I still remember the struggle.
I was single, in my early twenties, and fully aware of my sexual longings and desires. Waiting to experience sexual pleasure until marriage felt like an impossible task to me. I knew God was calling me to fight for purity in my heart, mind, and actions, but it felt too hard. It seemed impossible. Why would a good God give me these strong sexual desires as a single woman with no outlet to express them in?!
With frustration in my heart, I allowed my mind to wander to sinful places. Sexual thoughts flooded my imagination, and before I knew it, I was giving into lustful self-gratification . . . again.
My sexual desires felt more like a curse than a blessing.
For many of us, God’s design for sex and intimacy can feel more like a burden than a gift.
Battling lust and sexual sin is something every single one of us deals with. No one is above it or beyond it. Whether it’s lustful imaginations, pornography, masturbation, sexual promiscuity, an immoral relationship with a guy, same-sex desires, or something else, one thing is abundantly clear: we all wrestle with sexual sin and brokenness.
Before we blame God for this struggle, we need to pause and remind ourselves of a very important truth: God created our sexuality as a good thing—sin causes it to be distorted.
In the beginning, God created the very first humans (Adam and Eve) to be sexual and perfect. Before sin entered the world, Adam and Eve were free to embrace their sexual desires without any confusion or distortion.
As I say in my new book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart:
In the perfect garden, the first couple embraced God’s design with great joy and delight. Standing there, in the middle of paradise, the Bible says that they were naked and were not ashamed (Gen. 2:25). He was fully male. She was fully female. They were both fully sexual. In the beauty of the garden, they enjoyed the pleasures of sexual intimacy with total freedom, complete trust, and abundant joy. There was no pain. No reserve. No shame. No confusion. The first husband and wife took great delight in God’s good and beautiful design for their sexuality.
A New Normal
Sadly, it didn’t stay this way forever. Instead of trusting God’s good plan for their lives, Adam and Eve questioned God’s goodness and stepped outside of His boundaries. They disobeyed God’s explicit command and ate from the forbidden tree (Gen. 3). They thought they knew better than God. They trusted their own judgment and wisdom more than their Creator’s.
In that fateful moment, sin came streaming into the world and distorted everything that was good and perfect. Brokenness, pain, and confusion would become the new normal. Everything was touched by sin—even their sexual design and desires. Adam and Eve were no longer perfectly whole, but broken.
From that point on, every human that entered the world arrived broken as well. As the days, months, years, and centuries stretched on, each generation also experienced its own sexual struggles as a result of sin. Adam and Eve’s original decision to reject God’s truth was the beginning of a worldwide domino effect. What God had created to be beautiful and perfect had been greatly distorted.
Sin now pollutes our desires, longings, and feelings. Galatians 5:17a describes these warped desires as being contrary and opposed to what is right and true. “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh . . .”1
We’re Still Wrestling
We are still reaping the consequences of sin and brokenness. Because of sin, our sexual longings and desires are often contrary to God’s good and holy design. And just like Adam and Eve, we also wrestle with questioning God’s goodness.
As women today, our struggles are no different than Eve’s. We are tempted to question God’s truth on a regular basis. Did God really say I should reserve sex for marriage? If I love someone, does anything else really matter? If I feel a certain way, wouldn’t God want me to be true to my feelings? If pornography doesn’t seem to hurt anyone, it should be fine, right? As long as I don’t go all the way, I’m not technically breaking any rules. God wants me to enjoy sexual fulfillment, so He’s probably okay with me reading erotica. Did God actually say it’s wrong to imagine sexual fantasies?
Just like Eve, our eyes wander and our hearts question. Did God really say? Doing things our own way seems better in the moment. We’re tempted to believe the age-old lie that we know better than God.2
Instead of automatically giving in to our feelings and desires, we must recognize that our sexuality has been distorted by sin. As we experience sexual longings and desires (whether we are single or married) we need to be on our guard and aware of whether or not our desires are God-honoring or sinful. As good as it may feel to do things our own way in the moment, God is calling us to honor Him above our desires.
Doing things our own way may be the anthem of our culture, but it doesn’t lead to wholeness or sexual freedom. It leads further and further down the road of sexual brokenness and pain.
Instead of straying further from God’s original design for our sexuality, let’s turn back to Him. Turning back to God’s Word and allowing the Creator to define our sexuality will lead us toward true hope, healing, and satisfaction. We are all broken women in need of sexual redemption and restoration.
I hope you’ll stick with us this entire week as we unpack God’s good design for sexuality. We’re going to dig into God’s design for intimacy, longings, purity, and more, and we’ll discover how we can embrace these areas of our lives.
For now, I’d love to hear from you below.
- In what ways have you seen sin distort your sexual longings and desires?
- How can you bring your brokenness and struggles to the Lord in prayer today?
Psst . . . we’ve got several copies of Kristen and Bethany’s new book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of A Girl’s Heart, to give away. Log on to the giveaway widget below, and respond to the questions in this post for your chance to win.
1 Kristen Clark and Bethany Beal, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2019), 87.
2 Ibid., 28.