The Rapunzel Analogy

So two posts ago I referenced the movie Tangled to describe some of my feelings about dating. Since then I’ve discovered the best analogy!

Ladies and Gentlemen, it is my pleasure to introduce:

The Rapunzel Analogy!!!! *brilliant fanfare ensues*

You know how I was talking about being sparing with my affection unless I’m certain of my feelings?

So it goes like this: I’m Rapunzel at the top of my tower. A man comes along and takes interest. Well, I can see him. I’m even interested enough to let down my hair, but he’s still got to climb the tower in order for us to be together. I’m incapable of pulling him up on my own, and I do not have the patience for that kind of laziness. I’ve got the hair, you’ve got the muscles. If you want to be with me you’ve got to climb. It takes effort and time and careful planning of the next foothold.

When Puzzles put his arm around me he had not gotten remotely close to the window yet. He basically put his arm around the base of a stony and cold tower. I felt awkward and I know he felt it, too.

Different women have towers of different heights. Mine is particularly high, but I’m willing to let my hair down. I’m working on doing that. Other women need to stop jumping out of their towers in desperation. Their tower could be a little higher. Some women have super tall towers but refuse to let their hair down for anyone.

Also, women need to be pursued even after the tower has been scaled. There’s always a tower, always new heights to climb. And in different aspects of a woman’s being as well. It isn’t just emotionally. This is reflected in sex. You can’t just jump on her and expect her to like it. Got to climb that tower, buddy. Emotionally and physically. I know it seems unfair to always have to be climbing but that’s part of why men and women work. A woman can always present a new adventure, a new challenge, just by her very nature.

And if she is a good woman who sees your worth she will do her best to pull you up as well. To help you out a little. And to give you the enormous reward of her love during those special moments when you are both in the tower together.

A couple weeks ago a new man presented himself at the base of my tower (he contacted me on EHarmony). Almost offhandedly I thought, “Eh, why not?” and replied. And let me just tell you. He’s climbing.

That’s right. I’ve actually got a love interest!

Just dating but I’m actually excited about this one. When dating Puzzles Mom would ask “Well? How are you feeling? Do you like him?” And I’d always reply, “I don’t know.” Like this:

But after I met this new guy I answered “I dunno…” like this:

Okay, maybe I wasn’t THAT girly about it but it was a much more optimistic “I dunno!” and that’s saying something.

He’s a good man. He’s a man of character. He’s a communicator. He comes from a very similar background and I have yet to have any red-flags about values and beliefs. And he’s kind and full of joy. He sees people and loves people. And conversation is definitely way more natural than with Puzzles. And he’s fun-loving and goofy.

I don’t know what to nickname him…oh wait! Yes I do! My 5-year-old niece met him (that’s another story for another time) and told my sister out of the blue, “I like Aunt Ace’s friend. He’s really smiley. They should be friends for a long time and then they should get married.” How cute is that!? So I’ll call him Smiley. Thank you, Neice #1.

On the second date I definitely had moments of “Oh, crap! This could actually go somewhere!” Which of course terrified me. We’ve been on four dates by now and the last one was really good. I’ll explain why with another story.

This story is a confession because it’s really embarrassing.

In college I dated this guy for about a month. Didn’t get as far as calling him my boyfriend or anything, just going on dates. Well, the whole time I dated him I was trying hard to figure out if I liked him romantically. Same sort of situation as Puzzles.

Again, I must reiterate how inexperienced I am when it comes to actual real-life romance and dating. And back then even more so!

We were watching a movie at his house and while sitting on his couch poor innocent inexperienced me gave him the “Hold My Hand” signal without realizing it. He reaches over and tries to take my hand. Right as he gets to my hand, I clench my hand tight in a fist.

What have I done!

I gave him the signal! I totally just gave him the signal! But I closed my fist so now I’m sending the opposite signal…why isn’t he getting it!?

The guy took the unintended hint #1 but refused to accept hint #2…well a tightly closed fist isn’t even a hint! He wouldn’t take handholding rejection! He kept trying to pry my hand open!

