This has been an ongoing discussion/disagreement between Paul Byerly and I for just over a year now. I have a great respect for Paul, and enjoy our game of theological tennis, even if we don’t see eye to eye on a few topics. It all started with a post I wrote called Why Do Married Men Masturbate? And then continues to creep up now and again as the topic is addressed, either directly or indirectly. We got into the topic again on last week’s post, and I have a sneaky suspicion that his post today was directed at me. That’s OK. I like being challenged. I believe an unquestioned theology is a worthless theology.
So, today I’m not going to discuss masturbating to porn as I’ve talked about that before. Likewise, I’m not going to discuss fantasizing while masturbating in this post. We’re going to discuss masturbation, pure and simple. Assuming no mental imagery, no lust, no porn (even “Christian porn”), just physical release, alone, without a spouse present either physically or electronically. Why? So that we can try to make the issue as simple as possible and have as little complication as we can.
My views have been expressed numerous times in posts, as well as in comments, and survey results. And while I have discussed much of my belief on this subject, there is no one singular place where I have explained the core logic behind my belief. And so, this shall be my attempt to bring together all this little pieces of my belief floating around the net into one coherent place. This is not meant to impress, convert, convict or otherwise sway your opinion. It’s more so people won’t go “that guy thinks masturbating is going to make hair grow on your hands and make you go blind”, and so I can clarify my own thoughts. If it ends up becoming preachy, I apologize, it was not my intent. If you tell me you masturbate, I’m not going to point a finger and yell “sinner”! I’m going to listen and offer my thoughts as I always have. After all, who am I to point fingers?
So, as Paul as stated many times, the Bible does not explicitly state “Masturbation is a sin”. No disagreement there. But there are many things the church upholds as implicitly Biblical that aren’t explicitly stated in the Bible. The Trinity is a good example of a Biblical principle, not explicitly declared in the Bible (one I believe in, though I know not all of my readers do). The same can be said for sins. For example: drug use, if the state said it was legal, would it be OK? Now, I really don’t to get into a discussion on drug use. My point is, we accept concepts as Biblical, without explicit Biblical reference. Why? Because the evidence of a principle is there. In the case of the Trinity, we have Jesus as God, we have God The Father as God , and we have the Holy Spirit as God. And we also have “The LORD our God is one.” Ergo, there must be a three-in-one God, which we named the Trinity. That is an extremely simplified approach to the Trinity, but again, only to use as an illustration. So, back to the topic of masturbation, I guess the question is, where is my “evidence”. What are the principles I draw on to make the conclusion that masturbation is a sin?
Is sex good or bad?
This is a question the church has been struggling over for many years. Honestly, I don’t know why. The Bible is pretty clear.
Sex inside of marriage: Good (Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 7:1-40, Proverbs 5:18-19, Genesis 2:24, Song of Solomon, Genesis 1:28)
Sex outside of marriage: Bad (Hebrews 13:4, 1 Corinthians 6:18, 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5, 1 Corinthians 7:2, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Matthew 5:27-28, Galatians 5:19, etc.)
In fact, as far as I know, every verse regarding sex with your spouse is positive (correct me if I’m wrong), and every verse regarding sex without your spouse is negative. So, to me this says one clear thing: God designed sex to be shared with your spouse. It’s not because He thinks is bad, or dangerous, or wants to punish you. It’s because sex is powerful. It’s powerful within marriage, where it can do much good. It’s powerful outside of marriage where it can do much harm (Yes, I am aware, in the case of abuse, sex within marriage can be harmful as well, that is a discussion for another time).
Is masturbation sex?
So, what is sex? Well, unfortunately, Websters wasn’t around in ancient Israel, and we don’t have a passage in the Bible that clearly defines it. Today, sex is defined as either “sexual intercourse” or “sexual activity”. I think everyone of my readers would agree, that when God told the Israelites not to have sex with animals, he included all sexual activity, not just intercourse. So, if we’re talking about “sexual activity”, then we all agree, I assume, that “sex” includes oral sex, anal sex, manual sex (using your hand/fingers), and any other kinds of sex. I, then, also submit that “self-sex” is considered “sexual activity”, after all, the same physiological responses happen, the same hormones released, the same feeling of elation at climax, everything is identical from a physiological perspective, whether your partner is your spouse, a co-worker, an animal or solo. So, I argue masturbation is considered sexual activity, or simply, “sex”. But even without this argument, I think the concept still stands on it’s own.
Why is sex to be with your spouse?
The Bible gives 3 explicit reasons (though , that I know of, for sex:
- To consummate a marriage (Genesis 2:24)
- To procreate (Genesis 1:28)
- To avoid sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 7:2)
Now, the first two don’t really enter into this discussion, but the third does, I think. Paul was responding to
It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.
1 Corinthians 7:1b
Because apparently someone was falsely teaching this in Corinth. Now, if masturbation was considered a valid outlet for sexual tension, why would Paul not have said “It’s good to marry as well.” But, instead, he gives a much more in-depth answer.
But because of the temptation to sexual immorality, each man should have his own wife and each woman her own husband. The husband should give to his wife her conjugal rights, and likewise the wife to her husband. For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another, except perhaps by agreement for a limited time, that you may devote yourselves to prayer; but then come together again, so that Satan may not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.
1 Corinthians 7:2-5
To me, this passage makes no sense if masturbation is valid. Why bother saying that their bodies belong to each other? Within the context of sexual activity, doesn’t this strongly imply you can’t use it separately? Why bother telling them not to deprive each other so that Satan will not tempt them because of lack of self-control? I mean, there are many many benefits to frequent sex, but if masturbation is a valid option, I wouldn’t put sexual self-control in the top 10. So why go on this lengthy speech about how sex is necessary if there is a alternative that will sate sexual tension?
What DOES the Bible teach?
So, the Bible doesn’t explicitly talk about masturbation, as I said. I just showed a couple places where I believe it speaks “between the lines”, I’m sure I could find others, but honestly, this is based on what I’ve thought up while sitting here at my computer typing. I didn’t have the time to dig through the entire Bible to find every reference. But the Bible does speak on some issues that come along side this one. We have the famous passage from Corinthians:
Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7
Some will say that they have to masturbate, they cannot wait for their spouse, particularly when marriages have a “gatekeeper” or “refusing” spouse, or when the spouse is away for extended periods of time. But the Bible tells us that love is patient. It also speaks about self control in a variety of places.
A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.
Self control is important. Lacking it is the gateway to many other problems, just as masturbation can be a gateway to many other sins.
No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
Now, some will say that masturbation is the way of escape for temptation. I would strongly disagree with that sentiment, and would argue that that is a much larger leap than believing that masturbation is sin. Given the context, I’d say that Jesus is our escape from temptation. I believe masturbation is avoiding one temptation by falling for another.
Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified.
1 Corinthians 9:24-27
Paul is very clear: self-control is a major issue, it can lead to your downfall. Sadly, lack of self-control is the soap box I most often hear people standing on to try and justify masturbation.
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.
And again, the fruits of the spirit include patience and self-control. I’d argue faithfulness has a lot to do with this topic as well as I see masturbation as adultery in the same way watching porn is. You are experiencing sex without your spouse.
Add all this together, and I see sex as something wonderful God designed for us to share with our spouse and only with our spouse. I believe that when we masturbate, we cheapen what He has created, we side-step His will for selfish gain, and cheap temporary pleasure, because self-control is too much work.
So, that’s basically my beliefs on masturbation in a nut-shell. I know they are unorthodox (or ultra-orthodox, depending on how you look at it). I’m also aware that it’s not a popular stance these days, but I hope that helps to clear up some of the statements and comments that I’ve made. Now, if you want to debate the topic, the floor is open! What do you believe? Why? Let me know your reasons, I love to learn.
If you have questions about masturbation in marriage, you might be interested in these:
- Why masturbation is a problem, whether you’re married or single
- Is Mutual Masturbation OK for Married Christians?
- Mutual Masturbation Survey Results
- If masturbation is sinful, what do you do if you don’t orgasm during sex?
- What Is Your Opinion Of Solo Masturbation Due To Separation?
- Is masturbation for medical reasons okay?
- Why do married men masturbate?
- What do you do if you suspect your spouse of secretly masturbating?
- My Husband Admitted To Masturbating, How Do I Get Over The Hurt?
- Why does my low-drive spouse masturbate?
242 thoughts on “Is masturbation a sin?”
Agreed that “sex” should be shared between a man and his wife…but what about the orgasm? I don’t necessarily see masturbation as sex without your spouse, but rather, an orgasm without sex. I can understand your logic though. But like I said in the past, although love is patient, a 13 month deployment can leave a married couple with a good deal of sexual tension, which, as we know, Paul has instructed is not healthy!
In any case, as you said, nowhere in the Bible does it say “thou shalt not masturbate”, however, I think it’s one of those grey areas that you need to pray about and talk with your spouse about to determine what is best for you. I don’t think it’s a sin, personally, but it may not be a good idea for some.
Great post! I love some good, well-infomed debate!
Thanks for weighing in. I’m not sure how you separate orgasm from sexual activity. These aren’t wet-dreams we’re talking about, but deliberate sexual activity (sex). Could you elaborate on that?
Sorry I’m just now answering this! I overlooked your comment for some reason. In any case, As far as separating orgasm from sexual activity, let me try to illustrate.
When I was growing up my parents had a large jacuzzi tub and when I would have sleepovers, my friends and I would put on bathing suits and take a jacuzzi bath (yeah girls are weird, lol). One of my friends was playing around and found that it “felt funny” if she sat on the jacuzzi jets. So of course we all tried and had a good laugh about it. When I was alone, I did it again because it felt really good. Eventually, I did it long enough to cause what I now know to be an orgasm. At the time it happened, I had no idea what was happening, just that it felt good and I liked it.
“Technically” I was masturbating but I had no idea that I was. Now, obviously as an adult, I know what it is, so it’s linked to sex (usually). But my point is, an orgasm is a physical thing. To me, to be considered “sex”, having more than one person is kind of a minimum requirement. Like I said, I see your points, I just don’t consider masturbation to be “sex”.
I’m not sure if any of that makes sense. Sometimes things make sense in my head then come out all incoherent, lol.
I fully agree that masturbation is not sex without your spouse. I believe as long as you are married and both party agrees to personal pleasure without the other being left nor satisfaction met sexually. I believe wife and husband can be thoughtful enough to satisfy themselves however, whenever they please.
What about when that masturbation involves visualizing and imagining other women (or men)? Not necessarily porn, but basically undressing women (or men) with whom you work or see somewhere in public and masturbating to the images you have as if you were having sex with them?
When I masturbate I look at wife’s pics or videos and she knows I do it. I have a higher sex drive than her. If she were to catch up to my drive I don’t think I would do it anymore. I am not lusting over another women and my mind is on my spouse the entire time. If something so accessible to a person was sin why would it be a topic not mentioned in the Bible? If it’s to nude pics of other women I would consider it wrong.
… they didn’t have cameras in the bible.
No but they certainly had adult artists. Or else we would not have “Thou shalt not look at graven imagery”.
but they had ‘electronics’!!!!! lol lol
Who said they had electronics?
If we honestly looked at biblical definitions of what is considered sex, I wouldn’t say that masturbation is included in that. I believe sex from a biblical point of view is pretty much sexual intercourse. I agree that masturbation is something that should not be done single or even married for that matter. But I wouldn’t count it as sex just because it can be classified as sexual activity. I mean many people count kissing as sexual, but you can’t say that kissing is sex.
I can relate to the fact of orgasms are not sex or what people want to tag as sinful. I was sexually abused as a young girl and it turns my stomach to be touched. I have been with men and preformed and that was all it was. I am 65 and had one orgasms with my first husband and many in my sleep and by my own hand. I am not thinking of any man or woman when I want to please myself, I just want to have that high of adrenaline rush and release of tension. It helps with my anxiety attacks and depression so it could be therapy if you like. I am a Christian and have been plagued with guilt and shame, now married my husband can’t keep an effective and we enjoy masturbating together so what’s right and what’s wrong. We love each other and it’s for each other…..I still get sick to my stomach when touched sexually and I wished with all the therapy it would have resolved itself but I deal with it the best I can. Forgiveness is the ultimate healing…bless you.
Hi Rebecca. Sorry you are going through this. I hope this post might help relieve some of your guilt: https://www.uncoveringintimacy.com/mutual-masturbation-for-married-christians/
I noticed you wrote this 10 years ago, so hope you can still read my reply which can help shed some light on this grey area for many Christians. I will give you Eastern Orthodox point of view. As christians we are obliged to keep our bodies holy as we are the temples of the Holy Spirit. Although it may not be actual sex, touching ourselves when we are alone if the motive is sexual pleasure is not a holy act and not of the Holy Spirit. Anything that is not of the Holy Spirit is from the deceiver, the enemy. However, touching ourselves for stimulation as a preparation for sexual intercourse with our spouse (I.e. become one flesh) is ok. Here the motive is not self pleasuring but intercourse. A woman may also need to use self stimulation during sexual intercourse to help her reach orgasm, or immediately after intercourse to help her get past the finishing line, that is also ok. On your point of spouses being far apart for a long time, as St Paul says that sexual tension is not healthy. However Paul was talking about singles not married couples. Well it’s not “what goes on tour stays on tour” LOL. It had be abstinence and patience which will come from the energy of the Holy Spirit. Which goes back to original point, that Christians are obliged to keep their bodies holy and undefined temples of the Holy Spirit. 🙂
I think the key here is this… No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.
1 Corinthians 10:13
I personally think masturbation (alone with zero contact of spouse) opens the door to lustful temptation. When we are with our spouse in person or on the phone (mutually masturbating) we are connected and thinking about each other… being one. When one is alone and indulging in some self play, the mind can wander. It may seem innocent enough, but it is quite easy to think about that sexy actress or hunk of an actor.
Come on people.. you all know you have a favorite… let’s not play dumb here.. 🙂
Now.. if you are alone and you are truly focusing on your spouse and the last time you were together with him/her and reliving the experience…. … is that sinful? I don’t think so, but it is a slippery slope.
One could easily move on from remembering the spouse to thinking about Mr or Ms Hollywood hottie… 🙂
Spirit of the Law or Letter of the Law?
Honestly, I hate when things are up for interpretation.
I am a black or white kinda gal.
It is or it isn’t.
Perhaps in the end, it is where your heart and true intentions lie?
FWIW.. growing up Catholic we were always told you could go blind… LOL
I haven’t found any evidence of going blind from masturbation. Rather, I think the intent it to keep the marriage bed pure between spouses.
Thanks for contributing to the discussion!
Mary – I actually think masturbation IS the way of escape that God provided for singles and married folks who are unable to have sex.
For guys (and at least some women) what opens the door to lust and temptation is puberty. How many make it to 20 without engaging in masturbation and/or some sex act the Bible clearly calls sin? I doubt it is 1%. If masturbation is sin, and 99% fall into it or some other sex sin, then what is God’s way of escape?
When I was single, I struggled with lust and temptation 24/7. Masturbation made it easier to win that struggle.
Good points. 🙂 No judgement here. My son was born 5 months after I was married. 🙂
Seriously … and a thought… if Lust is the sin and not actual masturbation… how does a person masturbate without being turned on? What is turning them on? Doesn’t one have to think about or fantasize about something/someone in order to get some satisfaction in the act?
I know this may sound off base here… but I am more concerned about a married man/woman masturbating and thinking of someone else than a single person doing it.
I think it complicates things as that single person is not in a committed relationship.
I can’t decide if it is a sin or not, and thank God it isn’t my job to determine that. 🙂
We can go through life living by the letter of the law, but if our heart and heads are not in the right place… does it count?
