sexual desires (due to a man’s incessant and unwanted attention). I have finally cut our correspondence because of that. He just can’t believe I survived 50 years without a man in my life…lol. In short, I wanted to lead a spiritual life. So happy to read you voicing out what has ever been in my heart… the BIGNESS and STUPENDOUSNESS of GOD!

        • Furthermore, after a couple of months’ struggle and fear, I finally got an answer deep within (through God’s grace) : I must forget thinking of what I want (fulfilled desires), I must think of what HE wants, and then I know He will be thinking of me. I won’t feel alone anymore…

      • There is a lot of “ditto”, and so much more I could say in agreement with everything you said, and the way in which you said it.

        So I will just say Amen.

    • Thank you “anonymous” for your comments. I believe if you are called to be in a family oriented church where singles are the minority, it can be like suffering and starving in many ways. I am in a church I was called to when married before divorcing an abusive husband, and I feel called to remain there even though I would prefer to be elsewhere, because my children’s Christian school is there and I love my church family and God has not called me to move. However, it can be very lonely with a minority of singles in our church at less than 10% who are below the age of 55. Many of the singles in our church are widowers and much older. Our church caters to families and children which is a good thing but, doesn’t understand nor support single mothers, parents through separate ministry effectively. I have pushed forward pushed forward for my needs by starting a sunday school class that I could feel comfortable in and by establishing a support group that was a safe place for women going through divorce. I have been tempted in my 6 years+ of divorce sexually but the one thing I know, I have not succumbed to those feelings, fought them with the Word because those temptations outside of marriage always center on self. I get delivered and protected from those desires then stay as close and dependent and needy as I can
      on Jesus, The TRUE Lover of My Soul. Jesus/God/Holy Spirit truly satisfy until the day when God calls me to remarriage, which is a desire of my heart, and God knows that and gives me what is always BEST for me. Worth the wait. Until that time do what he calls us to do and do it with a spirit of excellence for His glory!

      • Thanks for your comments. I’m glad you are being successful in creating a space in your church where single mothers and those going through divorce are finding fellowship. Since you have children, you also have a point of commonality with other women in your church who also have children. However, the single woman who has never been married and has no children does not have those areas of common interest and does not fit in with women’s groups, single parent support and/or divorce recovery groups. I’m a 47-year-old virgin with no children and no nieces or nephews (and no prospects of either). Church is a very, very lonely and isolating place for those who have never been married and/or had children – you literally do not fit in anywhere. You are constantly reminded in a million ways of what you will never be and how you will never truly belong. When you know you will never have children and there is little to no possibility of meeting a truly Godly, spiritually mature man to marry, the temptation to give up on church altogether is very strong.

        • Anonymous, Church can be a very lonely place for a lot of people. The married woman who comes alone or with an unbelieving husband is lonely. (There’s actually a term for her: “spiritually single.”) The woman in a blended family feels lonely because she’s trying to figure things out amidst so many traditional families. You’re not alone in feeling alone. It’s a universal problem. It’s not only because you are single.

          I’ve written a book called the Secret of the Lord which is a prescription for loneliness because I once found Church to be a very lonely place. I was a married woman with the secret of past sexual shame for a very long time. I felt like I couldn’t talk to anyone about my past. The bottom line is this: it was a lie from Satan. I didn’t have to be alone. I could talk about my past. I could experience healing. And I have. But I had to change the way I communicated my needs and met them. It was really ME who was holding me back.

          I know your situation is hard, but there is a way out of it. And only you can find it. But you can find it.

          Keep reading my blog series. Here’s the next link.

          http://purefreedom.org/single-desire-how-can-i-escape-reality/

          And if you want a copy of The Secret of the Lord, just say so and I’ll capture your mailing address via private email and we’ll get you a copy. My gift. From one former lonely girl to another.

          • Thankyou Dannah for comments. Also, Anonymous, have you thought of the possibilities that singleness brings? You have the TIME to use to perhaps be a Big Sister to some young girl, who does not have a mother. Young people are always in need of support, encouragement, and help. The “sense of emptiness, loss, isolation and painful disappointment ” is greatly alleviated once we begin to serve, and help others.

            I am a married woman, who got married at age 45. I have no children of my own. My greatest blessing and reward in life has been in looking after young children.

            Marriage has it’s own set of difficulties and trials. I really do think you are looking at it through “rose-colored” glasses, and not through reality.

            I hope I am not being too harsh. It’s just reality. Really it is.

            Mari J.

        • Anonymous, I hear you. Boy, do I hear you! I’m in the same boat as you – 44, never-married, no kids, haven’t dated since the 2nd Clinton Administration. And my church is a VERY family-oriented one. Most people at my church (including the pastor) are in their late 20s, early to mid 30s, married with growing families. In fact, we counted….in a church of about 250 members, over a 14-month period 22 babies were born recently. The nursery has exploded to the point that we need to add a new wing to the building and almost everyone is called upon to serve in the nursery at least once every other month. There are a smattering of older widows and divorcees, but as far as I know, I’m the oldest woman in the church who has never married. The next oldest is 30. They love to celebrate God’s design for the family here big-time. There is a waiting list to get into the Young Marrieds class. If the sermon on a particular Sunday is not about being godly husbands, wives, and rearing children in the Lord, it’s usually mentioned in some context. Almost all of the women’s activities center around those topics. And I am the odd woman out EVERYWHERE. I feel often like you feel and sometimes it does discourage me to the point of wanting to find another church….or not go at all.

          But I stay here because I absolutely love the people, love the sold biblical preaching,….I just can’t imagine being anyplace else. This is where God has me. Please understand, Anonymous, that the church is way more than demographic slots and a collection of programs, clubs, and activities. The church is a vibrant, living, organism….all of us make up a part of it….and collectively the Holy Spirit is growing us into the image of Christ for the world to see. Just because you and I may be an odd fit in classes or groups doesn’t mean we don’t fit into the church.

          As I see it, God has given me the assignment of being a single woman dedicated for His use. No, it’s not the assignment I wanted…..I always wanted to be a wife and mother, but God has given that assignment to others, not to me. And I believe He will give me the ability to shine and reflect His grace, mercy, and love in the place where He has put me. Don’t be concerned about what slot you fit into, just throw yourself in and serve wherever your heart leads you. Maybe you can disciple a teenaged girl, or do evangelism, or help with benevolence, or visit those who are in the hospital and pray with them. Go to bible classes, seminars, and retreats that your church holds and let them get to know you. Tell others when you are struggling with singleness, let them pray for you and encourage you, let them into your world. God has something to teach those around you through your life…..about His limitless power to sustain even in the midst of trials and disappointments.

          Don’t let Satan tell you who you are in the Lord. Don’t look to worldly constructs to define your place in this life and in the church. Look to God and to His Word. If you do these things consistently, believe me, you won’t be as despondent about singleness.

          God bless you! Know that you are not alone in your struggles!

          http://singleunexpectedly.blogspot.com/2013/04/how-will-i-find-joy-if-i-never-become.html

          http://singleunexpectedly.blogspot.com/2013/10/where-does-single-woman-fit-into-todays.html

          • Just one more comment, and then I’m done, since there are obviously no real, satisfying answers to this. I am beyond tired of being told that if I will just work harder, do more, try more, be more, volunteer for one more ministry that somehow I will find a real place in the church. It doesn’t work that way. People value what I do, thank me and tell me how indispensable I am to them, but it is NEVER reciprocated. They could care less about who I am as a person, because my life is not like theirs. The very few times I’ve tried to share my struggles with people I thought I was close to, people who I’ve spent literally hours listening to, there was an awkward silence and then the “conversation” went back to the topic of their children. Literally. I am responsible for the care of an aging parent; everyone knows that, but never asks me how things are going. (The only people who ask me this regularly are the cashiers at my grocery store – one of whom is Buddhist.) I will probably stay in church out of sheer obedience, but nothing else. The thought of growing old and more and more alone in the middle of a crowd of people who don’t really care is terrifying to me.

          • I think you may be experiencing the suffering of Christ, my friend. I believe he did not have his love reciprocated. Rather, he was beaten, tortured, rejected, ridiculed, and crucified by those he loved. You may want to read some works on the suffering of Christ. Last year, I had a very painful year related to rejection and loss. It can be hard during those seasons to feel the community of the Church. I understand. But let me encourage you to embrace the suffering and learn from Him. I pray one day he alleviates it for you.

        • Anonymous – I hear what you are saying about your place and where you fit in a church because you are single. I can somewhat relate from a younger perspective. I was part of a church from 18-23 that I had no family, no fall back support system, I started from scratch. Too old for youth, yet too young for women’s ministry – there was no college groups at that time. For me, I had to learn where to involve myself that fit my particular giftings. And you’re partly right about you being the one giving and no getting the level reciprocated to you. You do have more time to be able to give than a young mother would have to give back. You may want to think about your motivation for doing some of your giving if your looking to get the same back in return. Now I am in my late 30’s with children from 4-14, 3 of them with special needs. They are my biological children, I did not choose to be a special needs parent – God did. Some days I still wonder why 🙂 it can be a lonely place to be as well. Parents of neurotypical children do not understand why my children can not tolerate a particular noise or sound, why they don’t interact like other children do. I am still married, but I can also tell you this…….life in the church can be very lonely as a married person for a number of different reasons. It’s really true that the loneliness is not just because you’re single. Maybe that’s the most obvious point and the one you’ve chosen to focus on. Maybe you are the one called to lead a group that’s not just open to your church but to others as well from the community. A place where singles 30 and up can come to meet and fellowship on a regular basis……. Just sayin there’s always 2 sides to every coin and the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.

        • I understand completely. You are not alone. The “not fitting in” even spills over into regular relationships with other women. You just don’t have much to say in long dinners or gatherings when you don’t have a mate or children. You tend to stay away from those settings as well, so that you don’t end up being in conversations in which you have nothing to share. That in itself, leads to evening more isolation and loneliness. I feel like I am broken. You are trying to do the right things from a christian standpoint. But, you feel like you are being abandoned for having made a decision to do the right thing so long ago. There has been lots of heartache for doing the “right” thing.

    • So true! I am the oldest sibling and my family excludes me and rushes to show off my baby sister and her husband when we see family members we havent seen in a long time and when they introduce me (if they acknowledge me at all) they say, yeah she’s 30. I left my church last year because they had so much drama, discord and idolatry and they would make me feel horrible for being single! I have spent the past few years just really hurt and alone. I thought my life was good but between family and church my walk with God, job in corporate America, virginity, nice car, nice apartment and heart for the homeless mean absolutely nothing because I have no husband. Its horrible I have allowed people to make me feel like something is wrong with everything I have accomplished because I dong have a man in my corner. I have a new church now and thank God they have a singles ministry and care about vuilding me back up as a single woman!

      • Believe me or not, I know Jesus is truly happy looking down from heaven seeing faithful virgins on the earth… women living the image of His Blessed Mother.

        • His mother went on to have other children with Joseph, so she was not the perpetual virgin as the Catholic Church teaches. The Bible states: Jesus’ brothers are mentioned in several Bible verses. Matthew 12:46, Luke 8:19, and Mark 3:31 say that Jesus’ mother and brothers came to see Him. The Bible tells us that Jesus had four brothers: James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas (Matthew 13:55). The Bible also tells us that Jesus had sisters, but they are not named or numbered (Matthew 13:56). In John 7:1-10, His brothers go on to the festival while Jesus stays behind. In Acts 1:14, His brothers and mother are described as praying with the disciples. Galatians 1:19 mentions that James was Jesus’ brother. The most natural conclusion of these passages is to interpret that Jesus had actual blood half-siblings.

          Some Roman Catholics claim that these “brothers” were actually Jesus’ cousins. However, in each instance, the specific Greek word for “brother” is used. While the word can refer to other relatives, its normal and literal meaning is a physical brother. There was a Greek word for “cousin,” and it was not used. Further, if they were Jesus’ cousins, why would they so often be described as being with Mary, Jesus’ mother? There is nothing in the context of His mother and brothers coming to see Him that even hints that they were anyone other than His literal, blood-related, half-brothers.

          • Hi Jill. I agree with you. I do not think that Mary was a perpetual virgin. I do think she was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus, as miraculous as that seems. I think Joseph was loving and sacrificial, but had a physical relationship with his wife after Jesus was born. I agree entirely that these passages support literal blood brothers of Christ. This is in line with most protestant theology. And mine.

    • I could not agree more. This is the main reason I cannot bring myself to walk into church with my son single. It is like I am not valid or complete. I am overlooked or not addressed at all. Every sermon is about a partner about a spouse about family. Well I have a family. It is me and my son and I feel the contempt. It is hurtful . I did not wait until marriage, most people don’t. I met my sons father at bible study and he turned out to be a terrible drunk and drug addict so I left. I still love Jesus. I still know Jesus. I still hear and see God at work in my life. Yet I am single. The church hates it so I rather hate myself for it too. I feel less significant. Less worthy. They arent talking to me!, they resent me. So I don’t go.

      • Ah, dear anonymous friend! You are not alone. So many have met unsafe people in the Church. I’m so sorry that you met an abusive man in a bible study. And that now you find yourself feeling unsafe from the judgement of others in the Church. While I can sadly confess that these are realities, I want to also confirm with assurance that the church also has very good and kind people who will walk with you through all this hard stuff. Real, authentic believers who have also been broken by this world and are equipped to love you through your healing. Don’t back down. Find a church that’s authentic and able to love you. You are significant. You are worthy of God’s love…at least as worthy as I am (and I guess if I’m honest, that’s a complicated subject). Go find a better church!

    • Amen, Anonymous.

      As a single person who was pursuing God and involved in ministry, I experienced roadblocks in doing ministry from people who saw me being “of marriageable age” (older than that, really) and it seemed they couldn’t rest until they saw me married. They practically threw men at me, as if the only way they could tolerate me in their presence was if I were “taken”.
      The church uses marriage as a safety net to chastity when it is nothing of a sort. Marriage doesn’t guarantee an individual will be “sexually pure”. Many people are sexually impure and married. Singleness does not mean you are or have to be or must be sexually active.
      If the church doesn’t appreciate the single people in their church and what they have to offer and allow those single people more than groups where they can meet someone to marry, the church will always be wanting.
      With the number of divorces occurring in the church among people who felt “it is better to marry than to burn”, it’s time for a true assessment of sexuality from a perspective that honors the cultural significance and relevance of singleness as much as it does marriage. (And I think then, our marriages will be stronger, our churches will be stronger, and the single people in the church will truly be allowed to be who they are in the Lord)

    • I do not agree with the reach to a gift of singleness.
      There is not anything scriptual to state that. Paul’s
      singleness was a personal choice, never decreed by God.
      In Genesis, God displayed his plan for mankind by
      by the creation of Adam and Eve and his command for
      mankind to be followed. This new “gift of singleness”
      is a feeble attempt to make single Christian women to
      feel special and not feel left out. In the past, the Church
      and families brought singles together and preached
      to single men to court women with intention of marriage
      and that marriage was a good and should be desired.
      Now the comments actually discourage marriage, by
      such negative comments as marriage won’t help your loneliness,
      and married people suffer sexual temptation too. Anything
      to make singles think wanting to be married is not really worth it
      and the advantages of it do not outweigh the negatives of it. The
      truth is single mens church attendance is sparse and they will
      not pursue Christian women. Christian couples divorce at a
      rate nearly as high and non Christian couples. So men
      view marriage as risky and to be avoided or at minimum
      postponed as long as possible. The Internet gives them do much
      choice in women. They may think there is always a better woman to
      be had and be unwilling to commit to any one. They can pursue
      several at once. Plus, they can get sex without marriage commitment.
      Why get msrried to begin with if the msrrisge will likely dail?

      • Helen, your claim is personal not biblical. The scriptures themselves teach that singleness is a gift. Perhaps your confusion is about the word “gift.” I’m not writing about a gift like a birthday gift or a box of candy, but a spiritual impartation. The same word (charis) used to describe gifts of the spirit such as mercy and healing is also used to describe singleness. Paul himself was the one that assigned and wrote this word. I believe Paul did choose it, but also knew it was an impartation. What we can learn from this is that we can either suffer through singleness or invite the Holy Spirit into it to receive it in power. There is not use of a gift of mercy unless it is anointed by the Spirit. And no power in singleness unless equally annointed.

  • Thank you for being courageous Dannah and talking this question. But even more – thank you for pointing us to Jesus. He is the key. I agree with your friend, the closer I am walking passionately with Jesus, the more my sexual desires are at rest. They aren’t repressed, in some arcaic way, they are at rest. Singleness is beautiful and powerful when lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. (And I find, I don’t even really have time to get depressed or feel sorry for myself when I am living this way.)

  • Thank you, Dannah, for writing this blog post! I know it may have been hard and is controversial. You’re right as a single young lady it’s not what I WANT to hear, but it is what I NEED to hear. It is a question I’ve asked. Your answer is the one I need to remember. Two things stood out as you quoted, “We will be in eternity with Jesus so it is less important that we satisfy our needs while on earth.” and “We can blissfully rest in the knowledge that the future is better than anything we think we’ve missed now.” It become dangerous to find satisfaction in anything, anyone, or any experience here and now. Our satisfaction must be in Christ. Thank you for the reminder and willingness/ bravery of writing this post! I appreciate it.

  • Thankyou Dannah for this post! It made so much sense, especially the parts about having an eternal mindset and looking forward to eternity.

  • As a windowed 30-something I struggle with this. Thank you writing this. It is VERY frustrating sometimes, but as a Mother of an 8-year old girl, I want to follow what GOD wants so that my daughter will learn the RIGHT way, that God wants us to follow. Not saying I haven’t failed, but I have found that when I am strong in my relationship with God those earthly sexual desires aren’t as strong. Thank you Dannah for no longer “dodging” the issue. 🙂

  • Dannah,

    Thank you so much for writing this splendid, splendid, splendid article. I am going to print it out and read it everytime I feel a little down. When you said that I didn’t need an outlet for sexual expression and that I needed more of God, I didn’t even wince or feel frustrated. It’s such a simple statement but it resonated with me. Like a lightbulb that went on. Truer words have never been spoken. On top of my deafness I confused singleness. Yes, I confused it with loneliness at times. Never once had I thought that sex could be just as frustrating for married couples when they can’t find the connection on a certain day. My heart went out to married people. I want the best for them too.

    I think everyone feels this loneliness or lostness every once in the while. And you are right, it’s no merely about sex at all, we all long for the deep connection we are supposed to feel with God and with people we love. We can get it from a hug. We can get it from kind words.

