Is Masturbation a Sin?

is masturbation a sin

Is Masturbation a Sin?

Masturbation is rarely talked about in Christianity. In fact, it is a taboo topic that makes people uncomfortable when it is brought up. But, if you’re a Christian and you don’t really know if it’s a sin or not, it’s important that you do take the time to explore whether God approves of it, or if He commands you to abstain from this form of sexual pleasure.

And so, is masturbation a sin? Let’s explore the topic and what the Bible has to say about it.

What is Masturbation?

But first, let’s discuss what masturbation is. Masturbation is an act of manual stimulation of the genital organs to achieve sexual pleasure and orgasm. It can be a solo act or an act performed by two or more people together. It is self-stimulation that produces sexual arousal and pleasure.

About 70% of all men and 40% of all women report having masturbated at least once in their life. This means that most people do it, whether Christian or not.

It is an act of instant, self-gratification, and it mostly involves sexual images, pornography, or lustful thoughts.

Does the bible say that masturbation is a sin?

Hebrews 13:4 tells us that marriage is an honorable thing and the marriage bed is undefiled. This is evidence that sex within the construct of marriage is unrestricted between a husband and wife. Thus, masturbation is the marriage bed is ordained in the scriptures.

Self-pleasure with the intent of mutual pleasure between spouses is not a sin.

What Does the Bible Say About Masturbation?

The Bible doesn’t have anything to say about masturbation per se. There is no mention of self-stimulation or the word “masturbation” in the Bible. Many Christians perceive this lack of mention in the Bible as something that God approves of, or that God doesn’t consider it a sin, but many scriptures actually imply the sinfulness of the act.

Here are some scriptures that talk about lustful intent, which is almost always associated with masturbation.

In Matthew 5:27-30, Jesus talks about lust, and in centuries past, lust was defined as a strong desire or craving. The scripture also states that adultery has occurred when a man lusts over a woman.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6, it states: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified; that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.”

1 John 2:16, states that the “Lust of the flesh is the sin.”

Some scriptures in the Bible also talk about honoring your body, which means it must be kept pure and holy, and free from any sexual immorality, including impure thoughts.

In 1 Corinthians 10:31, it states: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

1 Corinthians 6:1-20 states: “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you are bought at a price. Therefore, honor God with your body.”

These scriptures tell you that lust is a sin and that your body must be honored at all times, making it pure, holy, and free from any sexual immorality, which can include female or male masturbation.

With masturbation, there is always thought of lustful intent. It’s a result of lustful thoughts, pornography, and inappropriate sexual stimulation. Though the Bible does not explicitly say that masturbation is a sin, most Christian churches say that yes, masturbation is a sexual sin.

is masturbation a sin

What Makes Masturbation a Sin?

Masturbation is sexual pleasure and God states that sexual acts should only be performed by a husband and wife. When masturbation is done for your spouse, and vice versa, it is not considered to be a sin, but an act that sanctifies marriage between husband and wife. This constitutes the marriage bed.

Masturbation to satisfy the sexual needs of your spouse is not considered to be a sin. But any act of sexual stimulation built upon lust and fantasy that occurs outside of marriage and outside of the goal of pleasuring your spouse is sexual sin.

God teaches us that He created sex and sexual experience to be within the covenant of marriage. All sexual activities outside of this commitment are acts against the nature of marriage.

Human beings are sexual beings and biologically, sex ensures that the human race continues. And so, when sexual pleasure is practiced outside the goal of procreation and of pleasing your spouse, it is considered to be a sin.

Here are some other reasons why masturbation is considered sinful by Christians:

Deprives Your Spouse

If you have been masturbating before your marriage, it can deprive your spouse of sexual pleasure and experience once you do get married. If this activity has given you pleasure before you had your spouse, you can revert back to this behavior as you please.

When you masturbate, you release sexual tension, and that means you won’t feel the need to satisfy your spouse anymore. This can deprive your spouse of the pleasure, intimacy, and connection sex can bring to your marriage.

