The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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Is it normal to masturbate?

Attempts to study the rate at which masturbation occurs in males is difficult because it is a private matter which everyone does not wish to talk about, nor is there a way to verify what is claimed. However, The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior, published in 1993 reported that 95% of all males surveyed claim to have masturbated at some point in their life. The Journal of Psychology and Human Sexuality, in 2002, published a report by S.D. Pinkerton, L.M. Bogart, H. Cecil, and P.R. Abramson that stated 98% of college males claimed to have masturbated at some point in their life. The Janus report also stated that 53% claimed to have started masturbating before the age of 13. In another study, The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States, 1994, by E. Laumann, J. H. Gagnon, R.T. Michael, and S. Michaels found that 60% of all men studied claimed to have masturbated in the last year. Therefore, we can conclude that masturbating is very prevalent, even if we can't be sure the numbers given above are precisely correct.

It is not hard to understand why the numbers are so high. The male sexual organs are external, easily reached, and humans tend to be curious. Add to this that a boy's penis spontaneously becomes erect in early teenage years, thus it intrudes on the consciousness of even the most dense individual. Then there is the matter of nocturnal emissions or wet dreams. Most, though not all, men experience them. They are even mentioned in the Bible (Deuteronomy 23:10-11). To be very clear, nocturnal emissions happen because a man masturbates in his sleep. Therefore, yes, it is both common or normal for males to masturbate. Most men do so and it appears we have some built-in instinct toward doing it in our sleep.

This often leads to a second question: Is masturbation a sin? I was asked this a while back and wrote a short article under the title "Is masturbation unacceptable?" You can click on the title to read it for yourself, rather than my copying the information here.