We were young teenagers when the separation started at youth group.
It was a novelty. A whole night without the boys?
We stayed in the church hall and painted our nails. A woman talked to us about body image and gossip and friendships and how to be content while waiting for Mr. Right. It was nice.
Afterwards, I asked a guy friend what they'd talked about at their boys’ night.
“Oh, you know. Guy stuff,” came his answer.
But no, I didn't know. I questioned him further.
He shifted awkwardly and averted his eyes. “Like, you know. Guy problems. Porn. Sexual sin. That stuff.”
I blinked. “Oh,” I said. A knot formed in my stomach. I hadn't realised that sexual sin was a problem reserved for the boys. But we never discussed it at girls’ nights, so it must have been true.
I felt alone. I felt ashamed. How can I be the only girl who struggles with sexual sin?
Fast-forward to 19, when I was hanging out with a few of my close girl friends one night. Maybe it was my tiredness, or the fact that the lights were dimmed and the darkness felt safe, but I decided to find out. I wanted to know if it was just me.
“Hey...” I started tentatively. “Do you girls ever, like, find it hard... you know, with temptation... and that kind of stuff?” I didn't need to spell it out. The awkward silence told me they had understood.
I waited. Made a mental note to never bring it up again.
Then one friend let out a breath and whispered: “Yeah, I do.”
“What, really?” I was shocked.
“Yes. It's something I struggle with quite a lot, actually.”
A second friend spoke up: “Me too.”
We were quiet for a moment, and then I giggled.
“I always thought it was just me who struggles with temptation in that way.”
One of them laughed. “Definitely not.”
“So why don't we ever talk about it?”
“I don't know. I feel ashamed. And it’s awkward.”
We sat there in the darkness. Relief was washing over me like a welcome rain. It’s not just me. I’m not alone.
“Hey, guys?” I asked them.
“Can we talk about this stuff more? I'd like to have friends to be accountable with.”
I waited for their answer.
“Mmm, that would be good. I want that too,” they agreed.
That night was the beginning. The beginning of my walk in freedom. Learning that I wasn't alone in my struggles gave me the confidence to be honest with where I was at.
I started pushing myself to be more vulnerable with the people closest to me, and the more I shared truthfully about my struggles with temptation and sexual sin, the less power they had over me.
So, this one’s for the girls: you are not alone. Sexual sin is not just a ‘guy problem’. It’s a human problem.
Let’s start being more honest with ourselves, and with each other. Because secrets and shame lose their power when they're brought into the light.
Can we open up the conversation around girls and lust and sex?
It’s easy. I'll go first: I struggle with sexual sin and lust.