Let’s talk about masturbation.

Masturbation with porn (or playing through mental images) is something the Bible speaks clearly regarding. In Matthew 5:27-28: Jesus said, “You have heard that it was said, ‘Do not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman to lust after her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

But what about masturbation without lust, i.e. masturbation while ‘taking every thought captive’ (2 Cor 10:5) Let’s discuss that! Here are my views on masturbation, as a single person. Reasons I don’t want to masturbate:

  1. It teaches me that sex is self-serving. “Get yours” is an ‘encouragement’ heard among women, as a response to “Guys have been doing this forever, it’s time for women”. God’s design of sex was not created as something where people would take from each other (unfortunately, this is prevalent now, as the world’s way of sex has strayed far, far, from God’s way). Rather, it was designed that a couple would give to one another – as an expression of their intimacy and love, rejoice in each other’s pleasure, enjoy sex together with no desire to look outside of each other for sex.
  2. It teaches me that sex is a great escape for pain and negative feelings. If I turn to masturbation in times of loneliness, tiredness, boredom, sadness, stress, etc. it becomes easy to then form an addiction around it. You train your brain to believe that orgasms are an escape for pain and you make a pathway in your brain that tells you, ‘Whenever you feel pain, quick, there is a remedy for that!’.
  3. I don’t like the emptiness that I feel afterward. God’s design of sex wasn’t intended that the climax would immediately be followed by being alone in bed. Sex was meant to be part of intimacy that was present before sex and would also be present after sex.
  4. It feeds my sex drive. Because I am single, attempting to live following God’s instructions for my life, I want to lull my sex drive to sleep. Lisa Bevere (a Christian author and communicator) speaks about singing back to sleep whatever has been awakened before its time. You know how if you spit a lot, your mouth will begin producing more saliva? The more often you wash your hair, the more oil your scalp will produce? The more you feed your sex drive (through watching sex in the media, fantasizing, and masturbation), the hungrier you will feel. When my sex drive is lulled to sleep, I feel content instead of frustrated!

When I have an open door to masturbation, it is easy to turn to that when it’s not necessary. It reinforces the points above, and it doesn’t bring me long-term happiness. I want to close the door on masturbation, for those reasons.

Can we understand why God created humans as sexual beings yet places some in very long periods of singleness? And what can we do with your sexual desires?

One extremely important reason for abstaining from sex during singleness is to learn to manage your sex drive. Abstinence is a time during which you can train yourself to be in control of your sex drive – that your sex drive would not drive you.

An uncontrolled, unmanaged, unbridled sex drive is perhaps one of the most catastrophic forces.

A myth that many Christians believe is that everything in their sexuality will be worked out once they get married. But the truth is that everything you are now is exactly the same as you will be on the wedding night and onward until you begin to make some difficult choices.

If you, as a single, have uncontrollable sexual urges and you’re just gritting your teeth and bearing it, thinking that your ‘salvation’ will come on the wedding night, beware! Uncontrolled, unmanaged, unbridled sex drives in singleness continue into marriage and can manifest in catastrophic situations such as infidelity or non-consensual sex with your spouse.

Your singleness is a GIFT – a time to rein in your sexual drive as we should rein in all parts of our bodies (our tongues, etc.), in self-control and submitted to the lordship of Jesus (Romans 6:12). Think it’s impossible? We have a Perfect example of One who went before us in victory. Jesus was single throughout His life on earth and never sinned, and went a step further: was utterly complete, lacking nothing.

For women, sometimes they may experience heightened feelings especially during certain times in the month, especially during certain ages. This is all part of our biology. I have been learning some ways to lull my sex drive to sleep:

  • I choose to not watch sex scenes. These can suddenly appear on even a PG television show. I look at the IMDB parent guide, and without reading too carefully (because that in itself can be graphic) I decide if I’m going to watch the movie. In this season where I desire my sex drive to be sleeping, I have a pretty low tolerance of what I can handle without waking stuff up, but I want to keep it that way!
  •  I know my own limit for conversations about sex. Sex is not shameful, and Christians SHOULD be talking about it in a respectful way, but for me, I have a maximum capacity for how much talk I can handle before that cup overflows and wakes stuff up. I shamelessly let people know when that limit is approaching, and excuse myself from the convo.

If stuff is happening, if you’ve already fed a thought, and its turning into pretty fired up feelings, but you don’t want to masturbate, here are two simple things you can do:

  • Change environments. Move around, go for a walk outside :).
  • Thank God for His perfect design: He designed your sexuality – it is not sinful. He knew that you would have x number of years in singleness. He is not surprised by this, therefore He has a way for you to be able to walk it out!
  • Your sexuality is not shameful; include God in this part of your life too. We can tell Him, “Hey God, my hormones feel like they’re raging right now. Quiet my hormones that I would not burn with lust. I trust You. Paul said that being single was wonderful; that in singleness a persons’ affections could be fully Yours (1 Cor 7:35). But also, You designed the concept of marriage and sex, and You said that it was good. In my singleness, my desire is to know You as my First Love; that that would remain through singleness and marriage. Let it be so. Bring me deeper. And if Your plan is marriage for me, help me to be postured for that, in Your perfect timing.”

Practically Speaking

Are you struggling with shame? 

Keep a true image of God’s heart towards you. God loves you. He loved you on the morning of the day you sinned, knowing full well what was coming, and He loves you now. At any moment after stumbling, run into His arms in repentance. Don’t withhold yourself even for a moment what you need more than anything – Him. 

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1).

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)

To our married friends

Just some food for thought. If married people tell singles that masturbation is wrong in singleness, shouldn’t it also be wrong in marriage? Given the reality that sexuality (sex drive) is part of the human design, if marrieds are saying, “Just don’t”, “Just wait till marriage”, are they also sharing practical tips for how to walk that out? If you are asking a single person to abstain from any form of sexual release, could you also walk this out yourself if it became necessary (e.g. you suddenly became single?) Given this reasoning, would this not apply for married couples who are in a temporary long-distance circumstance (e.g. phone sex)? I’m just saying, whatever you are instructing singles, you should be able to walk out yourselves.

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