The following story was written by a female single parent on the nature of her sexual struggles:
I am a 36 year old female single parent and have been single for 15 years in this situation. I was sexually abused as a child and as such have been sexually aware since my early single digits. Because of this early awareness and other abusive childhood experiences I began to masturbate. For me this had become a habit and with it some quite dysfunctional thoughts also. I think because of the sexual abuse, it was a known way of making myself feel good when there were no others (supportive family etc). I have learnt that we serve a gracious, faithful and forgiving God but also one who desires our best.
I think just as sex within the confines of a loving, giving and committed relationship (marriage) provides among other things, comfort, masturbation can also do the same. Not condoning it, but just stating a fact. It can also become perverted and can take on a life of its own if it is given free reign. I think where lust is combined with masturbation there is a sense of guilt for most of us it seems, and yes it is possible to masturbate without lustful thoughts. For me masturbation is something I perceive as a ‘weakness’ in my life but it seems there are times when it seems ok. The interesting thing too is it has also been an opportunity for God to speak to me and help me understand myself and Him better.
Overall, I’m not trying to sound super spiritual but because of His mercy and graciousness He has done exactly that! We are more than sexual beings however and I tend to think that body, mind and spirit are all connected. The Bible says our hearts are deceitfully wicked and to maintain an attitude of openess and honesty in relationship with God is crucial.
My conclusion is this.. I know God knows and understands us better than anyone and I also know that sexual gratification can provide comfort and connection among other things. While God is a gracious and loving God, He is also understanding of our weaknesses and sins. We are weak in ourselves but I believe like all iniquity, sin and idolatry can either lead us further away from Him or closer to Him.
I think if we are humble, honest and open before Him, and willing to exchange some things for better things, He will help us and in the process draw us closer to Him.