Dear Nancy -Masturbastion


Dear Nancy,

Is masturbation wrong?  I am a 25 year old male who finds pleasure in masturbation.  I want to marry someday soon and do not want this to interfere with my sex life in marriage.  This has been a real set back in my spiritual life.  Please send help soon.

Signed, a pleasure seeking male

Dear Pleasure Seeker:

Masturbation is wrong when, for instance, a group of guys get together and experiment in a group setting.  Second, masturbation is wrong when it slips into what is called “lust” when a person fantasizes or imagines that he (or she) is having sexual relations with a member of the opposite sex, someone he (or she) knows or who is pictured in a magazine or on the Internet.  It is wrong because sex should be for showing love and giving pleasure to another person–not just in pleasing oneself.


Third, masturbation can help produce a callous conscience.  Although many people insist that masturbation is normal, fun, and OK to do, most people feel guilty about it.  It’s not helpful to persist in doing things that violate your conscience.  Living with guilt is not healthy.


Finally, masturbation, like drugs, can be a way of withdrawing from the world and refusing to face problems.  It becomes a crutch, a way of dealing with feelings of loneliness–but a poor way.  Sex is meant to be shared.


One thing is for sure.  Masturbation is not the unforgiveable sin.  The Bible has little or nothing to say about it.  In fact, the Bible has much more to say about overeating or gossiping.  If you sincerely want to stop, you must learn to control yourself so that you won’t feel the need to masturbate anymore.  Since it’s always better to control our sexual desires rather than allow them to control us, let’s talk about some ways of managing these desires.


First, a guy can rely on “wet dreams,” or nocturnal emissions, as a release for his sex drive.


Second, both sexes can drain off much sexual energy through a vigorous and varied plan of physical exercise, interesting hobbies, social activities, work and projects that will help them keep busy, happy, and content.


Third, I suggest you cut down on how much time you spend masturbating. Let’s say you’ve been masturbating once a week on the average.  You could lengthen the frequency you do this to once every two to three weeks or longer.   This could be a step in eventually gaining complete control over your sexual desire.


Finally, if you try all this, but nothing works for you, then you’ll need to talk with a pastor, teacher,  counselor.  It won’t be easy to tell these persons about this problem, but it may be the only solution if you wish to receive help. Remember also that true help comes from the great Advisor, Jesus himself.  Turn to him morning noon and night.  He can and will help you gain self-control.  Once you are married you will not need to masturbate.  The problem is

if you are masturbating extensively now, you could become addicted to it.  Then there is a real problem in breaking the addiction.

(adapted from The Compleat Tween by Nancy Van Pelt)

Keeping up with Nancy


 Next Seminar: Nancy’s teaching a Highly Effective Seminar  April 12-14 at the Ridge Area SDA Chrch  in Avon Florida.  Contact [email protected]  to register or for information


New book for singles soon to be released Smart Singles. Watch for further announcements!


E-books.  Currently in the Google e-bookstore you can find Highly Effective Marriage, Creative Hospitality, and How to Communicate with Your Mate.

Soon to come Get Organized—7 Secrets to Sanity for Stressed Women.



“After attending one of Nancy Van Pelt’s marriage and relationship seminars attendees commented to me how her seminar was the best one they ever attended (these attendees attend many such seminars).  I have personally known Nancy and I recommend her highly.  If you want to strengthen your relationships at the feet of a master presenter / author I recommend Nancy Van Pelt.”  Pierre F. Steenberg, Ph.D., D.Min., BCCC

Starved Love

Dear Nancy: I’ve been married for 20 years, but I am literally starved for love, attention, and affection from my husband.  I tolerate our life the way it is for the sake of our two teenage boys.  My husband has a demanding job in the health-care profession and is always too tired to talk to me or pay attention to me.  I’ve tried to be loving, kind, and gracious and wouldn’t think of confronting him about this because he is so stressed out on his job.  And I don’t feel like I can talk about this with anyone else because it might jepardize my husband’s career.

I’m suffering so inside and sometimes I even want to die.  At other times I get so angry at some stupid little thing my husband does that I have a terrible temper tantrum, which drives him even further away.  I don’t want a divorce but what about a trial separation to wake up my negligent husband?  I’m at the end of my rope.


