Every Man’s Battle, while preaching freedom from “the slavery of sexual sin” actually enslaves men to traditions and teachings of men. It treats “maleness” as the enemy and tries to make a false contrast between “maleness” and “true manhood”. The authors of this of this book, rather than calling men to war against their sin nature, calls them to war against the male nature that God designed them with.
Every Man’ Battle was originally published in 2000 but has since spawned more books and workbooks and has been taught in churches across the country and around the world. Its authors Steven Arterburn and Fred Stoeker first convey their struggles with lust in great detail.
In fact most negative reviews of the this book come from Christians who scorn them for going into so much detail as they may be causing people to have “impure thoughts” by just describing their experiences.
A little about me
I am a born again Christian, I have been saved for over 30 years and have studied the Bible for over 20 years as an adult. I have taught Sunday school classes and filled pulpits for friends of mine (in Baptist Churches). I say all this to let you know a little of my background. I am not a preacher, but I have taught in churches and filled pulpits for Pastors.
I don’t teach in churches anymore and I don’t preach anymore because over the years I have come to have many differences with church traditions and church teachings that I have found have no scriptural support whatsoever. I won’t hijack a Pastor’s pulpit or teach his Sunday school having the differences I have (and they are more than on the topic of sex).
But there are times and places to take a stand against false teaching, even by good Christian men who have nothing but good intentions in their hearts, which I am sure Mr. Arterburn and Mr. Stoeker have. If the Apostle Paul withstood the Apostle Peter to his face over his wrong behavior, I think it is ok if I take these author’s to task in the main ideas of their book.
Church traditions and teachings are not always right, the Protestant reformation showed us that. But even the leaders of the reformation did not tear down all the false traditions, they left some intact. Even the radical reformers who were the forerunners of modern Baptists still left some false church traditions intact.
My purpose has always been to try and remove all the ruble and tradition and our cultural biases, and get down to the pure Word of God, to truly follow the noble idea of the reformers of “Sola Scriptora”, or Scripture alone.
So with that said as a backdrop on the Christian Brother who is correcting his brothers in Christ, let’s begin.
From this point forward I will refer to Every Man’s Battle by the acronym EMB.
Lust and Impure thoughts
I and other Christians who are challenging EMB’s approach to sexual temptation agree that the Bible talks a lot about Christians avoiding lust. We just don’t agree with how they have expanded the meaning of words like “lust” and “impure thoughts”. Let’s take a look now at some Biblical passages on purity and lust.
Here are some passages on Biblical purity:
“Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.”
Here are some passages on Biblical lust:
24 To keep thee from the evil woman, from the flattery of the tongue of a strange woman.
25 Lust not after her beauty in thine heart; neither let her take thee with her eyelids.
26 For by means of a whorish woman a man is brought to a piece of bread: and the adultress will hunt for the precious life.
But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.
Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.
But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.
1 Corinthians 10:6(KJV)
Any surface reading of these passages would tell us as believers that God wants us to have pure thoughts and fight against the lusts of the flesh. But what does it mean to lust? What does it mean to have a pure thoughts, and a pure heart?
Biblically speaking, keeping your heart and mind pure means thinking on things that God considers to be good, honest, just and lovely. It means not thinking on things that God considers to be evil.
EMB, and many Christians from the early church on have loaded purity and lust with expanded definitions that the Bible never does. They say lust means not only thinking about luring a woman who is not married to you into having sex with you, but even the mere arousal at the sight of her form, or sexual thoughts about her(like imagining what she looks like naked) is also lust.
EMB says “impure thoughts” are any thoughts about the sexually pleasing form of a woman who is not your wife. EMB says lust is not only thinking about how you can lure a woman who is not your wife in having sex with you(whether she is married or single), but it is also thinking and deriving pleasure from the form of any woman who is not your wife.
But what does the Bible say about purity and lust?
Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
Philippians 4:8 is one of the greatest passages in all the Bible dealing with the thought life of a Christian. God wants our thoughts to pure, he wants us to think on things which he considers to be good. But often times we read things into a Scripture passage that is not there.
