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December 13, 2015

Is Masturbation Supposed To Be Shameful?

Before I start….let me get something off of my chest.

shame_movieBecause of the massive response of my last blog called ‘What Does Christian Sex Look Like?', I put a lot of pressure on myself to have all the answers in this next blog.  I have sat down day after day, trying to figure out something profound to say….which has been an absolute nightmare.

I'm not a Christian sex expert.  I'm on a journey of sexual healing.  So instead of having all the answers–especially ones that I don't yet have for myself—let me set my intention up front for this blog series.  I'm simply longing to break the shame of sex in a Christian world that has stayed primarily silent about it—knowing thousands who struggle.

There.  I already feel better.

 

When I first sat down to write the second next part of my blog about Christianity and sex, I got an email from one of my dear friends who rescues kids that have been trafficked for sex.  The contents of the email left tears streaming down my face in the middle of a crowded coffee shop, reading about a TODDLER (a year and a half younger than my son Moses) who was raped, severely beaten, and left for dead.

Before I write about anything else, let's stop, pray and agree for healing and restoration, and then put our money where our mouth is and DONATE to make sure this innocent victim gets the medical attention she needs to recover physically and emotionally.  Amazing funds have already been raised, but she needs more surgeries and you can help.  If you have a heart to partner with an organization who helps in the rehabilitation process after children have been trafficked, I can completely recommend my friend Erica Greve and the powerful work she's doing at Unlikely Heroes.

 

Situations like this are just evil.  Pure evil.  And I believe there's a strategic reason why evil attacks innocent victims with perversion in the sexual realm.

If sex can get perverted from its purest form (in any way)….it produces a monster that plagues the head and heart.

And that monster is called…

SHAME.

Any time you drink the kool-aid of shame, I promise, your heart will poison with bitterness….towards yourself.  You will be plagued with the disease of self-hatred, believing you're unforgivable….and unlovable.   And if you believe you're unforgivable and unlovable, it sure is impossible to live in intimacy with Jesus—the one who forgives and loves unconditionally.

 

MY FIRST SHAME:

I have faint memories where I can recall certain things about my first house—brown paneling on the walls, the feel of brown carpet between my toes, and the light of sunshine pulling me down the hallway into a bedroom decorated with yellow and green flowers.  It was as if something had tethered my heart to slowly drag me like a slave towards the privacy of my bedroom, far away from the shepherding eyes of my parents.  Something whispered over my shoulder that I needed to be alone.  Something beckoned me into darkened closets where no one could see.  Something strong and heavy assured me that I needed to keep what I was doing a secret—or my worst fear would come true.  

Everyone would stop loving me—especially the Jesus I had invited into my heart that summer on the trampoline.

When you find yourself sexually awakened as a small child from unwanted encounters beyond your parents’ control, something very natural and instinctive kicks in—even though you wish it wouldn’t.  After all, our physical bodies were created by God to be sexual—even if the sexual parts get turned on too early. When those premature sexual urges began to rise up in my body as early as the toddler years, it felt NATURAL to do something about them, even though at the same time, it always felt WRONG.

So how did my little head interpret this message?

SEXUAL feelings produced PLEASURE.  

But PLEASURE felt WRONG.

WRONG produced feelings of SHAME.

And SHAME made me feel UNLOVABLE.

Broken down, being sexual made me feel shamefully unlovable—which is the opposite of what I was created for.

I was created for love.

Those confusing compulsions that twisted sex and shameful self-pleasure came knocking at my door before most know how to complete a compound sentence.  And when my little body would experience sexual cravings too ravenous to ignore, I would run and hide behind closed doors and under covers to do something about them.

This, as we all know, is called masturbation.  And church, we've GOT to start talking about the reality of it, because for those of us who have done it and searched for scriptures about it, we've discovered….the Bible doesn't address it at all.  As long as we stay silent and refuse to dialogue about something that's very real—and that scores of Christians do quite frequently—they will continue to do it.  But it will be done in secrecy, isolation, and bring on massive amounts of shame.  

