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Is Masturbation Helping Me Stay Pure?

by Levi on September 10th, 2015 in Students

masturbation-staying-pureI remember the first time my dad told me about porn and masturbation. We took a “man’s trip” over the weekend and did “manly” things like fire-building and four-wheeling. We listened through Dr. James Dobson’s Preparing For Adolescence and I learned not to look at pornography and (probably) not to masturbate.

So of course I went home and did both of those things.

I say “probably” about masturbation because Dobson didn’t seem to take much issue with it, so I spent a decent amount of my time trying to reconcile the guilt that came after the comedown with the hope that he was right – maybe God didn’t take much issue with it, either.

I’ve put a good amount of thought into what I might say about masturbation here, and though I’d rather write up an academic theology on it,

 

1) I’ve never really understood how people have done that anyway (no, Onans sin was not jacking off), and

2) I know that motive, and it’s self-protection.

So this isn’t going to be a blog about neural pathways and brain-training, although Carl Thomas recently wrote a little bit about that, and I believe it’s helpful to understand.

Is masturbation helping me stay pure? (Tweet This!) Here, right or wrong, I’ve got some personal wrestlings, and in an effort toward exemplifying the vulnerability that we always encourage, I have some confessions:

1) I’ve swung to both sides of the pendulum.
I have lived through seasons of my struggle believing that masturbation was undeniably wrong. It was almost always coupled with pornography or fantasy, and the depth of condemnation that came from my addiction threatened to crush me. Like it was the opposite of helping maintain or promote purity.

I’ve also swung to the opposite end of the spectrum where pornography was not present, and I believed that I was able to masturbate lust-free, where sexual fantasy did not intrude, and I was not guilt-ridden by it. That maybe it was helping me stay pure, or could be, in and of itself.

2) I’ve gone back and forth on what I believe about masturbation… even while working with XXXChurch.
I’m not comfortable writing this, to be honest. I’m about as terrified as I was whenever I’d do a Q&A with Craig and Jeff on our Porn Kills Tour and hope the inevitable M-Word question would get passed off to someone else. Was I willing to tell someone that the act of masturbation is inherently wrong? What if I believed someone when they told me that they could masturbate with a clear mind? But even if they could, would it qualify as “purity?” And was this a God-fearing internal wrestling, or my subversive drifting toward a sinful position that would better suit my wants and whims?

3) I don’t have years of masturbation-sobriety under my belt.
I’m writing this as a man who has advocated for transparency while not always being entirely transparent. As a man with a deep theology of community and not always in it. As a married man who has not always been entirely faithful, at least in regard to the places my mind has gone, and the directions my eyes have lingered.

Recognizing the hypocrisy above, and having established that masturbation involving pornography, lust-driven fantasy, and addiction is opposed to God’s design for purity, I will say that as a married man, I think there are times when masturbation focused toward your spouse is mutually permissible and, perhaps, can prove pure. For example: perhaps a spouse travels for work and technologies like, say, the telephone, picture message, or FaceTime/Skype, would allow couples the opportunity for sexual intimacy that – while not intercourse – is consensual and “together,” though technically masturbatory.

I travel. There have been instances in which temptation has come, and rather than giving into those lusts, I have had the opportunity to redirect them towards my wife and involve her in an act that deals with those desires in a way that is open and which serves the purpose of maintaining my purity. That keeps me from looking at other women, from keeping secrets from her. Having excluded the clear contradictions above, this is one way in which masturbation has been helpful.

The fear in saying that, obviously, is creating opportunity for license in different circumstances, and in those whose convictions do not allow for the same. I would say that the vast majority of what we talk about when we talk about masturbation is accompanied by what is clearly impure. I would even say that the majority of my experiences with masturbation have been impure.

But am I willing to say that masturbation is, definitively, only, always and forever wrong?

I still don’t know. (Tweet This!)

Let the conversation continue.


 

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  • Adam

    An age-old topic and struggle in my world too, Levi. I almost thought you were writing about me. In my struggles, the best clarity, I think, that I’ve had in this struggle is the question, “where is your heart?” Jesus says to lust after a woman is to commit adultery with her in your heart. The emphasis of desire outside the marriage, desires of the heart, seem clear here. Questions that arise (one you touched on): can I masturbate without lusting? Is masturbation to your spouse okay? Is masturbation to someone imaginary okay (for singles specifically)?

