Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Biblical view of masturbation; how to overcome porn habit (written May 2010)

[Note: This is a response to a forum question. You can skip down to "How I got free from a porn addiction" if you want to. If you find the text small, please use your browser's magnify feature]


It is true that we have to have discernment as to what we believe is right or wrong. You are correct in your interpretation of Romans 14. If we proceed to do something that we think is wrong, just because someone else does it, then it is a sin for us. And to be sure, masturbation is a doubtful thing or a disputed thing. In Paul's day, they disputed about eating meats sacrificed to idols and about whether a man had to be circumcised and become a Jewish convert in order to know God. At first, Paul went along with the decision made in Jerusalem (Acts 15) as to what was required of the Gentiles that were entering into predominately Jewish congregations in the Early Church. However, it seems that in Corinthians, Paul was preaching a looser set of rules; in essence, it didn't matter if you ate the meat sacrificed to an idol as long as you don't regard the idol as being a real god. However, if you were with someone who might be offended, you were not to eat it. (I Corinth. 8 and 10)

Think about the apostle Peter. If we were raised like Peter, we would likely refuse to go against our conscience too, like he did, even if the Lord Himself was speaking to us in a vision! (Acts 10) The Lord had to tell him 3 times to break kosher rules (my term) so that when the Gentiles arrived, Peter would be ready to go with them. This just shows how much our culture can influence our conscience.

Regarding meat sacrificed to idols, the Sabbath and eating unclean meats, those were clear rules that they were given. How could these things that were "wrong" suddenly be okay, amoral? Jesus did away with clean and unclean meats as recorded in Mark's gospel; Paul confirmed that later. Likewise the Sabbath, Jesus taught that the sabbath was made to serve man, not vice versa, and Paul taught that each person should keep the Sabbath day that they prefer, but realize that Jesus Himself is our Sabbath.

We could take up the same question regarding drinking alcohol. The Bible warns us about it,and specifically about drunkeness. Yet Jesus Himself drank fermented wine and created it by a miracle in Cana. So, its not a sin to drink alcoholic beverages. When and where I was raised, that was considered sinful, as was going to the movies, dances, worldly music, swimming with the opposite sex, women's jewelry, long hair on men, pants on women, smoking, buying or selling on Sunday. So, as we proceeded in our spiritual walk, those of us who were raised that way have had to study the scripture to discern between what was the doctrine of God and the doctrine of men.

There are situations where we need to respect the local cultures and customs, so as not to offend the weaker believer. Paul taught this clearly. (For example, working on Sunday when in the South.) We are to sacrifice our religious freedom and abide by the scruples of a weaker brother when in his presence, for the very reason that we are not to be a stumbling block, or "cause one of these little ones who believe upon Me to perish". That's something I had to weigh when I began posting on XXXchurch. I didn't want to offend a young believer and, of course, I didn't want to violate the terms of service. I found out I was okay on the terms of service.
Regarding offending a weaker brother, I took the viewpoint that, first of all, xxxchurch allows a variety of opinion, secondly, when you go on the internet, you are deliberately exposing yourself to philisophical views other than your own.

So, I decided that I could better help people especially teenagers by persuading them to see what I finally realized: masturbation is no sin. So, first of all, we can all breathe a collective sigh of relief. God is not an unreasonable tyrant asking the impossible, especially of young men. You can read the testimonies ad infinitum of the self-loathing, guilt and misery among men who have gotten tripped up over this. What is particularly sad, is the shaming of masturbation and the total "tabooing" of all pornography, that I believe CAUSES the addiction to it!

Add to that the practical conclusion, that if its true as anonymous surveys indicate that most men and women masturbate from time to time, then WHAT KIND OF HYPOCRISY IS IT for certain ones in the Church to be condemning the young people for doing the same thing they are doing or have done?! So, what I saw was a need to publicize the concepts that freed me from porn addiction and to expose the hypocrisy and false teaching, so as to free the minds and hearts of God-loving Christians. These are believers who are serving the Lord gladly in every other way, but having a "problem" not expressing their sexuality. I believe our current standard teaching on masturbation and pornography do nothing to help the Church; it only brings bondage and frustration and perhaps suicide to some who can no longer stand the pain of failure and "hurting" their loved ones. This to me is the work of Satan, to sidetrack the Church on to a non-issue, and make the men, especially,  in God's house IMPOTENT in serving the Lord!

