I'm 18, depressed, and I self harm. I'm seeing my university's counselor for my depression and self harm, but I feel like this is something I can't talk to him about. He knows about all the roots of my depression that I can think of (aside from this one), and he is helping me to identify my triggers for self harm.

My problem is this:

I go to a Christian university. I have a lot of sexual tension built up, and I can't get rid of it. It's not that I don't know how to get rid of it, it's that I don't know how to get rid of it without ruining my witness.

Do you have any advice on how I can deal with this without taking it out on my arm and without doing anything that my school would consider immoral?

I would talk about this with my counselor, but it is a very taboo subject on campus.


2805 days ago

it is good you are seeing the univ counselor, but if you cannot talk honestly to him about the sexual tension being a factor in the overall stress that you are suffering, then you need to also find a professional therapist that you can be completely open with.

healing in therapy comes from being able to discuss anything that may be contributing to the condition. Also, where counseling is very beneficial, sometimes one needs the combination of the therapy with a medication to help fully if there is some chemical imbalance in your brain

I am a Christian, albeit with political and social views that dont conform to the narrowness I witness by some of my faith, and it really disturbs me that anything that is part of life would be taboo to discuss with a counselor. At age 18 it is *normal* to have sexual feelings riding high. You should be able to talk about this with the counselor rather than have to pretend it doesnt exist. God created you with sexuality and even within the traditional limitations of biblical teaching, you shouldnt have to hide that you are experiencing this tension and that it may be contributing to your overall state of mind. Many Christian young people manage to remain sexually "pure" without denying their sexuality! I would hope that your counselor is able to discuss this in a helpful and mature way with you.

2805 days ago
I've talked to my counselor about medication. He says that it's their policy to not reccomend it except as a last resort. I'm not sure if I would benefit from it, nor do I even have the money to keep up with the prescription.

I guess the biggest reason I don't feel like I can talk to him about it is because I'm not quite used to him yet. It's very hard for me to trust people enough to really open up (aside from online where I don't have to see the people I'm talking to).

2805 days ago
I agree with Chemar - you should be able to talk about anything with your counselor - they're used to hearing things like this. I'm a little unsure of what your exact question is. Since this is an anonymous site, you can ask specific questions here. Do you have a problem accepting masturbation as an alternative to sex do you feel guilty about this? I don't think this should interfere with Christian values - in fact self satisfying can help a person abstain from sex. As Chemar mentioned it's normal to be healthy sexual beings.

I heard holding icecubes in your hands helps with curbing the urges to self harm. When you self injure, this releases endorphins which gives you temporary relief. Ultimately you want to get to the root of why you self injure. Are you on medication for your depression? If not I think you should consult with a doctor. If you would like to talk more about this let us know - you can ask us anything here - okay? :)

2805 days ago
Yeah, I see masturbation as a gateway into sin moreso than I see it as an alternative to sex because, from my experience, it gets one thinking in ways that are not honoring to God.

I know the ice cube trick. It's the only one that works for me, actually. Rubber bands just don't cut it (no pun intended). But the mini-fridge in my dorm isn't strong enough to make ice.

2805 days ago

I can respect your views on masturbation, as if that is what you feel is correct in terms of honoring God, then you need to feel comfortable about it between you and Him, not just because someone else tells you it is so, and then forbids you to talk about the fact that God created you with hormones that start surging in your teens and trigger that very sexuality that He designed you for. He doesnt give to punish. Remember the parable of the parent...if a son asks a good father for fish, would he give him a serpent. You have a spiritual relationship with God as your father. So you can talk to Him about this too, openly and honestly. He enables for what He requires. I do not believe masturbation to be a gateway to sin, provided you are in control of how you use it. I do think there are ways you can make it "sinful" in terms of the definition in our faith.

This is why you need to be able to have honest and open counseling on the subject of sex within your university, rather than them stifling the topic.

If you are going thru such depression and tension that it causes SI you need professional therapy too, so I do hope you will try to arrange that

all the best to you

Remember God made you and He understands!!

2805 days ago
Excellent post Chemar.

I also don't think God wants you to injure yourself in replacement of not dealing with your natural urges. Just to take the whole shame out of masturbation - did you know babies touch themselves while they're in the womb. It's a natural normal activity and a good way to abstain from sex with a partner.

2804 days ago
Thanks. I never thought about it like that. I'll definitely try to keep that in mind.

As for professional therapy, I'm not going to be able to do it. I can't even pay my school. =[

2805 days ago

I went to a Christian University and saw the counselor there as well. For self harm, and my past rape. Talk to you counselor about it. That's why he's there to help you. If you don't talk, he can't help. I saw a male counselor and he talked about how many guys/girls struggle with sexual tension/masturbation.

I'm sure you would not be there first one to talk to him about it. Just be open and let him help you. On my campus, cutting, depression were not talked about I felt I was the only one. Then my counselor like We could fill this whole building with people who felt sad and depressed. So again, you're not alone.

I would get it out in the open because once you leave school, counseling isn't free anymore lol So talk about everything you need to.


2803 days ago
To be honest, I struggle with that also. I am christian and when I find myself in tempting situations I feel pressured. Like if I were to do the "armwork" God would be dissappointed. And I've talked about it with "Mature Spiritual People" and I remember that one person told me something like this...

"Yes, your body is the home of the Holy Spirit and you probrably aren't supposed to do that, but if its becoming an obsession in your mind, just do it and get rid of that feeling that is not letting you concentrate on whats important. Or just pray to God, there is nothing God can't help you overcome".

So sometimes I end up doing it, but I always ask for forgiveness and ask for strength and help with self control.

2484 days ago
As a trained mental health professional, the job of your counselor is to first "do no harm." That means not placing judgment on someone for any actions, thoughts, feelings that are expressed as part of the therapeutic work. I would encourage you to bring this to treatment ASAP! If you trust the relationship you have with this professional, also trust that they will have your best interest at heart.