Single Desire: How Can I Be Sexually Alive?

Smiling-Peaceful-Woman-Getting-Back-Massage“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.” (From “How Can I Satisfy My Sexual Desire As A Single Woman?”)

And yet, I promised you when I started this blog series that I’d dig hard and try to find answers to your questions. Specifically, I promised that I’d look for ways that you can meet the five legitimate longings that Dr. Juli Slattery and I wrote about in Pulling Back the Shades. And one of them is this: God created women to long to be sexually alive. A rich theology of sexuality demands a robust desire for sex, and God did not create the boundaries of sexual expression to frustrate us. So, what plan exists to relieve the sexual tension? I think there are four ways that God enables a single woman to have her sexual desires released in a healthy manner.

God created your body to relieve itself. As I wrote in Pulling Back the Shades,”

The goal of purity is not sexual repression. We are, after all, sexual beings. Without any stimulation whatsoever, a woman will experience sexual desires in her everyday life. 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 your own sexual sensations. They are not a symptom of impurity.

I believe God created nocturnal orgasm and wet dreams as a beautiful gift for those who live lives of purity. Neither of these seem to be experienced by those who are acting out sexually in any way, but these experiences are reserved for those who embrace sexual self-control. Enjoy without guilt!

God created your body to experience the chemicals of sex through non-sexual forms of physical touch. Chemicals like dopamine and oxytocin, while heightened during sexual release can also be experienced through non-sexual activity. This would be a good time to bring my single readers and my married readers together. Let me remind you that not all married woman are at all times having their sexual needs met by their husbands. During a time when Bob and I could not minister to each other because we were so broken, my marriage counselor prescribed a weekly massage for me. The ministry of my female massage therapist to my body and my spirit was a much-needed physical release for me during a time of repairing my marriage. I know single women who have used massage in a similar manner and found it to be very fulfilling. Treat yourself!

God created your body to experience the chemicals of sex through physical activity. Again, chemicals like dopamine can be experienced during exercise. Feeling aroused and not sure what to do with that? Go for a jog. (At this, I will no doubt be horribly criticized, but it works. I’ve counseled many single women or women separated from their husbands through periods of sexual frustration by prescribing good long walks. It got them through!) Regular exercise might be a good idea if you seem to have a heartier appetite for sex, having been sexually active in the past. Try it and see how it works for you.

God formed the ultimate definition of sex around intimacy, not physical acts and intimacy can be experienced in non-sexual relationships. One thing that’s often forgotten as we debate the boundaries of sexual expression for Christians is the core definition. In the Hebrew language God used the word “yada” where we would use “sexual intercourse.” His word meant “to know, to be known, to be deeply respected.” Not one inkling of the physical act, His language transcends the physical to go to the root of all acts of sex: intimacy. We can experience rich intimacy in relationships with other believers outside of physical touch altogether. Conversely, married couples can go through droughty seasons where sex is only physical and has no deep intimacy. As a married couple must tend to its friendship to keep the true meaning of sexual expression alive, so must a single person tend to intimate friendships within the Body of Christ to keep the overall purpose of desire focused on what you can experience.

This demands you pursue friendships with both male and female that are more than boring lunch dates and Friday night movies. That you wade deeply in to conversations that transcend politics, vacations and recipes to risk rejection as you talk about sin and failure and dreams. You’ll have to roll up your sleeves and help someone move and walk with another through grief. It demands that you accept one another as brothers and sisters in Christ outside of the context of gender, sexuality, and the dating mentality that pervades Christian singles ministries. A rich theology of your body and The Body will allow your deepest longings to be met, but it won’t be easy.

Nothing good ever is.

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  • I really like this article, it is good for girls and women who are single, married, or dating. I have a question though? what about “inappropriate dreams” I have had some horrible dreams i am ashamed off, and i have prayed to god to help me get over them, are those not wrong? I mean i feel so bad for them :/

    • I’ve had sexual dreams, too. Not many, but a few. I’m always careful to talk to God about them and ask him if I was fueling them somehow or if the enemy was assaulting me in some way. I think both are possible. It would be a very good idea for you to talk this through with a Christian counselor if it happens often. I would not navigate it alone. Being able to express what you saw in your dream to someone with God’s spirit and training to help you discern why you had it and how you should respond is a great sign of strength. Be strong!

