Is Masturbation a Sin?
Is Masturbation a sin?
Bible Answer: Just
recently I came across a passage of Scripture that seems to deal
"'When a man has an emission of semen, he must
bathe his whole body with water, and he will be unclean till evening. Any
clothing or leather that has semen on it must be washed with water, and it
will be unclean till evening. When a man lies with a woman and there is an
emission of semen, both must bathe with water, and they will be unclean till
evening. (Lev 15:16-18)
Notice verse 18 deals with seminal emission
during sexual intercourse, but verse 16 is speaking of a seminal emission that
does not occur as a result of intercourse. If this is indeed a reference to
masturbation, the matter-of-fact way in which God deals with this matter
certainly indicates that no feelings of shame should be attached to it. He
simply said, "Go take a bath."
It seems to me that if God were really bothered by such a practice, then He
missed a teachable moment here in this passage. God clearly condemns certain
sexual practices such as between men with men and calls it "detestable"
(Lev 18:22), and sex between humans with animals as "perversion" (Lev
18:23), yet God is completely silent about masturbation. I think that if He had really wanted us to avoid this
particular practice, He would at least have said something like "That is
disgusting" instead of "Go take a bath."
Masturbation has been around for a long time, and
since God does not clearly condemn it, I would not be too bothered with it,
either. Masturbation is practiced far more than adultery or fornication, yet God
is practically silent on the issue. This ought to tell you that God is not
overly concerned with it.
However, let me caution you against addiction to
masturbation. Just like most things, masturbation can turn into an addiction. If
you find yourself constantly—several times a day—masturbating then
you can be reasonably sure that you have a sexual addiction. Paul said,
"'Everything is permissible for me'—but I will not be mastered by
anything" (1 Cor 6:12). This includes masturbation. Also, you should never use
pornography to masturbate, and if you are married, keep your thoughts on your
wife. It is the same sin to make love to your wife while thinking about another
woman as it is to masturbate while thinking about another woman. Concerning
single people, I have no advice other than a prohibition to pornography.
If a believer uses masturbation to alleviate
sexual temptation, that's far better than actually being tempted to commit
fornication or adultery. I would rather have a man masturbate than go to a
Another thought, if masturbation is sinful, then
you would expect there to be bad health consequences to it, such as found in
adultery, homosexuality, and fornication (diseases for one thing). Instead,
research has found that masturbation serves to release sexual tension. If a man
is prevented from having sexual release, then the seminal fluids can back up,
causing increased sexual tension and physical discomfort. It also increases the
risk of prostate inflammation. This might explain why priests, who practice
celibacy and who view masturbation as sinful, have a higher rate of prostate
Since there are proven medical benefits to
masturbation, it is difficult to make a biblical and reasonable case against it.
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