    So many questions, so many variants, and as you said, my answer is also still “I don’t know.” What I do know is the underlying principle is still the same, “Where is my heart? How does this affect my walk with God? Or my relationship with (loved one’s name here)?”

    Constant prayer and getting as close to Jesus seems to always be the answer to these nebulous questions. In being close to God, important things are addressed and non-i!important things are left behind. That’s my pseudo in on answer.

    Good post, brother

  • Jen

    One thing to think about.. I def think it’s possible to masturbate without being lustful… (Not saying that’s how it’s used by the majority of people, just that it’s possible). I only say this bc babies and toddlers do it, and clearly they are doing it only bc it feels good, not bc they are thinking of anything bad. Like a lot of things, Christians like to make sweeping statements of “X is bad: never do it,” without realizing maybe sometimes it’s not. Great discussion.

    • christian guy

      I agree it’s possible simulate pleasure and stimulate pleasure centers without adulterous lust but highly improbable for grown men or even teen boys to do it.

  • Guest.

    What is a theology of community?

  • Kel

    It is a difficult subject. Growing up in a Christian household as a girl, my parents sex talk didn’t include masturbation. Later down the road I learned that my parents didn’t believe that women struggled with masturbation or even watch porn for that matter. It always bothered me because I always watched porn and masturbated. Christians always talk about masturbation for men but never the struggles of masturbation and porn for women.

    • Liz

      Thanks for sharing Kel.. I can really relate to your story, I’m walking it too! I was a youth leader at my church and (after many years) I openly admitted in front of our youth girls that it was something I struggled with and offered to them that they could talk to me about it if it was something for them too. I also spoke about it once on a christian talk back show about addictions, and later a girl wrote in to say that my testimony had helped her not to feel so alone.. don’t be afraid to be the one who talks about it as a girl’s problem too. You never know who it might help.

    • Jenna

      I understand completely. I was a girl from a Christian home who struggled with masturbation, porn, erotica, and cybersex. But my parents, church, and everyone else I knew considered it a “guy thing”, not something females ever are tempted by.

    • Andrew

      Kel,

      You might be interested in some supplemental reading from the guys over at Bad Christian. If you’re not familiar with the, XXX Church has worked with Bad Christian in the past. They put a book out called ‘The M Word’ that includes stories of women and their own sexual struggles. It was just released a week or two ago and they’re trying to shed light on this untouched subject. You can find it on their facebook or website and i believe it is free right now if you don’t have the money.

      I just thought you might be interested 🙂

      • horpeyermi

        kel…… u were lucky that this heavier matter is being discussed. in my case, parent never mention anything such as sex and so i’ll have to do the findings myself. Thanks to God that i came across this website

  • Sherrie

    From my understanding
    of the Word of God Masturbation (in an form and for any reason) in my opinion is a sin because it’s a
    “SELFISH” , “SELF SERVING” and a “GREEDY” act, fulfilling
    the “lust” of one’s own flesh…period! … It “usually involves
    sexual thoughts or imagery (mags, video, imagination) for stimulation, all of
    which is clearly defined as sin throughout scripture …we are to have control
    over our flesh, it’s not to have control over us!….and if one “CHOOSES” to
    yield to the yearnings of one’s flesh instead of the Word and ways of God, which
    “CLEARLY” lists “self control” as one of the fruits of the Spirit, then
    although the bible doesn’t say specifically “DO NOT MATURBATE”, it implies that
    it is sin simply because by engaging in it, you are in essence telling God,
    He’s wrong!.. What you are saying is that His Word is wrong.. and His ways of
    the Spirit are wrong, because your “natural” (carnal, fleshly, sin nature)
    desires can’t be controlled! .. Masturbation is not an act, inspired by God,
    nor are the desires that many would like to “justify” as “natural”, from Him,
    of Him or like Him either…God is not going to give you a desire that “CAN’T” be
    controlled and then turn around and tell you many, many times throughout His
    Word, to control it!!!