      • Thankyou so much for your advice <3 I think Ill talk to my mom <3 we can always talk about these type of things.. I've told my older sister, and she helps keep my accountable for My relationship with my bf <3 You see I feel very strongly called to a life of purity (although we all should have that calling). Recently God re-aligned somethings in my life, and help refocus me to purity in my Life, and Relationship <3 and since then, I almost feel everything is harder, and I've been awakened to all I have done, and messed up. I am daily working on it with Jesus, and doing my very best to choose right thoughts, so that my actions and can right also <3 It's hard, but I know its right <3 And these dreams defenetly bring me down :/ I think its worse when that day I did worse, action wise, or mind wise, Im going to talk to my mom! thanks dannah 😀

    • I know that was a question for Dannah, but I’d like to throw my 2 cents in.
      The human brain is complicated. I think it’s wise to ask God about those dreams, but to let them go if He does not clearly speak. He knows dreams are involuntary. He’s concerned about our choices. Our intent. And he will always answer prayers clearly, like the ones Dannah suggested. No shame necessary. 🙂

  • I feel that we, the sexually chaste who experience nocturnal orgasms, should track our thoughts to make sure our sin didnt fuela dream. Often there wont be much explanation for it and it can happen without a dream but while sleeping too. I always felt ashamed and would repent so this article gives me something to pray aover. I dont think these involuntary orgasms should be enjoyed though, as the artice states. Nonetheless I’m glad you were brave and published this. Thanks sister

    • God created you to be sexual. He created you for sexual release. And he created a way for those who need release to experience it voluntarily. Would you tell a twelve year old boy who has a wet dream that he has sinned?

      Doesn’t it feel good when you sneeze? You get a physical release that your body needed. Would you tell yourself that it was sinful to enjoy that release?

      I think that it is probably possible to increase the need for nocturnal orgasms by feasting on erotica or porn or sensual thoughts without masturbation. But it’s also very possible that most times it’s just God gifting you with a release that your body needs.

      Ditch the guilt.

  • I had no idea that having that was normal!!!! I didn’t know what was going on or why. Wow. Thank you for addressing this

  • Dannah,
    I am struggling with masturbation. I have an older, godly woman who knows, but I’m still struggling. I will go for like a week having victory, but then I just crave something sexual. I read your ideas above, but I just feel like I need masturbation or porn. I know that isn’t true, but it is just so hard! Once that door has been open a little bit, it is so much harder to shut it. Any ideas? I am years away from ever getting married, and I don’t want my goal of getting married to be because I need to fill these sexual desires. These cravings are hard! 🙁

    • Hi Sweet Girl. Well, let’s start with this: you’re not alone. Don’t let this be an overwhelming source of shame for you. I’m so happy that you wrote to me. I’m going to start right this minute to pray for you. Let’s get you the help you need because I know for a fact that you don’t need porn. Porn is a terribly distortion of true sexual intimacy and will only serve to disable your ability to be intimate. The research proves that it is very harmful to a future or existing marriage in terms of desiring real sex! Another factor that should fuel your quest for freedom is the simple fact that God wants your eyes to be for your future spouse…and he wants sex to be only between you and your spouse and not a bunch of other people stuck in your mind because of porn. So, let’s get you some help so you can experience freedom.
      A big thing that sticks out to me in your comment is that you “just feel like I need masturbation or porn.” The Apostle Paul wrote this as instruction for us in the Bible. “Everything is permissible, but not all things are beneficial.” Porn is not beneficial in your life. So, let’s tackle this.
      If the person you are talking to isn’t able to advise you on how to move towards freedom, could you consider seeing a Christian counselor? Sometimes we need a little help with stuff like this!

      • Thank you so much Dannah for praying for me. I have read your book “What are You Waiting For” (the masturbation and porn sections a couple times), and I am reading it again. The person I talk to is a pastor’s wife, so she is kinda a Christian counselor. Also, I’m in high school so I can’t just go find a Christian counselor. I still live with my parents, so I am still under them.

  • Hi Dannah,

    Advisory For a PG13 Question: How can you say that somebody can enjoy a nocturnal orgasm or enjoy awakening to a spontaneous orgasm while I suppose you also teach that erotic manipulations from a partner that generate orgasms apart from marriage are morally wrong? This is no trick question because many Americans believe that various kinds of erotic manipulations are categorically different than penetrative sex.

    • I think this is a no-brainer. (Both the question and the answer, honestly.) Would you tell a 12 year old boy who has a wet dream the equate that experience with mutual masturbation with a girl in the bathroom of his middle school?

