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Is it sinful for widows to masturbate?

Jay Dee

Is it sinful for widows to masturbate?

Dec 02, 2016

How do you answer the question of whether or not it’s okay for widows to masturbate?  Well, I got asked this very question back in August and I’ll admit, I’ve been hesitant to answer it.  Here’s the comment from our Are sex toys allowed in

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Is it okay for widows to masturbate?How do you answer the question of whether or not it’s okay for widows to masturbate?  Well, I got asked this very question back in August and I’ll admit, I’ve been hesitant to answer it.  Here’s the comment from our Are sex toys allowed in a Christian marriage post:

I am a widow now for just a little over a year now. I am in my early 60″s and when having memories of my husband and I being intimate, arouses the want in me for his touch and desire for him, which is impossible to have. Would it be wrong to have a sex toy? I have talked to a very close friend, who also is a widow and she said, she doesn’t think it is wrong. I have mixed emotions, please help me know your thoughts on this.

In my stance against masturbation, this scenario, above all others, makes it seem harsh.  After all, she’s a widow.  She didn’t choose to leave her husband, she’s hurting over the loss of intimacy.  She’s not thinking about another relationship.  What’s the harm? But, I can’t avoid it if I want to be intellectually honest with my stance.  So, here we go.  Let’s tackle this.  Is it okay for widows to masturbate?  I’m going to stick with “no”.

1. Instructions for the church

There’s a little-known passage in 1 Timothy 5 that is directed at widows.  Actually, it’s directed at the church in how to care for widows.  But, in it, Paul makes some interesting comments:

Let a widow be enrolled if she is not less than sixty years of age, having been the wife of one husband, and having a reputation for good works: if she has brought up children, has shown hospitality, has washed the feet of the saints, has cared for the afflicted, and has devoted herself to every good work.  But refuse to enroll younger widows, for when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry and so incur condemnation for having abandoned their former faith. Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not.  So I would have younger widows marry, bear children, manage their households, and give the adversary no occasion for slander. For some have already strayed after Satan.  – 1 Timothy 5:9-15

So, Paul is talking about what widows the church should care for, and which should go find a husband.  In fact, he has an age, but I think we need to adjust some for lifespan changes since Paul was writing this.  One source I found said that life expectancy in the classical Roman era was under 50 years old (assuming you didn’t die before the age of 10).  So, a 60-year-old widow would be considered quite aged.  These days with our life expectancy at an all-time high of near 70, and many lasting even longer, this changes the timeline a bit.

2. Paul warns us about our passions

IN THE BIBLE, PAUL NEVER EVEN CONSIDERS MASTURBATION IN HIS WRITING. THE OPTIONS ARE TO FOCUS ON GOD OR GET MARRIED AND FOCUS ON YOUR SPOUSE. THERE'S NO "FOCUS ON ME" CHOICE IN CHRISTIANITY.Interestingly though is the reason Paul gives for not enrolling a widow under 60 (a woman not yet nearing the end of her life).  He says:

For when their passions draw them away from Christ, they desire to marry. – 1 Timothy 5:11b

And that made me think of another verse from Paul:

But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. – 1 Corinthians 7:9

It seems to me that Paul is not giving any ground to satisfying your sexual desires.  That you have two choices:

  1. Control them
  2. Marry

There’s no option given to masturbate, no hint that that’s okay.  Arguably, you could say the lack of any wiggle room seems to indicate masturbation would be lumped in with “sexual immorality”:

But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. – 1 Corinthians 7:2

The practical side is that you might one day decide to re-marry.  It will be difficult to go from having exclusively solo sex for a time to partnered sex again.  We see this as an increasing problem with younger men and women.  They get married with a history of solo masturbation.  Then they have troubles with true intimacy.

However, even if you choose not to re-marry, there seems to be a greater concern for Paul, and for me as well.

3. Focus on your spouse or focus on God

It seems Paul is saying the choice you have is to focus all your sexual energy and redirect it to serving God.  If you cannot, then get married.  Why?  Because the middle ground is dangerous:

Besides that, they learn to be idlers, going about from house to house, and not only idlers, but also gossips and busybodies, saying what they should not. – 1 Timothy 5:13

I think it’s because masturbation has a tendency to make you self-focused.  It wears at your generosity, your hospitality, your desire to give to another.  It is a purely self-serving activity that benefits no one except gratifying your immediate desires.  The spiritual implications of living a lifestyle that is so “me” focused is devastating to your relationship with God.  God seems to be willing to share your focus with a spouse.  I think that’s because marriage teaches us about God.  Having children teaches us about God.  But, God is not willing to share himself with yourself, if that makes sense.  While marriage is outward focused, self-gratification on this level is purely inward focused.  Not only that but the chemical reactions in our brain are so strong and so binding that they imprint this behaviour very strongly.  Solo masturbation makes us selfish.

4. Is it okay for widows to masturbate?

I’m going to say “no”.  I think it will harm your relationship with God, and others.  It will change your character.  It will make you self-focused.  Instead, focus on God.  I know that sounds like a glib response, but I believe it’s the biblical one.  Devote your life to Him, and I believe you will find it even more fulfilling than a lifetime of self-induced orgasms.  Of course, this applies to widowers as well.

That’s my opinion anyways.  You’ll have to decide your own.  What do you think?

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59 thoughts on “Is it sinful for widows to masturbate?”