What I mean is … Awesome for a single person to remain chaste until marriage… but is it really so great if they are masturbating to pictures of hot people or imagining themselves with a person?
Personally, I think Christians spend to much time nitpicking sins and trying to figure out whose is the ‘worse’ sin… when it is all bad.
Sin separates us from God.
We have to ask ourselves if what we are doing is going to separate us from God.
Sorry.. kids’ birthday party and lots of sugar. Cannot process thoughts well when I know there is more cake in the kitchen.
There is my sin… Gluttony.
I need be showing the fruit of the Spirit .. Temperance. 🙂
Mary – As I understand it lust is no about arousal, but about the mind. In fact, the Greek word translated as lust is neither sexual nor inherently wrong. Jesus used that word when He said he had desired to eat the passover with them.
The problem is lust for someone other than your spouse. Lust, or desire for your spouse is a good thing.
I realise some married folks masturbate while thinking of someone other than their spouse. Many of those folks have similar fantasies while having sex with their spouse. In either case, or if it is done without any action, the sin is the fantasy.
I agree it is more complicated for singles as they have no spouse to think about.
Some do it without sexual fantasies (more common for women). A single guy who wants to do that has the “advantage” of being very aroused all the time, meaning he can go from start to finish very quickly. An extra 30 seconds in the shower would be plenty. Controlling your thoughts for that long is possible, and if it makes it easier to avoid lust and temptation the rest of the time I think that is a good thing. (God’s way of escape maybe?)
Some focus on the sensations they feel. This is probably a very good choice, as it helps them learn about their bodies.
Some imagine what it will be like when they are married and can have sex. They do not think about a real person. I realise some will call that sinful fantasy, and I get it, but it is not the same as thinking about a specific person. Is it still sin? I would leave that up to the individual.
Porn is a whole different issue, and a huge problem. When I talk to single guys who have repeatedly failed to get free of porn and masturbation, I suggest they try to get free of porn and not worry about the masturbation. Most find this possible, if they are really motivated to be free of porn. The problem is the “in for a penny, in for a pound” thinking that is human nature. If both are wrong and I can’t stop one, I might as well do both. If one is wrong and the other is not, stopping the one that is wrong becomes far easier. I’m NOT saying masturbation is a lesser sin than porn, but rather that making masturbation into a sin makes it very difficult to get free of the sin of porn.
As for gluttony… yeah, me too.
I’m not sure how “rather that making masturbation into a sin makes it very difficult to get free of the sin of porn.” Could you clarify what you meant?
For myself, without masturbation…well, porn would be really frustrating, more so than is worth to watch I would think.
Oh, and add me to the gluttony list…
I believe masturbation is God’s way of dealing with sexual frustration apart from a spouse. It reduces the drive and desire, which makes it easier to avoid all manner of temptation, including porn.
If you assume both are sin, and you try to give up both but keep slipping and masturbating, then you figure you might as well look at porn to “make it better.”
This reminds me of “The Fantasy Fallacy” by Shannon Ethridge. I’m reading it right now. In it there was a woman who was watching porn and masturbating instead of having an affair when she was away on business conferences. Shannon asked why it had to be one or the other, why not a third option.
So, why does it has to be masturbation or porn? Why not a third option?
My third option would be masturbating without porn. Shannon would not find that a good option, BTW
If the two options are masturbating or porn, then masturbating without porn isn’t a third option, it’s one of the two…
Shannon would not find a good option? Why do you say that? You believe there is no third option? One must masturbate if one goes on business trips?
Sorry, I was answering Shannon’s question, not your question. And, I believe Shannon is of the mind that masturbation is wrong.
I don’t see how porn OR masturbation is a common choice, porn is usually followed by masturbation or sex.
Masturbation is healthy.
Yeah, that’s the lie we’ve been fed, isn’t it?
You make some great points, Paul. I can’t say that my husband and I use masturbation as an escape from temptation, though. We are separated (actually, he is incarcerated). I knew my husband as a teenager until he turned to drugs and alcohol after he lost his sister in a car accident. He didn’t know God at the time. What’s amazing is that God was tugging at him through the years of him going in and out of jail until he finally got the book thrown at him. It is there that God brought him to his knees and he completely surrendered. He is doing everything now to be a light for the Lord and has such a great testimony. It is only when we both reached a point in our lives where we really cried out to God and gave everything to Him that God began laying it on my heart to search out my old friend. I found him in prison 3 years ago (after not seeing or hearing from him in 17 years). We are now married and it truly amazes me what God has done to connect us. For obvious reasons, although we recently celebrated our 1st anniversary, we have never been physically intimate with each other. For us, masturbation is the only way we have of sharing intimacy with each other. We both know he will come home when God is finished with working through him in prison. Until then, no – I don’t believe we are sinning at all if it is our spouse on our minds and in our hearts.
That must be difficult, but I’ll admit to being confused by this statement:
Are you having phone sex while he’s in prison? If not, I’m not sure how this is sharing intimacy, because, by definition, intimacy requires some kind of closeness, and sexual intimacy requires a shared sexual experience.
I agree 100%. It is just common sense. As a single and now as a divorce man. Does the ‘need’ disappear when not married? Of course not. Not only that Drs say that 100% of both men and women indulge (many esp. women deny both the truth indicates diff.) … so anyone who says that they don’t is 100% a liar. Sorry Jay Dee!!
I’d like to see that documented that 100% of men and women masturbate. I don’t buy that for a second.
As for “common sense”, if it’s common, it’s rarely sensible.
Well… Not blind but, it is physically impossible to stay outside the gate so long and not… 😉
GREAT article! I absolutely agree and so does my husband. I mean, why is it needed? Great point about self control, too! Other “marriage bed” Facebook sites I follow always act like if your not having sex with your husband 7 days a week whether you want to or not, it’s basically your fault if they go cheat or something stupid like that. What we happened to maturity, love, and putting the other person first?
Thanks Victoria! Glad you enjoyed it.
The problem between frequency vs self-control is one of perspective. I think we ought to teach self-control to the high drive spouse, and higher frequency to the low-drive spouse. You work with what you have, because you don’t work on the spouse you aren’t talking to.
as a divorced man I no longer have a spouse … low or high drive … thing we have to be realistic here. You make certin pronouncements but as I have mentioned before you would not be considered to be a Christian as you obviously have no self control!!
I’m a little confused by your argument. You’re advocating for solo sex, because self-control is too hard, but me, advocating against solo-sex has no self-control? I don’t get it.
And how does a lack of self-control make you not a Christian? I mean, I agree, one of the fruits of the spirit is self-control, and that’s a character we should work to build (for example, by not indulging in every desire), and faith without works is nothing, however, one can be a Christian and not yet have manifested self-control.
After all, if one has self-control, doesn’t that mean abstaining from solo-sex would be easier?
I agree that masturbation is not needed when married!!
I guess the bottom line is, if you can ask God to “join” in your activity, it’s not sin. I think this is something that each person needs to bring before God and ask if He would have you partake or refrain.
I’m not sure how this works practically. Just because you asked God to “join” in doesn’t make a thing right. I could ask God to “join” in robbing the bank. Don’t make it any less wrong.
Could you clarify what you meant?
What I meant by that is that as Christians, we have the Holy Spirit within us guiding and directing us and convicting us of sin. Can you honestly ask God to “join” in your bank robbery with a pure heart? I doubt it because you know in your spirit that it is wrong. I think we can approach masturabation the same way. Is it clearly spelled out in the Bible? No. So, if you can honestly take it to God and say “Thank you for this gift, I know you are blessing me through this act.” and not try to hide from God while doing it, then it doesn’t sound like you’re feeling convicted that it is wrong for you. If you are avoiding bringing it before God, or feel wrong in it, then it is probably something in your spirit that is convicting you that it is wrong for you. Does that make sense?
And I’ll add that your conclusion on the subject really makes sense. I see masturbation as a sexual act and to seek a way of sexual pleasure separate from your spouse seems wrong to me as well. But I hold that belief lightly and am willing to accept that others may not hold the same conviction. f it is something that God needs to deal with them on, I know that He will in His perfect timing.
Thanks for responding!
The problem with people playing the “Holy Spirit” card is that everyone uses it. Militant Christian sects use it to say that God is calling them to holy war. Spouses use it to say God told them to get a divorce, or to have an affair. Gay protesters use it to say being gay should be illegal, and gay rights activists use it to say that gay marriage should be legal. I’ve seen people rationalize quitting their job and not being able to provide for their family because the Holy Spirit told them to leave and not bother looking for another job. In many cases, they seem to really believe and be convicted.
So, when people use the Holy Spirit to say God told them to do something I read as unbiblical…I have to question whether or not the Holy Spirit is at play. Of course, you can’t argue it, because it’s subjective, but God does tell us to test the spirits. And to me, that means God is consistent and logical and the Holy Spirit would not convict us of something the Bible says is wrong. So, we’re back to the discussion above about what the Bible says, and around and around we go.
But, I agree, we need to be willing to accept others who may not hold the same conviction. I in no way meant to imply otherwise, and I hope others will do the same for me. I get to practice this weekly as my family (parents and siblings, cousins, uncles, aunts, etc.) are in a denomination that has some major doctrinal differences from the denomination my wife and I went to. Honestly, some weeks go better than others when visiting.
Eventually we will know the truth, one way or another. I am not so pride filled as to believe I MUST be right, only that I believe I am right (after all, how can you believe other than that you are right and continue believing it?). I am sure when Jesus returns, we’re all going to be surprised by a lot of theology we got wrong. Hopefully we aren’t all standing there going “Well, why didn’t you SAY so!?” More likely we’ll realize the Bible was clear one way or another and we let our nature cloud our reading so badly we missed it completely. Best we can do is try to follow a faithfully as we are able.
Sounds much like a friend of mine who believed God “told” him to have sex with a woman who was barely even a girlfriend. And now he is hurt and angry and blaming God for her breaking off the relationship.
Even when the bible is abundantly clear – like on the issue of premarital sex – people somehow come to believe God is telling them to ignore the bible and go ahead and so something anyway. And then sadly when it all goes wrong, they blame God with “but you told me to do it God” when in reality it really wasn’t God telling them.
Exactly. No wonder the world is confused by Christianity and thinks we’re all hypocrites.
God would never “tell” anyone to commit a sin..any sin. We semi to be forgetting to mention the existence of the enemy himself; satan. The father of lies. Need I say more?2 Timothy 4:3 for the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts will heal to themselves teachers who will tell th m what their itching ears want to hear
I agree with everything you are saying. I would never give credence to someone’s claim that the Holy Spirit gave them permission to do something that goes against the word of God. Never! That isn’t my point.
Sorry, didn’t mean to say it was. I was just saying, it’s hard to use the Holy Spirit as an objective criteria due to so many people claiming Him speaking into their lives and them living our a false Christianity based on what they say they got from the Holy Spirit.
Though, I do believe we all should listen to the Holy Spirit ourselves…just be careful and make sure it is Him.
…This seems simple to me. If what the Holy Spirit “told” them to do lines up with the Word, there is no reason to doubt that the Holy Spirit did indeed tell them to do such and such. Because Satan isn’t going to tell you to do something that aligns with God’s Word..he HATES God’s Word, and God isn’t going to tell you do something contrary to His word. I believe this is what the Bible meant by “test the spirits”. There is only one thing we can use to test the spirits.. and that is the Word of God… because “His Word will never pass away”, and because “Let all man’s word be a lie and let God’s Word be true.”
Iv heard about this small prayer before… I tried it in this instance – I have a no-go feeling regarding wanking of before the father.
Just feels awful…. Just imagined it, does that really feel good, just and righteous?
And yet i’m still going to wank it off I’m sure, there things smelling of sex everywhere in our days society…
It helps to “blow it” to get a break from it all – but it is lust building up…. Nothing about love…
I blew it, Yah
Peace to you all
– A sinner
Don’t think many Christians would ask God to join in their sex (married)!!
You’d be surprised. I’ve often thanked God for great sex during our prayers. We’ve also asked God to help with our sex life.
And there there’s this comment, which is just awesome.
seeing as my church, like many, taught that sex was evil and only to be use for procreation … I have to agree with this David (seems I am not the only David!) that I never would pray re my sex life as why would I pray for something that I was told was evil!
I’m sorry you church taught that. I think you’d be hard-pressed to defend that with scripture. God clearly created male and female, put them together and intended them to have sex prior to the fall, when the world was still perfect, and then said it was “very good”. God didn’t think it was sinful or evil. He thought it was “very good”, along with everything else He made.
I totally agree with you. Plus considering the fact that there was NO word for ‘masturbation’ in old Hebrew or Greek – hence the Bible doesn’t use the word. It DOES use the words ‘unclean, impure’. We are told to be ‘chaste’ 2Cor11:2. This aplies to both men and women – the church is to be a chaste virgin. God made our bodies to have nocturnal emissions, this is God’s ‘escape’. Add to that the fact that masturbation only INCREASES sexual desire when the goal should be to DECREASE it if you do have a spouse or you and your spouse mutually decide to abstain. There has never been a man or woman who died from lack of sex or simply because they didn’t get what they wanted at the exact time they wanted it. And, like you said, it really boils down to self control. And taking it to the Lord in prayer for self control.
That’s interesting. I didn’t realize there was no word for masturbation in those languages. That does make it harder to discuss explicitly, doesn’t it?
Dan – The most common Greek word for masturbation at the time of Jesus was anaphlan.
It was hardly unknown and it was openly discussed. Among the Greeks it was considered a good thing in that it helped to control lust. That Paul does not counter this when he writes to Greek believers seems significant to me.
The Hebrew word for masturbation is ××•× × ×•×ª, but I think it is a more modern word.
Ummm, nope. “anaplan” (up fire)(masturbation) was considered to be from the pagan god Hermes. Also maybe credited to another pagan god – Prometheus (who was punished for it). Although depicted in ancient art, it was considered taboo by Christians. It was also associated with all male schools and homosexuals.
Have nothing to do pagans or their practices.
And old Jewish law stated that the hand that reaches below the navel for self should be cut off. Only after the ‘mingle’ period of the Jews during slavery, was masturbation even spoken off, and always in the negative. With Judaism – you have negative or positive. Male masturbation is always negative. Surprisingly – nothing is mentioned about female masturbation.
I just don’t believe that masturbation can be justified in any way. God blessed the male (and female) with nocturnal emissions and self control.
You said there was no Greek word, and I gave it.
Yes, the Rabbis were against MALE masturbation, because it wasted a man’s seed. This is why female masturbation was a non-issue. I think the spilling of seed idea requires reading a huge amount into the story of Onan, but then reading things into what God said was a hobby for Rabbis. If you agree with the wasting seed theology, and avoid ever ejaculating outside a vagina, we can agree to disagree.
The idea that nocturnal emission is God’s way of escape is problematic given that the average frequency for a teen with no other form of release is once every three weeks. A married man having sex that often is usually very upset, and often dealing with a lot of temptation. (Then there are the dreams that go with nocturnal emissions – it is very difficult to look a married woman at church in the face when she stared in your last nocturnal emission.)
As to self-control, if sexual self-control was as easy as you seem to suggest I don’t think Paul would have written most of 1 Cor 7. Paul understood the force of our sex drives, and that most of us would find it difficult at best to be sexless. Paul tells couples not to abstain past a few days lest Satan tempt them, but we expect teens to go a decade with nothing and it will be fine?
BTW, I don’t need to justify masturbation. I think the burden of proof is on those who want to add it to the list of sins as if God somehow forgot it. (I don’t mean that to be as snarky as it may sound, but really, isn’t that what the Pharisees did? And Jesus blasted them for it!)
