Don’t Judge!

Other people were judgmental and rude. Not me.

It’s amazing what different seasons of life will reveal if you let them. After having our first son, it was like God ignited a bomb within my soul that exposed some major sin in my life. I am sure many moms have this aha moment, but I was completely caught off guard. It’s crazy how sneaky pride is in our lives, convincing you that you aren’t a judgmental person. “I’m not judging her, I just won’t be doing it THAT way.” I would tell myself pre-childbirth.

Sure, I never said anything out loud (at least not to that person) about my thoughts on how wrong they were. But slowly my perception of other mother’s would be one of pity. Such a shame that they just couldn’t get their act together so their lives would be better and they wouldn’t have to be so overwhelmed. “I won’t be like that”, I said. “I will learn from their mistakes and we won’t have all these problems.” I scrutinized and analyzed these mothers who allowed me to see their messy lives and silently chose to write them off as far as potential mentors went. They clearly weren’t the ones I wanted to be watching and learning from. I was exceptionally harsh with one friend in particular. Her life was entirely different than mine, from the type of marriage she had to her personality. This is the same friend who was brave enough to declare in front of me and all my friends that she had looked at porn, when everyone around me was expressing disgust at the thought. And so I found myself mentally separating myself from her and placing myself on a pedestal. I would be different.

“Pride goes before destruction, and haughtiness before a fall.” – Proverbs 16:18

Well that fall came and it came hard. It turns out I was not different. It turns out, I was worse. I am confident God was disgusted with my prideful heart before my journey in motherhood even began and he proceeded to remove it as quickly as possible. I am thankful, but it was extremely painful. I was going to be one of those moms who does everything right. You know, like all of those mom bloggers. I would have a natural birth at a birthing center with no meds. I would nurse my child for a year and never use formula. I…….I…….I would do none of those things. After five days of labor ending in an emergency C-section (that’s right, five freaking days), an intense and difficult recovery, major difficulties nursing leading to a switch to formula at six months, and countless other “failures,” I was in a dark and depressing place. “I am a failure. I can’t do anything right. I hate myself. I…….I…….I CAN’T DO THIS ANYMORE!!!” 

You know what’s funny? That same friend who I judged so harshly, is the one who told me I was not a failure. This mom who I viewed as doing it “wrong,” was the one who encouraged me every step of the way through my horrible labor. She was the one who told me that it was ok to use formula, even though she herself never had to use it for her children. She accepted my failures and had grace on me. She did not judge me in my hour of need (even though she never struggled in the areas of motherhood that I was struggling in). She was there for me and prayed for me and answered the phone when I desperately needed a friend to talk things through.

My pride was exposed even more for what it really was, and I was brought lower than I had ever been before. “I can’t do this anymore.”

It’s true. I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t continue in my pride. Thankfully my story didn’t end where it does for so many others. I stopped looking at myself and started looking at Jesus. I stopped trying to do it by myself and reached out for help. I took myself off of that pedestal and brought myself low at the feet of my King.

“And he gives grace generously. As the Scriptures say, ‘God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” – James 4:6

Oh, thank God for that grace.

A Change of Pace

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.

Modesty in a Sex-Saturated Culture

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

Husbands: What Does God Think of Your Sex Life?

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?

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

Married Women: Have We Forgotten Singleness?

Recently, I talked to a friend of mine who is in her late twenties and single. She has talked to several different women, married and not, and had one question during our conversation that really stood out to me. “Do married women just forget what it’s like to be single?”

Her question came up after a long discussion about whether or not masturbation was wrong. Several women have given her great advice on this matter, but there are many who immediately tag it as a sin and expect single women to deal with it. To paraphrase…“I mean of course it is a sin, right? I, as a married woman, certainly don’t have a problem with it and I only need to have sex every other week and I’m good.”

Obviously there are several things that do not help a single woman, struggling with masturbation. If you have a low sex drive to begin with, you probably never dealt with masturbation the way women like us do. Not only that, but a married woman is getting her needs met if communication is good with her husband. As married women, we really need to think about what our advice and answers are going to be to this single, sex saturated generation. You can’t just throw out the first answer that comes to mind, especially if it isn’t something you struggle with anymore (if you ever did).