We struggled this way for a moment and then I finally pulled my arm away from him and mumbled SUPER awkwardly, “Don’t hold my hand.”

How. Mortifying. So painful even after all these years.

It was really tense until after the movie and then I had to try and explain that I didn’t mean to give him the signal and then reject him, I just wasn’t ready. Which is in itself embarrassing.

Also, when I was “going out” with a boy in 8th grade I broke up with him when I found out he wanted to hold my hand. Apparently holding hands is a big deal to me based on my reactions. Some of my favorite movie romance moments happen when handholding is emphasized such as Ivy and Lucius in The Village and Wall-E and EVE. Not to mention countless Doctor Who hand holding moments.

Sigh.

Well, on our last date I was sharing something kind of vulnerable and struggling to find the words. He reached over and placed his hand on mine. It was perfect. He knew that it was exactly what I needed in that moment.

What’s more, I make him really nervous most of the time (which, I have to admit, is pretty darn cute), and he’s usually kinda shaky and tense with nervous energy. But when we held hands he was so calm and sure and it was so sweet!

Later he tentatively reached for my hand again and grabbed two of my fingers. I looked at him with a smile and said shyly, “You can have my whole hand, Smiley.” He smiled back and we talked for a while while palm to palm.

(By the way, I’m a total girly mess right now)

He’s climbing the tower and I’m doing my best to let my hair down and help him along. He may not be Future Hubby, but he’s definitely worth giving a shot and getting to know and taking the risk for.

It’s terrifying but also really nice at the same time.

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Lust and Masturbation: The Struggle

First, I want to thank you all who have commented. You continue to encourage and challenge me, making me want to continue to write, confess, and seek God’s truth on these issues. Thank you.

Someone recently asked if I was actually struggling with masturbation, actually resisting, or if I’ve just accepted it. Here’s my answer:

First, I will say that I’ve definitely struggled with the mental/moral debate of whether it is sinful or not. I’d say that a great number of those who’ve found my blog have done so seeking the answer to the same question. As I read my past posts I can see the evidence of my struggle with this. More and more I am coming to understand that masturbation is something I should struggle against. The journey behind this belief has been a long one. To be honest I’ve waffled for years due to not wanting to really know how God truly sees this. Not wanting to really know that crucifying these specific desires of my flesh is actually what is best for me and most glorifying to Him. At times I’ve declared that I believe that, but when it’s really difficult, all the same questions/excuses resurface. But God has indeed used this blog, this space that was created for me to wrestle and seek the truth, to better understand the why behind the belief that I shouldn’t masturbate. And for that I am thankful, even though it strips me of my excuses.

At this point I absolutely must acknowledge Torik89 and her blog “Women Masturbate.” She has delved into the why and has done so without judgement, simply sharing her story and what God and experience have taught her. As I’ve tried to navigate through the thick forest of this topic, her words have at times been a machete to clear away the brambles, and at times been a gentle sunbeam to guide me through the trees. Thank you, my friend and sister-in-Christ, for your amazing heart and wisdom for leading me and others toward the light.

Second, the battle against my actual fleshly urges…oh man. Where to start?

The Mental/Spiritual: I’ve read that the mind is the most powerful sexual organ. This is true. There’s the whole debate about being able to masturbate without lusting (which of course brings up the whole “what constitutes lusting” debate, which I won’t go into now). Let me put it this way. I’ve tried to masturbate without thinking any sexual thoughts. It didn’t really get me anywhere. Because my mind is my primary sex organ. Which means that most of the time my mental state is what determines my masturbatory habits. If I’ve given my mind sexual material to recall, whether by viewing, reading, or imagining it, most likely I’ll find myself indulging the habit instead of fighting it. And if I’m not filling my mind with eternal, Philippians 4:8-type things, then my mind’s habit is to seek the sexual. My spiritual walk with God is crucial to being in the right frame of mind to repel sexual thoughts, and therefore resist masturbating.

The Physical: It is rare that I’m ever not in the mood for sex. So, you can imagine that I, being a woman with a cycle of hormones, go through regular bouts of EXTREME horniness during that time that I’m supposed to be making babies. So, sometimes the actual physical need is super strong even when my mind is in a good place.