I didn’t take your comment as ‘snarky’. Yes, the Pharisees were ‘nit picky’. But Jesus did not did not allow them to loosen the law, He actually tighten the law.
As for teen-age boys -ha. IMHO, that responsibility lays with the parent to teach correct and Christian values. As in – it’s not in God’s design to masturbate. As far as the ‘man’s seed’ – that a good one. Man (male) misogynous attitude from old, both Jew, Roman, and Egyptian. The thinking that the male was the creator of life and the female only the ‘planting place’. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that medical science discovered that with no ovum, it doesn’t matter if you have millions of sperm. No female – no life. ‘male’ is not the creator. And medical science will also tell you that there is no physical or psychological need for ejaculation. A good urologist will tell you that the body takes care of itself. Your body is God’s temple. Paul warns that the single life is better in order to dedicate yourself fully to the Lord.
As for masturbation not being in the Bible, neither is addiction to cocaine, or marijuana use, or a host of other things. Ejaculation releases the chemical oxyticon in the brain. This is the ‘bonding chemical’ for relationships. Granted, less is released through masturbation, but it still released. Men or women who masturbation tend to bond with their own desires, and not the desires of their spouse or future spouse.
I’m not going to argue this back and forth. I think we just need to agree to disagree on this one. For myself, I’m not going to masturbate, do cocaine, smoke marijuana or any other of those kinds of things that are not in the Bible. And even if something may be ‘legal’ that doesn’t mean it benefits us.
There’a a lot said in the Bible about being clean, pure, and chaste, and having self control. You go with your ‘interpretation’ and I’ll go with mine. Peace be you, brother.
I don’t see drugs and masturbation as equivocal in terms of biblical silence. In the first place neither cocaine nor marijuana were known to the Jews of the time, while masturbation certainly was. In the second place, what the Bible says about alcohol (don’t get drunk) easily covers drugs (as far as I know there is no level of use that does not equate to being drunk).
As to oxytocin, a great many things release it, including a hot shower. and listening to music. If we avoid everything that leads to solo release of oxytocin, we are heading for Gnosticism.
Bonding with a spouse? I am the perfect example that masturbation in no way prevents that. I masturbated a great deal as a teen. Once I had sex with my wife I lost any desire to do it myself, even when she was unavailable.
On the other hand, women who masturbate go into marriage ahead of the game. They are more likely to orgasm with their husband, and they learn to orgasm during intercourse much sooner. I’m not saying this proves masturbation is good, but it does challenge the idea that masturbation will make it harder to enjoy sex with a spouse.
“(Then there are the dreams that go with nocturnal emissions – it is very difficult to look a married woman at church in the face when she stared in your last nocturnal emission.) ” … lol this happened to me when I was a kid (teen) … nocturnal emissions always go with some very graphic dreams usually X-rated by never see these anti-solo types address that!!! Jay Dee!?
I’m not sure what the question is. Dreams are not controllable. It’s not a sin to be tempted, or that have fleeting thoughts. The sin is when you decide to act immorally on them, or to harbor those thoughts.
this whole subject is easy … as many others just don’t add to the Bible nor take away. If not specificly addressed in the Bible all ‘interpretations’ should be kept to oneself. Done.
I’m curious – what do you think the point of sex is, according to the Bible?
“the hand that reaches below the navel for self should be cut off.” … hopefully you are constant … the saying/law should be within or outside of marriage.
What if, as it says, for some it is sin – as in the example of consuming of sacrificed meat? Using the example of alcohol and alcoholics. There are those who vehemently argue that any alcohol consumed is sinful, and those that don’t – with the defining factor being not getting drunk.
Doesn’t it make sense that an alcoholic (that has no control) would argue that all alcohol leads to drunkenness and should be avoided. Yet someone who doesn’t have a problem with it and can consume, without becoming addicted. Wouldn’t a “no don’t do it” and a “yes it’s ok to do it” be acceptable in either case? I guess I’m saying I respect and admire both of you guys and see both sides of the discussion as completely valid.
And out of curiosity, how is it possible for a man to masturbate without using imagery, seeings how they are stimulated visually which is optically wired directly to the mind?
This is a question I have no expectation of you answering here or any place else: IF and WHEN you masturbate, or have masturbated, did you use any “visual” imagery during the process: a mental image or actual “photo?” OR Did you concentrate on an erotic/romantic fantasy, memories or compelling feelings of loving connection with your partner? Did you use sensate focus to build desire and arousal and then let the physical sensations generated by your body drive the experience to completion?
This is also how a man can masturbate without using imagery. Yes, the desire to masturbate may possibly be created by a visual experience OR NOT as well as an erotic thought or memory, but he then does not need to maintain a “visual fixation” to proceed with masturbating. At a point, a man gets caught up, just like a woman, in the physical sensations created by then hyper-sensitive nerve endings and sexual tension within the musculature of the body and those sensations alone will be sufficient to complete to orgasm.
A possible exception is this: A man with an ED problem may need very primary and direct stimulation to achieve and or maintain an erection. He may need only to see his wife body, He may need his wife to physically help induce and maintain an erection by her touching him or herself in a way that excites him. Of course, such “help” from his wife only works if she is interested and willing to be a participating initiator with enthusiasm for the task at hand. (wasn’t a pun when I started tying the sentence, but oh well)
I hope I didn’t jump the gun on you again JD.
Yes, but in those cases where it is free of imagery/lust, do you believe it is OK?
The comment was actually directed to answering Robyn’s remark:
“And out of curiosity, how is it possible for a man to masturbate without using imagery, seeings how they are stimulated visually which is optically wired directly to the mind?”
But if you are looking for me to call balls and strikes on the issue, YES I believe masturbation by either sex is not only permissible but desirable for a variety of reasons. I am not going to engage in an exercise of mental masturbation though with qualifying the remark as to When, Where, How, Alone or Together, By your own hand or that of another, With or without the others knowledge or approval, How often, With or w/o marital aids and on an on. I hate having to qualify comments on blogs because of the lack of facial expression and other context that can manifest what is only implied by the written word. I also hate taking up comment time and space by trying to convince others I try to be evenhanded when commenting.
Well alright then.
I didn’t mean for that remark to sound snippy if that is what you infered from it. I just meant that I hate to constantly keep reassuring a reader that I know issues are never only one-sided. I have often thought about a page that addressed that specific problem and ending all posts on any future blog I do with a link to that page or running it in a column down the side. Someone always comes back with “Well, don’t you think men/women share some of the blame too?” And of course I do, but I don’t want to have to plow that field with every new reader that comes along unless something new needs clarifying. You try to give an impression of fairness within the body of the post, but someone frequently wants to make sure you aren’t kicking only their dog, so to speak. I hate to be “Yeah, but what if…”-ed endlessly. Just tell my you disagree and why. If I have the time and want to dialog more, I will. Didn’t mean to make it sound like I was annoyed by your question or Robyn remark for that matter. She’s a sword packing warrior after all. Booyah!
No, didn’t sound snippy. Just didn’t know how to reply and not make you do any of the things you hate doing. And I didn’t want to ignore the comment. So I attempted just to acknowledge what you were saying. I appreciate the explanation.
**sorry I’ve been tardy here**
I don’t know if all women are like this but I could have used visual or not, either way was a conscious choice. During the years when our sex life was poor it was used as a substitute for sex. Then it became an integral part. Now it’s merely an appetizer and a poor one at that.
–@BD: thanks for explaining, it never occurred that it would be similar for men.
SR, I REALLY DID MEAN I didn’t expect you to answer such a personal question, knowing you as I do. I was asking it rhetorically to illustrate my point. I in no way meant to goad you into talking about your sexual history, but I certainly appreciate your honesty. But I still ain’t talking about mine. HA
@BD – sometimes you have to connect the dots for me. My husband says I’m naÃ¯ve but loves this childlike quality about me (his words). I prefer to see it as completely transparent and vulnerable.
@SR- My wife too has many “childlike” qualities that I adore. They give me ample opportunities to be her hero. She had one of those decade birthdays 2 years ago. She always gave little parties for all our kids and somehow during the course of talking about them she mentioned that in her entire life, childhood through adult, no one had ever given her a party. I just about cried right then. I could hear her little girl heart calling out. It became my job to make sure she had a party. I decided on a Princess theme since all little girls are princesses. The entire day went by as usual with only a card. That night she was occupied on the computer in the home office. While she was there I hung decorations from the porch and then did up the dining room. Then the surprise guests, family and church friends, started arriving. She had a ball. Score. BIG time hero.
I’m glad you understand that I would not pose such a question in a public forum, especially since you have no anonymity. Even though my rhetorical questions were on topic for the post, your personal masturbatory history is none of my business unless you intentionally open that door for discussion. Even then I would exercise discretion within the discussion, but like you, when I get going I can be like the proverbial snowball rolling downhill and get a little to comfortable in my revelations. It was interesting however to hear at least one women honestly stipulate that visual imagery had been or is a coincidental initiator or chosen arousal aid for them.
THAT was a beautifully heroic gesture for you to do! AWESOME.
Feel free to ask away. That rant was more about when I make an initial post or comment about something. I find it tedious to write a bunch of qualifiers as I go along just to let the reader know I am trying to be fair and reasonable. Feel free to take me to task for my sanctioning masturbation if you feel the need to dialog about it. I may learn something new or modify my viewpoint.
@BD. I know what you mean. When I write posts I don’t use ANY qualifiers or quid pro quos. If people want clarification they can ask, I prefer to assume people that are reading are on the same page, or at least trying to be.
@SR-“I don’t know if all women are like this…” is a very appropriate qualifier you felt was needed for the statement that followed. There are times when I do include qualifiers to not only clarify but to limit the scope of the remark as you did. Almost all bloggers are speaking anecdotally, without research or supporting data. That personal honesty about their history is the lure and “charm” of blogging. There are times though when we have to remind readers that we are giving our opinion; though perhaps born of deep experience and well-seasoned, it is just our opinion. “The opinions and observations in this blog are those of the author. For any acute or chronic condition you should consult a trained professional or…” HA.
@BD – I said, “… when I write posts …” meaning when I’m posting to my own blog. I wouldn’t want to be presumptuous on JDs blog (or anyone else’s)
–I don’t like disclaimers. If you are sharing from real personal experience and growth in your own life, they are superfluous.
Love it….and just for the record, I’ve always ended every self-play session screaming my husband’s name!
I’m not sure how you can masturbate without imagery, but people say they can, so who am I to judge that. My point is I still think the Bible speaks against it.
As for the alcohol issue, there are entire denominations of people who are not alcoholics who believe the Bible says not to drink, so that’s hard to use as an example without dissecting that topic first.
That’s my exactly my point JD. The interpretation is coloured by what perspective we hold — where we’ve come from and where we are at. No, not on all things (obviously forgiveness is always a must and Jesus is the only Way and Truth) but certainly lots of others. Life is not static and neither are humans. The alcohol example is no different than the meat example – For certain people it is sin; for others it’s not – God convicts each of us where we are at. The word speaks to you personally that masturbation is sin and you are right. It speaks to Paul B. that it is not, he’s right.
So, you believe all things, outside of core fundamental salvation issues, are relativistic?
If you are asking do I support the doctrine of relativism – the answer is no. But I do accept the doctrine of grace. It says that if you classify something as sin but your brother (sister) does not, you must consider the weakness of his flesh (faith) … “and bear with him/her.” (back to my original example of the meat eating) Perhaps its the one who eats the meat and perhaps it’s the one that doesn’t.
There is a little black and white in Scripture (legalists will use ALL of it to make ALL of it law and applicable to ALL people). I believe God did it this way on purpose – lots of grey areas. To show us just how lacking we are in grace (speaking from very personal experience here)
I agree, grace must abound, and yes, I believe everything is forgivable, and everyone will be judged according to their desire to be with God, one what they did with what they were given.
It sounds like your saying “well, they don’t know any better, so it’s not their fault” or “they can’t help it, they are weak”. Is that what you meant?
I can’t tell your total inflection as I can’t hear it over the net. From your words, I sense (and forgive me if I’m reading wrong) a, “oh well, they are just weak … whateva” kind of spirit. No, that’s not what I mean, because that’s not how Jesus loved us.
It is the same acceptance of people in grace that the Lord gives us in our weakness and immaturity. If we identify something that, according to our own growth that is sin, it’s not for the more mature (stronger believer) to put upon the less mature (weaker believer) and force or expect them to grow according to our time table that the Holy Spirit has grown us. God loves us regardless of our level of maturity and thus carries us. God expects us to do the same – the burden falls on the more mature that’s why the more mature are stronger and able to identify the weakness in the first place.
Thank you, that clarifies immensely.
To follow up though, are you saying it is not a sin until you mature enough to recognize it’s a sin? But, what do we do when asked by someone “less mature”? Do we tell them it isn’t a sin? Do we tell them it is? Do we tell them “I’ll tell you when you’re older”?
I would argue that sin is the same, regardless of maturity. However, God “winks” at ignorance (Acts 17:30). That said, then the sin is still a sin, and if asked we must still declare it as such, no?
For example. Tithing is a commandment, can’t get around it (as far as I know). Do we tell new Christians “You must tithe!”? Of course not. But, if they ask, what can we say other than “Yes, we believe God commands it.” If they bring us Malachi 3:8 and ask what it says to us, can we say anything other than “God says we’re stealing if we don’t tithe.”
My views had been questioned, in a public forum. What can I do? Declare publicly “OK, only mature Christians read this!” That would be ludicrous. Instead, I set out to, as lovingly as I could (and perhaps I missed), state what I believe and why. To do anything else, to me, would be to lie by omission.
My original question/thought was: It is possible that masturbation has been defined as sin for you and not for Paul B.
Oh, now that is an interesting thought. The problem then would be that I would read the Bible with a bias one way while he wouldn’t. Of course then the issue is that I could not read it any other way. Do you believe the Bible has subjective morality written in it? Going to have to think about that one more.
stop answering a question with one 😉
yes or no?
Alright, in this case, I would say no. I don’t see how I could read these verses and believe God didn’t intend sexual activity to be solely between a husband and wife.
I was going to respond to your last comment but instead wanted to clarify something. Earlier you stated, “I set out to, as lovingly as I could (and perhaps I missed), state what I believe and why.”
–you DID do it lovingly JD and you DIDN’T miss at all.
–I just share a different perspective than you. I don’t mean to argue with you, or imply anything less than dialogue.
Dialogue is good. Wasn’t pointing fingers at all. Just meant sometimes, when I write, things come out differently than I intended.
Yeah, sometimes mine appears different on the screen too – and I’ve already hit the publish button.
“Alright, in this case, I would say no. I don’t see how I could read these verses and believe God didn’t intend sexual activity to be solely between a husband and wife.”
–what if your spouse wants to watch? in person or Skype? Or, listen on the phone?
If the spouse wants to watch, I don’t see why there would be a problem with that. Then the activity becomes shared, does it not? Just like if someone else wants to watch who isn’t your spouse, I would say that is a problem, because your are sharing a sexual activity with someone not your spouse.
–and the phone? Or perhaps texting?
I would think with any synchronous communication.
For the record I have gone full circle on that.
My father said it was not, so I did it without any guilt.
As a young adult I feel in with a group of very legalistic folks who thought it was not just sin, but one of the worst sins. I don’t think I was ever 100% sold on that, but I was concerned enough that I could no longer do it from faith (Romans 14:23). So I stopped. I only slipped once in the four or so years I was not doing it, but the lust problem I thought I had under control became a huge battle. It was during this time that Lori and I started to get close. I can’t prove it, but I am convinced we would not have had sex before marriage had I been masturbating (an earlier girlfriend I thought I would marry had offered herself to me while we were making out and I was able to say no – but I knew then that I could masturbate).
