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Is Masturbation A Sin?

Photo courtesy of april via Flickr
Photo courtesy of april via Flickr

I remember the first time I heard the “M” word spoken in church. I think it took a whole two seconds before my jaw hit the floor. I was so surprised. I never, EVER, expected to hear the pastor talk about pornography and masturbation. He didn’t even do the church whisper. You know, the thing we do when we are talking about something but we don’t want other people to judge us, so we lower our voice. Nope, he just flat out said the words PORN and MASTURBATION.

Looking back, I am so glad he didn’t do the church whisper. I am so glad he didn’t give a disclaimer to what was to come. I’m so glad he was real and honest and open. The truth is, we shouldn’t be afraid to talk about these things. They need to be discussed.  It’s time for the church to open the closet door and turn the light on, so the body of believers can stop being fearful to openly discuss their struggles.

Prior to hearing this talk, I had no idea just how much women struggle with things like pornography and masturbation. Women tend to keep their struggles with sex, lust, porn and masturbation hidden and tucked away where no one can find it. They share about their struggles with shopping, emotional eating, problems with men, etc., but that last 2 percent gets locked in the secret box of shame, never to be opened.

I’ll never forget the night I opened my secret box of shame. An overwhelming feeling of conviction suddenly came over me, and I felt the immediate need to talk to my closest girlfriend and “come clean.” My urgency caused her to panic, wondering why I was so desperate to speak to her. I knew if I didn’t tell her right away, I would chicken out and it would stay a secret forever. So, with as much courage as I could muster up, I unlocked the secret box of shame and shared. She received my secret with no judgment and shared that she too had kept this secret hidden in her own box of shame. It was such a relief to have someone to talk to about something that I felt no one would understand.

With casual sex being glorified, one-night stands becoming more and more common, and pornography so easily accessible, temptation to give into our sexual desire before marriage is getting harder to fight. The conversation I had with my girlfriend was probably the most uncomfortable conversation I’ve ever had, but having another believer to talk to about something that isn’t usually discussed in church was so helpful.

I want you to know I am not a psychologist, I am not a sex therapist and I am not a theologian. I won’t pretend to know all the answers, and God hasn’t appeared to me and told me what to say to you. I am just a single girl who was once ashamed to talk about something I didn’t really understand. I am a single girl who desires growth and sanctification, and after much time in prayer and in the Word, I hope to share a few thoughts that will leave you wanting to meditate on this topic some more.

Masturbation is not God’s best—it’s a counterfeit.

Have you ever accidentally accepted cash, not realizing the bill you were given was a counterfeit? That happened to me once. It was a $20 bill, and at first glance it looked the same. As I examined it further, I realized it was not the real thing. Once I realized it was counterfeit, I could not bring myself to knowingly use it to purchase anything. That bill was no longer able to serve the purpose it was intended to serve. It didn’t have all the necessary components that made it complete.

Masturbation is the same way; it is a counterfeit to God’s original design. It doesn’t have all the necessary components that make it complete.

Yes, we may be able to achieve a pleasurable feeling on our own, but that’s not what God intended. The pleasure we feel is meant to be enjoyed as we connect deeply with our spouse physically and emotionally in the form of sexual intimacy. It is meant to bond us to one another, to keep us drawn to each other and to create a connection between two people that cannot be achieved any other way.

Masturbation will leave your body wanting more.

When our bodies have an orgasm, it creates a euphoric sensation, releasing endorphins. To partially quote Elle Woods from Legally Blonde, “Endorphins make you happy,” and who doesn’t want to be happy? It’s the same reason we don’t only want one bite of chocolate cake or one Hershey’s Kiss. When those endorphins are released, our body tells us it wants more of that feeling.

I love that God designed sex in such a way that the pleasure we feel creates a response in us that makes us want more of that feeling. This is a beautiful thing in the context of the design. But if the original design is modified, it can lead to destruction.

When we masturbate and feel the pleasure God intended for us to feel during sexual intercourse, we will desire more of that pleasure, and it will leave us wanting to do it again.

Masturbation links fantasy with orgasm.

Whether it’s playboy/playgirl, pornography or a sexual fantasy in your mind, there is usually some focal point that is the mental trigger to help reach an orgasm. Masturbation has a cause-and-effect relationship. To achieve an orgasm, there is usually a physical component and a mental component. Our brain is sending signals at the same time our body is sending signals, and at some point those two things meet, and the result is an orgasm.

When this happens, your body is telling your brain whatever image or fantasy you just had in your brain is what it will take to achieve the pleasure you felt from the orgasm. The pleasure source may vary but the point is you still need a pleasure source for the cause-and-effect relationship to work, and if you are single, that pleasure source is a substitute for your future husband or wife.

I realize there are conflicting views on this topic. Some argue masturbation is considered sexual immorality, while others argue that the Bible doesn’t specifically address it. But regardless of the varying views, there is one thing God makes perfectly clear: The spirit and the flesh are in conflict with one another (Galatians 5:16-17). And knowing that the flesh and the spirit are in conflict with one another should give us a continued desire to constantly stay in the Word and in prayer, asking the Lord to guide us and give us clarity.

And in my experience, when you seek the Spirit, He will show you the way.

About Brandy Coty

Brandy Coty is a single, 30-year-old blogger turned budding author who resides in Dallas, Texas. After spending time teaching English in South Korea, she has returned to America and is working on writing her first book. As a social worker, she has a passion for serving others and plugging into the community. Brandy has a heart for other single women and hopes to encourage and inspire readers by sharing the lessons the Lord is teaching her.
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5 comments

  1. I’m just wondering how many married women struggle with the same thing. Sometimes we are taught that marriage will satiate all desire, but in this fallen world, I’ve heard otherwise.

    • Jen you make an interesting point regarding how many married women struggle with this, I’d be interested to know as well. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. The choice between counterfeit and real is easy, of course, but unfortunately it’s not quite as easy when the choice is counterfeit or nothing. If that $20 bill was the only one you had I suppose it would be very tempting to use it anyway… Otherwise I agree with you.

    • Hi Freddie. Thanks for commenting. I’m sure many would agree with you in regards to the choice between counterfeit and nothing being more tempting. However, I think it’s important to remember the consequences that come along with making the choice to use the counterfeit. It’s in the moment of thinking about the consequences that we must ask ourselves “Is this choice worth it? Is the temporary solution worth what is to come as a result of my decision?”

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