And as we all know from Adam and Eve's example in the garden, if you live in shame, you will cover yourself from being ONE with love, running and hiding from the God that you were created to be intimate with.

Love produces life.  Shame covers you from love….and produces death.

 

Day after day I would feel sexual urges, do something about them, and experience loads of pleasure.  This pleasure comforted me, especially since my heart had been broken by abuse.  It helped me temporarily forget about my oceans of emotional pain.  And if I'm completely honest, it was one of my favorite things to do in isolation.  I loved the way my sexual body felt.  I craved orgasms and sexual release, even as a little kid.

Until I finished having one.

Every time—without fail—I felt like a shameful, unlovable, disgusting blob of cow manure for having experienced intense physical pleasure.  My head would lower in condemnation, I'd sometimes scream at my reflection in anger….and then as I got older, to comfort myself from the sexual shame…I'd run into the kitchen, bingeing on large amounts of food to comfort myself from the sexual shame.  Then to comfort myself from the shame of the binge, I'd run and masturbate again….back and forth, over and over.  (You can see how cycles of addiction are impossible to break as long as shame is involved—and if you want to learn more about how to break these cycles, I go into greater detail about this teaching in the ‘God Loves Ugly Study Guide).

Over the years, as this scenario repeated itself again and again on a daily basis, a very clear theme was formed in my head, but also in my physical body.

Orgasms are amazing and I love them…..in fact, I loved being intimate with myself in comfort.  But it felt wrong to be intimate with myself.  It felt wrong to love myself sexually.  It felt sinful and dirty.

And I hated myself for it.

 

NOW, LET ME PAUSE HERE.

Sexual shame can come without sexual abuse, or without addiction to masturbation—as many of you commented on my last blog.  Many of you have sexual shame because your bodies have never felt anything sexual.

The church's overall silence about sex leaves Christians learning about it from one primary source—mainstream media.  Over the years as we all grow into developing teenagers, most of us have more and more encounters with sex that gets perverted and defiled while living in a modern Western world.  I stumbled onto late night porn at a friends house as a kid, and as we all know these days, free porn is about as accessible as water.  (Parents, please protect your young kids on the Internet with safe guards!).  I found dirty magazines while playing outside in elementary school, and they're everywhere on newsstands these days.  Saw my fair share of sex scenes on television and in movies—even with careful parents who tried to protect me…..and of course….simply went through natural hormonal puberty!

But the more sex and feeling sexual was placed in the bad category, the more I learned that bad sex turned on my body.

Until eventually, bad sex was the only thing that could turn me on.

 

Fast forward.  I'm now a newlywed Christian.  And sex and pleasure is now permissible.

All of a sudden, a ring, a few public vows, and a kiss were going to fix all my sexual problems, or so I believed.  The portion of my life that had brought on so much shame and self-hatred was no longer shameful or to be hated.  In fact, it was supposed to be a shameless way that I loved my husband and experienced his love for me.

But what did Christian sex look like?  I didn't even know where to look or who to ask since it seemed so awkward to talk about.  Were we supposed to pray beforehand, and be very composed, gentle, and slow?  Surely Christians didn't do strip tease dances for their husbands (like those sinful strippers).  Surely Christians didn't experiment too much with crazy positions, or scream loudly—losing themselves in the moment like they did in porn or bad movies.  Surely Christians didn't have phone sex, or act kinky, or use sex toys.

Those were all the things that ‘bad Christa' had done in her head over the years.  Those were all the fantasies that made me hate myself.  Those were all associated with wrong and impure……and those things made me feel unforgivable, and unlovable.

 

For twenty-five years, sexual feelings and urges were what I HATED MOST about myself as a Christian.  I DESPISED the compulsions.  I LOATHED the urges and what they made me do.  They made me weak, running to masturbation as a comfort.  Made me dirty, and my mind would play out disgusting sexual fantasies.  Made me uncontrollable, addicted to an action that I didn't understand.

 

 

Is masturbation wrong as a Christian?

