Is masturbation a sin? The short answer is no. The Bible doesn’t specifically say “thou shalt not masturbate.” Could it be done in sin? Absolutely.
Maybe you’ve heard the old saying, “98% do it, the other 2% are lying.” Well, it’s close.
Over the years there have been all kinds of studies on the subject. Universities, religious organizations and independent surveys have all given statistics. It seems that for the most part they are close in their findings. The general consensus is that well over 90% of men and over 80% of women surveyed say they have done it. About 50% of men & slightly less woman say at least once a week.
The further back in history you go, the lower the numbers, and rates are usually lower in face to face surveys. Interestingly, among the Christian based surveys the numbers are usually 20-30% lower. Hmmmm…
So those are the numbers, now let’s address the argument that it is, in fact a sin. In Genesis 38, we read about Onan. This is one of the main stories used to preach against the subject in question. We won’t go into the story here, but ultimately the sin was failure to obey. So this example is pretty much busted. We can see a lot of examples where it could be done in sin though. Here are two.
But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:28 NIV)
For everything in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—comes not from the Father but from the world. (1 John 2:16 NIV)
So we can say that porn, and fantasizing about someone other than your spouse is wrong. Besides the part about adultery, you could also be opening up a path to addiction, just like a substance abuse issue. (SURVEY SAYS! – over 35% of men and 20% of women say they do it every day)
So we looked at a few scriptures, we can see what to avoid, but we still haven’t read a “thou shalt not”.
A grey area perhaps? Let’s go on.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything. (1 Corinthians 6:12 NIV)
Ok, I’ll say it. “Mastered by none” made me chuckle, considering what I’m writing about. Anyway, things are still looking grey.
The problem we run into sometimes is that we look for the Bible to address specific issues, and a lot of times it doesn’t. By the time we sort through doctrinal issues, Bible translations, and our own interpretations we end up running down the rabbit hole. Here’s one more –
No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. (1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV)
This is where we see that God has given us a whole lot more freedom than we realize in the realm of sexuality. What is right for one is wrong for the other. Sometimes there just isn’t a direct quote to go by. To be honest, every couple is different. A husband might have a runaway sex drive while the wife is good with once a month, or vice versa. If masturbation keeps one of them satisfied, while not lusting after another person well… who am I to say.
One more survey stat. Married people are generally 30-40% less likely to go it alone. And the statistics are all over the map when you break it down by category. The higher the persons sexual satisfaction, the less likely they feel the need to take care of themselves.
Obviously,the best bet if you’re worried about it is to have sex more often if possible. If it’s becoming a habit, or it’s the only way a wife is able to be satisfied, work on it with your partner. No need to be embarrassed, people have sex drives, it’s totally natural. The bonus is, that when you can say the word “masturbate” to your spouse with a straight face, you can just about say anything.
While this is a touchy subject among couples, I do feel it is something that needs talked about. Especially if it is causing you to feel inadequate. It can be easy to allow the enemy to get to your mind and make you think he/she isn’t fulfilled with sex alone. The first thing you need to do if you feel that way is to take a look at your sex life. Are you withholding and not being available to him/her when they do want sex? If so then that needs adjusted. “setting the tone” 1 Corinthians 7:3-4 NLT – The husband should fulfill his wife’s sexual needs, and the wife should fulfill her husband’s needs. The wife gives authority over her body to her husband, and the husband gives authority over his body to his wife. When your available to him/her when they want sex then you will find they don’t have the need to masturbate like they might have been in the past. This doesn’t mean that you have to stop everything, every time to have sex just because your partner wants it, just try to be available more often.
However, like Jake said above, it can become an addiction. In that case, it is something that needs to be brought before God to help get it back in line so you are not so controlled by the desire to do it. The biggest thing to remember as the spouse, if it is bothering you, please talk to them about it. They might not have a clue that it bothers you to that extent and talking to them will help you understand that it has nothing to do with you. Or if it does have to do with the lack of sex, you then will know that and that is something you can fix. ~ Jenn
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