Single women do not need us making them feel worse than they already do for their struggles. If a person is convicted by masturbation, by all means walk with them and encourage them, hold them accountable and confront them on it. But telling them they should just stop in a matter of fact way is extremely unhelpful. They already know they need to stop, otherwise why would they be coming to you with it? And most likely it is something they have been struggling with since they were younger and have tried over and over again to stop, failing and feeling miserable about it.

So what can you do? You can start by praying about these women and asking the Holy Spirit to give you wisdom. Every woman is different, and the words they need to hear the Lord speak through you are specific to them. There is no formulaic answer. As married women, we need to start stepping up our game in the way we disciple the single women that are asking for our help and wisdom.

And if you are a single woman and you don’t know who to go to with this, start praying! God will reveal it to you. You don’t have to talk to a married woman, but you should ask that God direct you to someone who has overcome. When you are in the midst of your sin, it is easy to believe there is no end in sight and you will just always fail in this way. But when you know someone who has made it past that infinite line, the hope that has always been there becomes more than a dream

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

–          Romans 15:13

Search Terms That Make You Wonder…

I don’t have posts that are super light-hearted very often. Actually, make that never. But I can’t resist any longer, so here it goes.

As I am sure you have noticed, the title of my blog is pretty simple, could be considered controversial, and can also be misunderstood. To be honest, that is how I want it. I don’t want this to be a place that only Christians come across (although Christians are probably the main ones that are even contemplating the pros v. cons of masturbation). I want my blog to be something that anyone could happen upon regardless of their religion. I want people to know Jesus.

But now that I have been running this blog for more than six months, I have a good picture of what kind of person is viewing my blog when looking at their search terms. Sometimes, it is too good of an idea.

By now, most of you probably know my stance on pornography (it is pretty negative). If not, I will do a post on it sometime in the future I am sure. So, when I see some of these search terms I can’t help but laugh inside sometimes. For instance, a search term like “women who masturbate porn sex” makes me think that they were probably looking for something other than a Christian blog. And the fact that their search was interrupted by clicking on my blog kind of makes me sad and delighted at the same time.

I said I wasn’t going to get too deep in this blog, so I am just going to leave you with my top most ridiculous, disturbing, and hilarious search terms so far. Here it goes!

  1. “Women masturbation honeymoon” has actually come up quite a bit.
  2. “Women masturbate for cash” That is really sad.
  3. “Women are unhelpful” I literally laughed about that one.
  4. “Homeless people and health care” Haha! I did write a post kind of on this topic once, but I bet this person was a little shocked that my blog came up for it.
  5. “Masturbating with sheep heart” I really just don’t understand.
  6. “How to masturbate a goat” If someone wants to explain why anyone would be searching this, feel free (I may or may not allow your comment). This was searched several times. It is disturbing.

Those were the most outrageous so far. When I look through my search terms I am encouraged by all of the search terms that indicate people really are looking for answers and some are hopefully finding them through this blog. But there are also a lot of search terms that make me remember how sick this world really is and it reminds me of why we all need Jesus.

Testimonies

So, this post is going to be short, sweet, and to the point.

I just added a page called testimonies where I will be posting people’s testimonies about their struggles with pornography and/or masturbation. Sometimes, knowing that there are others out there who have a similar story as you do (especially in the church) can help you get to the other side. We are all unique in the way God made us, but many people share similar life stories that are meant to be shared to uplift and encourage one another.

If you are interested in having your own story posted, please contact me at my email: mtorik89@gmail.com and I will respect your anonymity.

5 Reasons to Read “Sex Is Not The Problem, Lust Is”

I recently decided to read the book by Joshua Harris called “Sex Is Not The Problem, Lust Is.” I actually really appreciated the things he wrote and agreed with nearly everything he said in it.

I was surprised that we were in such agreement seeing as Josh also wrote the book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” which got a lot of negative feedback from people I know and love. After reading his other book, I might reconsider reading his opinions on dating just to decide for myself whether or not they are worthwhile.  If any of you have read his dating book and have opinions on it, I would love to hear what you thought!