    Contrary to popular belief, masturbation is an
    “UNNATURAL ACT”, God never designed us or intended for us to
    “satisfy or please” ourselves! …Nothing in His “ENTIRE” Word promotes
    or advocates “self gratification” or “ self concern”, but rather everything in
    His Word speaks to serving “Him” in body, mind and spirit..
    and…serving others! …. He gave us our passions and desires for intimacy with
    our mate, in the union of marriage only and for reproduction, not for any other
    purpose..

    Another “lie” that is a popular
    belief, is that lusting after or masturbating while thinking about a spouse is
    ok … it is not, it’s not lawful or acceptable … lust is a sin… having an
    attraction to, having a deep affection for or having a “DESIRE” for
    one’s mate is completely different from “LUSTING” for/over them…

    >The bible dictionary definition of
    “desire” is: “1) a strong feeling of wanting to have something
    or wishing for something to happen.

    > The bible dictionary definition of
    “lust” is: “1) intense, unrestrained or uncontrolled sexual
    craving, or 2) an excessive or overwhelming desire or craving.”

    Lust has as its focus pleasing oneself, and it
    often leads to unwholesome actions to fulfill one’s desires with no regard to
    the consequences. Lust is about possession and greed. The Christian faith is about
    selflessness and is marked by holy living (Romans 6:19, 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians
    1:2, 30, 6:19-20; Ephesians 1:4, 4:24; Colossians 3:12; 1 Thessalonians 4:3-8,
    5:23; 2 Timothy 1:9; Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16)

    Job 31:11-12 (NLT) sums up lust quite nicely:
    “For lust is a shameful sin, a crime that should be punished. It is a
    devastating fire that destroys to hell. It would wipe out everything I
    own.”

    It is clear from Scripture that illicit sexual
    fantasies are forbidden, and this is a significant issue with masturbation.

    Matt 5:28-29 “But I tell you that anyone
    who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his
    heart. If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It
    is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be
    thrown into hell.”

    But i’m sure many will ask “what if no
    illicit fantasies are included in masturbation? Is the act then sinful?”
    .. By scripture, there is nothing to indicate that it is. Specifically, if the
    act is done merely as a hedge against temptation and as you’ve convinced
    yourself that “your body requires”, then there is no need for the
    above sinful “crutches”. This is hardly exciting, and a rote act of
    keeping the body in submission. It can’t be done often, as the body is not that
    demanding if left alone by a perverted imagination…. On the other hand, if we
    attempt a pent-up “self-sex life”, then we find that the body needs
    help from the soul through illicit fantasies, and then sin is clearly being
    committed.

    I hope this is clear…. Were it not for our
    perverted imaginations and lustful sense of expectation, our bodies would not
    cause us much trouble… It’s our “MINDS AND HEARTS” that need
    “treatment!”… It’s like revving an engine near a red-line at every
    traffic signal, and all the time it is running, we then complain about the
    eventual engine failure. Sure the thing can rev, but not all the time…. It
    was not made for that!

    From Scripture, the line not to be crossed is
    the line of illicit imagination, and what a line it is! Minus the sinful
    fantasies, which are the fuel for most masturbation, all the fun and zest would
    be taken out of it, thus, it would no longer be a topic of interest to you or
    anybody else, any more than the act of going to the bathroom… It would be
    just “doing what was needed” to keep the body from exploding from
    within, however, masturbation is not a “needed” function, it’s a “chosen” one,
    that God has clearly stated we are to have control over and if He tells us to have
    control over our fleshly desires, then He must have given us the capability to
    do so, but “we” just “choose” not to!

    Sex was not created for this, you can be sure.
    That God allows masturbation to even work, is a mystery (ever try tickling
    yourself?) and so it is reasonable to assume that it is a “gift” to
    keep ourselves from temptation…..

    Eph 5:3 “But among you there must not be
    even a “HINT” of sexual immorality, or of “ANY KIND” of
    impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people”.