  • My Heavenly Father is so good to me! I was struggling with this very thing this morning (felt so sinful about it), God directed me to this blog post this afternoon (via Chris Fabry program from earlier this month). Thanks! I’d never heard this topic discussed before and didn’t know it was normal. These are the types of questions I need answered, but it’s so hard to ask anyone because people view me as a ‘good Christian girl’.

    Not saying I disagree, but I find the part in the article about enjoying it without guilt interesting. I wake up myself (if I can) and try to kill and get rid of the feelings as quickly as possible, feeling shame if I were to let it last a second longer than was possible to stop it. Sometimes (though not always) it is brought on by a dream I had. I associate negative feelings with those sensations. BAD BAD BAD STOP!!!! Now I’m wondering if I’m hurting myself more by doing that… ingraining it into my thought patterns that those feelings are sinful. But I’m not sure I could enjoy it without feeling terrible like I was sinning… ?

    I see a Christian counselor about some things and told her about some crazy dreams I’d been having that were sexually graphic. I don’t feel it’s because I’m feeding myself bad food for thought during the daytime. I thought for sure it was the enemy tormenting me and prayed and prayed for God to protect my dreams, but for some reason I would still have these dreams anyway. Counselor said that perhaps they are just showing that deep down, I may have a desire for a healthy, godly relationship, it’s just that my dreams are my mind’s way of defragging.

    • Thanks for your candid thoughts. You are not alone.

      While I think you can enjoy what is not hyper-focused upon and brought on by feeding sexual desire, I do think it’s not necessary to beat yourself up if you wake up having a nocturnal orgasm.

      As for the dreams, be sure to stay in touch with your counselor. Sounds like you’re getting good advice. Keep it based on Scriptures and full of prayer and you’ll land in the right place!

  • Hi, I’ve been struggling with masturbation/porn stuff for about a year and for a while I wasn’t willing to stop, but now that I do want to stop, I’ve realized that its really hard. Sometimes, I hate my sin, but other times, I find myself craving it. These days, I can abstain for a couple days before I cave in, which is an improvement for me. I think it’s because I recently rededicated my life to the Lord, but it frustrates me because I can’t see myself breaking free of this addiction. Can somebody help?

    • Hello discouraged. You are not alone. Others are struggling to, but be encouraged in your conviction to change. I wonder if you’re in accountability with another Christian of your same gender? If so, great but if not you might find it helpful. James 5:16 says, “Confess your sins one to another and then you will be healed.” I have found great healing in accountability and that is what you need: healing. Not a white-knuckling rules-based conviction, but loving healing. Saturate yourself in the presence of the Lord. He is the only one that can quiet your desires and satisfy your cravings.

  • Mrs. Dannah, i am some what struggling sexually with my husband. we have been married for 12 years, we have a 14 year old, 10 year old and a new 6 month old. before our baby and most of my life i have been very driven sexually. its been some what of an addiction i could say. but since the baby has been born i dont want to have sex. i had been nursing also, so i thought this has something to do with it so i have stopped. even the few times we have made love i cant even climax. this is so frustrating for us both. i know i need to let my husband love me and i want to want him to. ive prayed and prayed God will help me, to give me desire. but im stuck. please any advice would do.

    • Hello Stuck

      I am glad that you wrote. I highly recommend a book by Drs Cliff and Joyce Penner called The Gift of Sex. In it you will find some “sexual retraining” assignments, exercises, and tips on how to overcome various sexual challenges. All of us have them from time to time and it’s very common for a woman to have to do some retraining of her body and mind after a baby is born. And after three, you may need some good pelvic floor exercises to bring your body back to strength for climaxing. The book outlines how to do the exercises and how to retrain very easily so that you can actually make it a fun dating experience between the two of you. Also take this into consideration: your tired. Your third baby is a different situation than your first. There’s not time to squeeze in extra naps or refueling. Give yourself some room to be tired. And some time. Your desire for your husband is in you. I hear it in your words!

  • Hi im a 17 yr old girl and at the moment i really want a boy/man in my life. i I know God fufills everything but i still have this strong desire .i have stopped watching sexual scenes and stuff which felt so good and satisfying although not afterward .I am christian and have been since 13yrs old and i do wander and ask God “i want to know do you have someone for me and i for them?” I am in hunger! i long to be held

  • Thankyou -i browsed through a few of them last night while writing this message i cant afford and im in New Zealand so i will watch all the videos unless i can ask someone to get it for me locally .Thankyou so much for understanding .I really appreciate it 🙂

  • Hi Dannah, I’ve always had a battle with lust. I’ve never been sexually active, but I still struggle with lust and sexuality more than anyone else I know. I have a boyfriend currently and we’ve gone farther than I wanted to, but we’ve backed off and reevaluated our relationship. Sometimes I’m still plagued with memories about him and the things we’ve done. It’s not all the time, but it has occasionally gotten really bad. I feel ashamed about having these feelings and I want to be able to control my mind and body, but I’m really struggling. Your articles and books are so amazing and helpful and I just wanted to thank you for being such a support and inspiration to me!