Of course, there are hurdles to climb in arriving at a conviction of masturbation being amoral. I had to clear those same hurdles. To be honest, I wondered if I had just grown callous to the entire thing, having crossed my conscience so often that I was "past feeling". But, I'm not past feeling. If I go against my conscience on this now, I will feel a wince of conviction or a sense of having offended the Lord, and I repent in those times. But, it is far less frequent than before. Isn't it strange how many guys say the same thing.... "I just can't stop this sin, no matter how hard I try. I stopped being a drug addict, smoking, cussing, running women, but this "thing" just won't let go." That alone should speak volumes! Essentially, Christian men have been duped into trying to be non-sexual, non-visually aroused, and de-motivated to having regular orgasms. And the irony is, that's the way God made us, unless we are called to celibacy, and we are wasting our time trying to be what we're not. (1 Corinth 7: 1-5)

HOW I GOT FREE from porn addiction, Part One:

I don't care of course whether you agree with me or not. I want you to be persuaded by the Lord, whatever your beliefs are. I'll just present a little about my viewpoints. As far as what the Bible teaches about masturbation, there is this verse: Queenvictoria 18:65 and maybe this one: Onania 1:1 . Well, my point is the Bible doesn't talk about it. The closest mention is two references to nocturnal emissions, which would indicate that there could be a ritual cleansing necessary in the Old Testament. Of course, these aren't part of our religious practice today. The two fake references I gave above are far more related to the typical Christian's beliefs about sexuality and masturbation, than what the Bible teaches. This is a sad commentary on the state of the teaching ministry of the Church. However, due to the physiological "down" feeling that attends masturbation and the junk science and false and hysterical beliefs of the last 150 years or so (about 1850 - 1980) , it is somewhat understandable that false doctrines would emerge to support societal shaming of this normal development in our sex lives.

As I said, the first clue we have is, despite the detailed list we have in Leviticus 18 of what are taboos, sexual sins known as "fornication" to the Jews, there is no mention of masturbation at all. This list does remind you not to have sex with your mother or with your with your pet goat, just in case you were leaning that way! The Bible says: "Sin is the transgression of the Law"; thus masturbation is not a sin. Secondly, it doesn't break the law of love. Paul taught that if I love my neighbor as myself, I will keep the whole law... that is, I won't steal, I won't bear false witness, I won't commit adultery. Masturbation is a solo act. Unless it harmed the mind or body, which is the temple of the Holy Ghost, then it wouldn't be hurting anyone, thus it doesn't violate the New Testament law, which is to Love God and love your neighbor as yourself. All evidence indicates that orgasms, including masturbation, benefit men and women, physically, emotionally and mentally.

Most Christian marriage and sex counselors advise women, in case they haven't done so, to engage in private masturbation so as to know how to experience orgasm in their marriage beds. The reason for this is that God has given women an organ, the only purpose of which is to produce pleasure, multiple orgasms in their minds and bodies. But, God positioned this specially designed organ in such a manner that it doesn't get a lot of stimulation through sexual intercourse. (There are exceptions to this, I'm talking about the norm) If God made the clitoris for its wonderful purpose and placed in such a way that a woman or her husband must spend time attentively masturbating her, or giving her oral stimulation, God is obviously in favor of female masturbation! God knows, as much as women are put down worldwide, they need something to give them comfort, and it has been provided.

I read after several Christian writers and theological thinkers who came to the same conclusion. Actually, reading after some of them helped me form my conclusions. I'll include the links. I actually had no intent on typing all of this. I was originally just going to send you the links ... oh well....

The next question is: Isn't masturbation an act of lust, that is, isn't it a sexual sin? If this were true, we would be accusing toddlers of being fornicators! Well, I've already mentioned the prime list of sexual sins in the Bible. Paul lists some more that I'll try to look at. But, first, what is lust?