    Much like a person who is an Alcoholic must
    avoid any kind of drinking like the plague, where others can drink with
    moderation and without sin, the same principle applies here. So people might
    come to different conclusions concerning masturbation, and that is anticipated
    within our faith. Each man must live in holiness before the Lord in his/her own
    body, and this might mean different disciplines and personal leading in each
    case. What works for me or you… we should not impose on anybody else as a
    stumbling block, however, we don’t hide the truth either.

    Rom 14:12-13 “So then, each of us will
    give an account of himself to God. Therefore let us stop passing judgment on
    one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling-block or
    obstacle in your brother’s way.”

    The important thing is that we live holy
    before Him, and this is a matter that we should take very seriously. When it
    comes to sexual sin in the “thought-life”, in our culture, this is an
    easy temptation to fall into. So care and caution are appropriate as we
    consider these things and make choices before the Lord.

    1Th 4:2-8 “For you know what instructions
    we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. It is God’s will that you
    should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you
    should learn to “CONTROL” his own body in a way that is holy and
    honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God… For
    God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. Therefore, he who
    rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy
    Spirit.”

    Can you, in all honesty, masturbate without
    sinning against the clear commands of Christ? Let us be honest and admit that
    it is not so easy to do if we are committed to avoid mental sexual sin.

    In our society, where lust is in the air, how
    is it is possible to “learn to control our bodies in a way that is holy
    and honorable”?, yes…. If you are really the recipient of the “HOLY
    SPIRIT”, then this means PAIN in a physical body that lives in this carnal
    world. If you get this right in your attitude, God says you will be “done
    with sin.”

    The problem is that we want relief, and sin is
    the way… If we agree in advance that the way of the faith must inevitably
    involve suffering, then we are truly living the gospel and have transferred out
    of the power of evil and into God’s will…

    • Jack

      So, by your strict rationale and criteria, taking an Advil for a headache is sinful. Hmm.
      Also you are mistaken about how quotation marks are correctly used.

    • Anonymous

      The passage you cited from Job is talking about adultery, and the NLT twisted the scripture to make it about lust, just like churches today twist Jesus’s teachings about adultery to make it seem like he was against lust. Lust is essential to bringing two people of the opposite sex together, unless people marry those to whom they are not attracted to. That’s lust in the colloquial sense. Lust, in the biblical sense, is a strong desire especially for something forbidden. If it’s not forbidden, the lust need not be an applied term, biblically. The lusts of the flesh are the desires of the sinful nature, not the desires of our bodies. Flesh ≠ body in the context that flesh is used in the NT to denote the sinful nature.

    • James T

      My goodness and good grief !! Hope you never enjoy these carnal pleasures of the flesh: good food, back rubs, swimming, listening to soothing music, breathing a variety of aromas. Would you call them “SELFISH” , “SELF SERVING” and a “GREEDY” ?
      Of course, you as a woman, do not and cannot possibly understand the legitimate physical need for sexual release on a regular basis.
      And Apostle Paul says a fulfilling one-flesh marriage is the solution to those adults who cannot contain.

      • Wife

        Please do not think that women don’t understand that need for sex. You must have run into some who don’t, but some of us definitely do! I agree with what you said, physical enjoyment of food, etc is not selfish sin.

    • Joshua

      do you masturbate Sherrie? Sometimes I smoke a cigarette, sometimes I jack off. It’s all bad. Like your post.

    • Pen

      This is a difficult issue because a total aversion to any unnecessary carnal pleasure is a direct byproduct of the Catholic Church. It’s traditions and assumptions reach back thousands of years. But before I continue, I must point or that I am not arguing for masturbation, only pointing out why I couldn’t use your argument as definitive proof that masturbation is wrong.
      My main issue with your argument is with the initial assumption. That’s the assumption that all acts of self gratification are forbidden by God and sinful. If we follow your application strictly, then eating a tasty and sweet snack is sinful. Paul said all things are permissible, but not all things are beneficial. If either eating or sexual activity becomes something that has a power over you (or addiction) then it is no longer beneficial.
      Let’s also keep in mind that because the Bible has no written regulation on masturbation, but you use Scriptures referencing sexual immortality, you haven’t actually proven it as immortality. You assume that it is immoral and then draw the interpretation of those verses based off of your assumption. The old and new testament go into great detail listing the acts of sexual immortality, leaving out masturbation. Your argument literally writes it in based entirely on what you already think about it. I’m not advocating masturbation, only pointing out that your argument hasn’t defeated it’s advocation.
      Finally, everyone quotes Jesus’ words on “if you look at her to lust, you’ve committed adultery…” key word is “adultery” meaning that this applies specifically to married couples- people in a covanent with each other. Although I do believe that “lust” is a sin, to apply that specific verse, is an out of context application to the subject of masturbation.