  • Thanks for trying.. …. It just feels like this scenario:A beautiful svelte woman who has doesn’t really have a weight issue is counseling an overweight woman who has wanted to be thin and pretty, a struggle she has had all of her adult years. “I know you want to look like this, Dear one, but God didn’t give you this metabolism that makes me look so good and healthy……. So, sorry about your struggle. In fact it is hard being this thin sometimes but…….Why don’t you just pray harder?”

    • Hi Anonymous friend. I expected many would receive it this way. That’s why so much of the advice in the blog is directly quoted from single women rather than my own heart. Do you have a different take on how single women should answer the question of sexual longings?

    • This was also my initial reaction. At first, I felt this was just another married person giving the single person a “pep talk” about how marriage and the benefits of marriage aren’t the goal of the believer; even though the writer has married and has the opportunity to reap those benefits. However, I don’t have to relate to the messenger to receive the message. Truth be told, if God can speak to His children through a burning bush, a donkey and murderers (Moses, David, Paul, the list is a bit longer) I don’t doubt that God can use a married person to speak to the single.

      The post spoke to me because the truth is that no one, including me, can say they cannot draw closer to God or be more faithful to that relationship. As much as I desire a husband and family, I know that I cannot allow that desire to become my god. If I truly believe that God is my omniscient Father, that means I must believe He knows my desires, needs and that he knew them when He established His plan for me. So, if I want to get closer to being fulfilled, physically or otherwise, it will always start with drawing closer to Him. This post just reiterates that truth. James 4 hits this head on. We as singles often hear verse 7 about resisting, but we don’t get enough teaching on verse 8. We’ve got to pull closer to God if we are ever to get closer to having our desires met.

  • I have several friends who are single and can’t imagine the social pressures they feel within the church. Some people can’t seem to fathom these women can be happy in their status but most I know, are. I’m sure it’s “safe” to say, as married women, to warn our single sisters to enjoy their time because once you are married your attention is divided.

    I was twenty-eight when I married. Immediately my quiet time with the Lord waned as I took on new responsibilities and then babies came along. If I eked out 15 minutes alone with the Lord it was a miracle. I’m a writer at heart and that passion suffered as well. Now that my boys are older I have picked up my passions once again and it feels like home.

    As a single, I had to be extremely careful what I fed my soul. So much television is explicit these days and what show doesn’t evoke some kind of desire? When the Lord brings my single sisters to mind I pray for them. I pray that their joy may be full.

    Thank you for writing this.

    • I am single and have struggled with my questions, ” why,” but I know why. I have not had that relationship with Jesus that would make a godly wife. I’ve seen marriages that are strong and loving in Jesus. That’s what I have longed for. What I don’t long for are the marriages I have seen so much of. When I want to wine about being single I think of a marriage with problems, marriages that are not based on Jesus, marriages that came about because sex, sex bonded them before marriage without taking the time to know each other, or I think of women in the east who have no rights, who are silenced, who are castrated, and I am so thankful to be a single woman.

      I have my ups and downs. I am 48 years old and my hormones are out of whack.I thought they slowed down at my age,but I have raging hormones, and think, I’m just going to get on line and find somebody to lose my virginity to. But then I think of how filthy I would feel after, and how disappointed God would be, and then I would be stuck with the longing of something I never knew. I do struggle with the question, “is maturation ok.” I have got to be honest, I use it, occasionally. I use it for a tool to relieve stress and headaches with no sexual fantasies, most of the time. I question why someone else can touch our own bodies, but I can’t touch myself.

      I am a highly sensitive person, all my senses are heightened, which causes me great anxiety, and I crave alone time, because I need to come down from all that stimulation. I have struggled with the need of wanting someone in my life and the need to be alone. I am a teacher, and at the age of 49, I am glad to leave the children behind. Thankful that I don’t have the stresses that I hear around at the table at lunch table that has to do with children and husbands. Someone said in a response above, that each situation comes with its problems. You can be very alone in a marriage, too.

      I have given up on church for awhile and get bitter about the situation of singleness in the churches, and the fact that being married is so important. Sermons are based around the family, like so many people have stated. And, ministers, like yourself dannah, do not want to address us. They want to send us off to a singles group and have us work out our singleness on our own. And, I don’t like to cry about my singleness. It is what it is. I have my long time friends, their families, and other friends who accept me for who I am. I have my disfunctualities, whatever they have been, or what ever they are, and I have not felt comfortable taking them into a relationship. They have kept me from a relationship, because I have not known Jesus like I want. I walk with him and talk with him and I have a relationship with him, but it doesn’t match up with the kind of man of God I once seeked for.

      I don’t count myself unworthy. Well, yes, sometimes I do, but don’t we all struggle with that, married, divorced, single. Life’s hard sometimes either way. I pray, all the time to not let myself base my worth on my singleness. I long to be part of a church, but it is my job to go out and find one and wiggle myself in. I love being with,and knowing married women, older women, and divorced women, because I learn we all have problems, in the area of relationships. It is my job, along with god’s help and nudging, to get out there, be part of a community that I grew up in.

      You know, I know have written a book here, but it has actually been very therapeutic. It is making me very thankful that my singleness allows me time to spend with god. In fact, I am going to close and open his word right now, and know that I have to be still and know God, that, no matter my relationship status, or my disfunctualities, or my sins, everything in the bible points me to the fact that God loves me, the way I am, that he knew me before I was born, he designed me, and my name is written on his palm.

      • Hi Friend:

        I enjoyed reading your “book.” Just this weekend I was at a gathering with three married women and three single women all between the ages of 40-55 and I said that my pet peeve is that we are always dividing up the singles and marrieds. We have so much to glean from each other. If only we did not live in a a fallen world.

        Embrace your singleness as God’s calling and ask for the Holy Spirit to give you the gifting of it. You can suffer through it or be empowered through it. Choose the later.

        In His Love!

  • Thank you for writing this, Sis. Dannah.

    I’ve been trying to walk faithfully with God and keeping away from sexual sin, until a few days ago where the thought of satisfying my sexual desire just couldn’t leave me alone. I so wanted it to go away, but it was with me for about 3 days, non-stop. Unfortunately, I fell again, cause I wanted it to stop bugging me. It could be a spirit that was on me, because after praying in the name of Jesus that any unclean things that are on me and in my mind be washed away, I felt a lot better. (To anyone who knows more on this kind of situations, please do share the truth on this matter so that I will learn, and correct me if I’m wrong.)

    Rather than feeling ticked off by your post, I’m very grateful for it, because now I know, there IS an answer to this than sinning and going on in life with it constantly with you, and sometimes bugging minds. I’m very glad that as I grow in my relationship with God, the desire will be quiet and not suppressed/still there with no real way to deal with it. Thus, I’m very glad that you had the courage to write this post. May you be continually bold to speak the Truth despite all odds in this day and age.

    • hi, dorothea. you asked if anyone knows more about this, to please share. here goes: the answer isn’t sin or spirits. it was biology, plain and simple. it’s part of our monthly cycle. your body doesn’t know you’re single; your body knows it’s fertile, so for those few days, your body is programmed by God to keep you focused on sex until you get some. doesn’t mean you’re sinning. it means you’re living in a human body. so there is no sin in those feelings; it’s how our bodies are designed. please stop blaming and shaming yourself. the “problem” is not a spiritual one. it was just the time for you to feel that way. it comes and goes all the time, in a rhythm. like everything else in life, the feelings will pass.

    • Dorothea, I would caution you from calling your sexual desires or feelings a “spirit.” We’re human. We were created for sexual desire. And sometimes it’s very strong. But that’s not wrong in and of itself. God never condemns us for desire. The point of this post is not to condemn desire, but to encourage you in the control and training of it.

      There are those who would say we don’t need control and we can throw caution to the wind sexually. But I disagree. (No married couple would EVER be faithful if we lived that way and we would live in a world of terrible hurt.) Sexual self-control is necessary and possible.

      But I think very few people live their lives entirely without sexual desires. Please don’t feel guilty about the desire. I’d encourage you to seek some counsel in terms of your concern when you say you “fell.” How about you get another opinion on that from a trained counselor who can talk you through it.

    • Dorothea,
      I’m not in any way minimizing the legitimacy of the comments of the others who have replied. They all make great points well worth considering and I very much appreciate them. That said, you’re absolutely right. I experienced a similar thing. We Christ followers often forget we have a very real spiritual enemy who has vowed to destroy us by any means possible. So of course he will attack us in the most vulnerable areas of our life. I’ve been both married and single at different points in my life and I can attest to the difficulty of living a single life. The enemy will “seed” lustful thoughts into our minds every chance he gets. Whether we recognize that or not, praying in the name of Jesus for God’s protection and for unclean things in our vicinity be washed away – or chased away – is never a bad idea. And here’s a “news flash” – it doesn’t just happen to singles. Married people come under loads of temptation from the enemy, too (which is one of the reasons there is so much infidelity nowadays). We ALL need to be protected by the blood and the name of Christ and we ALL need intimacy first and foremost with Him. God bless you in your relationship with Him.

  • Horrible advice. Suppress perfectly natural human desires for what seems like more god. There is absolutely nothing wrong with you for having sexual desires. It’s human…you know, what we all are here, I’m assuming. It’s quite obvious that singleness is not a desire. Otherwise, you wouldn’t need this article explaining why. If somebody wants to be single and chooses (not coaxed or “encouraged” or presseured) then that is perfectly fine.

    I’m an ex-christian, and I’ve dealt with this before. Nothing came from it except for loneliness. It wasn’t until my deconversion that I got a full understanding of the human body and mind. Why on earth would god give you sexual organs and desires if you’re not to use them?

    • Hello Anonymous. I respect your thoughts. I agree with you that God created us with sexual organs and desires. He created us to be sexual and it is his plan that we learn his authentic plan for sexuality. I’m on a journey to understand that. I’d be happy to send you some of my more thorough works if you’d like to delve in with me.

      • As a married Christian and marriage and family therapist, I would say that if you really understood sexual desire and organs (and the fact that the clitoris has NO other function in the body other than pleasure, unlike the penis), you would have dealt with this topic very differently. There are so many healthy ways for Christians to honor their sexual desires, many like masturbation that would have health benefits. Physical sexual desire doesn’t go away when we are spiritual enough. That’s a lie. No wonder we have so many women who do get married and struggle to see that desire as holy. If it’s holy then it’s holy now. The desire is always good, and a representation of how God made us. It’s not something to be “spiritualized away” but rather something to be honored. Seriously. it’s so frustrating that the misunderstandings in the Church about sexuality are perpetuated by people in the church who don’t understand the subtle (and inaccurate) messages behind their messages.

        • well said, Guest!
          This blog shows such a blatant disregard for natural biological functions, that it astounds me that any woman would perpetuate such a thing.

          What a nasty thing to do, tell women who have physical urges that they are just not praying hard enough, that they’re just not close enough to god… As if there isn’t enough pressure and burden on women already. Ugh. This blog post just encourages women to get married for all the wrong reasons.

        • Dear Guest,
          What could possibly be wrong with Dannah’s way of bringing out the spiritual in women in order to put the right perspective in our sexual struggles? Unless… you have tried her advice and failed in it. I, for one, have given myself the chance to have the spiritual eyes to solve my physical unfulfilled desires, and I must admit that after unrelenting search for God and His teachings, I have found the answers that i was looking for. I am now at a happy and peaceful state (which I hope will keep fortifying me in His love). And I hope until you find a better way, then let others do what they know is helpful.

  • I appreciate your desire to meet singles in their struggles, and how difficult it must feel to even attempt to do that. It is always good to see singles even acknowledged as members of the Body, and their struggles taken seriously.

    That said, there are so many exegetical (not to mention practical) problems with the “singleness as spiritual gift” interpretation – Albert Hsu has a great critique in his Singles at the Crossroads. And I have found the church’s way of spiritualizing sexuality to be deeply problematic. God did not make us in such a way that communion with him would satisfy our sexual needs (or our social needs, or our need for food, etc). He uses each of these as analogies of ways he invites us to relate to him, but to over-spiritualize those very human needs in response is to fail to recognize the analogy. It’s not helpful to be told that if I have a distractingly strong sex drive, I just don’t want God enough. Could I grow in my desire for God? Of course! Will that necessarily affect my desire for sex? No. (Personally, I have found the opposite to be true – the stronger my desire for God has grown, the more alive I am to him and his world, the more I’ve expanded into the me he made be to be, the stronger my sexual desires – integrated in my relational desires – have grown. My sense of “demand” has shrunk – most days 🙂 – but my desires have only deepened.)

    Does marriage provide “distractions” from God? Sure. Does singleness provide “distractions” from God? You bet. Will those distractions impact different individuals differently? Of course. We need to have grace with each other in all the messiness of our individual lives.

    Scriptural approaches to sexuality (and women) are complicated, problematic, and deeply contextualized. OT directives about sexuality reflect a property law approach, where a woman’s sexuality is always the property of a man (though not the reverse). The NT makes some redemptive moves in this area, but we still find the influence and context of “woman-as-property.” Processing what a redemptive sexual ethic looks like in a world that is still messy but where women are now seen as fully human and fully deserving of respect as individuals made in the image of God and indwelt by God’s Spirit, is not so simple as straight-fowardly reading the sexual directives of the Old and New Testaments.

    God’s project of redemption continues today. Discerning what faithfulness looks like is a weighty and messy thing, full of grace as we all consider, “what if I’m wrong?”

    • Deep thoughts Jennifer. I believe strongly that we cannot approach sexuality in any other way THAN scripturally. And that we have to take a full-context-of-Scripture approach. But to say that we should not just because it’s complicated would be to throw God’s gentle instructions to us through his written word out of our lives. I’m not comfortable with doing that. Further more, from Genesis to Revelation the Scriptures send us messages about sexuality and marriage that are a critical picture of the gospel. While your comment is written with gentleness and intelligence and for that I’m grateful, I’m not comfortable with the over leaning. To what do you look at as your authority on sexual ethics?

      • For myself? I look to Jesus – his life and teaching, and most importantly his new commandment to love one another as he has loved us. And I look to the Holy Spirit in my life, both his urging in the particular and the story he has been telling in and through my life as he has led me over decades.

        Both of those are deeply grounded in scripture, but no limited to it. It is not directly overlaid onto my life, as though God has done nothing sense or as I were a first century woman of the middle east. There is much to be mined in those particulars of Scripture (especially in the ways God led his people redemptively in contrast to where they had been/the common cultural practices of their neighbors/etc), but I am not looking to apply them directly to my life (too often that would result in destruction rather than redemption) but rather to discern God’s heart in them.

        I will always deeply affirm those who embrace singleness as God’s call for them – for a season or for life. And I will strongly encourage anyone to cultivate chastity/celibacy first, for it is what gives us the freedom to approach and receive others as the whole persons they are – body, mind, and heart – and seek what God is doing in their lives rather than what we might want from them.

        But one’s sexuality is something that each must wrestle through with God, in faith and trembling. It is a weighty thing beyond the comprehension of the vast majority of the church to call another soul to celibacy. As I have walked that path myself, I am ever more convinced and convicted of that. Ever more convinced that faithfulness is messy to discern – for myself, much less for others. And ever more grateful that where id desiring to be faithful and loving, I might be wrong, God’s grace will be sufficient.

  • Very true. I’m turning 18 this year and marriage is something I think about often. Though I do not plan on dating anytime soon, I do know that the idea of remaining forever single can be very, very unappealing. The whole being single thing can be extremely hard as a matter of fact in a culture where we are constantly bombarded with messages that scream ” your life is totally miserable if you don’t have a partner!” It’s not easy. But I’m learning that some of us can have a habit of being so discontent that always getting what we want is not the solution to it all. Now, granted, I, too, struggle as I single person and I dream and pray that one day I get to meet my future husband. (I’m a hopeless romantic!). I believe that God wired us for intimacy and I’m trying to not be ashamed of the desires of my heart but to trust Him with them. I’ve always been fascinated by marriage and I think it’s one of the most beautiful things in the world. However, so much pressure is being put on men and just marriage, in general, that more often than not, as single ladies, we often forget that our future mates are as human as we are and cannot ultimately, completely satisfy whatever longings we have. Which is one of the reasons why I’m contemplating reading less romance. Though I read Christian ones, I’m realizing that I need to read more things that’ll challenge me in my Christian walk, and help me to put less unrealistic expectations on both my future husband and life. I read a book ” True Love Dates” by Debra Fileta that challenges singles to reach out to others, to get actively involved in their community instead of feeling sorry for themselves. I think it’s important to use our singleness as a season to focus our energy on loving God and people selflessly — something, I think is also important in marriage. Thank you for this post, Dannah.

  • I have to say it. I think this line of thinking is incredibly damaging. So many women live a life trapped in guilt and shame because of articles like this. They run from God because they are taught that this is what matters to God. To say single women just need more God basically says there is something not good enough about them. We all need more of God. Elevating purity and chastity like this is just an invitation to guilt and shame, which is not from God.

  • Sweet Dannah,

    Your love for Jesus and others is so evident when you write about topics that are difficult (risky, even!), but so necessary to discuss. Every time I encounter something you’ve written, I come away from it feeling affirmed in my identity, but also challenged to let the Lord get close to my heart.

    In my own journey with singleness, I’ve been learning that my frustration and heartache have very little to do with my “relationship status,” and everything to do with how much I trust the Lord. My relationship status only scrapes the surface at the real longings inside of my heart. Maybe it’s cliché to say we need more of God. But it’s the truth. When I consider Him as a loving Father who knows my EVERY need, and would withhold no good thing from me… I stop worrying so much about my future, and just start living now. There is so much freedom in that! A resource that’s helped me process through this topic over the last year is a book by Abbie Smith, called “Celibate Sex: Musings on Being Loved, Single, Twisted, and Holy.” So many beautiful thoughts there!

  • Dannah, thank you for addressing a question that has largely been ignored or simply met with “I don’t know.” I appreciate your honest response that does not shy away from God’s Truth and proclaims His grace. The concept of singleness as a gift is particularly difficult for me to swallow, but I believe this is God’s Truth and applaud your courage (and as a married woman) in relaying this to frustrated, discouraged and even despairing singles. I do have to say that I was bothered that you began the article by asking “why are you asking?.” I recognize that this is a legitimate and necessary question to ask, but for some of us, we are asking how to satisfy our sexual desires as singles because we know longing looks, touches, sex, etc. are outside of God’s present will for us and purpose to not attempt to sinfully “satisfy” sexual desires. Yet still, the God-given desires for intimacy are there, and we don’t know what to do with them, especially in regards to satisfying physical desires. I’m thinking that this is a matter of “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness,” but I look forward to hearing your thoughts on practically meeting the heart’s deepest longings.

