Is “the arousal thing” sinful?

Last updated on August 27, 2020


I am 15 years old. I became a born-again Christian and sought after the Lord in a child’s way, and then more strongly as I came close to my teenage years. The thing you described on your web site (Growing Up in the Lord: A Study for Teenage Boys), arousal, is the thing that I’ve been suffering with, or practicing, for more than a year now.

I first discovered I could release sperm (or whatever it was) out of my special parts, and I became shocked at what I saw. Ever since that time, I have felt the oncoming desire to do arousal and have felt compelled just to give in. All this time I thought I had been committing sin since I hadn’t controlled my desire and saved it for the day of marriage. I’ve been living in constant doubt about God’s grace for me. I felt that I was a horrible sinner and wicked in doing this arousal stuff, and I still do.

Could you grant me, in honor and light of God’s Word (Sola Scriptura), the assurance that the arousal that I have been secretly practicing and doing for more than a year now (without knowledge of any of my family or friends) is natural and that God created it?

Please respond quickly because I want answers. I’ve been seeking for answers. Just this morning I had the arousal thing and got it over with.

Please, I ask of you, as a minister of God, please speak to me truthfully and grant me Christian assurance that what I’ve been doing, arousal, is not a sin.


Let’s start by making sure that you and I are using the same words in the same way. It will make it easier for me to explain what is happening.

Your “special parts” are your genitals. On the outside of your body, they consist of your penis which is where your urine comes out and the scrotum. The scrotum is the sack underneath your penis that contains your two testicles. The testicles are where your sperm is produced.

“Arousal” is when your body desires sex. The most noticeable part is when your penis gets larger and stiff, which is called an erection. This has been happening for a while. Your penis becomes erect often and seemingly for odd reasons. Lately, it does it more so when the least idea of sex enters your mind.

What comes out of your penis when you play with it is called semen. Semen is produced in two organs inside you called the seminal vesicles. It is a thick, whitish liquid. In that liquid are sperm, which are so small that you would need a microscope to see them. When the semen comes out, it is called ejaculation. The intense feeling of pleasure when you ejaculate is called orgasm.

When you play with your penis, it causes you to become aroused (if you are not already aroused), but the touching and stroking of your penis is called masturbation. You can be aroused without masturbating, but masturbating will always make you aroused.

This was a quick explanation, but for more details, along with drawings, see: Learning about Your Body.

God made men to produce sperm so that we can have children. Because the journey of the sperm to your wife’s egg is hazardous, God has the man produce a large quantity of sperm so that at least one survives the journey. Each time you ejaculate, you are releasing about a half million sperm in the semen that comes out. Only one sperm is needed to get your wife pregnant, but the large number makes it more likely to happen.

Most of the semen you ejaculate is a sugar solution that feeds the sperm at the start of their journey. Both the semen and your sperm get old after a while. After a number of days, it isn’t good anymore. So God made the man’s body to constantly make more sperm and more semen. Your testicles make about 100,000 sperm each day. The amount of semen you make depends on a number of factors, such as how often you get aroused. Your body can hold a lot of sperm, but it can only hold so much semen at a time. As the seminal vesicles get full, you get an increasingly strong desire for sex. It is the same as your bladder. As it gets full, you have an increasingly strong desire to urinate.

If you don’t do anything, your body will get rid of the extra semen by having you masturbate in your sleep. That is called having a wet dream. “Wet” because semen comes out. “Dream” because often you have strange, vivid dreams — usually about something connected with sex while you are masturbating in your sleep. You can’t control your dreams while you sleep, and for Christians, the nature of the dreams are often disturbing because they are about things you would never normally do. But this is the way God made men and we have to accept that it is normal.

Almost all men at some point discover that they can cause ejaculations while they are awake. I would say that every man discovers it at some point, but I have to leave room for the possible few who don’t. Wet dreams and sex are mentioned in the Bible. Masturbation is hinted at in a few verses. By itself, masturbation is no different than eating, drinking, or using the toilet. But the pleasure that ejaculation brings is far stronger than eating or drinking. Since Satan wants people to sin, he uses that pleasure to encourage men to use sinful thoughts or pictures of sinful things to get themselves aroused enough to masturbate. It is the sinful thoughts and the pictures of sinful things (pornography) that is wrong, not the actual masturbation. I have been asked this question a number of times, so I would like you to read “Is masturbation unacceptable?” and “Is masturbation sinful or not?” If you still have questions, I’ll be happy to answer them.

While you have been masturbating secretly, so have many of your friends who are also old enough to ejaculate. It just isn’t proper thing to talk about. But just because everyone hides it and avoids mentioning it, it doesn’t mean you are the only one dealing with it.

Now, just one more thing to think about. This is not a criticism, but it gives me a chance to teach you something important. I would like you to notice how you approached your question. You asked to know the truth, but then you said you wanted to be told that masturbation was not a sin. When a person makes up their mind what answer they want to hear, they may not be willing to hear an answer that shows them to be wrong. That can be dangerous. We should love the truth so much, that we want truth regardless whether it is what we expected or not. One of the dangers God warns about is wanting a particular answer so bad, that you are willing to ignore the truth. “The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness” (II Thessalonians 2:9-12). If someone wants to hear a lie badly enough, God will let them deceive themselves.

In this case, the answer you had hoped to hear was the truth, but keep in mind that when looking for the truth you need to be willing to learn at times that you were wrong.