      Ps.
      “That God allows masturbation to work is a mystery…” LOL! What?!?
      You assume that it is not natural or beneficial, but can’t figure out why it comes naturally to humans. Also, (again without advocating anything) you should probably look into the science of masturbation, and it’s listed benefits, and build your rebuttal, to that, into your argument, before someone challenges your assumption.

  • Anon

    The Greek and Hebrew words for masturbation do not show up at all in the bible. Additionally, masturbation comes with all the beneficial side effects of sex, minus the bonding with a partner and all the risks that are involved in that process.

    • Anon9

      This isn’t quite true… It bonds you to the act . If release didn’t bond people then it’d be pure, but masturbation will still bond you to the actions and often times your surroundings, and in that case it can in no way be pure.

  • SF

    Numerous studies now suggest frequent prevents prostate cancer… another can of worms

  • Caleb

    I would say it is not permissible even in video chatting or thinking about your spouse. I feel like you really aren’t connecting with them physically, you’re just using them to pleasure yourself. Now, masturbating your spouse is another. When you are together and they are doing it to you, that is ok. When they’re is actual physical connection between the man and wife, that is what sex really is, and getting any sexual gratification outside of that is not ok. That’s my initial reaction anyways.

  • Claire

    I’m torn on this too. Sometimes masturbation seems to be a good thing–I am able to do it without lusting, and it can boost my self image. Because I was sexually abused, I also find that masturbation is a way to regain a sense of control–I am in a sexual situation but it is completely up to me what happens. It can be a healing process.

    But sometimes it just feels shallow. Sometimes it’s absolutely triggered by lust, or it just generally feels like I’m glorifying my flesh/personal pleasure too much. And on the opposite side of the abuse coin, sometimes I use it in ways that are purposefully uncomfortable or self-triggering–I don’t want to be too graphic here but basically I pretend I am being abused again, or even self harm.

    What I have found to be true is that when I am already taking care of myself and setting my sights toward God, I masturbate less and it becomes a more positive experience.

    • Anonymouse

      I’ve struggled with it since I was 12, though I didn’t consider it a struggle until I was maybe 15. One common lie I tell myself is that it’s better than potentially ruining the lives of real girls. But you know what? The best days of my life are the ones where I’m pure from it. Those are the times when I actually make things right with God, with my friends, and when life seems to be a positive thing for once. And honestly the longer I go without it the less desirable it is. It’s not healthy, and it’s a slippery slope. My one conviction that when I break I feel worse than anything else is porn, and if I lie to myself about masturbation being healthy I usually find myself lying to myself about porn being healthy within a week. And every time that I decide to be clean and have some super awesome spiritual experience, it’s just an even harder fall once I start again. The girl I like is an angel, and her family loves and respects me, and I feel like if I’m not pure that I’m betraying their expectations of me and not being the man that she deserves. The worst is that it makes me feel like every time I sincerely told God that I was going to stop that it must have been a lie. I want to be strong and have conviction but it’s tough. I recognize still that it’s better than what a lot of guys are out doing but that doesn’t make it right. I’d go as far as to say that my life goal is just to be pure, and to have a happy marriage.

      • EM

        Wow….seems i’m reading a biography of myself. started masturbating innocently at about 12, and it gradually mushroomed to the point it became an addiction. discovering porn at 16 made it even ‘merrier’ at the time. then i met Christ at 18, and the truth is its been HELL since then. suddenly i started feeling guilty for something i previously enjoyed so freely. Now at 35, i havent still overcome the addiction. i have tried EVERYTHING. severally, i have even questioned God for saving me, as my life outside Christ blossoming, without any worries and guilt trips…phew!!! right now i have lost the will to even try again, cos each failure is much more devastating….

