“I feel like I’m reading my own story.”
I see this in my email once a week, blinking in my inbox from yet another girl in yet another corner of the world. It’s from the girl who thought she was alone; who thought she was the only one struggling.
When I shared my testimony of battling sexual sin (specifically erotica and masturbation, and eventually temptation in my dating relationships), I didn’t expect the feedback I received. I didn’t expect to hear that hundreds of other young women were trapped in the struggle I faced for so many years. And as I continue to read the tearful lines of each letter, the same theme emerges: I thought I was the only one.
Our culture and unfortunately, many of our churches, tells us that sexual desire and temptation is a “man’s problem”. We talk about porn as if it’s exclusively a male sport. We act as if women don’t have sexual desires before OR after marriage. When we accept these falsehoods about female sexuality, we do a great deal of harm to Christian women. Until we recognize that female sexuality matters – and that women deal with sexual sin too – we will not reach the women who need freedom. They will continue to think they are the only ones.
If you’re a girl trapped in sexual sin, defeat, and shame – a girl who feels alone – this post is for you.
You are not the Only One
Forty percent of porn users are women. Forty percent. Our world has normalized sexual perversions and encouraged women to accept porn, erotica, masturbation and extramarital sex as part of a “normal” relationship – or simply as part of growing up. Our culture is LOUD about sexuality, sharing details and information the church refuses to acknowledge. It should come as no surprise that young women turn to sources such as Cosmopolitan Magazine and Google to learn about sex – then try to understand that information through a biblical lens. It’s confusing. It’s not what God wants.
When we start our sexual education from these mismatched sources, the Enemy has the perfect soil to plant seeds of doubt and temptation. For me, that seed was my own ignorance and an erotic novel on a garage sale. I was twelve when my curiosity led me into sin, and sin into shame, and shame into bondage. I am not the only one.
And neither are you.
You are not Defined by Your Sexuality
If you’re caught in this cycle of defeat, you’re probably hyper-aware of it. Most Christian women are! They WANT to be free, but they don’t know how to view their sexuality apart from sin and shame. This keeps them returning to the same old sins and habits, never walking in the freedom Christ promised.
The road to changing your perspective on sexuality is a long one, and it requires a mental, emotional, and spiritual shift. But this begins by understanding a key point about sex: your sexual sins and desires do not define you. They do not control you. And your sexuality in and of itself is a beautiful thing – even before marriage.
Your sexual self isn’t relegated to marriage alone. The sexual desires you feel prior to marriage are part of how God designed your body. They contain all the potential for unity and intimacy in marriage. And before marriage, they are a reminder of just how loving your Creator is in giving this gift of sexuality to you. But we live in a fallen world, and even good gifts become idols if we let down our guard. If you idolize your sexual desires – elevating a want to a need – you will cease to see God as a loving Designer and instead resent His design.
To be free from the burden of sexual sin, you must see your identity through the sacrifice of Christ, and lay your desires down as an offering. Each time you are tempted, you can use your sexual desires as a reminder to thank God for your design and celebrate your sexuality. This breaks the bondage of shame the Enemy uses to keep us in defeat.
You Are an Overcomer
Jesus told us, “In this world you will have trouble.” (John 16:33) In this life, you will always face temptation. But Jesus also said: “…take heart! I have overcome the world.” In Christ, you are MORE than a conqueror of sexual ignorance, shame, and sin. As the apostle John wrote: “For everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith.” (1 John 5:4)
Your faith – your trust in God’s goodness and ability – is the weapon by which you overcome worldly sexuality. Your faith is the lens through which you view your sexual self and, through Christ, find freedom from sexual sin and shame. There is freedom. It is possible to walk in victory.
It is possible because of Jesus. In Him, you are not alone – you are an overcomer.
Have you given up trying to overcome masturbation? Are you repeatedly failing the boundaries with your boyfriend? Are you confused by the conflicting messages about sex in church and culture?
If so, you’re not alone. Hundreds of other girls struggle just like you – but some of them are finding freedom. If you’re desperate for change and victory, Christian Cosmo is there for you.
Christian Cosmo teaches women how to reframe their view of female sexuality from a biblical perspective – but it doesn’t talk in generalities. There are enough purity books to do that already. Christian Cosmo combines the frank details of Cosmo magazine with a much-needed biblical perspective. If you never had a sex talk, if you’re in sexual sin, or if you simply need a refresher on God’s design for female sexuality, get Christian Cosmo here. You can also contact Phylicia on her blog.