What is masturbation, anyway? That’s not as silly a question as you think. Masturbation shouldn’t be confused with self-stimulation during sex with one’s spouse, which Mrs. Happy heartily endorses if it helps the woman reach climax. And it isn’t the same as a husband or wife stimulating each other with their hands. Masturbation is sex by yourself, for yourself. It is by its nature a self-centered act.
Masturbation doesn’t build relationship, yet we serve a God of relationship. It doesn’t encourage, point to, or preserve intimacy, as married sex does. It doesn’t promote love, the more excellent way (1 Corinthians 12:31); it is all about me.
Masturbation is childish. Like other selfish practices, such as bragging, being impatient, or indulging in rivalries, it is something a believer should grow out of. We should purpose to set it aside as we mature in Christ (1 Corinthians 13:11).
Consider a few facts. Masturbation is a normal part of a child’s development. Just about every mom can attest that their sons go through a phase where they’re quite fascinated with touching their private parts; in adolescence, this usually leads to the discovery that they can experience pleasure this way. Many girls make the same discovery, sometimes before they even know anything about sex. Masturbation is just part of growing up.
Here’s a physiological fact that women don’t always understand: Beginning in adolescence, a man’s body is continually producing semen, the fluid that contains sperm. This fluid builds up in his body to a point where it is very uncomfortable and must be released. He releases it one of three ways: Through sexual activity with another person, through masturbation, or through a spontaneous emission that often takes place while he is asleep. Either way, the fluid gets released. It is a fact of life men have to live with.
As adolescents, we begin to make choices about how to resolve our strong, God-given sexual desires. A young man or young woman who fears God should pursue practices that feed the spirit, not the flesh. Masturbation obviously feeds the flesh. But I’ll just go ahead and say it—masturbation can be really tough to eliminate completely amidst the turbulent emotions and urges of the teen years and in a media culture that continually presents sexual provocation. Run after God with all your heart and all your strength, but don’t fall into condemnation because you have masturbated occasionally. Repent and move on.
While masturbation might be difficult to avoid completely, it can lead to serious sin and difficulties in marriage. Impure thoughts usually accompany masturbation, and the more you give way to these thoughts, the tougher it is to control your flesh. Also, it is a lot easier to please yourself than it is to please your husband or wife in a married sexual relationship. Even the physical actions of masturbation—which are designed to lead to climax as quickly as possible—condition a man to reach orgasm quickly, which isn’t helpful at all when you’re trying to please your wife. Good sex is truly for grownups; it doesn’t come automatically or easily. It happens when a husband and wife care enough about each other to be considerate and to take the time to learn how to satisfy the other person. For the most part, it only happens in marriage.
Masturbation becomes a very serious problem when it is connected with pornography. Pornography turbocharges the flesh. Once you’re exposed to these images, it is very difficult to get rid of them. Mrs. Happy first came into contact with pornography when she was 16, and while she never sought it out after that, those images were etched in her brain for some 25 years before God erased them through confession and prayer. Consider that today pornography is much more easy to obtain and far more widespread. Many Christian men and women are entering into marriage immersed in these images—and it’s no wonder they’re finding it difficult to enjoy each other sexually and in a way that doesn’t stain the conscience. (If you’re struggling with impure thoughts or a broken sexual past, begin by praying Psalm 51. Consider confessing your sin to a mature Christian of the same sex as well and joining with them in prayer.)
Do you masturbate, even though you’ve been in Christ for many years? Grow up. Especially if you’re married. It’s time to put away childish things. We don’t take all our money and blow it on candy anymore, and we shouldn’t act like adolescents in marriage. Confess to God—and your spouse if need be—receive grace, and get on with your growth in Christ.
Just a private word to godly wives: Masturbation really is different for a man, because of the buildup of semen and the physical need for release. Don’t be harsh with your husband if he masturbates once in a while. God provided a righteous outlet for his desires: sex with you. Take care that you and your husband have sex often enough that he isn’t put in a position where he feels like he has to masturbate just to be able to focus on work and life.
This also applies to husbands. Take care to sexually please your wife. Her body might be built differently from yours, but she needs regular sexual release too—to help her regulate her moods and stay healthy in body and soul.
Mrs. Happy has been married to one man for a long time. She enjoys reading and sometimes responding to your comments at www.mannaexpressonline.com.