Sexuality For Singles (Part A)

Introduction

Well it’s time to start a new series and that will be about sexuality for Christian singles. This draws upon our earlier writings a this site, but we aim to present the materials in a new way, possibly with some new content also. This is actually the second publishing of this article because I wanted to re-present it with new content

Singleness is an aspect of our relational / sexual journey that we all go through. For some of us it can just be a phase at the beginning of this journey. For others there can be multiple phases due to circumstances, whilst for a proportion it can be a lifelong experience. Singleness is important to the development of relational and sexual aspects of personal development in preparation for marriage if a single person chooses to marry. However we believe there is no automatic compulsion on any Christian man or woman to marry and for some Christians, they experience fulfillment in remaining celibate and single throughout life, but provision also needs to be made for those who find it necessary to remain single through their particular circumstances rather than by choice.

The biggest issue to date has been the failure of the Church at large to recognise singleness as a valid lifestyle choice for Christian believers and to properly provide for the spiritual wellbeing of single adult members in particular. Singleness is an issue that affects female church members more than males because there are generally a higher proportion of church members who are female than male, and because older female church members who experience some form of relationship termination are less likely to be interested in forming a new relationship.

Singleness¬† coupled with celibacy is particularly important as a spiritual discipline for evangelical Christians for whom sexual purity is especially significant and that is a part of the backdrop to this series of articles. The other important consideration is that, as sexuality is something to be celebrated, that as we have emphasised in some of our previous communications, the fact that such celebration is not just for married people, but it’s also for single people, is an important backdrop to these articles.

Well that’s our introduction to this series. Part B will be published tomorrow and it will look at the beginning of our sexual development, at adolescence, and how much that can contribute to sexual and relational development during that period of singleness.

Recap – 2019/03

We feel now the Masturbation 101 series is over and it’s time to focus on more things to do with sex and sexuality in general. To that end, we will just recap on where the blog has been going since we started it six months ago. At that time, masturbation was the primary focus, and it is still very important, because masturbation has been such a grey area in the evangelical Church for a long long time, and significant numbers of Christians masturbate but feel they have to keep their practice secret or hidden away because of the stigmatisation of it in conservative theological circles.¬† Our approach to masturbation could best be summarised along the following lines:

  • Sex organs are body parts that are primarily intended for sexual stimulation and pleasure. This includes the parts that have dual roles related to procreation, because these uses are secondary.
  • These organs belong to the person whose body they are attached to and no-one else.
  • Since they do belong to the owner of the attached body, that owner can use them for whatever purpose they please. They can choose to share them with a matrimonial partner, or make use of them whilst single or alone.

Obviously all of the above is subject to the overriding consideration that all acts involving sex organs, like all human activities carried out by God’s people, must be carried out as an act of worship (for a godly purpose).

The problem for the Church at large is that much of our thinking on sexuality is derived from very conservative theology that often has a very limited concept of it. For example the ideas exist that sex is solely for the purpose of procreation, or that women do not have sexual desires at all and are solely created to be sexual playthings for their husbands. Singleness was also frowned upon and often stigmatised in churches. Most of these beliefs have no basis in fact within the Bible, and conservative teachers often quote general scriptures relating to sexual immorality without being able to show that they apply to these particular situations.

In this blog so far we have sought to show that masturbation is normal, harmless, healthy and even desirable for godly men and women to partake of in their ordinary daily lives. It will, of course, be a personal conviction of each believer by the Holy Spirit as to how to apply the concepts, particularly those outlined in the Masturbation 101 series, to their own situations. Our desire is to see Christians freed from false guilt and shame regarding their personal use of masturbation. We have particularly focused on ministering through intercessions to those who feel the need to masturbate several times per day (which can itself be healthy as long as there is no sin involved; as a rule of thumb, more than four times could be considered addictive). Obviously, people who are in this type of situation will struggle more than those who are able to get by with a frequency of several times per week, or several times per month.

The change in focus doesn’t mean we no longer see a need to address the issue of masturbation; far from it. But we now want to move on and address other relevant topics of Christian sexuality.

Masturbation For Christians: Insights

There wasn’t going to be a Part D, but there was. There wasn’t going to be a Part E, but now there is going to be. Because we keep getting new insight. The insight is coming because adopting an egalitarian theology brings a whole new aspect to Christian sexuality. The focus for it can be changed from being a male seeks female kind of focus, to one where sexuality is not just about relationships between men and women. Sexuality can actually be about relationships between individual believers and their Creator. For too long the church has lived in the shadow of Complementarianist theology which is basically the old patriarchy of society that most of the church followed for most of its history. Bring an Egalitarian eye onto the Christian worldview, and suddenly we can see a different understanding because we see godly women as more than just sexual playthings for men, and that shifts the whole nature of godly sexuality for both men and women.

So Part E is about to be written, and it will be on the topic of sexual devotion. That theme has been reflected upon throughout the series to date. It comes out of a conviction that sexuality is a gift from God and that there are ways of giving the gift back to Him, as worship. Married people obviously are doing this when they are sexually intimate together, but the single person can do this too. So that is what Part E is about.

