Sex and sexuality are often difficult topics for Christians to discuss. There are also a wide range of differing views on topics such as masturbation. We recommend that if you find some of the concepts and issues discussed in this page challenging, pray and seek your own counsel or peace with God about these matters.
We are all created as sexual beings and our sexuality is an important part of who we are. God has created us with sex organs (genitalia) that produce a pleasurable response to stimulation (masturbation). When we become sexually aroused, we have an increased physical desire for sexual pleasure and release. The physiological aspects of sex such as arousal, stimulation and release are all natural bodily functions, much like eating, for example. We have all been given these functions so that we can enjoy sexual pleasure in our daily lives. For Christian believers, we have been gifted this capacity to partake of and enjoy sexual pleasure whether we are single or married, as long as it is done with the primary focus of worshiping and honouring God.
A comparison with eating is very appropriate. When our bodies need food, we become hungry, which means our senses of smell and taste become aroused. When we eat food, we experience pleasure through these same senses; and other senses tell us when our appetite has been satisfied. The parallels with sexual arousal, pleasure and satisfaction are obvious. Obviously there is a difference in the purpose of sexual activity. Eating food nourishes our whole body. On the other hand, the purpose of sex is primarily related to intimacy, and the context of this depends on whether the sexual activity is being undertaken by a person on their own, or a married couple. In both cases, however, the key focus of sexual activity is to be an act of worship to God. And whereas eating can be a social activity undertaken in public, sex is a modest private activity.
Here are some important facts to consider in the whole context of this subject:
- Masturbation by itself is not a sin. There is no scriptural reference to this. This makes it possible for masturbation to be a selfless sacrifice as an act of worship back to God.
- There is nowhere in the Bible that masturbation is condemned. Some teachers claim that masturbation is censured in Genesis 38:9-10, and the term “onanism” was coined to address this belief. However, very few theologians actually support this view.
- It is thought that masturbation is referred to indirectly as “an emission of semen” in Leviticus 15:16 and is equated with an emission during sexual intercourse in the way it is treated; neither are equated with sexual sin as delineated elsewhere within that Mosaic law. It is also suggested that Song of Songs 5:5 refers to an act of masturbation, without any condemnation
So these facts stand in support of the view of this site that masturbation is a healthy and enjoyable activity for a Christian to undertake. For single Christians, the blessings of being able to masturbate, apart from enjoying sexual pleasure, include being able to maintain sexual purity until they are able to marry. The traditionally taught viewpoint is for people to repress their sexual desires until marriage, with suggestions that sex up until that point is dirty, after which they must deal with the impact of this repression, which can be hard to overcome. Therefore, common sense suggests it is better for two single Christians to prepare themselves for marriage with the knowledge and experience of sexually pleasuring their own bodies individually beforehand. They still need to remain sexually pure prior to marriage, which means that they don’t share any sexual experiences or sinful practices such as petting, intercourse or viewing pornography. Since many people discover masturbation in childhood or adolescence, they should have some years of experience of sexual stimulation and pleasure before marriage.
For married Christians, masturbation can be an activity that brings them together and enables them to maintain the sexual fidelity and integrity of their relationship. Masturbation is a good way of addressing differences in sex drive, in that the hornier spouse can use it to satisfy themselves more often than their partner is able to participate with them. It is also an activity that either partner can partake of when they are separated for any length of time. The main difference for married couples is that it is permissible for either of them, while masturbating, to fantasise about sex with their partner, as this is a normal expression of sexual desire in a marriage. Some other times when masturbation might be used in a marriage are when a partner is ill, or in the case of a wife, when she is late in her pregnancy or has recently given birth and needs time to physically heal. It is also a good means of birth control when used in conjunction with natural methods of determining a wife’s fertility, or during a wife’s period. The suggestion that has been made by some persons that masturbating detracts from times of sexual intercourse appears to be incorrect, as some studies show that masturbation enhances sexual pleasure during intercourse. The best masturbation for a married couple is, of course opportunities when they can masturbate while in each other’s company.
In this blog we have approached this issue primarily from the angle that sexual activity for Christian believers is to be undertaken as an act of worship. As godly people of faith, we live lives which are intended to be in surrender to and worshipful of God at all times. Worship is not just about music – worship is supposed to be about our entire lives. Sexual activity for Christians must therefore aspire to uphold and maintain sexual purity and godliness at all times. Single people who masturbate need to ensure that they focus on God during this activity in order to keep their minds free of impure thoughts. Masturbating while reading your bible, watching or listening to a sermon, or listening to worship music, or simply praying to God, are useful ways of doing this. Giving thanks to God while masturbating can often make it more enjoyable and help to reach sexual climax more rapidly.
If you have struggled with masturbation during your life because you have been taught that it is sinful and self seeking, now is the time to change perspective and be released from any false sense of guilt and shame. As long as you focus times of masturbating on worshiping God, then you will find that your faith will become stronger and your sense of blessing in this will be greatly enhanced. This is also important for people who are undertaking a journey of recovery from sexual addiction. People in this situation need to refocus masturbation onto a worshipful focus rather than onto sexual fantasies that involve pornographic material, or other sexually sinful acts. So long as worship is the key focus during masturbation, the seeking of sexual pleasure and orgasm through masturbation is not inherently sinful.
This blog over time will go on to explore whether masturbation is actually a deep spiritual experience with God, drawing on ideas that sexual pleasure is primarily purposed for worshiping and glorifying God, and that a time of masturbation is equatable with solitary times of prayer. The suggestion would be that orgasm nourishes the spirit and nurtures sexuality. When a married couple have sex, they are nourishing each other’s spirits. We will explore an actual real life testimony of healing from sexual addiction through masturbation.