  • This article was so hard for me to read…I’m so ashamed of my masturbation. I don’t ever use porn, and I’ve given up reading erotica and watching shows with sexual themes. I run several times a week to fight some of the sexual tension. I am really trying to read the Bible consistently and pray all throughout the day. But sometimes at night I feel so terribly lonely that I end up…touching myself…and then I deeply regret it after the initial good feelings. I have horrible social anxiety that hinders me in building relationships with other Christians, but I’m seeing a Christian counselor about this (he’s a man though, and I don’t think it’d be appropriate to talk with him about the masturbation). I’m 26 and a virgin but just get so overwhelmed at times by both sexual desire and a desire for intimacy. Do you have any advice?

    • Hi Allison, I think it’d be a really good idea for you to talk to someone about your struggle. Don’t do this alone. I would recommend a woman. One thing is for sure. You’re not alone. In one women’s magazine, 65% of 18-25 year olds admitted to masturbating while looking at porn online.
      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. (Unfortunately for them, the school was tracking their on-line conversations!)
      I never, ever struggled like that with masturbation when I was in high school or college. So, it has been difficult for me to counsel lonely hearts at times. I’ve worked with women who, like me, never struggled and they are well into their middle-aged years or beyond. Masturbation is not every woman’s struggle, like it is every man’s.
      So I tend to lean towards “no masturbation.” But I have very godly friends and Christian leaders who don’t take that position.

      First of all, is it 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.
      Let’s begin with a definition of sin. The Hebrew language uses an archers term for sin. The word chatta means “to miss the mark.” In other words, sin is missing God’s intended purpose for our lives…his “bullseye,” if you will.
      In this case, sexually speaking our “bullseye” or “mark” is yada. Our goal is to know, to be known and to be deeply respected by ONE MAN sexually if we are sexual at all. Now, let’s consider the question of if masturbation is a sin.
      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 guy. (You might consider that verse if you have pictures of shirtless, buff-bodied guys posted as bumper stickers on your facebook page.) If your eyes and mind are engaged in pornography or visual sexual fantasy involving a guy when you are masturbating, you are sinning.
      Because you cannot know, be known by or respected by a picture in a magazine or on the Internet. That’s one way porn so painfully twists God’s intended design for sex. YOU HAVE STATED THAT THIS IS NOT AN ISSUE FOR YOU! GREAT!
      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 as one woman wrote to me recently. 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 nearly 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. Yada is a picture of a RELATIONSHIP with God. It must be experienced in the context of a male/female RELATIONSHIP. Solo sex may bring some sense of pleasure or release, but ultimately it falls short of truly satisfying our built-in desire for yada because it doesn’t lead us to know or be known; it doesn’t accurately reflect the image of the God the way the union of two souls is meant to do. 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 or relationship, 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 the Greek and Hebrew word for sin used in the scripture, masturbation is a sin.

      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. If you do find yourself struggling, tell an older godly woman.
      But don’t be surprised if you experience some temptation. We are, after all, sexual beings. Many 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 guys. Don’t be condemned by temptation. It is not sin unless you respond to it. I can personally tell you that it is possible to experience the temptation without giving in to the sin of masturbation.
      Remember 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.
      While self-pleasuring is certainly not grounds for groveling in shame, it’s also not something to casually accept as a way to meet your sexual longings. Always the real question is: “does this lead me closer to or farther from God’s divine design for me to know, to be known, and to be deeply respected?”
      I’m sure of this: sex is not a solo sport.

      • Hi Dannah, thank you so responding. I definitely recognize that masturbating is a sin, but thank you for explaining why. I’ve tried the things you’ve suggested in this article, and I’m reading Every Woman’s Battle and your book Pulling Back the Shades. I’ve also read through your comments to other women on this post. I just get so overwhelmed both by physical desires but even more so emotional desires. I know I should give these desires to God and be satisfied in Him. But sometimes I just really, really want someone to hold me or a partner to go through life with (a husband). And yes I know I should be sastified in God….this sounds sacreligious, but somehow it doesn’t seem like He can meet those deep emotional needs, those nights I cry myself to sleep in loneliness and sexual frustration. I know the answer is trust God,,,,it’s just really, really hard sometimes.