Dear Starved: In trying to be so loving to your husband–so gracious and kind and such a good wife–you are actually shielding him from the consequences of his actions.  You have tolerated his behavior and failed to confront him with loving toughness.  Just as rebellious preschoolers can profit from a well-timed spanking, so guilty adults should experience the consequences of uncaring behavior.  There’s nothing quite like a dose of reality to awaken dreamers from their fantasies.

The secrecy you’ve maintained prevents you from getting the emotional support you need to keep yourself together.  It is almost masochistic of you to refrain from telling anyone about the agony you are so bravely suffering in silence.  This martyrlike approach can take people to the brink of suicide–that’s why I’m urging you to see a counselor immediately, whether or not your husband will.

You indicated you felt you must tolerate the relationship for the sake of the boys.  I admire your tenacity, but your perspective is shortsighted.  In the process of giving your boys a home, you are also giving them a severly depressed, emotionally starved mother.

Becoming angry and throwing a temper tantrum is no more effective in dealing with emotional rejection than it would be in dealing with a rebellious teenager.  Screaming, angry outbursts and berating are rarely successful in changing behavior.  What is required is a course of action that demands a specific response and results in a consequence.

A separation might be in order, but don’t use it to end your marriage.  Do it to rescue your marriage–to awaken your husband to the responsibilities that he carries as your husband and as the father of his children.  you might find a temporary separation the only method of forcing your husband to recognize that you need professional help to salvage your marriage.  This crisis of loneliness may be the last step in jarring him to his senses; you could be doing the most loving thing by temporarily making him more miserable.  If this would be your motive in separating from him, then I could find no scriptural condemnation against your decision.

Before you attempt a separation, however, I recommend you attend a tough-love or assertiveness training class while while tempering it with biblical principles.  Then tie a knot and hang on.


Give me a call if you have any questions.  Let me know when you have this up.


Single Mother

Raising Boys

Dear Nancy: I am a single mother with four children, all boys, ages fourteen, twelve, eight and six. I need counsel on how to raise them properly without a father. They are all good-looking boys, popular at school and obey me quite well. I want to head off trouble if I can. Do you have any advice for me?

Dear Single Mother: When God instituted the family, He meant it to have two parents B a mother and a father. Today=s we live in a society that reaps the results of sin. When a family breaks up, the children suffer. Research confirms is that boys experience extreme stresses when faced with father is absent. Let=s take a brief look at some of the findings.

Researchers in the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth tracked 6,403 boys for twenty years. They found that sons of single mothers are at greater risk for violence and that whether or not the mother received child support made no difference to the child’s outcome; the key factor was the absence of the father. Surprisingly, boys who lived with their single fathers were no more likely to commit crimes than were boys from intact families. The reason? Probably that fathers who don=t marry but who commit themselves to raising their children are uniquely devoted.

The research also says that a new husband/stepfather won’t solve the problem. In fact, it confirms that this often makes things worse for boys. According to this study, males living in stepparent families were almost three times as likely to face prison as those from intact families. Blending families produces some unique stresses. It is typical for a child to see the new parent as a usurper. Their loyalty to the absent parent can be intense. Such children rarely welcome a new parent.

There is no way you as a woman can model for your boys an endless number of male tasksBthings like shaving, or thinking or talking like a man. Therefore, it is your task as a single mother to direct your boys to a father substitute. It might be a youth group with a male leader, a prayer group, a Bible Study class,, a soccer team. Check the library for biographies on great men. Rent videos that focus on the accomplishments males with integrity. Read Bringing Up Boys* and subscribe to Focus on the Family=s magazine for single parents*.

As a single mom you can provide a successful environment for your boys. Doing so will take time, energy and creativity; but so does everything else worth pursuing in this life. You can do it. Whether you do so depends on your priorities. Success in relating to your boys in positive ways is directly correlated with positive feelings you have about yourself and with finding support from others outside the home. It may seem difficult, and almost unfair, that you have to take the initiative, and shoulder all this responsibility but this is crucial.

*Dobson, James. Bringing Up Boys. Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 2001.