Some have taken from Philippians 4 that Christians are always supposed to be thinking of rainbows, flowers and waterfalls (all beautiful things). But what about the commander in the battle field who is thinking of how to defeat his enemy and save his men? Is this also a pure thought? I would submit to you that the answer is yes. It is a virtuous thought, one of honor. Saving his men and defeating his nation’s enemy is a good thing
What if a man is a hunter, and he is thinking of the best way to catch a deer. Is this an impure thought? Of course not.
Let’s now bring this into the sexual arena. If a man is thinking of how beautiful some woman was that he saw on TV, or in the mall, or at work is this an impure thought? The answer is no. It is completely natural for a man to scan women’s forms and derive pleasure from them. EMB based on their expanded definition of lust says this is also wrong.
But does the Bible say what lust is?
Actually it does.
What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
Lust is covetousness. It is a common misconception in modern times that lust only applies to sexuality. Lust (which is covetousness as the Apostle Paul states) applies to desiring to possess or do anything that would be sinful to do.
If you derive pleasure from the form of a woman’s body, or even have a sexual fantasy of what it would be like to be with her, you have not lusted after her. If however, after having the fantasy about her you begin to fantasize about how you can actually take her, how you can lure her into having sex with you outside of marriage, then you have lusted after her. It really is that simple.
So in this context, an “impure thought” would be thinking about how you can get a woman into bed with you without first being married to her (that covers single women, prostitutes, and women married to other men).
The Bible’s definition of sexual immorality
The authors of this book use the term “sexual immorality” or various forms of the phrase multiple times on almost every page of the book. The definition of sexual immorality is the entire foundation of the doctrines they espouse in this book so I think we need to deal with that now. We will first compare how the Bible defines sexual immorality and then we will compare it to EMB’s definition to contrast and show the differences.
In the King James Version the word now translated as “sexual immorality” was “fornication”. This was an old English word that meant sex outside of marriage, whether that was incest, adultery, use of harlots or prostitutes and premarital sex. Some people get confused when we talk about adultery and fornication. Adultery is always fornication (it is one type of fornication), but fornication is not always adultery. Biblically speaking, Adultery only occurs when a married or single man sleeps with a married woman – that is the most literal definition of the term.
In the original Hebrew the most common word that is translated as fornication was “zanah”, or literally harlotry. In the New Testament the Greek term for sexual sin was “pornia” or a form of that word, and yes this is where we get our modern word “porn” from. Pornia was much the same as the Hebrew word in that it referred to harlotry and incest.
Some to my left have wrongly tried to argue that none of the Bible’s terms for sexual immorality forbid premarital sex. They error though in the fact that the Bible always present the only kind of sex between a man and woman that God honors is within the bounds of marriage. In fact in the Old Testament if you had premarital sex with a virgin who was not pledged to be married – you were forced to marry her and pay her father the bride price. God never looked positively on premarital sex.
I agree with the authors of EMB based upon Ezekiel 23 that God does condemn sexual foreplay between non-married persons. Some have tried to argue that God only condemns intercourse, but he does truly condemn any blatantly sexual touching of the erogenous zones by non-married people.
This is how the Bible defines fornication (or as it is now translated “sexual immorality”):
- Unlawful physical sexual contact – Any physical sexual contact between a non-married man and woman is forbidden in the Scriptures. This would obviously include fondling of breasts or genitals, oral sex and intercourse. Any other physical contact that is not sexual foreplay would not be forbidden.
- Lustful (covetous) thoughts – Any thought about getting a person you are not married to, to have sex with you outside of marriage is sin. Just the thought, just the fantasy of trying to lure them into having sex with you outside of marriage is a sin, even if you never act on it.
Now in contrast to how the Bible defines sexual immorality, let’s see how EMB broadens and expands God’s definition.
EMB’s expanded definition of sexual immorality
EMBs authors, much like the Jewish religious teachers who came before Christ, have sought to broaden God’s definition of sexual immorality.
They would add a third type of sexual immorality to the two items I shown above.
EMB says that if you become sexually aroused simply by the visual sight of any woman you are not married to then you have sinned. They would also say any sexual fantasizing about any woman other than your wife is also sin. EMB also condemns masturbation.
