Let’s talk about the M word and Christian singles. Male masturbation. Female masturbation. Adolescent masturbation. Chronic masturbation. Christian Singles and Masturbation.
Is it a sin to masturbate? Are you feeling awkward yet? Most pastors apparently are because they avoid the masturbation topic at all costs. This is a little ironic, to say the least, when survey after survey reveals a majority of married and single Christians of all different ages (guys and gals) masturbate, and suffer intense guilt over it. I personally get hundreds of emails on this site regularly from Christian singles struggling with masturbation.
Masturbation and Christian Singles Struggles
As a Christian single, just what are your feelings about masturbation? Are you a masturbator? Do you struggle with your Christian Lifestyle because you feel it is morally wrong? Do you live in guilt and confusion over the whole issue?
Personally, I can’t stand it when Christian teachers and churches are so dogmatic on the “rights” and “wrongs” of masturbatory activities because it’s such a complex issue, with many different contingencies connected to the practice. So I’ll try to leave my preaching in the pulpit as I hand out from my heart some observations and Scriptures to help guide you through this sensitive, sticky issue.
Masturbation and Christian Singles Observations
- The Bible is silent on the specific issue of masturbation even though the vast majority of humankind is preoccupied with it.
- The Roman Catholic Church, some Protestant denominations and even Webster’s Dictionary have attempted to equate the sin of Onan (Genesis 38:6-10) with masturbation, but a simple exegesis of these passages precludes this possibility. You see, under Jewish law, a person was required to procreate with his brother’s widow. When Onan refused out of selfishness, the Lord killed him. The bottom line here? God did not whack Onan for whacking off, but rather for “spilling his seed” by ejaculating outside of his dead brother’s wife during sexual intercourse.
- Many Christian singles and not a few Christian pastors feel masturbation to orgasm is acceptable in order to: 1) relieve unabated sexual tension, and/or 2) to avoid sexual immorality. The catch is that there should be no lustful thoughts connected to the act.
- The vast majority of single Christians feel that compulsive masturbation, simply for the purpose of self gratification, is always wrong. Most would also agree that habitual masturbation while single will make it harder for any future spouse to please them sexually.
Notwithstanding the above points, let the following paraphrased verses guide you as you pray and seek the Lord over whether masturbating should have any room in your life as a single person:
- Matthew 5:28- Looking lustily at a woman (or a man if you’re a woman) means you are commiting adultery in your heart.
- 1 Corinthians 6:12- All things are lawful for you, but not all things are profitable.
- 1 Corinthians 6:19,20- Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and so you should glorify God with it.
- 1 Thessalonians 4:4,5- You should learn to control your body in a holy and honourable way, not in passionate lust like the heathens.
- 2 Peter 2:19- You are a slave to whatever has mastered you.
- James 4:17- If you know you should do something, but fail to do it, it’s sin.
Finally, if you are a Christian who is really beating yourself up over the issue of masturbation, or are struggling with sexual impurity, remember that Jesus offers forgiveness (1 John 1:9) you and loves you where you are. Repent and move on in peace! Also consider the words of James Dobson of Focus on the Family:
“It is my opinion that masturbation is not much of an issue with God. It does not cause disease. It does not produce babies, and Jesus did not mention it in the Bible. I’m not telling you to masturbate, and I hope you won’t feel the need for it. But if you do, it is my opinion that you should not struggle with guilt over it.”