  • I’ve understood this idea for a long time, that I can be fully satisfied in God. I go through periods of being at peace with my singleness and feel my sexual desires are “at rest” as you say, followed by periods where I allow my head to be filled with what this world is claiming to offer and then lose control over these desires… I’ve realised that thoughts and actions are very closely linked and that giving way to impure thoughts leads straight to impure behaviour. And then, obviously, I am disgusted with myself…

    And through it all, one question always remains: Once you are married, how do you manage to keep that deep, quiet, peaceful passion for God even though you are having sex? I am working hard to learn to be satisfied in Christ and that He is more important than sex, and that I can have mastery over my own desires through the power of the Spirit of Christ in me. I am afraid that if I get married, I will suddenly lose control over it all. I guess my question is three-fold: (1) How can one remain fully satisfied in Christ while being at the same time satisfied in their spouse? (2) How do you move from treating sexual thoughts, desires, and actions as impure and to be fought to seeing them as something good to be cultivated within the boundaries of marriage and (3) How do you prevent becoming obsessed with sex when you can have it?

    It seems like these are things I’ve read about or had explained to me several times and I manage to understand intellectually, but the questions keep coming back because they do not make sense to me experientially.

    Thanks!

    • This one is easy for me to answer. I’m married!

      First of all, when you are first married you are obsessed with sex. And it’s a wonderful thing! The scriptures taught men to take women away for the first year of marriage to learn how to please them. Let’s not forget that important instruction for it speaks of the freedom to be pleased!

      Second, you will find that there is a learning curve to tending to your relationship with Christ and tending to your husband. I find that when I’m not tending to my relationship with Christ, my relationship with Bob is frustrated, too. I noticed his socks in the middle of the floor and the way he leaves the drawers open just a crack. And I am grumpy about picking them up and closing it. But when I tend to my relationship with Jesus, these things just happen naturally. This is a simplistic example of how my relationship with Christ impacts my relationship with Bob, but it’s the one I’m willing to offer. Because I believe our sexual relationship is to be a treasured secret between us, I can only say this: that area of my life is still deeply impacted by my relationship with Christ. Here’s a great social science snap shot to consider…the University of Illinois found that the most orgasmic women were middle-aged, married, Protestants who were religiously active. God at the center stabilizes and blesses the sexual relationship.

  • Dannah:
    You really did not answer the question. At all. I have read through Corinthians, and as always, you leave out context and rely on quoting Christian self help books (none of which are biblically backed and all of which are purely based on the author’s personal experience). Paul writes that it is better to marry than to burn with passion. That verse is one of the more widely quoted, and first of all, does not in any way say premarital sex is a sin, or even alludes to such. What that verse, and nearly every other used in the sex argument, means is that, basically, if you can’t keep it in your pants and are always itching for it, then it is better that you find a partner so you can enjoy it with a person you love, as much as you both desire.

    Secondly, you do not tackle the very important question of masturbation or health. The only thing the bible says regarding that is that it is a sin to lust after/sexually objectify a person. However, masturbation does not require that you be mentally or spiritually lusting after someone.

    Sex and orgasm play an important role in a woman’s overall health as well. If a woman does not orgasm at least occasionally, the muscles of the female reproductive system atrophy. It can also seriously affect the endocrine system (particularly ovaries and production of estrogen and progesterone). Without sex, a woman is likely to experience uterine atrophy, hormone imbalance, and the effects of hormone imbalance, such as weight gain, depression and anxiety, changes in appetite and metabolism, barrenness, drastic changes in menstrual cycle, ovarian cysts… the list is pretty long when it comes to endocrine system deficiencies.

    By the way, I am and always have been a Christian. I have also worked in the health and natural health industry. I had premarital sex… a lot. He’s my husband now. We have a daughter. It’s the best and most God-pleasing life I could have asked for. And what’s best is that we met outside of church, in a Japanese styled dojo, as best friends for two years before we committed to each other romantically. He had been the greatest ally in my journey of healing from pay sexual abuse.

    • Let me first say that the goal of sexual self control is not sexual repression. A more total look at my body of work would prove that.

      As far as a woman’s health….without any stimulation whatsoever, a woman will experience sexual desires in her everyday life. Approximately 40 percent of women will awaken sexually aroused and possibly even having a spontaneous orgasm. This is called “nocturnal orgasm.” It’s natural and may be a part of God’s design to release sexual tension, much like a wet dream for men. A woman should not be condemned by her own sexual sensations, but should allow for natural release of them as God designed.

      As for your concern about women’s hormonal balance, there are pros and cons to celibacy. For example, you have overlooked sexually transmitted disease and the impact of them on a woman’s health. A woman who never has sex will NEVER get cervical cancer. Period. The risk is entirely eliminated. The risk of sexual activity in a day and age where STD’s are so common that every other sexually active person is impacted is tremendous. Go ahead…tell me she can use a condom. You would be correct and that would eliminate the risk of SOME STDs, but not all. And now I will tell you that a celibate woman can exercise and that would eliminate the risk of depression for many.

      Now, to the issue of the scripture. You do have the correct context of the Scripture. Paul says it’s better to marry if you have sexual desire than to burn. (In other words: the only outlet I approve for sexual expression is marraige.) But what of those who are not going to be married? It would be GREAT if every single person who wanted to be married, could be. But that’s not the case is it?

      As for your questions about masturbation and other forms of self-expression. I do intend to deal with them in the series. Hang tight for more great thoughts!

    • Sharon,
      Interesting you should mention those symptoms that a woman can get without having sex. I have had several of those in the last 12 years while waiting on God. Some of those include changes in my cycle, ovarian cysts ( had surgery and lost one of my ovaries), I have had considerable weight gain, got badly depressed, and wound up taking medication because of my anxiety. Adding to that I have had a change in appetite and metabolism. I keep trying to hope that God won’t delay longer. I’m quickly approaching 40 and I don’t want to have trouble trying to have children of my own.

  • Thank you so much. This is fantastic. As a single woman in my twenties sexual desire is something that I have wrestled with and I have always felt guilty for having, even though I have never acted on those desires. I know that acting on that desire is sin, but I never understood how to have more control over that desire so that I do not fall into temptation. Jesus being the answer makes so much sense. Looking back I realize that the times when I was closest to him were times when I did not struggle with these desires, but when I stray, these desires tend to come creeping back.

  • A truly inspiring blog post. Thank you so much! I’m going to share this with my single friends. More God, less world!

  • Thank you so much Dannah for listening to God, i haven’t found no body speaking the truth that you speak, and you are impacting much more that what you eyes and hears are seeing n hearing. I don’t know if you will belief this but you are opening a door for such multitudesof women that will run after you in this same spiritual truths.

  • What about when a woman is married, but her husband does not desire sexual intimacy? The longings are there, and it’s even harder within a marriage to know how to respond to them.

    • Liz, thanks for weighing in. I think many single women don’t realize that this is a married womans struggle too sometimes. I believe that God would desire for you and your husband to pursue counseling so that he can desire intimacy. It’s God’s plan for him to enjoy this with you. Perhaps if you get to the root of why his desire is off, you can fix it. But I do believe that the same guidelines to purity apply for you. Your husband is the only outlet you can use for sexual expression. Pursue him with love and prayer until there is healing.

  • You are gift and a piece of the light to this darkened world. Thank you for using your wisdom and power that the Lord has given to you. I only heard about you yesterday after my cousin bought a few of your books “get lost” and I’m trying to slow down as I’m already starting “the love feast” tomorrow. I started “falling in love” with a good friend of mine but when i asked God about it, He made it a clear NO. So, of course, i tried to stay positive and tell myself he has a plan, but now i just don’t care if we end up together or not because now I see I had such a longing for Him I was caught up terribly in the curse. Your book has had such an impact on just a short period that I can see clearly and understand it now. Thank you.

  • I want to be a brave and mighty warrior of the Lord’s army despite my marital status! I have to share with you all that my sexual desires are quiet when I am resting in His sweet love for me. Now, that doesn’t just happens, I need to go get it. I rest in His love as I spend time with Him in prayer, telling Him the honest truth of my desires and feelings. He takes excellent care of me when I run to rest under His wings! Sweet sister, if He does it for me He can do it for you too.

    • I understand and know the Word. My frustration comes not only in the not knowing if His plan includes a spouse for me, but more importantly, the married people at church who act as though they are married and single people aren’t because they followed the ‘directions.’ There are several people who followed the law and the Spirit faithfully and suffer through loneliness and unanswered prayers. Then there is the overwhelming majority of self righteous married ‘churchgoers’ who met in a less than spiritual design/environment and/or became spiritual on the backend who now want to quote scripture, advise and guide the ‘pathetic’ singles who obviously aren’t doing enough or doing things right to merit a spouse. Give me a break…it’s as though it would’ve been easier and better to act out, marry and then go to church than going to church and wasting away, unempowered to change your status because you are trying to be obedient. It’s so easy to preach celibacy and abstinence when you can rightfully get laid. It’s like preaching to someone to not run the A/C to get comfortable in hot weather b/c unlike them, you also have access to ceiling fans, window fans and a swimming pool….never mind you can’t tell them exactly how thou were fortunate enough to acquire such items and direct them to a place to procure their own.

      • Hello Over It. Here’s what I wish. I wish for one month every single woman could be married and every married woman could be single. I hear aches on both sides. Imagine being married and finding seasons where your spouse is not interested, can’t meet your sexual desires, is not trying. Is it any less painful. YES, there may also be seasons of good sex or emotional intimacy, but is it more painful to be a marriage that needs healing or to be single and desire companionship (and getting laid, as you put it). There’s much more here than you are seeing. Ask God for sight.

        • Hi Dannah,

          I hear your thoughts. Who does not want to be happily married with a great husband or happily being single and have all the freedom that one desires? However, the truth is that we all see the grass are greener at neighbors’. I love the idea that we need to really think about whether if we want a marriage that needs healing or to be a single that desires companionship? A very good question indeed because there is nothing perfect in this world. However, I must put it this way – getting married is a choice, but staying single is often not. I believe all these ladies who had argued with you had their points. None of them wanted to be single. None chose to be single. Therefore I think it is not fair to compare the two. If one wanted to get married, she must think about the consequences of getting into a bad marriage and then remember she once vowed to love her husband no matter what. As for singles, we (I am one indeed) never vowed before God that we didn’t need companionship. For the married who made a “wrong” choice to get married, it is their fault and they could blame no one. Why is it wrong to desire a companionship? Everybody does. So, I would prefer to speak straighly to the singles that once you made that “stupid” choice, there is no turning back. For me, I rather live in a marriage that needs healing than being single that desire companionship. At the end, in the worst case, both desire companionship. At least, I have made a choice and I know this is the trouble that I want to get into.

          Married people might not see this, but there are lots and lots of gossips about older single women when she was not that “normal” in people’s eyes. Majority of times, people would end up saying – oh, of course she is weird because she is not married. What that actually translated into is that she is not getting any sex. That’s the worst thing any single person could hear. Why is it easy and normal for married people to express their anguish without any complaint? And why any single woman just acted a bit stranger, then all goes to the account of her not being married?

          • Hello Vanessa. I hear your pain and frustration. The Church has a problem. We do not have a very thick understanding of singleness. As one author puts it, we must have a rich theology of celibacy and singleness or we are “like someone who is pro-life, yet anti-adoption.” Sadly, your last paragraph belies the truth that we are often much like this!
            How can we change that? What do we need to do in order to make your plight and loneliness more bearable? I’d love to hear your constructive thoughts and ideas.
            Now to a much harder thing to say. I fear I don’t see any reference to God’s will in your comment. What is His plan? His intention for your life? Does that matter? What does his Word say about your plight? Look deeply.

  • I don’t mean to crash your party but I come as a brother in Christ who shares in the same calling to singleness and can assure you that the grace of God is there. My wife left me ten years ago and God used that to draw me back to my faith in Christ which I had deserted 16 yrs earlier. For ten years I have been standing for my marriage and I simply place my wife in God’s hands, trusting Him with both her and my two boys while I fix my eyes on Him trusting Him to fulfill His promises in His time and in His way. In return God has gifted me with a couple hundred children in the neighborhood who are effectually fatherless. Almost every one of them born out of wedlock. He has put His love for them in my heart and every last one of them is desperate for legitimacy. Most all of them would do anything just to have there own biological mother and father together. And yet true spiritual legitimacy comes through God alone and all of us come to Him lacking in that spiritual legitimacy until we through adoption into God’s family are made complete in Christ. I have looked around for people of God who would speak into the area of purity and hold up God’s standard and purpose for marriage. That’s when I came across Dannah and now I have her book Devo’s for Teen Girls and The Bride Wore White. I have perhaps a couple dozen girls age 5 to 15 who will come by my little house in the hood, and I share devotions from those books amongst others with these children to whom marriage is a foreign concept and amongst whom statistics Canada tells me 75-95% of them have been molested and abused. They do not often tell me their stories but that is perhaps best as God knows their hurts and He is healing them. God is doing a good work and lifting His standard at the very gates of hell. Many in the church do not realize that a genocide of the family has come and reaped carnage in our western world for the simple reason that we have not held to God’s standard of keeping the marriage bed pure. Much is discovered by delving into one word… “covenant”. It is a key that will unlock many of the depths of scripture and it attests to the heart of God’s very character. The best of our marriages on this earth are but a pale and imperfect picture of the relationship between Christ and His church and that heavenly marriage that will last for eternity, If we truly have our eyes fixed on eternity, we will not be dismayed to give up marriage in this life for a marriage in eternity that will outlast and outshine it’s earthly counterpart. True love and intimacy is always selfless and looks to the eternal. False love, or lust is fleshly, temporal, self seeking and incredibly destructive. It looks not to the eternal. True love gives all it has and all looks for nothing in return, knowing that the very giving is the best gift of all. It is an eternal fountain with rivers of life flowing out.
    When someone like Eric Irivuzumugabe (My Father Maker of the Trees) can experience the horrors of the Rwandan genocide and see the goodness and sovereignty of God through it all, go on to say that God has put it on his heart to reach out to the children of broken families in America, he understands the full consequences of not keeping the marriage bed sacred. When Nick Vujicic, a man born without arms or legs, says that he does not consider himself hard done by compared to children coming from broken families, he too understands the depth of suffering children from broken families endure. We need much more expounding of God’s simple declaration “The marriage bed is sacred”. Fornication is to sabotage one’s marriage before it has begun as in order to be united as one in God’s plan, the seal of our hearts cannot be broken-they must be intact at the point of bonding. The ‘crazy glue’ only works once as long as both spouses shall live. Divorce is not simply a separating of husband and wife. It is the bloody cutting in two of every member of the family. It is an act of violence and carnage and defiles the marriage bed and brings a spirit of death into the family as death is always the penalty for breaking a covenant. Every time a husband and wife hug, it is an affirmation to the children of their legitimacy and belonging and speaks to the core of their being that they are the product of that selfless love that unites their parents into one flesh that acts in deep and true harmony. Contrarily, every time a mother or father shares intimacy with one who is not the biological parent of that child (save in cases of remarriage where one spouse has passed on) it is like a knife to the heart, a complete betrayal of who that child is at the core of their being. I would liken it to trying to inject the wrong blood type into a person’s veins. That foreign substance is rejected by the body in a violent way in a near fatal manner. In my dealings with children, I have heard the screams from their hearts and I believe this thing we refer to as step parents is a counterfeit role not backed by scripture. Adoption on God’s terms is a beautiful thing but step parents is a different matter.
    I realize I digress greatly from the original topic but it is all part of the bigger picture. I would challenge every one to give out of their needs as the widow with her last mite, and I would challenge people as the woman at the well, to point others to Jesus even at the time of having their own hurts healed.

    God Bless and keep up the good work Dannah. Your efforts are touching the hearts of some of the most needy children here in my neighborhood. We each only have an inkling and but a small piece of God’s greater plan. Time cannot confine eternity. The surface of the deeps are only just being skimmed in this life.

    • A brother in Christ with good thoughts can always crash this party. I’m humbled and blessed that a dad is taking time to speak into the lives of girls with my books. Thank you! I’ll be praying for you and your heart and your family as I go through my day today.

    • Tim Gingrich,
      WOW, powerful words! Thank you for sharing your comments. You bring a depth of perspective to this topic that is not often considered among Christians–or even recognized. So often we focus on the branch we’re perched on – ourselves and our situation – instead of looking at the bigger picture, the trunk of the tree. That’s not to in any way minimize the difficulties of being single. I’ve been both married and single. Now I’m married again. I’m researching how to deal with the problem of sex outside of marriage for a faith-based fiction book I’m working on. Your comments have given a sure foundation to the topic. Thanks again. God speed.

  • I stumbled across this writing and see it is a valiant stand. This is like the north star that no matter what direction you might find yourself in the world, if you want correctly align your bearings as a son/daughter of God, look up, His Word will not fail and cannot fail.

  • It’s like I always felt before. A different kind of fast. Once I put into practice immersing myself in who God is, I can forget my hunger when I’m fasting (from food). But a lot of immersion translates into a short period of forgetting my flesh. It takes a tremendous amount of focus and prayer to sustain a fast for days or weeks. This is quite a bit more challenging as I’m now in my mid-30s. The truth is the truth. and the reality is investing my heart in my true Groom has significantly more eternal value. But it is truly and act of the Holy Spirit to live in that space daily. I’m sure that somewhere I’ll be a better woman and not just a crazy lady for it.

    • Thank you for sharing this, Andrea. I haven’t thought of it as fasting (indefinitely) before. Just like with food (at least for me) my body will desire sexual pleasure every day and some times the wanting of release may be extremely severe–this even without having a person in my life that I am being tempted by, and not reading/watching material that would aggravate the need for paying more attention to those desires. I know desire has been connected to hunger as an analogy before; however, I had not connected a lack of a means to physically alleviate it without any questions of it being “okay” with God to fasting. I have looked at it as something to endure and learn how to work through–distraction – and grace – when that doesn’t work. Lately my M.O. in severe times has turned to telling God I want and am asking for a husband. This has led to some specific questions and wants associated also being voiced to Him. Everything is His will be done, but I think not holding back what I want from Him frees me up more to be open to what He has–trusting His heart isn’t “too bad, so sad, no honey and no nookie for you!” because I don’t know if I am managing things right. He knows what I want – I used to vaguely pray and thought I meant it by saying”whatever you want, Lord”. Now though, it is a deeper asking and more waiting! (I am 43, never married, raised a son single-never had a serious boyfriend after pregnancy) It is different than it has been for a long time. Perhaps the fasting analogy which I think includes tuning the ear to God for something specifically connected to that unfulfilled desire, would result in more growth in Christ. I also think looking at it that way is more intentional and gives the will a chance to surrender control to Christ rather than suppress or divert attention. It is more proactive than reactive to the body’s signals. My I did go on! Thank you for posting! 🙂

  • Whilst I agree that a life of singleness is hard and frustrating, maybe even more so in an African culture, the grace of God is sufficient to meet our every need. I believe I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me, including living a fulfilled satisfied single life without compromising chastity. I am a thirty year old single lady who is still a virgin and I know what am talking about. The word of God is true and we do not need to alter it to suit our situations. Rather, we must align ourselves to the word and then, we will experience much grace and find much freedom. The more we yield to God, the less we struggle with sexual desire and other earthly struggles.