Now I will give a few quotes to illustrate their broadening of God’s definition of sexual immorality:
For males, impurity of the eyes is sexual foreplay
EMB – pg.66
Masturbation while fantasizing about another woman besides your wife or “fantasy intercourse” while dreaming is the same doing it. Remember the standard Jesus set? “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit ‘adultery’. But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.(Matthew 5:27-28)…
Impurity of the eyes provides definite sexual gratification. Isn’t that foreplay? When you see a hot movie scene, is there a twitch below your belt…No doubt about it, Visual sexual gratification is a form of sex for men. As males we draw sexual gratification and chemical highs through our eyes.
EMB – pg. 68
So as you can see, the authors here have expanded God’s definition of sexual immorality from the two points I gave above. Specifically they have expanded the definition of Biblical lust. I will say in their defense that they are following church tradition. The early church father’s fell into the error of teaching that sex was a necessary evil only for reproductive purposes.
Our author’s probably feel enlightened compared to them by telling people that sexual desire is not bad within the confines of marriage.
I will stand firm in telling you, challenging you, to find any Scripture passage that says sexual arousal, desire or fantasy in and of themselves are wrong. Sexual covetousness is wrong, but arousal and fantasy in and of themselves are not wrong.
A word on what is, and what is not Sexual foreplay
EMB expands sexual foreplay to having any pleasurable thoughts or sexual fantasies about a woman who is not your wife. As I said earlier I agree that foreplay is forbidden, but having thoughts about someone’s form or what it would be like to have sex with them is NOT foreplay.
Sexual Foreplay requires the interaction of two people, either through visual flirtation, physical flirtation, or audio flirtation sexually trying to arouse one another. It is a two person activity. So yes this would by definition, make phone sex, or web cam sex with anyone other than your spouse, sinful sexual foreplay even though you are not actually touching them.
It is impossible to have sexual foreplay with inanimate objects(like pictures and movies), or even with an actual person without their express interaction with you.
But someone might say “Ah wait, a man can make unwanted sexual advances toward a woman can’t he?” Yes he can, he might grab a woman inappropriately or brush against her giving himself sexual pleasure by doing so. He may say sexual things to her, or comment on her body. But if she is not positively receiving these actions, but either ignores them or acts negatively towards them, this is not by definition sexual foreplay – it is actually sexual harassment – which is completely different(and is also sinful).
It is absolutely ridiculous to assert that a man is having sexual foreplay when he is aroused by(or even fantasizes about) a picture of a woman, a movie of with a woman, or the sight of an actual woman who is not actually engaging with him.
What about Matthew 5 and Job 31?
The authors of EMB address these two famous passages in the Bible about a man lusting after a woman, in an attempt to broaden God’s definition of sexual immorality. There is a great article on these two passages that you should look into:
What does the Bible say about Lust?
I will summarize it by saying this. When Jesus talked about lusting after a woman, the word lust is talking about a sinful covetousness. The sinful desire was him fantasying about getting a married woman to sleep with him – that is what sexual lust is in the Bible.
Job 31 deals with lust as it relates to single people. Job was saying he made a covenant with his eyes not to “think” on maid. In other words, he would not look at a young single woman and fantasize about how he could have sex with her outside of marriage, this would include looking at prostitutes and thinking about he might hire them. So yes I agree with the authors of EMB that both Matthew 5 and Job 31 both talk about sexual sin in the mind. But the sexual sin is that of sexual covetousness, or of desiring to get someone to have sexual contact with you outside of marriage. Just the thought of that, even if it is never acted on, is sin.
Being aroused by the sight of a woman who is not your wife is stealing?
This is not new to EMB. I heard this all growing up in church during youth group.
Though saved and free to walk purely, I had still chosen to look at women in dishonor.
Oh don’t be so hard yourself, one might say. It’s natural for a male to look. That’s part of or nature. It’s natural for a male to look. But what you’re doing is stealing. The impure thought life is the life of a thief. You’re stealing images that aren’t yours. When you had premarital sex, you touched someone who didn’t belong to you. When you looked down the blouse of a woman who isn’t you wife, you were stealing something that isn’t yours to take. It’s just like walking down Main Street behind someone who drops a one-hundred-dollar bill out of his pocket, and you pick it up….
Similarly, if a woman’s blouse falls open, you can’t say “Hey, that’s in my sight line, I get to have that” No, you have look away. Otherwise you’re a thief. You need to leave that valuable creation in the hands of God and her husband or her future husband.
