The ‘M’ Words, Masturbation and Ministry

Todays post is by Joan Huang.  I first met Joan when she attended the 5th/6th grade Sunday School I taught. Our paths crossed again as my husband and I were mentor parents in the youth group she attended. It was during this time that she became like a daughter to me and is a BFF with my daughters 🙂 This past December my husband and I were privileged to do part of her premarital counseling.  I have had the opportunity to see her grow in so many ways.  She is fondly known to us as “Joyful Joan.”

She has a powerful message I’d like to share with you so here we go…

dirty little secrets

so, what are the “m” words you doth mention, dearest joan?

masturbation and ministry.

yup, i said it.

[jaw drops]

emphasis on the word masturbation.

the two words never coincide in the same sentence, let alone are seldom discussed among the Body of Believers, especially with females. the guys generally get center stage on this one: always being reminded of their trashy web browsing habits, rebuked for such behavior, and in turn form accountability between others with like-struggles. the girls stand back in disgust, praying that their future husband won’t be one of “them”. me, be that kind of girl? guilty as charged. the church has recognized the destructive nature of sexual sins surrounding pornography and lust in its influence on the next generation of Jesus-loving men, but it is only beginning to unmask the deceptive reality of women’s struggle with masturbation.

i’d like to call it “pseudo sex”, where it only takes one to get the job done, and i’ve heard it go in a few directions:

1.) the chick doesn’t see a problem with it and has been doing it since she was a child
2.) homegirl has always felt guilty and doesn’t know how to stop
3.) she used to have sex with the ex and now she’s having withdrawals
4.) she’s waiting until marriage but is trying to cope with raging hormones in the mean time
5.) it supposedly helps with cramps and stress
6.) she wants to regain control over her own life when she feels as if the world around her is uncontrollable

no matter the purpose or fulfillment involved, masturbation has become a secret reality in the lives of so many women. most assume they’re the only ones doing it, thus leading to a hidden and independent battle against the flesh. but you’re not alone, honey.

from the time i was ten years old i had struggled with masturbation {good luck trying to look me in the eyes next time and not judge. haha, it’s okay. i totally understand}. for the next seven years i didn’t know it was wrong until i fell in love with Jesus. the more i came to understand my identity in Him and His calling on my life, the more i realized that what i was doing in private was clashing with God’s pure heart for me and my future husband. while i wasn’t directly hurting anybody or myself, something was just not right about this one aspect of my life. despite feeling conviction from the Holy Spirit, i continued to struggle in my own strength, too ashamed to talk to anyone about it.

this perpetual habit came to a halt one day in college when a group of girls prayed over me. i didn’t tell them to pray for anything specific, and i most certainly didn’t share with them about my secret struggle, but that didn’t stop the Holy Spirit from moving powerfully through their intercession. in the supernatural realm there was a shift where any spirit of lust, addiction, or control had been broken off of me. i didn’t recognize this new freedom until a month after that prayer gathering when i came to an overwhelming and triumphant realization that i hadn’t struggled or even thought about masturbating. for ten years this had been such a normal thing, and then after one night of prayer, my foe met its match and the holy territory of my body was reclaimed. it has been years since then, and now i can look at that lengthy season in my life and say that i have had enough with the lies of the enemy. deception and shame have run deep in the hearts of young women, and i’m fed up with the silence.

i remember overhearing a “big adult” conversation at a church summer camp once. some mothers were sitting around, sipping tea, and chatting about why they’ve decided that masturbation is okay for their sons. they said they couldn’t find anything against it in the Bible and had in turn chosen to apathetically look the other way. every time i am reminded of that conversation, something in me churns with unrest. there was something so distorted and legalistic in what was said and i knew that there was more to God’s heart in the matter than what these church leaders had subjected themselves to.

God’s heart is overwhelmed with purity. He radiates purity through His Bride, us, and desires that she be awoken, freely flaunting her white wedding gown. we are carriers of that identity and what a greater honor than to be given that freedom and authority to walk into it. because the Bride is made to reign with Her Groom, there is a holy engagement currently taking place. she is getting ready for Her wedding day, undistracted, impassioned, and in love. this Biblical picture is to manifest within our lives as a prophetic proclamation of what is to come.

in the mean time, the enemy has been masking a perverted sense of pleasure in order to rape the Bride . this injustice will not take place due to the victory in which Christ sealed through His triumph over death. this Bride is technically untouchable. but are we letting the enemy claim territory in which we were already given authority to reclaim? if this Bride is to be embraced by Her Groom, then there should be nothing that comes between that holy and pure covenant. even ourselves. the Bride in her waiting musn’t turn to herself and gratify these God-given pleasures when she knows that the wedding bed is soon to come.

whew. now on a lighter note.

don’t think about skunks… don’t think about skunks… stop it! i said, don’t think about skunks!

what are you thinking about? well, skunks, of course.

now, think about chocolate: white chocolate, dark chocolate, milk chocolate, caramel covered in chocolate. now what are you thinking about? mhm, chocolate.

when it comes to sin and temptation, the more we focus on it, the more we allow it have bondage over our minds, even if we don’t carry out the temptation leading to sin. when we recognize that we’re free from sin and thrive as new creations, then it’s the presence of God that drives out darkness for us.