A Touchy Subject: The Health Benefits of Masturbation

“Masturbation is also a cornerstone of modern sex therapy. Those who seek professional counseling for sexual difficulties, including inability to orgasm, are typically instructed to masturbate to learn about their bodies and then encouraged to communicate what they discover to their partners. Many outstanding self-help books, such as Becoming Orgasmic and The Elusive Orgasm, suggest masturbation as a core strategy, and sex educators including Betty Dodson and Corey Silverberg, tout the benefits of the practice and provide how-to guides.”

https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stress-and-sex/201401/touchy-subject-the-health-benefits-masturbation

Talking to Kids about Masturbation

For the experience of Christians, masturbation requires an appropriate context. The context for discussion of masturbation particularly at adolescence should present the spiritual boundaries for masturbation that we have suggested elsewhere in this blog, along with the basic understanding that when undertaken within these boundaries, adolescents should be encouraged to masturbate regularly as an important and completely healthy (physically and spiritually) part of their sexual development.

https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/entry/masturbation-how-to-talk-to-kids_us_5c3020e1e4b073352832e3c6

 

“Confessions of a Horny Christian Single Girl”

It’s been very refreshing to discover this blog and to understand the perspective expressed in it. As we have seen from some of the recent posts that have been put up, the evangelical purity movement, based on “complimentarian” theology, essentially teaches that women are lesser beings sexually, that women don’t have or shouldn’t have sexual feelings or desires, that women are more or less men’s sexual playthings. This is a very bad theology that isn’t differentiating itself from society where there are so many ingrained negative attitudes towards femininity and female sexuality which, of course, the porn industry exploits and magnifies. We fail therefore to understand the viewpoint behind abortion, which is part of women reclaiming their reproductive rights; conservatives argue they never had any such rights in the first place. That isn’t intended to detract from the moral arguments against abortion itself, but it is an insight into the diminution of femininity where women have been expected to shoulder most of the responsibility for child bearing and rearing. This blog doesn’t talk about all those things, but it does talk about one woman’s struggle with her sexuality, and it’s refreshing to see her talk openly about it.

Anyway here is the first post on her blog, it explains everything about what it is like for a single Christian woman to struggle with her sexuality and temptation and sexual sin. She chose to be very bold, about as bold as we are being with some of the things we have posted on this blog. And because of this, finding her blog after we decided to start this blog, was actually a very useful thing, because it filled in some detail and confirmed other detail of stuff we had already begun to post about.

Then five years went past and she wrote about a lot of other things….which we haven’t yet read, honestly. And the first time we looked at her blog we missed the update from just over a year ago, “Where I’ve Been“. And it’s really good to read this post, because she has described how she came to a peace about masturbation. She came to the conclusion masturbation was not an issue at all between her and God (as long as she stuck to certain parameters).

We’ve written a lot about masturbation on this blog (so far) and that is because it is extremely important to us to demystify and destigmatise all the negativity surrounding masturbation in the Church. Having got that out of our system up to this point, with a lot of reposting of internet content about Christians and masturbation, maybe it is time to move on to another subject. But we could not let this theme be concluded without writing about this girl’s journey because it mirrors our journeys as well. It is surely no coincidence that having come to the same place of recovery from sexual sin, we experienced likewise the beautiful freedom of knowing God more passionately than ever before and knowing that He created our bodies to experience sexual pleasure whether we are married or single. If we keep sin out of our masturbation experience then we can truly enjoy the fact that this gift was designed to produce pleasure for us within our bodies and that, as with all functions of our natural body, the performance of this gift is to be seen as an act of worship. So we get the most deep sense of spiritual fulfilment, favour and blessing every time we masturbate as long as we spend the time praising God and thanking Him for this blessing. If you bring that perspective into masturbation then the freedom from false guilt and shame can be a major aspect of recovery from sexual sin (such as porn addiction) while at the same time having an appropriate outlet for releasing sexual tension that builds up in our bodies.

The other useful knowledge we got from reading this blog, was already mentioned above, and that, along with a book by Linda Kay Kline about the purity movement, was understanding about the negative theological teachings that are endemic in conservative theology, that basically seek to demean female sexuality and deny that women have sexual drives and desires. It’s no accident that the True Love Waits program came out of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1993, only a few years after conservatives hijacked the SBC and drove out all female ministry leaders. Unfortunately this movement continues to enjoy widespread support because it is inherently rooted in complimentarianism, a widely taught school of theological belief that enshrines patriarchal religious beliefs, and essentially panders to secular patriarchalism that is still a widespread school of thought in conservative politics. Joshua Harris has at least renounced his purity culture book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” but patriarchal faith focus will, unfortunately, remain a significant part of the Church for the foreseeable future.

The affirmation about masturbation as something that Christians can partake of at the same time as living a pure, holy and upright life and maintain sexual purity is essential to us to “preach about” in this blog and that’s why it has been the key focus since the blog was set up. It will remain very important in a blog that not only focuses on Christian views of sexuality, but on the ministry of healing from sexual sin.