Masturbation…what I know for sure

The inspiration for this post comes from a book I am reading entitled, every man’s battle. It is a Christian-based book that talks about sexual temptation in ways that are very direct and honest. But first I guess a good question would be to ask if people think masturbation is wrong.

For me, and I think many other men, I felt that masturbation was merely a way of releasing pent up energy. In practice, this meant that while I was younger and a virgin, I thought that masturbation was the best way to stay pure without actually “doing” it. And as I got older, this meant that if enough time elapsed, I was entitled to a session. However, there is a verse in the Bible, Matthew 5:28 that states,

But I (Jesus) tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.


For a long time, I rejected the logic of this scripture. I couldn’t understand how looking at someone with my eyes provided a direct connection to my heart. And why did looking lustfully become synonymous with adultery? That always seemed a little harsh to me. What’s worse is that my sessions didn’t involve me using my eyes to lust after a woman. For me that meant if I was intimate with someone, I had the mental video in my mind ready to go. Essentially, I tried to split hairs thinking that if I was not looking at porn or something and just recalling intimate memories, I was ok for the most part.

But if we revisit the scripture, it is clear how dangerous this thought process really is. I am sure most of you know of the concept of the mind’s eye, which is hard to explain but it is one’s ability to see things with your mind. Therefore, lusting after a woman you see on a pornographic website is no different from lusting after a woman you were intimate with from last month. Either way, we are committing adultery with that woman, which is wrong. And masturbation is really nothing more than using our eyes or our mind’s eye to lust after another woman.

And the beauty is that God created sex to be relational. What masturbation does is corrupt God’s ideal for love by making it secretive, selfish, and done in isolation. But I digress.

My original question was whether or not you think masturbation is wrong. I am really interested in this question because for me, this was an area of sin that I could tolerate. Now the Bible does not say, “Do not masturbate,” but I think the verse regarding adultery is proof enough. But if it is not, I point your direction to any of the following scriptures,
Galatians 5:16-19
Colossians 3:5-6
Acts 15:29
I Corinthians 6:13

There was an even more powerful example in the book that I think really frames it in the proper context. The authors state that we don’t have the “right” to look lustfully on another woman. Which makes sense because in the kingdom, we have the choice to do wrong, but this is very different from a right. The authors put it this way, “When we’re thieves with our eyes, we’re embezzling sexual gratification from areas that don’t belong to us, from women who aren’t connected to us.” Does this framework make sense to you?

And lest you read this and think, “I will take care of this myself,” Proverbs 28:26 says, He who trusts in himself is a fool. I pray that you are not a fool and for encouragement, the Bible also says in James 5:16, Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. It is funny to me how when it comes to things like physical abuse, anger management, or financial mismanagement, we as Christians are quick to call for group interventions and seek assistance from those we trust. But when it comes to masturbation, too many of us think we can do it alone. Ask for help from someone that you trust, it will do wonders, I promise.

Nevertheless, I haven’t finished the book yet but as I learn more I will share with you. I hope that through this post, you find some encouragement in this area of your life. And though I didn’t address women specifically, I know that women deal with this issue as much as men do. So let’s have a frank discussion about this issue and ways to master it. I don’t want to see you having the strength of Samson only to sacrifice all of your potential due to lack of self-control due to sexual temptation. But let us follow men like Job who made a covenant with his eyes. Read about how that worked out for him in Job 31:9. With love,

Stay up fam,

Categories:
spirituality
sexuality

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14 responses to “Masturbation…what I know for sure”

  1. Anonymous says :

    http://www.marclamonthill.com/mlhblog/?p=1631

    Check out what others have to say :)

    I’m not sure people have to always have a visual picture of someone or video in order to masturbate.

    B, Let me give this some more thought.

  2. "The Consigliere" says :

    B,

    I give you mad props for going there. Personally, I have never done it. Growing up in a strict Christian household, I was taught it was a sin and if you did it, you might as well fornicate. So the hang ups and the stigma I grew up kept me from going down that road. On the surface, masturbation seems like a victimless crime. It is as safe as abstinence. But if you subscribe to the Judeo-Christian tradition, it is a sin. One, your body is a temple. Two, our bodies do not belong to us. Three, sexual energy and expression is a gift from God to be shared and to reenforce the oneness between a man and a woman. Now that I have gone to the mountain, let me come down and rap a taste.

