What is so wrong with masturbation? How do I stop if I’ve started?

The challenge with masturbation

In our culture, people think of masturbation as a healthy form of self-expression and stress relief. It’s your body, so what’s the big deal? It’s not like you’re committing adultery, right? While it’s true that the Bible doesn’t speak against it, per se, there are a couple of key reasons to reject this practice:

Reason #1: Masturbation and sexual addiction often go together

When it comes to those who struggle with sexual addiction, masturbation is almost always a part of the equation. This is especially true if you know there’s a porn issue. Masturbation facilitates an isolated sexual act that isn’t connected with a real person in a healthy context. Biblically, that’s a no-go. God wants sex to be healthy, exciting, satisfying, and intimate. He wants it to be personal, and solo sex doesn’t fit that description.

Reason #2: God designed sex to be a relational experience

When we look at sex in totality (in scripture) it’s always a shared experience. It’s like saying the Bible tells us to communicate. Well, there’s another person assumed to be on the other end of that communication (it’s a shared experience). The Bible doesn’t describe anything about sex with yourself. Sex, orgasm, and all the feelings associated with it are supposed to be a shared event between two people who care for each other.

When we take the relationship out of that setting and put it somewhere else, is it a deep dark sin? If we want to be technical, no. However, in 1 Corinthians 10:23, Paul mentions how everything is permissible to me but not everything is beneficial. So that’s an issue. Besides this behavior tends to reinforce addictiveness, isolation, and even narcissism.

For these reasons, a person who wants to belong completely to Jesus in all areas of their life would find other ways to fulfill those emotional needs.

Finding freedom from masturbation

To determine how to stop masturbating, you first have to ask why you’re drawn to it in the first place. Many men struggle with this, even Christian men because they are trying to meet certain needs. Many people come up with very shallow answers like “Because I’m horny. Because I have a higher sex drive than my wife. Because I’m a red-blooded American male.”

As long as you think these are your primary drives masturbation will be really hard to stop. You may even feel something inside that says you need to stop. It may violate your conscience or your sense of rightness. But these convictions alone aren’t enough to make you stop. Until we understand that Biblical sexuality always involves two people, we aren’t likely to discontinue solo sex.

Is masturbation an unpardonable sin? No, it’s not.

But, masturbation requires fantasy or pornography and that’s going to continue to corrupt the mind. It’s really training you to seek sexual satisfaction alone, detached from a relationship. Those are some things you need to understand.

What are some practical ways to help you stop?

  • If you’re single, don’t place any kind of lotion or lubricant next to your bed.
  • If you masturbate in the shower, consider playing worship music while you’re in the shower to direct your mind to God.

These are behavioral interventions (and they can be helpful) but we have to still look at the root issues that drives us. We’ll address those in a later post.

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