  1. Joe says:

    This is such a harmful and dangerous topic, it’s sad too because I like a lot of the other articles published here. There is zero reason to do theological gymnastics in order to stop widows from masturbating. Absense of mention is not evidence for abstention. Evidence does show that masturbation can be a healthy natural sexual function (extremes and hard cases aside). This is an attempt to be more conservative than god. I’m so sad for the people genuinely curious who are rule followers by nature and who will read this and live a life of burden and unbecesaery sexual suppression. I weap for the widows and military wives and people in sexless marriages and those with disabilities. Your burden is heavy, your teaching is harsh and damaging – and while coated in Christian politeness and piety – it is nothing but man made self righteousness and artificial rules. I wish you hadn’t posted this.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Absence of abstention is not evidence for masturbation either. You can’t have it both ways. I’ve presented a logical reasoning to my stance. Feel free to return and share one of your own. We can’t have a rational conversation if all you share are feelings.

      1. Jan says:

        Initially I was not going to respond to this but after some thought I “felt” I should. My initial hesitation comes from my “feeling” having read many posts of the past using solely analytical arguments (or logical reasoning if you prefer) and trying to process the frequent “theological gymnastics” that this approach seems (in my view) too often about assuring a “win” on a position and avoiding any significant concession. A master of the analytical argument can almost always find a way to support an argument and counter any opposing position. As humans, it is our unique God given feelings that often allow us to take analytical arguments and filter out the part that appears to be for arguments sake only, self-serving, and find what’s truly best applying a bit of God’s unconservative grace. Joe actually and rationally shared more than feelings citing the “theological gymnastics” , “absence of mention”, etc. but was dismissed with the oh so common circular reasoning defense regarding his comment on “absence of mention”. As an engineer I truly understand the value of the analytical argument when used to aid decision making but when divested of “feeling” can lead to cold, harsh, life-devastating impacts when the matter is of the heart and soul. On this topic I would much prefer to be on the side of “feeling” and be compassionate than to have the best technical argument. Even if you can not, I would grant this dear lady her moments to “feel” a bit of what she felt in the touch of her beloved husband and sense that closeness and love again. I would like to think God will not judge too harshly for being compassionate on this controversial topic.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          I think that is the problem that we get into with Christianity. We mistake having compassion with compromising our integrity. I believe we should approach what is right and wrong without compromise. There is truth and there is not truth. There’s no compromise on that, and that can be ascertained logically and analytically.

          The application of that theology is different. We should endeavour to teach with compassion and mercy, teaching that while sin is detrimental to our relationship with God, He is merciful and will forgive us if we turn back to Him.

          However to compromise on what I know is right because I feel it is harsh would be to put my feelings above what I believe God’s will is. That would idolatry in my mind.

          So, no, I don’t think God will judge too harshly. I think He will judge with the perfect blend of harshness and compassion as He always does.

          1. Jan says:

            Jay Dee, I understand what you are saying regarding compromise, right and wrong, etc. and do not disagree. However, we often assume we know more than we really do about right and wrong, sin, etc., are in love with our own arguments, or are so determined to make our case we miss a fuller truth. I wish the truth, right and wrong was always as clear as you try to argue it is. I like this forum because you are willing to address difficult topics and certainly credit you for that. But I have read more than enough posts to believe you will not infrequently do what it takes to hold a position even if it takes questionable “theological gymnastics” or circular reasoning that simply causes others to just back down and give up. Your methods and argument style seeking the “truths”, “rights and wrongs” may not be used as altruistically or be as infallible as you would like to think. Often it just comes across that if someone holds a different postion than you that they are plain wrong, that your arguments are infallible, and the oposing view/case is dismissed without honest consideration. Don’t be so in love with your talents and abilities; humility actually makes one more believable as motives are not as easily questioned and people just simply listen better.

            1. Jay Dee says:

              Those are quite the accusations to make. Of course, my perspective is different than yours. What you see as “being in love with my own argument” I see as being convicted of a truth. What you see as “theological gymnastics”, I see as synchronicity in the scriptures.

              But, I am not afraid of being wrong. I used to believe masturbation was okay. I defended it in the past, using many of the same arguments as I see in the comments. So, I don’t dismiss the arguments raised without honest consideration. Quite the opposite. I’ve already held them in the past and recanted them.

              I appreciate the different perspectives, though, even if I think they’re wrong. I do dig into some of them, and whenever I do, I find my conviction strengthened because I find even more in the Bible to support what I see to be God’s truth. Not because I believe it, but because I believe it’s right.

              I’m more concerned with following the truth than I am about my own “love of my talent and abilities”. In truth, I’m more concerned with following the truth than I am about what anyone thinks of me, including myself. When I’m wrong, I admit it and let people know, publically if need be. If you’ve followed the blog for a while, you may have seen those public apologies and corrections.

              As for pride/humility. Well, there’s really no way to answer that without sounding prideful, is there? Though I disagree with your assertion that “humility actually makes one more believable”. I don’t think that’s so. I believe humility makes one more likeable and makes it easier to follow. Not more believable.