    Thank you Danah for this timely word. In as much as it maybe what we do not want to hear, it is what we need to hear. Whether it is coming from you or anyone else, the word of God remains true.

  • I read most of the writings in this post….For the most part my heart was breaking.

    I am a single woman with strong sexual desires and I am not ashamed of them, I embrace them. I know that these desires are part of the human composition that God lovingly created. I only hope that I don’t ever loose them. I pray that when the time arrives for me to enter into the realm of holy matrimony that my new husband can handle me. As godly women we are called to the admonishment that is written in the book of 1Thessolonians 4:1 which states:

    “For this is the will of God your sanctification; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor………….”

    My beautiful sisters, we are called to exercise SELF CONTROL over our bodies when those sexual urges begin to rise up. The blood of Jesus does cover all. Tap into that. Don’t go and loose your blessings and the favor of God because you cannot wait. It is not worth it. Trust me I know. The presence of God is more than enough to get you through.

    As singles we tend to look at the grass being greener on the other side and become bitter and frustrated because God is taking to long to bring us Mr. Man. Ask yourself now, what are you going to do when your Mr. Man experiences erectile dysfunction, in other words “can’t get it up.” Now that is a subject not talked about in the church. You are finally a married woman and again sexually frustrated…..What is your plan? God is the plan! In singleness and in marriage. God has to be our end all and be all. There are no guarantees of paradisiac happiness on this earth especially in marriage. Ask your married friends if they will tell you the truth. All be glorified in heaven. That is why our author was trying to emphasize keeping our focus on eternal things and not earthly things.

    Pursue your other passions and gifts and stay occupied with them so that you are no so consumed with being sexually frustrated. It is only for a moment.

    • Thanku………..good respnse to a well written Biblical post. God is still God & when we struggle He wants to bring us through. It gives us a chance to grow closer or furthur away from Him.

  • Even as a married person, this article (and especially the last paragraph) is very powerful for me. I’m looking forward to your follow up entries!

  • Dannah, thank you so much for tackling this question. I give you huge props for doing this as a married woman! Thank you for your concern for us singles. I’m a Christian, never-married, 44-years-old, no kids, no boyfriend, no prospects. And no sex. At this point, I don’t really feel like I’m abstaining since there doesn’t seem to be any hope of sexual fulfillment in my future. I am just flat out, undesirably celibate. But this is where the Lord has me and I have to live with it.

    Our pastor just did a sermon on Proverbs 5:15-23, you know the one about the man enjoying his “blessed fountain” and delighting in his wife’s breasts? That, along with the Song of Solomon, is a very hard passage for me to get through and hearing sermons on how the gift of sexual fulfillment is so wonderful and we are commanded to please our spouses, and he still gets butterflies when he sees his wife, and on, and on, and on…..it’s excruciating for us singles. So I really appreciate you encouraging us. What you’ve said here is true. It’s not entirely what we want to hear but I can’t deny it’s biblical. Making peace with singleness for life and celibacy has been a grueling work-in-progress for me. As I have learned more and more how to deal with these desires biblically, I’ve written about them in my blog. Attached are some of the articles I’ve posted. There will likely be more.

    Blessings to you! I can’t wait for the next post in this series!

    http://singleunexpectedly.blogspot.com/2013/08/can-i-face-lifetime-of-no-sexwithout.html

    http://singleunexpectedly.blogspot.com/2013/03/what-do-i-do-with-these-desires.html

    http://singleunexpectedly.blogspot.com/2012/09/why-should-i-be-sexually-pure-year.html

  • Just like in any other life situation, it matters what we set our eyes on. I have been a single mom for many years. I dont expect the church to meet my needs. I go to church to love and serve others and in doing so, the Lord always meets my needs. I would suggest that singles really get to know themselves and recognize things they have allowed in their lives that dont encourage them in their singleness. Im not referring to sin but just some life choices like the movies we watch or music we listen too or the thoughts we allow our minds to dwell on. These things matter. If you are experiencing lonliness and most of your free time is spent watching romantic movies or dwelling/thinking about all of your friends who are married or how much you hate being single, just maybe you need to make some different choices. I have found Jesus to be the answer and my response to Him so important. Disobedience always brings discomfort of some kind (slavery isnt fun). Singleness is a gift we can embrace and thrive in if we choose to. Choose wisely!

  • I am so grateful for your boldness in speaking this truth. I married six years ago at 41 and lived with the tension of singleness for 20 years beyond the marriages of my four siblings and many of my friends. I spent seasons living in Christ and others in the world — desperate to figure out how to live beyond seeing singleness as a huge inconvenience sometimes and at others, simply a curse. The truth is that God is enough and your friend’s testimony about the balance between spiritual fullness and sexual contentment is spot on. When we are filled with Christ and focused on Him, there is no room left for satan to fool us into thinking we are somehow being marginalized or ripped off because we are not having sex. As single women, it is possible to be sexually alive and whole in Jesus Christ, all the while keeping our relationships, behavior and thought life pure. A deep, passionate love for God and the things of Him fill the empty, longing places so that we are able to live fully, serving and loving others as single people are uniquely able to do.

    Now that I am married, I see that one can be equally lonely in marriage as one might feel as a single. Sometimes even more lonely because marriage comes with a false belief (in the worldly sense) that one should never be lonely again. But, as you mentioned, all marriage is temporary and the sexual relationship hinges greatly on the spiritual depth of each partner. In times of spiritual drought, there also comes a sexual drought. Spiritual intimacy is the great prerequisite to sexual intimacy.

    All this to say that I pray God will continue to compell you to speak out about these matters. A great many women need to have the opportunity to hear and embrace the truth. May you find just the right words from God and others to bring this important message.

    In the meantime, all of us should look out for the singles in our lives — both men and women — love them, encourage them, pray for them and include them. Never give them the impression that they are somehow “less than” for a status in life that is completely in God’s hands, not their own.

  • Wow, Dannah. As a single 30-year-old, I have read so many articles and books on this topic that I could probably now write an 80-page book of my own, but the thing that always breaks my heart when I come across it is the sentiment you expressed above: “you don’t need an outlet for sexual expression, you need more of God.” I am not asking for your permission to wiggle around what Scripture says, as I chose long ago not to have sex before marriage. I’m not asking the question because I want to find some loophole in the rules. I’m asking because I have faithfully followed what I always believed to be the wise and true path, and yet I still feel as though I’m being told, “Well, you’re just not wanting enough of the right thing”–by someone who apparently wanted the right thing, got “enough” of it, and then was rewarded with a husband as well. I don’t mean to dismiss you and the truth you speak, but I feel dismissed in your three choices of the kind of single I can be, or in your intimation that this has to be an either-or: either you want God or you want sex. Can’t I want both? Surely you want both. Surely that is part of the draw toward marriage. Can’t I leave a legacy and use my singleness well (which I think I have) and still feel pangs of loneliness at night? Is there ever such thing as “enough”? I don’t think there is–at least, not an “enough” that is fulfilled on this planet. And hearing that there are problems in marriages, too, well–that’s like telling a starving person, “Yeah, I mean, I have fruit in my fridge, but it’s not all ripe yet.” Yeah, well, it’s still food. Someone talking about green bananas doesn’t make me less hungry.

    • Hello Sweet Girl:

      You have some great thoughts here. Beautiful. Transparent. True. I’m going to pull a few things that Dr Juli Slattery wrote in our recent co-release Pulling Back the Shades. It seems like they fit here. Don’t miss the stuff at the end. It deals with the loneliness.

      From the time you were little, you have been told what you can expect, what you deserve, what God owes you. These promises are more American than Biblical. As westerners, we have been conditioned with a microwave mentality that tells us every hunger will be immediately fed, all discomfort will be lavishly eliminated and that we are the center of our own universe. The message is that you are not supposed to ever be uncomfortable, or have a longing that is not met. Christians spiritualize this western thinking with “name it and claim it” pieces of Scripture like:
      “God works all things for the good…”
      “If you ask anything in my name, you will receive it.”
      “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
      But we don’t hang plaques or laminate index cards with this promise from Jesus:
      “In this world you will have tribulation.”
      We have to embrace the whole context of what the Bible says, including the many passages that remind us that hardship, sickness, rejection and even persecution are part of the Christian life. Otherwise, we end up embracing false promises.
      It’s about time someone told you the truth – a truth that you intuitively know, but perhaps have been hesitant to accept: Life is hard; not every longing you have on earth will be fulfilled.

      I’ll bet you’ve never heard a sermon on what God does not promise. This is unfortunate, because it is quite dangerous to place your trust in things you falsely assume God has promised. Basing your belief system on false promises places you at risk of doubting God’s character.
      Have you ever put money into a vending machine and been denied your snack or soda? In that moment of frustration did you shake the machine to get your dangling chips to drop, or stick your hand up the opening to try to pry out the candy bar?
      Often, we can treat God this way. It’s easy to fall into this trap because he has set forth principles of wisdom and morality that are supposed to make life go better. And a lot of times they do. The woman who works diligently on her marriage often falls more deeply in love with her man. The young woman who devotes herself to God and holiness often is rewarded with a godly husband. But not always.
      What if God says no? What if He doesn’t bring the husband, or the miracle, or the money or the healing? Will you still love and worship Him or will you feverishly demand what you expected? Do you serve God because of the gifts He gives or do you love Him simply because He loves you? The blogger who slipped off her purity ring rightly came to the conclusion that “a lot of [single] girls were sold on a deal, not a Savior.”
      When you incorrectly believe that God has promised you something and you don’t receive it, it’s natural to conclude that he’s failed you. This makes you doubt His goodness, His faithfulness and His plan for you in all things. Jesus said that He came that we might have life and to have it abundantly. His promises are great, and He is trustworthy in fulfilling each one. However, His ways are not our ways, and He has not promised some of the things you may have assumed He has.

      God never promised to bring Prince Charming.
      Don’t confuse God with Walt Disney. Not every good, little girl will have a dashing man waiting to rescue her to ride off into the sunset. Are there some beautiful, God-ordained marriages? Absolutely! But remember that those represent the gracious hand of God. Marriage is to be honored by all as a gift – not an entitlement.
      I know this may sound like lame comfort if you are waiting, longing and praying that God will bring a man. But accepting that this desire may not be met will free you from the bondage of holding God to promises that He has never made.
      Yes, God created you with deep longings to be loved by a man. It is a wonderful thing to pray for and even hope for – but not something to place your hope upon. Your longing to be rescued by the white knight actually transcends the desire for a husband. It is meant to reflect your heart’s deep yearning to be saved by the ultimate Bridegroom.
      Have you ever realized that God’s Word promises that Jesus will come on a white horse to rescue His bride (Revelation 19:7-11), He is preparing a mansion for her (John 14:3) and will one day wipe away every tear (Revelation 21:4)? These words were written thousands of years before fairy tales. The Cinderella story is just a shadow of a much, greater spiritual longing. When marriage is healthy and men are truly honorable and chivalrous, this is a celebration of the ultimate Prince.
      Yes, you are destined to be saved by the Prince. But His name is not Charming, or Sebastian, or Christian Grey. His name is Jesus.

      And then this on loneliness…because you are correct. You CAN be obeying God and experience loneliness. (My point wasn’t that you would never be lonely, but when you don’t focus on it but USE your singleness for good…it will be less consuming and crippling.)

      God never promised that you wouldn’t be lonely.
      There are a lot of lonely people in the Bible. Joseph was lonely in prison, David was lonely much of his life, Esther was all by herself in a king’s haram, and even the apostle Paul felt alone at the end of his life.
      The lonely character that haunts me the most is one that you may not have ever heard of. Her name is Tamar and she was David’s daughter. This royal princess seemed to have everything until her half-brother, Amnon, raped her. Amnon violated Tamar because he was “desperately in love with her.” He HAD to have her. He obsessed about her night and day until he literally felt sick. Once he had sex with Tamar, his love immediately turned to hatred. The Bible says that Amnon “hated her more intensely than he had loved her.”
      Tamar begged Amnon to marry her and take away her disgrace, but he kicked her out and completely rejected her. Her tragic story continued as her brother Absalom avenged Tamar by killing Amnon. Tamar was a victim – a victim of sexual abuse, incest and rejection. In Biblical times, she was disgraced and would never marry, even though she had done nothing wrong. Her fate? “She lived a desolate woman in Absalom’s house.” (2 Samuel 13:20).
      There are many women like Tamar in the world. Maybe you are one of them. While God never promises that we wouldn’t be lonely, He did promise that you never have to be alone. When you long to have what God has not given, He reminds you, “Be content with what you have. I will never leave you and never forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:4-5). Run to him, not Don’t run to the false promise of erotica or shallow sexual relationships. The Lord sees your loneliness and promises to meet you with His own presence.
      God’s Word continually tells us that earth is not heaven and that it will take faith and perseverance to live this life well. The whole earth is “groaning” with you, longing for things to be made right. So, what do you do with the disappointment? The loneliness? The mundane of your marriage or sex life? Your personal groaning?
      If you are alone or discouraged or desperately longing for intimacy, you will seek comfort somewhere. You will place your faith and hope in something or someone. You have a choice: to follow the pattern the world prescribes or to follow the will of God. You will find your hope and comfort either in the world’s answers or in God. Here’s what the Bible says about your choice:

      Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride of life—is not from the Father but is from the world. And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever. I John 2:17

      • It’s laughably easy for you to say bring married, and quite frankly quite patronising. I would not want to spend any time listening to you on your high horse to be honest. You have no idea of the pain and agony a single woman doing the “right” thing goes through daily. Pure torture.

        • Oh Hayley, I’m sad it came across that way to you. It’s not fair is it? What life deals us and then having to hear the advice of people who aren’t currently wearing our shoes. But sometimes the perspective from a different angle can be helpful if you can just open your heart.

      • So how can we be satisfied in God? I want to be satisfied in Him whether or not he ever gives me a husband. But how do we do this? Everyone keeps saying I just need to give these desires to God and trust Him, but HOW DO I DO THIS? Can God really satisfy us single women in the same way a husband would? I don’t understand. He can’t physically hold me when I’m lonely or be my “plus one” at a wedding. I don’t mean to sound rude, but I’m tired of all these abstract answers. I’ve read all of your posts and just don’t get it. Thank you though for being so willing to talk about these difficult topics! It seems like most people just want to tell single women to trust God and wait on Him, whatever that means. I want to be complete in Him, but I don’t see how He can meet my desires for a husband and sex. Just being honest 🙁

        • Allison, the truth is some parts of life just stink. They’re hard. We address this in Pulling Back The Shades. The woman who is only 30 and her husband is in a wheelchair for the rest of his life will never be held the same way again. The woman whose body will not create life has inhibitions and hurts that may never be resolved. The single woman who longs to be married…the list is long of our longings this side of heaven. Before HE RETURNS AND WIPES EVERY TEAR AND FULFILLS EVERY DESIRE COMPLETELY. Until then, you will only be satisfied by him as you step into HIS LOVE. Day by day. Hour by hour. Moment by moment. If you are looking for a formula, I have not found one. But I have found his deep satisfaction in my disappointments and longings for this life. You can too. Just seek and you will find when you look with your whole heart. Look to him.

        • Allison,

          You want concrete solutions… here’s my penny’s worth: Read holy books, especially on the Saints. Try St. Augustine’s autobiography called “Confessions of St. Augustine”. Do you know I have beaten my problem (with much joy) after I read it. He had a problem controlling his sexuality, too. Funny that he was able to conquer himself by hearing the life story of another saint, St. Antony the hermit!! You should read it and I hope you read, too, other holy books to get out of this box we live in, in this century, and find the truth about what really matters in life.
          God bless you.
          And God bless Dannah, too!

  • Thank you Danna for your thoughtful contributions and deep insight.

    I am single and in my mid-thirties and i recognize the fact that when some bodily functions are not utilized there are health implications. Yet, I have seen God’s faithfulness in that area of my life.

    I also realize that in spite of the cultural demands to get married from everyone, that God is actually sufficient. It has been a hard struggle, when i even question God’s faithfulness, while waiting. Yet, there is a testimony that comes with being faithful, character is developed. People are looking at you, children are learning from you. Your life is firstly a testimony, a vessel for his glory. Our society has become a pray-and-God-will-answer-and-if-he-does-not-we-will-make-our-own-god-who-will-answer. We need to be like men in the fiery furnace, who take a biblical stand and refuse to back down. Purity is a stand we need to take. Incidentally, I minister to kids, and teaching them about Daniel courage by choosing to obey God’s laws instead of society’s demands resonates in my heart as well.

    God’s desire for us is to be free, to live holy lives that challenge the traditions of the world around us. Intimacy with Him, comes first whether in marriage or as a single. It is not re-prioritized in marriage. The longings do not disappear when we submit to Him, they become controlled by the Holy Spirit., whether as a single or married. I will not deny that some days it is easier said than done, when the desire to have someone make you feel very hot and excited does not become consuming. But God is and always is faithful. He is strength when you need it. Leaning on Him declaring your dependence on Him and His Word, He fills your life and guides you gently when the heat waves come.

    Many Christians have been and are married to unsatisfactory bed partners, who for no reason of theirs, are not sexually active, do not match their partners libido and yet they are happily married. Whether they maintain a standard of purity or not, the struggle for the expression of their sexuality remains.

    Danna, thank you for reminding us that the call to purity is rooted in a deep abiding relationship with Christ.

  • Thank you for speaking this truth in love. God has definitely used this to challenge me today and bring grace to my heart.

  • This post is point blank blasphemous. Those who burn with sexual desire ought to be married. Those who do burn with sexual desire were and are meant for marriage. Those who are destined for the “gift” of singleness won’t burn with a sexual desire. So the answer to someone questioning how to fulfill their sexual desire if destined for singleness is easy – marraige.

    • Hayden, there are many women who are open to marriage but their prince has not come. Your solution wreaks of insensitivity.

      • Dannah,
        Thanks for your blog post above, and I also agree with your reply to Hayden. You wrote above “you don’t need an outlet for sexual expression, you need more of God.”
        Honestly, I think you’re probably right… but how does that practically work? A single man, with no known prospects, ‘waiting on God to provide’, late at night, experiencing temptation, telling myself ‘what I need is more of God, surely that will satisfy me more than sex.’ At that point, what? Read my Bible? Pray? Anything else? I ask this in sincere earnestness.

