Men are not the only ones who wrestle with sexual purity. Women too struggle with sexual temptation, although it manifests itself in different ways.
Women read steamy romance novels and gossip magazines. They engage in mental fantasies and visit Internet chat rooms. Women are more inclined to become entangled in “emotional affairs” with co-workers or ministry partners; and although it happens, most will tell you that they never intended to become emotionally involved with someone other than their spouse. Regardless of what form it takes, it is still sin. Many Christians mistakenly believe that unless you engage in physical intimacy with another person, your sexual integrity remains intact. Nothing could be further from the truth.
What constitutes adultery or marital unfaithfulness? What are common sources of sexual temptation for women, and how can women resist temptation?
God’s Design for Sex
Too Close to the Edge
My son, a strong-willed child, often challenged my authority while growing up. He loved to “push the envelope” or “take it to the edge.” One particular afternoon, my mother, my son, and I visited the local shopping mall. As lunchtime approached, I made my way to the food court, instructing my son before I walked away, “Listen to Grandma, while I go get lunch for everyone.” I left them sitting near a fountain in the center of the mall. While standing in line, I looked back to where I had left them and noticed a crowd gathering. Several people laughed aloud. Oh no, I thought. I pushed my way back through the crowd, and I saw my son, soaking wet, a puddle forming around his feet, water dripping from his clothes and shoes. My mother stood nearby, looking embarrassed. “He fell in,” she explained. After making sure he was all right, I asked, “What happened?” My son responded, “I wanted to see how close I could get to the edge without falling in. I was closer than I thought and fell in!”
Many Christian women engage in similar behavior. And most, like my son, will fall headlong into sin before they realize what happened!
Wisdom for Women
So, how can we guard our hearts, minds, and emotions and avoid falling into sexual sin? The Bible gives us some clear instruction:
“Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things” (Philippians 4:8, NASB).
Now, here are some practical ways to integrate these Scripture passages into your daily life:
- Avoid soap operas, gossip magazines, and romance novels that contain elements of adulatory in a romantic light. Whereas men are more visually stimulated, women respond to mental stimulation. Romance should be something experienced between you and your partner, not an outside source. If there is no romance in a marriage, Christian marital counseling is a wonderful option to rekindling the ‘spark’. However, romantic relationships portrayed on television, in magazines, and novels, are often not “real.” They can create marital unrest and dissatisfaction if a man or a woman hold’s their partner to dramatized ideas of intimacy and love. True romance comes from complete comfort in a relationship, when you get to a place of deep connection and closeness with your spouse and your relationship becomes a deep companionship where you know one another intimately and enjoy each others company. There may not always be continual heat and passion, but to expect such will be harmful for your marriage, and taint your idea of what a relationship should be.
- Abstain from emotionally intimate relationships with members of the opposite sex. Women in difficult marriages, or in marriages where their needs for love, affection, and emotional intimacy go unmet, are bound to enter into an adulterous relationships. If you are not being treated in the ways listed from your spouse, communicate that to him. Tell you husband what he is doing -or not doing- that is making you feel a lack of love and intimacy. If you are unable to communicate deeply with your partner, there are problems in the relationship that need to be addressed and worked through. A husband and wife should be able to communicate effectively and emotionally with one another in all things. The Bible tells us to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Corinthians 6:18, NIV). If you find yourself in a compromising situation, take God’s Word literally, and run. Go to your spouse and express your feelings openly and honestly. If you do not feel comfortable or safe doing so, your relationship may have started in a place of emotional immaturity, in which case, Christian marriage counseling is a wonderful tool!
- Avoid allowing your needs to go unmet for too long a time. Are you lonely? Do you need a friend? Firstly, seek these things from your husband. However, in addition to your marital relationship, build close relationships with godly women who can encourage, support, and affirm you, women who will pray for you and your marriage. Participate in an emotionally healthy, spiritually alive church–even if your husband does not attend with you. Pray that one day he will and you can grow in this faith together. Platonic love is a wonderful deep bond that God wants us to experience. Do not expect all your connections in life to come from romance. It is more healthy to have loving friends outside your marriage on top of your spouse.
- Finally, establish accountability relationships with mature Christian women, with whom you can share your sexual struggles and temptations. Do not be ashamed of things you are thinking and feeling, and do not allow yourself to be judged by other women who are supposed to love you as Christ does. Find a circle of friends in which you can pray for one another, love one another, and be completely free of judgement in each others temptations. Keeping things hidden and burring temptations in shame is the worst thing you can do when finding yourself struggling with sexual impurity. Allow yourself to confide your feelings in a place of understanding among friends. Together, you can mature and grow through struggles in the lord.
In today’s culture, remaining morally pure can present a challenge. The media bombards us with sexually charged images that, on the surface, entice us with the promise of fulfillment. However, in reality, sexual immorality leads to bondage, heartbreak, and destruction. Do not be deceived. True fulfillment is found in Christ alone.