        • There are lots of things that God asks us to do that are difficult. I understand your pain. I wish it were easy. Blessed by your strength!

          • Wow, thank you so much for this comment, Dannah! This is exactly what I needed to hear right now and I feel that I’m not so confused about the topic of masturbation anymore. I would definitely like to read more of your blogs relating to this subject.

        • Allison,

          I so understand and “get” you, and wants to affirm you. The Christian single girl life is super hard. I’m 34, a committed Christian, and a virgin. I’m also a woman with a very strong sex drive. It’s natural, normal, and about as frustrating as it gets to not have a husband coming home to me each night. And yes, it’s broader than just sex. I miss intimacy (relational, emotional) just as much. I miss everything that marriage and family entails.

          I wish we didn’t live in such a broken, messed up Christian dating culture. I wish there were quality Christian men in both your life & mine asking us out on dates & eventually pursuing us for marriage. We are girls who want to do the right thing, who desire to follow God’s plan for marriage and sex…and yet never seem to move forward in this area of our lives. I don’t understand. It hurts. It’s hard to witness everyone else get married and have babies. There are no easy, pat answers. I’m just sorry that you’re walking this lonely road, Allison. My heart hurts for you, because I know how it feels.

          Let’s keep up our HOPE anchored in Christ and keep praying for husbands with persistence!

          Your sympathetic sister in Christ,

          • Lindsay, your sweet words are so encouraging. Thank you, dear sister! May God bless you as you continue seeking His will 🙂

          • I believe sexual purity equals sexual repression. There is no other way to control it. Even though we were made by God with strong sexual desire for intimacy and human companionship, I am not permitted to enjoy. I was married many years until my husband left me. I wish that quality Christian men would ask me out on dates and want to pursue me for marriage. There is no existence of Godly sexual expression. Whatever defenders of sexual purity call it, it amounts to stifling your thoughts about it and distracting your mind to focus on other things. You tell yourself it is sinful and you feel very guilty if you do.You cannot both call it sinful and suddenly switch gears later if marriage occurs to believe it is good. It would be much easier to bear if God was directly involved in bringing compatible Christian people together and we saw we had light at the end of the tunnel. You would be encouraged to wait it out. I have prayed fervently for this to happen in my life to no avail. No wonder people are drawn to internet dating. This is not sinful, but demonstrates how strong these innate desires in us really is. No woman wants to be an old maid left on the shelf. And men are not equally admonished and pressed upon to be sexually pure, only the women. I believe God’s plan was for the vast majority of people to be married. That is one of the reasons the account of Adam and Eve is in the Bible. There is no gift of singleness. That is a new recent invention to make all those left single to feel good about themselves in light of the inability to get a spouse. So they feel special and keep sexually pure. It is at a crisis level, with less getting married. Maybe God is not involved in getting a spouse. Maybe we have to take initiative to make it happen ourselves. It is definitely not clear on how to get a Godly spouse.

          • Sexual purity does not equal sexual repression. The most liberal studies in our nation reveal that those having the best sex waited, have one life time partner and often are religiously active. I talk about this in my TEDTalk and cite the sources. I’ll leave a link so you can watch it. I’m sorry that your story has not led you to experience this. Having a husband leave you is one of the most painful things a woman can experience. I do think that your comments reveal a hopelessness that many women experience. But there is a solution. It’s not acting out sexually and avoiding wise boundaries.

          • My heart and sympathies go out to both Allison and Helen. Helen, I think you and I deal with similar frustrations. I responded to one of your comments on another thread, and as I’ve searched this blog for support over the same things, here I’ve encountered you again. 🙂

            Allison, please don’t bludgeon yourself with guilt over masturbating. I mean, if God created sex for marriage, (and I believe He did), then are we to believe that God created the LACK of sex as a way to torment us? I don’t believe so. So, if you are living a life of abstinence until marriage, you are actively honoring the sanctity of marriage (including, in time, your own.) Yet, we are sexual beings — married, or not. So, what ELSE are you supposed to do? If nocturnal orgasms are a gift from God to relieve the tension, why should that relief of tension become “wrong” if you’re conscious?

