It’s baffling to observe Bible doesn’t talk about masturbation at all, despite the fact that everyone in the world is involved in it regularly or occasionally. Though the Scripture talks about sins like lust, sexual immorality, fornication, adultery, orgies, sex with animals and homosexuality ( Ephesians 5:3, Colossians. 3:5, 1 Thessalonians 4:3, Proverbs 6:25, Matthew 5:28, 1 Peter 4:3, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Romans 1:27, Exodus 22:19, Leviticus 18:23 and in many), it’s silent about masturbation. If masturbation comes under any of these sins, why there is no direct or indirect reference to this? Can masturbation go together with lust and sexual immorality? Is masturbation an optional outlet for sexuality? Let us discuss about it in Biblical perspective with absolute transparency and without personal interpretation or taking any verse out of context. The church the world over is uncomfortable and hesitant to talk about masturbation. I believe we cannot have a healthy attitude about sexuality if we refuse to talk about masturbation.
Sex is God’s gift
God created everyone’s body with an ability to imagine and dream. So it is natural that our thoughts of images, stories, movies and real persons make us enjoy pleasures through our feelings and emotions, which are not under our control. We are also blessed with God’s loving gift of sexual orgasms. It is a natural way to respond to the sexual design of our bodies, which God made and allowed us to enjoy. God has constituted the connection between sexual orgasm and sexual thought in such a way that the pleasure of orgasms is dependent on the thoughts and images in our minds. Now, lust basically desires something that is not intended to be ours. This proves masturbation is not a lust. The foremost question to ask is, “What does the Bible say?” The truth is shocking. The Bible never mentions about masturbation. You don’t find the word masturbation. You don’t find a synonym for the word masturbation. The whole Scripture is silent on the actual physical act of masturbation. It is surprising because the Bible is very clear in revealing God’s instructions and God’s will with regard to human sexuality and sexual sins. Let us look into the bigger picture in view of some people making others feel guilty about this act of masturbation. Sex is inherently good and normal and is one of the ways God showing us his love and concern for our happy living. Sexual desire is an ever increasing thing until the person attains a release, like an urge to go to the bathroom to relieve.
The common practice of masturbation
Men masturbate more than women. For some women, it is a healthy practice to touch themselves for climax and orgasm even during the act of having sex with their husbands. Thus foreplay becomes necessary for stimulation. Among some couples, wives stimulate themselves with their hands or showing their husbands how. However, for some, the use of a vibrator becomes necessary for healthy orgasms. What about a couple separated for a long period of time due to some inevitable circumstances and cam with one another to satisfy themselves? There are instances when a man has to masturbate for an infertility test or artificial insemination for a fertilization procedure, where there is no lust or sexual immorality involved.
Benefits of Masturbation
Medical science brings out health benefits of masturbation. They include better sleep, reduced stress and tension, fewer headaches, improved concentration, increased self-esteem, more youthful appearance, and better fitness. Masturbation helps in lowering the risk of prostate cancer. There are also a number of specific sexual health benefits for women, particularly older women, including less vaginal dryness and pain during sex.
Is Masturbation a sin?
What may be permissible for one person may not be for another. Here’s to address your conviction that masturbation is a sin, based on the verses quoted at the outset on lust and sexual immorality. The passage most frequently associated with masturbation is the story of Onan in Genesis 38:9–10. Some interpret this passage to say that spilling one’s seed is a sin. However, that is not what the passage is saying. God condemned Onan not for spilling his seed, but because Onan was rebellious. Onan refused to fulfill his duty to provide an heir for his deceased brother. The passage is not about masturbation but about fulfilling a family obligation. Further, the passage describes actual sexual intercourse, not masturbation.
Paul in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 confesses, “ a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.” Bible scholars speculate the thorn in the flesh, as some physical weakness, ailment, persecution by others, an eye defect, internal strife, falling out with others in the church, Paul’s sexual feelings and most probably masturbation, which he couldn’t give up. Some believe sex itself is sin quoting, Psalms 51:5 “Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me.”
A passage sometimes used as evidence that masturbation is a sin is Matthew 5:29–30, where Jesus speaks against having lustful thoughts and then says, “If your right eye causes you to stumble, 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. And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.” If you do not apply reasoning and God given wisdom here and insist on obeying this implicitly taking these verses literally, the best way to identify Christians in public places will be looking for people who don't have eyes and right hands. The Church will be full of people without eyes and right hands.
Our salvation is secured despite regular masturbation
The whole Bible reiterates that God’s grace and mercy and forgiveness are unlimited. If we confess our sins he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. You can’t out-sin the mercy of God. If I keep committing the same sin, will God keep on forgiving me? Absolutely, yes. Salvation is not a matter of believers trying to confess and repent from every sin they commit before they die. Even after a son commits mistakes against his father, he continues to be his son, though the relationship gets affected. The relationship is restored when the son confesses his mistakes to his father and apologizes. The same way, we confess our sins to God, not to maintain our salvation, but to bring ourselves back into close fellowship with the God who loves us, forgives us as soon as we confess our sins. God proclaims us holy immediately. We don’t have to look for proofs through our feelings for this forgiveness, but we just believe and accept Word of God which promises this forgiveness. We are all human and no matter how badly we want to be holy, we stumble and sin. Nevertheless, our salvation is secure. The security of salvation of a believer is the core doctrine of the Bible. There are hundreds of verses that support this doctrine, in one way or another. The concept of losing one's salvation is flawed in so many ways. At what point would a person lose it? How much sin is too much? Where would you cross the saved/unsaved line? The idea of losing our salvation is not only unscriptural, but it creates monumental problems with other doctrines, including salvation by faith, the very nature of man to sin and the purpose of Christ’s sacrifice. God is all knowing and he is aware, our bodies are made sinful. If Eternal Security is not true, no one has ever been saved, because we all are sinful by nature. Please listen to these verses which emphasize our salvation is secured. “ For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1). “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:38-39). You believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but lose it tomorrow; it was never ‘eternal’ at all.
Despite any age, unless there is an infirmity in the body, not only people who are single who masturbate, but also most of the married. Fantasizing about someone else while in bed with their partners is a common practice among couples too. Masturbation is a regular practice by almost every healthy person the world over, even if you don’t agree 100 percent to this old joke, "98 percent of people masturbate, and the other 2 percent are lying." Is masturbation a sin? Considering all that we analyzed, I suggest you may take a decision yourself praying for wisdom from God. We’re not sinners because we sin; we sin because we’re sinners. Conclusion to this write-up is in Romans 5. Read the whole short chapter quickly right now and relax as it addresses the whole issue. Here’s the gist of the whole chapter. “ but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more” (Romans 5:20)