  • Chuck 85

    I like what you wrote when you said “I travel. There have been instances in which temptation has come, and rather than giving into those lusts, I have had the opportunity to redirect them towards my wife and involve her in an act that deals with those desires in a way that is open and which serves the purpose of maintaining my purity. That keeps me from looking at other women, from keeping secrets from her. Having excluded the clear contradictions above, this is one way in which masturbation has been helpful.”

    There are 2 sides to masturbation: 1 – the lusting selfish part and 2 – using it to stay pure. I struggled initially w/ # 2 for a while bec/ all my life I had only ever known # 1. It’s like same as sex outside of marriage and sex within.

    It definately can be used as a release valve in a positive way. I understand why people can think it is wrong (if they only ever struggle w/ #1 – “how could it possibly be ever right?!? All i know is the wrong side of it.”) However #2 thinking is actually possible. Now of course you can’t let it replace actual contact with your spouse. Some days it would be better to even forgo it to appreciate your spouse even more.

    Sometimes I do it the day after my wife and I have been together, recalling how wonderful the day before was.

    Yeah it can work if you stay within the proper guidelines. But like chocolate ice cream, it is not meant for every day. But it can be used to help keep things in check if necessary to avoid sin.

  • Levi

    All I can say is this… If it is dragging me further away from Christ, it is not healthy to do. I love what Levi (haha my names Levi too), but what he had said about knowing weather or not Masturbation is a sin or not. It is not specified in the bible about “masturbation” but it sure does talk about lust, and I have no idea if there is a person out there who can masturbate without lusting over someone…. I mean I struggle badly with masturbation, and I am not happy I do…. but we are human. God knows we love to “Glaze the donut” or to just masturbate, He gave us the feelings in order to be able to preform sex in order to further His kingdom…. but in marriage! Not saying that the kids that are born without married parents are bad, because if anything I can attest to being born from a young mother and a pedophile father who was wayyy older than my mother, which ended up in an adoption. But all that to say, God has used me, a child with a broken beginning and with an imperfect life, God has plans for me and those who were born from young parents or parents who were never married. Masturbation is a way to “fulfill” that sexual desire to have sex. Which may or might be good, it may give you a feel of wanting actual sex, because masturbating is not enough, or it just could be that masturbation does give you enough and keeps you from losing that purity of sex…. it goes either way I guess. I pray for my masturbation habits, because most the time I don’t feel good about the things i think about when i “Glaze the Donut”! If anything, think about how it effects you relationship with Christ. No one can change how you feel but you, YOU ARE A CHILD OF THE ONE TRUE KING, it all up to you and God. May God bless all of you, God is blessing this Ministry XXXCHURCH so greatly. Hard topics to talk about to man, give it up to Levi for his testimony and his words off what may and may not be good about masturbation. Because everyone struggles with some sort of sexual desire, and masturbation is a HUGE one. Although is it possible to stop masturbating? Yes. I would say it is. If you are focusing your attention on the Lord and staying accountable, your life choses will most likely change, masturbating will most likely no longer control your nights or days of wanting to do that. It takes a true person of God to run this site and work for this site. May Craig and this ministry and all these children of God who look and who use this site be blessed beyond measures. May God be with you throughout your struggles and help you through each and everyday, because life is nothing but a struggle sometimes!

  • Zie

    Have some conviction. You don’t know me. I don’t know you. I do know this: Twenty minutes of my time was spent reading your post and it wasn’t worth it. The answer is in the question. If physically (regardless of mental self-control) you “feel” the “need” to get off, you have opened a gift reserved for you by God to share with a woman He made JUST for You. “Do not awaken love until its due time,” Song of Solomon. When scripture tells us to live, “Above Reproach,” it speaks specifically to this. There really are no gray areas in the Bible. There are gray areas in our Theology/apologetic. We are just as good as satan at manipulating our own convictions, and convincing ourselves that God will over look our desire to “kind of sin.” I didn’t check to see if you are married or not. If so I would challenge you to put all of your sexual drive into your marriage. Every last drop. See what happens. If you aren’t married, I would challenge you to put every last drop of sexual drive into your relationship with Jesus. When you want to “The dreaded “M” word,” get into Jesus. Literally. It is how I overcame a porn addiction. It is how I overcame an addiction to self-gratification. Take that hunger, the raw human desire, the temptations to be animalistic, take Jesus by His hands and push through it. Not because you can, but because through [willing] you, He can do, exceedingly abundantly more than you could ever ask or imagine. Praying over you for true revelation and freedom in your soul to be lead by The Holy Spirit.