    2. MaBeck says:

      God doesn’t think like you think. I went through an extremely painful divorce many years ago, and God loved me enough to tell me after the first time I had masturbated, that it was a sin. He showed me that it opens the door for lust and fornication and that there is a spirit of masturbation. He protected me and said His grace was enough. Indeed it was–I’m now happily remarried. NOT masturbating after my first marriage failed allowed my sexual needs go “back to sleep” for a season, so I could be faithful to the Lord and wait patiently.
      Masturbating is “awakening” our sexuality in the wrong season, if done outside of the marriage bed. (Song of Solomon)

      1. Anonymous says:

        Spirit of masturbation? Seriously???

      2. Kevin says:

        Remarriage is a much weightier topic to worry about than masturbation. What about those who have been abandoned by their spouse… and are remaining separate or reconciling? They may remain single for years interceding for a prodigal spouse. Touching themselves while thinking of their beloved is far better than holding out for an adulterous subsequent marriage in my view.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Firstly, I don’t think “Option A is less sinful than option B, so therefore it’s not a sin” is a good argument.

          Secondly, why are we assuming the second marriage is adulterous?

    3. jean says:

      I agree with joe
      I am wondering…..have you been widowed (widowered)? do you know what it feels like to miss intimacy and never have it again?
      if You can say “no” to either of these question….you have no business in the least… giving advice on it.

      1. Jay Dee says:

        I think that’s one of the great mistakes of this generation: the idea that you can’t make a decision unless you’re in it. However, the Bible, and psychology, is clear that you should make decisions like this before you are in the situation because once you are there, you won’t think clearly. You will do what tempts you, not what fits your moral compass or your goals. This is the basis of cognitive behavioural therapy: make decisions outside of the context so that when you are in the context, you can act appropriately. And the Bible says similar things, that we should be masters of our emotions, that they should not guide us, but rather that The Word, The Holy Spirit and God-given logic should.

        As for having no business giving advice on it, my advice was asked. I’m merely answering the question. You’re welcome to disagree. But it doesn’t mean I’m wrong to answer it.

      2. Anonymous says:

        Thank you, Jean, as I am in my early 60s and a widow for 1.5 years. I have struggled w/ this issue, keeping celibate for much longer than that due to my husband’s illness. It is a real life and devastatingly horrible problem to live through and as I was reading this guy’s original answer, was repulsed by his insensitivity and abject inhumanity. He obviously has no clue what he’s talking about, cares only to see his response on the web, and has no real compassion or empathy for anyone who has to live with this situation. I came to the internet to try to find some real answers and unfortunately, there are very few resources for widows, especiallly, on this topic and there is a general lack of information for widows in particular on how to grieve, how to keep living, how to cope with all of the difficulties of not having your spouse, to whom you were dedicated solely, to turn to each day, take walks with, reach for in the night, or count on to just ‘be’ there. Widows are left to literally fend for themselves to figure it all out. We lose the majority of our ‘coupled’ friends, we’re seen as potential rivals, often third wheels if we’re thought about to be included, and now this guy says we can’t even deal with the stress in a way that once a month might make us feel alittle more human. Thanks a lot for your column. I will never return to this ‘uncovering intimacy’ website….Oh, not to mention the blatant ‘sex toys for couples’ ad adjacent to his post. Hypocrite.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          First, let me say that I am sorry for your loss and that you felt marginalized by the post. And as I’ve responded to other people, I don’t have any personal experience with this, but then that’s the point. Once we’re in the situation, we can no longer think in an unbiased manner about it. We get compromised by our feelings on the subject and tend to follow our desires rather than God’s will. I was asked my opinion and I gave it. I didn’t write it “see my response on the web” as you put it. I do understand wanting to rage against the author when it’s not the answer you want though. I can see how you might find it insensitive and want to demonize me. It makes it far easier to ignore the conviction if you can rationalize why you shouldn’t listen.

          As well, it’s unfortunate that your friends have treated you in such a way and I hope there is some way to find a support system that can help to ease the loneliness.

          As for the blatant sex toys for couples ad, I apologize for that. It’s part of the sidebar and shows on every page. However, I’ve found a way to exclude that section from showing on this page. Thanks for the feedback.

    4. Judith M. Davis says:

      Thank you for your Christlike compassion.

  2. Stephen says:

    Seriously? What does it matter if a widow or widower choses to or not to !!!

  3. rickei says:

    Wow! You’ve got some deep-seated fear of masturbation.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Fear of masturbation? No. I think there’s a healthy context for masturbation. I just don’t think sex with anyone but your spouse is that context, even if that’s yourself.

  4. Mike says:

    That is a tough question. But, I appreciate your ability to answer it. And I appreciate that you are able to be consistent in your answers and true to your theology. I agree with you that it sounds “harsh and glib”, but I don’t think you should change your position just because it sounds harsh. I am just glad that I haven’t had to answer questions like that. When your in the business you are in, I guess it is an occupational hazard.

  5. LatterDay Marriage says:

    I think it would be a path to depression for many. Longing for something that is out of reach like that. You can’t heal and move on in life if you keep wallowing in a painful past and reopening wounds so I don’t think it would be good for one’s mental health to do this.

  6. Butterflywings says:

    Sorry Jay, masturbation is a topic where we’ll have to agree to disagree.

    I see nothing in the bible that forbids masturbation as long as it’s focused on no-one other than your spouse (or in the case of single people, just on the sensation, not a person at all) and that it doesn’t take away from having sex with your spouse (current or future).

