Christian Application and Practice of Masturbation
In Part C of this series we focused on the specific reasons for Christians to partake of masturbation in their daily spiritual walk. As we saw, masturbation can be prescribed as a type of sexual therapy in secular contexts and we believe that Christians can apply the same principles in their daily lives because, in essence, Christians have a great need of spiritually focused sexual therapy in order to maintain sexual purity as an essential component of godly character, whether male or female, single or married, due to the highly sexualised nature of most Western societies in which they live.
This part is going to focus on how to apply and practise masturbation for this purpose. Firstly we are going to touch upon sexual development for adolescents. In the Church it is generally believed that it is very important for adolescents to understand and be instructed in the need for sexual purity, notwithstanding that many Christian adolescents are subject to the same sexual pressures as the rest of society and in a lot of cases fall into sexual sin. The teaching of sexual purity for adolescents should focus on encouraging them to masturbate as an important aspect of their sexual development (some studies suggest that the frequency of masturbation amongst this age group is greater than for any other age group) and as a means of maintaining sexual purity as singles until such a time as they are able to consider marriage. Some adolescents will not be able to marry (whether by choice or circumstance) and then need to be considered in the wider context of Christian singles. This is particularly addressed below for all singles, we just want to talk in this paragraph in the especial context of adolescents, who need to be instructed in the sexual development aspect specifically, and because of the expectation or requirement for an appropriate level of sex education to be provided for them. Sexual development of Christian adolescents is as equally important is it is for everyone and is particularly relevant in gaining the knowledge and experience of sexual stimulation and pleasure in their own bodies in preparation for adulthood, which in the majority of cases will be relevant to marriage.
The big picture for all Christian singles is that we consider masturbation is a valid and godly means of providing a sexual release for all such persons, male and female, and that this is the only sexual release possible for a single Christian person, and only in a private setting. It is further qualified by the essential requirement to avoid any kind of sexual sin during its practice, which of course applies to all people of godly faith. This means that pornography cannot be used in conjunction with masturbation for Christian believers. We believe that masturbation when practised in accordance with these guidelines can enable believers to overcome the pressures of living in a society which is saturated with pornography, and that it can also be an effective form of sexual therapy for believers who are recovering from a pornographic addiction or from exposure to pornography. Whilst all believers are subject to the pressures from pornography, singles are especially vulnerable due to not having a husband or wife with whom they can undertake sexual activity and therefore masturbation is a very valuable tool for single Christians to use in pursuit of maintaining sexual purity.
For Christians who are married, they may also make use of masturbation with each others’ full knowledge and consent. Another statistic we referenced during the writing of this series was one that suggested that 71% of women continue to masturbate whilst in a relationship such as marriage. Masturbation within a Christian marriage can be used in such circumstances as when husband and wife are temporarily separated (e.g. one partner travelling), sickness (including chronic conditions that cause pain during intercourse such as endometriosis), pregnancy, differing level of sex drive and other disruptive circumstances and it can also be used as an alternative form of sexual intimacy that is shared by husband and wife. It is important for a Christian husband and wife to recognise the importance of non-intimacy or low-intimacy sexual intercourse opportunities because either partner may choose to use such an opportunity for the purposes of sex therapy. Low intimacy sexual intercourse can be a mutual masturbation time or it can be penetrative intercourse using positions where the husband is behind the wife for example, enabling her to have her own space during intercourse with minimal physical contact with her husband, and husbands should take an initiative in focusing all of their attention on their wife’s specific needs first and foremost during such a session. Low or no intimacy sexual activity between a husband and wife as sex therapy is also very important when either husband or wife is dealing with intimacy challenges such as often occurs where either husband or wife has experienced sexual trauma or abuse prior to becoming married in which case sexual therapy is something they can both participate in for an appropriate period of time as needed.
For all Christians whether single or married, masturbation as a form of sexual therapy is especially applicable to women because of the pressure they come under from men in relation to their physical appearance and this can come down to specific body parts. For most women, a suggested form of sex-therapy masturbation to be undertaken whenever they feel violated by male attention and especially where there has been unwanted physical contact, is to give themself permission to receive physical pleasure while caressing the specific bodily parts during a masturbation session. This essentially could be characterised as “reclaiming” that body part and the pleasure it is capable of producing, to be owned by them.
There are also other specific situations such as pregnancy where masturbation can be very beneficial as sexual therapy, not only in dealing with the sensitivities related to changes in physical appearance, but also in the general pains and strains of being pregnant. It is important that pregnant women consider using masturbation regularly in order to help them to remember that they are still women and that their bodies are still sexually capable during that time. It is of course also beneficial to masturbate during pregnancy if increased sexual desire is experienced because of hormonal changes, and when the physical challenges associated with increased abdominal size, or other issues , make normal sex with the husband too challenging. An important aspect of pregnancy sex therapy is post partum, when a mother is normally given a period of some weeks to abstain from sex to allow her body to recover physically from the birth. This time can also be very valuable for the mother in reclaiming her body in a similar sort of way as mentioned in the previous paragraph, from the birth and any other physical trauma associated with the pregnancy. Masturbation is also useful for the husband at any stage of the pregnancy and post partum period.
We have commented on the use of masturbation as a form of sex therapy for men who are recovering from pornographic addiction (which could also equally apply to women). To date we only have experience of dealing with single people in this situation, where they only have to rebuild their relationship with God. We do not have experience of whether such forms of sex therapy could be effective in recovering from sexual betrayal between a husband and wife, and will leave that question unanswered for now.
One final consideration is recovering from theological and other Christian condemnation of masturbation and other expressions of sexuality by godly believers. Apart from the fact that many church leaders still attempt (without Biblical justification) to equate masturbation with adultery and other ungodly acts
In all situations where Christians are partaking of masturbation, the general gotchas listed in Part B must apply. Masturbation is like any other sexual activity to be undertaken by Christians in that it must be a holy act undertaken in reverence to and in worship of God. When this expectation is followed, it transforms the physical act of masturbation and the pleasure experienced into a whole new dimension where it becomes a part of a believer’s daily life of worship and where it is entirely possible to experience a greater sense of fulfilment, pleasure and the presence of God. Nothing makes a believer’s sex life come alive more than when they know that this part of their life enjoys the favour and blessing of God, and when they are ready to surrender it back to Him. This is especially an issue for singles for whome masturbation is their sole sexual outlet.