In a single's Bible study that my peers and I were doing on fornication, adultery, etc., a question came up that is addressed very little. I ask you about this topic with complete sincerity.  The topic is masturbation. We couldn't really find any verses in the Bible that either prohibit it or condone it. Is it clearly wrong or right? Or is it one of those things that are based on conviction alone?  Is it ok sometimes and sometimes not? I believe it is wrong when it involves lustful fantasies, but what about when it doesn't? We weren't able to reach a concrete answer. I know this is a sensitive subject and is usually not talked about, but we would really like to know the truth.  I would appreciate you sharing your wisdom on this subject.


Thanks for raising such an important question that needs to be asked and answered. I must be very frank in my discussion and don't mean to embarrass anyone with what I say, but I feel that this is such a critical subject and one that Satan would not want us to discuss--but we must.

To start with it, just the fact that "no body wants to talk about it" gives an indication that it might be a suspect practice according to the Bible. I think almost everyone has done it at some point in their lives, but would rather not talk about it, because "it just doesn't seem right" before God and His Holy Word.

1. I think the answer lies in looking at sex in the Bible, and why it was created. One does not have to look too deeply to see that sex was designed for marriage. All the parts of a man and a woman were designed to bring pleasure to each other. We read in Proverbs, "May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer - may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be captivated by her love." [Proverbs 5:18-19] God is speaking about a relationship of a husband and wife, and that the wife's breasts are to bring satisfaction to the husband. They are not meant to bring pleasure to the woman, but to the man. Now the wife will enjoy being touched by her husband, and that is exactly how God designed it, but by herself it would be wrong to touch her breasts for her individual pleasure alone. Man and woman were designed to sexually interact in the sanctity of marriage.

2. Marriage is a picture of the relationship of Christ and His bride (Eph 5 - the church). The intimacy of the "one flesh" relationship between a man and woman depicts the oneness with Christ. And this physical "oneness" in marriage is to be an ongoing continuing relationship as seen in 1 Cor 7:3-5. Any disruption of this "oneness" would be a perversion (A sexual practice or act considered abnormal or deviant). We would see this perversion in the case of a marriage couple committing adultery (sex with someone other than their spouse), masturbation (self-sex, sex with themselves), and abstinence (no sex at all). All of these practices would pervert what God designed: sex between the husband and wife, and therefore the picture of intimate and complete "oneness" between Christ and His church.

-- The picture of Christ and His Church is marred by adultery, for it shows that either Christ or His bride could be unfaithful to each other.

-- The picture of Christ and His Church is marred by masturbation, for it shows that either Christ or His bride could be satisfied in themselves, and don't necessarily need each other for joy and satisfaction.

-- The picture of Christ and His Church is marred by sexual abstinence, for it shows that the oneness and closeness of their relationship can be ignored.

3. Masturbation, could also easily lead one into other sins.

When one masturbates, they will normally need to have thoughts in their minds to bring the act to completion.  What are they thinking of?  Who are they thinking of?  The act of masturbation is a fertile field for lustful thoughts of having sex with others. It would be very difficult to keep one's mind pure while masturbating.

4. Masturbation, would be difficult to "do unto the Lord."

The Bible tells us that "whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." [1 Corinthians 10:31] Can we honestly masturbate unto the Lord? I think that one would sense that the act would not be pleasing to Him, for it clearly goes against what God had designed and created sex for.

5. The Bible says that "If they (the unmarried) cannot control themselves (context is sexual control), they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion. [1 Corinthians 7:9] Now, if masturbation was the God given release for the built-up sexual passion, then God would have said that, "it is better to masturbate or marry than to burn with passion."

6. The Bible says, "Do not arouse or awaken love until it so desires." [Song of Solomon 2:7] Masturbation would be that "arousing" or "awakening" before "love" (context is married love). Wait until God brings to you the special "one suitable" for marriage.

7. Our bodies belong to the Lord, and are to function within His grand design and plan; to masturbate would be to simply fulfill one purpose, to gratify the flesh, because of the lack of relationship and fulfillment with a spouse. Even married sex is not simply a physical act, but an outward expression of an inward love. To masturbate would be simply gratifying the flesh: "Food for the stomach and the stomach for food" - but God will destroy them both. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body." [1 Corinthians 6:13]

8. Lastly, God said, "It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him." [Genesis 2:18]. God never intended for man or woman to be alone, but to be in a relationship with each other. God gave men and women sexual desires and fully expected those sexual desires to be fulfilled within the sanctity of the marriage relationship and never to be enjoyed by themselves, alone.

Now for those whom God has not called to be married, then He will not give them sexual desires that could not be controlled, or else they are not called to be single. "For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it." [Matthew 19:12]

Let me also say, in a very frank way, that often the question comes up, that within the marriage relationship, is it OK to masturbate? There are two cases,

A. One case is where a spouse is apart from the other (Business trip, for example), or they are having a conflict and are not sharing the sexual love that God ordained for marriage (for whatever reason). In both situations, to masturbate would still be wrong, because there is no relationship, but only the same self-gratification of the flesh.

B. The second case, is for the man or woman to touch themselves during their time of lovemaking with each other. This is fully acceptable in the Lord, for then it is part of the mutual expression of love for one another. The Bible says "Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral." [Hebrews 13:4] The implication is that the ONLY thing that defiles the "marriage bed" is adultery. Therefore, whatever a husband and wife does in their "marriage bed" is pleasing in the Lord's sight. As long as it is pleasing to each other, and shows love and consideration, than it is fully acceptable to the Lord.

I again appreciate your willingness to discuss this very important subject. I hope you can share some of these ideas with your Bible Study group.

Added to Bible Bulletin Board's "Tony Capoccia's Questions and Answers" by:

Tony Capoccia
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