        • It’s not easy. Nothing good or worthwhile or holy or pure is. But here’s one key: you must have an outlet of conversation through Christian men. Since I’m a woman, I’m not the best person to advise you, but a man who has walked in the same challenges and temptations of men is a necessity for you to be able to walk in integrity.

  • I was just wondering…why do you suppose the Church seems to overlook teaching about singleness? If they are to preach/teach about the ‘whole counsel of God’ that includes messages about living the Christian LIFE, not just preaching messages that talk about the “family,” etc. I do believe in this season of my life (even though I have no idea how long this season will last) God has gifted me with the gift of singleness. I really is a supernatural gift. Being in a church with others who don’t have this gift, is difficult at times, because you wonder whether or not “am I the only one that God has gifted this way?” Are those of us who truly have this gift a dime a dozen (are there more of us out there, but we have a hard time finding each other?), or are we truly rare? For me, where I live it seems like there’s not that many single people out there so I have very few single friends…so it does get lonely sometimes. I’m wondering though if people are wrong though- that statistics say that the “majority of us are called to marriage.” Why do I think this way? Because probably some married people or even singles who only have marriage on their minds haven’t “come across” anyone who was truly gifted with the gift of singleness…meaning we don’t seem to struggle as much with our physical sexual desires as someone who is single, but marriage is all they think about…I am not perfect- I do still struggle with my sexual desires, but I hardly ever think about marriage. I am more or less happy to be single. I know that God has a plan for my life, but yet for those of us who are truly gifted to be single, it’s very hard to be this way when the Church has no idea what to do with us….they don’t provide teaching for us, and they don’t consider us very important to the body of Christ…they forget that Jesus Christ, God in human flesh was Single. Mary, whom God allowed to bear the Son of God wasn’t even married when God’s Spirit came upon her…there needs to be more teaching in the Church about how unmarried women can bear spiritual children…we as Christians were ALL made to bear fruit, and not all of it is in the form of physical children. Singles who are truly gifted with God’s gift of singleness can be a driving force for the Kingdom. We just need the tools, the teaching, the encouragement, the mentors and the courage of those who’ve gone ahead of us who have walked this single path before us, and can speak Life and HOPE AND WISDOM into our lives. Mrs. Gresh, it would greatly encourage ALL of us singles if more people who are truly gifted with singleness would STEP UP TO THE PLATE and write and find and mentor those of us who need guidance in our lives…because our married counterparts from yesteryear can’t seem to relate to us…I realize God is doing something new in our midst..i think I even read a statistic that nowadays, there are more SINGLE PEOPLE out there in our society than there are MARRIED PEOPLE out in our society today…so SOMEONE needs to be a VOICE of encouragement for these ones. God is looking for those wholly devoted to Him…and I’m sure that any committed Christian who’s married can attest to the fact that sometimes it’s HARD to be “wholly devoted” to the Lord when you’re married because your interests are now divided…you have a husband and God to tend to…but anyway…thank you for doing your best to speak into our lives…we just need more single people willing to discover their gifts and STEP UP TO BE A VOICE for the rest of us.

    • I’m sorry you have experienced some isolation in your singleness. I hang around with a lot of older single women and so the ministry within our small group caters to their needs as well as those of our married members. Sometimes ministry in these places is a vital necessity. But you are correct that we don’t often have series on singleness as we do marriage showing up at church. You seem to have suggested the right solution. We need singles to step up to be a voice. Maybe that will be you?

  • I experienced those “nocturnal orgasms” when I was about 9-12 years of age. I would awaken from my sleep and just have a spontaneous orgasm. (Although at that age I had no idea what an orgasm was). I am 14 now and although I do not experience this anymore I still feel very guilty and ashamed. Is it possible even to get them at 9 years old? I feel like I’ve had sex even though I am a virgin. I know I’ve definitely experienced an orgasm and the powerful feelings associated with it. If this is God’s intention then why do I feel so wrong about it even if it is beyond my control?

    • Hello Anon

      I took some time to seek the advice of a Christian psychologist on this one because I wanted to be accurate. We both agree that a nine year old is capable of having a nocturnal orgasm. While it is not the norm, it is not impossible. One concern we have is the amoung of shame you express. That seems less likely for a girl that age, though not entirely out of the realm of possibility as normal. Our concern is asking whether or not the shame is masking and marking a past sexual experience that was not healthy. I am not saying this HAS happened, I’m saying you should explore it. Even something as simple as seeing someone naked, being touched just once inappropriately, or viewing pornography could create a reaction like this. And you want to explore the reasons behind the guilt and shame. Do you have someone in your church who does counseling? Or could you talk to your mom? Or your youth pastor’s wife? I highly recommend not walking through this alone. You haven’t done anything wrong and you should never walk alone.

      • Hey Dannah,
        Thank you SO much for your reply. I have always been quite uncomfortable – almost scared around guys, especially as a young girl. Mum told me I would always burst into tears as soon as a guy entered the room. That rings alarm bells for some reason because I still sometimes feel really tense around guys. (Especially older guys around 30-40) I am also very uncomfortable with physical touch – even holding hands and hugging. Sometimes I get the feeling I was sexually abused when I was very young – but I don’t want to tell anyone in case I am wrong or just overreacting. It is a thought that has been haunting me ever since I knew what sexual abuse was.

        I do have one older girl who I am close to but I am really uncomfortable about sharing it with her. And I don’t know, I just really think my mum wouldn’t understand me.

        I really appreciate all the effort you have put into writing a thoughtful answer back to me. I feel a lot better. Everything you have said is so helpful and I’m actually crying right now because I just can’t believe I have shared my deepest secret with such an insightful and amazing woman.
        Thank you xx

        • Sweet girl, you can consider yourself hugged.

          I want you to talk to the older girl you feel you can tell and then write back to me. Ok?

  • I have read most of your comments but i have to say that after serving The Lord for over 15 years, this is the worst life ever! The fact is, it so damn hard to get a prayer answered by God. He is good and quick at handing out pain, problems, struggles, DISSAPOINTMENT, but hard as a brick to answer a prayer that would truly bring joy to a person’s life. God simply loves suffering! I don’t care how christians try to sugar coat this truth, he did not put us here for any type of happiness (even serving him). Another fact is, many single men and women are destined to die in that condition, but are encourgaed by naive believers to keep the faith. I have seen the truth about the awful side of God and it stinks like poop.

    • Hello Sari

      Your experience is sad. I’m so sorry. My experience has been so very different. Yes, there has been terrible suffering at times, but the overriding experience I have had with God has been enjoyment.

      And in the suffering, I’ve found joy. He is my only sustenance at times. Last year was a particularly painful year, but he held me together and I felt his presence in it. http://purefreedom.org/when-youre-walking-on-water-and-you-sink/ The fact is, in this world you will have trouble. But it is easier trouble to face with God than without him.

      That said, Christians often overlook the fact that God asks hard things of us. Obedience is difficult. Sexual obedience may be one of the hardest. And we just don’t like to talk about how hard things might be when we submit ourselves fully to him. Do we?

      I wonder exactly what it is that has broken your heart so completely? Exactly what is the disappointment? I’d like to pray for you.

      • thanks Dannah, but don’t waste your time. I’ve concluded that God’s will for my life is signed and sealed and no amount of prayer is going to change it. I guess the only thing left to pray for is a change of heart that i may accept the lot he has given me.

        • Are you happy? Content? Do you think God’s will is good? I’m just asking because it sounds like resignation, not purpose. God has a really great purpose for you. None of us has an EASY purpose. None of us is without hardship. But you find the joy in the pressing in to purpose. Without that, resignation is rather hopeless.

  • Thank you Dannah for your obedience, boldness, and honesty. I think it is projects like this that are much needed.

    Our one desire in this life should be to be with our Beloved. Our Father. Our Bridegroom. No matter what struggle we have, the answer is always that we pursue God more. Sometimes that means sitting at His feet and just listening, just crying. The kind of questions we need to ask ourselves are: through it all will I still serve Him? Will I stand for the one who GAVE EVERYTHING just for me? Would I rather be bitter than seek His comfort?
    Singleness is a gift. It is a gift to be closer to God. A gift that allows us a different understanding of this life. God just wants to be close to us. And we will never die into loneliness. You see, we will forget all of this life. We will enter into a Kingdom of love, joy and perfection. We will not be given in marriage to one another, but to One. All and individually given to the Bridegroom who has longed for us. If we would just wait on Him. Cast of all selfish desires. Seek the Bridegroom. Faith is hard. Truth is hard. But once we receive it there is freedom beyond what we have ever known. Even those living in bondage, one day He will come back and if you have not received His Spirit yet, you will see then.

  • Some how i feel that every part of me is connected down under. Once in a while i feel like to read hot short stories or masturbate. I know this is displeasing to God.I thought i could have the need eliminated for sex. On the other hand, before my commitment,when i used to masturbate much more, id feel that if i felt good about down under then id feel good about me, good about life..Im a heterosexual female. Whats wrong with me.

    • Nothing is wrong, Jo. This is called the battle of the flesh. Read Romans 7, get an accountability partner, and tackle this thing with community not in isolation. But know that you are not alone and your struggle is very normal.

  • I have come to the conclusion that masturbation is okay for me. It helps me relieve sexual tension and stress. To each his own. Please don’t judge.

  • I was married for 35 years and enjoyed a wonderful sex life. My husband died of cancer just a year ago and I struggled for a number of months with sexual temptations, giving in to masturbation.. It all left me feeling empty and sad inside. I find that if I stay away from movies, reading material that has sex or nudity in it I am able to avoid falling into that trap. I disconnected my satellite TV and I keep busy in the community and church, serving others and having good solid relationships with both single and married people. I exercise and eat well and to stave off vaginal atrophy I use a natural, estrogen based cream. I have also prayed this prayer and it has helped a lot.
    Father, by an act of my will, I loose all lust and impure thoughts from my soul and bind to myself purity, self control and inner strength.
    Is it possible that I might at some point fall back into temptation? Yes…but that doesn’t bother me. the Lord forgives my stumbles and I just pick myself up and go on.

    • Brave and transparent words, Heather. I think that we live in a society where the constant IV drip of sexuality makes it hard not to be aroused. You’re being gutsy and turning off the drip.

  • Hi,
    Good article. I’m 36 year old women, meant to be single. I still haven’t committed in to any sexual act with a man. But from age of 20 till 24 i was struggling with masturbation. I was thinking it’s OK, because many singles advocate masturbation as a less worse way to satisfy your body. But this statement is wrong from the beginning. Sexuality is not about satisfying your body it’s about true mental and physical and soul connection between two married souls brains and bodies. And what is masturbation? It’s fake sex or sex with yourself or tricking your body but not the soul and its definitely keeps you away from sexual purity path. God i’m glad I’ve lived with my parents back then. And i thank for God my mother accidentally noticed me masturbating in the shower. It took 6 hard months to overcome it(with supervision of my mother), but afterwards i got a completely different feeling and perception of sexuality while living true abstinence life. Hopefully i will find a man someday, but if i won’t, i will regret the only thing: taking totally wrong path when i was 20 years old.

  • The human being is the current most grandiose manifestation of God. You: consciousness — the shaper of our world. The problem is you fail to look within yourself for the answers you seek, you fail to trust in yourself. Instead, you look for help in others who naturally struggle with the same dilemmas, but claim to know their resolution. The moral compass has already been set ages ago. Stop dwelling on your artistic accomplishments. Your wise teachings from the holy books have by now been inscribed in our subconscious. The patterns have been observed and the ideals are being perfected. We are constantly reminded of them. Take charge, your path is yours and yours alone. How low is your wickedness that you fear your own desires. If your desires are this low, don’t you worry, you are slowly being leavened by the higher order. But you silly, if you masturbate and feel guilty, its because you’re being wasteful and nothing more. The jolt of good energy could’ve been shared with another being. Do you feel this bad when you waste a plate of food? Maybe you should. If you are lonely, it’s because you are limiting yourself. Expand your social circles and stop judging others. Have you not learned anything from your own great characters. Do you really think a ritual like marriage is sufficient enough to bind love, or that sex on a marriage bed is the only way to a stable happy relationship? Regardless of your situation, life isn’t easy, so be a responsible adult and think for yourself. You do have common sense after all.

      • Dannah, I cant be your god right now because you are, and the billions of beings together comprise the great lord. However, I believe that within the larger and whole scheme of life, we are all ultimately accountable to each other and so I am just pointing out what I believe is the truth I have seen. BTW, that comment above does seem preachy on my part and might need some editing, but for the most part the main message I was trying to get across is there. I’ve never posted a comment on any website, (and I browse a lot) but one day while doing some research and reading this, something possessed me to write one. Some may argue that when a valuable moral message is spoken, the holy spirit has spoken. Maybe this is why it sounds to you, like Im trying to play God. Or maybe you think my message is of an unholy spirit. In that case, please feel free to disregard it.

        Hope you had a Merry Christmas and take care.

  • I stumbled upon this page. Probabaly for a reason. I’ve read just about everything on this page. Found some valuable information. Yet I see this site was intended primarily for women. Is there any site like this for guys, where I could share with other guys on this topic, you know of? Because of a number of psychological disorders (OCD is the main one) I am in no way able to keep and maintain a healthy covenant relationship (marriage). Sexuality has become a nightmare for me. I am now 54 years of age. Had some relationships in the past but they never worked. Now single again for almost 14 years. Feeling so lonely. Not (only) because the lack of godly sexuality in my life but mostly because of the lack of the being together thing, the soulmate. Sexual sin has been haunting me from the very moment I became aware of the fact that I am a sexual being. I won’t enter into details though as I feel this is not the place for that. I’ve recently been praying to God that He would take sexuality away from my very existance, put it in a vault and throw away the key.

    • I have something to share with you from a book (non-fiction) called Poem of the Man-God. There was this man from the Sanhedrin called John who sought the help of Jesus because his wife was leaving him. [First of all, I would like to say that having read that part myself has hit me to the core because it was talking about the problems of the people here on this blog, including me. Secondly, your faith will save you if you nourish it by BELIEVING you will be cured of sinful sex habits.]

      It starts with John talking: “Oh! Lord! Lord! I would like to (resist my demons)… but my sensuality is a fire… Put it out, You are powerful!…” John has fallen on to his knees before Jesus and is weeping with his head in his hands as he kneels on the floor.

      (Jesus replies) “And I will appease it. I will limit it. I will check and restrain this demon. But you have sinned much, John, and you must work by yourself at your revival. Those who have been converted by me, came to me willing to become new, free… They had already worked, with their own strength only, the beginning of their redemption. Such as MATTHEW, MARY (Magdalene) OF LAZARUS and many more. You have come here only to find out whether (your wife) is guilty (***look below) and to be helped by Me not to loose the fountain at which your pleasure drinks. I will limit the power of your demon for three months, not for one (as I first asked). During that time meditate and rise. Resolve to start a new life as a husband. The life of a man GIFTED WITH SOUL. Not the life of a brute … And fortified by prayer and by meditation, by the peace which I will give you as a gift for three months, learn to struggle and conquer ETERNAL LIFE and win back the love and peace of your wife and of your home. Go.”

      ** John had a disorderly love for his wife. He not only saw in her a good companion and mother of their children but he also saw her as an object of pleasure. And because of that, he was thinking that other men saw her as such, too, thereby accusing her of infidelity.

        • Dannah, Hi! It is a Catholic epical volume (written by a visionary) which you can find online if you’re interested. Helped me with my sexual problem because this book has affected me in a way that it made me feel Jesus is very close to me and wants me to be a better person. 100% cured. Praise be to God!

  • I am almost 47 years old. I have been in several relationships including one now and God has never allowed one of these men to fall in love with me. I’ve been in love with them but I manage to push these men away because I want them too much I guess. I wish I could feel my singleness to be a gift. Instead I feel left out and like there is something wrong with me. I so very much love the man I am seeing now, but it will take a miracle of God for him to fall in love and marry me.

    • Ada dear…don’t push. It sounds like maybe you are the one resisting. Rest in God and give a guy time. Maybe he just needs some time. You need to be w illing to be both single or married. Many single women make unintentional vows of singleness and push every man away. Maybe a lack of worthinessin their hearts or a resistance to give up their freedom despite their craving. It sounds like an issue of needing to settle your will to Christ.

  • Sometimes in this quest for purity as a single woman, it just feels like I’m white-knuckling my way, trying so hard not to sin, trying to trust God with my sexual desires while not suppressing them, trying to believe God loves me and cares for me whether or not He ever fulfills these deep desire by giving me a husband. It just gets exhausting. And this sounds blasphemous, but when I’m crying alone at night and really, really want to kiss and hug a man, somehow reading the Bible and praying, although it’s encouraging, doesn’t really meet that need. I know the answer is to trust God more, but it’s getting (and has been) very difficult. I must be doing something wrong, because all the married people I’ve asked say I just need to trust in God, and He’ll satisfy me. But how?

    • Just believe He loves you. Imagine looking into His eyes and reading Love there. He loves you so much. We are made of body and soul. These desires are of the body. To fulfill the soul’s desires is a more superior endeavour. Pray (for those in need), read the lives of the Saints, practice selflessness and your soul will conquer over your body. May God bless you always.

    • Allison, I hope you’ll visit this page so that you might see my response here.

      Not to offend Cris but to fulfill the soul’s desires in an attempt to quash her very legitimate and real desires just isn’t going to cut it. It’s an honorable endeavour but is it really a case of either/or? There is nothing wrong with wanting to fulfill a God given desire as well.

      Allison, you don’t need to “just trust God more” although that is part of it. You need to take action, not just sit idly around, thinking that if you only pray, trust and wait long enough, that a Christian man will land in your lap.

      Please read Debbie Maken’s Getting serious about getting married, as well as Candice Watter’s book, Get Married: What women can do to help make it happen.
      It might be of interest to you to watch Liz Speed and Diane Jordan as well, talking about the challenges of the difficulty of meeting Christian single men in the church. Just google their names and a link will come up to watch their video.

      • Allison, I have not read these books Sophia recommends but I’m going to approve it because I do not disagree with her premise: there is nothing wrong with being active in pursuit AS LONG AS YOU ARE SEEKING TO BE IN THE WILL OF THE LORD. We see many women in scripture pursuing marriage. Ruth would be a great example.

        • Thank you both for the encouragement. I’m trying to seek God and not disobey Him. I just feel so lonely and lose hope at times that marriage is even part of God’s plan for me, even though I desire it so much.

          • Dannah, I appreciate you allowing my mention of the books. But I want to say that if a single man or woman is trying to stuff and beat their desire for a spouse into submission, and trying to convince themselves that God wants them to be single, they hardly need to guess what God’s will is for them concerning whether He wants them to marry (eventually) or not. Singles should stop wringing their hands trying to figure out if singleness is their calling. To put it simply, if their longing and loneliness doesn’t go away despite endless Bible reading, praying, church activities, volunteering, mission trips, friends and family, then…keep praying and looking for your future spouse.