I stayed in the “probably a sin” camp for the first few years of our marriage. It was when my step daughter was approaching puberty that Lori and I did a significant study on the issue. It is one thing to tell yourself you should not do something, it is a whole other matter to tell your kids it’s wrong! It was that study that changed our minds.
@JD, so the rule then is “synchronous” rather than the freedom of the act itself (presupposed by other spouse). Say if Darrell is away on business, but wants me to masturbate whenever I miss him? that would be wrong because we are not “synchronized”?
@Paul B. It’s interesting how we can swing back and forth on issues depending on who we listen to. Sometimes it can give you a headache and have you walking in fear!
@Paul: In my history, it’s the other way around. If I wasn’t masturbating, I probably could have controlled myself better before I was married I think.
@Robyn: What I mean is that I believe sexual activity should be a shared experience, and you cannot truly share an experience separated by time. You can recount and experience, but it’s not really shared. As for whether your husband wants to…well, desire does not make a thing right. And I don’t see this as a fearful thing. I don’t not masturbate because I’m afraid of God and worried about punishment. I don’t do it because I believe following God will make my marriage healthier (I know, double negative, couldn’t find another way to phrase it).
@JD “As for whether your husband wants to”well, desire does not make a thing right.”
–yes I know.
–I guess I just can’t get my head around God saying today you may do this — but tomorrow it will sin.
If you have sex the day before your married, is that OK? What about the day after you divorce?
Time is important, it defines the context in some cases.
@JD – “Why not?
If you have sex the day before your married, is that OK? ”
–every time you have sex again after that wedding day it is OK. God doesn’t say: “on Mon Wed Fri it’s sin, but on Tues Thurs it’s not” — this would be … situational sin. it forces us to guess. Again, still can’t get my head around it. Sex outside of marriage is always sin, it never changes, it is not situational.
–you have to find an example in which God changes the rules not the act. because that’s what you are saying: the rules surrounding masturbation are situational.
I don’t understand. The situation changed…you got married. If you mean that the situation is the same, if married it’s OK, if not, it’s not OK. Then we have the same thing. If it’s shared with your spouse, then OK, if not, then not. I’m not understanding the disconnect.
I wish wordpress allowed threading beyond 10 levels….
Robyn “It’s interesting how we can swing back and forth on issues depending on who we listen to.”
Only the third one was based on a lot of study and prayer. It helped that at the time I had no need to masturbate (we were past the bad years of our marriage) so I did not have anything to lose or gain.
@JD – “I wish wordpress allowed threading beyond 10 levels”.”
–I copy and past the new comment and the new response in the box then delete what I don’t need. Otherwise, I can’t really focus on what I’m saying. Although, it might look like I’ll need to open up a document in word and just have the whole thing on one sheet so I can scroll up and down easier LOL!!
–now, where were we?? oh yes …
–You are saying that masturbation is sin when your spouse is not present. But then it is not sin if they are present.
–what I am saying is that you have to find an example where it’s God that says it’s the rules (situation) that change the act, rather than the act itself.
–you gave me the example of having sex the Friday night before you are married (being sin) then, being married on Saturday and having sex (not being sin anymore) *wooohooo honeymoon!!*
–the Friday night is a one off and not repeatable since the couple won’t unmarry and have sex again. You have to choose an act that is comparable (a repeatable act, the way masturbation is) BUT if we are going to use that reasoning and stick with THAT logic: Unmarried sex is always sin (there are NO rules or settings or situations that change the morality of the act of sex while unmarried). Sex while married is never wrong. And that is my point ” the act itself doesn’t change. If we use the same application: masturbation outside of marriage is always sin. Masturbation while being married never is sin.
Robyn “I’m wondering what those proponents would say about how oral sex lines up with that. The seed falling into the mouth would be a waste too (using their logic).”
Absolutely – if it’s not in a vagina, it is sin. This was the view of Jews of old, and it is the view of the RCC. I think think they are dead wrong, but at least they are consistent in how they apply it.
@Paul – yes, consistent is good. What is RCC?
Jay Dee “In my history, it’s the other way around. If I wasn’t masturbating, I probably could have controlled myself better before I was married I think.”
Is that due to all or nothing thinking? I can do nothing, including masturbation, but if I masturbate I can’t avoid sex.
At the time did you think masturbation was wrong? Because that is completely different than thinking it is God’s way of escape.
The girl friend I mention thought masturbation was sin, and it is why we were messing around – because me petting her to orgasm caused her less guilt than her doing it herself. She is hardly alone in that, I’ve heard from plenty of woman and some guys who felt sexual contact with a date was less sinful than masturbation.
There is an old saying “It is better to cast your seed in the belly of a whore than to spill it on the ground.” that came out of the idea that ejaculating anywhere other than a vagina was a horrible sin. There were even those who said rape was better than masturbation for the same reason. Kind of shows how crazy we can get.
Sometimes ideas are just wacked.
No, at the time I didn’t think masturbation was a sin. I grew up being taught there was nothing wrong with it, that it was normal and healthy.
All or nothing mentality? No, I don’t think so. I’m not sure how to explain it. If the words come to me, I will respond again.
@ Paul – “There is an old saying “It is better to cast your seed in the belly of a whore than to spill it on the ground.” that came out of the idea that ejaculating anywhere other than a vagina was a horrible sin. There were even those who said rape was better than masturbation for the same reason. Kind of shows how crazy we can get.”
–I’m wondering what those proponents would say about how oral sex lines up with that. The seed falling into the mouth would be a waste too (using their logic).
That’s the deal with this kind of information. I am sure many bloggers consult sources when the do a post, but ultimately, we write from our own paradigm and much of the information we disseminate is anecdotally based. I have no data to speak to his point about imagery, but consider this: Babies masturbate; research say even in the womb. Infants masturbate. Toddlers masturbate. If their parents did not tell them it was “bad”, not to do it, or only to do it in private, they would likely shamelessly do it in public. They do not have any sexual erotic memories to call upon. Nudity is not a motivator to their masturbating other than easy, immediate access. Their masturbation experience is not sexual, but based on pleasure alone. It feels good, they touch themselves. Orgasm is not even a goal. They are not using imagery to arouse themselves. At most, they are using memory of how good it felt last time they were stressed and looking for relief; looking to feel good.
At some point, parents or society introduce the element of eroticism into a previously only sensual experience. (Great question, huh? When and how does this typically happen. What is the process that makes a boy decide a girl is a sexually desired “thing/object/body?”) [My point about qualifying: Who wants to be taken to task for short-handing that explanation with those three words in spite of their precise appropriateness for the the topic? Too much needless PC.] When does a girl become a “girl” to him and the desired and God-planned next step beyond masturbation. (NO. I didn’t say God planned masturbation, just the next step.)
This is why I feel masturbation is possible without imagery, even in adults. Women are supposedly less visual. I wonder how many woman would be willing to step up and say they masturbate without imagery? I suspect many do. I suspect erotic memory, and not imagery, of the sensations of a desired or past sexual experience are what arouses most women to masturbate. I have no doubt there are women who do use imagery in one way or another, but women are not big users or consumers of visual porn. They are users or erotic literature. Perhaps they draw upon highly descriptive passages to create mental movies. I can’t say. My point is, if women can do without imagery, men can and do also. Perhaps not all men, or perhaps not all of the time, But I would posit that it is possible Jay Dee and Robyn.
I’m not sure I’d accept that argument “babies do it, so it must be OK”. After all, my kids have all, quite young, learned how to pull hair, throw things, defy their parents, lie. They seem to do sinful things right out of the gate almost. No one needs to teach them, they just start. We need to teach them NOT to in fact.
But, the argument that it can be pleasurable without being sexual…I honestly never considered that one, the concept is so alien to me. I’d be curious to see other people’s thoughts on that. Maybe I’ll post a survey.
I wasn’t arguing that it made it okay. I was making the point that they are touching themselves without any external impetus (particularly imagery as per the original comment by Robyn) other than possibly a stressful situation, in which case they may be masturbating as a way of coping with the stress. Not saying it is a desirable coping strategy either, just a natural one for them as their other options are not fully recognized of developed yet. I am not saying babies do it so that is justification for us all. As stated, I do feel babies and small children do it for pleasure and though the pleasure may stimulate sexual receptors, their motivation is pleasure and not recognized as sexual gratification. Of course, one can always make the argument on a very basic black and white basis that they do it because they are born with a sin nature and it is Satan’s tool to distract them from God and I understand that. I wasn’t arguing about masturbation from a theological standpoint at the outset, just responding to Robyn’s query about masturbators needing primary visual imagery and things then spun off in this direction to some degree.
Here’s an interesting thought from a neurological standpoint if one sets aside the sin nature argument as the cause for the moment: If the child touches/masturbates themselves for pleasure AND that touching does indeed trigger sexual pleasure receptors in their brain, BUT they still have no conscious concept of sexuality (other than a dormant one waiting in the prepubescent wings God has given them for His desired purpose) are they THEN guilty of doing it for sexual pleasure as opposed to sensual pleasure alone? I realize psychologist and neurologist may not even have a conclusive opinion about this and it may be chicken and egg time, but it is an interesting postulation. I am not saying that “if I know not that I know not that I am not still sinning” I am merely wondering if we can then assign masturbation as being sexual for the child even though they have no developed sense of their sexual nature or being. That’s just he way my mind works. As my wife often says about my deeper thoughts though, “Honey, nobody cares.”
Children don’t just masturbate, some orgasm – well before puberty.
In our modern society most kids have some concept of sex from a very early age, but in days gone by this was not the case. Kids knew nothing about sex till puberty, and usually not much then. And yet, plenty of them discovered masturbation and orgasm on their own – some as early as age five and younger.
There are plenty of reports from women who say they were giving themselves orgasms for as much as a decade before puberty. (Girls report more early self-stimulation to orgasm than boys – probably because it is easier for girls indirectly fondle or rub to orgasm.) They knew nothing of sex, so they could not be having sexual thoughts!
I agree with Jay Dee that kids doing it does not make it okay, but that kids can self discover it with no awareness of sex and no sex drive does show us how basic and common masturbation is. It also makes me wonder why God would not warn us it was wrong, given how easy it is for us to start doing it.
[Have I reached broken record status yet?]
Right, they know nothing of sex. Is it sexual activity then? Are we talking about the same topic then? Can you say, for an adult, that they wouldn’t consider masturbation a sexual activity?
Oh, I think we both reached broken record status on this topic a while ago, but I’m really enjoying the discussion on it. Every time, some new piece comes out.
Are you suggesting you do not see it as sin if they have no clue?
I’m also enjoying the conversation, and thanks for allowing it. I suspect we will be posting on this after everyone else has left.
You possibly could read Acts 17:30 that way, but that wasn’t my point. What I was saying is that if it isn’t sexual, then we’re talking about something else.
As you’ve said before, washing yourself in the shower is not the same thing. And as Mary said above, I think it’s more about intentions than the physical thing. Now, don’t misunderstand me. If someone murders to save another, and they have good intentions, it’s still murder.
I fully agree with you on it being a “sin for some” – but how do you convince someone of that? None of us wants to be stuck in the place of something that is not a sin for all being a sin for us, so we naturally assume if it is sin for us it is sin for everyone. The example of drinking is the same here – while I agree with you that the Bible does not make any drinking wrong (and in fact you have to do great harm to the integrity of the Word to make it say that) there are still those who are convinced any use of alcohol is sin.
In short, the weaker brother usually refuses to see themselves as a weaker brother.
“but how do you convince someone of that?” — “you” don’t. There is a verse that says, “if you see a brother who is overtaken in sin … (gal 6:1) Most interpret that verse to mean: Go and tell them what they are doing wrong and why. I don’t interpret it that way, I think it means you come into relationship with them and be a living demonstration. This isn’t about ‘witnessing’ to the world about Jesus (tracts and missionary work) this verse is about a ‘brother’ … someone who is already saved – they don’t need the witnessing (talking to, bible verses), they need the example of living like Jesus. Jesus came to get us who are chosen and draw us back into relationship, not to judge us. The Bible doesn’t say specifically to tell them (as in talk to them about it) but it doesn’t say not to either, what it does say is to draw close to them. In the Greek, the world has a flavour of strengthening your brother because you are the stronger one and this idea is further developed in verses 2 and 3. People are not going to trust what you say until they know you. They get to know you by being in relationship with you. Then … they will do the asking!! But people always want to believe that, in verse 1 of Galatians 6, that THEY are the more righteous one – the one more developed by the Holy Spirit, instead of the weaker one. Seriously, nobody really wants to see that they might be the weaker one (I know I didn’t)
—“In short, the weaker brother usually refuses to see themselves as a weaker brother” Yes, I know LOL. That’s why, I believe, it’s all about relationship. Your life will demonstration to the weaker brother his weakness; your life will be a living testament.
I certainly agree with you about relationship as opposed to setting someone straight. And I am all about living as an example, but sometimes that is not practical or even right – with sex being one such area. So then the living out is more about words than actions.
As to more spiritual vs. weaker brother, I assume I am both in different areas. I don’t want to be the weaker brother, but having accepted that I am in some things, I very much want to know what those are so I can be encouraged and built up in those things by those who are more spiritual.
Our churches tend to have a culture of trying to be better than each other, and that is destructive to the kind of life I see Jesus calling us to. We should be free to stumble and make mistakes, knowing that we will be helped, not shamed.
“but sometimes that is not practical or even right – with sex being one such area.” I’m not following. What has happened in your fellowship?? That would lead you to need to correct them?? (if you don’t mind sharing)
I totally view masturbation in this category, like alcohol, As a woman I’ve found masturbation to be helpful to increase my desire for my husband and figure out the logistics of orgasming and its really been a great help and blessing in our intimacy. While my husband who has an issue with pornography it would be a difficult thing for him. I’ve devoted prayer to the issue and I’ve felt the leading of Jesus in my life considering this issue. I believe God presents us with issues like this that are not clear cut or easy so that the only way to solve our personal issues with them is to earnestly and honestly pursue Him and His wisdom for our individual situations and to continue to rely on Him for guidance. Juli Slattery has a great article about it and I found it very balanced and helpful. https://authenticintimacy.com/blog/masturbation-right-or-wrong
About the only disagreement I’ve had with Juli Slattery’s books is her stance on masturbation.
What do the words ‘pure, chaste, and moral’ speak. What does the word unclean speak to you. Even a husband and wife that had legitimate sex were considered ‘unclean’ for a day. A man with a nocturnal emission was considered unclean. And that’s a natural occurance. A natural occurance being unclean would say to me that something done to self out of selfishness would be a sin. At one point in ancient Jewish law (granted man made) ‘the hand that reaches below the navel (masturbation) should be cut off. Perhaps this was what Jesus referred to ‘if thee hand offends thee, cut it off’? God simply made sex for marriage, not for self.
I’ve never heard those verses (Matthew 5:30, Matthew 18:8, Mark 9:43 for those who want the reference), used in that context before. Interesting idea.
Thanks for the verses. And I apologize for not referencing them myself.
The answers to all our questions can be found in His Word. But one must go into with an open heart and an open mind. One must let go of all pride and be willing to be convicted. One can’t read the Bible to try to justify their opinion. You’ll never find the answer that way.
I, like many other men and women, have been convicted on this. I am also a sinner. Masturbation is probably the only sin that I have ever truly conquered.
We all have to live in this world, but we’re not suppose to be “of” this world.
JD – thanks for this article. You are a brave man to speak up and speak the truth in this day and time of ‘anything goes’. I pray that God blesses you an your marriage and keeps you strong. I’ll be reading more on your site.
