Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part E)

Sexual Devotion

Sexual devotion is something we have talked about and alluded to in the previous parts of this series. It’s essentially bringing the gift of sexuality into a devotional time with God and surrendering our sexuality to Him. It’s a complete different way of looking at what we use our sexuality for. It’s not to say that traditional expressions of sexuality within a Christian context are completely invalid, but it is to say that the theology behind traditional Christian views of sexuality has needed reconsideration, and when that reconsideration has taken place, godly sexuality looks different than it used to.

The traditional view of male and female sexuality in the Church has been guided by patriarchy. This has been well known in society and society has influenced the Church. The predominating theology in the church for centuries, amid much controversy relating to specific interpretations and counter-interpretations of particular Bible verses, is something we know today as “complementarianism”. This essentially says that there are specific gender-based roles for male and female Christians, and in particular, leadership roles all over the church and in the family home are predominantly reserved for males. Complementarianism also teaches a sexuality that essentially implies that the primary purpose of a female is to meet a male’s sexual needs. Males are considered to be out of control and unable to moderate their sex drives, and women are made wholly responsible for men’s sexual actions, so women are the ones who are the most pressured to remain sexually pure and are even told they are not supposed to have sexual desires or drives. This has driven the development of extreme sexual purity culture that is primarily targeted at women, with little attention given to applying the same standards to men.

Christian Egalitarianism begins, on the other hand, with core assumptions that men and women are more or less equal both in gender roles and in church leadership. From that comes a more equal view of what sexuality is about. Even if we stick with the assumption that males are still going to be primarily interested in meeting and establishing sexually intimate relationships with women, it does open up possibilities for women being able to sit in roles where they can have a sexuality that is not focused exclusively on marriage. Women are a lot better than us guys at living devoted single lives. One of the key assumptions that has come across from complementarianism is that every young person is going to marry. Those who don’t are made to feel like outcasts, and few churches have developed effective programs to support single adults.

Now just as it is possible for women to lead devoted lives of singleness, it is equally possible for Christian men to do so as well. So put the focus on singleness together and where does that leave sexuality? Well, like other aspects of a single person’s life, their sexuality can also be refocused into their relationship with God. That means we have to allow that there are means that single people can surrender and devote the gift of sexuality back to God, and to that end, there has to be an effective means of expressing genital sexuality for singles. The basic premise of this entire blog is that such a means exists, and that the purposes of the different body parts which respond to sexual arousal can be considered to be, first and foremost, for the development of healthy personal sexuality, which is of greater and higher importance than sexuality expressed in a sexually intimate relationship (i.e. marriage). This dovetails very neatly with our relational priorities in our faith. We put God at No.1 position in our lives, if we have a spouse they come in at No.2, and then other priorities such as work, ministry, friends etc come below that. This hierarchy in relation to our faith is very important to allow us to ensure we are effectively equipped to serve and minister to the people in the No.2 and lower positions, by calling on the God who is No.1 in our lives to give us what we need to make everything else work.

So in the same way as in other aspects of our faith life, we are equipped in our sexuality by submitting it to God who is the most important in our lives, the one we can go to in order to be able to serve people lower in the hierarchy. And we believe herein that God’s people can be fully equipped in all aspects of their sexuality by spending time in what we are referring to here as sexual devotion. This starts from the assumption just mentioned above, in relation to body parts that produce sexual arousal when stimulated. For example, in both male and female, bare skin is one of our biggest sexually erogenous zones, and apart from the genitals themselves, other areas of male and female bodies such as lips, breasts, nipples, buttocks and thighs are more sensitive to physical contact and generate increased levels of sexual excitement when stimulated. The concept of sexual devotion, the title of this post, essentially comes from the idea that spending time experiencing sexual pleasure and focusing it on building one’s personal relationship with God provides the basic for development of a healthy God-focused sexuality that then can, as in other aspects of relationship in the lives of believers, be used in a more healthy and selfless way to serve others.

We wrote previously that masturbation is often prescribed as a sex therapy solution and that it can have application at a personal level for Christians, not just because they may have experienced sexual trauma that requires to be healed, but because they are constantly under pressure in society (especially women) in relation to physical aspects of their sexuality such as appearance and performance, and therefore applying the principles of sexual therapy is an important priority for both male and female Christians in order to maintain personal sexual purity and integrity. The new ideas expressed in this post take that concept further, and postulate that Christians need to focus on personal sexual devotion as a proactive strategy. In other words, we aren’t using these techniques as a reaction to what is happening around us in society. Instead, we make personal sexual devotion in our relationship with God a part of the No.1 priority in our lives, and then refocus every other aspect of our physical sexuality accordingly. This is how we focus other aspects of our daily lives of faith as God’s people.