    You talk about Paul pointing out widows can remarry…. ignoring the fact that women have a longer life expectancy than men, living a lot of women chasing a very small pool of men in older age… where does that leave a refused spouse? A refused spouse cannot just remarry.

    I’m sorry but I really don’t see the application of the above verses as disallowing masturbation where sex in marriage is not an option.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I’m ignoring the life expectancy differences because it’s not relevant to the underlying principle. My theology isn’t dictated by measure of easiness.

  7. Wayne says:

    I haven’t been on this site every day since discovering it, but already this has had the most volatile response of all I’ve seen. For what it’s worth, the main problem I see with this is it analyzes a bit too much. I can relate, being a “deep thinker” myself, and the son of two academicians, and we don’t want to go off the other deep end of ethereal, spiritualizing the lurid, highly erotic Song of Solomon as a church allegory either – that kind of thing.
    As to whether I agree or not, I’d agree with others, it’s pushing the edge of harshness, especially when it comes to widows. It’s different for a woman – every man should respect that, and not saying you don’t. Women (in general) tend to take longer to warm up to sex, and so if she needs an outlet that badly, once in a while, so be it. It’s also different for the widowed – everyone should respect that. Again, I believe you do. Just reminding all of us, myself included.
    As to your stance on masturbation itself…I don’t know. For me, I almost want to say it was a path to eventual sexual purity, growing up in the liberal college town environment that I did in the ’70s and ’80s. It was a step down from the girlfriends and sleeping around that I did, not ‘excessively’, but I did do it. (I could teach an entire army of religious conservatives about the REAL pitfalls of liberalism, as opposed to the alleged ones, but I’ll leave that alone!)
    If this level of absolute purity is what is demanded of me, it is a demand I cannot fulfill. Only Christ can – and has – done that for me. Otherwise, I’m sunk.
    I’ll say I disagree – but respectfully. I’m listening to the pitfalls you bring up, the potential for selfishness – especially, I must say, in a man, being a man myself. I guess I’m just kind of old fashioned in believing it’s still possible to hear out opposing arguments, and present them with the hope of at least partially persuading the “other side”. How else to reach the unsaved otherwise?
    Anyway, I do applaud you for keeping this site going, and bringing up this most emotional of all subjects, and opening it up for cross talk. For the most part it is a pleasant surprise how much we, including other visitors, do agree on. May it continue to help us all.

  8. HK says:

    Amen, brother! You really see the selfishness of people when a sensitive subject comes to light. I commend you for standing your ground in what the Bible teaches. I’m so tired of people using the excuse that “God wants them to be happy.” No, first and foremost, God wants you to OBEY.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      No, I think God wants us to be happy, but a deep, abiding happiness and joy. Not a temporary happiness. The only way we can get that abiding joy though is to obey. Not because obeying is what will make us happy, but because He tells us things that will make us happy in the long run.

      1. HK says:

        I meant that people use that as an excuse to fulfill their fleshly desires, not what God wants us to do. I agree with you about obedience, no doubt about it. I have two people in my family who are living in adulterous relationships and they use that excuse a lot, that why would God want them to be lonely and miserable? (They both left their husbands on their own terms.) Well, if they would read the Bible, and in one case more carefully, they would know that if you divorce your spouse, you have no right to be with another person. But it’s like people nowadays think they know better than the Almighty God.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Not just nowadays. I think that has ever been the only real sin. Thinking we know better than God. All the rest stem from it.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I dont agree on Masturbation, I think masturbation should be encouraged if you are single. I would introduce my kids to masturbate when they reach their puberty and wait for sex when they are married. Even in marriage masturbation should be an option for release. Masturbation shouldnt reduce sexual intercourse. Just like when a woman produces milk, she needs to express it else it hurts and doctors dont recommend it, man needs release once he starts producing semen.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I have another post on that: Why masturbation is aproblem whether you’re married or single

      As for the woman producing milk, that’s a catch 22. If she expresses the milk, then the body will make more, and she’ll need to express it more again. But, while it may cause discomfort, if she doesn’t, the body will adjust and express less in the future.

      Masturbation works in a similar fashion. If you masturbate, your body gets used to the dopamine and oxytocin that gets produced and wants more. But, if you can exercise self-control, your addiction will subside and you’ll find it’s not as pressing a need.

      And I don’t buy the doctor’s recommendations for expelling semen. They flip flop on those recommendations too often to have any value.

      1. Bonnie says:

        If I may add one addition to “the man needs release once he starts producing semen.”
        Many men get vasectomies which surgically leaves them unable to release sperm. It is reabsorbed by the body.
        Men who have had prostate surgery no longer expel semen.
        These men still feel the need for release, even though they have nothing to release. They still feel relief after orgasm even though no sperm and/or semen have been expelled. The pressure they are feeling is that of vascular engorgement in the genitals. The relief is due to a relaxation of the engorgement and a shift in hormones and neurotransmitters.

        Your explanation of how milk production and masturbation work is spot on.
        It’s amazing how the body can readjust and find a new equilibrium.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          Oh, nice points, thanks!

  10. K says:

    JayDee, I completely agree with you 100% and I really didn’t think the post was harsh or glib ( insincere or shallow). Why does some think this? How else would or could you have said it?! If those few that did comment on it in this way are referring maybe to the widow and her pain of her loss then I can see where maybe it came from. But this post wasn’t about feelings and she did not ask you the question to expect any sympathy or empathy from what I seen. She asked a very straight forward question in what I gathered. Maybe you have already emailed your condolences when you replied or asked to use the email??
    I am a female and I am more sensitive in those areas and I really didn’t see any of those things mentioned.

