How can I control my hormones and sexual urges?

How to control our sexual urges is a really good, important question—and not just for teenagers! We all face sexual temptations and emotions that threaten to control us if we don't figure out how to make them obedient to Christ (2 Corinthians 10:5). And, yes, it's really difficult, especially when you have hormones and emotions flowing through you, seemingly unchecked.

Let's start with sex. Sex is not sinful, nor is the desire for sex. God created sex for men and women. It is a gift that gives life by producing children. It acts as a bonding agent between a husband and wife. Sex helps marriages to start and stay strong because when a husband and wife join with one other through sexual expression, a special one-flesh connection is formed, and that bond is nearly unbreakable. When people who are not married to one another have sexual relations, that one-flesh connection harms them rather than bringing them together. Let me explain what I mean...

A Metaphor for Sex

Have you ever used superglue to repair a broken object and accidentally superglued your fingers together? It nearly impossible to pull those fingers apart without ripping the skin off one or both fingers. It's that tight!

Sex creates a similar bond in the heart. A bond this tight is awesome when you're married to that person for the rest of your life. When a person chooses to have sex with someone other than their spouse, however, there is a coming apart that happens when the sex is over. Those two souls that were briefly glued together now rip apart, leaving both partners damaged. When someone has multiple sexual partners in casual sex relationships, it doesn't take long before that person begins to feel broken, no longer whole, because their heart has been ripped apart so many times.

Why won't God let me have sex before marriage?

Sometimes we think God doesn't want us to have sex outside of marriage because He doesn't want us to enjoy ourselves. Nothing could be further from the truth! The Bible says that God gives His children good gifts (Matthew 7:11) and withholds nothing good from them (Psalm 84:11). God loves us too much to allow us to be ripped apart by the effects of sex outside of its godly design. In other words, just like a parent would tell their child "no" to touching a hot stove or playing in the middle of a busy street, for fear of them being terribly hurt, God tells us "no" to sex before marriage because He knows that temporary fun will ultimately hurt us terribly.

Sexual sin is one of the most damaging sins, because it is a sin against our own selves. We often feel worthless and ashamed when confronted with our sexual sin, and God wants to protect us from that. When it comes to sex within marriage, however, God is freely giving and happy for us to enjoy the gift He has provided for married couples (1 Corinthians 7:3-5).

How can I control my sexual urges?

Even if we understand that sex is meant for marriage, that doesn't automatically stop our hormones from going berserk or keep sexual desires from growing within. We all still face strong desires and temptations of a sexual nature sometimes. But what should we do with those feelings and desires when they arise? Here are a few things that help me focus on righteousness and stay on God's path:

  1. Have a plan. We shouldn't wait until we're in the middle of an emotionally-filled, sexually-charged encounter to figure out how to obey God's Word. You'd be wise to think about it NOW, so that when you're faced with tempting situations, you have a plan already in place. God says He will provide an escape when we're tempted, but we need to be prepared to take it (1 Corinthians 10:13).
  2. Avoid emotionally-filled, sexually-charged situations! If you decide to date, make sure that it is with someone who shares your desire to wait for sex until after marriage. If they aren't on board with waiting, they aren't the one for you. Real love puts the other first and would never ask for their loved one to compromise their values for a little bit of pleasure (Philippians 2:3-4).
  3. Remember the "why" behind God's "no." It isn't "no" forever, but until it is the right time and won't harm your mind, body, spirit, or heart. When faced with sexual temptation, try looking at it as a hot stove—back away, don't touch, and you won't get burned.
  4. Take your thoughts captive. 2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us that we can take the impure thoughts that pop into our minds and make them obedient to Christ. That is, we can learn to control how we live in our thoughts. If you're fantasizing about someone and becoming sexually aroused, that is a "hot stove" thought. Extinguish it, and ask God to help you think about other things. Dwelling on sinful thoughts is just a small step away from acting upon them. Don't dabble in sexual sin—even in your mind (Matthew 5:28; Philippians 4:8).
  5. Stay active, doing things that are good for you. Boredom is a pitfall into sin (Ephesians 5:15-16). Maybe your friends sit around and talk about sex a lot, but you don't have to. Stay busy with beneficial things such as school, sports, church, volunteering, writing, art, or anything that helps you express your true self in a way that honors God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
  6. Finally, slow down. Take time to read your Bible and talk to God about your life. Often, a desire for a boyfriend or girlfriend is merely an extension of our own loneliness. I know it sounds cliché, but God wants to be your best friend. He wants you to know Him and all the cool plans He has for your life (Jeremiah 29:11-13). You can't do that if don't take time with Him. Jesus often went to quiet places to pray and just rest with God. If we could follow His example, perhaps we too could gain peace and wisdom.

Remember, being tempted by sexual sin is not sinful. Facing temptation is a part of life, for even Jesus was tempted by Satan (Matthew 4:1-11; Hebrews 4:15). What we DO with that temptation is what determines if we have sinned. With practice and God's help, you CAN overcome those sexual temptations!

The Ones About Sex

Even if we understand that sex is meant for marriage, that doesn't automatically stop our hormones or keep sexual desires in check. Be prepared for those temptations by growing in your relationship with God through prayer and reading His Word; looking for God's escape routes—and running for them (1 Corinthians 10:13); taking control of your thoughts (2 Corinthians 10:5) and choosing not to dwell on sexual fantasies (Matthew 5:28; Philippians 4:8); and spending time doing things that express your true self in a way that honors God (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Writer: Rhonda Maydwell

Rhonda is an author, wife, mother, and mentor. She graduated from the University of Missouri with a degree in English and Religious studies. She loves studying God’s Word for truth and wisdom and uses it as a compass and roadmap for her own spiritual journey. Rhonda believes in sharing the Good News and the hope found in Biblical truths with others. She uses her writing and mentoring opportunities (often with a pinch of humor) to do just that.

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