I was always curious about sex, but I didn’t get any info about it from my parents. I would peek at trashy romance novels with my best friend, looking for the dirty parts. Then, I stumbled across a Victorian erotica novel that I was drawn to because it shared my grandmother’s name. It was filled with S & M stuff and all kinds of visuals that never belonged in my 14-year-old mind. I just got myself mentally revved up, though, so I think that’s how I managed to escape being addicted to pornography. I never had that release of chemicals in my brain to keep me hooked.

No one wanted to date me when I was growing up, so I thought I must be ugly. Then, after the Internet came into the picture, I began chatting with boys. It was my first taste of attention from guys, and I definitely got hooked on that. One of them introduced the question, “How would I know what pleased me, if I didn’t please myself?” So, I started masturbating when I was 18. I began having sex when I was 20.  

It was always wrong… No girl who grows up in the Church is adequately prepared for dating in the world. I made many bad decisions and drank alcohol heavily, so I could feel and act like someone else. I ended up being date-raped and degraded in many other ways. I thought that I was beyond God’s forgiveness, because I had done too many bad things, even though it wasn’t my choice. I heard people on TV and in church say that folks went to hell for doing that kind of stuff… I wanted to come back to God, but I didn’t think He would have me back.

When I was 26, I read a book called “The Thrill of the Chaste” and the scales began to tip in the direction of celibacy. It didn’t happen overnight, but just the idea that I could stop having sex — that I didn’t have to keep having it, just because I had had it — was revolutionary.

I was fortunate that my sexual history was severely dysfunctional and was easy to leave behind. It was unsatisfying, soul-destroying, and mostly involved me trying to meet the fantasies of the guys that I was with. By God’s grace, I slowly began to crawl out of the mess I had created. My dating life, which was essentially bookended by ages 20 and 30, was a train wreck. Reading that book was the moment when I hit the brakes, which is a pretty effective strategy in avoiding total destruction. But there was still plenty of twisting of metal, crunching, and damage done as I continued sliding downhill, from the momentum of earlier choices I had made.

I had tried, man after man, time after time, to find my direction and my identity through guys. I bizarrely thought that God had brought these guys into my life because we were meant to be together somehow. I stayed in bad situations for too long, because I thought that I didn’t deserve any better.

I resolved several times that I wouldn’t have sex again until I was married. But I always caved in, not really seeing the point in waiting, since we were obviously going to be together forever anyway… (ha!) And it always ended in disaster. Eventually, I ended up moving in with my boyfriend, because it was only a matter of time before we would be married (even though we were never engaged), so what was the point in waiting? He wasn’t a Christian, and I wasn’t much of one, either.

I soon began experiencing something I didn’t really recognize, but couldn’t ignore. It was conviction from the Holy Spirit. This boyfriend and I went to four church weddings within as many months. Each time, I became more and more aware of the sacredness of marriage. I knew I couldn’t marry him, because he wasn’t a Christian. When he would try to talk about what kind of wedding we wanted to have, I became evasive and it was impossible to hide my doubt about us. Soon after that, I knew that I had to end it. I moved out soon after and found an amazing church where I really met God for the first time in my life.

I was also convicted about being on birth control pills, which I have used off and on to keep my skin clear. They made it very easy to slip back into being sexual with guys, because I didn’t have to worry about getting pregnant. Having to consider my fertility actually kept me from having sex more than a few times. The last time I actually had sex was in 2009. The last time I almost had sex was in 2010. That’s the last time I kissed and got naked with a guy, which is still going too far for a Christian.

So it’s been a little while… And I’ve had plenty of time to grow in my faith, discover who I really am in Christ, and learn that the chameleon that I acted like was never me.  

I had to learn that I am worth waiting for. And part of learning that lesson is waiting. Through fasting and prayer, I got free of the bulk of my lust issues and have not masturbated in six months. I recently got re-baptized to wash away the past that I had been carrying around.

God is so good. He took the train wreck that I had created and turned it into this testimony of His redemption. He will do it for you too. You can stop having sex or doing whatever you’ve been doing. You won’t be able to do it in your own strength, because your own strength is weakness. But God says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness.”