I don’t know what this post will turn into and by the end I’m not sure if it will have little nuggets of wisdom or truth to it. But I felt very strongly that it was something I needed to post. I’ll try to keep it from a rant but I just feel very restless and frustrated about this issue and I know I can’t be the only one. Problem is…I feel like no one talks about it!
Men have sex drives. Men are visual. Men have sex drives. Things that we all hear, know, and that are widely accepted fact. In the Christian world, or any community that promotes abstaining from sex before marriage, it is again generally accepted that single guys struggle to keep themselves from lusting and/or acting on their passions. We live in a sex and porn saturated world where it’s socially acceptable to have sex before marriage and be involved with porn at any time, married or single. In fact, those who don’t choose these things are the ones who are considered weird or prudes or what have you.
But for the guys who choose to live their lives according to the Bible in abstaining from sex before marriage and live a life free from porn, it is a well established notion that they need to talk to other guys about it. In the Christian world, it is no secret what so ever that guys struggle with this and we give them grace to do so. (As we should. We all struggle with something and God’s grace is abounding.) They have accountability partners to make sure they’re not looking at anything they shouldn’t be and that they aren’t crossing lines both as unattached, single guys and guys in their dating relationships. There are books and conferences and sermon series and men’s retreat weekends focused on helping guys with their sex drives. And the one thing that they aren’t told is that having a sex drive is a bad thing or an abnormal thing. It’s something that God designed us as human beings to have and he designed it as a good thing.
So my frustration and restless I guess are thus: I’m frustrated at the double standard that as a Christian culture it feels like men are accepted to have these struggles but single women aren’t or at least we’re supposed to shut them off while we’re single. I’m restless with the fact that I DO have a sex drive as a single woman and I’m striving to live a life pure and honoring to God but yet I yearn for the sexual intimacy promised in marriage. But since I have no clue when that will be- I’m just waiting.
Why is it that within the Christian culture, it’s ok for single guys to struggle to want to have sex and can talk about their struggles? It’s ok for married women who are having issues with sex in their marriage to talk about it? It’s ok for married men to do the same, or talk about their struggles with trying to ostracize porn and lust from their lives? But single women, we’re supposed to sit quietly, patiently in complete contentment with no struggles of having a sex drive. Why am I made to feel un-ladylike when I want to talk about sex or my struggle with maintaining a pure heart/mind and body while being a single woman with a sex drive? Why does it feel like only men and married women can struggle with this or at least be the ones to talk about it?
I hear women say, “I’ll be content if God keeps me single for the rest of my life.” Guess what? I don’t hear guys saying that. I do hear them say, “I’ll be content in God’s TIMING in my life for getting married.” But rarely do I hear the blanket statement of being content to be single his whole life…because guys want to have sex at some point! (I’m generalizing so go with me on this).
Now, I’m not saying that I’m discontent with my life/lovelife. I’m still very much in the contentment camp when talking about God’s leading and provision in my life. I have full faith that in His right timing, I’ll meet the right guy for me and so on and so forth. But a distinction I feel like needs to be made is that being “content in your singleness” (as much as I dislike that phrase) does not mean that you cease to have a sex drive. It does not mean that you don’t wrestle with your sexual desires. God made us to be sexual beings and for our desires to be acted upon in a specific time/place kind of deal…i.e. marriage. But there are those of us females that he designed to have a higher sex drive than others and I guess those are the women that I feel like get left out in today’s Christian culture (which again, is ironic considering how much of a sex-saturated world we live in).
I guess I’m being extremely open about this but in my current mood (that’ll probably change in a month once God’s helped me through this season and I’ll cringe when I re-read this) I don’t care because it needs to be talked about. Single women, Godly single women want sex too and we struggle having sex drives too. We struggle with being and/or wanting to be physical. And I’m talking about women who are unattached, not being pursued. I know that when in a dating relationship the whole sexual desire thing rears its head. But I’m talking about the women in my position, no prospects and no pursuers.
Paul says in 1 Corinthians 7:8-9,
“To the unmarried and the widows I say that it is good for them to remain single, as I am. But if they cannot exercise self-control, they should marry. For it is better to marry than to burn with passion.”
I feel like we are a category that the church or at least Christian culture doesn’t know what to do with. Or maybe there’s just not as much open dialogue about it because not as many women do talk about it seems like a non-issue. Or maybe it’s just me.
As far as addressing the issue itself, that’s another conversation for another time. But I will say, as I’ve alluded to in other posts I have been out of a relationship now for 8 years mostly because the handful of guys I’ve been interested haven’t reciprocated. Which I’m completely fine with! I was saved a TON of heartbreak. But I bring up the time frame thing because in these last 8 years I’ve had many, many seasons and struggles. Some struggles are continuous cycles while others are more one-time life lesson types. I know that my own personal restlessness with this particular issue will cycle around. But I know the longer God has me single and the older I get, the more it will come up because again, he designed me to have… oh I’ll just say it… a high sex drive.
I will also say this, 3 times in Song of Solomon (2:7,3:5,8:4) we read: “I adjure you, O daughters of Jerusalem, that you not stir up or awaken love until it pleases.” The bride is talking about not awakening sexual desires until the right time in the context of purity. This was her prayer. So I do know that as single men AND women this needs to be a prayer that we are constantly repeating. What those verses don’t say is to kill sexual desire until it’s time. It says they are not be stirred up. It doesn’t mean that we don’t still have them, we are just to live a life that refrains from doing/saying/thinking etc things that will stir them.
So I guess there’s some words of practical advice to tackle the issue itself after all. But the main reason behind this post was one-to outlet my own personal thoughts on the issue; two-to provide encouragement to other single women who are in the same boat I am; and three-to offer insight to others within the Church that it’s an issue that needs to be addressed more. We live in a world where anything can be sexualized and we as women are scrutinized for our bodies (whether by others or ourselves). There’s so much going on already, we shouldn’t feel ashamed or weird or heaven forbid like an inferior godly woman simply because we have an existing sex drive we’re striving to keep asleep until the right time but know full well it still exists.