The following might blow your mind:The Greek word translated "lust", just means desire, often a strong desire, and it can be a good holy desire or a bad desire. What determines whether it is good or bad is not whether it is a sexual desire, but whether it is a desire for something forbidden. Sex is not forbidden. Sex is not evil or sinful. Strictly speaking, premarital sex is not forbidden in the Bible, so how could masturbation be forbidden?! (If I'm wrong, show me the verses.) Monogamy is never commanded, though it is the norm. Having sexual desire for more than one woman was accepted and promoted by the Lord, since He promoted and regulated polygamy. So, how could having sexual feelings for other women be a sin? It is not a sin to think about sex or nude women, etc. If it was, then the Bible should have some parts cut out of it, because they are literary erotica, to some extent.

Actually, the Bible has a very positive outlook on feminine sexual beauty. There is no shame over private nudity in the Bible. Adam and Eve weren't ashamed to be nude when they were by themselves, just when they were in public, so they acquired clothing. Public nudity is regarded as shameful. Seeing someone nude accidentally was not.

God said that when David watched Bathsheba bathe, she was VERY GOOD (lit.) to look at! God didn't have a problem with David looking at Bathsheba or lusting for another sexual companion. God told David I've given you all these wives and concubines already, and if you want more, NO PROBLEM! (2 Samuel 12:1-8 But, you are not allowed to take another man's wife! That is evil lust. This was the sin Jesus spoke about in Matt. 5:28..... lusting for, with intent to acquire, another man's wife. If you were merely impressed with her beauty and imagined having her, that wouldn't be wrong and isn't what He's talking about. Compare it to what David did with Bathsheba. The sin was when he acted on a desire to have her sexually. Most guys and gals involved in masturbation are only doing it for their own pleasure, not because they want to engage in a sexual sin such as adultery. Jesus was saying that if you look at a married woman because you are craving her to have sex with her, literally, then your heart attitude is adulterous. He was applying the 10th commandment against coveting your neighbor's wife, to the 7th commandment that forbade adultery, and showing that adultery starts with a covetous attitude. Men have mistakenly misread that as "lusting for her in your heart". It doesn't say that! The difference in all of this is "what is the intent of the heart". Am I intending on committing an actual sexual sin, or am I simply thinking about sex to achieve a private orgasm?

So, masturbation is a normal activity that 95% of men and about 75% of women engage in to varying degrees their entire lives whether single or married. They learn it as children innocently. Some are taught to be ashamed of it so they are. Others are not shamed for it, so they tend to enjoy it. There is no scripture that mentions it or outlaws it. It harms no one, but it does provide a relief valve for sexual desire. I contend that young people who are constantly resisting thoughts and feelings of sexual desire, rather than masturbating when the "need" arises, are actually living more lustfully motivated lives than those who "do the deed". People who masturbate relieve their minds and bodies (temporarily) of sexual pressure, so their minds are free to think about other things; they don't make stupid choices when alone with the opposite sex, and are LESS likely to notice the sexual messages that bombard us in our society. Yes, less likely to be lustful or to be tempted by lust, because they have lowered their libido in a natural manner. (If we don't do it ourselves, our body by God's design will do it for us by creating erotic dreams to force us to ejaculate, creating a healthy sperm population for potential use. (Girls have these same dreams) If extra-marital orgasms are a sin, then nocturnal emissions are a sin. But, we already saw from the Bible that they aren't a sin. Just the normal part of becoming a sexual adult)

Paul recommended marriage in order to avoid "burning" with sexual desire. Now, our wives would hope that we would have a more worthy reason that we married them, but that is one reason people get married. If God orders marriage as a cure for our sexual frustration, that means he doesn't want us to be sexually frustrated. If he would recommend us to enter into something as important as marriage to cure a person who is "burning with desire", isn't it reasonable that He would approve of us taking ordinary means available to us to cool off that desire privately, and avoid "whoredom" (=fornication), which is Paul's goal??

