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Masturbation – Wesley Hill

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John Piper posted this on facebook the other day and I thought I would share it as well. 

Obviously, he is writing this for the benefit of men, but I think it could be applicable for women as well. He definitely has some interesting ideas that many would probably find intolerant, but I tend to agree with most all of what he has to say on the subject.

http://www.firstthings.com/blogs/firstthoughts/2014/02/escaping-the-prison-of-the-self

A Change of Pace

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I have been writing this blog for nearly a year now. Almost every single Sunday, I have posted something that I hope has been beneficial to my readers and glorifying to God. But I have hit a wall. I have prayed about it and sat staring at the computer screen trying to think of something to write. And I end up with nothing. I mean I have thoughts, but none that seem significant enough to put out there. I feel like I am in danger of writing things just to write, of being repetitive, of trying to do this without the Lord.

I know there are plenty of things to be said in regards to pornography and masturbation. Both topics are equally unique but a huge part of who I am today. They have both caused me endless hours of frustration and anguish, and at the same time have given me perspective and understanding in a culture that becomes more and more sexualized with each new day. I desire to write about these topics, but I feel like God is telling me to wait and to dig deeper.

But I don’t want to let my readers down! Even the few that have been helped by this blog are important to me. Are you really finished with me concerning this topic, Lord?”

I don’t think He is finished. I think this may just be the beginning, or at least I am praying it is. But I may not have posts every Sunday like before. I may have to enter a season of research and talking to others. I need to gather data and stories and in turn share them with the world.

I know some of you reading this have your own stories and your own thoughts. I encourage you to take the opportunity I am presenting right now. I want you to write for this blog. Of course, I would have to approve of your writing, because let’s be honest here, I am trying to reflect Christ and can’t allow anything that would be dishonoring to Him. But I want to have different perspectives and other girls, teens, and women who just need to get some things off their chest and out in the open. I want this to be a place where you can release the pain that porn may have caused you. The frustration and confusion masturbation has granted you.

All I can do is ask. It’s up to you whether or not you answer. Until then, I will be seeking out what God would have for me with this blog. I am praying it will be far better than anything I could have dreamed of. I push on not because of my own strength, but because of Him who saved me from my sin and gave me a new name and a pure heart. I can never repay Him and I never have to. So I will press on until he would have me finish.

Stephanie: An Open Book

Submitted By: Stephanie

I didn’t know what was going on with my body or what I was feeling. I didn’t know what to call it. I didn’t know if it was wrong or if it was normal. At first, all I knew was that it felt good. I wasn’t even a teenager yet.

It was years before I even heard the word “masturbation” and some years more before I put it together that that was what was going on. Up until that realization there had been a kind of indescribable confusion and regret that existed, but after a label was applied to my actions the shame and humiliation that followed was immense and drove me into further secrecy. For years I tried to fight it off, to end it, but it seemed there were triggers all around me sending me back to that act I despised naming.
I truly believed I was the only one I knew who struggled with it and I dare not test that hypothesis by asking questions; Lord knows I sure didn’t hear the word “masturbation” in church. So I kept it to myself, at least I tried. Something in me felt I had to tell someone and the scriptures that talked about confessing haunted me. So I decided to admit to some very close friends that I struggled with “lust.” That’s what I called it because lust, well everyone struggles with that and it was a broad enough label that I felt safe behind it; God could have His way and I could have mine. Although it wasn’t enough, not because it wasn’t enough for Him, but because it wasn’t enough for me in my own heart.
One night a younger girl on a youth leadership team pulled all the female leaders into a private meeting where she boldly confessed to us all her struggle with pornography; she just had to get it out in the open. Little did she know what that would start. Her confession gave the rest of us courage to open up and open up we did. Turns out every single one of my friends, who served in leadership positions with me, struggled with masturbation at some point in their life. We all had thought we were alone all that time.
I was in high school when that little saving grace occurred. Confessing to my friends gave me strength to stand up to something I hated; it made a lot of the shame go away and I found myself enriched with a boldness to lay my struggle out there for other girls so that at least they wouldn’t feel so alone like I did for all those years. But there was still some shame hanging on, shame that I wouldn’t be free from for another 4 years when I finally gained the courage to tell my mom.
See, when God made me, He made me an open book; I naturally share what I go through and I don’t have a lot of shame about it- it’s how I’ve always been. But what masturbation did was it robbed me of that. With masturbation being in my life suddenly I had something to hide, suddenly I had shame. So, for me, confessing was what was necessary to bring me back to me. I don’t think that masturbation was the great sin that needed forgiveness. I think the bigger “sin” was me not being who I was created to be and allowing something to muddle core parts of my being. I think that broke my God’s heart more than the act itself; having to watch me be robbed of the true nature He Himself had put within me. I have come to believe that God cares far more about us than He does about what we do. Whether that be the great and holy things we can do for Him or the hurtful and shameful things we can do despite Him, He cares for us. He cares about us.