    This is easier sad than done. There was a woman I know that waited 40years to get married and she was a virgin, and I was like Lord, what did she do to sustain that? What are you supposed to do? What about people with STDs? Isnt it safer for them to pleasure themselves than to risk infecting someone else? And those who do abstain completely tend to end up with a lot of hangups when they finally do get somebody. I am not for repression, but proper expression. It really does take supernatural strength. Even Jesus’ disciples said it was a hard saying. And Jesus said “There are those who are born eunuchs, those who are made eunuchs by men, and those who choose to be eunuchs for the Kingdom. He who can bear it let him bear it.” I was like blown away. However, I think this is one of the most serious areas of compromise in a Christian’s life, especially when you have a genuine joy and enthusiasm for sex and beauty anyway. Perhaps we need to learn to appreciate beauty in the human form the proper way? Any suggestions?

    But to get back to the point, yes, I think it is wrong and if you do it, you might as well fornicate. However, it is easier to make allowance than to go cold turkey. If you do, you are way stronger than most people (myself included). May God help us learn these ropes and give us proper understanding.

  3. Anonymous says :

    As a young girl I remember watching Newt Gingrich on tv talking about masturbation. I remembered feeling guilty and ashamed about masturbation, even though I wasn’t sure quite what masturbation was! He made it sound dirty and made it sound like the youth and everyone was doing it so maybe I was doing it and didn’t know I was. Maybe I was splitting hell wide open (his words not mine) despite that I was so dedicated to God as youth.

    I don’t think I put the site link up right but basically it discusses whether masturbation is a gateway sin. It points out the natural things about masturbation. It does reference a story in the bible as well.

    “The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body”

    Now Brandon you know different ministers and church goers are going to interpret sexual immorality in their own way. I’m open to your interpretion but you have to show me that masturbation is considered sexual immorality by scripture. I see a lot of vague statements with vague evidence.

    I can show you information about the safeness, healthiness, naturnalness about masturbation. I have a hard time following the church folk on this one because of what I know about the oppression of women. It justs seems like another tool to control other issues conservative religious folk are scared of like pre-marital sex, abortion,and ORGASMS for women, which except for the last one, have no causal-effect relationship with masturbation. Many women in large numbers have never had an orgasm, who are taught to be afraid of their sexuality. These women are told not to masturbate, follow her husband and submit. The outcomes has left many unsatisfied, unhappy and unloved. Masturbation would HELP a whole lot for women and men in understand their bodies. Women otherwise become baby breeders and serve no other enjoyment from the act of love making.

    I not sure Brandon that the evidence you provide proves a solid case against masturbation as much as is does for adultery, lust, and objectification of women. Are there more verses about masturbation? The bible talks about sex as a loving unifying act but if only one person feels the love how does that work?

  4. Brandon Q. says :

    Thanks for the comment Steve.

    I received a slew of phone calls in regards to this post but you took it to the next level. Steve, I agree with most everything you said but I would like to touch on what you wrote about in regards to victimless crime.

    I think the Christian church has really drunk the kool-aid in reference to what the implications are of a victimless crime. In other words, crime might not be the right word but if something is wrong, then it is wrong if it is done is isolation or if it is done to someone else. This leads down the slipper slope of “Well at least I am not hurting anybody.” And that is the problem I have with Christians who tend to justify their actions by beginning with “Well at least…”

    How can we expect to be set apart when we use the same excuses as the world?

  5. Brandon Q. says :

    Nikki,

    Thank you for bringing different angles that I did not initially consider. I will try my best to address them though. For your first comment, I would be willing to go along with you and say that people not always need to have a visual picture of someone but I think visual stimulation serves as a common starting point (especially for men) that is intertwined with emotions and the such. Now let me ask you Nikki, have you (or anyone else for that matter) ever had a masturbation session that was purely based on emotion? And bear in mind that I understand that sometimes women in particular can become aroused without thinking about any person in particular. (e.g. a woman wearing tight pants riding on a subway that has a strong and steady vibration.)

    As for the link you put up, the scope of that article I felt does not adequately fit the breadth of our discussion. I do understand that masturbation is natural but just because something is natural doesn’t make it right. One of the constant themes of the Bible is making sure that we as Christians are led by the Spirit and not by the flesh.

