Last updated on September 7, 2020
I’m a 19-year-old guy who also faces problems with masturbation. I think it’s sinful, though I do not fascinate or think about someone. But every time I promise God that I’ll stop, then after approximately three weeks the urge to masturbate comes back, and I don’t know what to do. Every time I masturbate I ask God to forgive me, and I feel shameful, so what do I do?
Thank you so much for your answer.
God told Israel, “Whatever I command you, be careful to observe it; you shall not add to it nor take away from it” (Deuteronomy 12:32). God knew what He wanted to be written. When you say that masturbation is a sin, you do so without offering any verse to prove your point. If it is a sin, then God indicates it is sinful in some way. Just because you think it is sinful doesn’t make it so.
When I challenge people to offer verses prove masturbation is sinful, I will sometimes receive verses that show that looking at pornography or being lustful in your thoughts is a sin. Generally, the argument is that masturbation, pornography, and lust can’t be separated. I absolutely agree that pornography and lustful thoughts are sinful, but I disagree that man must involve these sins in order to masturbate.
When I was studying the issue, I found that the Bible does talk about ejaculating in ways that don’t involve sex. See Is masturbation unacceptable? Wet dreams are specifically mentioned as one way that it happens. I also realize that if one condemned masturbation, they would have to also condemn wet dreams since a wet dream is nothing more than masturbating in your sleep. Yet, a person has no control over wet dreams, therefore it cannot be labeled a sin.
The idea that masturbation cannot be separated from pornography or lustful thoughts is false since most boys experience their first ejaculation by accident, not knowing what was causing the response. Therefore, they can be separated.
Since it is by God’s design that the male body needs to ejaculate, then it must be that ejaculations can be done in a non-sinful way. That is why I tell guys to pick a place to do it that prevents looking at pornography (in the shower). In order to manage their thoughts, I suggest waiting until the need is strong and ejaculation happens easily without much thought at all. Ejaculating through masturbation then becomes a task, much like using the restroom. The result is that sexual desire becomes manageable. Sin is not involved, no law is broken because there are no pornography or lustful thoughts being used in the process. It is when a guy forces it to happen with pornography or tries not ejaculating at all that he ends up with the problem of lust constantly intruding itself into his thoughts.
You are making self-control hard for yourself by not properly managing your body’s needs. You are doing much like the girl who decides eating is wrong. She stops for a while, but then the craving is too much to resist and she gorges on food. She then is angry with herself for being a glutton, which is a sin, and concludes she was right that she shouldn’t eat. But the real problem is that she is not managing the need of her body and so she cycles through extremes.
Like the girl, you deny your body ejaculations and the need builds. Eventually, the body takes over because ejaculations must happen. When you give in, you blame yourself for not keeping yourself from ejaculating. But the real problem is that you are not managing your body’s needs. Such mismanagement makes you vulnerable to the temptation to commit real sins.
What I recommend is that you go take a shower and get it out of your system. When the need builds back up, take care of it again. You’ll shortly find that after ejaculating the desire for sex and the related temptations disappear and only come back gradually. By keeping them from becoming too much, you will be able to have control over your thoughts and your body.
The foundation is that you are calling something a sin that God doesn’t say is a sin. Stick to God’s teaching. It is hard enough to live righteously without adding new “sins.” We are judged by what God told us. If it is a sin, then you should be able to prove it from the Scriptures. If you can’t, then you need to study your Bible more. I’m positive you won’t find the Bible calling masturbation, by itself, a sin.