Thursday, January 15, 2015

Is masturbation a sin?

This question was submitted by email. Remember you can submit in questions anytime to All email correspondence is private and will not be shared. 

Although many are afraid to ask, this is a question that most have. Is masturbation sinful?

Answer: It can be, but it depends on the situation in which it occurs. Usually when one engages in self-stimulation they are also having lustful fantasies (sometimes accompanied by pornography or other stimulating images). This is sinful, and in our modern internet age, with the ready availability of pornography, this problem and temptation afflicts many. 
(NOTE: If you are struggling with an addiction to pornography, please confess this struggle to one you are close too, have them help keep you accountable and please install filtering software on your computer to help protect you and others who may use it. You may not be able to overcome this temptation on your own, allow others to help you).
Jesus said in (Matthew 5:28):
“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart”. 
The fantasy and lust that accompanies masturbation is sinful, thus a person should not engage in that behavior.

Are their any times when masturbation would not be sinful?

Answer: Yes, their are a few times I can think of when masturbation would not be sinful. 
  • A child or a mentally challenged person sometimes will engage in self-stimulation out of ignorance and innocence. This would not be sinful, but it would be wise to discourage it. 
  • A husband and wife may choose to engage in masturbation as part of a mutual married sex act. If the fantasy is for one’s spouse, and together you are engaging in this behavior, it would not be sinful and may be used as part of an active married sex life. 
  • A man may be required to provide a semen sample to a Doctor for medical reasons. In this case self-stimulation would most likely be permissible as long as one does not engage in inappropriate fantasy or views pornographic materials in doing so.

Conclusion: Although the Bible does not specifically condemn masturbation, lust is strongly condemned! Most of the time when one is masturbating they are viewing inappropriate material (like pornography), or fantasying about engaging in a sinful behavior (like sex with someone or someone in the nude). Lust makes masturbation sinful. 
"But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death" (James 1:14-15)

By Cliff Sabroe (Quotes from ESV Bible)