Modesty in a Sex-Saturated Culture

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I think it is safe to say that the topic of modesty is a difficult one. There are people with all kinds of different opinions on it and most people cannot come to an agreement on what the guidelines should be for girls and women of this day and age.

I have heard so many different arguments as to why women should be able to wear whatever they want. “Guys should be able to control themselves” and “Women in other countries don’t always even wear clothing, so I am actually doing pretty well.” I understand if you are someone who is tired of being judged for what you wear, but could you at least come up with some better arguments? Or maybe it is just that there really aren’t any good arguments for your selfish desire to get what you want regardless of the consequences to others.

I don’t know if everyone else realizes it, but our culture is sex crazy. I don’t just mean we encourage sex, we worship sex. It is in every aspect of our culture from seemingly innocent television ads to easily accessible hardcore porn. Now before you get all defensive, I am not saying that you personally, as a Christian, are sex crazy, but the culture you live in is. You have to accept that to understand the rest of what I have to say.

There are tribes around the world that do have a vastly different dress code than we do. It is perfectly ok for Himba women to walk around shirtless. Nothing is odd about it. It sounds quite freeing doesn’t it ladies? I would love to not have to worry about what bra or shirt I am going to wear that day. But there is something else that they don’t have either. They don’t have the billboards that are encouraging men (or women) to go see these topless wonders. It is not often that they have time to just sit and watch a movie where the camera lingers on a woman’s cleavage and lets you watch as she slowly, seductively peels off her top. So to see a woman’s breast in that kind of culture isn’t quite as titillating to the everyday viewer.

Jump back into your own culture and the same thing can’t be said. Everywhere you turn, the world is telling you that certain parts of your body are tantalizing. That you can control a man with them and that every man wants to see them. So, is that why you want to show yourself off? Because regardless of the real reasons for why you want to show off your body, that is what everyone else will think you want. You can whine and complain that it just isn’t fair and everyone else is judgmental and guys should have more self-control, but it won’t do you any good. The truth will still be the same. The more you show, the less you are in control.

I will delve more into this in future posts, but if you haven’t heard this from me already, here it is. Porn is an addiction. Porn is everywhere in our culture and very easy to access. Porn is something that nearly every single man in your life has seen. Porn rewires people’s brain to view women as objects to use instead of people to share life with. So, the closer you are to being naked, the more you reveal your body to the world, the more you become like an object.

Let’s take it one step farther. Christian guys are no exception to the porn statistics. Once they decide to fight their desire for porn, it is no picnic. God gives them a way out when they are tempted, but you do not make it any easier for them when you flaunt yourself the way you do. It may not be your intention to make your brothers in Christ’s struggles even harder than they already are, but intentions hardly matter in this case.