    I found this article posted today that is the first one below and it gives some great points on the topic. The other 2 below the first are a couple other good finds that I was just sharing because I felt them to be awesome posts that anyone would get a lot from reading them.

  11. Kevin says:

    Why Do We Try to Complicate Everything?

    First off, I trust this poor widow hasn’t been waiting for your reply since August. That is a long time to wait in limbo, but that is neither her nor there.

    It has struck me lately that for every article we read, very shortly there appears a second article taking the exact opposite point of view. Even, and apparently, especially, among bloggers A short time ago (yes, time lines escape me), there was a book published called “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” and more recently, there was a blog/article posted titled “I Kissed Dating Hello”; articles about peace and protection (read warfare), articles about singleness and being married, about patience and forthrightness, about companionship and solitude, and in marriage the articles do not become any simpler. Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs…do this…don’t do that…can’t you read the signs? Sorry, I digress and reveal my age in one fell swoop.

    Now on the one hand this is to be expected. We all have different backgrounds, temperaments, personalities and influences, so it should only be expected that we are going to have differing points of view. However…

    Witness the ongoing and seemingly never-ending discussion on masturbation, both within and without the marriage context, and most recently an article about the right or wrong of masturbation by a widow. A very well-known (and I hope friend) blogger who always creates very well reasoned and scripturally based arguements, built a very compelling case for a widow not masturbating based on Bible verses relating to age. At this stage, I am not going to say that I defacto disagree with his arguement (although, I think I do, and at some point, and I am going to have to sort out my thoughts and get them put into a complete and separate post), however, I do have some issues with the passage of scripture that the arguement is based on.

    I have, over the last year, become enamoured with the details that we often miss when we are reading scripture…and it would appear that there are many of them. In this case, I believe what we overlook are the two little words “a” (or in some translations “some”) and “enrol”. In this passage, Paul is setting out the requirements and conditions for a class of female ministers (or as some commentators call them…presbyteresses). Paul is setting out the criteria for a group of women ministers in the church who would also be looked after and supported by the church. He is not establishing the rightness or wrongness of a particular activity. The “a” (or “some”) would indicate that not all post-60 widows would qualify to belong to this group of servants. It was designed to be a very select group of women…no other family to look after them, wife of one husband, having a history of care, compassion and ministry within the faith community before they were widowed, etc. Paul picked an arbitrary age as a bracket to use for entry into this class of ministers (because the other term is too hard to spell and/or pronounce). He is simply acknowledging the way we are created as human beings.

    It is my feeling that using this passage of scripture to delineate sexual activity is, regardless of what that activity may be, is unfounded. It has been from a personal that I learned from one 20-something widow, whose young husband died within a couple years of their wedding day, that God simply took away her sexual desire. That has not been the case in the example that opened this discussion. In this widow’s own admission, she is not living in the past; rather, as I read her testimony, she is still in the grieving process, and still having longings for her husband. Maybe I am misreading the timeline, but that is my interpretation.

    I am not saying at this point that I agree or disagree with JD’s evaluation, yet. I am just stating that I don’t believe that this passage of scripture can be used to support the arguement for abstention of masturbation as a widow. I look forward to continued discussion.

  12. Jan says:

    The following link ( will take you to a post copyrighted by Focus on the Family titled “Masturbation and Widowhood”, otherwise I would have pasted it here. I believe it provides a well balanced compassionate perspective without compromising clear biblical principles (though it does not make direct biblical reference). I find it refreshingly honest and non-judgmental as they accurately acknowledge that the Bible does not directly address masturbation, acknowledges the broad topical disagreements and difficulty in resolving the issue, and does not go through extreme theatrics toward defense of one position or the other. Grace and compassion is offered as caution is given about “laying done hard and fast rules or making definitive statements about the mind of God” where in my interpretation the bible does not adequately enlighten us unless we dangerously (and possibly wrongly) read into the scriptures what suits our view.

    1. J says:

      Thank you for that link. Now that’s what true compassion looks like without compromising Gods values. I sure hope the lady asking the original question will get to read that article.

  13. DeplorableDebbie says:

    Well these are most interesting opinions, experiences, observations, lifestyles, cultures, rules, no rules and beyond that I have ever read anywhere!
    I have learned in my 74 years that unless the situation……..whatever that is……..becomes your own it is impossible to understand another’s .
    With all due respect and with no malice intended, I would say to Jay Dee that I imagine you are happily married, have regular sex with your husband, may use lubricant for pleasure or for neccesity or not, avoid sex “toys”, never masturbate either alone or with your husband, avoid oral sex and live a pure life before God.
    So, let me ask you what would you do if your husband could no longer ” perform” due to 27 year history of bladder cancer and other chronic illnesses and medication, could not bring you to orgasm manually, intercourse is painful for you even if your husband could get an erection because you had a total hysterectomy including your cervix removed due to cancer, but the sexual desire for both you and your husband is still there? Yes, what would you do then?
    My husband and I are Christians. We pray, we tithe, we give , we participate in church when we are able , we love the Lord and He loves us. We do not commit adultery because of our situation. We do not fantasize about other men or women, we do not engage in pornography but we both long for that time in our life when we had what you most likely have which is ” normal sex”.
    Which brings me back to my original question. What would you and your husband do if your situation was ours?
    Exactly!! You don’t know what you would do is what I suspect you might be thinking.
    So, keep giving your answers to everyone and anyone as if you understand. I’m sorry, but you do not………unless you are THERE with that person. That is why we have the Holy Spirit in us Christians to guide us, teach us and convict us of our sin. He may give a different answer than you might expect , but it will never go against His word.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Hi Debbie,