            Very few are called to be single and celibate their entire lives and the ones that are have a peace about it, unlike myself and countless others here lamenting their singleness.

            So, ladies and gentlemen, stop trying to deny or pretend that you’re OK being single when every fiber of your being screams that it’s not. I did this for years, agonizing, trying to convince myself that all I needed was God to fill that loneliness of wanting a spouse and I am relieved to say that God places that loneliness and longing for a spouse because He is not meant to fill that spot. And that’s the way He created us and which is why we are to never give up in resignation if we don’t have peace about being single.

            Those who preach that singleness is all good probably don’t think about how singles will have no one in their old age to care for them, the way spouses have each other (and their children). Who is going to care for them? Will church members take the singles into their homes and care for them the way they would their spouse? I hardly doubt it. Being single is simply more than just being spouseless, sexless and childless. And anyone who tries to minimize the horrific pain unwanted and extended singleness brings should be ashamed of themselves.

            Anyways, there is my rant. It just irks me reading some of the responses here as substitutes for longings for a spouse: “Just believe Jesus loves you so much” “Sex isn’t all that great anyways.” and other ridiculousness.

            Dannah, I did not and do not mean disrespect but I just couldn’t stomach your advice that “You need more of God” as a way of substituting our sexual desires and sexual desires is only one aspect that singles struggle with, along with constant loneliness and childlessness among many things. So again, I mean no rudeness or offense to you, as a person. I know your intentions are meant for good and you sincerely want to help.

          • Sophia, you do not sound satisfied in Christ. It is hard for me to disagree with you so strongly because I am not single, but you really are not trusting him. Do you think He cannot provide someone to care for you in your old age? Do you think he will not move someone’s heart to bring you into a home when you need it? Again, I fellowship closely with single women in their fifties and sixties. These are things we converse about. They do recognize them as needs. They do remain open to the will of God if it is marriage because they are still desiring it, but it does not consume them. On the contrary, they are consumed by being spiritual mothers, hosting dinners with the China from their hope chest, using their singleness as freedom to do missions work and go on trips, and so much more. I don’t think that what you are describing sounds like trust. Or intimacy with God. You do not offend me, but I can’t agree with it. There’s more for you. More of Him. He may well desire you to be married one day, but first and foremost he desires for you to find satisfaction and contentment regardless of your married status. It does not have to be horrific. Perhaps at times painful. Maybe lonely. But horrific is not anything God has planned for you, my friend. He is a much better God than that. For the married and unmarried who face hardships, we are to consider them joy according to James 1. How insane! But it is what we are instructed to do. The Greek language gives us specific instruction. “COUNT IT ALL JOY” is literally a mathematic assignment. That is, we are to count up the reasons this specific hardship is going to be used by God. When my husband almost died in a jet ski accident and the weeks following gave question to whether he would walk, whether he would live in pain, if he could have sex, if we could afford the over $100,000 in bills (we did not have traditional insurance at the time) I knew moments of utter dependence on God and there were tears but not one moment of those months were horrific. I wrote a list in my journal of all the reasons I could trust God no matter if my husband were fully healed or if he were going to be dependent on me for care the rest of his days. It was not horrific. God’s peace surpassed what was happening because I was “counting” the reasons and ways God would use this in my sanctification. What happens in my heart and in my relationship with Christ…I have found through experience…is more real than what happens in my body and with my relationships on this heart. I have been through hardships. They do not have to be horrific. Now at this point, you are likely fuming with rage. Your disagreement has not one time caused this in me. Instead, I’ve been peacefully praying that you might have spiritual eyes to see the hope Christ has for you. Do you want to have peace? Or do you want to have sex? Sex is really awesome, but trust me…Christ’s peace is much more satisfying. Go to James 1 and read it. Study it. Live it. It is only through experiencing the peace of the list that you will believe it.

          • Sophia, my heart hurts for you, sister. I have so much confusion and discouragement about being single too, but I have to believe God knows what He’s doing. Nothing else makes sense in life if He’s not the starting point. Praying for you.

    • I also feel the same way Allison. I read the Bible and pray but it doesn’t meet my need either. I’m so on the border of taking something so these feelings and yearnings for the longing of a godly husband goes away.

  • No one really answers this question. What they say is “suffer, because you are single”. To be fair this is a very difficult question. God created us with this need, and our society does its best to fan those flames. The advice given in response to this question, not only by this author, but by all I have read, is not an answer, only an encouragement to suffer well. It actually comes down to a matter of theodicy. Why would God allow suffering? The answer is that suffering is a blessing, disguised. It might be to awaken one, and it might be to strengthen one, to remediate and to facilitate a spiritual growth. Strength is never borne from comfort.

  • I’m tired of hearing people saying “God has a plan and purpose for you” but then doesn’t tell us how we are to go about finding that purpose because God sure ain’t audibly talking to me!! It fills me with rage when I remember from years back hearing this same statement from my Sunday school teacher but left clueless as to how this would ever come about; does He reveal to us in some way if we just pray, do we prayerfully make decisions and hope that it was His will?

    I have no desire to go to church but I often make myself go because I feel guilty if I don’t. I want to want to serve in church and be happy doing so but I already feel like it’s only going to be one more thing that I force myself to do out of guilt and obedience, not really out of joy. And you can’t feel all of that without big helpings of GUILT for not feeling fired up. I’m almost 39, single, lonely to the point of insanity, and I can assure you, no amount of Bible reading, church activities, evangelism is going to fill the loneliness that is only fulfilled by having someone physically, to share your life with. Adding insult to injury is that I have pretty much no female friends to spend time with and my family has very little time for me since they are all married with children, living the kind of life I want to be.

    If I sound bitter, forgive me. And I’m sexually frustrated and I don’t feel so great about how God designed these commandments for our own good if he has denied us a spouse to have sex within the context of marriage, and so therefore, making it a sin if we singles give in to eventually having sex (with protection).

    Damned if we do, damned if we don’t. I feel like God has put us singles in a no-win situation. I wish he’d remove all traces of desire to be married, if he is going to “gift” me with singleness.

    • I have to agree with you it is kind of odd really what is going on. I personally had felt no desire to be with anyone and I had no sexual desire at all. It definitely was from God it is impossible to mistake. It was after I had an amazing experience with him. As time went on I began to fall back into my old ways and yes started to masturbate. The odd thing is I would tell God no I don’t want to get married even though I was doing that. I felt very much prompted to get married. I even fought him on it. My dad even fought me on it. I had this thought one day that there would be someone. And again I got angry at him. There is this movement now of all this spiritualism, but is it all really spiritual or is it man made. People putting laws where there are none. Condemnation for things considered good. It is better to marry then to burn, guess what that is true, it is not good for man to be alone again true, man had not fallen and had a close relationship to God. But guess what he made man a spouse even though he was right there with him. I am not sure what is being taught is right just look at what is happening to the united states and marriage. It is also selfish God has a perfect person for me and he just wants me to become more me before I meet this spouse for me. Can God bring someone that perfect match of course all things are possible, but in some-cases it works differently in fact in many. This is a spiritual high horse everyone is on they are closer to God because of there single status but guess what it is not you saving yourself, Matthew 6:18
      so that it will not be obvious to others that you are fasting, but only to your Father, who is unseen; and your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you. You should not be bragging about your sacrifices, its like saying look at me look what I am doing how holy am I.
      it is Christ who does not need you. You need him, people will even brag about how long they have been single as if it is the thing that is saving them it is this major sacrifice they are doing for Christ all the while ignoring his major sacrifice for them. You say how are we ignoring his sacrifice, well think about it you are free in Christ. I also read a story that was a little alarming and is again based on this perfect person for me bit. The person said that if you marry outside of Gods will then he never married you in the first place and never blessed your marriage. Scripture jumped out at me kinda odd really about man divorcing because of the hardness of there hearts. Guess what God did join you together. That is absolutely false. There is this bit of pride as well that you are holding out for God and all those lesser people that found there spouse the old fashioned way are less spiritual and don’t have a relationship with Jesus but guess what maybe they do and it is called trust. They went out and met someone what a horrible thing right, wrong I am happy for them. And how do you know there outside of Gods will you are not God and Gods will in the bible is kinda obvious he is not trying to confuse people and hurt them. And a part of me wonders the reason why some people are not content being single is just that God really did give them the desire to meet someone and get married because of lack of self control. This even though lighthearted seeming, is an incredible dangerous topic, and actually is on a dangerous list if you get it wrong you are a false prophet, …2 by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron, 3 men who forbid marriage and advocate abstaining from foods which God has created to be gratefully shared in by those who believe and know the truth. 4 For everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with gratitude. What is confusing me is how is everybody being gifted with singleness now. There is something else alarming. Did you notice that when these things are searched these same thoughts and ideas are coming up everywhere it is an entire doctrine in it self almost as bad as all roads lead to heaven. Everyone agrees with what is being said and they just believe it because a bunch of women are posting it. But who are these people why are they teaching you, God said that Psalms 118:8 – [It is] better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man, 26These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. 27As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. I need to heed my own warning beware of the internet please people, get off of it for scriptural advice go to the bible read it yourself get the most accurate version you can. God is your teacher there should not be confusion only truth. If you find you are confused from all the things you are reading on posts well God is not the author of confusion. I am not dissing this post all I am saying is stop taking advice from people they actually could be ruining your life and hurting your special relationship with Jesus. Go after Jesus only. people talk about marriage being a false idol but guess what is a false idol that truly is one taking the place and position of God the internet peoples opinions these are the real idols they became God to you. There opinions are even overriding scripture in many cases. To the single women that keep hearing they need to be content and single and are not at peace. Get off the internet for advice take a breadth because we know that you are being bombarded with thoughts from others these thoughts do not help and never will. It is like being obsessive compulsive the more people tell you need to be content the less you will be and the more worried about it you will become. So in the end these people can actually be hurting you. Only God knows the future these people don’t and that is really something to take comfort in. GET OFF THE INTERNET READ YOUR BIBLE hehe. If you are masturbating and having premarital sex you should seek marriage. Marriage is good and God created it. When you do seek marriage pray about it ask God for help and actually trust that he will. Remember faith has an element in all this as well.

  • Well there are certainly many of us men out there that are still Single since it is very hard for us meeting a good woman today, and many of the women out there Aren’t Nice at all to meet these days since many of them are very high maintenance and think that their God’s gift to men.

  • Preach it sister! Jesus didn’t come to *tell us what we wanted to hear*. He came to show forth Truth, whether it was well received or not.

    I’m almost 25 and single. Yes, I have longings, desires, and even passions. But I have found that the gift of grace in this single season is that Jesus has swept me off my feet and shown me a love, faithfulness, and a fulfillment that no man on earth could have ever given me. If you live in the Word, if you surrender your desires, and let go of what you claim as “your right” to have physical sexual fulfillment, God will bless your obedience with an intimacy that makes sex fail in comparison. It’s worth it single sisters, it’s soooo worth it.

    • Rebecca, I wonder if you will feel the way you feel now in about 10-15 years time and still find yourself single.

      Believe me when I say you will feel the pain of singleness like a ton of bricks at my age and you’ll look back and see how naive and idealistic your thinking was and you’ll laugh with some bitterness that all your waiting and praying didn’t bring a spouse. But I don’t blame you since at your age, I had no panic whatsoever.

      Rebecca, dear, you may be one of the lucky ones who do go on to marry in a few years from now and point to it as evidence as your “reward” for being a good obedient Christian girl who “trusted the Lord” with all her heart. But don’t be so smug because you just might still be single at my age or later and look back with regret for your condescending us singles (especially older) for thinking we have the right to want our God given desires to be fulfilled.

      To those Christian women out there that are single desiring marriage, be proactive. DO NOT listen to those who tel you to “just serve more” or “don’t actively look for a spouse” or other nonsense like that. TAKE ACTION if you don’t want to live a life of singleness! This cannot be stressed enough! If your church doesn’t have enough men in your age range that are marriageable, look outside for believing men who are believers but not necessarily church going yet. If you continue to just do what you’re doing when what you’re doing does not expose you to opportunities to meet age appropriate men, then you need to look at other ways to meet them.

      Get a hold of Debbie Maken’s book, Getting Serious about getting married. Also watch Liz Speed and Diane Jordan’s interview on Premier tv. Just google their names and it will provide a link.

      • Sophia, I have many single friends who are in their forties, fifties, and sixties who are content. They are still open to marriage and yet they have found a place where it is not a “ton of bricks” on their spirits. I cannot agree with you that this is the only logical conclusion of all singles. I wish you could understand that many married Christian women have settled for the same line of thinking…that they will never be happy in their marriages. You suggest in another post that maybe single women should not just sit idly by but DO SOMETHING. Might I suggest it is the heart that needs something to be done and not the need for marriage. Pursue the healing of your heart through Christ. That is the only common denominator I have seen for both singles and marrieds who are content.

      • Sophia, I agree completely with all you have said and sympathise. I am a 42 year old virgin and have done all I can to serve other, the church and also search for a spouse all to no avail. Sometimes it seems God does not satisfy the longings of our hearts in the way he does for others and there never seem to be answers just more sufferings. It helps to know others are going through the same struggles and coming up against the same misunderstandings and false compassion and advice of others who simply cannot understand as they are not in the same boat. I find it very preachy for marrieds to comment on prolonged singleness they cannot possibly relate to and the very unique crucifying suffering it brings which they will never experience.

  • wow thanks iguess, ive given up, jobs, houses friends, money for Jesus but the idea that I would have to remain single forever was like world war three. im my community there is great stigma to women who are single..and single and celibate with no children might as well jump out the window. I wanted nothing worse then to cook carry this stigma esp bc it came with such a sense of shame. im no feminist and I love children so. my singleness is more bc of circumstance and abuse and less I just love Jesus so much all I wanna do is serve Him alone. I think marriage is great and truly an honor to serve your husband, I wish I could b chosen for that honor alas bc of abuse and counseling issues and barrenness it may not come to pass. I am grieved and the loss of my fertility and not being able to act on my desires I cry all the time. but u said grace, thats the only thing I can rely on. if Hes calling me to this bitter thorning path I am going to have to trust Him with the grace. cuz I dont have it..it makes me hate Him and I hate having strong desire I can not legitimately fulfill. I dont want to turn from God so if its His will I have to accept it. nothing has been harder.

  • I wish God implanted sexual feelings after marriage, otherwise, it feels unfair that while having all these feelings, one can do nothing about it. We all long for sexual satisfaction and completeness, its something embedded in all of us and its not diminished because you’re single or bursts because you’re married. Its really unfair to call premarital sex sin. It’s an emotional topic to say the least…

    • Chamalex, is it “fair” when I don’t let my toddler play in the road where traffic may harm him/her? Well, that toddler might not thing so but it is loving. I desire for my children to be alive and safe. God loves us. He set up boundaries for sexual activity for our protection and for our good. He desires for us to be both sexually alive and safe. But when he is telling us what the boundaries are, it can be difficult.

      As for wishing he did not allow us to be sexually awakened before marriage…well, I wonder if before this earth was encrusted with sin and the aftermath of the Fall in Eden that it might have been easier. Is it possible that this sinful world has awakened desires? Not sure if it was his design for this to be so difficult. But a part of the new sin nature we now carry as a burden.

      Here are some of his specific guidelines as written about on authenticintimacy.com:

      Fornication: which means having sex outside of marriage (1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Thessalonians 4:3)
      Adultery: having sex with someone who is not your spouse. Jesus expanded adultery to mean not just physical acts, but emotional acts in the mind and heart (Matthew 5:28)
      Homosexuality: The Bible is very clear that for a man to have sex with a man or a woman to have sex with a woman is wrong in God’s eyes (Romans 1:27, 1 Corinthians 6:9)
      Lustful Passions: First, let me tell you what this does NOT mean. Lustful passion does not refer to the powerful, God-given sexual desire for each other enjoyed by a married man and woman. Instead, it refers to an unrestrained, indiscriminate sexual desire for men or women other than the person’s marriage partner (Mark 7:21 – 22,Ephesians 4:19)
      Coarse Joking: In Ephesians 4:29, Paul says, “Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths.” We have all been around people who can see a sexual connotation in some innocent phrase, then begin to snicker or laugh. This is wrong. However, this does not rule out sexual humor in the privacy of marriage, but rather inappropriate sexual comments in a public setting.

  • The main problem is that God does not help us with our real problems. It’s onlt pastors and some over-emotrional people that claim answers from God. All the best and use your own wisdom not the written word.

  • To my single sisters,

    I’m in my late-30’s, single, and based in Australia. Believe me, I can relate to your feelings of frustration and inadequacy within your church or social surrounds. Like many of you, it’s not so much my relationship with God that causes me these feelings, but the way I feel I am perceived or looked down upon by the very people in my community I’ve grown up with and shared so many wonderful experiences with over the years. Suddenly, we are poles apart – and it hurts, deeply.

    However, over the last couple of years I have become much more at peace with, and in fact, joyful about, my situation. I’d like to share what I feel are a few practical tips…

    First, remember your priorities. Your first is to your God if that’s your belief structure. Your next is to yourself. As a single person, it’s very easy to fall into the habit of ALWAYS being the helping hand, ALWAYS being the one available to volunteer for this cause or that. Know that sometimes it’s ok to say no. Just because you are single, does not always mean you are available. Sometimes you need to create space for your own happiness, and sometimes this means not putting yourself into situations that you know will only make you feel worse about yourself. For myself, I reached a point where I had to stop going to baby showers. Whilst I can honestly say I shared the joy in my friends having children, I simply could NOT go to these events and continuously hear things like “I never knew what love was before I had a child”, “I feel like a ‘real’ woman now that I have a child”, etc. It shattered my feelings of self-esteem, and left me feeling so much ‘less-than’ my married and mothered friends. YOU ARE NOT. And if continuously forcing yourself into these situations makes you feel worse rather than better about yourself, simply consider kindly and honestly explaining to your loved ones why you cannot attend. God and your true friends will understood, and those that don’t, bad luck. Remember, if you don’t look after yourself properly, how can you ever really be of assistance to someone else?