    And as for the second comment, I agree with you that “sexual immorality” will be taught by different pastors and different ways and this is unfortunate. This vagueness upsets me as well and that is precisely why I tried to look at another scripture (discussing looking at another woman and committing adultery) to try and incorporate different angles from the Bible.

    And I am aware that there are studies that detail the safeness, healthiness, and naturalness of masturbation. However, if I understand you correctly, it seems like the argument you are making is that if an act is safe, healthy, and natural, then God will approve of this act. Please correct me if I am wrong.

    Moreover, the purpose of this post is not to discredit science but to explore what the Bible actually says about this issue. As for what you said about masturbation being used to control people (women in particular) in regards to pre-marital sex and abortion, I think that that does happen unfortunately, but that is because for centuries, there have been people that interpreted the Bible based on their self-interest. But the reality is that we were bought with a price and we have to be careful not to confuse what we popularly know as “rights” with what the Bible says, provided we believe the Bible in the first place.

    You mentioned that masturbation would help women reach orgasms. I don’t doubt that but is that the ultimate the goal, whereby any mechanism that achieves this end is therefore justified? And I am not sure if masturbation is the lynch pin that if not explored leads women to feel as you put it, “unsatisfied, unhappy and unloved.” I am almost certain that the relationship is as direct as you made it sound in your comment.

    Lastly, there are no verses in the Bible that say you should not masturbate, that is primarily what inspired this post; to look at different verses and study to show ourselves approved. Nikki, in your last question you said, “The bible talks about sex as a loving unifying act but if only one person feels the love how does that work?” To attempt an answer at your question, I don’t think it does work. And if masturbation is an act of loving yourself, then doesn’t that same logic hold?

    Whew, that was the longest comment ever,

    Thanks Nikki,

  6. Anonymous says :

    I asked for more scriptures about masturbations. Do you have any? You have yet to provide some.

    I find too often people use their OWN interpretaion of the bible and present it as God’s words. Instead of seeking the relationship with God they should have to add clarity to vague scriptures, they depend on their pastors words. Pastors make mistakes too btw. Are you telling me God told gave you this insight? Let a sista know cuz Lord knows I can’t debate what your relationship with God is.

    I certainly can debate whether or not people (men) in the church had added in oppression and sexual suppression of women though :). Do I really have to break this down though? The statistics about women who have never had or had few orgasms are easy to look up. No I don’t think making love is just about an orgasm. Wouldn’t it be interesting to ask those women who masturbates and who doesn’t? Well I did my own survey. Of five of my friends. Three have never had an orgasm! All three claim to not masturbate! I’m just wondering how she is suppose to tell her husband where the spot is if she doesn’t it know it herself? (I digress) My point is can you really claim having an orgasm doesn’t increase the emotions, feelings of love during sex for women. Do you know HOW many nerve endings are in the clitoris? I’m not going to tell a women who haven’t had an orgasm she’s not missing out. Of course you can experience love without an orgasm but wouldn’t an orgasm be nice. God gaves us those nerve endings there. We certainly didn’t make them ourselves :)

    Considering the bible discusses bringing new life as purpose for sex if men don’t ejaculate during sex, pregnancy seems unlikely although I know pre-cum can make a women pregnant. Yet, seems unlikely. So all women need is the man to get his. Many pastors who counsel married couples will say “How’s your relationship with God” then when they answer is fine they’ll say “Well how’s your sex life.” People recognize besides babies sex does have another purpose and the way that love is shown (orgasm or not is important) but to just tell a women an orgasm shouldn’t matter, well I could say the same for men but I don’t think many care for that argument. Dang, that Eve she has screwed us up for life!!!!!

  7. Anonymous says :

    How do you determine a tolerable sin?
    -ellen

  8. Anonymous says :

    Brandon,
    You said “What masturbation does is corrupt God’s ideal for love by making it secretive, selfish, and done in isolation.” This is only true if one takes a guilty stance on masturbation. You seem to highlight the negatives of masturbation without considering the positive that comes along with it. I wonder if our society (parents, families, churches, conservative leaders, etc) taught us to love our bodies and celebrate all aspects of them a bit more instead of raising issues of conflict and shame if this topic would still be an issue.