EMB – pg.72
Are they kidding? Let me be clear on something – looking at a woman, whether fully clothed, partially clothed or nude is NOT stealing anything! If I go into a restaurant and I enjoy the smell and look of the food on various people’s plates as I walk to my booth is that the same as if I picked up their plate off the table and started eating their food? The answer is no.
The beauty of women belongs to world, in the same way that the beauty of a tree belongs to all of us.
If I drive down the street and see a beautiful apple tree in my neighbor’s yard am I stealing from him if I look at the beauty of his tree, or even if it makes me hungry for an apple? The answer is no. If I go and grab an apple off his tree, then I have stolen.
Now when I say a woman’s beauty belongs to the world that does not mean I think women should be walking around nude all the time (although I do think there is a place for nudity in art and photography). See my article on Christians and nudity for more on that.
What is the Biblical View of Nudity?
What it does mean is that I have no problem with my wife or my daughter wearing attractive clothing. I just don’t want them dressing like prostitutes or whores. But unlike many Muslim men, and also some Christian men, I don’t expect every inch of wife and daughter’s skin to be covered.
The Bible says to everything there is a time and a season. So in the summer time, I don’t have a problem with my daughter wearing shorts. When my daughter goes in swimming pools when we go to hotels I don’t have a problem with her wearing bathing suits, even two piece bathing suits. I believe everything father has to decide where the line is and my daughter understands my line.
But to force a woman to completely cover her body from head to toe at all times is like having a beautiful rose garden and then building a 20 foot wall all around it so no one else can enjoy its beauty besides you.
A woman’s body belongs to her husband or future husband alone, but her beauty belongs to the world.
Is Masturbation a sin?
The authors of EMB make several broad attacks on masturbation to include it in their broadened definition of sexual immorality. It is kind of funny that the authors acknowledge the Scriptures are silent on masturbation, but then they turn around say for us to be holy we need to stop masturbating.
“Scripture is silent on the topic of masturbation. Some might even make a case that isolated instances of masturbation to relieve sexual tension are okay, if you’re focusing on your wife, not some supermodel, during periods of separation and illness. Wanton masturbation, tied to pornography or whatever gets your motor running, is always sin, putting distance between you and God. If you desire holiness, you must stop masturbating.”
EMB – pg.105
So let’s get this straight, the Scriptures are silent on masturbation, but if we want to be holy we have to stop masturbating? Sounds like the authors are preaching the commands of men as the commands of God.
But in all fairness to the authors of EMB, as well as a host of Christian teachers who teach against masturbation – here is the real issue. Because of how they define Biblical “lust”, masturbation must be wrong. I agree with them that most masturbation would involve some sexual fantasy with someone of the opposite sex.
Masturbation while trying to clear all sexual imagery from one’s mind may be possible, but it is grueling. It is like trying to eat food without tasting it or enjoying it, just quickly swallowing it before it can touch your taste buds.
I honestly think that many of these anti-masturbation advocates sit up at night wondering why God did not just give them a law against masturbation so we could get rid of this pesky issue once and for all. What they don’t realize is, the silence of the Scriptures on masturbation actually speaks against their expanded definition of Biblical lust.
If it were truly sin to be aroused by, or derive sexual pleasure from just seeing a woman’s form (whether fully clothed, partially clothed or fully nude) and this gratification naturally leads to a desire to masturbate, why would God have not addressed such an important sin of masturbation? The silence on the subject speaks volumes.
I wrote a lengthy article subject of Christians and masturbation here:
Is masturbation wrong for a Christian?
To summarize what I wrote, masturbation in and of itself is not wrong for a Christian. The authors of EMB are correct that the scriptures are silent on this issue. I wrote that masturbation can become wrong when it becomes obsessive to the point that it interferes in our work, church, marriage or other interpersonal relationships.
The ultimate purpose of our sex drive and sexual natures is to help provide oneness in our marriage and for procreation. However while these are the ultimate purposes for our sex drives, it is not the only reason. Orgasms provide mental relief from various stresses. It also provides an invaluable way to release sexual tension, especially for single people so they will not fall into actual sexual sin.
This brings me to the next subject of singles and sex.
EMB and Sexuality for Single people
“..the question for singles remains: What are you going to do with the sexual pressure you sometimes feel? First of all, you have to take by faith that once you get your eyes and mind under control, the sexual pressure will drop off dramatically. You bring most of the pressure onto yourself through visual sensual stimulation and mental fantasy.
