Do other women struggle sexually too? Would anyone at church understand? Isn’t this a guy’s issue? Is there any hope for me?
For too long, Christian women have assumed they’re outliers in their sexual struggles. This assumption (along with shame) often keeps them silent, leaving them to face the battle all by themselves. But if any of this sounds familiar, you’re not the only one. Whether your struggles take the form of masturbation, pornography, same sex attraction, or sexual fantasies, it’s not just you. These temptations are common not only for men in the church, but many women, too.
So how do we fight against sexual sin as women? What do we do when there’s a disconnect between what the Bible says and how we live and feel? Or, if we lead a woman struggling in this way, how do we aid her in the battle? Written from the trenches of ministering to young women, young adult minister Ashley Chesnut explores why sexual sin is “sin” in the first place, what sex really is, and how Scripture speaks into topics like masturbation, oral sex, and sex robots—even when those words aren’t found in the Bible.
God has already won the war against sin, and as you examine His Word along with Ashley, you’ll be equipped to battle against sexual sin and to aid other sisters in the fight.
No, it’s not just you. And yes, you can take steps toward victory. Right now.
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Why did you write this book? What inspired you to write it?
It’s the book I wish I’d had when I first started out in ministry. I led a small group of college women and worked with young women at church, and as they began sharing about their struggles with sexual sin, I felt my inadequacy in walking alongside them. Many of the resources I found talked about sexual sin as though it’s a man’s issue, not a woman’s struggle too. Also, many of the struggles and questions I was hearing—particularly regarding masturbation—are not typically being talked about in the church. I wanted to provide a resource that answers such questions and provides a roadmap for how to take next steps.
For whom did you write this book?
I had two groups of people in mind as I wrote: the woman who is struggling with sexual sin and the woman who is walking alongside her.
What are some misconceptions women (or people in general) have about sexual sin?
Where to start?! Common misconceptions include: (1) That victory over a struggle happens instantaneously—or that it will always be a quick process. (2) That the church or the Bible offers no help or is too outdated or out of touch to help. (3) That there is no hope. That this struggle defines me and owns me. (4) That I can address my sexual sin without addressing any past woundedness or trauma. (5) That only men struggle with sexual sin (such as masturbation) or that the struggle doesn’t occur among women in the church. (6) That Christians know why sexual sin is a sin. (There’s more, but this is just a short list.)
What are some hindrances or challenges women in particular face as they fight sexual sin?
There’s often additional guilt and shame felt by women because they’re women struggling with their genre of sexual sin. This leads them to feel like outliers and often keeps them from confessing their struggle to a fellow believer.
Many women have had abuse, trauma, or early exposure to sexual things in their past, and it’s not uncommon for them to engage in sexual sin as a result or for it to become a coping mechanism. With this, it can be easy for well-intentioned believers to see this person’s sexual sin and treat it as though it’s the root. But it’s not. In such cases, it’s a symptom. There are reasons why a person acts out sexually, and these reasons must be addressed. We can treat symptoms, but those symptoms will remain if we don’t treat their root cause.
What does God’s Word say about sexual sin?
The Bible contains explicit commands about sexual sin, which are helpful and instructive. But not every sexual act is mentioned in the Bible (particularly in a culture with sex robots, augmented reality products, and virtual reality products). In addition to explicit commands, the Bible also contains principles, and the book addresses six principles or aspects of God’s design for sex. If we know God’s design for sex, it helps us recognize when a sexual act is sinful.
The subtitle of this book is “Freeing Women to Talk About Sexual Sin and Fight it Well.” How does this book do that?
After reading the stories and illustrations in this book, women will know they’re not the only ones struggling with their genre of sexual sin. They’ll know they’re not alone, and I pray this will encourage them to tell someone about their struggle. Sometimes, we need someone else to go first, to talk about a topic first, and this book does that. It begins the conversation and invites a response. It also offers practical next steps for women to take if they’re struggling with sexual sin or if they’re walking alongside a woman who struggles.
What can ministers and leaders in the church do to aid women in the fight against sexual sin?
Talk about sexual sin with the people in your church. If you’re not teaching what the Bible says on the subject, you’re leaving them to be sexually discipled by the world. As you talk about sexual sin, do so assuming both men and women struggle with it. Avoid shaming or condemning people for their struggles. How we respond to people either represents Christ or misrepresents him, and he does not shame or condemn people who come to him with their sin and their suffering. Be patient with people who struggle with sexual sin, for sanctification—with sexual sin as well as all other types of sin—is a lifelong process. Have a posture of humility, not assuming that you’re incapable of doing what they’ve done. Don’t feel like you have to be the expert, but don’t let your lack of expertise prevent you from walking alongside someone. It will affect how you walk alongside them, though. For example, your role might consist of prayer, encouragement, acts of service or connecting them to resources such as counselors, recovery groups or other women who can mentor them.
How does this book offer hope to Christian women who experience sexual addiction?
It explains what sex addiction is and offers ten questions to help someone process whether their sexual sin is actually an addiction. It also describes next steps and what to expect as you pursue sobriety.
What do you hope readers will do or take away after reading this book?
I pray this book will encourage strugglers to bring their sin to light and to take a next step to become healthy and holy as followers of Jesus. There will likely be many things they have to process, and it can be a daunting task to fight against sin. But as overwhelming or as exhausting as it may be to daily fight sin, we as believers have hope because of Christ. Each person’s next step might look a little different, depending on their struggle and their story, but I hope they will turn to Christ, his Word and his people as they fight sin. And I pray that believers who are walking alongside women will faithfully love them and point them to Christ and his gospel.