    Secondly, seriously consider COMPLETELY changing your life – eg. moving over the other side of the world, taking up an extreme sport, going back to school and studying for something you’re really passionate about. Even for a year or two. Even if it means possibly sacrificing the potential to ‘meet someone’. Am I crazy? Not at all. Let me explain why. I’d spent most of my 20’s and early 30’s preparing to meet that ‘special someone’, increasingly despairing as one year turned into another, and I continued to watch yet ANOTHER friend walk down the aisle without any prospects of my own. Then, a couple of years ago I was made redundant from my job. Not the catalyst for change I’d hoped for, but in hindsight, the best thing that could have happened to me. Instead of hitting the interview circuit again, I decided to throw caution to the wind, buy an (old and cheap, but reliable) 4WD, and set off around Australia by myself on what ended up being the ADVENTURE OF A LIFETIME. I went to strange little towns I never knew existed, spent time working on a million-acre cattle station in the middle of nowhere, and met and grew to adore people that a few years earlier I may have judged for being a little bit ‘different’. Well, it was the BEST thing I ever did. Not only did I completely re-appraise the value of myself and my time on this earth (I can DO this! I’m strong, and so blessed to be alive!), I returned to my hometown to find that instead of being met with sympathetic glances and disinterested queries about ‘how I was’, people were BURSTING to know about what I’d been up to! It made me feel fantastic to be able to share my own experience of personal growth, and one that I felt was, although not marriage and children-based, still of interest and value within my community.

    Finally (and this one’s probably the hardest to stomach or believe), wait a few years…you may find that marriage and babies isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. I know that one’s easy to say and that you may feel you’d prefer to learn the lesson first-hand, but I know that in my 20’s, most of my girlfriends talked of their weddings and marriages as if they were the best and only thing important in life. As the years went on and we continued our friendships (based on MUTUAL interest in eachothers’ lives – that’s an important bit, it’s hard to stay friends with someone who is not interested in what you’re doing even if it’s not the same as them), I found myself counselling friends in unhappy marriages, or who were struggling to maintain the illusion that motherhood was one consistent, wonderous, and always fulfilling life. At these times, I have found myself grateful in many ways that I hadn’t ‘followed the crowd’ and pursued marriage simply because it was ‘what you do’. I know now that I would have been unhappy marrying young (although I accept this isn’t the case for everyone, and that I didn’t realise it at the time), and that for myself, being single until my mid-30’s has allowed me to experience things that many of my partnered friends crave. Don’t let society tell you what to do. Your destiny is between you and God, and frankly, it’s nobody else’s business.

    To finish this, I just want to add that once I took control of my life and stopped worrying about what everyone else was thinking (or thought I should do), I became SO much happier in myself, and strangely, potential partners began to present themselves where previously and in my unhappy state it had seemed impossible. I’m now in a relationship with a man who shares similar values to myself, who loves my sense of adventure and independence, and who I would never have considered partnering with in my 20’s. Call it God’s will or destiny, but I believe we were meant to get together later in life.

    Also, I’m not sure if it matters, but I feel I should disclose that I’m not an evangelical Christian, however come from a Christian background and relate strongly to many of the sentiments in this thread. Honesty is key!

    Ladies, don’t despair. God gave us the power to be the architects of our own happiness, and not everybody’s house has to look the same.

    Good luck!!!

  • Please I need your Godly ordained practical counsel, My wife have been sick for about 15 years, therefore I have not really had sex for all these years. It has not been easy. I have embark on masturbation but now affecting my life.Please what do I do as a Christian. My Christian life is in trouble.

    • Hi James. I think you would be better suited at finding the advice you need from an older, godly man who has maybe walked through this. I’m a middle-aged woman in a healthy marriage and so it’s harder for me to understand your struggle. That said—and I hope you’ll get some help to walk through this hard thing—I think the hard truth is that God may have chosen this hardship for you to chisel you into the spiritual man you need to become. Here’s an excerpt from a book I wrote with Dr Juli Slattery. Juli actually wrote this portion:

      It’s about time someone told you the truth—a truth that you intuitively know but perhaps have been hesitant to accept: Life is hard; not every longing you have on earth will be fulfilled.
      I bet you’ve never heard a sermon on what God does not promise. This is unfortunate because it is quite dangerous to place your trust in things you falsely assume God has promised. Jesus said that He came that you might have life and have it abundantly. His promises are great and He is trustworthy in fulfilling each one. But His ways are not our ways, and He has not promised some of the things you may have assumed or hoped He has.
      Have you ever put money into a vending machine and been denied your snack or soda? In that moment of frustration did you shake the machine to get your dangling chips to drop, or stick your hand up the opening to try to pry out the candy bar?
      Often, we can treat God this way. We believe that if we have obeyed, He owes us our heart’s desire. It’s easy to fall into this trap because He has set forth principles of wisdom and morality that are supposed to make life go better. And a lot of times they do. The woman who works diligently on her marriage often falls more deeply in love with her man. The young woman who devotes herself to God and holiness often is rewarded with a godly husband. But not always.
      What if God says no? What if He doesn’t bring the husband, or the miracle, or the money, or the healing? What does that say about His love for you? Can you really trust Him to meet your deepest needs when you feel so unsatisfied?

  • Hi Dannah.I im 18yrs, have recently come out from watching certain things.e.g love scene 50 shadesAt times my heart grieves that i got into that stuff even though deep.down i know God forgives me.Also at times i feel my heart wants to look at the stuff again, Is this because of the chemicals being released?And is it hard to get chemicals back like oxcitocine .I am so dissapointed that watched that stuff.Can this affect how the brain focuses on other things?Now i know what intamecy looks like and it saddens my heart because i wanted to be fully pure and innocent When it comes to one day meeting a guy and sharing that gift.Deeply i want to surrender this part of my life to him im just a ashamed

    • Let’s break this down for you Frustrated and Disappointed. First of all, it is natural to want to experience sinful things. Sin is pleasureful for a season. (Hebrews 11:25) But in the long run, it brings harm and damage because it is not how God intended for us to experience something, like sexuality. So, give yourself a break for wanting to do this. It’s normal. Yes, the chemicals are part of the reason, but it’s much broader than that. It’s just natural. Now, on to purity. God calls us to experience sex in a certain way because he designed it and he knows how it works best—within the confines of a one man and one woman marriage relationship. Through all the ages, this has been tested as humanity tries on its own way of doing things. Nothing else brings health, family, medical wellness, happiness, stability, etc the way that traditional marriage and sexual self-control brings. Your desire to be pure is because your spirit craves this. Get past the shame by telling someone older and wiser who can counsel you, comfort you, and hold you accountable. You can’t do this alone. James 5:16 says “confess your sins one to another so that you may be healed.” Reach out for the healing. Become pure.

    • You might not know what intimacy looks like because it changes for every different couple. This assumption of sexuality is not yours. I think you will know better when you are cherished, and in a relationship. Chocolate can get that chemical. It is easy to get confused between our needs. I often get hungery when I am tired. Sexual feelings can be the same way. In the next five years or so you should be able to differentiate them easier. Don’t be put off by a fantasy when reality can hold so much more joy.

  • I’ve recently divorced my husband of 32 years. Married him as a new Christian, with him headed to Seminary to become a preacher. That never happened, and he physically abused me. We have 2 sons, now grown. I could count on my finger and toes the night number of times we Ever had sex, and we had None the final 20+ years. We also had no closeness, no camaraderie, couldn’t plan anything, even a Budget, because he doesn’t like to talk. Nor does he care to discuss anyone’s needs, including our children. I wasn’t a Godly enough woman to help him become the man he could have been….could be. He confessed that by the time I told him I was divorcing him that he’d all but forgotten I even Existed! By that time, we had been in sea
    separate bedrooms for 10 years. Also by then, I had begun a liaison with a friend. Not one destined to be a long-term partner, but I shared myself with abandon. Not because I’m a sexual freak, but because it was So GOOD to be wanted. To be held. I did all I could to give my friend the pleasure I would have accorded my husband.
    Now the liaison is over. I no longer have trouble understanding why sex without commitment is wrong, because the loss of this Friend, this counselor, this person who worried over and helped me, and seemed to thoroughly love me now demonstrates just how Much I lost in my loveless marriage! Everything! My children, like my ex, are now atheists. I feel God, the God I haven’t understood and have certainly failed, still cares for me. Yet I wasted the larger part of my life in trying to serve Him…to be “good”. To be.faithful in mind & body. And I’m SO ALONE. God doesn’t fill this need He created to be loved and held and cherished. It’s my fault somehow, yet still I don’t understand.
    God sometimes “holds” me…keeps me from completely freaking out, keeps me from suicide. And while I Think….I Think…He will help me with my work…help me find satisfaction as well as a means of survival…I fear my adulterous sin (though honestly, I was was long-abandoned by that point (I covered it for the sake of his ego…we do Need our ego’s & I’d no desire to damage his) means that God will only grant me a Solitary life, devoid of the deep connection and sexual pleasure (which tho I conducted myself with abandon for the pleasure of my friend, is mostly emotional and even spiritual for me). I fear God does not, and never did, have personal love, personal happiness, pretrial partnership EVER planned for me, and I am Bereft.

    • Oh sweet one. The Lord never plans harm for us. He has plans that are good and work together for good. He has a hope and a future for you. Even now! In all this hurt. The fact is, the enemy of your soul is not your ex. It is Satan. He is real and has an army of demons seeking to destroy and devour us. We are very much under target. I pray you will feel the healing touch of his forgiveness. He can wash away the hurt of your adultery. He can wash away the hurt of the rejection. He has done miraculous things in my life. When you fell into the adulterous relationship, I think it was because you had a legitimate longing and need that was unmet. Several perhaps. To be sexually alive. To be cherished by a man. To be protected by a strong man. Your husband succumbed to his own sin and didn’t meet these needs and walked away from God. This friend tapped into those needs. Your sin is understandable. Many have fallen. You are not alone, my friend. But now you have a choice. To be the broken, has-been whose heart cannot recover. Or to rise up and choose healing and become a contraction in the common. The key: intimacy. You need that person who can be a safe place of confession, acceptance and love. You need it to be monogamous and safe spiritually. I myself opted for Christian counseling when I needed such a thing because the Church can be full of people who just don’t have the time for our hearts in need. I’d love to send you a book. If you’ll email eileen@purefreedom.org and ask for The Secret of the Lord I’ll send it out right away. It’s a book that will give you some step by step guidance in overcoming your loneliness. Many prayers for you sweet one.

      • Thank you! I will send an email request, I completely lost track of this thread…just now found it again.
        Last week I joined a women’s Bible study on The Whole Armor of God.
        I’m trying to break through my religiosity that ruined my life and that of my children…trying to establish a real Relationship with God.
        It is SO PAINFUL. I “get” that love is everywhere, that my job is to love all these strangers that inhabit my lonely world. I also “get” that I’ve NEVER experienced actual marriage, and I’ve no reason to suppose God gives a dam about that.
        My husband rejected me 2 weeks after the wedding. We had relations ONE time after that, and my second son was born. We had relations 2-3 times following my return over the remaining 29 years. Sex is, to me anyway, an expression of closeness and caring, and we had neither, so it makes sense. Never Once, in 32 years of marriage, did he Ever take me in his arms and tell me he loved or cherished me. Not our sons, either, once they reached toddlerhood.
        After I left for a year due to him beating me and shoving me down the stairs while heavily pregnant, I returned at the insistence of our (Reformed Presbyterian) church, which, having issued this pronouncement, left us to our misery.
        I’ve never doubted that God is real, never doubted that I’m to love everyone. And now I see NO REASON to doubt that God wants to use me to bring help to other’s, and will strengthen me sufficiently to do that. I’ve also NO REASON to believe that God cares one whit for my personal life. That that’s just the thorn in my side for His glory. He calls Only for sacrifice, obedience, and faith without doubting, and without any need for proof. All apostles but John, I think, gave All, and died painful deaths. This tells me that God views my heartbreak as a father views a silly teenage crush – “get over it, and make yourself useful, and I will strengthen you for My purposes, not yours – yours are silly, stupid, and inconsequential, unworthy. But I love you IF you will put me and my plans ahead of All. IF you do that, I will keep you from the fires of Hell .”
        When I see people, especially children, in pain, with disease, in starvation, I tend to agree.
        My feelings, hopes, wishes, and dreams for Myself are to be crushed beneath The Rock, of the impersonal I AM. I don’t see anything in Scripture where God indicates any regard at all for personal feelings, other than willingness to serve, impersonal tho warm love for others, and finding joy in the simple promise of not being utterly destroyed in the lake of fire.
        And I Do serve others. I put the needs of almost anyone above my own. And, believe it or not after this long whine, I cheer and encourage others. I make them laugh and smile and take heart.
        I just don’t have anyone who loves me Personally or Unconditionally. Not even my children, who hate me for staying with their father, and who suffer even more emotional pain than I: Their ENTIRE LIVES have been spent in fear and stress.. Their poor father never sought our affection, only Fear of him. I finally escaped, despite my legalism, under 1 Corinthians 7:12-15 (nor forgetting v 16, but he refuses God). And this, I believe, with God’s blessing. But PERSONAL happiness? No, I have no reason to believe God has or has ever had, any care for that. ONLY the happiness of serving others, and crushing my own Personal dreams for Anything: these are idols in God’s eyes. I feel pretty sure of that. God says he Wants us to “hate our lives”.

        • Oh dear girl. How amazing that you have even a shred of faith after the shrapnel the Enemy of your soul has soiled your heart with. You are brave!!!! I’m glad that you are studying the Armour of God. (Is it Priscilla Shirer’s new study? I’m doing it myself right now.) I’m going to pray for you. Right now. Here in my blue office where the dog stinks and needs a bath. But this is more important so I’m kneeling down for you, my Sister. To thank God for bringing you through and to petition him to take you the rest of the way. It’s not over. There’s more for you. HE DOES CARE ABOUT YOUR LIFE!!!! John 10:10 reads “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” He wants you to have good life, full life, abundant life. He DOES care and doesn’t want you to just get over it, he wants to get you through it! The other side—you’re not there yet—-is full of hope. I know of no other way to reach you but to pray. He’ll send his hope your way. I’m sure of it. It is what he does. I love you dear one. I do.

  • Thanks for writing this. Some days I feel I’m at my wits end. There is probably a lesson in that. However, right now I’m trying to discover God’s purpose for me in being single for almost a half of a century and what I have at the moment is so that I can be creative, be free to help others while other folks are tied down to focus on the family first, to protect me from awful relationships, to know God deeper, to know that serving God is not a consultation prize, and to be an example both of purity and building a legacy. I’m not sure yet how to do all of that but that is the notion I thinks he wants me to run with.

    I feel lost sexually and I would like to experience it. Sometimes the intensity of desire is overwhelming. That scares me. Sorting out what he wants can take me to my limits sometime. Thanks for everyone who responded. It is nice not to feel so alone in this struggle.

  • You people are insane. You all livei a fantasy world. Christianity has beenthe most destructive thing I’ve ever experienced. When a person goes to be treated for a sexual dysfunction, the first question they always ask you is ” are you religious?” “Or” have you ever been religious?” it’s all about guilt and shame. And it’s also obscene. You know that website christianmingle.com? Like all other dating sites they take a personality inventory and ask you all kinds of questions to try to match you up with someone of similar interests and values. When they ask a question ” do you believe sex should only be confined within marriage?”, only 10% of the people who respond agree with that. So where are Christians different from everyone else? They’re not. Christian people have the same substance abuse problems, terrible marriages, high divorce rates and all the other problems of modern society. I see no difference. The day I became an atheist, was the best day of my life.

    • Benjamin, you are right. Religion does lead to guilt and shame. I don’t consider myself a religious person and I find religion hypocritical, legalistic, and hollow. It does lead to a lot of repression and frustration.

      It sounds like you have encountered a lot of religious people, but few (if any) of authentic relationship with God. They are few and far between. Sadly, many “Christians” are “sexual atheists.” That is, they like the idea of being a Christian as long as God doesn’t get to dictate how they live, especially sexually.

      What you’re seeing is religious people rejecting legalism and making their own choices. It would be better if they were simply atheists and not sexual atheists.

      On the issue of divorce, I have to disagree with what you’ve written. The fact is religious people (sometimes called ‘nominal Christians” are likely to divorce—and it’s much much worst than the rest of the public, but people of true faith are more likely to stay together. Nominal Christians are actually more likely to divorce than non-religious people (20% more likely). That is the core of religious, legalism, and hypocrisy not working for them. With no authentic faith, they have only the rules to confine them and fail them. However, committed and active, conservative Christians are 35% less likely to divorce (active Jews are 97% less likely to divorce).

      So, you see…a true faith does work. I hope your faith in atheism is working for you. If not, I’m going to pray that you get to meet a true believer one day. You’ll know them when you see them.

  • You know it is really insensitive to tell someon if you burn well that just marry and deal with it. Very simplistic. It is very hard to even find a man that is really born again . News flash the church system is itself a whore! A prostitute. Wake up people.it is wicked. It is of the devil! Not of God. It is not the gathering together of the brethren. It is the whore of revelation. Get out of her!!!! That being said there are few that are born again but many religious deceived people on the broad path to destruction. Few on the narrow path. Few that follow Jesus. Most are deceived and worship the Bible as their God.bthe point of scripture is to lead you to th Truth!!! Not to memorize scripture. god is alive and He speaks today to you if u are born of the Spirit. So it is very hard in these end times to find a husband that is truly a believer. You need to go to God himself and ask Him directly His will for your life regarding marriage or singleness. many will say in that day……. And I will say to them depart from me u who practice lawlessness. Make sure u have repented and our really born again. Most are not.

  • if im being honest singleness really sucks for me. i mean i am a communal person who loves relating to people. The idea of being solo for life sounds more like punishment. I wish I didn’t have to ‘deny’ myself except I know its best to be in a relationship its selfish to be single and be all about yourself but what if God doesn’t provide. I feel like if you are single and you have person, ministry, missions and your ‘gift’ of celibacy is for the ‘greater’ good, then maybe singleness is more of a punishment. I know this isnt popular but even in 78 God talks about how there were no ‘wedding songs’ so the gift of celibacy is to me to be for a bigger reason or purpose so then God will give you the grace. But hating being single i wonder if I have the grace, bc im unhappy and maybe that’s a sign that God will send me a mate one day.. Or its just because of sin and i have to deal. either why I think its unfair, and I think God thinks so too. I don’t think Paul was anxious about his celibacy. I am quite so.

    • You could be right about Paul. Or maybe this was the thorn in his flesh. It certainly sounds like it is yours! The fact is you can’t change your singleness so you have to work on changing your heart. I’m not sure what the first step for you might be, but can I suggest a good old pouring out of your frustration and anger to God about it in a journal. He already knows. Just get it out. Start there.

  • What about a loveless/sexless marriage? I know that Christ can meet all of my needs. How will He do that? My wife and I haven’t had sex for 2+ years and I’m two thread strands away from filing for divorce. She won’t go to counseling anymore – and squirms when a counselor holds her accountable. Any counselor that holds her accountable too severely, she suddenly finds fault with or some other excuse (“he’s/she’s too young,” “that’s just their opinion,” etc) to stop going. She won’t watch any Christian marriage videos online or put into action things found in Christian marriage books like “Love & Respect.” How do I experience “more of God” without turning church into an idol?