    • bob m

      This is the most correct answer I have seen in this blog. Study this answer. Print it out. Put it in your bible for future reference. Our whole Christian walk is His power working in us. If you are battling in the flesh with struggle and effort then you are not in the Spirit. It is not effort but union with Christ. It is not struggling but yielding to Christ. Romans chapter 6. I don’t mean to submit you to an impossible task, but if something is controlling you then you need to break its power with the blood of Christ.

    • Matter

      MATTERmuch?

  • rhodes autry

    Thank you Kel, Liz, Jenna,and whoever else is brave enough to be honest about this madness. As a guy I grew up thinking girls sugar/spice boys snails/tails. My sexuality is from one damaged mess to another. I grew up with these struggles from about 4yr old and with no recollection of any abuse prior to that point. I was a singer in a band that had a couple of albums out and of course my opportunity for sex was huge. It did not help that I was acceptably attractive and charming. It took me forever to understand that monogamy was a good idea. I always thought variety was the ‘spice of life’. It sure looked that way but it always left an emptiness, which I quickly masked, diverted, or denied in some fashion. It is clear that we live in a sexually saturated materialistic nation which does not help to make the purity quest easy. My sex drive seems off the Richter scale even now that I feel I see through the illusion. I no longer have sex with another human being which means I don’t entangle others as I used to do, and my thoughts may long to be pure but they are often not. I don’t have any great solution but it is necessary for me to READ THE BIBLE EVERY DAY.
    Just as a side note… there are those who cannot imagine this kind of sinful thought or behavior… BUT they often will have sinful control issues, perfection issues with unreasonable expectations and unforgiveness, or some other. Don’t let these folks guilt you down… you should feel guilty because you aren’t obeying God but not because someone else is appalled. Go to God, repent, get up and march on. If you don’t feel like repenting, ask for the repentant mindset [2Tim. 2:25]. AND READ THE BOOK… all the way through until you get the context to help it come together. (If a chronological Bible helps, use that to keep the timeline making sense) When you read through start over again…and again…
    If it all gets crazy and you feel like a total loser… read PSALMS…ALL OF THEM and ask God to make it real to you.
    I don’t know why folks need / want sex so bad, but if it were not a fact there would not be a billion dollar porn industry,Cosmo, GQ, and other mags in addition, movies chocked full of it, songs about it, and most advertisements using it. It is a huge issue. Therefore, READ THE BOOK.
    I hope that my input will encourage others.

  • Jessica

    Personally, I feel as if masturbation outside of marriage is a self-serving act. With that said, I’m not sure if I can justify it, even if fantasy and pornography are absent. However, within a marriage, if both parties consent, I believe it is more justifiable, but I also believe that one with a history of pornography addiction needs to be careful and guard their heart and mind while engaging in this way. Once you’ve viewed porn, those images are difficult to erase.

  • Crossdive

    I posted this recently on a different article you guys re-shared on Facebook that seemed to suggest masturbation was inherently bad. I think it’s very applicable here (maybe it’ll even help someone? :-))…

    “I FULLY agree porn is totally toxic, but where in the Bible can we prove masturbation without sexual thoughts/visuals/etc. is a sin? If someone achieves release without anything sexually sinful as a stimulant, why is that wrong? I’m sincerely asking; I know a lot of anti-masturbation Christians use a few arguments (which I’ve listed below) but none of those hold up, so if there’s a legitimate argument against it I’d like to hear it.

