Masturbation: What does God say about it?


Today’s topic is brought to you by Dr. Jim. He explains how single Christians should deal with their natural urges like masturbation and how to seek what God really wants from us.

Dear Jim: What does God say about masturbation?

Here is a topic that is seldom discussed in Christian circles but certainly one very applicable to the single life. I do not find a “black and white” answer in the Bible, but there are some elements that we can draw out of it. Let me share some personal perspectives first.

When I was 11, my stepmother handed me a book that she had obtained while attending Moody Bible Institute. The book was about sex and how a Christian male should approach these urges. Wow – did that book get read faster than my schoolbooks! As I recall the essence of the book, it said that one should masturbate occasionally – but do so without thinking of any woman. Huh??? May I be honest – 50 years later I have not found out how that is possible.

In the 1980’s a professor from one of the Southern Baptist seminaries came to our church for a seminar. I do not remember the topic of the series but do remember that masturbation was one of the topics when he was speaking to adults only. He made the statement something to the effect that newer thinking on this subject revealed that they did not think it to be as harmful as previously thought. Huh? What did he mean harmful – or not? Well, being the good conservative group that we were – no one asked – and I was not about to take the lead.

Where in the Bible does it talk about masturbation?

I cannot recall any direct scriptures in the Bible that address the subject of masturbation. But it does address some topics that apply:

Matthew 5:28 God tells us not to look upon a woman to lust after her, for to do so is to already commit adultery in our hearts. And the scriptures are very clear in how He feels about adultery.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 tells us that our body is the temple of God (for those who have become His children) and that whatever we do we should glorify God.

So how does a single not lust, glorify God and handle the sexual urges that are “natural” in his or her body?

Oh, you want me to give you the answer? I suggest that it is a moment by moment, thought by thought process – and ongoing. It is not something to be answered once and for all. How we handle any thought is part of our Christian living and should be approached and carried out differently than others who are not adopted by Him.

I can say that I believe to find yourself having a frequent diet of masturbation can lead to some serious complications. For example, it will increase one’s appetite for sex – and that the Bible is clear about not having Sex Outside Marriage. If one finds the need to use the Internet or any form of pornography to feed this appetite, they are literally playing into Satan’s hand. Those pictures, etc. form a permanent impression in our minds and are most challenging to be rid of – surfacing sometimes years later when you do not wish them to surface. Frequent masturbation can lead you to only see single gatherings as “meat markets” and your eyes are really wandering from body to body seeking gratification.

Seek a good Christian counselor

If you find a strong appetite to masturbate and are finding yourself doing this frequently, I would encourage you to seek the services of a good Christian counselor. This could be an outward action striving to fill an inner void. A good counselor can serve as a guide to assist you to find the underlying forces and on to the freedom that will bring a more satisfying life to you.

Philippians 4:8 is where Paul was led by God to share “whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.”

You will need to develop your own understanding in how to handle this subject for your single life. God made you – sexual drives and all. Ask Him to lead you in honoring these drives in a healthy and pure way.


The answers provided in this site are intended to be as one provided by a minister. It is NOT intended to take the place of a licensed counsellor. Dr. Rives encourages all who are seeking to resolve deeply rooted psychological, emotional or behavioral needs to seek the services of a trained and licensed counsellor. The answers provided in this web site are intended to be words of encouragement and spiritual guidance as one would obtain from a licensed minister as well as the sharing of Dr. Rives’ personal experience.

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22 comments on “Masturbation: What does God say about it?Add yours →

  1. My opinion is that we should also take the Song of Songs book into account. I don’t suggest anything, I am also not convinced in one direction or another… just trying to find answers as well.

    Maybe others can help with more specific things though

    1. Seriously?! Out of all the topics we can talk out, someone picked masturbation. This is absolutely inappropriate on so many levels. Make an appointment with your pastor.

      1. Actually, it is appropriate cause you need the “self-control” that comes from the Holy-spirit fruits to develop. If you don’t have this, you will have difficulties and hardships and pain in your marriage. The jews had a set schedule for sex inside the marriage itself and that was for self-control purposes. Not to go overboard…Like eating too much of a dessert makes you crave more in an unhealthy manner.

  2. The Lord Jesus Christ not only addressed this issue when He spoke of looking at the opposite sex lustfully and committing adultery in your heart, but He also said if your eye or hand offend you, cut it off all in the same context.

    The majority of Christians will say that He didn’t mean to say that in a literal fashion, but I think He did!

