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Lust is a Girl Problem Too

By: Bethany Beal

I crawled into my bed and turned on the lamp. It was late. I was tired. But that didn’t keep me from reading my favorite genre of books, Christian Romance Novels. I justified my actions and convinced myself that these were innocent and clean.

What harm could they do?

One by one I devoured these books. Rereading the extra “spicy” scenes over and over again. I put myself in the characters shoes and imagined the story was my own. As single, high school aged girl, I imagined that I was the one being wooed and pursued and swept off of my feet.

When the story finished, I would lay in bed and create my own story. The fantasies continued in my mind and I indulged in my thoughts. I allowed my mind to linger in places that I knew were anything but pure and holy.

My heart was filled with lust.

The romance novel season of my life started around the ninth grade. It lasted for a few years. I kept convincing myself that it wasn’t a big deal. I wanted to believe that the words “Christian Romance Novel” on the back of the book made these books okay. Good. Pure. Holy.

They weren’t. And I knew it.

I knew I was using these books to “awaken love” in my heart and I was choosing to lust after stories that weren’t my own. I was using these books to satisfy the longings for sexual intimacy that I desired.

Don’t believe the lie that lust is a “guy only” problem.

I think that we, as Christian women, know that lust is our problem. We know our hearts. We see what’s inside. We see the places our thoughts go to at night. We see the books we read. The websites we visit. The pictures we send. The guys we chat with. We know we have heart issues.

Guys aren’t the only ones struggling, we are too.

In our brand new book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, we surveyed over 450 of you and asked you in depth questions about sex, purity, lust and so much more.

Here’s what a few Christian women had to say about lust:

Lust is something I struggle with on a daily basis.

Lust has been a struggle in both my singleness and my dating relationship.

Lust is a problem that almost all girls struggle with, but is so infrequently talked about in the church.

Lust is not spoken about, addressed, or taught. Us girls are confused and frustrated. We need someone to talk frankly and help us understand what the Bible says about this issue and how we can live pure lives before the Lord, physically as well as mentally and emotionally.

We know that the struggle is real!

It’s not a matter of knowing, it’s a matter of dealing with it. It’s a matter of changing the tone of the conversation, raising our hands, and saying, “We need help too! Lust is a girl problem too!”

I know that the church has not done a great job of helping women in this area. The silence around the topic of “women struggling with lust” has been awfully quiet. Instead of allowing the silence to keep us in bondage to our sin, we need to acknowledge our struggles and begin seeking out help.

Don’t allow the silence to convince you that you’re the only woman struggling.

You are not. I’m not. That’s because back in the very beginning of Genesis, God created both Adam and Eve as sexual beings. Fast forward to today and we are sexual beings as well. Yes, men and women have differences, but both genders are fully sexual. That means that both men and women experience sexual desire. Both genders will face their own temptations toward lust.

But, what exactly is lust? Let’s define it really quick.  

In our book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, we use a quote from Pastor John Piper to unpack this word. He describes the issue of lust this way,

“Sexual desire in itself is good. God made it in the beginning. It has its proper place. But it was made to be governed or regulated or guided by two concerns: honor toward the other person and holiness toward God. Lust is what that sexual desire becomes when that honor and that holiness are missing from it.”

I love how simply he breaks this word down. He says that lust is the absence of honor and holiness. It’s doing something in your mind towards another person that does not honor them. It’s allowing your heart to enter into places that are lacking in holiness toward God.

With that simple definition in mind, have you ever lusted? Have you ever treated someone with that lack of honor? Have you ever dwelt on things that lacked holiness toward God? That’s exactly what happened to me during that romance novel season.

I was lacking honor. I was lacking holiness. I was lusting.

I want to encourage you to be honest about your own struggles with lust. I don’t care if they seem really small or really big. Get serious about killing the lust in your heart.

Here are two simple steps you can take to begin the process:

  1. Confess your sins to God. Start first and foremost by bringing this sin before God and asking Him for His forgiveness. He promises that if we ask, He will forgive.
  2. Bring your lust into the light. Don’t keep this a secret. Don’t fight the battle on your own. Find a godly older woman and tell her what’s going on. Bring this into the light and ask her to help you find true freedom.

This blog only scratches the surface on this topic. That’s why Kristen and I co-authored Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart. We devoted an entire chapter to the topic of lust. If this is something you’re struggling with, I encourage you to grab a copy here.

