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lighthouse (Peggy's Cove, east coast Canada).
What Does the bible Say About … MASTERBATION and SIN?

Is masturbation a sin?

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First of all, the word masturbation is not found in the Bible. But I must say one thing that even though the word is not in print, it does not mean that we have the legal right to do so.

We live in a no-shame culture. I grew up in a world where if somebody was divorced, you barely were willing to breathe that word in public. But as we know in the last several decades, an overwhelming growth of sexual revolution in the sixties, the homosexual revolution in the eighties, has created a no-shame culture. The only shame now these days is not to tolerate somebody’s shameless behavior.

Please read 1 Thessalonians 4:3 -5 “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God.” NIV Sexual desires and activities must be placed under Christ’s control. God created sex for procreation and pleasure, and as an expression of love between a husband and wife. Sexual experience must be limited to the marriage relationship to avoid hurting ourselves, our relationship to God and our relationships with others.

Notice the word “Sanctification”. It means a separation from sin.

What do you mean by that? That you abstain from sexual immorality.

“Each one of you knows how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, not in lustful passion like the pagans who do not know God and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we told you before and solemnly warned you. For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity but in sanctification, consequently he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you.”

* Matthew 5:28 Jesus said “If you look on a woman to lust after her, you’ve committed adultery in your heart.” In order to masturbate your mind must be stimulated by a desire or lust. So while my mind is concentrating on satisfying my physical desires, my mind is also acting out a scenario of fantasy. Acting out sinful desires is harmful in several ways:

1. It causes people to excuse sin rather than to stop sinning

2. It destroys marriages

3. It is a deliberate rebellion against God’s Word.

4. It always hurts someone else in addition to the sinner. Sinful actions are more dangerous than sinful desires, and that is why desires are just as damaging to obedience. Left unchecked, wrong desires will result in wrong actions and turn people away from God.

In 1 Corinthians 6:9-20, Paul has stated that our bodies are not our own but belong to God. Paul tells us to flee from all types of sexual impurity. God wants to protect us from damaging others, and ourselves and so he offers to fill us – our loneliness, our desires -with himself. I have told many others who have asked the same question as you have, Christians are free to be all they can be for God, but they are not free from God. God bought us with a “high price,” and Jesus death freed us from sin and ever enticement to sin.

I would like to leave you with a thought the Lord gave me a while back. There was a beautiful condominium set along the lakefront. People would walk by and dream of living in that building each and every day. It’s exterior attracted all realtors for miles around. Curiosity of the inside of this building would entice each onlooker. Finally one day there was a vacancy and you were offered to be part in the wonderful condo family.

Would you trash the property of this building or the surrounding scenery, or would you maintain the upkeep of your part of the building?

Of course you will not violate the standards set for this building.

The owner of this building is God, and your body belongs to God; you must not violate his standards for living.

I trust that even though I did not give you a direct answer to your question about masturbation being a sin, I did give you some insight on how to live in the will of God in purity.

Sue Ramsey Associate Director of Bible Questions for


I think we must first consider what sin is. Does not the Bible teach that the one sin that sends a soul to hell, is to reject Jesus Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as the sacrifice that can only satisfy God’s righteousness?

Another question would be to determine what it is that God saves. Is it our bodies? No, for the body will die and return to the earth from which it came.

Then we must conclude that God saves the eternal soul and not the flesh.

So with this thought in mind, I believe anything that is not pleasing to God is sin.

You may ask what all this has to do with masturbation?

Let’s look at the scripture.

Mt 3:2 :And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”

The word repent is a compound of two Greek words that mean to think differently afterwards, or to change one’s mind.

Now I have said all this to bring us to the point that when God saves a soul and the Holy Spirit takes up residence in our minds, then our body’s actions should be controlled by the Holy Spirit of God.

With that in mine we must consider the “why” behind our actions.

Is that which I commit with my fleshly body the results of having a renewed mind and having the mind of Christ or is it the result of the battle between the flesh and the soul?

Romans 12:2 “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.”

Titus 3:5 “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost.”

1Corinthians 2:16 “For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.”

Romans 6:6 “Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with [him], that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.”

Romas 6:12 “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.”

1Peter 4:1 “Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin.”

Now with all this in mind I will share my thought about the question.

I think that when this act is committed the flesh has won the battle and thus it is sin.

One more thought, would any that read this wish for Jesus to appear before them as they committed this act?

Proverbs 5:21 “For the ways of man are before the eyes of the LORD, and he pondereth all his goings.”

James Avery Associate Director of Bible Questions for


I Corinthians 6:12-20 speaks of our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit. This scripture is given in the context of sexual immorality in a man joining his body to a prostitute. No verse in the Bible speaks specifically of masturbation. However, we are to consider our bodies to belong to the Lord in every area of our lives. Romans 14 answers some unclear issues within the mandate: Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.

Sandra McGarrity


I think that 1 Corinthians 18-20 pretty much says it all. “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.”

You are to honor God with your body. And you are NOT honoring the Lord with your body if you are using it for personal sexual gratification. This is not what the Lord intended.



YES!!! It is the same as illicit sex since I have to imagine a sex scene for orgasm. I was hooked on it for 3 decades, just like drugs, booze or tobacco, and it did more damage to me spiritually than anything else. I always felt it was needed to avoid illicit sex and so on, yet with such a low self esteem, I felt I needed to help myself. WRONG!!!! I am so ashamed that I did it for so long- using porn shops even! To go to church one day and masturbate the next is as wrong as wrong can be, and I’m still fighting.



Yes it is. In fact, an older definition of masturbation is “self-abuse.” Although more modern dictionaries may no longer carry this definition, they are still linked together under self-abuse:

1. Abuse of oneself or one’s abilities.

2. Masturbation.

1 Corinthians 6:18 (NIV) further confirms this, saying that unlawful sexual relations defile our own bodies. “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body.”

Josie Gonzalez