    Personally speaking through experience, masturbation, when intentionally done for sexual gratification is of itself evil/sinful.

    It opens spiritual doors that will cause a lot more harm than anything good! In fact, it is a form of bandage that if you are not careful, will lead you straight to hell!

    There is a phenomena called “spirit husband/spirit wife.” This phenomena is taught a lot in the African Christian Church and it is very, very real! Masturbation is one of the unclean acts that opens the door to this particular bondage! Research it!

    1. Wow! I never thought of the cutting the hand thing like that-Thanks! Yes! It does open portals to witches, even. Super dangerous. And when I think that the sins of the father visit the children up to the 4th generation! That is, the devils got the grampa, they will tempt in the same with the grand-children and grand-grand-children…to make them fall.
      It also “scraps” your brain, reversible damage to frontal lobe that can take a couple of years to restore back to normal! You DO sin against your body! Those who do it too often tremble like Parkinsons cause they depleted their neurotransmitters!!!

    2. Yeah, honestly there is still a build up of desire if you’re single, so it builds up on its own doctors even address this, I mean very few people go that long without stimulating themselves at some point if they’re single, again if they’re single, and many Christians are single, for various reasons, for much of their life, you could be single at anytime, and the design of the male reproductive system doesn’t care, it wants to be released, so while you can go a long time weeks, a month gets difficult, and its biologically stressful on the body to even sleep eventually. This has nothing to do with lust or being attracted to women or anything, the build builds up, and it wants you to be attracted, and to be released even if you don’t want to, or even if you’re not aroused, no joke. I believe its similar for even single women as well.
      So not sure people are really being honest about this, they’re just thinking of going crazy on some bad websites and then oh everything is super bad. but again, the natural desires simply desire the opposite gender, and if you’re not with anyone, they don’t care, they want to function, even daily even weekly, and to say you can just shut that off, yeah you can theoretically do anything you could starve yourself and fast for 30 days, but how hard is that, how unhealthy, how un natural?

      The creation of those desires is not designed to shut off, not really at any point, pro creation is the most important thing in humans existence, so it cares more about functioning then whether its wrong to look at the opposite gender, so you’d have to ask the question, what was Jesus really talking about. Well we in part know, he did not want men looking at other men’s wives in the town or neighborhood in a way that was to commit the literal act with them, the looking was with that intent, it was not just looking, or masturbation, it was looking eyeing the women and inwardly thinking that you could get involved with that literal women in that house next door, and that’s extremely serious, because if the look lead to that act, you’d disrupt both families, and if everyone did that, the entire street would be displaced with divorces and peoples fathers getting involved with other mens wives, you can see where that would lead. But no one thinks about that.

      Again, not saying its right or wrong, I honestly don’t know, but we do know the way people are created, and despite what people want to believe and want to say, the desires don’t like being shut off, and ideally everyone should be married, but in this day in age, women have a lot of power, and in bible times, men could literally rape a women in a field and get to marry her, no joke, things are quite different now. Men have to have the women choose them, first, they can’t go around accosting and grabbing women like fish, even if they’d like to, all the modern day protections and technology all shield and aid women to be the gender with all the leverage. Leaving many men with the same desires wanting to function the same way from thousands of years ago, to simply being isolated, alone, and all they can see is an image of a women, and yes their natural desire will draw them to that, and it will still desperately try to function if its restricted and suppressed long enough.

  3. Knowing a community of people who struggle with this issue, and having fought with it myself in the past(but God gave victory over it), I can testify with confidence that masturbation is definitely unhealthy, and can cause an onset of mental issues until dealt with. Some damage might become permanent, if the habit is indulged in for too long, but abstaining from it definitely provides a great deal of healing.

    And no, I’m not saying that all mental issues result from masturbation. That said, more mental cases than our present day society realizes are a result of masturbation-produced dopamine toxicity. This can cause anhedonia(the lack of ability to feel pleasure), which is common in all addictions… but masturbation and especially porn use can cause a worse type of anhedonia, since both can be indulged in whenever the individual desires to do so, thus allowing a person to control the dopamine spikes that the brain receives(unlike with drugs, with which the limited availability of drugs becomes an issue).