There are some other words regarding sexual sins in the Bible, but in view of what I have presented thus far, and knowing that the Bible doesn't contradict itself, I don't think it necessary to go into each word. Words like "passion", lasciviousness, concupiscence are basically words meaning "desire" teaching us not to misuse sexual desire. The Greek word for lasciviousness seems to equate to our word "wantonness" today, people who show no or little sexual restraint. If you read about the kind of society that Paul was ministering to, you'll realize that they were characterized by no sexual restraints. They believed in marriage (good!),AND brothels, incest, and homosexuality; these were all considered normal. Paul had to apply to these new churches the Jewish commandments on "fornication", so as to give them guidelines for sexual conduct.

Here's an example:
"Each of you should know that finding a husband or wife for yourself is to be done in a holy and honorable way, not in the passionate, lustful way of people who don't know God. No one should take advantage of or exploit other believers that way. The Lord is the one who punishes people for all these things. We've already told you and warned you about this." (I Thess. 4:4-6 - accurate translation as opposed to the misleading NIV)

Thus, we are to not seduce a woman sexually into marriage, nor are we to seduce married women (verse 6 seems to be about adultery). We are to seek out a wife, which Paul calls in KJV a "vessel", in an honorable manner. Some have thought Paul was using the word "vessel" to speak about one's own body, but the word before it is "acquire", thus referring to marriage.

One last word study is uncleanness. It always occurs in the list, along with adultery, fornication, and lasciviousness. As I read it, Paul is discussing notable outward sins in these lists. Adultery was when any man had sex with a married woman. A married man could not commit adultery with an unmarried woman. Fornication had to do with prostitution, but the word included other sexual sins, incest, adultery, as listed in Leviticus 18. Lasciviousness is public indecency, such as orgies, which were common in that day as well. I would say the basic meaning of "uncleanness" in Paul's usage would be any sexual sin that "defiles" using Leviticus 18 as a guide. That chapter states that those specific sins defile and make people unclean. However, considering that Paul listed most of those sexual sins in these contexts already, I feel persuaded that "uncleanness" is Paul's term for homosexual or perverted acts. He used this word in Romans 1:24 ( Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:) where it goes on to describe sexual deviancy. (I had previously felt that uncleanness could refer to anything "impure" or "dirty" and thus anything erotic. But, when you go down that path of definitions you end up with this kind of interpretation: >'Impurity which is salaciousness >> the "arousing or appealing to sexual desire or imagination"'. Does this mean that if I am thinking about having sex with my fiancé or wife, then I am being salacious and unclean, sinning?.... obviously, that is an erroneous path. A better definition would be inappropriate arousal or appeal to sexual desire, and that puts you back to square one)

The infamous Matthew 5:28-29 passage isn't about masturbation or ordinary lusts:
It's this same mistaken view that twists Matt. 5:28 out of context to mean "any sexual imagination of any woman that you are not married to is an act of adultery".This is an obvious false statement if you think about it for 5 seconds. First of all, a single thinking about sex with a single is not adultery. A married man thinking about sex with his wife is not adultery. The real meaning is as I stated: any man, single or married, lusting to have a married woman IS sinning, but just imagining that he was with her just for his own pleasure... this is no sin, but it is not wise. Its also wise to not fantasize about people you know, unless you have a sexual relationship with them already.

There are other passages of concern: I John 2:15-17 discusses "all that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life " are not of the Father but are of the world." There are legitimate pleasures of the body, of the eyes and legitimate pride in the work of one's hands by God's grace. John is teaching against the perversion of these good things into thinking only about this world, worshipping and serving pleasure rather than God. Thus, John said "Love not the world, neither these things that are in the world.." Love not = don't take your pleasure and set your heart on these things... love God and to please him rather than yourself is the gist of this. That these are innocent desires can be seen in the temptation of Eve, "the fruit was desirable for food (craving of the body), good in appearance (desire of the eye) and "desirable to make one wise" to appeal to the pride of life. In each item, what is said is true and God made the fruit that way: "desirable for food, pleasant to the eyes" and God himself said that as a result of eating the fruit, man has "become as one of us", wise. The sin was that she loved these things which were wholesome more than she loved obeying God.