“let no sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. for sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.” (Romans 6:12-14)

sin has nothing on you. if you begin to truly walk into the fullness of your identity in Christ, you will see that you’ve been raised in victory over sin and death. as long as you believe that sin has a role in your life, it will. but once you truly tap into the presence, power, and purity of God, you can’t help but be a conqueror. it’s in your genetic code as a new creation.

you’ve always heard that quote about your body being a temple of the Lord (1 Corinthians 6:19), but did you ever see that it was in context to sexual purity? my youth group leaders back in the day always linked it to being about food consumption… what? sure, okay, fine. and yet another example of how this topic of sexual self-gratification is quickly swept under the rug, especially during the pubescent years of development when it matters the most.

now that i pointed out the elephant in the room, what do you do about it? bring it from darkness to light. if you’re ashamed, that’s even a greater hint that you need to expose that sucker. but here’s the thing as well, don’t beat yourself up about it. seriously, don’t. the Father doesn’t condemn you, so don’t condemn yourself. He just wants you to walk in the most freedom and fullness possible.  you can talk about it with trustworthy friends, accountability, a mentor, or whomever you discern to be an individual who would speak life and freedom over you. pray and receive intercession over it. break off any spiritual attachments. seek healing if you’ve been sexually abused. talk to Daddy about it; let His Spirit reveal parts of your heart that are held in bondage, release them, and choose to walk into freedom. getting deeper into the Father’s heart and a new found intimacy with God through His Holy Spirit will only drive out impurities on your behalf. He already fought for you, and now it’s your turn to receive that freedom.

woman of God, i give you permission to start thinking about chocolate.



for God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. {1 Thessalonians 4:7}

flee from sexual immorality. every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. {1 Corinthians 6:18}

therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in his body is done with sin. as a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. {Peter 4:1-2}


Joan Huang is a native Texan with a fiery heart for East Asia.  She has lived in Thailand for two years as a teacher and grad student, and is called to a cross-cultural life overseas alongside her husband. She dreams of someday owning a coffee shop and has a love for languages, art, and ice cream.

Let’s Talk Sex – The Curiosity of Toddlers

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I am sure the title of this post was a bit disconcerting. After all, what on earth could you possibly teach your 2-5 year-old about sex? It may seem like a strange thing to discuss with young children, but it is an important topic to start covering from a young age.

Children soak up information like a sponge. As parents, you can help fill that sponge with a healthy view of sex. While your young child may not need to learn about sex, they should start learning about their identity as a boy or a girl. For instance, you can start by explaining how God created them male or female and it was good (Gen 1:27). Explain to your child that they were made in God’s image and He doesn’t make mistakes. They are indeed “fearfully and wonderfully made.” From this place it is healthy to properly identify body parts. The honest and matter-of-fact differentiation between body parts will help lay the framework for explaining how certain body parts are off limits to others, because they are special. This is important, because many children around this age become curious about the human body.

Since curiosity is natural and to be expected, it’s helpful to clarify their questions being sure to understand exactly what is being asked and the context of the question as we don’t want to provide to much information to soon.  Thus remember to respond to their questions with a question, “That’s a good question, what do you mean? Where did you hear that? Etc…

One way to help children differentiate body parts is to teach them during bath time. Have them name their various body parts by turning it into a game. The great thing with this is that they are already undressed. If they have a sibling of the opposite gender or if they have seen either parent undressed, they are probably already inquisitive about the differences. Kids are very curious during this age and learn best from life experiences. You can even teach them from nature or everyday situations, such as the neighbors cat have kittens or the woman at the coffee shop that is nursing her newborn baby. There are so many avenues for being honest and open with your child. Use this curiosity to your advantage by responding honestly. Honesty is important, because it helps establish trust with your child from a young age. 

Being honest with your child includes using proper anatomical terms versus using slang words for their private parts. It might be uncomfortable for you at first, but this terminology is foundational as it can prevent both confusion and future embarrassment when the correct terminology is used. Oftentimes, parents choose to use slang words to prevent their children from talking about their body parts when they shouldn’t, but this does more harm than good. Instead of making up funny words for each part, focus on teaching your children concepts such as privacy, modesty, and respect. Role-play with your children what these concepts might look like in public or private settings.

By demonstrating these concepts to your children, you are building a reference point for them about what is acceptable both for them and for others. If your children know that touching another person’s private parts is wrong, they will also begin to understand that being touched in those same areas is not acceptable and they will know to talk to you about it. You can give your children practical examples of what is okay touch and what is inappropriate. This might help shield them from molestation. Unfortunately, this is a necessary conversation to have with your young children. You can teach them by simply being aware of their curiosity, answering questions, explaining the difference between boys and girls, and talking about good versus bad touch. Inadvertently, these same things instill trust in your children and show them they can truly talk to you about anything. It will remove any embarrassment that they might feel and will keep the communication open. Abuse is significantly reduced when our children receive a simple, calm description of what kind of touching is inapposite and the assurance that you will be there for them should anyone touch them.

As you begin to talk to your children about good versus bad touch, it is important to have a plan for what you will say should your child masturbate. Many parents shame their children for this. In return, their child will learn to become secretive. This secrecy could lead to other sexual experiences in the future simply because their parents punished them for their natural curiosity versus keeping the communication open with their child. Instead of shaming your children, I encourage you to explain that their curiosity is natural and simply let them know that touching their private parts in public is not appropriate. Along with this, I would calmly redirect them to another activity. Oftentimes, children masturbate because there is a lack of comfort in the home. Punishing them only heightens this. Typically, children outgrow this, but it is important to decide in advance how you will handle this should it arise as it can be a problem for boys and girls usually between the ages of two to six and again between the ages of twelve and twenty.

With a basic understanding of their identity and differentiation between body parts at a young age, you are setting a healthy foundation for future talks on sexuality. A lot of material was covered, but these foundation years are important. If you want to raise children with purity, integrity, and a healthy view of sexuality, it is beneficial to raise them in an environment that values these very things and keeps the communication between parent and child open from the start.

Recommended Resources:

Have your toddlers shown a natural curiosity?  What resources have you found helpful?