You want to be intentional about something? Be intentional about dressing in a way that is above reproach. Be intentional about not asking how much skin is too much, but asking the Father in heaven who created you if what you are wearing is beautiful in His sight. Be intentional about wearing clothes that make you feel beautiful, but don’t have you obsessing over what other people think about your body.

Do guys need to have self-control regardless? Absolutely. I actually read an interesting blog post on this very thing. You can read it here if you would like. He is a little bit harsh (and I hope he wouldn’t actually talk this way to his young son), but the point is clear. Guys have to control themselves. But Christian women need to control themselves too.

You might be wondering what my specific guidelines are when it comes to modesty. I won’t share them with you, because that is not the point. The point is that if you aren’t willing to sacrifice your choice of clothing to help the men and women around you fight their battles with this sex-saturated world, then you are not laying down your cross daily and giving your body as a living sacrifice. And if you don’t even know what your clothing choices should be, maybe you should start asking the one who created you and not the world who would love to claim you.

“Then he [Jesus] said to the crowd, ‘If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me.”

- Luke 9:23

Sex for a Price

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This is all I have to share with you today. Make sure you watch the video in it’s entirety!

Husbands: What Does God Think of Your Sex Life?

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My husband has been asking me if he could write a post for my blog for a little while. Of course, I was thrilled and he finally sat down and wrote one out. Hopefully, there will be more to come in the future!

My wife was my first kiss, so I think it’s safe to say we did the whole purity thing pretty strictly before we got married. That’s not to say I was naive exactly. Aside from the distorted information I had gotten from pornography, I spent a lot of time researching anything I could find about sex before our wedding night. I read books, blogs, forums, anything I could find about what sex was like for real people. It was also helpful to talk to several couples about their advice and experience.

Several of them surprised me, though. They wouldn’t admit it in front of me and their husbands, but several women admitted to my wife that they weren’t getting what they needed out of sex in the beginning of their marriage. One even said she still wasn’t getting what she needed, despite talking to her husband again and again about it.

I was so confused. My stereotype of marriage from sitcoms and even sermons was that the husband was always the one begging for more or different sex and the wife was the one turning him down.

While I still can’t say I totally relate, on our honeymoon, I began to understand where the root of that problem might lay: pleasing a woman sexually can be hard. On our honeymoon we learned that my wife didn’t have an orgasm from sex. She liked sex, but it didn’t satisfy her. After sex, I was satisfied and she was more turned on than ever and ready to do more. Within the first two days, we had sex 10 times, and I was exhausted. For the first time in my life, I honestly would have rather been sleeping than having sex. So when my wife woke me up in the middle of the second night and I genuinely couldn’t do it anymore, she was hurt and I was afraid. We talked through it, but we didn’t know what to do and I think she went back to sleep frustrated.

It wasn’t until the third or fourth day of our honeymoon, after she had grown comfortable enough with me touching her, that I was able to give her an orgasm from touching her clitoris. This was finally the satisfaction she needed.

What we learned was that my wife craves an orgasm every two to three days, whereas I crave one pretty much every day. This was really frustrating for me, because giving her an orgasm can take a long time, especially the first several months of marriage when it would take up to an hour. Doing it isn’t directly pleasurable to me, and sometimes it was even annoying. Frankly, sometimes my hand gets tired, my arm goes numb, and once I think I even fell asleep for a minute. Sometimes I know that her body needs an orgasm because it has been three or four days, and I have to talk her into having one because she doesn’t even feel the need in that moment, but will later. That’s so different from my body; I can’t even believe we are the same species sometimes. But the more I do it, the more I see it as a) incredibly sexy to please my wife, and b) a godly responsibility I have as a husband.

This is what I didn’t understand going in to marriage. I thought my wife would want exactly what I wanted, sex, just a little less often. The truth is she has a much more intense, time consuming need that doesn’t align at all with my desire, and if she doesn’t get that, she is dissatisfied no matter how much we do what I want. People so often think of 1 Corinthians 7:5-6 as verses directed at women:

The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband.  For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. 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.

