One Girl's Battle With Lust
I yawned, rolling away from my bedroom window and the streams of light making it impossible to sleep. My alarm clock read 6:30 a.m. I had an hour before I needed to get ready for church.
I crossed the room to my dimly lit closet and rummaged though my secret stash of paperbacks until I found the cover that showed a wild–eyed, barely dressed couple clinging to each other.
After flipping through several chapters, I turned to a graphic sex scene. Sexually excited by what I'd read, I locked my door. Then, I masturbated for the first time. For a while, I'd been curious about whether sex felt as great as the couples in these books seemed to think. But I wasn't planning to try it for myself because I'd grown up in church and knew premarital sex was wrong. Still, I found myself drawn to thoughts about sex. And these thoughts excited me. When I picked up that romance novel, I hadn't planned on masturbating. I simply followed my body's urges to what seemed like a natural release. But that first experiment soon became a habit. I liked how I felt, at least for the first few minutes afterward. But then I'd feel extremely guilty.
But I couldn't stop. I almost always ended up locking myself in my room when I read a romance novel. Eventually I didn't need the books; the images packed into my brain were available anytime.
Isn't This a Guy Problem?
For a while, I wondered if I might be the only 17–year–old girl to struggle with this and if, maybe, there was something wrong with me. Could my brain be wired funny, so that I thought more like a guy than a girl? As far as I knew, Christian girls didn't masturbate. I couldn't imagine any of the girls from church harboring a secret like mine.
One of my school friends did talk about masturbation though. During a sleepover, Ann and I were playing cards while talking about guys, especially Ann's boyfriend. Neither of them were Christians, and I knew they'd recently started having sex.
"Most of the time, I'd rather just take care of myself," Ann confided. "I know what I like. So masturbation is much better than sex."
"Really?" I asked. "You don't think it's weird … or wrong?"
Ann laughed. "Of course not. It's completely natural for a woman to take charge of her body."
I thought a lot about what Ann said because I really wanted to believe her. Still, I needed to know if what I was doing was OK, like she said, or if I should stop, like my conscience kept telling me. Looking in the Bible, I couldn't find the word "masturbation" anywhere. A good "you may" or "thou shalt not" from God would have been really helpful.
Most of the Christian books I found were meant for guys, but I flipped through some anyway. The books said masturbation wasn't good for me. They all warned not to get trapped in lust—specifically fantasizing about sex—but none that I could find answered my most basic question: How was I supposed to clean up my mind and stop?