            Helen, I don’t believe that sexual purity automatically equals sexual repression. I also am single after a failed marriage. I am 46, and I also have the very same frustrations about meeting a compatible Christian woman. And, I am attempting to live a life of abstinence until I remarry. Yes, it’s frustrating. And, I know sister…. phrases like “gift of singleness” don’t mean much alone on Christmas Eve. I know.

            When I’ve read your comments, I can sense the same type of frustration, if not outright anger, that I feel. Let’s face it: we’re frustrated because we’re not “getting any.” Sure. But, I gather that you also are living out the “frustrating truth” that sex should wait for marriage. That’s a good thing. You are honoring the sanctity of marriage. What about relieving the tension? Well, as Dannah states above in her blog post: “God created your body to relieve itself.” You do what you’ve gotta do.

            But, let’s look a little deeper at our frustration. Is it REALLY about sex? Or is it more about filling that void where a companion used to be? If you are like me, you may be placing too much hope on another person being the “cure” for that void. Another person is NOT going to “complete” you, “fix” you, or be a “cure” for your loneliness. (I most certainly point the finger at myself with that statement.)

            My sister, I used women like Band-Aids for most of my adult life. When the last one walked out, my inner wounds were no longer small enough to hide. My life collapsed. Shattered. I was unaware of my patterns until then. In healing, I’ve been forced to take this time of singleness to look at MYSELF; to address all the old wounds I’ve run from my whole life. Though my marriage was a nightmare, I’ve had to confess that there are TWO sides to every story. That means I’ve also had to look at the contributions I myself made to the failure of my marriage. Among other things. This process is leading to a better, healthier, happier, ME. My hope is, that will lead, finally, to a healthy marriage.

            My sister, I would humbly submit to you that, in your current state of singleness (frustrating though it may be), you have a RICH opportunity to develop yourself into the happiest, healthiest incarnation of YOU that you have ever been. When you’re married, you won’t have this kind of freedom and time. That’s the stage I myself am in right now, and I share it with you in encouragement and support.

        • Allison, please remember you are ONLY 17. Don’t rush into a relationship because you think you need to, be patient and let God have time to prepare someone for you. Most 17 to 21 year old guys are still making dumb decisions and you don’t need that in your life. A lot of your frustration is probably expecting too much too soon, and when our expectations are not met, a lot of turmoil can follow, like depression, anxiety, panic attacks, and I would add sexual frustration. If you need some hugs, go volunteer with a kids group, or a special needs group, they give hugs freely and often, and will make your day. God Bless You.

    • Your not alone, i feel exactly the same way, i am 26 now and longing for the intimacy with the god said’s is mean for me.

  • Thanks so much for talking about this Dannah! In many Christian circles I have been involved in, it is an unspoken taboo for single women to talk about sexual desire. Thus, I have felt at times like I am some sort of freak- I am a virgin and have never been in a serious relationship or even kissed a guy, but I daily have desires to have sex, and I have felt like I am somehow more sexual than other women, and different. I have woken up quite a few times before in the morning feeling very aroused and have felt guilty, dirty, and ashamed. When I feel this way, there is a desire in me to not talk about it since it seems like it’s a man’s struggle and that I should hide it. Which we all know makes struggles worse when they are not in the light. I know shame and guilt are not from God, but from the enemy, but have still been unsure what to do with these desires. It is really nice to know that they are a part of being a healthy person, and that it’s not a sin to feel guilty over when I feel those desires, but what matters is how I deal with them. Thanks for explaining some ways that I can honor God with those desires in a pure way! I am thankful for sisters in Christ like you who create a safe place to talk about these things and help me to walk in the light.

    • It makes me sad that you’ve felt so alone in your guilt when you wake up aroused. That’s normal. God designed you to work that way. It’s also normal to have this desire. Keep giving your desires to Him.

  • struggle with masturbation and porn problem is I’m single and young and I have high physical love language that isn’t being met and I feel it Leaves me wanting the real thing for myself in real life. I feel alone and frustrated.Single life it hurts sometimes