No need to apologize for not having the verses. Just thought I’d add for anyone interested, by no means to I expect everyone to list of every verse they are referencing. I wanted to look up the verse myself to be sure about what you were talking about, so I thought others might want to as well, that’s all.
Thank you for the encouragement!
The Bible clearly states that it is better to have your own spouse and not to withhold unless agreement with your spouse for a short period of time but if a teen or divorced person you are expected to for a long time!?!?!
Potentially forever. Yes.
The problem is, our culture has turned sex into a need, and told us that all desires should be met as soon as possible. Not having sex won’t kill you. Not masturbating won’t either. You may gain some self-control in the process though.
JD thanks so much for this excellent work. I believe you were very clear and plain that whoever wants to know the truth will see the truth as stated here in your write up. There is definitely nothing that people will not want to argue and rationalise on. Take porn for instance, sodomy homosexual and lesbian activities). God reveals Himself and His ways to whoever sincerely wants to KNOW. He has done that through you for anyone who CARES to know on this issue.
You are very welcome Okwukwe,
I’m am curious what definition you are using for sodomy. Do you mean literally “the sin of Sodom”, or the more liberal interpretation of “any sex that is not procreative”? If you mean “homosexual rape between men” as the Sodomites were seeking to do, then yes, I agree, that should not happen, it is clearly outside of God’s will for a few reasons.
I’m late to the party, sorry! I will have to go back and read all the comments when I have a bit more time.
I don’t think my rules post was aimed at you. I wrote the outline months ago, and then grabbed it when I was looking for a post. Maybe our recent sparring did cause that one to stand out to me.
“Is masturbation sex” is an interesting question. It is also a rather useless question in a society that asks “Is oral sex sex?” The meaning of sex in our culture is both too wide and too narrow at the same time. But is it “sex” in God’s eyes? If we use the “knowing” idea of sex found in Genesis, I think we could argue it is not. I’ve always felt putting maturation in the same category as sex is like calling rotted garbage “food”. Ultimately however we are back to the same problem of definitions you and I have had before. As Robyn said, our perceptions are coloured ( true ALL of us).
Your comments on 1 Cor 7:4 are excellent, but only antagonist to masturbation if the typical translation of the verse is accurate. My understanding is the Greek is far more complex than what most have rendered in English. Paul is not giving each spouse total control over the other (which would lead to some odd situations if you think about it) but rather telling each that their body and sexuality are no longer just their own.
The NIV says:
“The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.”
and the Amplified says:
“For the wife does not have [exclusive] authority and control over her own body, but the husband [has his rights]; likewise also the husband does not have [exclusive] authority and control over his body, but the wife [has her rights].”
Such a translation means each has some control over their own sexuality. This gives us the right to say “I can’t stand that sex act, but I will have sex with you in another way.” It would also open the door for masturbation, IMHO.
As I recall the Greek actually has a quantitative concept in 1 Cor 7:4. It says the husband has more authority over the wife’s sexuality, but she has some authority.
All of that aside, I come back to asking why God did not state it CLEARLY if it is wrong? Is masturbation being sin more obvious than homosexuality or bestiality being sin? Why would God mention those two and ignore masturbation? Given that God wants us to be sexually pure, would we not expect Him to mention masturbation given that most people will self discover it if someone or something does not clue them in first? Drop someone on an island as a kid, and without any contact with anyone they will start to masturbate at puberty. And yet, God says nothing about it being wrong? In all honesty, that does not fit with who I know God to be. I don’t find God plays hide and seek with the truth!
Better late than never! The rules post just seemed … timely. No matter, wasn’t offended one way or the other.
I agree, our culture (we) have a messed up definition of sex. At the same time, we have made it god-like and yet denied that it has any real effect on us.
Now, you say God doesn’t play hide and seek with the truth, but He does (Daniel 12:4, Isaiah 29:11). But I agree, outside of prophecy, it doesn’t seem to be His modus operandi. But, as I said, the way I see it, it is in plain site. You, on the other hand require an understanding of complex Greek to disagree. Just kidding, I know that’s not the entire argument.
Plain sight? If it said “Thou shalt not grasp thy male member to cause an emission of seed” I would call that plain site. The sex sins we agree on are that plain. Why would the most common way of having an orgasm be less plain?
Uhmm been trying to read through. thoughtful words here and there. coming from the angle of named or unnamed sins in scripture, that is a weak theology. rather lets see the personality of Mr Iniquity that commits the sin in/with the visible human sinner. Romans 6 and 7 helps us to see this. Take lying for example, every little child will naturally lie or steal. where did they learn it from? sin needs not be learnt! dont blame God for ‘not’ mentioning it in a category. like the psalmist said, in sin did my mother conceive me! Romans makes clear that ALL have sinned, when adam sinned sin passed over all of us and sin is a nature we were all born with. but if any man be in Christ he is a new creature from inside, a new man on the inside. Galatians went further to mention sins in chapter 5 and it gave this category of “and all other sins having the same origin of the flesh” (my paraphrase).
I’m in the camp of not-sin, but mostly-not-good-either. Solo masturbation has the potential of inviting improper imagery, expending your sexual energy away from your spouse, and rewiring you to desire get-‘er’-done touch (because you have that feedback loop to achieve orgasm faster).
All that said, I believe that solo masturbation CAN be supportive of the marriage relationship in certain situations. I agree with your bibically-derived principle that sexual energy should be directed to your spouse, but I simply don’t see anything in the Bible that forbids the practice entirely. Self-control is important, but it’s a stretch to me to suggest that these verses preclude any and all masturbation — any more than I should have self-control over my eating, but a brownie now and then isn’t going to kill a girl’s waistline.
I don’t believe this is rationalization either, since I have also pored over the scriptures and searched my soul on this one. We just come out at slightly different places, Jay Dee. Thanks for explaining your approach and conclusions!
No problem, thanks for sharing your view.
“expending your sexual energy away from your spouse” … just curious … what is your opinion if have no spouse ie divorced/widowed etc? Tx
“everything is identical from a physiological perspective, whether your partner is your spouse, a co-worker, an animal or solo”
Actually this is not the case. Masturbation is different from other sex acts in terms of hormones and other chemicals released. One study (http://1.usa.gov/1dFLKCM) found that intercourse results in 5 times as much prolactin as masturbation – for both men and women. Prolactin is what makes us feel sated after sex (and what makes most men unable to climax again for a while), so intercourse if far more satisfying and the effects last longer than masturbation. This makes perfect sense to me, God made sex with a partner to be fully satisfying, while masturbation takes of the edge physically but does not fully satisfy. This is why most folks would rather have sex with another person than masturbate.
It has also been shown that sperm levels in ejaculations from masturbation are lower than those with a partner. (http://bit.ly/183P7ij)
Intercourse has better and longer lasting stress reducing benefits than masturbation. (http://bit.ly/1aW0meZ)
There are other differences, and science is just scratching the surface.
From a bio-chemical stand point it is starting to look like things that cause orgasm can be divided into three categories – PIV intercourse, all other acts with another person, and masturbation.
Interesting. I’m going to have to read those. Thanks for the references. Honestly, I’m not sure it changes my argument much, but it is still fascinating.
That is interesting data Paul, thanks! Also, I dig into the Greek. Admittedly I find our English language just … weak. It seems to water down meanings, for me anyway. I get much more excited when I understand meanings and concepts through the original languages. Takes a lot longer and it’s much harder, but so worth it.
I agree English is weak. Then there is the issue of translation. On top of that the Bible was written by and for those with an Eastern mind, not a Western mind.
I do believe the Holy Spirit is active in helping us to understand, IF WE ALLOW THAT. I find too many want to read and apply without any study or prayer.
But that is a whole other rant 😉
ditto, ditto and ditto
“I don’t see how I could read these verses and believe God didn’t intend sexual activity to be solely between a husband and wife.”
But as Robyn has suggested, I think you see this because of your preconceived ideas. You listed several verses which tell us to avoid sexual sin. I assume you gave those because you think masturbation is sexual sin. But that is circular reasoning.
You say the only positive verses on sex are about sex in marriage, and all verses about sex outside of marriage are negative. Fine – but what does any of that have to do with masturbation? You say it proves sex is only allowed in marriage, but I could say it proves the sex with someone you are not married to is sin, and that would not include masturbation. You say masturbation is a form of sex, but again that is circular reasoning. If I define sex as involving another person, then masturbation is not sex.
All this to make the point I think Robyn was trying to make.
It’s true, we all filter everything through the lens of our experience. How can we do anything but. I’d argue you are doing the same then.
Did I? I count 1, and I really discussed the rest of the passage, not the sexual sin part.
I was establishing that sex is neither good nor evil, but rather the context is important, it was leading up to the discussion on masturbation. Not an argument in an of itself, merely establishing something I think we both agree on: sex inside of marriage is what God wants, sex outside is not. What we disagree on, I think, is whether masturbation is sex or not.
That’s fine, I still think the argument stands without it. In fact, I said that in the post.
I thought Robyn’s point was that we read scripture differently depending on our personal sins. Not that I made a circular argument (which I still can’t find).
LOL – men always are able to make their point with less words, sorry, I can’t help my verbose-ness 🙂 … what can I say, I’m female.
No need to be sorry. We appreciate your insight and verboseness.
Somehow, to me this appears to be a Titus 3:9 issue. A great amount of the truth in this discussion has to do with our own perceptions, none of which are necessarily incorrect even if they don’t agree because our perceptions are all based on our unique lives. We can each make arguments that support one viewpoint or another, but all of these arguments echo against the lack of concrete support in the scripture, yet pursuing the argument occupies our attention, keeping it away from fruitful endeavors.
If a nonbeliever were to read the post and comments here, I wonder whether they’d think that Christians spend too much time arguing about things without any hope of resolution.
What does it benefit a believer to have this discussion? What does it benefit a nonbeliever? What does it benefit the Church? Especially, what is the benefit if we cannot ever come to a resolution?
For those who aren’t satisfied with the above, let’s say, for a moment, that a believer masturbates to avoid the temptation of having an affair, especially in a situation where sex with his wife isn’t possible. Is he any less a believer? Is he any less saved or is he forgiven? Let’s say that another believer avoids masturbation to avoid the temptation of having an affair, because she is “wired” differently and that’s the correct approach for her. Is she somehow more of a believer or more saved? See 1 Corinthians 8 and we see that sometimes the action isn’t the sin, but rather the intent of the heart that is the sin.
I would hope a non-believer would come and say “Wow, these guys actually think about this stuff instead of saying -you’re going to go blind!-“. And I have gotten responses like that from non-believers.
The aim for this blog is to create discussion about sex and marriage for Christians. The Christian community, unfortunately, has done a terrible job opening up the floor to discussions on sex. I believe that if we bring it into the light, we can solve a lot of issues, and head off others. We can educate people on how to deal with issues instead of being afraid, running from them, often into another sexual sin. So, the answer is far less important than the dialogue.
So, is someone more or less saved because of what they read? Or by what they do? Of course not. The Bible is clear: faith in Jesus as the savior is what is needed to accept salvation. But, they may have a healthier, happier marriage that glorifies God. At least, that’s my hope, and I know this to be true in for some people who have contacted me. People’s lives, and marriages, are being affected, so far for the better. At least, no one has told me their marriage has gotten worse due to anything I wrote.
Thanks for commenting!
I would agree that a nonbeliever might be happy that we think of such stuff if we weren’t bickering over it ad nauseam, but we have to be aware that the incessant/ongoing debate (you did post that you and Paul Byerly have been talking about this for about a year) doesn’t look constructive.
I personally love to debate (argue) long past the point that others would give up, but I’ve come to realize that much of what we argue about is fruitless noise when we could better use that time and energy.
If the goal is to provide stronger marriages, then certainly someone masturbating to avoid an affair, or someone not masturbating to avoid an affair both appear to be good decisions as opposed to the decision of actually having an affair. Isn’t that the more fruitful result of the masturbation question rather than whether the physical act (as you’ve framed the topic) is a sin?
We’ve been kicking the idea back and forth for about a year, but keep in mind, it’s in short snippets, spread out with months between in some cases. All told, I doubt it could fill a couple pages. This is not an involved argument, but more like a protracted texting conversation.
And as I said, the purpose is to invite discussion, because I believe discussion will open people up, which will in turn help their marriages.
@JD – nicely said. (as I said, I love your new look but I’m having a hard time following the comments) – I’m sure I’ll get used to it 🙂
@JD – “unfortunately, has done a terrible job opening up the floor to discussions on sex” Unfortunately is right. It’s sad really, that it’s all so ‘hush-hush’ – it’s why I enjoy your blog so much. It’s direct and open. Also, being a survey junkie myself, despite not being able to drill down on the numbers, I do see patterns ‘from 40K feet’ – you interpret the data into understandable terms for me! … sorry started rambling there.
–all that to say, I like your blog and believe you are right on target!
Jeff Z – I hear what you are saying, but I think this is an important issue. Sexual sins are deeply harmful, so if masturbation is sin, then we need to know that.
On the other hand, guilt is also harmful, and if a lot of folks have guilt from doing something that is not sin, that too needs to be known.
There are those who have left church because they cannot stop masturbating. They feel shame, or they feel God has failed them, or they figure God must not be real because they don’t think God would ask them to do something they find so difficult and unreasonable. I won’t say people lose their salvation over this issue, but I do think some have failed to get close enough to make a decision because of it.
All that said, the benefit is an open discussion of the issue to help those who have not come to a conclusion.
I think we as a church have done a bad job at this, of using guilt to force compliance. This is the not how the God of Love I read in the Bible operates. Rather, he tells us His will and invites us to commune with Him, to live life as He intended. The kingdom of God on earth.
What others often see as restrictive rules, laws, sins, etc., I see as invitations, advice, guidance from a loving Father to teach us how to live, how to be happy, content, to create truly amazing marriages and lives that reflect God and glorify Him. This should not about guilt, or shame. After all we are all sinners, we are equally guilty. But Jesus died to do away with that guilt (Romans 8:1, 1 John 1:9). To continue to hold on to it is to reject what He did.
I agree. The Spirit brings conviction – guilt comes from Satan and man.
Posted before refreshing the page (sorry).
Jay Dee, I agree that the church has done a particulary poor job of dealing with sexual issues and has often given poor advice to those with such issues. You mentioned that you wanted to help strengthen marriages and make them healthier and happier, so in that vein, let me say this:
Christians declaring anything as sin is not going to bring anyone closer to God, nor is it going to strengthen a marriage. Some things are quite clearly sin, and are so declared in the scriptures, but anything that isn’t will only cause those with that particular issue to feel that they aren’t accepted in the church. Further, it can lead to hiding the issue they need the most help with.
Let’s say that a person cannot have sex with their spouse for a period of time and they decide to masturbate for release. How is defining that masturbation as sin going to strengthen their marriage or their faith? How is defining it as not sinful going to strengthen their marriage or their faith? What will strengthen the marriage and faith is open and honest communication about it without any condemnation.
Sexual sins are harmful, but the problem is that we cannot know if masturbation is sin because the scripture doesn’t state it one way or another. This discussion delves into parallels and interpretations to rival the legal arguments of those who argued the Jewish laws in the time of Jesus (Jesus had something to say about such people). You and Jay Dee have discussed this for a year and haven’t come to any agreement, others have done so for much longer. You both make good points and are both correct in your arguments. You haven’t agreed because the answer is that the sin isn’t in the act, but in the intent; it is very much like the meat situation in 1 Cor 8. If a person believes that masturbation is sinful, then it is, for them. If a person doesn’t believe the act is sinful, then it isn’t, for them. A pserson can even define one instance of masturbation as sin and another as not sinful depending on a person’s background, their level of faith and a variety of other factors including what led them to masturbate in that particular instance.