I would love to hear your take.

What are your thoughts on lust? Has this been (or is this) a struggle in your own life?


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18 Responses to Lust is a Girl Problem Too

  1. Ann says:

    Your so right!
    thank you for posting this, Bethany.
    I believe that lust is a struggle in everyone’s life at one time or another.
    But the Lord wants us all to run to Him for Everything (help, forgiveness, fears, fulfillment, desires, Etc,).

    1 Peter 5:7 (KJV)
    Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

    Psalm 121:1-2 (KJV)
    I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
    My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

    The Lord has been using you guys so much for us Christian girls. Praise Jesus!!!

  2. Suzanne says:

    Lust is a big problem in our society today, and it is influencing Christian young men and women. It is all over! You can’t go anywhere without an image, thought, etc. triggering lust in your mind. I struggle with this. And recently I have struggled with it quite a bit when I got into a relationship with a guy from church. It’s a struggle Christians have! But with God’s grace and His Holy Spirit we can “take every thought captive and bring it under the authority of Jesus Christ.” It is hard, but it is possible!
    God’s Word, His Holy Spirit, and Prayer will really help in this process to overcome lust in my life…and in yours as well!!! 😉

  3. Olivia Scott says:

    Such a truth-packed, encouraging post, Bethany. Wish I could’ve read this back when I was in middle and high school!

  4. Ellie says:

    I’m so lonely, that’s why I lust, and it’s bad. But I just don’t know what to do about it. I know I haven’t kept my emotional purity. My imagination flies with stories I don’t even want to think about. It’s a good thing there are no tempting guys in my life, or I would be seriously in danger.

  5. Ana Peña says:

    I’ve dealt with it since I was only 7. Without even knowing how bad it was. When I tried to stop, I was too used to it. And I’m still fighting the battle

  6. Mattison Howard says:

    i’m masturbating while reading this

  7. Shanae B says:

    I personally am not a big fan of John piper, but I like his explanation! My parents or church I grew up in didn’t believe or teach this but a teacher at the church basically would tell girls (as in 3rd-5th graders) that if you have a crush or feelings for a guy that atomically meant you were lusting after him. I read my Bible enough to never believe that but it still had a negative effect on my teen years. Appropriate definition and explanation of lust is very equally needed as well. Thanks for posting!

  8. Casey Nagel says:

    I can totally relate with reading romance novels. I struggle with this daily. Also with making up and fantasizing, unrealistic imaginations. A while ago I made the decision to stop reading them, but I keep getting pulled back in. Also, what are your thoughts on reading books that have some romance in them, yet aren’t a ‘romance novel’… I don’t know really where to draw the line. Thanks so much!

    • Kaela Schultz says:

      Hi! I’m not an expert on this topic, but here is somthing that helps me.
      Taking a step back and really seeing where my heart is when deciding what book to read can help. If I’m reading a book that isn’t a “romance” but still has some romance in it, and it triggers me, then I wouldn’t read it. This is a good question to ask, “Is this ______ honoring to God?”. If it isn’t then that would be a good book not to read.

  9. Taryn Miller says:

    I’ve always liked to read romance novels but I’d never though of it as a lustful, unholy action. It is hard to stop reading it when it’s been all I read and my favorite genre of books. Are all romance books bad or wrong to read?

    • says:

      I don’t think so… I think if you are reading them and they put thoughts and longings in your heart then maybe you should quit for awhile… for me some do some don’t I find that the more biblical based love stories are the ones I can enjoy reading and in the end not have those longings for in pure romance.. if it puts any longing in my heart it’s to be closer to the Lord to have a biblical romantic relationship one day.

    • Autumn says:

      You need to ask God to thoroughly search your heart on this matter. Do the books you read (no matter what books they are) bring you closer or farther from Christ? If He comes and borrows the book you are reading, would you be willing to lend it for Him to read? The Bible say that all things are lawful but not all things are helpful. It all comes down to our motives behind our actions, and it ought to be about glorifying God. I hope this helps

  10. Amy Savino says:

    I feel so bad that you’ve never masturbated

  11. Amanda Adams says:

    This is just sad. It’s perfectly normal for girls and women to have sexual feelings and thoughts, and it’s horrible to try to repress that. Masturbation is normal and healthy and we should be embracing our natural sexuality.

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