    • Amen and amen, Lost! Single life does hurt sometimes. It’s like ‘really God! You created my body to want and crave certain things that I can’t have unless I’m married… But YOU haven’t given me a man yet! What’s up with that?!’
      I’m a part of Dannah’s team and if ya couldn’t tell, I’m single too! And it’s really hard sometimes. What you and I both have to do is 1. keep talking to God. Keep that line of communication clear and open. Trust me, I know it’s awkward and hard to be totally honest, even with God, when it comes to our sexual feelings. But communication is so vital in any relationship and this one that we’re in with our heavenly Father is no different. Keep talking to Him… And keep LISTENING!
      2. Find out why we crave what we do. A lot of my frustration with sexual desires came from not knowing why I felt a certain way or wanted certain things. “I’m a good Christian girl, I shouldn’t be thinking these things” were some of the thoughts I had at times. But coming to an understanding that I wasn’t weird or anything like that; just HUMAN, really helped me. Dannah’s new book “Pulling Back the Shades” shares why we as human female crave what we do. It’s hormones and emotions and it’s all NATURAL! Which leads to…
      3. Understanding that our sexual desires and cravings and longings for human touch and need for love languages to be met – all of those good and natural things – MUST be given to God. Yes, He gave them to us. Yes, they are from Him. And now we gotta give them right back to Him and not allow ourselves to be dictated by them. You see, even the natural, good things, things that God Himself placed in us shouldn’t determine how we live. The only thing that should dictate how we live is The Holy Spirit of God Almighty. Listening to Him through time spent in His Word and talking to Him in prayer helps with the surrendering and allowing Him to lead.
      I’m right there with you, girl. I do hope that you check out “Pulling Back the Shades“. And that you start talking to an older, mature, and Godly woman who can be a listening ear, shoulder to lean on and accountability help.

      (posted by Dannah’s Team)

      • What does it mean to give these desires to God? I don’t want to be controlled by my desires, but somehow even friendships, serving others, praying, reading the Bible, etc. doesn’t take away desires for marriage, motherhood, and yes, sex. And I get so confused too when I feel ummm aroused out of nowhere, trying to discern if it’s ok or if I’ve been lusting.

        • Allison, you have a lot of questions and I’ve answered several of them, but here’s where I think we should go next. It seems to me that you need some one-on-one counseling from a godly woman. Do you feel there is someone in your church you could ask to meet to talk about these things? If not, I can get you the names of some Christian counseling referral hotlines. I want to see you get real victory and frankly, I don’t think what you’re struggling with is about sex. I think that’s just a symptom (as is often the case). Let’s get you some more thorough help than I can give you online.

          • Thank you, Dannah. I really appreciate all the time and kindness you have put into helping me (and so many other women). I have just started seeing a Christian counselor and it’s helping a little. I just have so many questions in between sessions (I should write them down to talk with her about them at our next session). Really, thank you for being so caring and for the encouragement. Besides the counselor I don’t have anyone else I can talk to about these things.

          • Writing a list of the questions is a great idea, Allison. I’ve done a lot of counseling in my life and I understand. It seems like there aren’t enough answers at times. But trust me…God takes us gently through the healing so it’s not too much at one time. You’re on your way, friend!

          • Thank you so much, Dannah. Really, it means so much for you to address these topics and give so much to women you don’t even know. May God continue to guide, bless, and use you.

  • Hi dannah im really struggling with masturbation -since 10 at the time i didn’t know it was even masturbation/wrong and i still do due to tired of being single! and i watch porn i feel alone .desperate for sex even though im a christian .hold this part of my life so dear . raging hormones 🙁

    • Alone, it’s interesting that you would put that as your signing name. Because dear friend, you are NOT alone! So many women and men have dealt with what you’re going through right now and they’ve felt the same frustration, hopelessness, and guilt that you may be dealing with right now. You are not alone. Also, even now – the Holy Spirit is with you and is in you! And He is not afraid of what you’re experiencing right now. This struggle is exactly why Jesus came, died, and rose again! To HELP you, His kid, live a life that would be pleasing to Him. To give you hope and light in dark places. To shower down copious amounts of grace and mercy onto your heart. You are not alone.
      Recognizing and admitting this struggle was a big and phenomenal first step! Bravo! Now, it would be good to find out why your body craves these things and how you can start living a life of righteousness before your Father. Reading “What are You Waiting For” “Get Lost” and “And the Bride Wore White” (“Pulling Back the Shades” if you’re older) would be a great place for you to start! It should shed some light on all those raging hormones and help you understand that they aren’t bad – there is just a way that God wants us to submit them – along with everything else in our lives – to Him. Reading this and talking with a mature and Godly Christian woman would be the next steps for you to take, friend.

      (posted by Dannah’s team)

  • Dannah, how I wish your ministry or one like yours would have been available to me when I was a teen. I will be thirty soon and I am just learning about true intamacy with God. I was so lost as a teen. The internet introduced me to pornagraphy and masterbation when I was only 15. My 12 year marriage is now coming to an end because of all the awful sexual sins we invited into our marriage. I have learned so much From you. Thank you for your obedience to God you are touching more lives than you know! I praise God that it isn’t too late for me to live a life of purity and to show my kids as well. Bless you

    • Dear friend. I’m so sorry about your marriage. Is there any hope? I could direct you towards some resources and counseling services.