As to guilt; if someone is dealing with guilt, they need Romans 8:1, Romans 5:1 and Romans 3:23. We all sin and we need to accept that as a fact of our human lives. We aren’t to revel in sin, but neither should we wallow in guilt because of it. Instead, if someone is struggling with masturbation, we need to help them understand God’s grace and that they shouldn’t be stuck in guilt from the act. You mentioned those who have left the church because they cannot stop masturbating, but I submit that they left the church because someone condemned them for masturbating. If the church had offered grace and understanding, there would have been no reason to leave.
I don’t know if its sinful or not, I don’t think so but don’t have a developed opinion. I do know that when I am needy of sex, I can “meet” this need alone, or I can ask the Good Shepherd to help bring it about. He helps, but often not on my timetable. He leads me in paths of right-eousness for His name’s sake . . .
So many verse about waiting for God’s timing, aren’t there? Habakkuk 2:3, Isaiah 40:31, Psalm 27:14, Galatians 6:9 to name a few.
What a fascinating discussion. There are two points from early within it that I’d like to raise.
Firstly masturbation is having to be interpreted as it is not explicitly forbidden by the bible, which book may or may not be the word of God depending upon your personal beliefs.
Interpretation is dangerous. If I were not an atheist and believed the bible was truly the word of God then I would try to obey absolutely everything within it. I would avoid any and all aspects which required interpretation because from that root comes the Spanish inquisition, religious fanaticism, suicide bombers, witch burning, male and possibly female genital mutilation and the like.
Secondly, I was separated from my now husband when I was 14 and we did not find each other again until I was nearly 60. I know that when I masturbated during that period he was the visual image almost every time and still is today. I asked him about his masturbation sessions and he said it was usually me, but admitted that other girls were involved sometimes, too. Instead of being hurt by his visualising Cameron Diaz occasionally, I was flattered by the fact that it was mostly me.
Now we have found each other again, are back together and finally married after all of those lost years, our sex is usually mutual (his post today is an example of non-penetrative love, but is still mutual), but we do also masturbate alone occasionally. I don’t know why we do that. I orgasm easily with him so it is not for a lack of orgasms and neither is it a lack of willingness. It is just sometimes, maybe if he has gone to a football match, I get a great satisfaction from a solitary afternoon session with no pressures to satisfy him, just me. I also, at least weekly, use our shower to bring me to orgasm and it often follows or precedes making love so hurts no one and is a personal enjoyment.
I keep him too busy with lovemaking for him to masturbate very often, but he, too, enjoys a solitary session occasionally for similar reasons, no pressure to satisfy someone else, just a gentle personal release.
So I see no problem in understanding the arguments within this page, but feel that as long as we are making decisions based on our view of life or belief then that is fine as long as it doesn’t cut across someone else’s rights or affects someone else’s respect for themselves.
Therefore, no one should tell another person or child that if they masturbate it is a sin, because that is only being said as an interpretation of the adult. Children will grow up and make their own decisions and formulate their own beliefs. If there were a God then I feel sure He would not hold it against a child that he/she had masturbated before finally deciding whether to believe in Him. Masturbation is not known to cause physical harm so is not like an edict not to murder, rape or steal. It is personal like wanting to have a tattoo or have your ears pierced. It is no one else’s business. It is between you and, if you are so inclined, your God. No one else.
I’m not going to rehash the thoughts on masturbation as my opinion of the truth is above in the post, but I did want to address the fact that God won’t hold it against people who did it before they were aware. I 100% agree. But that, said, it does not mean it’s OK just to let them be.
Now, on the other hand, we are also told to lead people by as much as they can handle at the time. It is a terrible idea to “lay down the law” on new converts as it were. People need to learn about God first, learn His ways, that He loves them. Then they generally start learning on their own and asking questions and discover His will in the various parts of their life. When they start searching, this post will be here. It was not designed to be a blanket “stop masturbating” to the world. The bulk of my traffic is search engine hits, and so there are people looking for answers to these questions. This is the answer I found, and so I shared it. People are welcome to agree or disagree as they feel. I would never look down on someone else because they masturbate, or believe it’s OK, or whatever. I would not for this topic, or any others (though if they were a murderer, I might distance myself for safety’s sake). We are all sinners. We are all on our own walk. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t absolute truth. I happen to believe this is it. Others disagree. We must all live as best we are able, and one day I’m sure we will all be surprised to find out how erroneous we all were in most of our beliefs, and also amazed at how little it matters compared to our desire to follow God (which isn’t to say it doesn’t matter still).
I hope that clarifies my position.
Interesting. Thanks for taking the time on both pages to reply.
Based on your definition of sex, would a virgin who engaged in manual and/or oral sex no longer be a virgin? Please explain your answer.
Well, by strict definition, a virgin is “a person who has never had sexual intercourse” and sexual intercourse is defined as “sexual contact between individuals involving penetration, especially the insertion of a man’s erect penis into a woman’s vagina” (note: especially, but not limited to).
And so, by the accepted definitions, I would said said individual is no longer a virgin.
However, we know that is not always how people define such things. We know there people who “just do handjobs” so they can be a virgin, there are people who “just give blowjobs” so they can be a virgin, there are people who “just have anal sex” so they can be a virgin…I think they are fooling themselves. And I’d broaden the definitions a bit to say that the shared sexual experience is what makes them no longer virgins, because oral sex on a female need not include penetration, but how does that make one any less a virgin than oral sex on a male?
So does masturbation cause her to lose her virginiy? (considering your opinion of it being ‘sex’ outside of marriage)
Is she likened to a prostitute (given the likelihood of numerous such ‘acts outside marriage’) ?
Well, I guess that would depend as virginity is defined by an intact hymen.
Likened in the sense that all sin is equal. In that it’s in there same sphere of sins (sexual), in that it separates you from God, and damages your future relationships. Yeah, in those ways it’s similar. In others it’s quite different.
Not quite sure what you’re getting at. Saying it’s not adultery doesn’t mean it’s not a sin. Fornication is not adultery, but still a sin.
I’m just pointing out that it is silly to equate it with sex. Yes the intact hymen was important but masturbation and an intact hymen aren’t mutually exclusive. While fornication may not be adultery, it does result in a loss of viginity. Masturbation(assumed intact hymen) doesn’t.
As far as your comments on sins go, you still need to prove that masturbation is sin before you can club it with sexual sins and their consequences.
Fornication doesn’t necessarily result in a loss of virginity. Oral sex, manual sex, anal sex. I would categorize these as fornication (assuming out of wedlock), but you don’t? After all, the hymen is intact.
As for masturbation being a sin, I think I’ve done that. Your rejection of my argument doesn’t mean I haven’t proved it. The consequences are self-evident. This isn’t a salvation issue, this is a here-and-now issue. Like I said, I challenge you to give it all up: the porn, the masturbation, the fantasies about having sex with others. Try it, see if you don’t see an improvement. You don’t see it now, because you don’t understand what it’s like to be free from that prison. It’s so comfortable, you think it’s home…and that’s tragic. Instead of fighting to break free, you are inviting other’s to be held captive.
Why should one fight against their God given natural needs. Doing so will keep people continuously in bondage of a life of guilt and shame and the prison of hating themselves. Treating your body harshly by denying your sexual needs isn’t freedom. Taking care of your needs and enjoying that which God has given you isn’t a prison.
I did try to heed the advice of anti-masturbation Christians but it was all futile. Wet dreams are out of our control and are quite erotic in nature. Their frequency is unpredictable and it is a challenge to depend on it entirely. It’s a prison like atmosphere trying to be ascetic by denying this basic need. We are indeed sexual beings and sexual release is a basic human need.
What if you are single? No one gets down to this question. Sex with a spouse is not an option because you have no spouse. And you cannot, and should not, simply marry someone to be married and have sex. I am alone. I am 23. Most women my age, Christian or otherwise, have a husband and at least one child. Many who are not married, and not Christian, believe they can date until they die (which means having sex outside of marriage). However, I am waiting for my husband. I do not have the available option to date at this time, and there is definitely no one in my life who I’d marry. I could be single for years or decades more, and that is not because I am a prude, I hate men, or there is something wrong with me. It is just not the right time in my life, yet. So, what do you do when you are helplessly single and not about to be married anytime soon?
As for fantasizing, I see the problems in that. I cannot think about my husband specifically, because I do not have one. Actually, that just brings me back to the same problem of why masturbation seems so potently the only moral option. You could ask me to abstain and wait for Mister Right, but how can you say that when you would never tell a married couple to abstain for years or decades at a time? I cannot help that I am unmarried, and if I was, I would graciously be loyal and comforting to his needs and my own.
I do not have that option, yet I am told I should abstain from anything even remotely sexual, even in thought, self-touching, and chemical reactions (I have [uncontrollable/unpreventable – though I pray in my sleep to make them go away] wet dreams, but they are always nightmares – horrific!). Sex is healthy. Sex is holy within marriage. Throughout nearly all of history, people married before they were 30, if not before 20 — Even Solomon was married before he became king at the age of 20. That is not as simple in today’s society. Marriage isn’t even done the same way. Back then, a man saw a woman he wanted, the parents arranged it, or he sent out his servant to find someone for him, and they paid a sum and were married. The woman hardly had a say in it, and they often didn’t know one another, at all. In this modern day, we date and court one another, first.
So, what is right for me? How can you tell me I am to avoid the very thought of men and the natural release of orgasm, especially when I am physically unable. I am female, and if I masturbate, I can try to think on what it would be like to have a husband, even though I can scarcely imagine it having never had one. However, if I do not masturbate, I have unholy wet dreams that cause me to wake from an unavoidable orgasm that leaves me feeling violated, humiliated, and in pain. Masturbation at least helps, and I am only doing it to avoid sin and promote good health, and sanity, which seems to work.
I agree with you 100% and more importantly I agree with your argument that its inbetween the lines in the bible. Ive been dealing with a similar temptation with smoking MJ. It doesnt say anywhere in the bible explicitly not to consume marijuana or other drugs but the bible tells us to be sober, have self control, and keep our bodies pure.
Also I feel God talk to me in my gut feeling. If Im completely honest woth myself I know smoking (and masturbating) is dirty and not something God wants me to do.
I can amend that there may be different circumstances for an opposing view but so far God has been telling me these things arent for my life as a believer.
Hey JD! Brilliant commentary as usual! Again, praise God Almighty that you are an honest man who brings up such sexual topics in a Christian sphere that need to be addressed which the church considers anathema & should be avoided. As I have learnt recently, what God’s people will not take up, Satan will use for his advantage. So God richly bless your honesty & courage for creating this blog!! As for masturbation, thank you for clarifying where the Bible shows parabally where this activity is clearly a sin against God & his holy temple our bodies. However, I will partly agree with Paul H. Buyer on this one & Happy wife really put it succinctly if I can say so. I agree that self control is the better way to handle masturbation than simply self stimulating yourself to sexual relief. But, that it is a sin in of itself I do not think so. I admit that growing up I was a chronic masturbator. I started doing it ( if you want to believe it or not) by wat ching time lapse speed imagery on kids shows like “Sesame Street” & ” The Electric Company” ( strange I know but that is how I got my stimulation as a child). I would remove the clothing from many of the actors on the show in my mind & see them doing the same things only naked, and that turned me on a lot. (Porn came later on when I started watching it with my brothers when I was 9 years old). So here Paul(H. Buyer that is) is on the ball. It has alot to do with your mind. Based on what you fill your mind with will affect your spirit. How the spirit reacts is how the body reacts. God knows that with our bodies u der the curse of sin, it is very vulnerable to evil in this present world. So thus when somebody or anyone masturbates, it is the action of a bodily function that is out of control. So to say that masturbation is a sin may not necessarily make it so. Jesus in Matthew 5: 28 spoke about “lusting” at a woman as a deliberate act. If masturbation is used to relieve a sexual desire in a person who desires to be with a sexy, beautiful women ( or vice versa) that he (or she) cannot have or has little experience in knowing how to approach them, it becomes lust. Thus masturbation becomes a sin. But, in of itself it cannot be sinful because this is the biology of the human body presently, & will only experience relief at the transformation of our bodies at the return of Christ as Paul the apostle teaches (2 Corinthians 5:2-10). Masturbation is sinful ONLY when it is used for lustful sexual purposes. Like I did using it to fulfill intense sexual desire until God delivered me from the grip of sexual lust. If anyone has an intense desire to relieve themselves sexually, then masturbation becomes that way of relieving this tension. This is where I totally agree with you on SELF CONTROL. Once we all know how to make use of this very powerful gift that God has given us in dealing with indulgences, carnality, and addictions we will always be vulnerable to the carnal power of this world because we are still flesh (Romans 6:12-23). Does this mean we can indulge in a sinful act & still serve God in purity? Of course not. It just means that we must use wisdom (God’s wisdom and sometimes our own), to know when & how to control such desires & functions of our body. I know you may not agree with me on a lot of what I have said here but this is how I feel about this subject. I will comment more about this later on. Paul H. Buyer, what is the name of your blog?? You seem to be just as knowledgeable on such subjects!
Thanks for letting me comment. Nobody has addressed my problem. I am a 72 year old man who loves his wife very much, but she is physically unable to engage in sex anymore. I’ve tried to convince her to try other methods with each other but she feels it is weird unless it is standard intercourse. But I still have urges, albeit not as frequently as when I was young. I’ve asked God for guidance. Part of me tells me that it is ok for me to masturbate since I am not depriving my wife of anything, but my faith (Catholic) tells me it is wrong – period. I have a hard time believing that the God that created these urges in me is now telling me to “live with it.” I often wish I would get some disease so the urges would go away, but so far they haven’t gone. I’m torn between the urges and my faith.
That is a difficult position to be in.
I think God created you with these urges, and it is your wife’s responsibility to fulfill them (1 Corinthians 7:4-5). However, her being unwilling to fulfill that role, in my opinion, does not excuse you from being faithful to her. To ask for a disease so the urges would go away is asking for an easy way out for you and your wife. It is asking not to grow. I don’t think God will honor such a request.
My counsel would be to draw closer to God, to continue to pursue your wife and to keep communication open. Try to find out why she believes other methods are “weird”. In truth, most other methods do feel “weird” the first few times. So does praying together. That doesn’t mean it’s not good.
answer the question!!!! I noticed that you avoided the question from the single girl too – lol … if you were one of my employees I would have you fired!!
Answer which question? About being single? I addressed that in this post.
You’d have me fired because I’m not masturbating? That’s an odd rule 🙂
The problem I see with married masturbation is that not only is your spouse responsible for satisfying your urges, but they are also the only ones with the right to satisfy them (yours is theirs, theirs is yours stuff). This is why the “render the due” is so important. My studies have convinced me withholding/denying is a sin. But so again is “taking matters in your own hand.” I am more flexible for singles, but for marrieds, it is clear: Sex outside of the marriage bed (with anyone but your spouse) is No-No.
And you are not your spouse.
Will your wife give you permission to masturbate (you do it to yourself, not mutual)? Have you asked her about it? Here is the caveat: If you truly think this is an honorable compromise to bring you peace, you should be able to do it in her presence, not hiding like an unfaithful cur. This keeps her involved and still in control, maintaining both her duty and right. Try to hold her hand with your free one, let her feel from your touch how much power she still holds over your heart. This brings her into the act itself, and though much weaker than intercourse, reinforces your bond.
My prayers go with you
I don’t think you’re sinning in any way (as long as your wife is aware of the situation). Though I strongly believe love and sex are linked, and that God created sex as a gift for husband and wife, I also believed God created us with desires (and I think He thinks they “are good”).