The phrase "lust of the flesh" is not a sexual reference; it literally means the desires of the sinful nature, whether it is a desire to be angry, use witchcraft, stir up dissension , envy or commit adultery. These are all desires of the sinful nature, the flesh. "Lust of the eyes" is primarily the desire to have things that we see, covetousness. "Pride of life", is a haughtiness, an inflated ego. Nothing here would condemn the normal expression of sexual desire in fantasizing about sex or masturbation. To apply it to these, one has to read them into the text rather than simply read the text as is. The reason we get into a sexual interpretation is due to the KJV rendering "lust" for the word "desire", which is a morally neutral word, nothing sexual.

I John 2:16:
"These are the ways of the world: wanting to please our sinful selves, wanting the sinful things we see, and being too proud of what we have. None of these come from the Father, but all of them come from the world." - New Century Translation
"Practically everything that goes on in the world--wanting your own way, wanting everything for yourself, wanting to appear important--has nothing to do with the Father. It just isolates you from him." - The Message

HOW I GOT FREE from porn addiction, Part Two

First, I began to consider and perceive that God wasn't too angry with me about it. Then, I discovered that masturbation isn't a sin. If masturbation wasn't a sin, then what about sexual imaginations? Lusting mentally for sex could not be a sin, because sex, in itself, is not a sin. Sexual desire was given to us by God for our enjoyment. Once I saw what Matt. 5:28 was really about, and considered the passages involving David, and the Song of Solomon, I realized that God wasn't uptight about sexual things at all. He promotes sexuality, and sexual thoughts within His guidelines. Then, I considered how it is healthy and normal for men especially to have regular orgasms. That if we don't have them, the body will cause itself to have them. I learned God designed a woman to have to masturbate in order to find pleasure in marital relations. All of this begins to roll one way: fantasizing about sex and masturbation are normal and un-condemned in the Bible.

I was also learning about the hormonal activities that occur in the mind and body during sexual excitement, masturbation and intercourse. These all led me to the same conclusions: masturbation is designed by God as a learning tool for sexual response and as temporary relief for sexual desire and pressure. Porn , however, is another matter. It is designed to be addictive. There is a function of the male sexual chemistry, that will drive him to return to whatever he was visualizing during his last orgasm. This is being exploited in the porn industry. This is known as a fetish. They use this and the naughtiness of sexuality to build an addictive demand for their product. By learning to masturbate, only when I felt it "necessary" as a relief, in my own timing without pornography, I found that this, along with having eliminating false guilt, broke the porn addiction. The guilt feeling had been causing the adrenaline addiction, which combined with dopamine is a powerful addiction as has been compared to heroin or any strong narcotic substance.

Engaging in masturbation apart from porn, doing it under my time and control, took the guilt out of it, which in turn, broke the addictive pull of pornography. I proved to myself that i didn't need it. I could control it, instead of it controlling me. It wasn't wrong to want to masturbate! I was normal. It was wrong to let porn take over my masturbation habit. (Much of this is speaking as a single man; married men have a similar freedom, but it is modified by their marital duties and agreements) Another factor besides the de-tabooing of masturbation and sexual fantasies that enables the former porn addict to free himself is the "mental chemistry" of the male mind, that I mentioned before. Singles can use that principle to break free from porn and married men can use it too, by focusing visually on their wives during orgasm. This will create a desire to always return to her as opposed to some men who end up hooked on porn and rejecting their wives.

Here are some of the websites that helped me: ( I put in bold the two websites that helped me the most as I recall.)

Doctor Dobson

A Brief common sense analysis:

Another common sense Christian approach:

Why people masturbate:  Biological evidence.

An indepth treatment

An expert on the topic:
A Christian extremist on the topic

A lengthy balanced discussion

An extensive treatment and compendium of information

Possibly the most radical Christian site in the "some erotica is okay" camp is This site contains good biblical teaching and WARNING adult content as well. You have been duly advised. Don't go there until you are ready to handle that in good conscience.

It is also very helpful to study the medical science and history of masturbation (there are some photos here that are a bit graphic. Just read the articles and follow the links if you want to.
There are other sites that are helpful: (While I think what they're saying here is true, beware to see if they or their links have an agenda.)

(This blog post was copied from my former blog, so the dates and other posts won't match up due to this time gap.)