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What Does the Bible Say About Masturbation?

Was masturbation, also known as self-pleasure or solo sex, mentioned in the Bible?

Did the Bible prohibit masturbation?

Was anybody involved in the act?

What was God’s response?

These and many more are the questions believers, Christian leaders, Christian counselors, and people engaging in masturbation ask and type on Google, hoping to get a definite answer.

The Bible did not give a straightforward answer about masturbation being a sin or not.

However, scriptures about sexual purity, temptation, and lust will guide us through this journey of discovering God’s will about self-pleasure, solo sex, or masturbation. 

Masturbation in the Bible?What does the Bible say about touching yourself

Before we discuss what the Bible says about masturbation, it is crucial to clarify that not only men engage in the act.

Women also engage in it.

Also, the use of sexual toys is a form of masturbation.

Sexual toys come in different categories to cater to men and women who masturbate.

So, what qualifies an act as masturbation is when one person touches oneself or uses an object to stimulate their sexual parts or sensitive body parts to induce or satisfy sexual urges.

The end goal of masturbation for a man is usually to release semen or sperm, while for women, it is to reach orgasm. 

Now that we have cleared that, the Bible did not use the word masturbation. However, it gives an account where someone spills their semen on the ground, an act similar to masturbation.

In Genesis 38:8-10, Judah’s first son Er died without having a child with his wife, Tamar.

So, Judah told his second son, Onan, to have sexual relations with his elder brother’s widow so his brother could have children that would bear his name.

However, Onan knew the children would not be his own, so he slept with Tamar but did not release his semen inside of her. But spilled it on the ground. This act infuriated God, who killed him instantly.

Although Onan did not engage in solo sex or self-pleasure, which is the primary purpose of masturbation, his story gives us an idea of how God cherishes the male seed and why it must not be wasted. 

Masturbation corrupts the purpose God gave men sperm and how they must be utilized.

God expects married men to release their sperm into their wives through sexual intercourse for the purpose of procreation.

Going against this divine order is sin because sin is doing anything that goes against God’s will.  

Is masturbation a sin?Masturbation in the Bible

To answer this question, we must understand the concept of sexual sin according to the Bible.

Many people have limited sexual sin to fornication and adultery alone. However, several scriptures state that sexual sin is beyond having sex when unmarried and cheating on one’s spouse.

For example, Jesus said that looking at a woman lustfully is the same as having sex with her. “But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28)

Based on Matthew 5:28, sexual immorality is not limited to having sexual intercourse alone.

It also gives us an idea about an aspect of masturbation, which is seeing and thinking.

One truth about masturbation is that it first begins in the heart and is triggered by pornography.

Porn involves looking at naked men and women lustfully. It also triggers sexual thoughts that lead to sexual tension, which is eased by masturbation. 

In most cases, those who masturbate replay images and videos of sexual scenes or images they have previously seen while engaging in the act. By doing this, they have automatically engaged in fornication.

And God’s Word in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 says fornicators will not inherit the kingdom of God. James 1:15 says lust leads to sin, and sin leads to death. Lust is a sexual feeling outside the confines of marriage.

Anyone who bows to the pressure of lust commits sin, and sin leads to death. Death here is not physical death but spiritual or eternal death, synonymous with spending eternity in hell.

Those who masturbate usually have an uncontrollable urge to touch themselves and release sexual tension.

The Bible encourages self-discipline and control.

We must not be slaves to our emotions and urges but only righteousness. “But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” (1 Corinthians 9:27) 

God’s purpose for sexIs masturbation a sin

Also, understanding God’s design for sex will help us understand if masturbation is a sin or a harmless act.

God’s original plan for marriage is for a man and a woman to come together as husband and wife, enjoy themselves sexually, and procreate.

1 Corinthians 7:3-5 says, “Let the husband render to his wife the affection due her, and likewise also the wife to her husband. 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. Do not deprive one another.” 

That means that a husband must sexually satisfy his wife. Likewise, the woman must do the same.

This scripture reveals that sex involves two people bound by a marriage covenant.

Therefore, it does not correlate with the concept of masturbation, which involves one person pleasuring themselves.

So, sexual satisfaction is only permitted between a married man and his wife. When only a woman or a man performs sexual acts in isolation, they have gone against God’s Word.

Another purpose of sex is for procreation.

After God created Adam and Eve, He commanded them in Genesis 1:28, saying, “Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” 

God’s plan of increasing the population of the world can only be achieved through sexual intercourse between a man and a woman. Therefore, the purpose of a man’s sperm and a woman’s eggs is to procreate children. 

When a man decides to masturbate and spill his sperm on the ground, bed, or anywhere, or a woman pleasures herself without the aim of reproducing, they have gone against God’s will.

Does this mean that married people must have sex only when they want to have babies?