I’m sorry for the guilt you’ve been feeling and the burden of religion. Jesus set us free on that cross and grace had been given to us freely. Don’t ever forget that. He will never stop loving you (no matter what people say).
My honest take, if I was in your wife’s position, I would rather you take things “into your own hands” than have you cheat on me (which unfortunately happens very often when people are sexually frustrated).
God bless you.
I’m sure his wife would rather he masturbate…it relieves any pressure from her to grow. Sort of an “I’ll allow you to sin, if you keep allowing me to sin. That way we can be happy sinning together.”
I am 75 and have the same citation, she has had back pains for most of our 45 years together only it’s gotten worse in the past ten years. Drs. can’t doer week. Still the urge pops up when she is not felling great, I see no problem of infidelity in myself satisfying my urge. All together I feel the Church is too quick to point a finger and all it manages to do, is turn people away for the salvation that’s available. We love each other and I would NEVER leave her for some other woman for any reason. That the hand God has given us so we adapt to what we are given.
@John, if you are taking things into your hands while in her presence, then fine. If not, then how do you think she would feel if she walked in on you right while you climaxed. Also, bad back or not, have you tried taking care of her needs? Adapting is fine as long as you do so within the boundaries God has assigned.
Jay Dee doesn’t like these positions cause his argument falls apart! It is kinda funny actually!
I didn’t answer because I felt HopefullyHelpful said pretty much what I was going to say. No sense spamming the comments section.
I don’t see how the argument falls apart. Actually, in the 3+ years since I’ve written this post, I’m even more solid on my belief about it. It’s help up quite well in my view.
I thought this article was interesting but I don’t really agree. I don’t think it considers all people.
I believe God gave us sex as a gift. A gift that yes, should be enjoyed between man and wife, but let’s not forget it’s not always possible. One of the two might have a problem (like erectile dysfuntion). Does that mean the other is doomed to a life without sex? Unless you are asexual, I really don’t see how that could work.
I think little consideration was given to those who don’t get to see each other everyday.
My husband works away from home and we sometimes spend a lot of time away from one another and the only way to deal with our desire is through masturbation. It keeps us faithful and it also helps us to evacuate the tension. We enjoy being able to have sex together but that’s just not always possible. We don’t watch pornography. I think pornography is another problem (having to do supporting prostitution – and by this I mean “sex for money”).
Let’s not start casting stones and creating religiosity.
Erectile dysfunction does not mean sex is not possible, only that intercourse is. Why does that mean you need to find your own pleasure by disregarding your spouse? Why not instead apply something like mutual masturbation?
And if your husband is away so long that you have to have sex without him, I think 1 Corinthians 7:5 applies there as well. Just because it’s mutually agreed upon doesn’t mean it’s not deprivation…
Your whole argument hangs on your belief that masturbation is sex and since it is sex without your spouse, it is sex outside marriage and thus a sin.
You assume that sexual activities by themselves are sex but you do not consider the “with who” criteria. With someone of the opposite gender, sex is just sex. It could be righteous sex within the proper context (marital) or unrighteous sex (fornication, adultery, incest). With someone of the same gender, it isn’t really sex, it can never be righteous. It is homosexuality which is a perversion of sex. With an animal it is not really sex either but a perversion of sex called bestiality and can never be righteous.
Sex and its perversions always require another living entity. Masturbation does not fall under any any of these. Masturbation isn’t sex but self stimulation. You need to back up your claim that masturbation is a sin by showing from scripture that self stimulation is condemned.
When one has heterosexual sex, one becomes one flesh with that other person. If that person is not your spouse, it is unrighteousness. Masturbation on the other hand is not sex and you can never be at risk of becoming one flesh with another who is not yours. Your body is yours and after marriage will be your spouse’s as well. There is no risk of any other entity creating an unholy union.
You misunderstand, I do consider it. Simply: sex with your spouse = good. Sex not with your spouse = bad. That could be fornication, porn use, adultery, solo masturbation, whatever.
You make the assumption that if no one else is involved then no one is getting hurt, disregarding the damage done to the individual and to their relationship with their spouse (or future spouse). It’s the same argument people leverage for using illicit drugs. “I’m not hurting anyone.”
No no. I think you misunderstood. I had nothing to say about getting hurt or damage caused by the act. It is another assumption that masturbation is harmful or that it causes problems with relationships(either presnt or future).
Scripture teaches that the act of sex = becoming one flesh. You are meant to be one with your spouse but not with any other.
You say sex with spouse is good, sex without spouse is bad. Only thing you fail to understand is sex without spouse = sex with another. Masturbation is !=sex
Two points here:
1. Masturbation is neither lawful sex nor unlawful sex nor perverted sex as defined by scripture. It just isn’t sex.
2. Sex without your spouse = sex with another who is not your spouse. It does not cover the act of masturbation.
That’s my point, you have nothing to say about people getting hurt by it. It’s not an assumption, it’s data I’ve collected from myself and hundreds of couples. One example is that every day my second largest post to be read it My husband admitted to masturbating, how do I get over the hurt?. Every single day, about 100 people type that question, or something similar, because they have been hurt by masturbation. That’s over 60,000 people who have bothered to look. Sadly, more still will be coming today and tomorrow and so on. And then there are the couples who have sexual problems because masturbation has taught them, or their spouse, how to be stimulated by their own hand (or a toy), and they can’t orgasm any other way. If they are using porn, which you claim is okay, then that harm increases dramatically, because now their visual and auditory senses are also involved, being retrained to experience sex without their spouse. It is harmful, and I don’t think you’ll be able to convince me otherwise, because I come in contact with these couples on a regular basis and they are so hurt by this activity.
Thankfully the secular world is starting to realize it’s a problem. The no “fap” (slang for masturbation) movement is growing. Tens of thousands of men taking up the challenge to stop masturbating, and they are seeing incredible benefits.
So, it’s not an assumption.
As for scripture teaching that the act of sex = becoming one flesh. That’s semantics. It doesn’t actually say sex, is uses euphemisms most of the time. Sex with another causes one flesh, yes, but that doesn’t mean self sex is approved. Throughout Jewish history, as far back as we have record, the belief has been there that masturbation is sin. You would think at some point God would have addressed that, as He addressed other false beliefs in the Jewish faith. But no, He seemed to leave that one alone. Odd if it was as a huge misunderstanding as you seem to think it was.
I have yet to hear a case made for the behavior though. No one has been able to come up with a scenario where masturbation is actually beneficial. In every case they are avoiding conflict with their spouse, avoiding personal or marital growth, or avoiding exercising self-control. Basically they masturbate in order to avoid good, healthy growth. How is that a good thing?
“My husband admitted to masturbating, how do I get over the hurt?” The very question is so unfortunate. All guilt and hurt associated with masturbation is not due to the act itself but due to society, religious leaders and people like you fuelling the mentality of guilt. The worst harm is due to these sexually repressive ideas. Sexuality is brutalised, lives are ruined because people are continuously hurt for being themselves, the way God made them.
“then there are the couples who have sexual problems because masturbation has taught them, or their spouse, how to be stimulated by their own hand (or a toy), and they can’t orgasm any other way.”
I suppose these people are in the minority as most people masturbate and most people can orgasm or learn to orgasm with their spouse. They most likely have a psychological issue that prevents them from adapting like most others. Teaching people to resent their sexual needs and view it as sinful isn’t going to help. You cannot expect people to be asexual to the point of resenting their basic sexual needs and then suddenly have them turn on the switch after marriage. This is an utterly harsh way of treating the body God gave you. By the way, I’m a young single man and I know such teachings against masturbation only lead to a life of unending guilt and shame. I used to believe that it was a sin till a few months ago.
“If they are using porn, which you claim is okay, then that harm increases dramatically, because now their visual and auditory senses are also involved, being retrained to experience sex without their spouse”
I never claimed porn is okay. It is filth. Those are real people who expose their nakedness in front of others which is degrading and shameful. They perform a whole bevy of unlawful and perverted acts. Being entertained by their sins is something no Christian should indulge in.
“Tens of thousands of men taking up the challenge to stop masturbating, and they are seeing incredible benefits.”
What would those benefits be? Our bodies are wired to experience sexual release regularly. The need for sexual release is part of our nature. I don’t see how going against the way God made us is beneficial.
“Throughout Jewish history, as far back as we have record, the belief has been there that masturbation is sin. You would think at some point God would have addressed that, as He addressed other false beliefs in the Jewish faith. But no, He seemed to leave that one alone. Odd if it was as a huge misunderstanding as you seem to think it was.”
If the belief of the Jewish people was what set God’s standards, then why bother giving us the scriptures? The Jews believed Murder was wrong, but that didn’t stop God from clearly telling us that it was so in scripture. If masturbation was a sin, wouldn’t God communicate that in his word? Odd if it was a sin(a very common one, more than other sins combined probably) that he would be so SILENT on the issue. The Jews had a whole list of extra rules that Jesus called the “traditions of men”. He didn’t single out each and every one but these laws put a burden on people, that which God did not intend. Most people masturbate and most Jewish people masturbated in private(It would be a leap of faith to believe that none did). If masturbation was indeed wrong, Jesus and his apostles would have told us plainly. God would have mentioned it in the law of Moses. Who are we to add a restriction which God saw no need of in scripture.
“I have yet to hear a case made for the behavior though. No one has been able to come up with a scenario where masturbation is actually beneficial….How is that a good thing?”
Masturbation is a part of life, it is essential. We are programmed for regular sexual release. It relaxes us, clears our mind, makes us feel better. It is good for prostrate health too.
“In every case they are avoiding conflict with their spouse, avoiding personal or marital growth, or avoiding exercising self-control. Basically they masturbate in order to avoid good, healthy growth.”
No, people masturbate primarily because sexual release is part of our nature. We eat food because we need to and also with pleasure(the sense of taste isn’t evil), part of our nature. But we could easily lack self control in food, we could use food as a comfort food to temporarily take our minds off the problem at hand or indulge in it like a glutton. So with masturbation, but that doesn’t make either eating or attaining sexual release sinful.
I realise some married folks masturbate while thinking of someone other than their spouse. Many of those folks have similar fantasies while having sex with their spouse. In either case, or if it is done without any action, the sin is the fantasy.
Most couples I guess fall under this category, fantasising about someone else while having sex with their spouse especially sex in the dark! And sometimes in the case where the partner is not really actively involved with the love making. As Christians, the best way out of any sin is to focus on Christ and the gift of righteousness He has given us and appropriating it in our lives every day.
I’m lazy. Why waste effort imagining about others when I have perfectly good memories of *real* sex with my Bride?
Never quite got the reasoning behind the fantasizing. I mean, will the other woman have something different than mine, like a square hole or something? Maybe it’s just low testosterone. Or, just plain luck.
I have this question. I have the belief that masturbation isn’t wrong as long as it’s done within marriage. So would be masturbating to your spouse be a sin? I have also went over personal convictions and found that it depends on what your convicted of. I appreciate any answers.
My belief is that you are masturbating with your spouse present, then it isn’t wrong, if they aren’t, then it is. I explain this more in my post on mutual masturbation.
Sorry JD, you need to be consistent. Masturbation is either right or wrong, period. The act is either right or sinful not if you spouse is present or not. Your twisting the Bible to suit your purposes. But as I mentioned from the view point of my parents you are NOT a Christian
I’m consistent, it’s just my basis for what is right or wrong is different than yours. You’re arguing that it’s the touching. I’m arguing that it’s the relationship that matters more than the physical act. In that, I am consistent. And thank God your parents aren’t deciding who is going to heaven 🙂 I don’t think any human should have the weight of that responsibility. That would be terrifying to have.
Your wife holds the keys to your gratification and vice-versa. That’s explained in 1 Corinthians 7:3-5. I think I go a little farther then Jay Dee in defining “presence”. But here’s a question for you to keep in mind:
You want anal sex.
Your spouse would never, ever agree.
You masturbate to having anal sex with your spouse.
Would you consider that a violation of your spouse? Would God? Slippery-slippery slope, indeed.
Best all-round solution: Within presence, eyes and thoughts focused on your “goal.”
In my opinion, the defination of sex is sexual activities between 2 (or more!) persons. And becoming one flesh. Solo masturbation doesnt involve other persons (or animals) and you can not become one flesh with yourself – its about sexuality, but not sex.
In a way, it is an expression of your sexual selfesteem and self-affirmation, but it is not sex. Thus, you cant call it wrong or immoral sex. By the way, Song of songs contains masturbation and sexual fantasies about your (future) partner as well., when you decode all metaphors in this book, oral sex and masturbation will be revealed. See my article http://puberapostel.com/2015/08/24/song-of-songs-in-dutch-style/
Some claim : the bible doesnt need to specifically condemn it, we must look to it spiritually. Well ok, but even then. We are also teached not to impose more laws then strictly neccesary – love does not harm others. Masturbation is like food – its allowed, but sometimes not useful. Too much food (or too less!) will harm your health. But no one will blame you for eating in normal ways!
Is it selfish? I can say the same about eating icecream all alone, taking a solo show, enjoying life without anyway knowing except God. There is nothing wrong with pleasing yourself, as long as it doest hurt others – love will not harm others.
But yes, sometimes it can become a sin. When you neglect your partner, avoiding intimacy. When you escape reality, avoiding responsibilities, taking care of your call and family. But a few minutes a day pleasing yourself aint a sin. All is sacred, when its accepted in gratitude. In holy context, of course.
You’re entitled to disagree. But, I think you’re assertion that masturbation exists in Song of Solomon incorrect. It seems far more likely that Song of Solomon 5:5 refers to the custom that existed of painting the door handles of a newly married couple with myrrh and perfume. I’ve been through numerous studies of Song of Solomon, and I can’t say I know of a single reputed scholar who thinks that’s a reference to masturbation. Keep in mind that by Jewish tradition, masturbation is a sin as well, so, that would not be in keeping with the culture of the author of the book. Basically, it seems highly unlikely. Oral sex on the other hand, yeah, I agree, I think I’ve even mentioned that before.
As for equating masturbation to eating icecream, I’ve never heard a spouse feel cheated on because the other ate icecream. Yet weekly I get emails from wives who are devastated that their husband is “expressing his sexual self-esteem” as you put it.
many Christians de not believe that oral sex is right , many, in fact, believe it is very sinful. It is just your interpretation …
Yes, it’s my blog. The entire body of work is clearly my interpretation. I’m not sure what your point is.
Jay, I hate to disagree, but I don’t believe all solo masturbation to be sin. I believe masturbation is a method by which we can achieve orgasm, and in and of itself, is not necessarily a sin.
On the other hand, lust or fantasies during masturbation that involve someone other than our spouse would undoubtedly be a sin. In fact, these same lusts and fantasies are sinful even without masturbation. So I would tend to think that what’s in the heart and mind is the issue, not what the hand is doing. I would also agree that solo masturbation is sinful if it takes the place of intercourse due to the preference of one or both spouses.
My wife and I have a wonderful relationship together, but we are frequently separated due to business. We both occasionally masturbate during these separations. It’s not done secretly, we’re open about it and discuss it like we would anything else. We both are aware of what we’re doing, and we’re both okay with it. Honestly, if my wife becomes aroused, I’d much rather her take care of herself alone than to deal with a male coworker the next day in that condition. I know she would say the same about me.
As always Jay, I respect your beliefs and thank God for your ministry. You have been a blessing to both me and my wife. I pray if I am wrong with my beliefs that Christ will convict me.
It is true that there are are many things the church upholds as implicitly Biblical that aren’t explicitly stated in the Bible.
