The topic of masturbation is often regarded as either “perfectly normal and healthy” or “dirty and taboo.” Moral Revolution believes that masturbation is a subject we must talk about with honesty and respect. In this section we start the conversation and answer some of your most frequently asked questions about the m-word.
WHAT IS MASTURBATION?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines masturbation as erotic stimulation, especially of one’s own genital organs resulting in orgasm. Oftentimes, individuals choose to masturbate by manual stimulation, instrumental manipulation (toys), sexual fantasies (pornography and/or past sexual experiences), or by various combinations of these agencies.
CAN MASTURBATING MAKE MY PENIS LARGER?
According to our doctor, “As for masturbation making a penis larger, it is not going to happen. Conversely, not masturbating will have no negative effects on penis size either. Masturbation doesn’t make a penis bigger, not masturbating doesn’t make a penis smaller. Young men are often concerned about penis length, but should not be. Erections have been called the great equalizer, since their average length is about 5 inches in most men. Even at smaller erection sizes, a man can generally still sexually satisfy his wife. The point is that the odds are overwhelming that you’ve already got what it takes, so to speak, and masturbating will not add to it.”
IF I MASTURBATE, AM I NO LONGER A VIRGIN?
According to our doctor, “A person is considered to be a virgin until they have sexual intercourse. That is called primary virginity. Secondary virginity refers to choosing to abstain from intercourse after having already had it. You are still a virgin if you have masturbated.
I specified “sexual intercourse” because there are other uses of the term virgin, such as, someone who has yet to do one thing or another for the first time. With that in mind, one could say one is no longer a masturbation virgin after having masturbated, but that is not the clear and time-honored understanding of virginity.
WHY IS IT, WHEN I MASTURBATE, THAT IT BRINGS ME SO MUCH SHAME?
IS THAT COMMON?
According to our sex therapist, “That is a great question! You are definitely not alone in feeling shame when you masturbate – it is very common. I congratulate you for going beyond asking, “Is it right or wrong?”, to asking, “What is causing me to feel shame?” That is the real issue.
Unfortunately, I believe there is a lot of shame around sexual issues for believers, due to misunderstanding, fear and wrong teaching. It is false shame. Sexual arousal is a good thing. Sexual desire is a good thing. Your sex drive is a good thing. Being a sexual being is a good thing. It is what you do with it – how you manage it – that is important.
A couple of observations to help you sort this out – with Christians, I see more shame around masturbation, more anger and condemnation, than I do about sex outside of marriage. Telling people to not have sex outside of marriage is clearly in Scripture, but masturbation is not. So why is that?
In addition, let’s say you believe that masturbation is wrong for you, that it is something that you do not want to do. Why the intense shame? Isn’t it more of a behavior that you want to stop, rather than an indication that you are a perverted person? But many describe the shame associated with masturbation as feeling perverted. Historically we have taught that the shame was proof that the behavior was wrong. I would ask you to think about whether that is true.
Maybe masturbation is a behavior that you do not want to do – that is for you to decide. Here are some questions to ask ourselves about shame:
What do you think is going on?
What response to God does shame cause in you?
Do you run to Him or hide?
Do you love Him more or does it cause you to be afraid of Him at some level?
Does it separate you from God?
We have said in the past, that “Yes, it has separated us from God, because it was sin.” But is that really the case or is it because there is something else going on? Being a sexual being is such a part of who we are, our identity. It is such a part of being made in the image of God. So we know ourselves and we know Him more intimately through our sexuality. If the enemy can cause shame and disconnect here, at that deep personhood level, then he can lay roadblocks to knowing and experiencing the love of God and the freedom and power that understanding and revelation can bring.
I believe that shame carries a spirit with it and would encourage you to not entertain it at all. No matter what your past is with masturbation, get rid of the shame. Shame is not from the Lord.”
WHAT DOES THE BIBLE HAVE TO SAY ABOUT MASTURBATION?
The simple answer comes down to this: the actual word masturbation cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. We know that there is reference to it, but it is not explicitly mentioned.
IS MASTURBATION A SIN?