So basically – If I’m not spending time with God/walking in the Spirit then my mind will go to sexual thoughts, and then my body will respond and most likely I’ll give in to masturbating. This is most of the time. Sometimes it’s the opposite. My body will crave sex so strongly that my mind will go to sexual thoughts and I’ll masturbate, even if I have been spending time with God, and then I’ll often distance myself from God because of that.

Everything is connected.

So the simple answer to the question “Do I actually struggle?” is yes but sometimes no. Sometimes I’ve fought to the extent of getting out of bed, even though I was really sleepy, and making myself do something. Other times I’ve gone weeks just giving in. Currently, I read this blog every night because it helps me remember to resist. Another problem is that my mind and body go there when I’m sleepy. I’m sure some of you know what I mean by this. It’s hard to fight when you’re half-asleep.

I’m praying about talking to someone I know personally about this. I have told people in the past but it’s been a while since I’ve done so. I know that it needs to be the right person, and I’m not sure who that is.

All-in-all, I’m trying to remember that the main why is not for me to be a better person, but to glorify God. My body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, and my life has been given to Christ. I owe Him all of me, and I want to be obedient to Him, and I want to love Him above all.

Some Things I’ve Learned

An update on things that I’ve previously mentioned:

1. Bushbaby and Captain Adorable

It’s over. PRAISE GOD! It’s over! Actually it was a little over a month ago but I’ve been swamped so I didn’t get the chance to write about it.

First, I must change his moniker to “Captain Adios” because he’s bye-bye.

Remember when I was all jealous and wanted a relationship and all that? Well…watching this relationship take place cured me. It cured the crap out of my jealousy. It was awful.

Why is it that abusive guys somehow know which women to go after? They have like this 6th sense about it. “Hey, she’s sweet and beautiful and easy to guilt and manipulate…let’s do it!”

It started so wonderfully…and then the personal issues came out and vomited all over that relationship and everyone within a mile radius of it (which, sadly, included ALL roommates involved). Poor guy has serious trust issues. Bushbaby is a fun, caring, and giving person. She’s not hard to get in touch with. She knows how to take care of people. And yet he found something about her to take issue with 90% of the time. Ok, folks… if you are having unhappy disagreements 90% of the time within the first 6 months of the relationship…and are only happy or even just neutrally okay 10% of the time… do yourself a favor and breakup with that.

He accused her constantly of “Not being as serious about this relationship as he was.” He used that line when she didn’t text him every 15 minutes. And countless other times when he found little things she did or didn’t do that bothered him.

Here’s what I learned from this situation:

A. Get to know someone before jumping right on into the relationship. Take it slow. The crazy will come out sooner or later and hopefully before you’ve declared your love so that you’ll know if it’s a crazy you can handle.

B. Don’t tell God what you need because He might just give it to you. Instead, tell God “I don’t know what I need, but You do. So I’ll take that instead of what I think it should look like.”

C. SAY NO TO EMOTIONAL ABUSE

What is Emotional Abuse?

Abuse is any behavior that is designed to control and subjugate another human being through the use of fear, humiliation, and verbal or physical assaults. Emotional abuse is any kind of abuse that is emotional rather than physical in nature. It can include anything from verbal abuse and constant criticism to more subtle tactics, such as intimidation, manipulation, and refusal to ever be pleased.

Emotional abuse is like brain washing in that it systematically wears away at the victim’s self-confidence, sense of self-worth, trust in their own perceptions, and self-concept. Whether it is done by constant berating and belittling, by intimidation, or under the guise of “guidance,” “teaching,” or “advice,” the results are similar. Eventually, the recipient of the abuse loses all sense of self and remnants of personal value. Emotional abuse cuts to the very core of a person, creating scars that may be far deeper and more lasting than physical ones (Engel, 1992, p. 10).

Bushbaby broke up with him and never cried or felt sad about doing so. Because she was freed from this awfulness. She said she just felt relieved and happy…and like she was herself again.

So this is me…confessing that I’m eating my words right now. Jealousy is stupid for many reasons, and this is one of them.

