My church teaches that masturbation is a sin. What should I do?

Last updated on September 30, 2020



I am extremely unsure of what to do. I am a Catholic 13-year-old male. I have read through nearly all the links on your site, but I still have some questions. I recently tried masturbation with little knowledge of the strict Catholic rules on it. I have looked everywhere and any non-Christian site says everyone does it and not to worry. I have wanted to try it again, but I didn’t know what God would think. My mother is a very strong Catholic and has a very strong feeling about this matter, and I don’t feel comfortable talking to my dad about it. Please help and tell me from a Christian point of view what God thinks about matters like this, and if I should try to not try it again or if it’s completely normal and it’s not at all wrongful to do so if one chooses.

p.s. I have never looked at porn in my life as that is not a problem

Thanks so much.


Just so you clearly understand, I am not Catholic and I don’t teach Catholicism. I only teach the Bible. In some areas, this agrees with Catholicism, but there are numerous areas that are different because Roman Catholicism places a strong emphasis on their traditions, which they consider to be equal to the Bible.

You are correct that masturbation is considered to be wrong by Roman Catholic teachings. Their reason is that every ejaculation must carry the potential to cause pregnancy. The fact that a boy is not married is not considered significant. Yet, at the same time, wet dreams are not considered wrong. They also consider it to be a selfish act because it creates pleasure in the boy doing it. The problem with this reasoning is that things that satisfy the body’s desires are naturally pleasurable. Eating when you are hungry, drinking when you are thirsty, and ejaculating when you have a need are all pleasurable to different degrees. The pleasure alone does not make it selfish. “Selfish” is when you are withholding from others. To eat and deny others to eat is selfish. But with an unmarried boy, there is no wife being denied sex, so it cannot be labeled a selfish act.

But the only thing that matters is what God says on the matter. Ejaculating is mentioned in the Bible and masturbation is alluded to in several passages. While it was considered unclean, regardless of whether it was done by a husband and wife during sex, done during a wet dream, or done as masturbation. Being unclean had rules to be followed, but being unclean was not the same as sinful. It only became a sin if the rules were broken. See Is masturbation sinful or not? for details and verses.

Pornography is wrong (I Thessalonians 4:3-5) and lust is wrong (Matthew 5:28), but the act of masturbation by itself is not called wrong by God.

Now, if you are convinced that you should not masturbate and are able to have wet dreams to handle your need to ejaculate, then you should not violate your conscience. However, some boys are not able to have wet dreams, and the need to ejaculate drives them nutty. Rather than put temptation in front of yourself, I tell young men to manage their bodies’ needs by ejaculating enough to keep their desire for sex under control. If that means having to masturbate, then so be it.