    Here are the common arguments I’ve heard Christians who oppose (even non-lustful) masturbation use (and why they don’t hold up):
    1. “Onan!” (Genesis 38:8-10) We’ve probably all heard this one: Judah gets a wife (Tamar) for his firstborn son, his son dies, so he gives Tamar to Onan, his second born. Onan knows the child he’s fathering won’t ever be his to raise, so he cums on the ground rather than in Tamar, and God strikes him down. Here’s the problem: this story doesn’t say anything about God striking him for shooting semen on the ground. The account in context, rather, suggests he was killed for disobedience. So it has nothing to do with masturbation. So dies argument #1.

    2. “Sex is for two becoming one, so masturbation is solo sex!” The first half of this is totally Biblical. Sex is a sacred (and pleasurable) act that joins two souls as one. But where does the Bible say masturbation (when conducted without sinful visual or thought) is a problem? Where does it say it is ‘solo sex’? Masturbation is manual stimulation, not sexual intercourse (sex being one man and one woman engaging each other’s reproductive organs with their own). So where is the Biblical proof for masturbation being ‘solo sex’? Unless proof in God’s Word exists, here dies argument #2.

    3. “Jesus said not to lust in your heart or commit adultery in your heart!” Very true, very true. But if one engages the mechanics of masturbating but doesn’t think, say, look at, read, or listen to anything sexually unclean, then how does this passage apply? I can change a tire with sin in my heart, but does that mean that A) every person changing a tire has sin in their heart while doing so, or B) changing a tire is a sinful act in and of itself? Nope. So dies argument #3.

    4. “He who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body (and other verses of this sort)”. Again, correct. But did he say non-lustful masturbation was on that list, or is that just something the Christian who opposes all forms of masturbation is inferring? It’s dangerous to add to or take away from the Divine Word, so unless the original Greek/Hebrew text mentions masturbating here (or anywhere, for that matter), then we have to differ to what we DO know applies, which is Jesus’ admonition that it’s the contents of a person’s heart that matters (an assertion that applies to all topics, masturbation included). Short of evidence in the original text that the English missed, here dies argument #4.

    5. “If you masturbate you will fall into porn use!” This can be true, for sure, but is it unilaterally true? I’ve actually found masturbating without sinful images makes me want those images LESS, because I’m getting the gratification of release without the use of porn and all the garbage (physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual) that comes with it. Since this is a variable dependent on the individual and contributing factors related to that individual, we can’t nail this one down in black and white quite as easily. So I guess the best Biblical advice I can think of here is probably: if it is sin to you don’t do it, if it causes you to sin don’t do it, and “everything that does not come from faith is sin”.”

  • Barb

    ‘Self-serving dethrones self-giving.’ This helped me to understand that masturbation is not in God’s plan for us. According to psychology (or the world’s wisdom) we are animals who ‘need’ that kind of gratification but God shows us a much better way. Adam didn’t walk around with an erection so God made Eve. God saw that love – that self-giving kind of love – should be multiplied. In two becoming one, two individuals giving each to another in self-giving love, we find the original plan. We were not meant to ‘need’ but to love. Our mandate as followers of Jesus is to become love just like Jesus. Through this strong focus on failing (condemnation, guilt, shame – all tools of the enemy to multiply himself through us) we can not understand our true value and why Jesus died for us. He did to restore our original value. He didn’t come to expose our sin but to forgive us. He calls us to a life that gives away love furiously. It’s not about me and self-preservation. It’s so about glorifying Jesus through the power of the Holy Spirit who is given to everyone who asks. He is a good father. He knows exactly what you need. He is also the only source who can fill that what we falsely believe we ‘need’ through self-serving sex and still try to rationalize and still try to make ourselves believe it’s ok. God is not a God of confusion. He is very clear in what he has planned with us. Give your lives as living sacrifice… etc.. did Jesus masturbate? It’s a legitimate question because as followers of him (imitating him) we should look to him as an example. He was tempted in all things just like us that’s why he is the perfect High Priest. But he knew who he was. A son. He walked knowing he is loved and his father took care of everything. His mandate was to love and give himself up for this world. We are invited to follow his example. Does the question ‘Is masturbation ok’ still remain? It’s misleading, cheap cop-out from what God has for you and obviously brings confusion. God doesn’t condemn you. He loves you.

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