Lust Is a Girl Struggle, Too

I crawled into my bed and turned on the lamp. It was late. I was tired. But that didn’t keep me from reading a book in my favorite genre, Christian romance novels. I justified my actions and convinced myself that these books were innocent and clean. What harm could they do? One by one I devoured these books, re-reading the extra “spicy” scenes over and over again. I put myself in the characters’ shoes and imagined the story was my own. I imagined that I was the one being wooed, pursued, and swept off 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 I knew were anything but pure and holy. My actions may have appeared pure, but 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” being on the back of the book made these books okay. Good. Pure. Even holy. They weren’t though. And deep down, I knew it. I was using these books to “awaken love” in my heart. I was choosing to lust after stories that weren’t my own. I was using these books to satisfy my longings for sexual intimacy. I was a girl with a lust problem.

Lust Is a Human Problem

Don’t believe the lie that lust is a guys-only 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. And we know that contrary to what’s commonly believed about lust, guys aren’t the only ones struggling. Girls are, too. In my brand-new book, Sex, Purity, and the Longings of a Girl’s Heart, I surveyed over 450 young women and asked them in-depth questions about sex, purity, lust, and so much more. Here’s what a few of them 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. We 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. I’m so proud of these brave young women for acknowledging that the struggle with lust is real! It’s not a matter of knowing that we struggle; 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!” The silence around the topic of women struggling with lust has been pretty deafening. Instead of allowing the silence to keep us in bondage to our sin, we need to acknowledge our struggles and begin seeking out help.

We’re in This Together

Don’t allow the silence to convince you that you’re the only girl struggling. You are not. I’m not. 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 both men and women experience sexual desire. Both genders will face their own temptations toward lust. What exactly is lust? Let’s quickly define it. In my 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 down this word. Have you ever considered lust as the absence of honor and holiness? It’s doing something in your mind toward 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 fantasized about or acted sexually with someone in ways that weren’t honorable?
  • Have you ever dwelt on thoughts that weren’t holy?

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. Whether 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 women 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 my sister 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?

About the Author

Bethany Beal

Bethany Beal is the co-founder of GirlDefined Ministries and co-author of several books, including Girl Defined: God’s Radical Design for Beauty, Femininity and Identity. She is passionate about spreading the truth of biblical womanhood through writing, speaking, and mentoring women, and you can catch her unpacking exciting and controversial topics every week on her podcast, The Girl Defined Show. Bethany is married to her best friend and husband, David, and they have one son, Davey Jr.