2. The world of dating

Okay, so I’ve talked about online dating and weddings and all that. After my post-wedding meltdown I had a really good conversation with my dad that helped me. He basically told me to let myself off the hook about needing to meet people at weddings. And I did. My new wedding strategy is to just enjoy myself…whatever that means. Talk to who I want to talk to. Period. If I want to sit with my friends then I’ll sit with my friends and have fun.

Still not online dating. Still fine with that.

I’ve been a little more proactive about asking my friends to set me up. A few of them have people in mind and I’ve urged them to make it happen. We’ll see.

3. The Man-Longing In General

I’ve actually been pretty good (hence the lack of posts, recently). I got to hang out with an old high school friend who is in the same situation as me and noticed that she was really frustrated and I…wasn’t. It was a nice surprise to realize that I’m pretty content right now. Of course there are still days and still moments. I’ll have moods of loneliness or I’ll masturbate. I’m still horny the majority of the time. But I’m not unhappy or discontent with my singleness.

4. There’s No Nice Way To Confess That You Masturbate.

No matter how many times you write it. I masturbate. Yup. Still horrible.

Hello world!

It’s time to come clean.

I am a 25 year old woman. I am a follower of Jesus Christ.

And I want sex. Most of the time.

I’ve never had sex and I don’t plan on doing it until I’m married. But I want it. BAD.

Now, don’t get me wrong. The carnal desire burning in my loins is not all that drives my longing for a man. I am quite the romantic and cannot wait to fall in love. I get lonely and I daydream about being pursued. I think about having a family and growing old with someone. I think about being able to hug him whenever I want because he’s mine. I think of true intimacy and two becoming one in the beautiful way God created.

But sometimes I just want sex. I just want some relief from this body that insists it’s supposed to be making babies right now.

Me: Doot de do. I’m minding my own business right now.

My body: SEEEEEXXXXXXXXX!!!!! NOOOOOWWWW!!!

Me: What the heck? I was just reading my book!

My body: EXCUSE ME! WHAT ARE YOU DOING!? YOU’RE 25 AND SHOULD BE WORKING ON GROWING YOUR 16th KID BY NOW! I’VE BEEN REARIN TO GO SINCE YOU WERE 12!

Me: Well, calm down! You know you belong to my future hubby.

My body: FUTURE HUBBY! EVEN THE THOUGHT OF HIM GET’S ME GOIN!

And if the battle with my physical hormonal body is bad enough, the battle with my mind is awful. Don’t lie. If you live in the United States you know what I’m talking about to some extent.

See, here’s the thing:

The only way to shield your mind from the sex-worshipping society we live in would be to move to an Amish or Mennonite community, or possibly a mountainous cave in Appalachia or the Rockies. Maybe the desert. That might work, too. But I don’t think Jesus called us to remove ourselves from the world. Instead He told us to bring His kingdom to the world.

I don’t think we’re supposed to repress our sexuality, but instead learn how to deal with it with God. It is a good thing that I have these desires.

I keep telling myself that but I’ve honestly yelled at God before because I’d rather not have the desires at all than to burn with passion that cannot be fulfilled.

And every day that I get on the internet, turn on the TV, drive down the road, pass a magazine rack, or function in this society I am reminded of what my body already wants to be doing!

Not only that, but I have a very active imagination. Even without seeing the things I’ve seen or reading the things I’ve read I could probably imagine something sensual enough to get me hot. And my mind likes to get me hot, apparently.

I’m going to tell you my struggles.

Why, you ask? Well, because for a long time in my life I thought I was weird. The only girl who dealt with lust. I thought I had too much testosterone or something because only people with penises were supposed to want sex that much.

LIES!! So many women struggle with this and I want to break the habit we have of trying to look NICE. We’re human. I think I’ve cheapened my redemption in Christ by not being real. By caring what people think of me when really all they need to see is that Jesus has forgiven and He came to set us free.

Also, I hope that by writing about this I can fight for holiness in this area of my life.

So. Confession time.

– I was the little kid that humped things. I was sexually active before I knew what it was. My poor mom was constantly getting onto me about it. So I tried better to hide it. Around the age of ten I stopped because I decided to. After learning more in depth what sex was I started masturbating again when I was 11 or 12.

