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.


“Confessions of a Horny Christian Single Girl”

It’s been very refreshing to discover this blog and to understand the perspective expressed in it. As we have seen from some of the recent posts that have been put up, the evangelical purity movement, based on “complimentarian” theology, essentially teaches that women are lesser beings sexually, that women don’t have or shouldn’t have sexual feelings or desires, that women are more or less men’s sexual playthings. This is a very bad theology that isn’t differentiating itself from society where there are so many ingrained negative attitudes towards femininity and female sexuality which, of course, the porn industry exploits and magnifies. We fail therefore to understand the viewpoint behind abortion, which is part of women reclaiming their reproductive rights; conservatives argue they never had any such rights in the first place. That isn’t intended to detract from the moral arguments against abortion itself, but it is an insight into the diminution of femininity where women have been expected to shoulder most of the responsibility for child bearing and rearing. This blog doesn’t talk about all those things, but it does talk about one woman’s struggle with her sexuality, and it’s refreshing to see her talk openly about it.

Anyway here is the first post on her blog, it explains everything about what it is like for a single Christian woman to struggle with her sexuality and temptation and sexual sin. She chose to be very bold, about as bold as we are being with some of the things we have posted on this blog. And because of this, finding her blog after we decided to start this blog, was actually a very useful thing, because it filled in some detail and confirmed other detail of stuff we had already begun to post about.

Then five years went past and she wrote about a lot of other things….which we haven’t yet read, honestly. And the first time we looked at her blog we missed the update from just over a year ago, “Where I’ve Been“. And it’s really good to read this post, because she has described how she came to a peace about masturbation. She came to the conclusion masturbation was not an issue at all between her and God (as long as she stuck to certain parameters).

We’ve written a lot about masturbation on this blog (so far) and that is because it is extremely important to us to demystify and destigmatise all the negativity surrounding masturbation in the Church. Having got that out of our system up to this point, with a lot of reposting of internet content about Christians and masturbation, maybe it is time to move on to another subject. But we could not let this theme be concluded without writing about this girl’s journey because it mirrors our journeys as well. It is surely no coincidence that having come to the same place of recovery from sexual sin, we experienced likewise the beautiful freedom of knowing God more passionately than ever before and knowing that He created our bodies to experience sexual pleasure whether we are married or single. If we keep sin out of our masturbation experience then we can truly enjoy the fact that this gift was designed to produce pleasure for us within our bodies and that, as with all functions of our natural body, the performance of this gift is to be seen as an act of worship. So we get the most deep sense of spiritual fulfilment, favour and blessing every time we masturbate as long as we spend the time praising God and thanking Him for this blessing. If you bring that perspective into masturbation then the freedom from false guilt and shame can be a major aspect of recovery from sexual sin (such as porn addiction) while at the same time having an appropriate outlet for releasing sexual tension that builds up in our bodies.

The other useful knowledge we got from reading this blog, was already mentioned above, and that, along with a book by Linda Kay Kline about the purity movement, was understanding about the negative theological teachings that are endemic in conservative theology, that basically seek to demean female sexuality and deny that women have sexual drives and desires. It’s no accident that the True Love Waits program came out of the Southern Baptist Convention in 1993, only a few years after conservatives hijacked the SBC and drove out all female ministry leaders. Unfortunately this movement continues to enjoy widespread support because it is inherently rooted in complimentarianism, a widely taught school of theological belief that enshrines patriarchal religious beliefs, and essentially panders to secular patriarchalism that is still a widespread school of thought in conservative politics. Joshua Harris has at least renounced his purity culture book “I Kissed Dating Goodbye” but patriarchal faith focus will, unfortunately, remain a significant part of the Church for the foreseeable future.

The affirmation about masturbation as something that Christians can partake of at the same time as living a pure, holy and upright life and maintain sexual purity is essential to us to “preach about” in this blog and that’s why it has been the key focus since the blog was set up. It will remain very important in a blog that not only focuses on Christian views of sexuality, but on the ministry of healing from sexual sin.

“13 Reasons Every Woman Should Masturbate Regularly”

[Editor: We think from a Christian perspective there are actual benefits to masturbation for godly women, including those who are in a marriage. We are coming around to the view that masturbation for women is beneficial to developing and maintaining their sexual development, possibly much more than for men]