But it’s fitting that it addresses men first, because in reality it applies even more to men. I have to make sure my wife is taken care of, and in some ways it’s more of a sacrifice for me because I don’t get pleasured at the same time that she does. That’s fitting since I’m the man, the one called to love her like Christ loved the Church, forsaking his own pleasures and desires to serve his bride.

And from what I’ve heard talking to other married couples, it seems to me that men are just as likely to be selfish and unwilling to please their wives as wives are toward their husbands. If you are a husband who doesn’t take the time to please your wife as often as she needs it, you are failing her. There are many purposes of marriage, but you are failing at least two of them if you aren’t working to fulfill her desires: protecting her from sexual temptation, and representing the glory of God in the sacrifice of Christ for the Church.

At the end of time when I give an account to God of how I stewarded my marriage, I’m certain that he will be pleased with my sacrifices for her, to protect her and to glorify him. Husbands, if you are getting what you need from your wife and that keeps you from sinning, good for you, but in light of everything she needs, I have to ask you, is God pleased with your sex life?

What are You Consuming?

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I am sure many of you are familiar with the author Francine Rivers and her “Mark of the Lion” book series and book “Redeeming Love.” And many of you may have made the same mistake that I am about to share with you.

I am an avid reader and I would call the way that I read devouring rather than simply reading. Back when I had all the time in the world, I would often finish 800 page books within several days if not in one day. As I matured in my faith, I realized that that may be an idol in my life and while reading in and of itself was not bad, the way I read was.  I read all sorts of books, ranging from classics to fantasy world books (you know dwarves, elves, dragons and the like).  The problem with such a wide range of tastes is that it is very difficult to filter out what you end up consuming in the process.

With movies, you can just look at a rating or a review and find out if you really want to risk the possibility of exposing your heart and mind to things you know aren’t good for it. There are reviews for nearly every movie that is in existence. But for books? Well, I don’t know if it would even be possible for there to be reviews of book content because of the enormity and variety of books that are out there.

In the books I read (especially the fantasy ones) things were planted within them that caused me to struggle. Unfortunately, sex is now permeated very thoroughly throughout our culture and entertainment. It is difficult to fend off, especially within books. I never read those books you see with the half naked men and women on the front that are obviously entirely about sex and probably viewed as “soft porn.” But I didn’t have to. Within most books that I read, there were usually at least one or two sexually stimulating scenes. It was a huge problem for me and stirred up lust and awakened thoughts and desires I didn’t know existed. Once in my mind, it was more difficult to remove it than I ever would have imagined. As most of you know, these scenes in books stopped satisfying and I began to look to porn more and more often. I guess you could say that, for me, books were my “gateway” to porn.

This particular post has a happy and somewhat humorous ending to it though. As I said in the beginning, this whole story has something to do with Francine Rivers. After I finally confessed my sins to my friend, I had stopped reading books that I knew might have sex scenes within them. So, basically I only read Christian fiction, some classics, and books that I knew Christian friends of mine had already read and deemed appropriate. Francine Rivers had a great track record with me and I wanted to read more of her work.

One thing my friend (who also loves the author) forgot to mention was that Rivers was not always a Christian. In fact, she wrote books that many would call soft porn before her encounter with Jesus. I picked one of her older books out at the library and inside the cover was written in pencil “soft porn.” How clueless could I get? I ignored the writing thinking it was some joke and started to read. At first I was a little taken aback by how detailed she was getting and then I started to realize that the added labeling in the front cover was no joke.

It was a struggle to put the book down and refuse to pick it back up again. But I did, and immediately asked my friend why in the world Rivers wrote this book? She laughed quite a bit and told me about the writer’s past. I had enough hints and clues to have known better, but for some reason was oblivious at the time. I haven’t been that careless since.

You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything”—but not everything is beneficial.

1 Corinthians 10:23

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