Even so, there remains the male seventy-two-hour cycle of sperm production. Without the impurity of the eyes, the pressure generated by lust is gone, but there’s still a natural physical pressure for release, though much weaker. “What am I going to do about that?” you might ask. “How will I get release?”
God has supplied the way of release, something with which you’re familiar. Clinically it’s called “nocturnal emissions”.
EMB – Pg.109-110
There is very little research on nocturnal emissions. What we do know is that it is caused by having an orgasm or ejaculation during sleep from what many would call a “wet dream”. EMB actually tries to say your dreams will be “purer” by their definition of purity during these times.
Let me just be as straight as I can on this. This is one of the biggest bunches of bologna in EMB. Nocturnal emissions are not going to solve your need for sexual release (orgasm). Your body has to have sexual releases, whether from conscious stimuli (both mental and physical) while you are awake, or from unconscious stimuli while you sleep – that’s it plain and simple.
EMB talks about people who claimed to have not masturbated for years whether with their techniques or others. Of course they claim this is not just a matter of will power, but also the power of God. They say that as you starve your mind of all sexual imagery and learn to bounce your eyes, the pressure just gradually goes away. All of this is utterly and completely unprovable! Do they have people following these people around everywhere, 24 hours a day to make sure they never masturbate? Do they have people reading their minds to make sure they are not having erotic thoughts?
Maleness vs Manhood
Maleness vs Manhood is a major theme in this book. But what the author’s do is to ask men to go to war with their male tendencies as if they are part of the sinful nature.
The author’s after attacking the natural male ability to receive pleasure from visually stimulating women or images of women, then try and reign in their comments with these words:
“If we get into sexual sin naturally-just by being male-then how do we get out? We can’t eliminate our maleness, and we’re sure we don’t want to.
For instance, we want to look at our wives and desire them. They’re beautiful to us, and we’re sexually gratified when we gaze at them, often daydreaming about the night ahead and what bedtime will bring. In its proper place, maleness is wonderful.
We must choose to be more than male. We must choose manhood.”
EMB – Pg.71
Sin is not caused by our “maleness”, it is caused by our sin nature. Our sin nature tempts us to go beyond God’s limits, just as Adam and Eve went beyond the limits God set for them in the Garden of Eden.
For instance, men have a tendency to more aggressive than women. It is what makes men better in sports, business and combat than woman. God built this natural aggressiveness into man to make him a good hunter and provider. But a man’s God given, naturally aggressive nature can lead him into trouble when he uses his aggression in a negative way that goes outside the boundaries God has established.
For instance when my son played basketball his coach got on him for not being more aggressive. He needed to dig into his natural male aggression to fight to get that ball. However other team mates of his were too aggressive and breaking the rules of the game and getting foul calls all the time, and the coach had to have them pull back on their over-aggressiveness.
In the same way our male sexuality is not a sinful thing. Our appreciation of the female form and the chemical pleasure fireworks that go off in our head form seeing the female form are not sinful.
We get into sinful behavior when we begin to lust after(covet) a woman in the sense that we begin to think about how we can get a single woman to have sex outside of marriage with us, or how we can get a married woman to cheat on her husband and have sex with us. Simply being aroused by and enjoying a woman’s female form is not sin.
The author’s here try to put a much smaller boundary around our male sexuality than God does. The authors of EMB falsely tell us that the only woman we can receive sexual pleasure from seeing is our wife. That is a box that God NEVER put around male sexuality.
I agree with EMB authors about sexual addiction
While there may a few disagreements over how we define sexual addition, I agree with the authors that sexual addiction can be a problem for some people. Just like there are food addicts, there are sex addicts. It is when we take a good thing that God created for our benefit, and we over use it and become obsessed with it to the neglect of other areas of our life.
As I have pointed out here and many other places on my blog, I do not see any problem from a Biblical standpoint with being visually sexually aroused and masturbating. But where it can become wrong is if you start to look at women as only sexual objects. If it interferes with your intimacy with your wife then you need to get your masturbation back under control. If it interferes with your job where you looking at nude images where you work then it is a problem.
