Is masturbation right or wrong?

What does the Bible say about this? Is it a sin?


Answer:

The Bible does not mention masturbation by name. That means we must ask some questions to apply the appropriate principles from God's Word to find His perspective on the issue.

It's obvious God created sex to be enjoyable, but what is the setting He upholds as the place for sex to occur? It's always in marriage according to what we find in the Bible. Sex outside of marriage, whether with someone who is single (called fornication) or someone who is married to someone else (called adultery), is always condemned (see 1 Corinthians:6:18 and Galatians:5:19-21). In addition, Christ said that even looking on a woman with the intent of wanting to have sex with her is a violation of the commandment against adultery (Matthew:5:27-28). So God clearly teaches that sex belongs in marriage, not outside of it.

Sex is intended to be pleasurable, but it is obviously intended by God to be a pleasurable act that is shared between a husband and a wife. It forms a "pleasure bond," as some have described it, that helps emotionally unite the two people.

When you contrast that with masturbation (which is strictly for the pleasure of one person, whether male or female) it is obvious masturbation is outside of God's intent. It focuses on pleasing the self instead of a mate and is not the use of sex that brings the best long-term results in our lives.

As for whether masturbation is a sin or not, understanding the definition of sin can help us make that determination. One of the definitions of sin is "to miss the mark" (Vine's Expository Dictionary, art. "Sin"). Since masturbation misses the mark of what God intends for us, it is sin.


tenderlove

tenderlove's picture

there so many things we do that can but may not include the partner such as body cleaniness. A lot of acts are included in a sexual performance such as body massaging, breastfeeding and annointing the body with ointment which many also do without sexual intimacy . So it still remains unclear if masturbation is sinful or not, especially since it is not categorised under fornication or adultery or homosexuality and sedomy as mentioned in the bible. I wish some one could give clearity on the issue.




ilovejesus-dinushi

ilovejesus-dinushi's picture

my opinion about it- god has told us not to run after our own lusts or fleshly desires but to run after the things of his kingdom...and so why should people,especially christian's try to fulfill their own lusts when they can get busy with god seeking his things and asking him to help them get rid of all lusts?????and also god said he who lusts after a woman is committing adultery.so isn't masturbation kind of like the same thing?????another thing is,if we do the things the worldly people or non believers do-which is sin,what is the difference in us???????????????I think masturbation is a sin before gods eyes.




tenderlove

tenderlove's picture

hi dinushi,

your comments are good. We could generally assume that somethings is sinful or call it good or bad. But the essence of it is to be sure that God really call something sinful and evil. Masturbation as a lust is yet to be identified. On your quotation about lust after woman. I think Jesus said about lusting or looking at a woman to commit adultery with her. If it is allowed to touch my wife - why should it be wrong to touch my self - again - is it a sin to lust after my own wife? - am only looking for an answer that looks logical - Because I believe God is a logical thinking God and he does not initiate confusion.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

Tenderlove,

Perhaps there is some philosophical distinction that can be made between masturbation and lust, but in practice the societal norm is for masturbation to be a tool for gratifying one's lust. Is it permissible to lust after one's own wife, and therefore permissible to masturbate in order to satisfy that specific type of lust? The fact that one must resort to asking that question in order to try to justify masturbation demonstrates that the typical circumstances of masturbation are obviously wrong. 1 Corinthians 7 lends some understanding of this issue.

1 Corinthians 7:5 says a husband and wife shouldn't deprive each other sexually because our lack of self-control will cause us to fall into temptation. It is permissible and natural for a husband and wife to desire one another, but this scripture implies that even this permissible desire can lead to sin if left unchecked. How can this be so? If our desire for physical gratification from our spouse supersedes our desire for spiritual gratification from God, then we violate the 1st commandment. And how does this speak to masturbation? 1 Corinthians 7:4 says: "The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does."




Marco Brown

Marco Brown's picture

Hi Tenderlove, to a Spirit-led Christian the answer should be simple. Masturbation is accompanied by lustful imagined sexual acts and is therefore a sin as per Jesus' own definition of sinful lust in thoughts or actions. Secondly it is very selfish as it only concerned with personal momentary satisfaction of a desire and is not a primary need being met like for example food. Reserve sex for your partner of the opposite gender in lawful marriage who deserves your undivided loyalties and devoted loving affection.




dziwczyna

dziwczyna's picture

I presume when men are masturbating they have an image in their mind of someone or something. Maybe, I am wrong (I am a woman), but if I'm right they are lusting after someone or something which would be sinful.

Also, if you are married and choose to pleasure YOURSELF over your wife, that is clearly selfish. God clearly confines sex within a marriage (husband and wife), anything outside is sin and that would include masterbation, which is basically just sex with yourself.




tenderlove

tenderlove's picture

Thanks for all your comments. I am still trying to understand the mind of God on this issue.

We could easily asumme a decent scenario where a man and a woman have a good relationship. Where they both tend to abide by the pauline advice in 1 Cor.7

But there are quite numbers of cases, where one partner refused to abide by such rule or even opted for divorced.

Now there is a technical difficulty in placing desire for sex on the same slate with lust. Just as appetite for food may be different from being hungry.