Unfortunately, I need more than a blog to break that one down and cover all the holes or I'll get crucified, which I know is disappointing to many of you who are struggling with this component in secrecy and want answers.  But let me tell you how I started to break free sexually, breaking the chains of all sexual shame in my own life…….

I completely removed shame from masturbation…..even when I was still addicted to it.  

 

Is masturbation supposed to be shameful?  

Absolutely, without a doubt….NO.

Shame has no place in the life of a believer—even for murderers, abusers, adulterers, fornicators, liars or cheaters.

You see, shame is a horrible motivator towards freedom, and it's NOT the conviction of the Holy Spirit.  Remember, it's God's KINDNESS that brings us to repentance, not our own violent floggings–even if we deserve to be punished.  (Romans 2:4)  Godly sorrow produces repentance….not shame.  God doesn't get any glory when you beat yourself up—even if you've actually done something that hurts you, or even those you love.  (Do not hear me give permission for sin…..the Bible is very clear about this.  But the Bible is also very clear about shame….and we do not have permission to live in shame as believers).

Shame pushes away…..but love draws CLOSER.

For many of you who are struggling sexually with pornography, sexual sin, or secrecy and fantasy, when you finish acting out in ways you don't want to……the shame you feel is NOT from God.  For those of you in the opposite end of the spectrum, when your bodies shut down completely (like mine did) when sex was finally permissible in marriage….(by  the way, this has a name.  And it's called Vaginismus)……and your inability to enjoy sex brings about massive amounts of shame……this is what I want you to do.

The second I would finish struggling sexually, or feel ashamed that my body wouldn't work in my marriage bed…..when feelings of shame would try to pour on top of my head like hot lava…..

I would stop.  I would sigh deeply.

I would throw back my head, close my eyes, open my heart, flinging off the FEELINGS of shame….

And like a pure and spotless bride, a daughter, and one who BELONGS in my Father's throne room, with boldness and confidence I would RUN towards the throne of grace…..yelling out to my judge…

“I CONFESS, ABBA, I WANT TO COVER MYSELF IN SHAME!  I FEEL UNLOVABLE RIGHT NOW!  I FEEL UNWORTHY!  JUDGE ME, FATHER!  JUDGE ME TO THE CORE!  JUDGE ME RIGHT NOW, RIGHTEOUS JUDGE!  WHAT DO YOU SAY ABOUT ME AT THIS VERY MOMENT??”

Usually with tears streaming down my face…..I would start hearing the Judge's verdict…

Righteous.

Holy.

Blameless.

Spotless.

Adored.

LOVED.

ALIVE.

REDEEMED.

FREE.

 

 

Alright, once again, this is entirely too long.  But there is more to be said, and I will say it in the weeks ahead.  For those of you who want very practical application to break shame in your life, I recently spoke a message at Living Church in Ohio on how to break this monster in your life.  (I get up to preach at minute 37:00)

 

 

You will never have sexual freedom until you remove shame from your sexuality.  Only LOVE transforms us, meeting us where we are, calling us into abundant life through grace and mercy.  Praying for you as you begin this road of sexual freedom, if you're on it with me.  Praying that we all learn how our good God gave us sex drives that are good, and that when our bodies begin to turn on and feel something sexual, we can see it as a gift that we simply long for deeper connection and intimacy.

Until next time.

xx,

 

 

 

18 Responses to “Is Masturbation Supposed To Be Shameful?”

  1. This topic is Taboo in the church and I am glad about what you shared because it will help set others free! It also confirms a lot of things for me and personal struggles and how to address them. This article is raw and real and a must read. Thank you