I hope to be writing more and have several ideas, but as you all know life sometimes gets crazy busy. I do have several ideas though and plan on posting more in the weeks to come! And, of course, if any of you have ideas or questions, I would really appreciate it if you would let me know! It gives me more to think on even if you happen to disagree!

For now, I would really recommend that any of you who may have questions regarding masturbation or an addiction to pornography read this book about lust. Joshua Harris makes extremely good points and here are a few of the things that I really appreciated about it:

1. He never gets too graphic when describing scenarios. Authors that give more detail than necessary often cause those of us who already struggle with lust to use what is supposed to be helpful to fuel lustful desires.

2. There is a whole chapter on masturbation, and it is extremely helpful. Again, not too graphic but enough detail to know exactly what he is talking about. It is not often that I have been able to find books that dedicate a whole chapter to this topic and I actually agree with everything that is said and the way it is discussed.

3. Everything he says points you back to Jesus and to His Word. There is a whole section in the book that has key scripture verses specific to dealing with lust for you to quote and store up in your heart for times of temptation.

4. It is not extremely long (192 pages) and is a very easy read. I have found that a lot of spiritual books will be longer than necessary and just repeating the same concept over and over with nothing new added in the mix. Joshua Harris repeats the gospel and the need for Jesus often, but adds something in every chapter.

5. It is so worth it for anyone who deals with lust in their lives, whether single, dating, or married (so, basically everyone).

The only thing that I found myself disagreeing  with Josh on was the small section about how guys and girls should interact in male/female relationships. He encouraged everyone to engage more in more in relationships with the opposite sex in order to be good brothers and sisters to one another, but didn’t specify what that would look like. I just think it could be dangerous for those who don’t have good boundaries with the opposite sex and it could encourage lust rather than prevent it. It definitely doesn’t detract from the book in its entirety though, and that is just my personal view on that.

I hope you will consider purchasing or borrowing this book from a friend or the library. Trust me, it will be worth the read!

If you want to purchase it you can get it either on Amazon or Christianbook.com.

A Great Sex Life

I had some feedback on a recent post that got me thinking about how masturbation has affected my marriage.

I won’t lie to you, my past struggles haven’t damaged my marriage significantly. In fact, I would go so far as to say that I was able to explain the things that I like more easily to my husband. To put it bluntly, we have a great sex life.

But I don’t think the real reason for our great sex life is because of my experiences with masturbation.

A friend told me a few weeks before she got married that she had never masturbated. I wasn’t too surprised, but did wonder how that would change their sex life. Apparently, not much at all. According to her and her husband, they have a fantastic sex life and it was great from day one. If masturbation was the key to having a great sex life, then how could this be the case?

Communication will drastically change a woman’s ability to enjoy a sexual experience with another person. If you communicate well, things typically go well. If there is miscommunication or a lack thereof, things come to a screeching halt.

Masturbation cannot fix a person’s inability to communicate. In fact, it will probably cause you to enjoy your own touch more than your husband’s. Let’s face it, masturbation is easier than communicating to a man that doesn’t always understand the female mind.

This friend of mine probably didn’t know much about her body and how it worked sexually, but before she got married and started having sex she asked questions; lots of questions. She became informed and she learned how to communicate well with her spouse. If you can’t communicate, it doesn’t matter how much you masturbate as a woman, you probably won’t enjoy sex like you could.

I hear it said a lot that masturbation is necessary for people to explore their sexuality and to be ready to have a sexual partner. It just isn’t true. Putting aside what you believe about how right or wrong it is, masturbation is not a necessity for a woman to have a good sex life. However, good communication skills are.

As a married, Christian woman, I will be completely honest: although masturbation didn’t ruin my marriage or even cause many issues, it could have. My husband didn’t know exactly how I would like things from the very beginning. Sex has always been good because of communication, but it has gotten better as time goes by because he knows me, not because I know me. Like everything else in marriage, sex is better when you’re both being selfless, not selfish.