If you are food addict, you don’t stop eating, you start controlling how much you eat. If you are sex addict, you don’t stop having sex, or even masturbating, you simply control how often you do those things. If you are beginning to see women as nothing more than sex objects, then you need to get some counseling to help you with that.
Women are objects of sexual desire for men, to say otherwise would be a lie. In the same way that women are objects of sexual desire for men, men are objects of physical and financial security for many women. But for men to see women as ONLY objects of sexual desire, and not also as people with their own feelings, wants and desires is wrong. We cannot separate a woman’s sexual appeal from her humanity.
The teachings of EMB as well as majority of Christian churches causes people to fall into sexual sin
Because of their adding extra rules to God’s boundaries around sex, EMB and other likeminded Christian teachers have actually caused many Christian men and women to fall into sin. The reason is that they are not allowing people to have any normal sexual release outside of sex within marriage, when God does allow it.
When people are completely denied any sexual release, sometimes it leads to very perverted behavior. The Catholic Priest sex scandals are a perfect example of this. I truly believe that if these priests were allowed to be married and have normal outlets for sexual release many of these things would not have occurred.
I have pointed out in my article on masturbation, and in my article on Christians and nudity that it is not wrong for a man (or a woman) to look at a nude image. It is wrong for someone to look at pornography because those are photos or movies of actual people committing actual fornication.
What happens with many Christians is because they have been taught all nudity and all sexual fantasy is wrong, they go right to the hard stuff, right to the pornography. The reason is they figure, if all of it is sin, then you might as well go big. I used to be in that camp when I struggled with my highly sexual nature.
I have stated this many times on this blog. My wife has many health problems and there been many periods of time where we could not have sex. This used to be a horrible struggle for me as I thought every time I masturbated or fantasized sexually I was sinning. I lived under a cloud of guilt constantly asking God to forgive me.
As I was studying biology (specifically brain structure and chemistry differences between men and women) for a different subject (gender roles) I came to the realization – we are built as sexual beings. Sexuality is even bigger in most men than most women. Our visual drive, and need for variety is hardwired into the male brain. We can no more stop appreciating the beauty of a woman, than appreciating that sugar is sweet.
So you have a choice. You can follow EMBs teachings that add to the Bible. You can try to “bounce your eyes” and “starve” yourself of any visual sexual pleasure, other than your wife if you are married. You can walk around with your head staring at the ground everywhere you go, you can get rid of your TV so you will never see another sexy woman on a commercial or TV program. If you believe EMB’s expanded definition of Biblical lust than this is what you must do.
You must declare war on your maleness, until you have squeezed into the tight little box they would have you put it in, only then will you be in their eyes, a true man.
Or you can try a different path, one where you can have sexual release without sinning, and without guilt.
So if EMB is wrong, how should men handle the battle against sexual temptation?
At end of this review, I now want to offer a positive plan for Christians who want to keep from having premarital sex and also stay away from pornography.
You must first overcome your guilt about masturbation
One of the major themes in EMB is the guilt that is associated with masturbation. They say this is one of the indicators that tells us masturbation is wrong. I would submit to you that the only reason many men feel guilt when they masturbate is because they have been told it was wrong either by their parents or by their church.
When men and women realize that masturbation is not much different than having a bowl movement or urinating the guilt goes away. Masturbation releases pressure in the mind and body. But just like bowel movements and urinating, we don’t need to go around talking about it. I don’t tell people how many bowel movements I had last week, any more than I tell people how many times I masturbated last week. But we all know we need to have bowel movements, and we all know we need to have orgasms, whether through sex with our spouse when we are married, or by ourselves in the act of masturbation.
As a Christian you need to have faith that masturbation is a natural tool for sexual release that God has given you to keep you pure for marriage. It is also a tool that he has given married people to equalize out the differences in sex drives as well as help during times when one spouse cannot have sex.
You need to overcome issues with nudity
Another thing that many Christians, and even non-Christians have been taught is that viewing nude images of women, or sexually fantasizing about women is wrong. Christians like the authors of EMB teach that this a violation of the Bible’s command for people not lust. Non-Christians(mostly feminists) say if you are receiving sexual gratification from looking at someone you are “objectifying them”.
Regarding looking at other women EMB states:
“You don’t even know this woman; who are you to be attracted to her?”