Now lust is always towards something external and not to oneself.

One may become naturally hungry because one is used to be hungry and one may be hungry because one develops an appetite for a particular food.

So man may want sex because he lust after some one in his mind (This I understand to be sin)
But a Man may also desire sex without any pre lustful intention but simply out of unconscious memory or simply becuse he is used to haven sex.

The purpose of Sex in the creation is for productivity. But the sexual contact usually induces certain feeling in human which make man to seek and desire it continually.

Such unconscoius memory (without any lustful intention) could lead a man to what we may call masturbation ( playing with his organ) just like such unconscoious memory leads one to be hungry

hey steve! though I like your comment on 1Cor 7.5 very much, would like to correct that paul did not say that the permissable desire can lead to sin if unchecked. Paul said that the permissable desire can lead to sin if not gratify or satisfy by the other partner.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

I think I have pinned this issue down now thanks to your comment, "Paul said that the permissable desire can lead to sin if not gratify or satisfy by the other partner."

Consider this: if it were okay for a man to masturbate in order to satisfy this permissible desire for his wife, then why on earth would Paul be concerned that the couple may be tempted by Satan if they go too long without having sex (1 Corinthians 7:5)? If it were okay for the man to masturbate to fulfill this desire, then Paul's statement makes absolutely no sense - if such were the case, the man would technically never need his wife again, since he could lawfully satisfy himself! On the contrary, Paul says that they must come together again in order to express those desires in a lawful use of their bodies together.

Also, it's important to distinguish that the desire of the flesh to have sex is not inherently sinful, but seeking to fulfill that desire with anyone other than your spouse (either in thought or in deed) is sin. For a man to feel that desire is certainly no sin - the concern is that he might, if his wife is unavailable, seek to fulfill it through someone else. If a man's wife is unavailable, then he is in no worse of a position than an unmarried man, who has no lawful outlet for fulfilling his desires, but must do as God admonishes us: to endure temptation without sin.




tenderlove

tenderlove's picture

hi steven britt,

your comment is beautiful. Thanks




londonbrandon

londonbrandon's picture

I'm going to tell my (youngest) fourteen year old son that his best case scenario is to wait until he's in his late twenties (at least) to get married. This is because I love him... and I want the best for him and his children... and for a number of reasons, I'm confident about this advice.

It appears the majority opinion here is that I also tell him that for the next fourteen years that he is to feel a sense of guilt and shame if he masturbates... irrespective of his conceptualization during the act... that it's just a black and white issue: masturbation is a sin because the act is inextricably linked to sinful thought. It that for me to say?

I would be telling him that it's not a sin to get married at 18... just ill advised.

I have not yet met my grandchildren but I have an opportunity to do whatever I can for their benefit and indeed for the benefit of mankind in general... and I can't help but link the dots all the way back to the sexual drive of a very young man and how this drive might tend to influence the timing of his fatherhood and the happiness of his marriage. Quite frankly, I cannot reconcile this position with what Paul says:

hen come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command. 7 I wish that all of you were as I am. But each of you has your own gift from God; one has this gift, another has that.
8 Now to the unmarried[a] and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. 9 But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.




Steven Britt

Steven Britt's picture

londonBrandon,

Sexual desires are somewhat unique in that there is a lawful outlet for them through marriage; however, do not be fooled into thinking that marriage exempts anyone from sexual sins. A great number of married people today seek to fulfill their desires outside of their marriage either through affairs or masturbation. Your son should not feel that sense of guilt if he masturbates for just that next 14 years, but for his entire life. If he chooses to fulfill his desires before marriage by masturbation, it will develop a sinful habit that will be difficult to break later in life, and, if he really cares about his wife, he WILL want to break it.




pureheart

pureheart's picture

We all have freedom of choice of whether masturbation is sinful or not. I think this scripture answers best whether masturbation is a sin or not, you decide! - See: Leviticus 15:16-17; I think the problem lies with the fantastical ideas (thoughts) that are often associated with masturbation. Is it possible to disassociate one from the other? I would say that God knows the hearts of righteous men and women and that masturbation is something given to keep us from fornicating and committing adultery. The apostle Paul says it best here: 6:12 "Everything is permissible for me" but not everything is beneficial. "Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. The key would seem not to be consumed by a thing to the point where it gets out of control and leads us away from God. I think masturbation in itself is a form of self-preservation and not in itself a sinful act, but an act 'given' to keep us from harm.




pianoman

pianoman's picture

I agree with LOndonBrandon and Pureheart,
Some people never have a relationship with a person to get married, thus they remain single. I believe masturbation is no more sinful than any other sin. The bible doe snot elaborate on it, nor does God elaborate on the subject. Moses never elaborated on the subject, neither did Jesus, The on Of God.




pianoman

pianoman's picture

People who say that masturbating is a sin are not single and must have husbands and wives to satisfy their sexual desires. I am single for 54 years, in the church, baptized and observe all the holy days and attend Sabbath services when I can (150 miles round trip), care giver for my mom, etc., but I have never read anything in the bible, and I have studied it from the old testament to the new and have never found anything on the subject.




xbox74

xbox74's picture

What if you're single and don't wish to be in a relationship, is it still a sin?



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