Is Masturbation a Sin?

Pastor J.D. discusses some misconceptions and implications regarding the issue of masturbation.

A glimpse inside this episode:

  • A friend of mine named Todd Wagner offered some helpful clarification for what it’s not:
    • The unforgivable sin
    • An unavoidable sin (1 Corinthians 10:13)
    • A single man’s struggle (70% of married people—men and women—struggle with this question)
    • A male problem (89% of women struggle with masturbation)
  • FYI: “Onan’s” sin in Genesis 38 was not the sin of masturbation.
  • What we do know: Lust is sinful.
    • The classic Protestant answer follows a relatively simple syllogism:
  1. Lusting after women is a sin.
  2. It is difficult to masturbate without looking at or imagining a woman who is not your wife.
  3. Ergo, masturbation should be discouraged.
  • But what if I think of something else while I’m masturbating? Not entirely possible–how God wired it.
    • John Piper: “I know there are nocturnal emissions, which I regard as innocent and helpful, but I doubt that they are ever orgasmic apart from a sexual dream that supplies the necessary image in the mind. Evidently God has constituted the connection between sexual orgasm and sexual thought in such a way that the force and pleasure of orgasm is dependent on the thought or images in our minds.”
  • Something else: It can be dangerous because it can be addictive.
    • The physical act of orgasm releases certain chemicals (oxytocin, epinephrine, etc.). It has become a legitimate addiction for many people. We shouldn’t play with it.
      • Hooked—it’s not a Christian book, but a scientific study written by a couple of neurologists showing how sexual stimulation rewires the brain
    • Also, it objectifies the opposite sex and reduces sex to an erotic pleasure
  • What about thinking of my spouse during masturbation?
    • If a woman gives her husband permission to do this—maybe during a long military deployment—this is different, but I would still discourage it.
  • Romans 8:12 says we are not under obligation to our flesh. Don’t be captive.
  • Good news of God’s grace:
    • We shouldn’t beat people up because of their sin. But we shouldn’t indulge their sin either.
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