    -Ellen

  9. Brandon Q. says :

    Nikki,

    I have stated before that there is no scripture in the Bible stating, “Thou shalt not masturbate” or anything similar. That is in part why I was inspired to write this post, to help gain clarity on this issue.

    As for your argument concerning women not being able to orgasm, I wasn’t really following where you were going. It seemed as if you were saying that any person saying masturbation is wrong is (intentionally or not) contributing to the sexual repression of women. I think that that while you are right that many women do not achieve orgasms, I believe God did not ultimately desire for humans to solely achieve an orgasm by means of masturbation. Now whether or not it is more difficult for women to achieve an orgasm I don’t think would change how my logic would be applied.

    Thanks Nikki

  10. Brandon Q. says :

    Ellen,

    To your first comment, I didn’t use the phrase, “tolerable sin.” However, to the gist of your comment, I would direct you to I Corinthians 6:13. This verse and others refers to sexual immorality and even when you refer to Hebrew or the Greek, you still don’t see masturbation.

    And that is why I wanted to look at another scripture that is separated from the “sexual immoral” argument in order to gain better understanding.

    Again, even though I didn’t use the word tolerable, my larger point is that sin (especially if it is clear cut according to the Bible) shouldn’t be held to different standards. In other words, if masturbation is sinful and murder is sinful, then neither of these actions should be tolerable.

    Thanks,

  11. Brandon Q. says :

    Ellen,

    To your second comment, you said that I highlighted the negatives of masturbation without considering the positives. What are the positives?

    Also, is it possible for society to teach us to love our bodies while also encouraging us not to masturbate? And if not, why?

    Thanks,

  12. Anonymous says :

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  13. Anonymous says :

    i know i’m late on this…and you guys may not be looking at this post anymore, but i find it interesting so i’ll contribute.

    lets be clear on what we’re talking about it….men and women can masturbate themselves and each other (particularly during marriage) and the bible does not infer or imply that this is wrong.

    I just want us to be sure that we know what we are arguing about (particularly with Nikki’s?? comments around orgasms and female sexual repression).

    I think what we speak of specifically is self-sexual pleasure outside the confines of marriage. What about a man or woman enjoying or thinking of his wife (or her husband) simply when they are not together, and pleasuring him/herself at that time? Is that wrong? Or when they are together? Certainly that can’t be wrong, when God has given us the gift of sex to enjoy as man and wife. I don’t think that the Bible says sex is this and this but not this or this – with the exception of harming your spouse….(or does it? I’m not a scholar of the Word).

    I think that’s where some of the variances in thought are stemmed from, this lack of clarity on what we actually mean by MASTURBATION.

    I know I’m not addressing the specific topic at hand, but rather wanted to attempt to gain some clarity on the resulting comments…

    I guess in reality self-serving masturbation (outside the confines of marriage) is just as bad as pre-marital sex according to the word. NOT the orgasm (who can be mad for wet dreams, unintentional orgasms from train rides, etc.) . we have to think of what God INTENDED (and of course this is subject to interpretation by each who reads) but I THINK that its self-serving and to some extent originating out of lust (whether visually stimulated or not) and therefore wrong.

    but its a complicated (and EXTREMELY INTERESTING) topic, so if people are still reading…add on and let’s bring it back up.

  14. Brandon Q. says :

    What’s up Anonymous,

    I should say first that you should never feel like you can’t comment on older posts. As to your comment, I have never thought about it from that perspective.

    As for your example regarding masturbation and marriage, I personally would not want to be apart from my wife so long that the thought of masturbation would be necessary. But to answer your question, I would have to say I don’t know.

    A thought experiment might help though. What if two people who were previously virgins get married and the day before their wedding night, one of the partners suffers an accident that renders intercourse (of any kind) impossible forever. Is it then ok for the healthy spouse to masturbate?

    You then went on to say that in reality, you guess self-serving masturbation (outside of marriage) is wrong along with pre-marital sex, but the orgasm is not. Let’s try another thought experiment. Let’s say that you (male or female) have an unintentional orgasm every time you take the train to work, at what point does that orgasm become intentional when after the first couple of times, you realize what siutations are more likely to caus an orgrasm?

    I hope that people come back to this post as well, take care

    Brandon Q.

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