How can I manage my sex drive or desire for sex without masturbation? I was presented with masturbation as the only solution and I wonder if there is another way. How can I manage my lust and longing in a healthy way?
First of all: So well done – thanks for your courage to ask such an important question! Probably many are concerned with the same or similar questions. The fact that you ask this question so openly and curiously shows that you have a longing to do the right thing in this topic. We take our hat off to you!
I want to bring some freedom and serenity to the subject by telling you that it is possible to control your sex drive and that masturbation is not the only option. In fact, it is one of the worst “options”. We don’t want to spend long with all the negative effects because we know that fear is not a good motivator. Nevertheless, it makes sense to take a quick look at the negative side of masturbation, especially if you were presented with masturbation as the only (healthy and normal) option.
Let me start with this: I have never met anyone who felt victorious after masturbating. Many feel shame afterwards and feel empty and lonely when everything is over. Some say that “it’s not a big deal”, but constant masturbation has certainly not given anyone greater freedom – and isn’t that what we all long for? Freedom, joy, hope and life in abundance? Many experience that their sex drive increases the more they masturbate. That makes sense because …
… if you feed your appetite, it grows.
Unfortunately, if you try to calm your sex drive by masturbating, you are not really helping yourself. The thing is – when we are excited and / or reach a climax, a lot happens in us: our bodies are flooded with hormones that lead to an intense increase in desire (endorphins) and to a bond to the activity, the material, the Faces, fantasies, etc. that we expose ourselves to (oxytocin, vasopressin). The combination of these hormones makes us feel tied to the experience and urges us to repeat the activity over and over again. And that’s probably not what you want when you try to lower your sex drive.
Interestingly, we think that the best way to experience sexual satisfaction is to get as much as possible without having to “go all out”. Unfortunately, this experience leaves us frustrated and empty. Why? Because God created us so that our bodies are geared towards ending what we started sexually. This also includes perfection at the relationship level so that we are able to experience complete unity with our spouse. Without such a relationship that continues after orgasm, we notice that we are missing something. It did not satisfy us as we had hoped and the same desire and longing catch up with us again. Why can’t masturbation satisfy our sexual needs and desires?
The reason for this is often that our sexual need has relatively little to do with sex and much more with our physical, emotional, spiritual and relationship health.
Now let’s get back to the real point. If it feels like an endless struggle to control your sex drive, then there is probably something deeper in your life that is out of balance. It could be something spiritual, emotional, physical, or related to your relationships. How can we fix it?
1. LEARN AND PRACTICE YOUR SELF-PERCEPTION.
Self-awareness means knowing yourself: what you like, what you don’t like, how you feel, what you are good at, what you are not good at and how you influence the people around you. Why is that so important? Because many of us live sexually without knowing why.
We humans hate pain. And we would do everything to avoid this. As soon as we feel uncomfortable, we immediately try to find comfort. This is how we are created – we have the capacity to solve our problems, search for answers and find what we need. We find the consolation we are looking for in healthy relationships, but we may be looking for it in an addiction to food, drugs, television, sex, masturbation, etc. Is there anything wrong with seeking comfort? Not at all! But we need to find long-term solutions to our repetitive problems, be it lack of intimacy, too much stress, or the inability to handle pain.
2. Practice wording your feelings and experiences.
Am i hurt Angry? Lonely? Tired? Disappointed? Not sure? Vulnerable? Hungry? If we can name our feelings, then we are also able to name our needs. And if we can name our needs, we can meet them in a healthy way.
If we fail to name our feelings and experiences, then we will not be able to satisfy the needs that are hidden behind these feelings.
3. LEARN AND PRACTICE SELF-CONTROL.
I probably don’t have to tell you that, but if you are a Christian and you have chosen a life that should be a testimony and belong to Jesus, then the Bible says quite clearly that God wants you to be able to do that are to control yourself and not to be controlled by anything. This includes every and every addiction – be it masturbation, eating, caffeine, shopping, or a gambling addiction. You can read more about this in 1 Thessalonians 4: 3-7.
Consider the following: Long-term profit requires short-term sacrifice.
In today’s society, EVERYTHING is about instant gratification. Delaying satisfaction (disciplining yourself) is not a popular idea. We all want to be slim without doing sports. We want to have endless money, but we don’t want to learn what it means to save. We want to have healthy relationships, but we do not exercise the self-control that is necessary for love, respect and appreciation. To get to the point, we have to learn to say NO to ourselves now and then to reap the rewards and benefits of a healthy life.