*Focus on the Family (800) 232-6459

*Van Pelt, Nancy. Train Up A Child: A guide to successful parenting. Hagerstown, Md.: Review and Herald Publishing, 1984. (Obtainable from

This article is excerpted from Dear Nancy:A trusted advisor gives straight answers to questions about marriage, sex and parenting, Nancy L. Van Pelt with Madlyn Lewis Hamblin, Pacific Press, Nampa, Idaho, 2005. (Obtainable from

Frantic Mom

Dear Nancy: My beautiful, well-developed daughter will soon be sixteen. Boys call her constantly on the telephone, and she seems to be in great demand for dates. I am a single mother and am terribly worried that she will become sexually active before she is married. I know she craves male companionship; her father hardly ever comes to see her. How can I insure that she will remain pure and stay out of trouble until she is married?

Dear Frantic Mom: Face it, you can=t. If she wants to become sexually active, there is little you can do to stop her. Naturally, you=ll want to supervise her activities and monitor her behavior to the best of your ability without overdoing it. But the fact remains that teenagers today have multiple opportunities to engage in sex when and if they want to. No parent, teacher, or pastor can follow a teen around day and night to prevent misconduct.

The ultimate choice about remaining chaste until she marries remains with your daughter and is determined by what she thinks about herself and what she desires for her future. Your job as a parent is to prepare her to make that choice. Before you can prepare her, however, you must be prepared yourself. I highly recommend you read Smart LoveBStraight Talk to Young Adults About Dating, Love and Sex*. I=ve prepared another resource for concerned parents like you titled The Smart Love Sexual Values Discussion Guide*. This guide will lead you and your teen through six lessons and prepare her to pledge herself to sexual purity until marriage.

During early-teen years, dating standards should be a frequent topic during informal times such as when the two of you are watching TV or when riding in the car, as well as during family worships and family conferences. Your daughter should feel free to make any statement or ask any question, as shocking or adverse as it might be. You should avoid responding with lectures, put-downs, or any form of retribution. Wouldn=t you prefer that your daughter get information from you rather than just from her peers? Remember also that during the teen years your daughter=s opinions and perspectives may differ from yours. Remember also that they will change. She may overstate her views in an effort to meet your objections or break loose from your values. An overreaction from you at this point may well insure that she will some day attempt the very things you more or less forced her into defending.

Does this plan of action come with any guarantees about her purity untill marriage? No. But this option is making a powerful impact on teens the world over. It=s your best option and worth a try.

*Van Pelt, Nancy. Smart Love—Straight Talk to Young Adults About Dating, Love, and Sex. Clovis, CA.: Young Life Specialties, 2003. (Obtainable on the web site

*Van Pelt, Nancy. Smart Love Sexual Values Discussion Guide for Parents and Teachers (Obtainable on the web site

This article is excerpted from Dear NancyBA trusted advisor gives straight answers to questions about marriage, sex and parenting, Nancy L. Van Pelt with Madlyn Lewis Hamblin, Pacific Press, Nampa, Idaho, 2005. (Obtainable on the web site

Strategies for Successful Dating

Dear Nancy: It’s not asking a girl out that bothers me. It’s where to take her. I always fall back on the same thing. A movie and something to eat. I find such dates boring and I’m afraid the women do also. I’m a well-educated businessman who is reasonably successful. I enjoy sports and work out regularly but I have trouble maintaining relationships over a long period. What’s wrong with me?

Dear Businessman: Nothing major, just your choice of activities. There are two kinds of dates–and I’m not talking about good ones and bad ones! Sign up for some date coaching!

There are spectator dates: going to movies, plays, concerts and sports events, or watching TV or listening to music. Spectator dates are popular especially early in a relationship. They’re low stress because they don’t involve trying to keep the conversation going. Furthermore, everyone knows how to “spectate”. Just sit and watch.

On the down side, spectator dates defeat the main purpose of dating, which is getting to know one another. Watching others perform allows little time for interaction. And spectator dates can also be expensive.

A second type, the participation date, involves activities: playing miniature golf or tennis, canoeing, sailing, hiking, visiting a museum or a zoo, doing crafts projects together. Participating together in an activity encourages the expression of creative abilities, reaffirms feelings or worth, usually costs less, and allows a couple to explore likes and dislikes. Each can develop skills and abilities as well as gain insights into the other. Such dates are seldom boring.

However, participation dates require creativity and initiative. For many, planning an activity requires more effort than they’re willing to give. Some people are too self-conscious to participate in such dates as they fear they don’t have what it takes to make themselves look good.