Sexual devotion is easy enough to understand and practice. It means that we should be setting aside regular time in our daily or weekly schedule to submit our physical sexuality directly to God and allow us to express our feelings about our sexuality to Him as an act of worship, allowing us time to listen for His response to us in these times, just as we do at other devotional times in our walk of faith. These times will prove to be invaluable for all believers in developing a healthy understanding of their physical sexuality from a faith based perspective and the relevance of it to other aspects of their day to day lives and ability to serve those around them. The primary act of service would usually be to the No.2 person in their lives (a husband or wife) both in terms of sexual intimacy and in being considerate and respectful of each other’s sexual needs. Below that, the main relevant area of service is generally in being considerate and respectful of others by expressing appropriate attitudes such as maintaining healthy physical boundaries when working with others. This may also extend into ministry where so involved. There will of course be those who are single who do not have a husband or wife in their lives, and therefore their sexual devotion times are the only opportunity they have for sexual expression in their lives. For these people, they may obviously choose to spend more time in sexual devotion than for married people who have to give adequate time and consideration to their spouse.

We summarise this post therefore by postulating that the most important role of our physical sexuality is to devote it in worship to God in times of sexual devotion to Him and that this aspect of physical sexuality is more important than being in sexual relationship in marriage. Good healthy marriage sexual relationship and respectful sexual attitudes to others are naturally rooted in healthy sexuality which in turn is established in sexual devotion by using our physical body parts first and foremost in the times of sexual devotion in worship and surrender to God.

Masturbation For Christians: Insights

There wasn’t going to be a Part D, but there was. There wasn’t going to be a Part E, but now there is going to be. Because we keep getting new insight. The insight is coming because adopting an egalitarian theology brings a whole new aspect to Christian sexuality. The focus for it can be changed from being a male seeks female kind of focus, to one where sexuality is not just about relationships between men and women. Sexuality can actually be about relationships between individual believers and their Creator. For too long the church has lived in the shadow of Complementarianist theology which is basically the old patriarchy of society that most of the church followed for most of its history. Bring an Egalitarian eye onto the Christian worldview, and suddenly we can see a different understanding because we see godly women as more than just sexual playthings for men, and that shifts the whole nature of godly sexuality for both men and women.

So Part E is about to be written, and it will be on the topic of sexual devotion. That theme has been reflected upon throughout the series to date. It comes out of a conviction that sexuality is a gift from God and that there are ways of giving the gift back to Him, as worship. Married people obviously are doing this when they are sexually intimate together, but the single person can do this too. So that is what Part E is about.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part D)

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.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part C)

Blessings of Masturbation : Sex Therapy For Christians

There are a number of physical benefits of masturbation which will be lightly touched upon here (see some of the earlier blog posts referencing various articles in mainstream media for example) because the main purpose of this post is to focus on the blessings for Christians who enjoy masturbating. And we do believe that blessing is an appropriate word. We believe like other Christian commentators, and we write from a perspective of very strong, committed and Godly personal faith, that the key reason that the Bible treats masturbation very leniently (it is not the sin of Onan) is that God’s people are given a choice whether and when they choose to exercise it and it is on the same level as other physical body unctions that work in much the same way.

The physiological aspects of masturbation are very similar to those of food hunger, appetite and eating in that there can be an arousal phase, a consumption phase and a satiation phase. We are not psychologists so we are not sure if that is the correct terminology, but the four phase sexual response cycle (an actual psychological term) could be almost equated with the hunger response cycle (again we are not sure if there is such a thing, or if maybe it has a different name). The obvious question is what the key benefit of masturbation that can be equated with the physical benefit of eating is, and the appropriate response to this is, we believe, that whereas food nourishes the physical body, masturbation (as with all sexual activity of the Godly nature) nourishes the believer’s spirit. To achieve that spiritual nourishment (or refreshing), however, Christians must be assured that they are following the same type of faith principles that apply to other forms of bodily pleasure that are given to us by God as a blessing to our lives and which are most appropriately considered when in the context of being offered back to God as acts of worship. We have articulated those ideas since we first began this blog and at the moment it seems we are the most affirmative of this view out of all the different pro-masturbation perspectives that we can find on the Internet.