  4. I saw this article and I thought should I Or shouldn’t I say something…
    So Here I am!
    When I became a born again 20 years ago I had a kid and struggled to leave my bad habits and sins behind, although I was born in a Christian family. It took me years of fight to overcome It. I was baptized with the Holy Spirit and had to learn how to let Him work in me. Nobody was there to counsel me. I had a pastor, I had a church, I was a member of it, still I was alone in human help. I went to my pastor, to some elders and talked hoping for advices to strength me but I got the opposite of It. My church became my accuser, my judge. Even my closest ones did it. No anger, no sorrow, no sadness now cause of it, I overcame that hurt. But at that time I just didn’t understand it. Sometimes we believe we are part of a club when we become a Christian. That’s not it. And we do not understand that we are worst.
    Today I thank God that although I struggled and failed lots of time, He was the help, He was always there, He was my teacher, friend and ALL I had and have.
    So when I read this kind of article I Just say to ALL: your best counsellor in Jesus, talk to Him, be with Him. People are Just people. Besides they can not help you, humans are hypocrites. I don’t say it over hate or any other bad feeling. I lived it.
    Lean on God and ALL will be settled.
    God bless!

  5. … it is better for a man to plant his seed in the belly of a whore than on the ground… Genesis 38:9 is the actual verse.

    1. Matthew, that is incorrect. What it really says: Genesis 38:8-10 Then Judah said to Onan, “Sleep with your brother’s wife and fulfill your duty to her as a brother-in-law to raise up offspring for your brother.” 9 But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. 10 What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death also.

      And to understand the entire story and the context, please see

    2. I disagree:

      9 And Onan knew that the seed should not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in unto his brother’s wife, that he spilled it on the ground, lest that he should give seed to his brother.

      10 And the thing which he did displeased the Lord: wherefore he slew him also.

  6. I did not like seeing this topic on the Home page when I logged in and found it very inappropriate. Glad Valentine’s Day has not taken center stage.

  7. No comparto el NO, hacerlo sino la motivación que se tenga, un joven o adulto soltero por su condición biológica esta claro que llega un momento en que debe expulsar y manipular es una forma de liberarse. Además es un asunto personal y como se siente la persona posterior. ya que la palabra técnicamente no dice nada. Ahora sí sientes que al hacerlo es pecado se contará como tal.
    *I do not share the NO, doing it but the motivation that one has, a young person or single adult due to their biological condition is clear that there comes a time when they must expel and manipulate is a way to free themselves. It is also a personal matter and how the later person feels. since the word technically says nothing. Now you do feel that doing so is a sin and it will be counted as such.

  8. Actually, it is appropriate cause you need the “self-control” that comes from the Holy-spirit fruits to develop. If you don’t have this, you will have difficulties and hardships and pain in your marriage. The jews had a set schedule for sex inside the marriage itself and that was for self-control purposes. Not to go overboard…Like eating too much of a dessert makes you crave more in an unhealthy manner.

  9. As a woman, I do not at all think that masturbation is taboo. As a matter of fact, I personally do it on occasion to relieve myself, especially when it is that time of the month. I believe that it all depends on the individual’s sex drive, and that all bodies do not function the same way. Here are some of my other considerations on the topic.

    – I’m reminded of the issue where people ignore and disregard their spouse, by choosing masturbation instead. To me, it is logical that masturbation should be avoided in marriage. I’ve heard of too many sad stories about that, which seems to be a very serious problem in marriage.

    – Masturbation may help to determine one’s sex drive. Not that it should be done frequently, but it at least gives an idea on the maximum wait time. Since fornication is a sin, we are to wait for marriage to have any intercourse. But to avoid any surprises and to be sure that the two future spouses are compatible in that area, I think that it would be helpful to approach that topic. Because sex drive is so sensitive to talk about before marriage, we tend to give it less importance. Perhaps many marriages would be saved if we thought differently. I personally intend to discuss masturbation frequency and drives with my future spouse.

    – I don’t think that masturbation (while single) is a problem, but rather the things that we attach to it (i.e. porn and lust). I don’t see a problem doing it in order to relieve oneself, which is not necessarily related to sinful reasons but rather natural needs. But it sure is a problem if it becomes an obsession and gets uncontrollable. Obviously, I think that people figure out when they are overdoing it.

    In conclusion, I think that we are sometimes too hard on ourselves, even when we have no clear or sure answers on a given topic. Even for sex within marriage, I sometimes find guidelines that are just manmade or based on personal opinion (e.g. nudity in the bedroom, intercourse frequency, the fact of having intercourse only to have kids and not as a moment of pleasure between spouses). And then there are also other issues that are close to masturbation, which we cannot really blame ourselves for or that are really not intentional (e.g. wet nights for boys, the level of discharge for girls). I do understand other points of view on this. I also had a very conservative opinion about it, until I reached a certain age and realized that I needed to really inform myself. Hey, I’m planning on getting married and having kids soon, so I guess that it’s way past time for me to get in the know.