Your date life has appeared boring because it was boring. You can spend money to make a date unforgettable, but you don’t have to do that. Spice it up with some participation Here are some ideas. Play table tennis, croquet, horseshoes, or go rollerblading, bike riding, jogging or hiking. Make ice cream, bake homemade bread, or plan and cook a gourmet dinner. Or explore a new town, go picture taking, collect shells on a beach, pass out Christian literature, or visit a nursing home.

Spice up your date life with some participation dates. You’ll have more fun and get to know your date better. Then, let me hear from you after you’re married!

* For more help on dating read Smart Love—A Field Guide for Single Adults. Available from

This article is excerpted from Dear Nancy: A trusted advisor gives straight answers to questions about marriage, sex and parenting, Nancy L. Van Pelt with Madlyn Lewis Hamblin, Pacific Press, Nampa, Idaho, 2005.

Authoritarian Parenting

by Nancy Van Pelt

Dear Nancy: My wife and I have 3 children, one of whom is beginning first grade, while the others are pre school age. We’ve worked hard on obedience, but at times we have disagreed on methods of discipline. I tend to have more of an authoritarian style of parenting, and she can be quite permissive and lax.

How can we reconcile the two? And which is better for kids?

Dear Authoritarian Parent: You and your wife have opposite parenting styles and neither extreme is good. Both extremes hinder children’s development. Researchers have found a third style of parenting, Aauthoritative parenting@, to be the most beneficial. In the authoritative approach, parents set clear boundaries and rules. They enforce these rules firmly, using commands and corrections, while they also encourage the child’s growing independence and individuality. Authoritative parenting encourages open communication between child and parent, with verbal give-and-take. Parents and children both recognize they have rights.

Children raised in this parenting style tend to be more competent, industrious, self-reliant, persistent, and determined. They tend to have a stronger sense of their own abilities and are less susceptible to feelings of depression and anxiety. Children raised by authoritative parents generally have better academic achievement and social adjustment.

While permissive or authoritarian parenting styles are less than ideal, there’s something even worse. Opposing each other in the presence of your children– objecting to some disciplinary action taken by your spouse–has even more devastating results. It can be difficult to step aside when you feel your wife is not handling a disciplinary situation correctly. But stepping aside is exactly what you should do. You damage your children when they observe you disagreeing over how you should handle them. If you do oppose what your wife is saying or doing, speak your piece in private, never in front of the children

You and your wife differ in temperament, methods and response. Your children will rapidly learn how to respond to each of you. They already know who is strict and who is the softie, and they will adjust their behavior accordingly. Despite these differences, your children will likely mature normally– as long as they know their parents work together on major issues. But if they ever learn they can Adivide and conquer@ they are likely to use that technique against you both. Each of your children needs to feel secure, and this security grows in the garden of consistency. It will be deeply threatened if they see one parent trying to make up for the lack of the other or if they see one contradict, argue with, or undermine a stand the other has taken. As parents, you and your wife might remember this motto when attempting to work together: AUnited we stand, divided we fall.@

Your children need discipline in an atmosphere of love. Competent parents avoid extremes in both permissiveness and punishment. If you love your children with a nurturing love, then you and your wife can discipline them with a proper balance between love and control even though you have opposing disciplinary styles. Your overall goal as parents, however, should be to adopt a parenting style that encourages your child to become all he can become B even if that means changing deeply ingrained habit patterns.

This article is excerpted from Dear NancyBA trusted advisor gives straight answers to questions about marriage, sex and parenting, Nancy L. Van Pelt with Madlyn Lewis Hamblin, Pacific Press, Nampa, Idaho, 2005. (Obtainable from

Ashamed of Debt

by Nancy Van Pelt

Dear Nancy: I’m seven years into a marriage that is a financial disaster! I’m working full time and we just can=t get ahead. Our bills are driving me crazy. My husband says he wants to pay the bills, but he rarely remembers to pay things on time. We had a car repossessed a couple of years ago; we’re constantly overdrawn at the bank; and we have credit card debt up to our eye balls.

I’m at the point where I can barely sleep at nights. I wasn’t raised this way and am not used to living like this. Before I married my husband, I knew he wasn’t careful with money. I thought he’d become more responsible after we got married and had children. Big mistake!