God gave sex as a gift to a married couple and when you masturbate on your own, that means you are depriving your spouse of the gift of sex from God. In Hebrews 13:4, it is stated that God designed sex as a gift. It is also said that the marriage bed should be honored, cherished, and enjoyed as the gift that it is.

Sexual Addiction Overpowers You

Romans 6:22 states that we must only be slaves of God. Anny addition can overpower you. When you have an addiction like masturbation, the act can become your master, and you become a slave to the act.

Sexual acts and pleasure are so powerful that it’s easy to become addicted to masturbation. When you repeatedly do the act, care for it, and do it day in and out, it has become an addiction that has overpowered you.

God teaches Christians that only Him should be your master and that you are not to become a slave of anything and anyone else.

Masturbation Over Another is Considered Adultery

Matthew 5:28 states: “Whoever looks at a man to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

As mentioned earlier, masturbation always comes with lustful thoughts. When a man or woman watches pornography, they are objectifying the people in the video or pictures. They are viewing these people as sexual objects. When a person is aroused from viewing sexual images, they are experiencing an act of lust.

When you watch pornography and are sexually pleasured by the images of a man or woman, that can already be considered an act of adultery.

Advocates of Masturbation Believe It is Not a Sin

There is a lot of confusion when it comes to masturbation not being a considered a sin. This is because advocates of the act believe that it is a great way to release sexual tension without resorting to actual sexual intercourse outside marriage. For singles, masturbation can be considered a great way to enjoy sexual pleasure without having someone else dishonor their bodies.

Others also believe that it is a great way for couples to enjoy sex even when one is sick, disabled, or impotent. In terms of long-distance relationships, masturbation through phone or video calls can be an effective way to satisfy sexual urges and cravings within the sanctity of the marriage.

For widowed or single men and women, masturbation is an innocent way to fulfill sexual desires where no partner is available. And in women, 70% report that they achieve orgasm better than compared to vaginal intercourse, so they prefer it rather than being intimate with their partners.

Well, the Bible believes that masturbation is not all bad. When it is done within the confines of marriage, then it is okay. When both partners engage in the act to be intimate and satisfy the other, then it’s not a sin.

Remember that the act itself is not sinful but the lustful intent and impure thoughts that come with it are. This means that masturbation is only considered to be a sin when it is accompanied by lustful thoughts.

When you engage in the act to satisfy a partner who may be disabled, or has a debilitating injury, then that’s completely okay since the act is done inside the marriage, with the partner’s doing the act, and with the goal of satisfying the spouse.

When it has become self-serving, when it is done with pornography or lustful thoughts, even if it is done within the marriage, then it is considered to be a sin.

According to God, sexuality is the giving and receiving of sexual pleasure between two married people and sexual pleasure given to each is an expression of love.

Does masturbation fit into a relationship of love?

Even as Christians, we are all sexual beings. Sexual desire is built into the biological makeup of humans. As such, we should recognize our innate physical desires and aim to fulfill them in our life partners. Providing sexual fulfillment is an act of love.

If 70% of women report that they achieve orgasm better by external stimulation rather than penetrating intercourse, husbands are obligated by spousal love and affection to comply with the physical needs of their wives. For this reason, married couples often include mutual masturbation into their sexual routine.

Final Thoughts

Masturbation is considered a sin by Christians because it is an act of lust. It is done to experience sexual pleasure outside the marriage. It is done as a result of watching pornography, sexual images, and having lustful fantasies of other people.

God teaches us that sexual pleasure should only be done within a marriage, between husband and wife. And when it is done outside the marriage, or when it is self-serving, then it is a sin.

When masturbation is done by husband and wife to satisfy and express love to each other, then it is not sinful. Whenever masturbation is done with lust, that is a sin because God teaches us to be holy, keep our bodies pure, and be servants of only Him, and not by any other act.

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