Because the Bible is silent regarding masturbation we, as a team, cannot call masturbation a sin. However, because masturbation is so often coupled with lust – pornography, sexual fantasy – all of which the Bible is very clear are sin we strongly advise to stay away from anything that might tempt you to lust. James 1:14-15 keeps us sober to where lust leads, “But each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death.
IS MASTURBATING TO THE FANTASY OF MY FUTURE SPOUSE A SIN?
Yes, fantasizing about having sex with someone you are not married to, even if it is your future spouse, would be lustful, making it sinful and wrong. In addition, it would be objectifying that person since you would be using him to satisfy yourself sexually. There is no relationship. We tend to understand that men are objectifying women when they look at pictures of women and fantasize about them sexually. But women are doing the same thing to men when they use them in fantasies during masturbation. Fantasies like this also are idealized in that they are not real life. The imagined encounter is perfect and all about the one having the fantasy, instead of the give and take of actual relationship. It can interfere with real relationships, because there is an expectation and pairing of sexual response with something that is not real.
I’M A PARENT WHO HAS DISCOVERED THAT MY CHILD IS MASTURBATING OFTEN. ANY ADVICE?
According to our sex therapist, “Unfortunately this is more common than most parents realize. Teenager’s brains have not finished maturing yet. The prefrontal cortex is the part that develops last and that is the part that says, “That’s not a good idea, don’t do that!” And this is going on at a time that hormones are raging!
The best advice that I can give you is to keep the lines of communication open by being nonjudgmental and calm. Listen more than you talk, and ask questions to try to understand your son’s heart. What are his thoughts about sex and purity? Even if you do not agree, you can accept his answers by saying something like, ” That does not sound like the healthiest decision, but I can understand why you might think that.” Give him facts, alternatives to the decisions he is making, but send the message that you believe he is able to make responsible decisions–even if you are terrified about the things he is saying!
Talk with him about his vision of the kind of man he wants to be. Then come along side him and help him make a plan to reach his own goal. It is his plan and you are just a consultant. Let him come up with solutions and own his problem. When parents are scared they often come down too hard on their kids and begin to control their behavior. That will not work in the long run. It actually can lead to more rebellion and the very thing you are trying to stop. And kids are masters at recognizing your fear and letting you take responsibility for their problems. You really want your son to know how to make his own responsible decisions. “Parenting Teens with Love and Logic” is a great resource. Also Danny Silk’s, “Loving Our Kids on Purpose”.
At the end of the day, as hard and scary as it is, your son needs to know how much he is loved and believed in. And you need that too from your Father – trust Him with those you love and pray and claim his promises for your family.”
IS MASTURBATING WITH YOUR SPOUSE A SIN?
According to our sex therapist, “With any sexual behavior we want to ask the question, ‘Is this behavior helping me be more intimate with my spouse, is it loving?’ So if masturbation with your spouse is a part of being intimate and loving, and you would say yes to that, then I would say it’s fine. If masturbation with your spouse is more of an individual thing where you are not connecting or you are using each other, then I would say it would not be the best choice for that couple.
I AM A TEENAGE GIRL, OBSESSED WITH BOYS, AND I MASTURBATE WHICH AFFECTS MY RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD.
IS MY PASSION FOR BOYS NORMAL? ALSO, HOW CAN I STOP MASTURBATING?
According to our sex therapist, “It is normal for a 16 year old girl to feel passionate about boys! You have a sex drive and that is God given. You just have to manage it and not have it manage you. You say that masturbation is affecting your relationship with God. I just want to remind you how much God loves you and nothing you can do will change that. Masturbation is a behavior, a behavior that you might be wanting to stop – but it is not who you are. You might be masturbating and that is against your values. If it is, then I would say it would be a good thing to stop. But God loves you no matter what and will help you if you want to stop that behavior. Often when people cross their values, they feel shame and hide from God just like Adam did in the Garden. But it is God who comes looking for you because he loves you and wants to commune with you. He is not disappointed in you or ashamed of you – he is so willing to help you. So go to him and partner with him if there is a behavior you want to stop. And believe what he says about you, that you are dearly loved and accepted – just the way you are. So you can relax and rest in the fact that he delights in you and gave you a sex drive that he wants you to learn to manage. And he will help you as you learn to do that. He really is that good!”