  2. Daughter Of The King

    Christa, oh how I would love to sit and talk with you for a while. My beloved older sister through Christ, your words touched my heart so deeply tonight. I needed this. I would LOVE to hear more of your thoughts on the topic.
    Let me share a fraction of my story. One that fills me with shame (I know I shouldn’t but that is the reality of where I am at right now) and I have not shared with many people. Probably none if I am honest. I too started experimenting with masturbation at a young age. My first memory of it I was 4-years-old. I had never been sexually abused, it wasn’t something I saw or learned, it was simply natural. I do not know what stirred it, but it was there. That physical craving. I have tried, and failed, several times over my 24 years of life to “kick the habit” but I cannot seem to break free. I have tried everything a “good Christian girl” is supposed to do. Told an accountability partner to get their help in breaking free. Crying out to Father for strength to resist the temptation, pleading with Him to take the desires away. Praying, fasting, pouring through the Word. I have read several books on the topic but none were written by someone who could relate to where I am at. No one understood first hand the shame and guilt. I am not married, engaged, or even in a relationship. I have pleaded with God to get me through this ensnarement of shame and guilt before He brings the right man into my life. And only in the past couple months have I been starting to find freedom. This past week however has been a dark hole. I feel like I am falling deeper into the pit of darkness and shame and I cannot find the way out. I was starting to gain ground and now I have fallen deeper than ever before.
    Your words were comforting to me, as I now see I am not alone. I am not the only one who has ever felt this way, who has ever struggled and can’t seem to break free. I am not the only Christ loving young woman who wants to please her Father, but feels she is failing so miserably due to “sexual sin” while not being “sexual active” by most standards.
    Though your posts has brought about a lot of comfort for me tonight I am left with questions, ones that I am hoping you will be able to answer in your next post, or perhaps an e-mail if that is not too much of wishful thinking. The biggest one being, how do I not feel shame? You said that you removed shame for masturbation while still addicted, but how? How can I not feel shame over something that our Christian society deems as being so shameful? The freedom I feel in other areas of my life are because I am not sinning in those moments. I am still living a life pleasing to the King. But with everything out there that I can find saying that masturbation is a “gray area” and its up to each person to determine for themselves if it is sin or not (which I am not sure agree with that thinking) and I feel like it is sin, how can I not be shamed by that? I feel like the only way to not feel the shame is to be free from the sexual immortality. But as you mentioned in your post, it is a comfort thing. And the shame of it drives me back to it. It is a vicious cycle and I cannot seem to break free. What do I do? How did you do it? I know there may not be a “one size fits all” answer to this, but you are the first person I have seen or heard speak about the issues who has experienced it first hand. Any insights on how God brought you through it, how you learned not to be shamed by it, anything at all you could share with me that might be helpful would be greatly appreciated.

  3. Christa, I was at the conference at Living Word last November with my mom and sisters. Your messages spoke straight to my heart. I never got the chance to tell you, and I do not claim to be one who is prophetic (though God can use me however He sees fit)… but throughout the whole weekend I felt The Lord saying that you were going to be a GAME CHANGER when it came to the Christian walk. Your messages bring about a shift of perception, and therefore the reality, of what it means to truly live in freedom. I am so encouraged by you. Your boldness, though sometimes shocking, is exactly what we need. Thank you so much for being willing to be used by The Lord. For saying things that no one else has the guts to say. Keep going. Keep seeking Father’s heart and keep speaking BOLDY for His Kingdom. God is using you to break chains, sister. You are helping us realize what God has been telling us all along… that we are in the midst of heaven; that we have an all access pass to FREEDOM and LIFE, right now.

    Thank you.

  4. Christa, you nailed it! Well done and thank you! As a counselor and spiritual director I can not even begin to tell you the mountains of shame that have had to be overcome because of masturbation. Every Christian will throw out the verse when God struck down Onan because he “wasted his seed” and God was displeased and Onan died. Genesis 38:9. Interesting that fear and shame are so closely related. My Christian brothers and sisters fail to read the whole story here and just read verse 9. Your honesty is taking Christians beyond verse 9. Awesome!

