Sexual Purity Posts

What Does the Bible say About Masturbation?

What Does the Bible say About Masturbation?
Originally posted:

The Bible never explicitly mentions masturbation or states whether or not masturbation is a sin. The Scripture most frequently pointed to in regards to masturbation is the story of Onan in Genesis 38:9-10. Some interpret this passage as saying that “spilling your seed” on the ground is a sin. However, that is not precisely what the passage is saying. God condemned Onan not for “spilling his seed” but because Onan refused to fulfill his duty to provide an heir for his brother. The passage is not about masturbation, but rather about fulfilling a family duty. A second passage sometimes used as evidence for masturbation’s being a sin is Matthew 5:27-30. Jesus speaks against having lustful thoughts and then says, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” While there are parallels between this passage and masturbation, it is unlikely that masturbation was what Jesus was alluding to.

While the Bible nowhere explicitly states that masturbation is a sin, there is no question as to whether the actions that lead to masturbation are sinful. Masturbation is nearly always the result of lustful thoughts, sexual stimulation, and/or pornographic images. It is these problems that need to be dealt with. If the sins of lust, immoral thoughts, and pornography are forsaken and overcome, masturbation will become a non-issue. Many people struggle with guilty feelings concerning masturbation, when in reality, the things that led to the act are far more worthy of repentance.

There are some biblical principles that can be applied to the issue of masturbation.Ephesians 5:3 declares, “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity.” It is hard to see how masturbating can pass that particular test. The Bible teaches us, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If you cannot give God glory for something, you should not do it. If a person is not fully convinced that an activity is pleasing to God, then it is a sin: “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). Further, we need to remember that our bodies have been redeemed and belong to God. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20). This great truth should have a real bearing on what we do with our bodies. In light of these principles, the conclusion that masturbation is a sin is biblical. Clearly, masturbation is not glorifying to God; it does not avoid the appearance of immorality, nor does it pass the test of God’s having ownership over our bodies.

4 thoughts on “What Does the Bible say About Masturbation?”

  1. Really?? Wow! I completely disagree! Let me start by nitpicking one specific sentence of yours before giving my response to the general topic.

    “Masturbation is nearly always the result of lustful thoughts, sexual stimulation, and/or pornographic images. It is these problems that need to be dealt with.” – So is sexual stimulation a problem? Should any and all sexual stimulation be lumped in with lustful thoughts and pornographic images? I’m not be semantic for the pure sake of it. I’ve learned that what we say and how we say it needs to be weighed carefully because the implicit framework each one of us works from when we speak is not the same framework our listeners/readers works from.

    Now onto masturbation in general. I agree that masturbation to pornographic images is not healthy and I don’t believe in my personal relationship with God that it does anything except block my connection with God. That said, masturbation (for men but also for women) is completely possible without any sort of blatant or overt immorality or sinfulness accompanying it.

    Let’s leave aside the fact that many in the church tend to throw about the word sin as if it’s obvious what is sin and what isn’t, and leave aside the fact that while we live in community, the only person/being truly responsible for each individual’s relationship with God – which includes what is “sin” and breaking the law of love – is God and that particular individual.

    Even then masturbation can be used as a tool to relieve sexual frustration, build-up, horniness. And from this pov, it’s possible to masturbate by oneself lying in bed (or sitting in a chair if you prefer) and focus solely on self-pleasure and have that be your turn-on. I know because I’ve done it. And I’ve done it while maintaining my connection with God and even talking to him while I was masturbating.

    I think the problem lies in that the Church has frowned on masturbation forcing those who do it to do it in a hidden, dark sort of way. And also the Church has not done much to counter today’s cultural view that men are visual creatures, and that men don’t have emotions or that men shouldn’t be in touch with their emotions. To sum up my thoughts, if the Church taught men to be more emotionally tuned in, to recognize that yes we are driven a little bit more by the visual when it comes to sexuality but there are our other senses too, to learn to listen to one’s own body and relax and become in tune with one’s emotions and physicality, then I believe more men could masturbate without the need to look at porn or use mental lustful images. This would probably also require the Church to get away from the Greco-Roman duality view that is prevalent in the New Testament but which no pastor or priest ever seems to talk about. Just because many of the NT writers used the term “flesh” or the concept of our “body” to refer to the place where the “sinful nature” is housed, and just because the Greco-Roman duality view was that anything of the physical/body was evil and anything of the soul/spirit/mind was good, doesn’t mean God didn’t create our bodies. Our bodies are beautiful and wonderful, and from a sexuality pov, completely sexy.

    1. I can attest that my church teaches men how to be men, with emotions and a love for Christ.

      The best part of my recovery is I take what I like and leave the rest! Thank you for your comment!!!

      1. Thanks, I forget that I can take what I like and leave the rest in recovery. I’m still learning to focus first on my walk with God and then on what others have to say about things related to God and walking with God.

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