The blessings of masturbation, therefore,  in this blog are not going to focus on the physical benefits, although undoubtedly these are also blessings. What we are unfolding in the rest of this article are a mixture of the benefits for single Christians from having the ability otherwise unavailable to them to partake of sexual release in their daily lives, and married husbands or wives in enhancing their marital relationship and other aspects of their daily lives. For all Christians whether single or married, one of the most important considerations is that secular psychology recognises that masturbation is beneficial in the area of sex therapy. We believe this is also an important aspect that Christians can draw upon in the use of masturbation, and at a fuller level than mere psychological recognition. The reason for this is that sexual purity is an important spiritual goal for committed Christians to be able to uphold in their daily lives. Whilst all sin is a problem, sexual sin is one of the biggest issues for committed Jesus followers and obtaining and/or maintaining abstinence from it is one of the greatest challenges that believers face in our sex-saturated societies. And it is simply time for us as committed people of strong faith to stop blaming the world for creating these challenges for us and using every weapon at our disposal to maintain sexual purity every day.

So the best use of masturbation for Christians is to uphold sexual purity in their lives and we believe it is of proven benefit for that purpose. It can also be used for the reasons of more secular sex therapy in overcoming, for example, the effects of sexual trauma or repression, and we have prayed for people in situations such as these. However the sexual purity objective is the key one we are going to focus on here, and the important issue is that Christians have the means to deal with the pressures they find themselves under. This differs for men and women because of the nature of our western societies and the different sexual physiology of males and females. Women are most placed under sexual pressure from men and on the level of their bodily appearance which includes the aspects of the size and shape of key body parts. This pressure is quite excessive in many respects as seen by the high levels of reported sexual harassment in our societies and the sexualised use of female body image in many aspects of everyday life.

There has also been the problems of sexual repression of women in times past (misogyny) and which is still prevalent in areas in the Church, which in our evangelical context is most commonly expressed in the theology of complementarianism, teaching women that they are sexually inferior to males and are solely responsible for the sexualised behaviour of males around them. This unreasonably makes women responsible for many of the social ills related to the sexual harassment of females and justifies a status of inferiority. As we have stated before in this blog we believe in and apply Christian egalitarianism as our starting point for the way in which women should be treated and valued in the Church and in society, and note with considerable joy that since the sexual revolution of the 1960s there has been considerable enlightment and progression in the Church in recognising and valuing female sexuality. Studies of the prevalence of masturbation in the Western world show that women are catching up to men, with one statistic that we saw showing that at the age of 19 years, 85% of female respondents had masturbated. This is a positive correlation as Christian women need to be able to masturbate for the same reasons as men and without prejudice against them from conservative elements in the Church. Women can also be subject to sexual pressure from within their own bodies (such as hormonal responses during the ovulation phase of their monthly cycle) which is also valid grounds for masturbating. Another issue is the growing use of pornography by Christian women with some some statistics suggesting a prevalence of up to 20%.

The reasons for Christian men to masturbate are somewhat different and are driven by a greater level of testosterone and physical pressures in their bodies are more important than for women. A key aspect of this is the design of the male reproductive system in which sperm-containing semen is manufactured and stored for release at ejaculation. The filling up of the storage vessels in a man’s body takes about two days to complete and creates a physical pressure and desire for release that is greater than in the hours immediately following an ejaculation. The main pressure overall that comes upon men is from society’s perceptions of what manhood should be about and one of the biggest challenges for any godly male is the expectations created by the widespread use and ready availability of pornography. The biggest concern for any Christian ministry is not only the massive uptake and use of pornography in society as a whole, but also the increasing prevalence of use of it within the Church, by both male and female believers. Since it is almost impossible nowadays with widespread availability and use of the Internet  across society and including in our Christian homes to avoid accidental exposure to pornography at ever-younger ages, the Church needs to become more proactive in countering these negative influences by teaching a healthy view of sexuality to members of all ages.

This was going to be a three part article originally but there is going to be a fourth part focusing specifically on the practice of masturbation for Christians so that will be coming up next.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part B)

Masturbation Gotchas

We could choose to write a blog that lists pros and cons of masturbation. There are many possible pros, but we would limit our discussion to the really important ones for people of Godly character, and then further on in this series. For this part. we are going to focus on some of the more widespread opposition that has been expressed to masturbation over the course of history, and discuss some gotchas, or valid reasons why one shouldn’t masturbate, or limit one’s use of masturbation.

In the course of our study and research we discovered something called “the great masturbation panic”, a discourse by Alan Hunt in the Journal of the History of Sexuality published 1998. Hunt (in a very short online preview of his scholarly work) and Psychology Today in several online articles characterise this by telling us there was no substantive historical concern about masturbation until the early 18th century when certain publications labelled masturbation as “onanism” were produced; this despite the fact that most theologians of that era outside the Roman Catholic Church would have been as dismissive of equating the Genesis story of Onan with masturbation as they are today. A wide range of medical problems were then alleged to be caused by masturbation, and it wasn’t that long before this became a key charge of the medical establishment of the day. PT suggests this was because the power brokers of that era saw masturbation as symbolic of individuals’ ability to have private expressions of sexuality, which was a threat to the established social order.