      So, to correct some of your assumptions:
      1) I’m the husband, not the wife.
      2) We are happily married, but weren’t for the first half of our marriage, so I know both dynamics there.
      3) Yes, we have regular sex
      4) Yes, we use lubricant
      5) We certainly do not avoid sex toys (we have quite the collection)
      6) We engage in mutual masturbation quite frequently.
      7) Oral is a ton of fun! Why would we avoid it?
      8) And we try to live a pure life before God. But I’m afraid we fail quite often.

      So, what if we couldn’t perform? Well, we haven’t had cancer or a hysterectomy. But, we have been through 5 pregnancies, 4 births, one C-section and a vasectomy. So, we’ve had our share of sexual pains and hiatuses.

      What would we do? Probably oral sex, mutual masturbation and sex toys. But, that’s because my spouse is still there and alive with me. If they were gone, I’d seek to abstain from those expressions. As I said, at least, that’s my view from this side.

  14. DeplorableDebbie says:

    Your answers don’t surprise me. So let me correct some of YOUR assumptions
    1). I said nothing about happily or unhappily married. Your experience is not mine.
    2) I don’t recall asking you if you would avoid or participate in oral sex. Good for you, but not for me.
    3) I’m sorry, but pregnancies including C sections are ” normal” occurrences since one or the other is the only natural way a woman can have a child. That is a normal ” temporary” interruption. We have had a couple of those also. That in no way compares to chronic illness with lasting consequences of 27 years.
    4) As to what you would do, you obviously did not read the entire content of what I wrote and neither will I repeat it.
    5). Re being without a spouse, neither of us is
    ” there” ,but once again you made an assumption of what you MIGHT do .
    6). And lastly,you didn’t explain what living a pure life before God entails.
    7). No response is needed because you missed the main element of this entire discussion. You are NOT where I am and therefore cannot understand. You are only ASSUMING what you might do and sounds very similar to what you are already doing!!

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Perhaps I misunderstood then. You said “I imagine you are…” and then listed a bunch of things you imagine me to be, it seemed you were making assumptions about my marriage.

      Perhaps the “I” was unintentional, in which case, it changes the subject of the paragraph entirely! I didn’t make assumptions at all, I did read the entire content. But, based on your response, I’m guessing there might be a typo there that caused a lot of confusion. Would you mind letting me know if that’s the case?

  15. Heather says:

    Id like to share my story. As a child I masturbated often. No one knew but my conscience always bothered me afterwards.. I wasn’t told it was wrong or dirty and the first I ever heard of it being questionable was when I was in my teens. Because my conscience bothered me I just accepted that this was not something that was pleasing to God. I just inherently knew it. I had a very healthy view of sexually growing up and had a desire to please God. After I married, I would still occasionally self pleasure apart from my husband but continued to feel convicted about it. I would repent and carry on. Then everything changed for me. I had a profound spiritual experience. I received the infilling of the Holy Spirit and when I did the desire to masturbate left. After, I never masturbated again during my married life. Unfortunately, after 35 years of marriage my husband died and I was left a widow. For some time, I felt a lot of self pity and would often lay in bed at night missing the physical touch of my husband. I fell back into self pleasuring and found that the more I did it the more I wanted it. Soon, I found myself unable to stop. My conscience really bothered me and I found it was affecting my relationship with God. After a time of struggle I was able to stop it completely. I starved the desire simply by denying myself. There is also a verse that I quote out loud when that desire begins to rise again. It is found in Galations 2:20. I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I that live, but Christ that lives in me, and the life that I live, I live by faith in the son of God, who loves me and died for me. I also have an active social life of serving others, having healthy relationships, keeping active and involved in helping others, using my gifts. This keeps my focus on others and away from self absorption. Personally, I found that the benefits of a vibrant, growing relationship with Christ and walking with a clear conscience far outweighs the momentary pleasure of an orgasm.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Thanks for sharing Heather.

  16. Robert Steven Smith says:

    Why don’t you address widowers? Is it wrong for men to masturbate after the loss of their wife? or is it only sinful for a woman?

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I don’t see any difference. I guess I just figured it didn’t need to be explicitly stated.

  17. Paul Douglas says:

    It is difficult to believe that pontifications are given by folks who don’t have the problem. Kind of like a non-alcoholic going to Ten Steps with teetotalers. Analytical thinking doesn’t do one much good when you have a dead mate. Sure, adultery, porn adultery and continual desire is a problem. But wonderful memories need not be squelched. They need to be cherished.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I think Maimonides would have agreed with you. He was a Jewish theologian in the 12th century who believed that it is holier to have overcome sin than to never have experienced it. In short, that those who have been in the situation, fallen and risen out of it are better able to help those going through it. It was one of his principal arguments for why the Christian Christ couldn’t be the Messiah. Taken to it’s logical conclusion, it would also mean that God can’t give us laws, because God thus has rising up experience with which to judge or help us.

