Is Masturbation a Sin?

First, let me define the word masturbation. From all the “colorful” dictionary definitions given to the word masturbation, I chose one word, i.e. self-gratification, which helps me make my point easy and clear.

In most study results, from Christian and secular research works, it’s known that closer to 95 to 97% of young boys go through a stage where they touch and explore their private part and in the process find a good sensation.

This experience, which is one of the developmental stages called “puberty”, may occur between 9 and 12 years of age. I don’t think that this innocent act of exploring and finding good sensation deserves a punishment. Locking a nine year old boy in his bedroom for the whole day because he was found exploring and playing with his body won’t result in anything except putting the boy in a dangerous emotional distress that may encourage (or even force) him to explore more to find what his parents are afraid of.

During this time, what the boy needs is a father who comes along his side and teaches him what sexuality is all about (appropriate to the boy’s age); why God created our body the way they are and how the boy needs to handle his body in ways that is honorable to him and God. Without a father or father figure to lead a boy through this developmental stage, this innocent act of touching his private part may quickly change to masturbation, bringing himself up to orgasm (the peak of sexual sensation). Then he may try to find a way to repeat and maximize the frequency of this exciting sensation. By himself or by his friends’, or older brother or cousin’s help, he learns how to achieve that by accompanying the act of touching his private part with viewing porn magazines, porn videos, department store lingerie magazines, model pictures or just by going into the forbidden fantasy world of his mind to lust after others.

This habit quickly moves to addiction where the boy masturbates from 2 to 14 times (even more times) a day, to the point of hurting his body. This process may escalate to what is called “Acting Out”, finding a way to act out everything they view or fantasize with a real woman or man.

What masturbation addiction is or does to a man and what to do about it is beyond the purpose and scope of this article however I want to say that this addiction (habit that takes over a boy’s life) should not be overlooked. The addiction may not disappear by itself. Going into marriage with it may not heal it. In some cases, the young man may need the help of family, accountability partner, church counselors or licensed Christian therapist.

God created us all to be sexual beings, with the body that has sexual desire and the body that has a capacity to respond to sexual stimuli. However, praise be to Him, God didn’t leave us all to figure out about sex by ourselves. He gave us a Guideline or what is usually called “the User’s Manual”, the Bible. This Manual differentiates us from the animals which act according to their instincts.

The sex, the Word of God is talking about, is something that should only occur in the marriage union of one man and one woman. It is something a wife gives to her husband and a husband gives to his wife for the purpose of mutual sexual gratification. That is the gift from God for all of us to give it to our spouses. This God-given gift of sexual intimacy in the marriage doesn’t in any way or form hurt us because it is created by God for our goodness. It gives us joy, pleasure, gratification, contentment, rest, fulfillment, hope, confidence, peace, etc. There is no guilt, desperation, anxiety, depression, fear, or suicidal thoughts attached to it as these are attached to masturbation.

I am yet to find a person coming to me and say “Please, bless the LORD for me because He is blessing me with masturbation”. No person who is born of the Spirit of God can say that because the after effects of masturbation, fear, guilt, loneliness, anxiety, despair, depression, and so on, deprive him of his freedom to be right with God. How can a person call despair or guilt a blessing? No one can! Sexual gratification is something we give, not take. Whenever we take it in whatever way or form (in thought or action), we feel empty, alienated from God.

We can’t find in the Bible sex being described as a thing to take for personal gratification unless the passage is talking about the danger of sexual immorality such as adultery or fornication.

1 Corinthians 7:3-4 says: “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife.”

Listen what Deuteronomy 25:4 says: “If a man has recently married, he must not be sent to war or have any other duty laid on him. For one year he is to be free to stay at home and bring happiness to the wife he has married.”

Nowhere in the Bible we read for a man (or a woman for that matter) to take anyone (including their own body) and use it for sexual gratification. That is the message of this world, not God’s!

Sex, according to the Bible, is expressed in the marriage between one man and one woman. This, pure and wonderful gift of God, is only found in the marriage bed of one man and one woman. It gives physical, mental, emotional and spiritual gratification, pleasure, fullness, contentment which can’t be compared to anything else in this life. A couple can come to God and pray together saying “LORD, thank You for this wonderful gift of sex You gave us. Please be among us and bless our sexual intimacy.”

Amen! How can they say that? Their sexual union is pure, good and perfect blessing from God and God loves to bless and honor it by His presence.

Anything short of the above sexual intimacy doesn’t have anything to do with God or God’s will. Self-gratification is called masturbation; two people sleeping together out of wedlock is called adultery; two unmarried couple sleeping together is called fornication; and on and on and on. It can’t be called sexual intimacy which is the one the Word of God is talking about. God has no part in sexual immorality and guess who has the part in all immoral sexual expressions? You guessed it! The Devil and of course our sinful nature.

Though it is not mentioned in the Bible, there is one natural mechanism in the man’s body worth mentioning it here. This naturally built-in mechanism, which is commonly known as Nocturnal Emission or Wet Dream, gives the man’s body a physical release (or relief) from sperm buildup. In man’s body, sperm builds up every 72 hours (this build up process begins in the boy’s body between 11 and 13 years of age). So through this God-given mechanism, a boy (or man) finds release from the sperm buildup while he is sleeping. He doesn’t need to see a “steamy dream” or view porn videos before he goes to bed for it to happen. This mechanism is one of the ways we understand that it is possible for a man to stay sexually pure until marriage. “I can’t control it” can’t be an excuse. God doesn’t ask us to do anything that He didn’t first give us the capacity, strength and potential to do it.

A man who takes charge of his sexual desire is a man who is matured in major life areas. He is emotionally stable. Integrity, transparency, authenticity, responsibility and trustworthiness mark his lifestyle. His sexual desire before marriage is there not to drive him crazy but so he trains himself up to be the man of God who mastered self-control and self-discipline in all other areas of his life. Through it all, he learns to lean on God for all his needs and desires.

The Bible says: “Better a patient person (who patiently waits for sex until marriage) than a warrior, one with self-control than one who takes a city.” (Proverbs 16:32)

Do you see that?

That is why they say, “Show me a man who stays sexually pure and I will show you a man who is a faithful husband, a loving and responsible dad and a spiritually matured person.”

As children of God, we all desire to have a sexually pure life, but we are constantly bombarded by sexual images or verbal inferences. The society we live in doesn’t help us in any way. We are in a constant war but with Christ Jesus we are more than conquerors! We may stumble and fall but we rise up again, victory shall be ours through Him who holds the keys to death and Hades. (Revelation 1:18) ///