  5. Tighe Baier

    This is so good and helps with any addiction. Shame pushes us right back into the very thing we hate and desperately want to be free of. I have struggled with addiction for years and it is the love of God that brings me back each time… Tighe

  6. tbarton1029

    I’m crying as I write this. What you are sharing here is amazing to me because you are doing it publicly. I have only told one other person in all my 65 years just a little of what sex meant to me. I was sexually abused from a young age and had a very unhealthy view of my body from that point on. I thought that I had nothing else to offer any guy but my body. I had nothing intelligent to say I was so shy and afraid. Until I read what you just wrote in this blog, I condemned myself for my feelings. You opened my eyes to the truth and I thank you. God bless you dearest Christa for sharing like this. I think it would be wise to have Bible study groups for women and men that share these very deep, important issues that have such a profound effect on our lives.

  7. Yvette Ling

    The last blog on Christian sex and this last blog on masturbation are on topics women need to be able to talk about. We need to know that Jesus isn’t exiting the room or wagging His finger at us as we do so. Thank you for being open and honest.

    For more resources on this, I have gained a lot of freedom from Juli Slatery and Linda Dillow’s ministry called Authentic Intimacy (https://authenticintimacy.com/) They have book, blog, speaking, study and podcast resources. The podcast called “Java with Julie” isn’t solely on sex but really hits it hard when it does: https://authenticintimacy.com/java-with-juli

    The bible study, Passion Pursuit, was instrumental in helping me overcome so many of my hang ups with intimacy and sexuality as a Christian woman. I’ve read the other books, and they are great, too. http://authenticintimacy.com/our-books

    Keep up the honest dialogue. Being vulnerable is so hard but yet it helps others so much!

  8. Jess Soltis

    Christa! Thank you so much for being so transparent about your story. I deal with sooo much self-hatred over this issue and others. It’s hard for me to even believe that I can exist one day without self-loathing. Your book and this blog has helped. I give copies of God Loves Ugly out to my friends all the time because you actually have the balls to talk about these issues. Keep it up!!

  9. Thank you for sharing on this topic. I’ve almost never heard this talked about in the church and I’m so glad you’re talking about it. My generation desperately needs to hear about sex from a healthy perspective and I’m so glad you’re willing to be a voice!

  10. Christina

    Stunning Christa. I was trafficked 10 years ago and been on a beautiful road to sexual wholeness and purity…and shame often shows his face. I cannot tell you thank you enough for your vulnerability and honesty. Seriously. Pure gold. I love your blogs. Keep them coming, I’m travking with you!

  11. Damaris Garcia

    Christa I could not agree with you more. I was at Ouachita Baptist when you came and spoke at our Veritas meeting. I was so glad you were open about this. I know as a teen I was ashamed and it was not until college that I began openly confessing about this to my peers. The LORD is so good because now I have been able to talk to several who struggle with the same thing. It’s a beautiful thing when you confess to others and walk in power towards the freedom God has. Thank you so much for sharing!!!

  12. Your three posts on your’s and Luke’s journey to sexual healing have been phenomenal. My story is similar to yours but not a soul knows. In the porn post above you mention how secrets stop a full connection with God – which I agree with. However, I was abused by my brother and don’t want to tell anyone in fear of discrediting his name. But I can’t keep it in any longer. So do you have any advice? Should I confide in someone and not mention the abuser?

    • TheAcornDropped

      Yes, please tell someone. A biblical counselor will keep it secret unless you are under age, then it may have to be reported legally. Pray that God will lead you to someone safe you can talk to. As an abuse survivor, I can tell you that healing is possible through the power of Jesus! I will pray for you.

  13. I was looking at another blog. Saw yours then clicked on this one. When I was reading it was like I was reading about me. I could not believe it. God is doing this. What do I do now.?

  14. Leah Williams

    Thank you SO much for this piece, Christa! Like you, I’ve dealt with an addiction to masturbation since I was a child, and am still trying to break its hold on my life today at as a single 29 y/o. However, because of your words, I feel that I am finally on the road to recovery. This is the first time I’ve EVER heard a Christian completely remove the stigma of shame from this act, and I feel that I am forever changed. I’m still struggling, but I’m getting stronger everyday and know that I will be free of this, once and for all, very soon:) One question though: could you please talk more about why masturbation is sinful if it was never mentioned in the Bible? I think if I have more of an understanding on that, it might help to break this stronghold even more. Thank you, again!!!

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