I’m so ashamed. I can’t take many more calls from creditors. Is there anything we can do to change the way we are living?

Dear Ashamed: You are just one of many couples burdened by uncontrollable debt. Much of this happens because no one has taught young couples how to handle money. Today’s philosophy seems to be “Spend and spend; if you don=t have the cash, charge it. If you want it, get it because you deserve it.” People seemed to have abandoned the concept of saving in order to buy.

Contrary to the direction society is going, God wants His people to live debt free. The blessings that come with living debt free go far beyond financial freedom. How we handle our money spills over into the spiritual and marital areas of life as well. No one who is financially burdened can be spiritually free. And debt and financial bondage have far-reaching effects on a marriage.

How do you get out of debt? Here are nine steps Crown Financial Ministries developed to help couples get out of the debt trap:

1. Pray. Transfer ownership of all your possessions to God. Then ask Him for guidance and wisdom in all matters pertaining to how you handle what belongs to Him.

2. Give to God first. Tithing must be your first commitmentBgive ten percent of your income to the Lord before you allocate the rest of your money. Without faithfully fulfilling this commitment, all other efforts will fail.

3. Establish a written budget. A balanced budget is the primary tool in any family’s plan for managing money. List of all your obligations. Start with all the debts you owe. Include credit-card debt, all payments, and any loans you have. Monthly bills such as the electric or gas bill aren’t considered debt until you are late on a payment, but add these other items to your budget as well. It will take a month or so to write down all of your expenses and realize where your money is going. Keep a log of everything you spend. Write down everything, even a soda from McDonalds, and ice cream from Dairy Queen. Then re-evaluate this list at the end of the month. What can you eliminate?

4. List your assets. Write down everything you own. Is there anything you currently own that you could sell and apply the money toward debt reduction? Consider items of value that you many not use or need any more.

5. Work out a pay-back plan with your creditors. Most creditors are more than willing to work with people who honestly want to repay them. Make sure that every creditor gets something, but stay within the guidelines of your budget. Decide which debts to pay off first. You should base your decision on two factors: the size of the debts and interest rate charged. In most cases, it is wise to pay off the smallest debt first. You=ll be encouraged as they are eliminated, and you’ll also be freeing up money to apply against other debts. Then that money can be applied to the next smallest debt and so forth until you are debt free. Consider also what rate of interest you’re paying on each debt. Try to pay off those debts that involve high rates of interest before you pay off those that charge less.

6. Consider earning additional income. Whether we earn a lot or a little, we tend to spend more than we make. Could your husband or you earn additional money without harming your relationship with the Lord or with your family?

7. Accumulate no new debt! The only way to accumulate no new debt is to pay for everything with cash, a check or a debit card at the time of purchase. Put away or destroy all credit cards until you’re out of debt. Once out of debt, either never use a credit card again, or charge only what you can pay off within 30 days. Credit cards aren’t evil, just dangerous!

8. Consider a radical change in your lifestyle. More and more people are lowering their expenses to get out of debt by selling their homes, moving to smaller ones or even moving in with family members temporarily until they get on their feet again. You can sell relatively new automobiles for cash and purchase cheaper used cars.

9. Don’t give up! From the very beginning, you’ll think of a hundred reasons why you should delay getting started or quit along the way. Don’t yield to this temptation. Follow through so you can experience what it’s like to live debt free. God wants us to live debt free so we can serve Him to the utmost of our abilities and resources. When we’re in debt, we are bound to our creditors and are not free to serve God to the utmost. Proverbs 22:7 (TLB) says, AJust as the rich rule the poor, so the borrower is servant to the lender. You can become debt free and stay that way if you have the desire, and discipline; you’ll no longer be enslaved to your lenders..

I also highly recommend that you call Crown Financial Ministries* and get yourself into one of their small group studies where you’ll learn how to do everything I’ve just recommended plus much more. It’s a life changing experience.

*Crown Financial Ministries, P.O. Box 100, Gainseville, GA. 30503-0100 (770) 534-0100.

This article is excerpted from Dear NancyBA trusted advisor gives straight answers to questions about marriage, sex and parenting, Nancy L. Van Pelt with Madlyn Lewis Hamblin, Pacific Press, Nampa, Idaho, 2005. (Obtainable from