  • Hey there… this was a wonderful article and I wish it had been something I could’ve read as a young woman. I wanted to get your thoughts if you have time, after reading the comments concerning masturbation. When I was a girl I started masturbating at bedtime, not knowing what it was or that it was wrong… it was just soothing to me to go to sleep. When my mom took me aside and had the “Sex Talk” at 12, she made a big deal out of the subject of masturbation being wrong. I felt so shamed learning I was doing something that I didn’t know was wrong. The shame didn’t stop me, but it turned it from something innocent into something I felt bad about and eventually was fueled by lust as I grew into my teens. Fast forward 20 years and now I have 3 daughters of my own. My second oldest is only 7 but masturbation and shoving stuffed animals down her pants at night has been an issue since she was very little. I assume it is also soothing for her. Anyway… just curious about your thoughts on this situation. Thanks.

  • Wait a minute-the goal of purity isn’t sexual repression? It sure seems like it 🙁 We single women can’t do anything sexual-not even with just myself-without sinning. I’m trying to live purely, but I must be part of the 60% of women who’ve never had that release (nocturnal orgasm) you talk about 🙁

    • I think you are confusing sexual repression with sexual self-control. I do understand that this must be frustrating but every human being has to embrace sexual self-control at some point in their lives. Without it, we would wound ourselves and one another deeply. There are other ways to find release: exercise, getting massage for physical touch, and developing strong intimacy in friendships. But ultimately, you know this: it’s a sacrifice to obey God in this area.

      • Oh. I guess that makes sense, thanks. I just wish there was a purpose for these desires now. It seems like the only thing they’re for as a single person is remind me what I don’t have. But that’s probably not a good way to think of things.

  • Thank you for this article. I think I so often confuse what seems like a desire for sex but is actually a longing for intimacy and connection. As a single woman, all the things you listed help. I just wish sometimes that God could actually hug us. All the Christian friends, exercise, and massages in the world don’t make up for the loneliness or crying yourself to sleep alone. I know God is with us always, but I selfishly wish God could just give us a literal hug. Reading the Bible and praying are great, but sometimes I just want a literal person here.nn1nn1

  • .I’m almost 60 and I have been single for a long time. I don’t watch porn or sit around thnking about sex. But about two to three times a year I have a dream I’m masterbating and wake up climaxing or almost and just the pressing of my legs together will cause me to. I always feel condemnation. I love God and I don’t want anything to displease Him. I also don’t want to believe something someone says without scripture to back it up. I have been asking for forgiveness of my flesh and for help to make it stop. And have you ever heard of incubus and succubus.? Someone told me that could be the problem.

    • Hello Over The Hill. I think what you are experiencing is “nocturnal orgasm.” They are common in women who don’t have a sexual outlet. I think they are a blessing just like “noctural emissions” are for men. They are a sign of purity. A release when you aren’t seeking it in a sinful way. That said, I would talk to someone about it and make sure you feel secure in what is happening and overcome this pressing condemnation. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

  • I am so confuse!!!!! I read your article and it was very interesting,but,still confuse,well,i am married and LOVE dearly my husband of 53 years,but,he is was very sick and take lots of medications(I am 8 years young then him,and medication FREE.).but,not all the time,my body craving for some touching,ect..ect..and my husband can not give me that, or he want to do nothing with me,he is not interesting to go out or visited our family, our only go out together is to take him to Doctors,Hospital,so,I really like a good massage therapy and really enjoy it.and quiet frankly give me a sense of pleasure,all I want to know is what I am doing is a sIn,??? I ADORE GOD WITH ALL OUR HEART,and ask him for forgiveness,but do you thing that God will allow that for me?
    Thank you to answer me.
    God Bless

    • Hello Iliane, I’m so sorry for your difficult situation. This is why we pledge to love in sickness or in health. It’s not easy. But God will give you the grace to do it. It may mean sacrificing things…like physical pleasure…to care for your older husband. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” We don’t like to embrace this promise of God. Trouble. But it is a part of living in this broken world. That said, never lose faith that God can fix it all. Pray. Pray that God is the source of contentment and that he heals your husband. Pray that you have strength to do what you have to do to be faithful and true. And…seek out an older wiser friend to share all this hard stuff with so you can get some customized advice just for you.

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