The subject of masturbation is the cause of much concern and confusion among Christians. Most of us are taught that masturbation is sinful or wrong, and many believe that the Bible actually forbids masturbation. The latter is simply untrue; masturbation is not even mentioned in the Bible. And when we consider the facts, it becomes clear that masturbation is not a sin, but rather a blessing from God that enables us to fully enjoy our bodies and can help us lead a more healthy spiritual life.
Masturbating for the Glory of God
Some people say that they feel guilty, shameful, or dirty after they masturbate, and so they conclude that masturbation must be a sin. This is just because most of us have been taught, often by misguided religious authorities, that our bodies are bad and anything relating to physical pleasure is sinful. This is simply not true, and this is not what God intended for us. God created our bodies, along with our capacity for sexual pleasure and orgasm. Masturbation is just a normal release of sexual energy, and if used properly, it can help keep us healthy physically and spiritually.
The Scripture tells us that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Spirit, and that everything that we do should glorify the Lord. While masturbation is not a sin, we must be careful to masturbate in a way that is respectful to our bodies, and respectful to God. Masturbation is a gift that we should not abuse. This means we should not masturbate to excess, or to the point where we injure ourselves. If you are masturbating until you are exhausted, or until your genitals are raw or bleeding, this is excessive, harmful, and not what God intended. If you masturbate compulsively to the point that it interferes with your work or your relationships with friends, family, and God, this is a problem. If you masturbate while indulging in impure thoughts (fantasizing about your neighbor’s wife, for example), this is also a misuse of God’s gift. Of course, this is not to say that masturbation in itself is wrong – simply that we must use masturbation in a way that is healthy and responsible.
Masturbation: God’s Gift to Us
Most discussions of masturbation don’t even touch on the multitude of ways that masturbating can contribute to our physical, emotional, and moral health. Here are just a few of the many ways that masturbation is beneficial:
- It prevents sexually transmitted diseases. Masturbation is the safest form of safe sex. You can’t catch or spread any STDs when you masturbate.
- It prevents unwanted pregnancies. By masturbating instead of having intercourse, couples – both married and unmarried – can avoid the dilemma of an unwanted or unplanned pregnancy. If birth control is not available, masturbation is a wise alternative to unprotected sex.
- It’s an alternative to premarital sex. Masturbation provides an alternative to intercourse before marriage. It allows both partners to keep their virginity intact for their wedding night.
- It’s an alternative to sinful behavior such as adultery. If a man or woman is tempted to indulge in adulterous sex, for example, masturbating is a much better alternative to committing a sin.
- It provides gratification if sex is unfulfilling. Many women do not experience orgasm during sexual intercourse, and some people are just unable to climax with a partner. In these cases, masturbation allows the experience of sexual fulfillment.
- It allows us to reap the health benefits of sexual release. Medical research shows that having regular orgasms can contribute to overall health in many ways. Having an orgasm releases physical tension and emotional stress, releases endorphins, and improves circulation. Studies also show that having regular ejaculations decreases the risk of prostate cancer in men. Masturbation allows us to enjoy these benefits whether or not we have a sexual partner.
- It enables us to enjoy our bodies and God’s gift of sexual pleasure. Most importantly, masturbation is a way for us to enjoy and celebrate our God-given sexuality. Sexual pleasure and orgasm are blessings from the Lord, and masturbation is one way we can experience them. Our bodies and our sexual organs were made to feel good; if we deny ourselves pleasure, we are refusing one of God’s gifts.
Many people are under the impression that the Bible specifically forbids masturbation. In reality, the Bible does not even mention masturbation. The story of Onan (Genesis 38:7-10) is always cited as an example of how God will punish masturbators; this is where we get the term “Onanism,” which refers to masturbation. However, the story of Onan has absolutely nothing to do with masturbating. After his brother died, Onan was commanded by God to impregnate his brother’s wife. Onan had sex with her, but defied God by pulling out before he ejaculated so she wouldn’t get pregnant. His seed spilled on the ground – due to coitus interruptus, not masturbation – but this detail became equated with masturbation by those who apparently had their own agenda.
There are other passages in the Old Testament (Leviticus 15: 15-32, Leviticus 22:4, Deuteronomy 23:9-11) that refer to “emissions of semen” and what is necessary to purify one’s self after an ejaculation, or if you get semen on yourself or your clothing. There is no mention about how the emission occurs, although it would seem like masturbation could definitely be a possibility. However, it’s important to note that these passages say nothing about masturbation being sinful – simply that you must ritually cleanse yourself after ejaculating. So keep some tissues, paper towels, or wet wipes handy when you masturbate.
Thank God for the Blessing of Masturbation
God made our bodies, so if we think our bodies are dirty and shameful, we are shunning God’s divine creation. And if we masturbate with shame and feelings of sinfulness, we are besmirching God’s blessing. Instead, we should celebrate our bodies and our sexual nature, and rejoice in the pleasure and satisfaction that they can bring us through masturbation. God’s birthright to us is joy, happiness, and health, and there are few moments more joyous than the moment of orgasm. Therefore, every time we masturbate, we should say a prayer of gratitude, thanking the Lord for our bodies, for sexual pleasure, and for masturbation as a means of experiencing the bliss of orgasm. Remember also the many ways that masturbation helps keep us physically and spiritually healthy. Masturbation is truly a gift from God, and one that we should use with respect and righteousness to glorify Him.