However, your comparison to the Trinity is a false analogy… while the word “Trinity” doesn’t show up in the Bible, the actual text itself presupposes it. In the case of masturbation however, OR (insert “sin” not explicitly stated), this isn’t the case. You’re gleaning something from the text that isn’t necessarily there, and then attempting to establish it as a truth, when in actuality, you can’t know for certain that it is a sin. You simply think it is.
I think people need to be careful when they claim something is a sin (which isn’t expressly stated) because of the potential negative impact in can have on peoples lives. I know I would not be comfortable with others altering their behavior based on what I have gleaned from the Bible concerning things which weren’t explicitly stated…
I can put you in touch with someone who’s entire denomination doesn’t believe in the Trinity, and they would say the exact same thing about you saying there is. Opinion is not fact, I agree. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not true. This is what I believe. You may choose to believe differently. I happen to believe what I believe is truth, if I didn’t, I would not hold to that belief.
Maybe check out the other posts on the topic, because since writing this, years ago, I hold the belief even more strongly based on what I’ve read, experienced and understood. Of course, you’re welcome to disagree. It’s not my job to convict you, just to witness to what I believe.
“Opinion is not fact, I agree. But, that doesn’t mean that it’s not true.” Correct, but that doesn’t make it true either. If you’re making a claim (that is, you’re saying it’s truth), you have the burden of proof. I personally don’t find your case convincing.
Are you saying; it is a sin, or you’re of the opinion it’s a sin? (I’ll infer opinion based on the quoted sentence above).
Just to be clear, you’re comfortable with people potentially altering their behaviors based solely on your opinions?
I’ll look for more posts as I have just arrived here by chance. 🙂
Am I comfortable with people potentially altering their behaviors based solely on my opinions? No. Did I say they need to? No. I’m not sure if you read the post in it’s entirety, but I think I was clear that I was sharing my belief, my opinion. I’ve said, more than once, that people need to make up their own minds. They need to do their own studying, their own praying, make their own decisions. I am merely offering my perspective, my viewpoint, which, yes, I happen to believe is correct, based on what I read in the Bible, my personal life, and the experience of talking with hundreds of spouses about this topic. But, I don’t have the authority to say that you need to do it, however much I believe that it would help your own relationships, both with your spouse and with God. I don’t think there is any amount of proof that will convince a man who wants to continue seeking false intimacy to stop, be it masturbation, porn, affairs, whatever. There needs to be a change of heart, and that I cannot precipitate, only facilitate when and if it does have one.
many Christians would consider you a very sinful man so think you should be very carefully to not fall into the same trap of twisting/interpreting the Bible to support your view. It is wrong to ruin peoples live based on your opinion and as a person of ‘influence’ this could be considered to be abuse and could be subject to the law. Think you should apologize and disappear.
I 100% agree with them. I am a very sinful man.
While I do often apologize and will likely continue to do so, I have no plans to disappear, too many people have requested that I keep writing.
Of course, if you don’t like the blog, there’s no one forcing you to continue reading it.
I love what you have written and find the comments disturbing! I don’t understand how anyone who has read the Bible especially the parts on marriage can truly believe masterbation especially whIle married is not a sin unless those people enjoy it so much they would rather defend it then practice self control. Anything you can’t share with your spouse should be a red flag it’s wrong. Masterbation is especially wrong I believe when it takes your interest and desire to be close to your spouse away. Then it is a selfish thing that can deprive your spouse of your affection. I know this is an older post but I just stumbled upon it and I’m glad I did! Thank you for writing this I think you are spot on!
Thanks Melissa! Welcome to the community!
but doesn’t apply to unmarried – that is a question that JD refuses to address!! lol
Except that I have – Why masturbation is a problem, whether you’re married or single
Before you make such a strong accusation, you might want to actually confirm I haven’t addressed it. Maybe even by just reading to the bottom of the post, where I linked to it.
I just stumbled upon this site and I admire the writer’s honesty and commitment to scholarship. Unfotunately, his views on masturbation, and his reasoning are way off. While it is difficult to discern issues like drug use as being sinful because there are no references to it in the Bible or even historical context for it, but mastubation has existed, as it does today, since before the writing of the original biblical texts. So for masturbation to not be referenced has to make you wonder why. The morals of sex is a common theme throughout the Bible. Polygamy, prostitution, rape, adultary, lust, witholding sex within marriage, and even the rights to sex within marriage, are reference and many even qualified in the Bible, yet not one reference to masturbation. Unless you believe that masturbation is more prevalent today than in the past, then one can only deduce that it is not considered sinful, given the knowledge of its existence by every Biblical scribe, Prophet, Apostle, and Jesus himself. C’Mon, even poop has more biblical references. Now that doesn’t mean that masturbation in a particular context can’t be considered sinful, just like sex, eating, working, or speaking, but painting masturbation with such as wide brush is simply theologically dishonest.
Recreational drugs – 1 Peter 5:8
Medicinal drugs – 1 Timothy 5:23
Seems pretty straight forward…
Of course, I also disagree that I’m being theologically dishonest 🙂 But, you may want to read the other posts on masturbation if you want to see more of my stance.
Lets look at the Verses you provide:
(NIV)1 Peter 5:8 – Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.
That verse could be falsely applied to anything distracting. How about using it to discourage taking naps, texting while walking, or using headphones while jogging. The context clearly describes the overconsumption of alcohol, while the consumption of alcohol is clearly allowed in the bible.
(NIV) 1 Timothy 5:23 – Stop drinking only water, and use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses.
Did you even read this verse? Its common knowledge amongst secular and biblical historians that alcohol was commonly mixed with local water to purify it. Given that alcohol was used as a medicinal drug all the way up to the 1800s (Actually in the 1980s most cough syrups contained high amounts of alcohol, and the Hot Toddy is still in use to remedy chest congestion today), I’m not even sure what your point is.
I have read your other writings on masturbation and my views still stand.
No argument that the Bible is okay with alcohol for medicinal use.
It’s also very clear that it’s easy to be seduced by it and we should avoid it if possible.
I’m not sure what the point of your comment is either. The point of my comment above is to say that Bible is pretty clear that there is a line between recreational and medicinal use for things like alcohol and drugs. Sounds like you agree, but are trying to argue?
Like lots of other things, masturbation isn’t mentioned in the Bible. However, Jesus gave us the Holy Spirit to guide us:
But when He the, Spirit of truth, shall come, He will guide you into all the truth. John 16:13
My take on it is that masturbation drives the Holy Spirit from me, which guides me to not participate. I need to feel close to Christ Jesus, and sin takes away that closeness, until I ask him for forgiveness and he restores it to me, and his Spirit returns. On another note, we are commanded that our desires are to be towards our spouse, not anyone else including ourselves. When my pleasure is only for and with my wife it is a much more bonding experience, the kind God designed it to be.
Yeah, there are a lot of legalistic Christians who believe that if it’s not in the bible, then it’s a free-for-all. I think God made us smarter than that… plus, there’s the ever-present Holy Spirit, as you mention.
unfortunately there are many legalistic Christians like yourself who use/twist/interpret scripture the way you want to support you view and then make a blanket law.
I’m legalistic because I think that sex should promote a marriage relationship, but you aren’t, because the Bible doesn’t explicitly forbid it? I think you might have your term inverted there…
I am always fascinated to read the various opinions given by Christians about the topic of masturbation. So-called experts, who claim the Bible as their guide, take positions of every kind – from “it’s a good thing to masturbate and everybody ought to do it,” to “masturbation is always a sin,” – the moderator’s position. The fact that these various and often contradictory positions are all supposedly based on Biblical principles and are coming from devoted Christians is quite discouraging. It leaves one with the impression that the Bible and the Spirit are not clear guides after all. That is very sad.
I know a man who is in a sexless marriage (30 years!) He thinks that Bible publishers would do everyone a favor if, in the margin next to 1 Corinthians 7 where Paul says that the outlet for sexual desire is marriage, they would print the words “just kidding.”
I have not read everything the moderator has to say, but, from what I can tell, he seems to feel: 1) masturbation is just a cop-out – an avoidance of dealing with relational issues. Just talk it out; that will solve it. And, 2) otherwise, just forget it. No one dies from lack of sex.
As for solving a sexless marriage by just talking (and praying) about it, there are many, people who can testify that that doesn’t always work. In fact, from what I can tell from reading many, many articles and forums, talking about it usually does NOT work. In the first place, if one’s partner just doesn’t have a sexual desire, it is hard to see how anyone is going to “talk” such a desire into existence. In the second place, though one might talk the resistant partner into having sex, it would be sex out of obligation, or guilt or pity, or mercy. I believe that most people want to be truly desired by their partner. If your partner has been convinced they “ought” to have sex and therefore concedes, that is not what most people want. People want to be genuinely desired.
Which leads back to the moderator’s second point – No one dies from lack of sex. So according to him, everyone in a sexless marriage which has not been corrected by talking about the issue should just shut up and tough it out.
So, there you have it. If you are in a sexless marriage; too bad. And, no reason to read this forum any more.
1) My position isn’t “masturbation is always a sin” – it’s that solo masturbation is.
2) I believe the Spirit is clear but that people don’t always listen to Him
3) Just because you friend is in a sexless marriage doesn’t mean the Bible is wrong.
4) No, you don’t “just forget it” if there’s no sex. I never said that. In fact, I have a few posts on things you should do, and it’s not just about talking and praying. However, most people aren’t willing to follow it through. People also aren’t willing to uphold their vows either.
5) Just because you won’t die from sex doesn’t mean you have to shut up. I never said that. In fact, I’ve always upheld that you should be authentic.
You’ve put a lot of words in my mouth considering you haven’t read everything.
lol. the whole “sexless marriage” thing really as you stumped as well as the single thing. Guess you alot more thinking that you need to do!!!! lol lol
The sexless marriage thing has me stumped? I had a sexless marriage, and now I don’t. I think I figured it out. And I managed it without death, divorce or threats. What part makes you think it stumped me?
I happened across your site today looking for information on the internet about the effects of fantasizing about your spouse. It was a discussion brought up in a ladies small group bible study I attend. Four hours later and having read through quite a few articles on multiple subjects, and tons of comments, your responses to those comments and so on and so forth”I have pretty much come to the opinion that you faithfully speak the truth in the Lord according to the knowledge He has given you to share with His children. So, thank you for your ministry! I appreciate your honestly, candid articles, and your hearts intention of wanting to bring these particularly hard subjects to the forefront of conversation amongst the Christian community. It is a real need.
That being said, this is the last article I have read this afternoon and cant refrain from commenting. I can share that I lived the first half of my life fulfilling my own sexual desires through masturbation, and after coming to Christ at age 29, found and have maintained freedom through repentance, presenting my body as a living sacrifice, and taking captive every thought to the obedience of Christ Jesus for the past 12 yrs, with the honest exception of a very few falls. In which, immediate conviction, renewed repentance, and the beautiful reminder of Gods compassion and grace that originally set me free set me once again placed me on the right path. I have found it to be tried and true that if I set my eyes upon Jesus, submit my body wholly to him in this area of my life, actively take preventative measures to flee from the lust of the flesh, that there is no question that one can walk in freedom from a lifestyle that includes masturbation.
The real issue, I believe, lies in submission. We are stubborn, selfish sinners dealing with a very strong fleshly nature! The devil isn’t our only adversary! It is natural in this sinful body to want to masturbate, to immediately gratify the sexual sensations our bodies produce rather than to submit to the Spirits leading which produces self control. Our bodies do some crazy things without our preapproval! But, the Lord calls us to crucify our flesh, not give into it, even if the timetable in which me may have to surrender to Him in this area is longer than we like it to be, or the circumstances of our single life or married life are less than desirable. We make all sorts of excuses to why we cannot trust him to give us the power to walk triumphantly in victory! It seems that “its natural” and “not specifically mentioned in the bible” seems to top the list for best reasons why not to deny yourself in most of the comments above.
I would like to submit to your readers, If I may, that just one good reason to deny ourselves this particular sexual gratification is because masturbation is powerfully addictive! Anyone who does it knows what I’m talking about! It can be a really deceptive stronghold of the mind which produces all of the coordinating bodily desires or sensations to keep it ever cyclical if we care to admit it! And although the bible doesn’t specifically mention the word addiction, I think we all know according to the Word that it is sinful. Whatever we submit ourselves to we are slaves to. We are only to submit to The Lord, presenting our bodies as a holy sacrifice unto Him. Can you honestly lay down and pray to the Lord, explaining that you are about to gratify yourself in solo sexual pleasure and would like His blessing first? Can you offer it as a holy act unto Him? If you can do that with a clear conscience after knowing Jesus Christ and a thorough reading of the scriptures, than I personally have no idea what else could be said to you about the matter.
What I would like to share though is this” The Lord is a Good Shepherd, who always corrects His children. Sometimes we get it the easy way, sometimes the hard way, sometimes early on, sometimes later on. Not to dismiss the importance of repentance needed when we are exhorted, but encouragement for those who find themselves on the exhorting end to be patient and loving with those whose hearts are not yet ready to submit. I am sure we have all been on both sides fo this walk of life! God is faithful to deliver His promise to conform all His children into His Son’s image. (Me included, so I’m not saying this judgmentally). He will finish the work he started in each and every one of us! That is good news indeed! It takes the surrender of our will and ideas for His though and they sure are pesky things that are always trying to get in the way of our submission to Gods will. ?
Specifically to you Jay, thank you again for reaching out to help those who find themselves in the clutches of this sin to find freedom. Its an important subject and I am grateful for those who God gives wisdom and emboldens to speak out on such matters. Will be adding you and your wife to my prayer list!
By chance were you married by age 29?! as it is much much easier not masturbate if married.
Married at 20 actually. It would be easier, if you didn’t have a sexless marriage for the first 7 years or so (like I did).
sorry, but you weren’t “technically” masturbating, you were actually masturbating. you even had the instinct to go back to what you did by yourself and get the full experience. you were, in fact, having sex. it just wasn’t sexual intercourse with a guy. all the exact same physiological things were taking place. you just replaced a guy with a waterjet. maybe that makes things seem dirty, but that’s what you did.
I think I side with the OP here. instead of asking “where does the bible state that masturbation is a sin?” we should be asking “what does the bible say sexuality was made for?”.
so you’re saying that you and your husband’s version of sex is to be in a room together and rub it out to each other?
it’s NOT an escape but rather a cop out for those lacking the Spiritual characteristic of self control. you can’t deal with the fact that you don’t have sexual access to a woman so you’ll have sex with yourself. a selfish act that allows one to avoid doing the necessary work to make themselves worthy of sexual access and turns something the LORD made for relationship into a self-serving act of turning someone(or something?) into an object for appeasing their urges.
and do spare me the pragmatic arguments.
so here you get the usual “no one knows what the bible is saying” remark and then a long argument from pragmatism.
well, that’s great. now what are you going to do about developing the Spiritual characteristic of patience and self control? this is something that all those who are born again in Christ have. why not develop some hobbies or get busy practicing charity?
Paul had a checkered past before he was “born again”, he was very sexual for his time and unconcerned per his choices and actions. His writing took on a more shameful flare once he felt guilty about his “own” decision to stop, not because it “was bad” but because he changed his own mind, and it shows in his writings. He’s feeling self guilt about a normal human activity not because the activity is bad. The Bible included his writing more likely because it fit the narrative of spiritual control for the times. it’s that simple, masturbation if fine in moderation.
I’m very curious where you got this information from as the Bible is very vague about Paul’s struggles.
Sounds like they’re getting Paul confused with Augustine.
“A German ambassador once told me he cdn’t bear
he was, he said, so hard on fornication” – Ezra Pound