Masturbation was also alleged to cause mental illness and it became a reason for incarceration in lunatic asylums. The masturbation panic was even cited as a key reason to oppose allowing women to ride bicycles or horses. Almost laughable are the attempts to invent foods to suppress libido: Graham crackers and Kellogg cornflakes being among them, whilst potassium nitrate, potassium bromide and liquorice were thought to have anaphrodisiacal properties. What however is much more serious is the actual physical punishments advocated for people who masturbated. The Puritans prescribed capital punishment for masturbators in the colony of New Haven, Connecticut. Medical literature and leading campaigners such as Kellogg advocated for and described physical means of genital mutilation or modification, which was almost considered to be mainstream in the era (a century ago).

Whilst there undoubtedly was a masturbation panic, we do not agree with a writer in the Daily Telegraph (UK) who equated this historical treatment of masturbation with the widespread concern over the use of pornography today. Whilst masturbation is healthy for Christians to undertake under the right circumstances, pornography is not healthy as it can be considered adulterous in nature and is clearly addressed in the Bible.

So here we now turn to a list of actual cons of masturbation. These have nothing to do with any of the falsehoods mentioned above. They are simply physical considerations that Christians should undertake before partaking of masturbation, in order to obtain the most benefit from a session (physical and spiritual). Here we are:

  • Masturbation is to be a holy act undertaken in reverence of and worship to God.
  • Masturbation must, therefore, not involve any sin. The most common type of sin used in conjunction with masturbation being sexual lust, such as when pornography is involved. It is also sexually sinful to share a masturbation session with anyone who is not your marriage partner. Masturbation is to be undertaken only in private or with your husband/wife.
  • We do not recommend masturbating if you are experiencing any pain in the pelvic area. For example if you suffer from haemorrhoids, or have chafed skin between your legs, or have a heat or sweat rash on the skin in your crotch, then this can make masturbation uncomfortable and much less pleasurable.
  • We totally and unequivocally proscribe any sexual activity that involves anal contact of any type. We believe that the anus is not designed or intended for sexual activity of any form.
  • Masturbation should only involve a gentle touch or action. This is especially important for males who are prone to injure their penis through excessively vigorous hand thrusting or gripping. For neither male or female should activity be undertaken that produces excessive friction and causes chafing or inflammation.
  • Masturbation should not be undertaken at any time as a substitute for any type of intimate relationship, especially with a husband or wife.
  • If masturbation is being undertaken by a marriage partner, it should not have a detrimental impact on normal marital sexual relations. We recommend full communication between husband and wife over the use of masturbation within the marital relationship.
  • Guys should be careful about inserting their penis into anything (including any male sex toy) and girls about any type of sex toy they may wish to insert into their vagina. We believe only women should use sex toys and then only the passive type and of an appropriate size. Insert gently to avoid to avoid any risk of injury and ensure any toys are clean before use. Use lube if needed with any toy.
  • Masturbation can be more difficult and/or less enjoyable if you are tired, or if you need to go to the toilet. Just sleep if you are tired, and take a toilet break before starting a session.
  • Masturbation for Christians must not be an addictive behaviour. Whilst the Bible doesn’t specifically mention addiction, as a psychological disorder it can be harmful to one’s overall spiritual wellbeing. Generally an addictive behaviour is characterised by a lust for physical pleasure. Lust is mentioned in the Bible as a sinful behaviour, and is often misused as a substitute for spiritual intimacy, with the substitution being part of the sinfulness. If there is likely to be an addictive component to masturbation then we encourage believers to seek God in a personal way for solutions to the problem, which may involve application of spiritual disciplines such as prayer and fasting, and counsel from experienced ministry leaders.
  • Frequency of masturbation is mainly an issue if it is an addictive behaviour or if excessive masturbation is causing friction injuries or the like. For some people masturbation is an occasional behaviour; for others it is more regular. The matter of the appropriate frequency for each Christian believer is a matter of conscience between them and God. We are familiar with situations where people are masturbating regularly several times per day and this seems to be satisfactory as long as there is no sin involved.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part A)


This series of posts will attempt to summarise the key questions surrounding masturbation as it applies to Christian believers. As it can be generally observed, masturbation is the key focus of this blog and reflects our significant ministry interests. We are approaching this article series from a evangelical-egalitarian theological perspective, and therefore, key themes to be understood and appreciated in the context of this article series relate specifically to that form of theology. We are unaware of any major work in the evangelical-egalitarian sphere regarding these issues. The key themes which are important with this theological perspective are those of sexual purity, sexual equality, spiritual blessing and acts of worship. We believe that masturbation can be a part of Christian believers’ lives that reflects, upholds and supports all of these themes. Part A of this series will serve as the introduction for the entire series.