      As C.S. Lewis said in one of his books, I think Mere Christianity, saying it’s unfair that someone who hasn’t been through the situation can help is a bit like a drowning man refusing help from someone on the shore, demanding they get in the water before throwing them a rope.

      But, let’s take your advice to the logical conclusion. Let’s say they “cherish” the memories of sex, which, from your comparisons to porn, I’m guessing you mean use it as masturbatory fuel. What happens if they meet someone else? When do they have to stop? Do they not have to? Is it okay for them to continue masturbating to their ex-spouse (even if by death) while married to another? When engaged? When dating? When “on the market”? Are the rules different if you get divorced? Is it okay to continue to masturbate to the thoughts of an ex? What about old lovers outside of marriage?

      You get into circumstances where for many there’s no clear rule of what’s right and wrong, and no rhyme or reason to why one is okay and not the other. To me, they’re all equal, and all equally wrong.

      Now, you of course have to make up your in mind about what you believe is right and wrong. I can’t speak for God. I can only share my own thoughts and reasoning. Now, you might consider that pompous and dogmatic, but I don’t see how. They asked my opinion, and I gave it.

  18. Belle says:

    Seriously. So if a widow or widower does not intend to remarry then you are suggesting they go the rest of their life (10-20-30 years) without any sexual release, i. e. maturbation.. as a female I have to laugh, especially at Jay Dee, I cannot imagine any male achieving that. Are you suggesting we become akin to Catholic priests and nuns, lol. You see where that has gotten them. Not all widowed folks have the opportunity to remarry dear. You remind me of the pharisees who burdened people down with burdens of legalism…

    1. Jay Dee says:

      I know, it’s not a popular opinion, but it’s how I see scripture laying it out. If you have verses that she another interpretation, I’d be curious to see them. And yeah, I think the same would go for men. Men can restrain themselves, but they don’t think they have to, so they’ve never learned self control.

      1. Widowed says:

        Please share the scriptures that states i can not as a 47 yr old highly sexually driven widow not masturbate. The verse you quoted infers that I should remarry to avoid sexual sin. What I want to know is a verse that tells me masturbating is a sexual sin.

        1. Jay Dee says:

          There isn’t one. There also isn’t one telling you not to have cyber-sex, phone sex or sext with people, whether you’re married or not. At least, not explicitly. But, I think implicitly there’s a strong case for it.
          I’d suggest reading this post to help you understand my position better: Why masturbation is a problem, whether you’d single or married

  19. Eric says:

    Jay Dee, you are spot on!

    2 Timothy 3:16
    “All scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

    When I was younger (14-19 years old), I masturbated for various reasons. When you are a young boy/man, you would wake up erect creating more desire to satisfy this burning desire and masturbation would temporally help; however, this self-gratification is addictive. When I did marry, it did affect my sexual life at first. However, though time and discipline my sexual gratification was satisfied with my wife.

    Proverbs 5
    18 Let they fountain be blessed: and rejoice with the wife of thy youth.
    19 Let her be as the loving hind and pleasant roe; let her breasts satisfy thee at all times; and be thou ravished always with her love
    Most important it affected my relationship with God.

    JAMES 1:14
    But every man is tempted when he is drawn away by his own lust and enticed.

    I am not saying that a wife is a sex object.

    Ephesians 5:25
    “Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it;”

    There will be days when she is not in the mood and you must show discipline and respect. Even when your married, it requires discipline and self-control. Respect them and care for them for they are a blessing from God.

    Proverbs 18:22
    22 Find a wife and you find a good thing; it shows that the Lord is good to you.

    My wife passed away on April 1, 2019 with a terrible battle with ALS. She had Bulbar ALS affecting her respiratory, swallowing and speech and succumb to respiratory failure. I know it has been a short time since her passing and some time since we were able to make love but knowing what I had and what I had before (as a young boy/man). I will wait for sexual intimacy! I am 56 years old and I hope someday it will happen but to take one day at a time. Before I find a wife, I must find a friend first.


    1. Jay Dee says:

      I’m so sorry for your loss. I can’t imagine. Thank you for sharing.

  20. BB says:

    Let me guess, the writer here is not a widow or widower.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      You’d be absolutely correct. I’m guessing by saying this, you’re saying I have no right to give an opinion when asked by a widower what my opinion on the topic is? In which case, why is it that I don’t have the right to have an opinion, but you have the right to say she can’t ask my opinion. So, because you don’t like my opinion, she shouldn’t have the right to ask it. Do I have that right?

  21. Cindy says:

    Wait Until Jay Dee Himself Is A Widower for a length of time.. Then… Ask what his OPINION IS

    1. Jay Dee says:

      This is a specialized case of the “No True Scotsman” fallacy whereby you’re trying to shut down any discussion about a situation by severely limiting who can have the discussion. This is the same argument feminists use when they say men don’t get a voice in abortion debates because they don’t have a uterus. Using these rules for discourse, only criminals could be police, only mentally ill individuals could be therapists, only atheists could evangelize, and Jesus would have had absolutely nothing to say about sin.

      By contrast, I believe it’s better to make your decisions before you’re in the situation, particularly where there are strong emotions or desires that might cause you to act against your beliefs once you are in that situation. If you’re waiting to talk to your kids about sex until they’re adults – you’re too late.