EMB – pg. 151
This reminds me of a woman I was talking to in a Christian forum a while back. She said a man has no right to be attracted to a woman he does not know anything about. She said the shallowest thing a man can do is walk up to a woman at party or gathering and ask for her phone number, real attraction must be more than that. She said that is an example of “objectifying women”. While I agree you would not want to marry someone on looks alone, the act of simply being drawn to someone and asking them out because they are attractive is not shallow, it is how men are designed by God.
As a man, you must realize that you can look at women as both people with thoughts, feelings and desires and as objects of sexual pleasure. Many feminists and Christians will try to tell you must choose between seeing women as people or objects of sexual pleasure, but that is a false dichotomy, because they are both. Sexual deviants, molesters and rapists come to see women as ONLY objects of sexual pleasure and that is why they do the horribly wicked things they do.
But for the health of your mind, you have to see them as both people and objects of sexual pleasure. If you try to deny either, you will have problems. If you deny a woman’s personhood, you will become a sexual deviant. If you deny that women are also objects of sexual pleasure, you will cause your body and mind to become overwhelmed because you convince yourself you cannot look at women and derive pleasure from them. You will become like someone who is constipated walking around but never able to get any relief.
It is no more a sin for you to see a Victoria Secret commercial and feel horny than it is for you to see a pizza commercial and feel hungry. The issue comes in what you do when you are hungry or horny.
If I see a commercial for pizza, get hungry, order a pizza and then when the delivery guy comes I knock him out and steal the pizza I have sinned. If however I pay for the pizza after being made hungry by the commercial no sin has occurred.
If I am married and see a Victoria Secret commercial, get horny and then go have sex with my wife no sin has occurred. If I am single or married, see a Victoria Secret commercial, get horny, and then go masturbate to those images in my mind, I have not sinned.
The difference in marriage is, you need to be careful that your masturbation does interfere with your ability to have regular relations with your wife. It should be used as a supplement to sexual intercourse with your wife, but it should never replace it or interfere with it.
If as a single or married person, I get horny from a Victoria Secret commercial, and then go and look up pornography, and masturbate to it – I have sinned. Why? Because I am receiving pleasure from watching other people fornicate.
If as a single or married person, I look up pictures of nude women (not images of pornography) and I masturbate to those images, no sin has occurred.
I have presented two choices to you. The first choice is to believe that EMB’s and many other Christians expanded definition is what lust actually is. You will be at war with your natural male urges to receive pleasure from looking at beautiful women, and you will spend most of your life looking at the ground.
Your other choice is to embrace the freedom that God has given you, and the natural tools he has given you for sexual release. As a man, realize that the most natural thing in the world is for you to derive pleasure from viewing a woman’s form, it is no different than deriving pleasure from a beautiful field of flowers. Your need to for sexual release, for orgasms, is no different than your need to have bowel movements or to urinate.
Something I did not address in this is post is, as a man you also have a need for variety. Men are naturally polygynous. Just because we are living in a modern Western culture that treats polygamy as perverted does not make it so. Study the Old Testament and you will find many of the Old Testament patriarchs were polygamists. The Bible NEVER condemns this and the Mosaic Law actually regulates how polygamy is to occur.
Just recognize that while God has given you a natural mechanism for sexual release, and the gift of sexual arousal, he has also placed boundaries on how far you may go. You cannot get involved in sexual foreplay, oral sex or intercourse until you are married. You cannot look at pornography because that is deriving pleasure from real people committing fornication.
But you can feel free to walk through a mall or store, or any other gathering of people and see a beautiful woman and derive pleasure from her form. One of the purest things in the world is a man admiring the form of a beautiful woman. When you are feeling the need for sexual release, imagine a gorgeous woman and give your mind and body the release it needs through masturbation.
If you are single person and dating, masturbation can be your best friend. Masturbating before you go on dates can keep you from getting into sexual foreplay and premarital sex. Just honor God’s boundaries, and accept the freedom he has given you.
Yes every man does face a battle. But it is not a battle against his God given “maleness”, but against the sin of covetousness. His battle is against thinking about trying to lure women he is not married to into bed, whether they are single or married to other women. He battle is against engaging in premarital sexual foreplay, oral sex or intercourse. His battle is not against his God given design, or the natural mechanisms by which God has given him the ability to receive pleasure and have sexual release before and even during marriage.