    • So sad. So common. So true. The thing that alarms me most is not that your wife won’t have sex or doesn’t love well, it’s that you have a mind to divorce. This is what marriage is all about….loving the other through the hard things. Praying them through. Of course, without Christ this situation seems hopeless. But with him you are in a beautiful and safe place to bring her healing. How can you make her feel safe? Connected to? Committed to? Maybe you can go see a counselor and get your heart in a place of such strength that she runs to it. I know there is a solution. But the solution is not divorce. Run to her with Jesus as your coach. Not away from her.

  • I have an unusual problem. I used to have a low sex drive. Now I have none at all–I think I have become asexual. At 42 I’m still single. Still a virgin. But every well meaning Christian I have met tells me that I need to marry.

    I’m happy living alone–I spend at least 2-3 hours a day praying and studying God’s Word. I do volunteer work and would be glad to help out at church if they would let me (as a despised single they overlook me.) I visit sick people and shut-ins. I mentor children from disadvantaged homes. While I’m trying to make it as an entrepreneur I have enough time I’m thinking of starting a story-telling ministry.

    Do married women with their 2.3 children have that kind of time? It’s not like I spend my extra time clubbing, getting drunk, or picking up strangers at single bars. I don’t even waste my time on Christian romance novels anymore–I prefer to read books that will help me grow spiritually–not feel sorry for myself for not marrying at 21.

    I am too old for children now, or will be if I don’t marry in a year or two. Should I let Society and the Church pressure me into a marriage where I can’t be happy or bring happiness to my husband? What would the point to such a “marriage” be?

    Holiness is far more important than happiness to God. Granted. How would such a marriage bring about additional holiness in my life? Especially when few if any bachelors nowadays are pursuing holiness….

    And no I’m not too picky. And please don’t tell me that if I’m just patient God will bring someone magical into my life. Every time an old maid dies, the lie is put to that myth. None of us knows the future.

    If Dannah or anyone else has reasonable comments to make on my situation, please do so.

    • Hello Quenched. It sounds like you may have the spiritual gift of singleness. If your desire rests, use that. Don’t try to label it. Give it to God. If your church is making you feel “despised”, then find a new one. There are a lot of churches that welcome the freedom of singleness. If you can’t find a church, find a vocation that allows you to use the freedom of your singleness. Don’t let anyone tell you that you need to be married. You NEED to serve God. Use the freedom you have to do that.

  • Hi, I’m a 20 year brasilian christian guy. This article was more directy for women, but I felt blesses for this article( and for some comments as well).

    I think I’ll never marry, in fact, I am so bad with women(hahahaha).Kinda, I never ever go out with a girl. But I feel a strong sexual desires and I simply can’t control it, it’s stronger than me, and it’s seem imposible to overcome it.

  • I feel that God wouldn’t place that desire in your heart if you were intended to be single. If God intended for you to be single, being single wouldn’t be an issue, one just wouldn’t care or be bothered by it. I’ve been single for a long time, and I don’t think masterbation is wrong once in awhile.

    • I agree with you Marty. I also believe that if God intended us to be single it wouldn’t be an issue. We wouldn’t be bothered by it and we should be longing a spouse or wishing to have sexual relations.

  • OMG! This is what I have been looking for! Thank you so much for writing this! I’m a single 30 year old virgin who has been fighting desire like this. I’ve been back and forth with bitterness and anger, loneliness and longing. I try to get close to God but then something will happen to pull me away. I just want to say that you are right. When I focus on my relationship with God, things seem better. I guess I’m always just trying to define myself in other people’s eyes instead of living the life he gifted me with. And one day, if He so chooses, I may have a husband. If not, that’ll be ok too. I have a lot to learn and a ton to grow.

  • I wish you had put up 1 Corinthians 7:9. Sex is for marriage – and there is NO sin in getting married, even if you “feel” called to be single. If it was a sin, then the scriptures lie (and we know that is not the case). Hear what Paul says, QUITE plainly: “But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” Simple as that. If you have uncontrollable sexual desires, find yourself a spouse. Everyone reading this KNOWS that sexual passion + unfulfilled desires = anger and discontentment toward God. John MacArthur wrote that “it is impossible for one to live a happy and effective Christian life while DOMINATED by sexual passion.” (I think that was the direct quote, but the context is certainly there). This has been my experience. We as Christians need to stop downsizing this problem about sexual desires, since God clearly made it a GOOD thing, and we need to encourage people to start taking husbands/wives for themselves for obvious reasons. Intimacy, companionship, sex, etc. The ONLY case in which someone should actively seek to stay single is if they have COMPLETE control over their sexual impulses and have no desire to get married – and that is EXTREMELY rare.

    • Well said Dev. I agree with you 100%. The problem is that we are proactive in looking for a spouse but we get no response in return so that’s why some of us end up with unfulfilled desires and sexual passion. I have had surmounting anger and discontentment with God for that reason. At one point I almost became an atheist!

  • I am a 51 year old childless, single and life long celibate woman, not by choice, but due to not meeting ‘the one’ and being afflicted with a sexually dysfunctional untreatable and incurable medical condition. I’m sick of being told how ‘lucky’ I am.

  • Well the one issue I face is American women are not interested in Asian men so the way it is looking for me is I will remain single, and just need to focus on ministry. Yes this is easier said than done. I will just delight myself in the Lord, and make Him my hearts desire (once again easier said than done). 41 and still a virgin. Could be worse I truly hope that those who are on here truly find the husband or wife that the Lord has for them. For every good and perfect gift comes from above. This is my 1.5 cents on the topic.

  • Here’s a topic you should post about: Men Depending on Jesus to Meet their Sexual Needs. Why? I am married to a woman who describes herself as Christian (and she is saved), but eschews any Bible-based marital counseling, books, or seminars. We’ve not had sex in nearly three years. I believe her withholding herself from me is wrong. Her lack of validation has led to emotional affairs, porn addiction, and anger. A lot of anger. So how can a man in an unhappy, unrewarding, unfulfilling marriage depend on Jesus to meet his unmet sexual needs?

    • Hello John:

      First, let me affirm that what your wife is doing is wrong. I Corinthians 7:5 reads “Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.” We are instructed in Scripture not to withhold our sexual selves from our spouses. Our bodies are no longer our own after we are given in marriage. That said, this is to be a mutual and loving giving of each other. The verse should not be used to Lord over one another or control or manipulate a woman or man into sex. And it surely cannot be used to force it. That would be a heretical use of the entire counsel of the bible.

      That said, you say that her withholding herself has led to emotional affairs, porn addiction, and anger. It’s unclear weather this is her sin or yours. If it is hers, I would say that it’s all one big nasty root of hurt and she needs serious help and fast and you should lovingly do what you can to put your own needs aside and get her the help she needs.

      If it is your sin, it is your sin. No matter what she does, you cannot justify your sin with hers. You will stand before God for these things, not she. I would counsel YOU to get help to find the root of your sin. (I assure you it’s not her withholding herself. While that may contribute to it, many have endured the same denial without acting out in sinful manners as these.)

      At the root of what you write…”unhappy, unrewarding, unfulfilling marriage”…is the truth of your situation. You are attempting to plug into HER as your source of reward, happiness, and fulfillment. Let’s just start with reward…

      The Bible says “Without faith is is impossible to please God, but he is a REWARDER of those who seek him.” The reward you seek is found by having faith. Faith in what? In Christ. To do what? To fix the brokenness in your wife and in you. THat’s where you begin, my friend.

      If you’re like me, you may be saying, “I’m empty. I don’t know where to get the faith.” I’ve been there. Here’s the Bible verse that directed my heart when I admitted that to God, “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.” Get into the Word of God. In every way you can. In a men’s accountability group, bible study. In personal reflection time. In a Bible teaching Church. GET IN THE WORD! That’s where the faith will bud and that’s where reward will begin.

      Don’t do any of this alone. This is a dicey area where Satan can really tempt and create trouble. Get godly counsel from a godly man. And fast!

  • First I want to say, god bless you for writing this post! Thank you for writing the truth; even though it was harsh it was exactly what I needed. Thank you so much. You’ve also helped me change my opinion on singleness- I used to think of it as an eternal prison. From today I will try to be more like your waffle shop friend! 🙂

  • I have a question for Dannah and it goes along with her response to Kim who posted 11/23/14. Dannah, you said a dam analogy doesn’t hold water. And you said that is because God created innocent releases. I am a single young adult male. I have never really had wet dreams. I think I may have had one once my entire life. I view masturbation for males who don’t have wet dreams (and maybe sometimes for males who do) as a way to release built up fluids. There are certainly times that I have done it quickly without thinking about anything where I have had no sense of guilt at all.
    Please tell me your thoughts on this perspective. How would you address this issue? Again, not all males have wet dreams and at least some only have a few throughout their lives. For males who don’t have them even after a reasonable amount of time without masturbating, would you say they are still missing the mark for what God intended with their sexuality any time they masturbate? Do you think a release of fluids without impure thoughts and without looking at images makes sense, or do you think God is calling me to give up masturbation completely?

    • In the U.S. about 83% of men have reported having nocturnal emissions. Some men report never having them, so you are not alone but you are a minority. I would still say that God creates sex to be an experience enjoyed within marriage between one man and one woman and therefore masturbation would not be what he created it to be. I’m a girl. I don’t often advise men, but I trust Covenant Eyes a great deal and feel like these articles on their website might be encouraging for you. http://www.covenanteyes.com/?s=masturbation

  • This may have been answered already, but there’s a million comments i admittedly did not read through all 🙂

    How is this applicable for those of us who have engaged in premarital sex already? And now the desire is just that much stronger? I’ll admit, God knew what he was doing when he designed sex to be good and done only in one relationship because it’s not supposed to work like this; premaritally and then stopped until marriage happens. But I made my choice and now I have to work with it. I want to honor god with my mind and body and my sexual needs, but I’m in this spot where I did it, know what it’s like, want more or it, but I’m single. And there’s nothing on the horizon.

    How does god supply in that situation? (I’ve asked him, but you know how he whispers 🙂 I’d like input from my Christian sisters!)

    • Annie, your question is so humble and honest. I guess the question also applies to a widow. If a husband dies, her appetite is awakened. Does it then mean that she is supposed to have an allowance from God to meet her sexual needs? Unfortunately, no. Harsh as it is. His boundaries for sex keep it safe and healthy for us. But he does provide outlets for us to receive some of our needs like massage, exercise, and even (when our bodies really need it) nocturnal dreams which are kind of like what men have in terms of wet dreams. Trust him and follow his wisdom.

  • Well unfortunately for many of us good single men out there that really wanted to get married and have a family had we met THE RIGHT GOOD WOMAN from the very beginning which still hasn’t happened yet for many of us that never expected to be single since it is the kind of women that we now have out there nowadays that have really CHANGED for the worst of all since many of the women of today are NOTHING at all like the real good old fashioned ladies were back then which MOST of them had a lot of respect for the men at that time with a very great personality and excellent manors as well which MOST of them now don’t have today at all. God forbid for many of us men trying to start a normal conversation with a woman that we would really like to meet which it doesn’t really go to well for us at all these days which makes it very sad for us how very HORRIBLE that many women are today that have really caused this mess for us especially when it does take two too tango. Even God said that man shouldn’t be alone which i very much agree on that. And what would God really say about that one since many women today AREN’T that nice at all to meet today? Quite a change today from years ago when finding real true love was so very much EASY at that time the way that our family members had it since even now many of our family members are still together as i speak which makes it very amazing as well. So finding real true love for many of us good men today is like trying to hit the lottery unfortunately since many of us men really CAN’T blame ourselves at all for our singleness now when the kind of women nowadays are REALLY TO BLAME.

    • Hello Anonymous. I think it’s probably fair to say that both men and women have evolved into being less kind, less good, less selfless, etc. We have an epic character problem that does make it harder for good men to find good women. But it’s also hard for those good women to find good men.

  • Hmmm… I agree as single women, expressing ourselves sexually is not an option. However, it is NOT true that when you spend time with God and have a strong relationship that your sexuality automatically ‘rests quietly within.’ Maybe its true for women who don’t have a strong sex drive, but its not true for me. Nor is it true for several of my other single female friends in their mid and late 30s. My love for the Lord can be on fire AND my sex drive can be raging. There is no where in Scripture that says that when you love God and spend time with him, that he takes away your sex drive.
    I would encourage you to not simplify the struggle or blame women for their sex drives. (When you equate having a strong sex drive with not having a strong walk with God, its blaming women for their desires. Let’s hold people accountable for their actions, not their desires. Let’s be compassionate and kind towards women who have struggled with a sex drive for decades and anguished over it and remained faithful.)

    • Sarah, thanks for your candid comment. I surely never want to say that it’s easy. Nor do I want to negate that sometimes God lets us struggle with things even when we are super consumed in our love for him. My experience has been that I’m usually more content with all my appetites when God is in the driver’s seat of my life. My contentment with him quiets my need for potato chips, Netflix, sleeping in, and even sex. That said, it doesn’t eliminate my desire for these things, but does make me content with what I’ve got at the time. I hope that makes a little sense. I’m sorry that what I wrote must have seemed insensitive. Keep diving into the Lord.

  • For all you ladies out there, allow me a few politically incorrect statements.

    Singleness is not a gift. Celibacy is a gift that makes the question moot. With the gift of celibacy, God grants grace to you by empowering your sex drive to be channeled into acts of service to God. When you burn with passion, you do not have the gift of celibacy and should marry, as soon as possible.

    Easier said than done, right? But perhaps part of what makes marriage seem so impossible in whatever “season of life” you happen to be in, might have more to do with unrealistic expectations of potential spouses and unreasonable expectations of the various logistical aspects of getting married, i.e. wedding costs, the ring, the cost of the honeymoon, etc.

    For Christian men, the requirements of a wife are fairly basic – is she a Christian and am I sexually attracted to her? Obviously there is a bit more to it but it isn’t far off to say this. For Christian women, however, the list of requirements in a potential husband often takes up several sheets of paper with single spaced type.

    So ladies, eliminate unreasonable expectations and make yourself available to marriage. Let some of the married women in your church know you are looking for a husband – not just to be entertained by a guy who will pay for dinner. Wear makeup, dress nice, and act like a lady. Also, guys like it when you actually understand they have needs too. Don’t be a diva. Don’t aspire to be a “strong independent woman.” That is such a feminist cliche. Conservative Christian men want to be respected and how are you going to respect him if you are too fixated on maintaining your “independence.” Marriage is not about independence. It is about inter-dependence.

    • Ricky…some of your comments here are really right on target. I agree. And the essence of what you mean about men having shorter lists of criteria is an interesting statement, but the fact that “sexually attractive” is on there kind of bothers me. I’m not saying you should not marry someone you find attractive or that it cannot be a concern, but it wreaks of objectification to me. Is it just me? Could be? But I’d love to see you search your heart a bit. Your list of criteria isn’t really in line with what God says to seek after. Ephesians 5 has five criteria for a man to consider in women and “sexually attractive” isn’t on the list! Maybe check it out and ask God a bit about yours!

  • This is all good stuff but the conundrum I face is that I have a powerful desire for sex but not to have children. From a forward glance, most would call that pretty selfish but I can’t exactly do anything about it. It’s a nice idea to potentially fall in love with but truthfully, it doesn’t seem all that great. Inherently a marriage should be built on God’s foundation to thrive and grow but I’m not God and neither is she. We won’t be able to love one another unconditionally and if I had children, that complicates things even further. I’ve been told by multiple people who know me quite well that they could see me making a good father one day but having children (in my opinion) while glorious in many ways usually entails not being able to be as mobile as single people to just go somewhere on a whim. I’m 22 and I’ve always been a very active person. Additionally having to discipline them when they do something they shouldn’t, concern myself with every activity they engage in ranging from what they eat, what they get, who they chill with, what they do in their spare time, etc. etc. etc…. Honestly when I’m out running or walking around somewhere and I see couples with children I think of how awful that must be. I’m sure kids are a wonderful addition to the family but I wonder how things are when the family is in private. Maybe everyone’s unhappy, maybe their is a lot of misery and frustration behind closed doors and I see how pre-occupied parents are in public when they look after their children. Some people really enjoy it and that’s awesome. Some people make great parents. Some just shouldn’t have kids. So that goes on for about 17-21 years and while that’s happening (once again, no one’s perfect) my wife and I seem to be doing the right things but what if I come home from work and she’s just pissed off at me for some reason I can’t figure out, X Y and Z later through seemingly no control of my own we start to resent each other eventually prompting us to seek marriage counseling and things go well for a while and then sour once again and maybe the relationship lasts or maybe it doesn’t and have that following with looking back later in life to my single friends who still lived very rich and fulfilling lives and then I’m supposed to just reflect and be content with that. While I realize that the world is fleeting and Heaven holds something far greater that doesn’t mean that specific goals, accomplishments, milestones in life aren’t also important to me. My passion and desire for some aspects of a companion aren’t something I can necessarily help. Actively the reason I don’t date anybody right now is because I don’t believe in just trying someone out for the sake of trying someone out. I think dating should be with some intent to marry. Whether or not it works out is a different matter. I struggle with lust and masturbation is like a thing that’s dangled right in front of me that I shouldn’t use because Sex wasn’t designed by God to be a solo deal. 18 mile runs kinda help. I know suffering is part of what Christianity entails but I feel like I’m trapped in this ridiculous stalemate for the duration of my years (unless something happens). I hate it. I’m being brutally honest here.

    • Wow! Scott, you just dropped a lot to consider and talk through. I can’t address it all without writing a book, so let me just start with your emotional thoughts when you see parents caring for children in public. If I’m reading this correctly, you seem to feel sort of sick about the whole thing. You wonder if those parents are secretly unhappy. While I’m sure there are some who don’t enjoy parenting or the timing of it was wrong, I think you’d find the majority really do fall madly in love with their kids and love devoting their lives to it. I know this will sound crazy, but even if you’re not read —like me when I had my first just one year after marriage—the second you see them you bond in a most amazing way. It becomes a sheer delight to care for them. (I witness this phenomenon even on my farm. An animal who is seemingly selfish, food-focused, and uninterested in others, becomes a full mothering, nurturing creature upon the arrival of a baby.) In addition, I would say that the Bible says children are a blessing. So, while not all of us are called by God to be parents…the overall attitude about children should be affirming. We want to bless those who have them and encourage them. I think you have a lot to unpack in your heart and I would visit a pastor or other godly man for counsel. Someone one-on-one could help you unpack these things better than I can remotely! Best wishes to you.

Leave a Reply to Sam Canon Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published.