  22. Mark Hill says:

    Jay Dee, you’re smarter than that, dude… I’m surprised you are lumping cyber-sex, phone sex, and sexting with masturbation when talking about the “sinful” things things that are absent from the scriptures. Masturbation has been around since at least the Fall, right? But cyber-sex and sexting etc. has been around for only the past couple of decades, and phones only the past 150 years. Is there nothing else you can use to draw a scriptural comparison using apples to apples? As is, your illustration falls flat with me, but maybe I’m missing something.

    By the way, the Bible is silent on anal sex (like it is masturbation), yet you’re okay with the former but not the latter. I don’t get it. Is it okay merely because you like it, and it’s not harming anyone if both spouses agree to it? What if both spouses agree that their spouse masturbating is okay — does that stop it from being sin in your opinion? Also, I believe you said that masturbation is sin because of its potential to deprive your spouse of your sexual energy and attention, and because of its potential to cause you to lust after someone other than your spouse. Both of these things would make masturbation a very selfish act, is what I think I heard you say. But then how is talking your spouse into having anal sex not sinful, if the reason your spouse allows it is to please you, not because it’s okay in your spouse’s head? That’s very selfish of the one asking because it’s all about him/her, just like masturbation, right?

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Well, thank you for the compliment, though it felt a bit backhanded.

      Alright, so an example that would have existed in their time. Yeah, we have a few. The most obvious one would be sex prior to marriage. The Bible never explicitly states that it is sinful. It says sexual immorality is and based on the principles of marriage that we see in the Bible, we make the assumption that fornication falls under the blanket of sexual immorality, but it doesn’t actually say it anywhere. Now, I think you can make a strong argument that sex prior to marriage is wrong, which is why I hold that stance. So, if we accept that one premise – is it wrong to engage in mutual masturbation with someone before you marry them? Technically, it’s not “sex” as is classically defined, but I would argue it still is outside of what God intended and thus isn’t permitted. But, if you were taking a legalistic approach, as you seem to want to, then I’m not sure what leg you have to stand on against it. Maybe lust, but people for masturbation often like to argue that they can masturbate without lust, so I would assume they could say the same thing in that situation. They’re not lusting, just enjoying the experience. Let’s push it further and say you’re mutually masturbating with someone else’s spouse. Again, it’s not “sex” as per the classical definition, thus it’s not adultery, and if it doesn’t include lust, it’s okay, right? I mean, if you’re being legalistic.

      Now, of course, I don’t think any of these are permissible for the same reasons I think solo masturbation isn’t – because it violates the premise that sex is designed to be experienced between two spouses, and no one else. I also define sex more broadly than sexual penetration. This is also why I don’t see an issue with anal sex because it’s sex shared between two people married to each other – same as oral sex.

      But, I have no idea why you think I support coercing your spouse into anal sex against their will or if they don’t enjoy it. That’s a gross mischaracterization of my beliefs. If there’s anything on my site that can be misconstrued to lead to that belief, let me know and I will rewrite it to be clearer.

  23. Mark Hill says:

    Okay, here’s more… Since there is no specific biblical instruction on masturbation, we are left with the task of creating a sexual ethic as followers of Christ. But that can and does vary from person to person, right? Sinning against one’s conscience — and not everyone’s conscience is the same. So maybe masturbation is sin for some and not others. Holding hands with my girlfriend gives me erections, and causes me to lust after her and desire having sex with her, even though we are both virgins. Since she is not my wife, and may end up becoming another man’s wife, I don’t want to do something that causes me to lust after her, or tempt me to reach under her shirt or down her pants. So maybe holding hands is a sin, right? But is that a sin only for me (and not others) because I can’t control the erections and lust when I touch her? Maybe it’s not a problem for some guys so it wouldn’t be sin for them. And maybe I get to the point where holding her hand never caused that response because I’m getting used to it — but now kissing has replaced the cause for those responses. Do I stop kissing her now because it’s causing me to sin? Perhaps. So do the same activities cease to be sin based on how my body and brain react? And if sin can change to “not sin” depending on the context, then I think masturbation is in the same category. It may be sin for some and not others. If I wake up with an erection and it feels good to rub it, that doesn’t mean I’m lusting after anyone. It just means it feels good, like scratching an itch, or stretching my back. And if I rub that same erection long enough to cause ejaculation — an erection that was not caused by any conscious decision on my part — also doesn’t mean I’m lusting after anyone. It’s an automatic response. Just like the chemicals in my brain that get released when I scratch an itch, and causes me to feel good, or relieved, or relaxed, or whatever. A buddy of mine has super itchy skin, and he said when he scratches it long enough that it’s almost orgasmic. So what if he did have an orgasm from scratching? Did he just sin? I just don’t see your point.

    1. Jay Dee says:

      Alright, let’s say touching your penis is like scratching an itch. Would you let another women scratch that itch? I mean, if it’s just like scratching your back, what’s the problem? I mean, if it just feels good. Or let’s say you pay someone else to do it. Someone you aren’t interested in sexually at all, it just feels good, so you aren’t lusting. Is that okay? Why not?

      As for your friend, I think there’s a big difference between intentionally doing something sexual and inadvertently having an orgasm. Some women have “core-gasms” while working out in gyms, against their will. That’s not the same thing at all as sitting down in the middle of a gym and masturbating with people around you.

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