conference conference
Give a Year-End Donation banner

Photo

Is Masturbation a God-Honoring Expression of Sex?

By: Kristen Clark

Masturbation is one of those words that causes a lot of people to feel awkward or embarrassed. Some people don’t even like to say the word out loud. However, this doesn’t mean we’re not thinking about it on the inside. We, as Christian women, have a lot of questions about masturbation. Is it a sin? What does God actually teach about it? Am I wrong for wanting it?

Although the Bible never uses the word masturbation, it’s not silent on this issue. The Bible has a lot to say about sex, pleasure, intimacy, immorality, and purity because God cares deeply about these issues. He is the author and creator of our sexuality and wants to help us embrace His design rightly. And since masturbation is definitely a sexual act, God wants to help us view this rightly too.

As Christians, we often approach the topic of masturbation with questions about whether or not it’s a sin.

We just want to know if it’s wrong or not. We just want to know if the Bible has anything specific to say about it so we can move on and do what we want. We get so zeroed in on the “rights and wrongs” that we forget to zoom out and consider the bigger picture at hand.

Instead of asking, “is masturbation wrong or right,” we should be asking, “is masturbation in line with God’s bigger plan and purpose for sex and intimacy?” “Is masturbation an authentic expression of sexual pleasure within marriage?” “Does masturbation help me pursue a heart of purity before God?”

In my new book, Sex Purity, and the Longings of a Girls Heart, I put it this way:

“Our goal as Christian women should always be to discern the difference between authentic biblical sex and counterfeit worldly sex.”

Not all sexual acts are in line with God’s design for sex. Not all sexual acts push us toward true relational intimacy. Not all sexual acts bring God glory. As I’ve researched and wrestled with this topic myself over the years, I’ve come back to the same pressing question again and again: Is masturbation a God-honoring expression of sex?

I want to put that question on the table for all of us to ponder right now. Our ultimate goal in all of life should be to honor and glorify God. Therefore, we need to humbly explore the big-picture reasons for why masturbation may or may not be in line with God’s bigger design and purpose for sex. *Much of the following content was pulled directly from chapter 11 of Sex Purity, and the Longings of a Girls Heart:

1. Sexual Pleasure was Created for Intimacy within Marriage. 

First, we must remember that sex was created by God for marriage alone (Heb. 13:4). It wasn’t created for unmarried people. It was created for relationship. For intimacy. For sharing with a spouse within the covenant of marriage. When you think about masturbation, it’s an isolated sexual act. There is no marital intimacy or relationship involved.

Author Tim Challies writes, “A close examination of the Bible’s teaching on sexuality uncovers no reason to believe that God ever intended sex to be a private pursuit [Gen. 2:23–24; 1 Cor. 7:2–5; Prov. 5:18–19; Song of Sol. 1:2–4]. Indeed, the heart and soul of sexuality is the giving and receiving of sexual pleasure between two people—one husband and one wife. Sex is intended to be a means of mutual fulfillment, an expression of love in which a husband thinks foremost of his wife and the wife thinks foremost of her husband.”

Since masturbation is an isolated sexual act, it’s void of the ability to serve and give to another person. Its primary objective is to serve self. It lacks the relational component that God intentionally created sex to have.

2. Masturbation is Often Fueled by Lust

Whether single or married, we are all called to pursue a heart of genuine purity (see 1 Thess. 4:3–5). This includes pursuing sexual purity in both our minds and our actions. In my own personal experience, and in the case of many women I’ve talked to about this, masturbation is always fueled by impure thoughts and sexual fantasies.

Tim Challies notes that “sexual gratification, of course, is not merely a physical act, but one that engages the mind, often quite intensely. During masturbation, pornographic images, whether seen externally or visualized internally or just plain imagined, nearly always provide a kind of fuel. Indeed, the vast majority of the time, these fantasies are nearly impossible to separate from the masturbation itself.”

Sex was created to be pursued with a heart of purity and genuine love within marriage.

3. Masturbation Fails to Bring God Glory

Within marriage, sex provides the opportunity to be a beautiful expression of love and worship to God. It is a gift that should be enjoyed with gratitude for the Creator who made it (see Prov. 5:18–19). However, sexual activity outside of marriage fails to glorify God because it lacks integrity, purity, and context.

First Corinthians 6:19–20 says, “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”

When we engage in any sexual activity outside of marriage, we do not embrace God’s true design for sex and therefore are unable to bring Him glory. Our bodies become vessels for sin instead of vessels for righteousness. Regardless of how strong our sexual urges and desires may be, glorifying God with our bodies should be our primary pursuit.

Masturbation fails again and again to be an authentic and God-honoring form of sexual intimacy.

Masturbation fails to tell the story of God’s covenant love through marriage. It fails to teach us about marital intimacy. It lacks the biblical relational component of sex. It fails to serve another person selflessly. It lures our hearts away from holiness and purity. And ultimately, it falls short of glorifying God.

Rather than listening to worldly advice or personal preferences regarding masturbation, we need to accept God’s bigger plan for sex and embrace His design rightly. As hard as this may be, God wants to help us (whether single or married) honor Him in how we handle our sexual desires and longings.

God wants to help us embrace His beautiful design for sex in the right context — for our good, and for His glory. 

If you’re currently struggling with masturbation or wrestling with understanding God’s design for sex altogether, I highly encourage you to grab a copy Sex Purity, and the Longings of a Girls Heart and read chapter 11.

Also, I’ve written some helpful articles on this topic that you can read right now for free:

3 Biblical Truths About our Sexual Design

How to Deal with Secret Sexual Struggles

Girl, You Were Made for Intimacy

Our Sexual Longings and Desires Have Been Distorted by Sin

Is Masturbation Wrong for Christian Girls? (Part 1)

Is Masturbation Wrong for Christian Girls? (Part 2)

I’d love to hear from you below! Leave me a comment letting me know your thoughts on this post.

Photo Credit 

images images images
sex purity and longings banner
Radical Purity

9 Responses to Is Masturbation a God-Honoring Expression of Sex?

  1. Mayara says:

    thank you to bring this topic on

  2. wepajnc says:

    Very good one

  3. Hannah Orth says:

    Thank you so much for writing on this topic. It’s hard to find information on how we are suppost to act in God’s image as a teenager. Thank you

  4. Eva Diaz says:

    Great topic!! Like the article said… a lot of people struggle with this but it can’t simply be said out loud!

  5. Chelsea Ejimakor says:

    Nice topic

  6. Corey says:

    I know this article is written for Christian Women, but is it always a sin for Christian Men to masturbate too? Are single Christian men really expected by God and the church to never give in to the desire for release/relief? What about the pain in the area that males feel as a result of going without? Are we really expected to endure that until we find a wife? I need some encouragement here.

    • Dave Smith says:

      Just masturbate. These two are not qualified to give you or anyone else advice on your sexuality. Masturbating isn’t evil, it’s not dangerous. It’s good for your sanity.

  7. Toby says:

    I’m curious too, is masturbation always a sin for young men in Christianity?


Free
e-book img
img

Sign up to receive our blog posts via e-mail and get a copy of our free e-book:
Reaching Beyond Myself
30 Day Devotional

Privacy guarantee: We will never share your e-mail address with anyone else