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Is Masturbation a Sin?

Is Masturbation a Sin?

Expert answers to help you navigate bedroom challenges
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Q: My husband and I have been married over 12 years. We recently learned in a Bible study class that masturbation is a sin. This is the only way that I am able to reach climax. Are they implying that it is a sin to masturbate alone, or is it okay with your partner? I need some clarification, because I haven't seen anything written in the Bible stating that masturbation is a sin. Can you elaborate on this subject?

A: Masturbation is not specifically mentioned in the Bible. Any interpretation that it is a sin must be an application of some other Scripture regarding sexuality. Some of these certainly could imply that masturbation under some circumstances could be sin. For instance, if masturbation is used as a way to deny sex to your spouse, that would be destructive and go against the 1 Corinthians 7 principles Paul describes. If masturbation is accompanied by fantasies of extra-marital relations, it may fit with Jesus' definition of lust in Matthew 5.

In your situation, which is not unusual because of the physiological differences between men and women, masturbation is not a sin. Often with their faster sexual response, a male has sprinted through the excitation, plateau, ejaculation, and recovery phases while his wife is just beginning to feel turned on.

Manual stimulation may be her only option to achieve orgasm. A thoughtful husband can provide that, giving her not only physical release but a sense of being cherished. That clearly completes the biblical picture of two becoming one.

Masturbation alone can be useful when a couple is not able to be together for sex. This may be the case in many different situations (travel, fatigue, schedule problems, health considerations, even a time of spiritual "fasting" by one mate). I do not see individual masturbation as sinful in these situations as long as the associated thought life honors the marriage vows.

Subscribe to TCW at this link, and sign up for our e-newsletter to become part of a community of women striving to love God and live fearlessly in the grit of everyday life. To read more about healthy sexuality, explore the TCW store at this link.

Louis McBurney, M.D., and his wife, Melissa, were marriage therapists and co-founders of Marble Retreat in Marble, Colorado, where they counseled clergy couples. Together they co-authored the column "Real Sex" for Marriage Partnership, from which this Q&A originally appeared.

Louis McBurney

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Displaying 1–3 of 70 comments

Stuly Kan

August 23, 2014  6:28am

If you or your partner feel too guilty about sex, it's going to affect the enjoyment. This may be why some resort to masturbation. If sex is considered sinful and dirty, it becomes difficult to enjoy it with someone respected and honored. An adventurous attitude to sex within marriage, unaffected by all sorts of negative subconscious thoughts, is ideal. Puritanical interpretations of Christianity doesn't help.

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Stuly Kan

August 23, 2014  5:46am

You could either to decide by what's in the bible or by your own principles. The bible doesn't explicitly forbid masturbation alone. Masturbation is solitary. If you are having sex it is not masturbation. Unfortunately God didn't put the clitoris within the vagina. His omission couldn't have been deliberately to deny pleasure to the woman otherwise he wouldn't have created the clitoris at all. It's implicit in the story of Onan as well as in the general puritanical attitude against activities of pure pleasure.. You can't imagine another real person as that would be adultery in your heart. Probably even an imaginary virtual person would still be bad. Strictly only your husband. You could decide by your own principles. The trouble is your principles may be influenced by your past. They may be too uptight or too loose. Be reasonable. Practice and develop the judgement of being reasonable. Sometimes sex doesn't work out because guilt interferes with the enjoyment of sex resulting..next

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steve finnell

August 08, 2014  7:07pm

THE LORD'S CHURCH BY STEVE FINNELL What are the things that do not make you a member of the body of Christ? What are the requirements for membership in the Lord's church? THINGS THAT DO NOT MAKE YOU A MEMBER OF THE LORD'S CHURCH. 1. Simply believing that Jesus is the Son of God does not grant you membership in the Lord's church. Mark 5:1-12 .....7..."What business do we have with each other, Jesus, Son of the Most High God?....12 The demons implored Him.... Demons believe that Jesus is the Son of God, however, that does not give them membership in the Lord's church. Legion was not part of the body of Christ. 2. Sprinkling infants with water does not make them part of the body of Christ. Sprinkling unbelieving babies is not an act that adds them to the Lord's church. Mark 16:16 He who has believed and has been baptized shall be saved.... Only believers who have been baptized are added to the Lord's church. Babies are not capable of believing. 3. Joining denominations, such as the Catholic Church, the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church, the Methodist Church, etc. does not grant you membership into the Lord's church. Joining a denomination cannot save anyone. You cannot join the Lord's church. Acts 2:47...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. The requirement for being added to the Lord's church is not joining a denomination. The Lord only adds the saved to the church. The church is the body of Christ. WHAT ARE THE REQUIREMENTS FOR BEING ADDED TO THE LORD'S CHURCH? The apostle Peter said, on the Day of Pentecost, " Be saved from this perverse generation!" (Acts 2:40) Who was saved? Acts 2:41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day were added about three thousand souls. Three thousands souls were added to the Lord's church on the Day of Pentecost. Why were they added to the body of Christ? They received Peter's message and were immersed in water.(baptized). Peter's message: (Acts 2:22-38) They were taught that Jesus was the Christ. That Jesus was Lord. That God raised Jesus from the dead. They were told to repent and be baptized so their sins could be forgiven and that they would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Those who believed Peter's message, and repented and were baptized, were added to the body of Christ by the Lord Himself. (Acts 2:47 ...And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved. MEN BECOME SAVED THE SAME WAY TODAY AS THEY DID ON THE DAY OF PENTECOST. HOW TO BECOME ADDED TO THE LORD'S CHURCH. 1. FAITH: John 3:16, Mark 16:16 2. CONFESSION: Romans 10:9-10, Acts 8:37 3. REPENTANCE: Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19 4. BAPTISM: Acts 2:38, Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21, Galatians 3:27. ONLY THE LORD ADDS YOU TO HIS CHURCH! YOU ARE INVITED TO FOLLOW MY BLOG. http://steve-finnell.blogspot.com

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