    1. Believe it or not, many ministries ok female masturbation, no joke they do, so it really depends I think whether you’re a male or female, if you’re a male, then yeah, its always wrong, like with every single ministry and website, because men sort of have to look at something female oriented, the desire connects to the opposite gender not to ones self, which James Dobson doesn’t get. But its something that builds up biologically and isn’t designed to just be shut off, and its probably the same with both men and women which is totally weird, they feel the need to release that desire, its completely not natural to go on and on and on without ejaculating, yeah you can do it, but eventually it becomes like you’re defying gravity or becoming super man, and you start to wonder, is this really how you live single, I don’t know, its weird. Ideally you should be married, but in this day and age, you can’t just get married, its a different time, but the physical desires are the same. And sadly, no christian ministries are honest about it not that I’ve seen, nor do they really care, because they’re all embarrassed, which I get, I mean I completely understand, you’d need an actual Christian doctor to address this. Because they know, that medically you can’t just shut this off, I mean you can, but its a feat, is similar to not eating food, which can also be done, but it just ends up being how long, how much, the inevitable is going to happen at some point, and when it does, will you aknowledge it, or continue to pretend its something that can be turned off like a light switch.

  10. I don’t think masturbation is a topic that is taboo or to be avoided on a website like this because all of us in some way or another deal with sexual desire. Masturbation is not something that only men struggle with, women do as well. I find that my sexual feelings and urges peak during that time of the month when I’m most fertile. (I track my cycles.) Does this mean that I’m a bad person? Certainly not! It’s natural! However, I’ve been practicing abstinence for ten years now and it can be a challenge resisting masturbation. Times when I was successful in the past I used distraction by doing another activity but I remember one time just lying on the sofa and the more that I said no, the more I felt that I wanted to masturbate.

  11. Posts like this one are just to shame and weaken the faith of those christians who have not yet discover or understand what the grace of God for us Christ is. Those who have not yet got a personal encounter with Jesus!

    Know Jesus folks, Knowing Him is what really purifies you and keeps you pure, nothing else brethren; no effort on your own, but the love of Jesus in you and the knowledge of that love; all other things are just not the Gospel…

    14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20 Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

    Now know very well that you do not have any amount of righteousness in you, if not you would boast, but Christ is our righteousness and we are to give Him all our weaknesses with faith, knowing also that without faith no one can please Him! 1 Corinthians 1: 30, Hebrews 11: 6

    Now why am I giving all these comments? _To help our brethren that are not yet strong not to fall under the deceiving, malicious and destructive threats of the accuser; that is his name: Accuser of the brethren!

    Now brethren be strong in the Lord and in the power of His Might, Ephesians 6: 10-14

    Therefore, let not fear rule you but love, and pour your hearts before the Lord who alone sees them, and He will overcome for you!

    #Jehovah Tsidkenu; the Lord our Righteousness:

    9 Do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. It is good for our hearts to be strengthened by grace, not by eating ceremonial foods, which is of no benefit to those who do so. 10 We have an altar from which those who minister at the tabernacle have no right to eat. 11 The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. 15 Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise—the fruit of lips that openly profess his name. 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

    20 Now may the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, 21 equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

    We overcome Sin by listening to the voice of God and his Love, not by listening to the accusations of the devil…
    Many people do not know how to teach about Sin, so they end up being hypocrites and being the voice through which the enemy accuse the people of God, but remember, we overcame him through the blood of the lamb and by the word of our testimony!

    We are the Children of God!

    1. This is the best comment I have heard on this topic. Praise God! Praise God that He worked through you to deliver this truth.

      The act spoken of is not okay. It is selfish and sinful.

      Yes we all struggle with it, but, one of the greatest gifts I received upon my rebirth is the knowledge of my own weakness and the knowledge of God’s strength. As Paul said, when I am weak I am strong, meaning Paul looked to God for the source of strength. God is our rock, our fortress and will always provide a means of escape from sin. Well said brother.
      Thank you brother.


  12. Thanks for all your comments guys. Really helpful to see all the different perspectives.

    One of the most effective ways to handle this is to sincerely, dedicatedly supplicate to God (let the first occasion be special and planned in advance) and ask Him to pour out His Holy Spirit on you. Be open with Him, seek Him as real as a new day comes, and He will lead you. 🙂

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