I haven’t stopped.

– It is not a constant thing, though at times it has been routine. In college I finally confessed my struggle to some of my friends and tried to swear off ever doing it again.

This, I found did not work and I was more shamed and frustrated with myself than ever and I let that get between me and God. God helped me realize that even in the midst of my failure He was right there and I was already forgiven. I didn’t have to work my way back into His good graces. He was right there waiting to love me the whole time.

He did show me that this was not a cold-turkey quits battle. It was a day by day, moment by moment walk. I have found in the past few years that in times when I am walking close with God I find the strength to resist temptation and take thoughts captive (most of the time), but when I’m not pressing into Him I have no self-control and I don’t say no. It becomes all yes-and-give-me-more. Even when I’ve felt the conviction of the Holy Spirit telling me not to go down that mental road, I’ve blatantly done it anyway.

– For a very long time my imagination was enough to fuel my habit. In college I began seeking out sex scenes in movies and erotic images. Yes. Women do struggle with porn! I still struggle with this.

– I feel no guilt. A friend told me that before she was married she’d masturbated but she stopped because she felt really guilty about it. I was so jealous of her when she said that! If only I would be wracked with a terrible guilt when I treat the Holy Spirit’s temple like it exists for my own pleasure then maybe I could stop! But no such luck. I’m really good at coming up with excuses:

Maybe I’m supposed to masturbate.The Bible doesn’t say specifically that it’s wrong. I don’t have to lust after an actual person to do it. Maybe it’s healthier. I’ll be more comfortable with having sex if I know what I like, etc.

But then I think, “If it isn’t wrong then why am I so hesitant to ask God if it is? If it isn’t wrong then why does it happen when I’m not close to God? Why do I feel farther away from Him when I’m doing it?”

– My last confession, the one I don’t want to face. I am the worship pastor at my church. I have done my very best to save myself for my husband. Because of my high sex drive and lack of self control I made a promise to God that I would save my first kiss for my husband. I won’t kiss him until I know I’m going to marry him. I dated this guy in college and I wouldn’t let him hold my hand because God told me to set this boundary for myself:

I am to always ask, “Would this be better if we waited?” Anticipation will grow. Our relationship will earn intimacy with commitment.

I didn’t want the first guy I held hands with be some guy I was trying to figure out if I liked. I wanted it to be MY guy, after I knew I was mad about him.

(For the record, I know that my boundaries with men are really high and I don’t hold other people to them or look down on anyone for not having the same. They are just what God has required of me.)

SO, the result is that on the outside I’m this freaking unicorn of purity. The chaste maiden dressed in white with a halo shining behind her, while behind closed doors I do shameful things and in my head I’m a whore.

The word that kills me is integrity.

I try not to be a hypocrite. I don’t act like I’m better than anyone and I don’t pretend to be perfect. I tell people I have struggles and on Sundays after I’ve had a bad week I get in front of people and preach the gospel to myself and them. Because really, whether this was my struggle or not, my very best is like filthy rags compared to God’s holiness. I know that I have no worth but in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus and the new life that He’s given me.

I just wish that I was better at choosing Him.

Or that there was an off switch to the desires of the flesh. I mean, really. Why couldn’t God have made periods and sexual desire happen once you were married!?

I suppose it’s yet another way for me to learn to depend on Him.

For those of you out there who struggle with lust, masturbation, porn, and any other sexual sin, you are not alone. God loves you and is right there, right now waiting with open arms. He’s not waiting to give you a lecture or a disappointed look. Just forgiveness and grace.

Jesus, help us, your daughters want you above all else. Help us in this enormous fight for Holiness. It is not an easy battle.

For that girl who is plagued with shame and guilt because of sexual sin, show her how to rest in Your grace and love. Show her how much you value her.

For those of us who feel numb, thaw our hearts that have been calloused by lies and excuses. Awaken in us a passion and desire for what is right.

And for the one who has given up bring hope and courage. You came to redeem us out of slavery to sin, Jesus, so please help us live in freedom!