No. Sex for pleasure is allowed only within marriage based on an agreement between two partners. But any other sexual act can be termed sexual immorality (Mark 7:21-22). 

And the Bible encourages us to flee sexual immorality and gives reasons why.

“Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Corinthians 6:18-20)

The issue of guilt and shame after masturbatingWhat does the Bible say about self satisfaction

Masturbation involves an endless circle of lustful thoughts, climax, release, and guilt.

Almost everyone struggling with this habit confesses they feel heavy guilt and regret after engaging in the act. 

What does the Bible teach us about guilt?

2 Corinthians 7:10 says, “Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death.” 

There are two types of guilt: godly sorrow that brings repentance and worldly sorry that leads to death.

The former forces one to ask for forgiveness and genuinely repent after committing sin.

An example of someone in the Bible who had godly sorrow was David.

After secretly committing adultery and murder, God sent the Prophet Nathan to tell him about his judgment.

David’s reaction showed genuine repentance.

He acknowledged his sin (2 Samuel 12:13). He also asked for forgiveness and repented (Psalm 51:10-19)

However, Judas Iscariot’s case was different.

He betrayed Jesus by collecting some pieces of silver, revealing His location, and kissing Him on His cheek to identify Him. But after Jesus was killed and Judas came to his senses, he was overwhelmed with guilt or worldly sorry.

His guilt did not push him to ask for forgiveness despite having a personal relationship with Jesus and knowing He was a loving and forgiving God. Instead, guilt pushed him to hand himself. 

In other words, masturbation is a problem because it is an endless circle of guilt, shame, and worldly sorrow.

Although it does not lead to physical death like Judas, it causes separation between a person and God, leading to spiritual death. 

Is masturbating with sex toys a sin?Masturbation—is it a sin according to the Bible

Again, understanding God’s original plan for sex and how it should be enjoyed is crucial.

God created man and woman and the marriage institution for a reason.

When we observe the male and female organs, we will appreciate God’s creativity and understand that sex is for two adults. So, anything that contradicts this divine order is against God’s will.

Another angle to this is that the devil is good at counterfeiting God’s creation.

One of his aims is to attack God’s plan by creating an alternative or false version.

For example, he is behind false prophets to deceive people. His purpose is to mislead people and provoke God. So, the enemy inspires people to create sex toys to attack God’s plan for marriage and godly sex. 

But the reality is that toys can never replace real human affection, support, and care.

It only temporarily solves other compounding emotional, mental, and physical issues.

So, it does not matter if you use your hands or toys to pleasure yourself; you are still acting outside God’s will.

Our bodies are God’s temple.

They are precious and sacred.

That is why God does not want us to pollute it with sex outside marriage and other sexual perversions.

We must treat our bodies with respect and dignity, knowing we are vessels for God’s use.

Therefore, bringing ourselves down to a level where sex toys play the role of a partner or spouse in our lives is demeaning and disrespectful to our bodies, and dishonorable to God. 

How do we maintain sexual purity when overwhelmed by sexual drive?What the Bible Says About Masturbation

Since God says sex outside marriage is a sin and young people naturally feel sexual desires, what should they do?

Most young adults jokingly ask these questions or think about them.

Sexual tensions are more intense when someone is young. Sometimes, they are uncontrollable. However, God’s Word says we must abstain from sexual immorality as believers.

So what do we do?

The Apostle Paul gave a simple but direct and practical answer to this. 1 Corinthians 7:2 says, “Nevertheless, because of sexual immorality, let each man have his own wife, and let each woman have her own husband.

Therefore, if you cannot control your sexual urge and you are old enough to get married, legalize your relationship with your partner and have sex without guilt and shame.

Marriage is the perfect solution to avoiding masturbation or other sexual sins.

What if you are too young for marriage or you do not have a partner to get married?

Then, you must avoid anything that triggers sexual urges.

Sexual urges are often activated by what we see, hear, and imagine.

Pornographic images and videos are mostly the main culprits that lead to sexual immorality.

Sexual conversations and music can also set off sexual urges.

Therefore, you must do what God’s Word says in Matthew 5:29-32. 

“If your right eye causes you to sin, pluck it out and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell. And if your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and cast it from you; for it is more profitable for you that one of your members perish, than for your whole body to be cast into hell.” 

In other words, cut off porn, immoral music, and friends.

Avoid anything that will force you to masturbate and replace them with godly and profitable activities like Bible studies, church programs, sports activities, etc.

By all means, distract your mind from entertaining sexual thoughts. 

Finally, let the Holy Spirit help you.

The Bible says the Holy Spirit is our Helper.

We must not limit the Holy Spirit to spiritual activities in our lives.

We must engage Him in every area, including sex.

He can calm the raging urge in our bodies and give us peace.

He can satisfy our souls and empower us to overcome temptations. And if you are deep in masturbation and it feels like you have lost the battle, ask Him to help you win.


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