Will it be tough? Probably, at least in the beginning. If this is your behavior pattern, remember that you can break it by abstaining. This means saying no to yourself if you want to masturbate, especially if you are used to saying yes and your body always gets what it wants. But if you persevere, it will gradually lose its power. The more you say no to yourself, the easier it gets and the cycle is broken.
4. BE AWARE OF YOUR NEEDS.
There are basic relationship needs that we all have, such as the need for connectedness, intimacy, being known, etc. Masturbation often appears to be a quick fix to appease these needs if they are not met.
Masturbation is often based on a lack of intimacy. It is essential for women to feel seen and valued; if not, many women use masturbation as a way to feel loved, wanted, sexy, and seen, even if it only lasts for a moment. Men, on the other hand, often feel the need to masturbate when they feel powerless or disrespected. In the end, however, it mostly boils down to the quality of the relationships and how they feel in those relationships. Reflect on your relationships and make sure that you have people in your life who know you and who know you. Relationships should give us life and give us strength.
Relationships in which you thrive will keep you alive, male or female, and promote your health and happiness. Having healthy emotional connections with the people around you will help you control your sex drive. When you get what you really need, you will no longer use masturbation as a “quick fix”.
5. Be aware of what excites your senses.
Let’s break it down. It is important to know what triggers and arouses your sex drive. What do you watch (films, TV series, advertising, Facebook, Instagram, blogs etc.)? What do you listen to (music, radio, talk shows, podcasts, etc.)? Who are you around and what are you talking about? Are these people life-giving? Are they cheering you on and encouraging you to pursue your goals and dreams? Are you talking about uplifting things or things that lead you to a dark abyss? When we are surrounded by sexual perversion, it is really easy to be sexually aroused, just be aware of what you are exposing to your body, soul and mind.
6. INVITE GOD.
Maybe you’ve already done that, but invite God fully into your process. Try not to get into the habit of just hoping that God will answer your unspoken questions and prayers. Ask him. Wines. Get angry when you have to. God is not afraid of your emotions, your disappointments, your fears or your shortcomings. Let him in everything.
When we grant God access to the center of our behavior, He is ready and available to bring lasting change. Then figure out how to team up with him to stay free. This may be a written plan to deal with the feelings that lead to masturbation. The Holy Spirit is able to guide you in truth and can give you the strength and tools to control your God-given sex drive. God will never give you something that you cannot control or manage.
7. INVITE OTHERS IN YOUR PROCESS AND SAY NO TO SHAME.
We are great advocates of community life. We encourage you to seek help and process what you experience with older, wiser, loving leaders, pastors and parents, etc. You have already walked the path. Remember that there is no reason to be ashamed to take someone into the process and seek help. In doing so, you may accidentally find the intimacy, connectedness, and consolation you need to manage your sex drive well.
8. CHANGE BRINGS CHANGE. AND NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE ART OF DISTRACTION.
If you want to break out of your behavioral pattern, you have to start doing something different. For example, instead of staying in bed, you could get up and read a book or play a game. Stop watching your “usual series” or going to the usual place after work, if that’s what tempts you. That is part of exercising self-control and self-awareness. In a moment of weakness, you need to retrain your brain and body. Don’t give in. Stand up. Find another job. Distract yourself. Stop isolating yourself. Spend more time with others. Change something and your change will come.
CONCLUSION: MASTURBATION IS NOT YOUR ONLY OPTION.
Your sex drive doesn’t have to feel uncontrollable. You can learn to control it by growing as a holistic person and learning to meet your needs healthily and to live and stay in a relationship. All you have to do is keep a vision in mind of why you don’t want to pursue immediate satisfaction, but want to fight your way through: What do you gain personally? This is a question that you have to answer honestly in your heart.
Powerful people can tell themselves what to do. If you have gone through all of these things and you are healed in body, soul and spirit, then you may just want to have sex. You may then have to practice saying “no” to yourself, at least for a while. There is nothing unhealthy about abstaining from sex and masturbation. Rather, it can sharpen your character and evoke qualities that lead you to healthy, fulfilling relationships, including marriage and a fantastic sex life.
Think about it, after all, you can’t eat every candy you see, because otherwise you run the risk of developing diabetes. You can’t have sex every time you’re aroused. You are now learning to control your sex drive so that you can later direct your need to one person – your spouse. He or she will be very grateful that you have already tackled all of this and not only after five (or fifty) years of marriage.