A good starting point for this series is the Biblical treatment of masturbation. The Bible only makes one apparent reference to masturbation and only in an explicitly male context. This is set up in Leviticus chapter 15 and in verses 16 to 17 refers to “an emission of semen” that occurs separately from sexual relations with a women and defines it as ritually (ceremonially)unclean and to be atoned for by a prescribed process. It is defined in the same context as other natural bodily functions involving the reproductive systems of men and women (childbirth is the subject of chapter 12) and therefore masturbation should be seen as a natural bodily function for either a man or a woman and not a sinful behaviour. Leviticus chapter 18 covers unlawful sexual relations and prescribes much more significant penalties, mostly that people who practice them will be banished from being among God’s people. These outline how seriously sexual misconduct is to be treated among God’s people. But there is nothing in these references that condemns masturbation.

So where has the condemnation of masturbation that is commonly expressed in parts of the Christian church originated from? Mostly it comes from negative attitudes to sexuality overall, and especially feminine sexuality. Probably the most well known works in the area of human sexuality in a religious context have been the writings of Augustine in the fourth and fifth centuries amongst the early church and leading into what is now considered the early years of the Roman Catholic Church as we know it today. As such, the clear influence of his doctrines are obviously seen in Roman Catholic doctrine relating to sexuality in the present era. The RCC teaches much more conservative doctrine regarding human sexuality than most Protestant denominations since the reformation. Within Protestant theological circles, whilst the Augustine and Levitical influences are much less prevalent, certain inferences from the life of Jesus and the writings of Paul have been used to justify a negative view of female leadership in the New Testament Church, most well known as the doctrine of complementarianism, and complementarian theologians have extended this into the area of sexuality, producing what is generally known as the evangelical purity movement. This in keeping with the overall theme of complementarianism in general has created a negative misogynistic viewpoint of feminine sexuality.

Since we are approaching this issue from a Christian egalitarian perspective, we must therefore apply egalitarian principles not just to the question of female leadership in the church, but also to feminine sexuality. Therefore an important consideration is for the four key themes mentioned above for masturbation in the life of a Christian believer, to be considered equally for women as for men. It must be clearly understood that in the context of sexuality, the Church should be at the forefront of demanding that women are treated equally in society  to men and that the widespread demeanory and diminutive attitudes to women entrenched in many societies be overthrown. Complementarianism clearly seeks to support entrenched stereotypes against women and reverse any gains they have made in modern society and must therefore be seen to fail in this regard.

What is most important to us in creating this blog and producing this series of articles as well as the other content of this blog to date, are to address the facts that we believe a significant proportion of Christian believers engage in masturbation, and that the mixed messages that the Church has sent out about masturbation have created a great deal of unjustifiable guilt and shame in the lives of these believers. We believe that this particularly and understandably applies to those Christians who find it desirable for them to masturbate daily, possibly up to several times a day. We do not seek either in this blog or in our overall intercessory prayer ministry for Christian sexual healing to express a view about any particular frequency of masturbation for any particular person as we view this as a matter of conscience to be determined by each person in their own daily faith walk in Jesus Christ. It is however undeniable that believers who engage in higher frequencies of masturbation are most likely to have negative views about it and the four themes previously mentioned are all relevant in helping Christians to attain a state of having a positive viewpoint on the relevance and usefulness of masturbation in their daily lives.

A Touchy Subject: The Health Benefits of Masturbation

“Masturbation is also a cornerstone of modern sex therapy. Those who seek professional counseling for sexual difficulties, including inability to orgasm, are typically instructed to masturbate to learn about their bodies and then encouraged to communicate what they discover to their partners. Many outstanding self-help books, such as Becoming Orgasmic and The Elusive Orgasm, suggest masturbation as a core strategy, and sex educators including Betty Dodson and Corey Silverberg, tout the benefits of the practice and provide how-to guides.”

Talking to Kids about Masturbation

For the experience of Christians, masturbation requires an appropriate context. The context for discussion of masturbation particularly at adolescence should present the spiritual boundaries for masturbation that we have suggested elsewhere in this blog, along with the basic understanding that when undertaken within these boundaries, adolescents should be encouraged to masturbate regularly as an important and completely healthy (physically and spiritually) part of their sexual development.