Is Masturbation or Self Pleasure a Sin in The Bible?

The Bible does not explicitly mention masturbation nor declare it as a sin. Hence, Christians are divided regarding this topic. Some argue that masturbation is only a sin if done outside the context of marriage. Some say that masturbation is not a sin as it is scientifically normal.

Masturbation As Self-Pleasure Is A Sin

Masturbation is a highly addicting sin and is sinful if it becomes habitual. Because the individual lacks self-control, regular self-indulgence is likewise a sin (1 Corinthians 7:2, 5, 9; 2 Timothy 3:3-4). The Holy Spirit states we are not to be mastered or ruled by anything; this does not exempt masturbation (1 Corinthians 6:12). 

When people experience orgasm outside of the context of lovemaking in marriage, the act becomes self-seeking and detached from its original function of fostering intimacy.

Sexual activity through orgasm should be motivated by a desire for a partner, not by a desire for a sensation or experience (Jeremiah 31:31–32).

Engaging in masturbation outside the marriage bed is considered a transgression and goes against God’s glory in Christ.

As followers of God, we should refrain from such behavior. Instead, we should seek our Lord’s assistance and honor Him by reserving our bodies for marital intimacy, which fosters a sacred bond within the marriage covenant, as stated in Job 31:1.

Masturbation Within Marriage Is Not A Sin

Sexual activities within marriage, including masturbation, is not a sin. God created men to fulfill women, while women were designed to satisfy men. 1 Corinthians 7:3-5 states that a husband belongs to his wife, and vice versa, and they are not to withhold intimacy from one another.

Orgasm is a good gift from God (1 Timothy 4:2-5) that men and women are only to experience in the context of marital connection (Genesis 2:23; Song 8:4-6; 1 Corinthians 7:2-3; Hebrews 13:4).

It is not a sin for both husband and wife to masturbate each other during sexual activity. Making love entails a husband and wife caressing each other’s genitals. God intended sexual activity to be shared rather than done alone. 

What Masturbation Feeds Minds

Masturbation raises another significant concern regarding the thoughts that one entertains during the act. It focuses the mind on fleshly desires and imprints images of sexual activity and nudity in the brain.

While science backs the argument that masturbation can benefit you, particularly your self-esteem, it does not do good in terms of your spiritual needs.

Over time, the images in your mind while masturbating can intensify and serve as a foothold for negative thoughts that can be challenging to overcome. This behavior conflicts with the principles outlined in Romans 8:5.

Other Self-Pleasure Circumstances

There are some instances wherein it is difficult to acknowledge whether masturbation is a sin or not. Let us cite a real-life example.

A widow uses masturbation not primarily to satisfy his carnal sexual desires but to reconnect with his wife, who passed away. For him, masturbation is a way of remembering the love they shared.

The question is: Is his actions a sin? If you ask this man, his conscience is clear. Thus, it is not sinful.

Whether you believe his actions were sinful or not, showing compassion and empathy to

What Does The Bible Say About Masturbation?

The Bible makes no mention of masturbation or makes any judgments about whether it is sinful or not. The Bible expressly forbids lust, bestiality, incest, adultery, and some say homosexual sex, but it makes no mention of masturbation or self-stimulation.

Masturbation during sex between married partners would not be considered sinful. However, masturbating outside of intimate relationships is usually wrong and frequently accompanied by inappropriate lustful thoughts, such as when watching porn.

It is God’s will that our bodies be sanctified and that we should avoid sexual immorality. Each should learn to control and honor his own body in holiness and not in passionate lust just like the pagans who do not know God (1 Thessalonians 4:3-6).

Who to sleep with or not sleep with is explicitly stated in the books that outline sexual immorality (Leviticus 20: 10-21). God also forbids his followers from having sexual relations with animals (Leviticus 20:16).

What is the one thing that ties these sexual acts together? the connection between the sin of lust and masturbation.

Despite the fact that the Bible may not specifically address masturbation, lustful thoughts, the action that most encourages it and keeps it going, are sinful.

People who choose to masturbate experience lust, which is an unbridled desire. When someone has impure desires for someone other than their spouse, that is the most common reason for masturbation. (1 John 2:16) To put it simply, masturbation is the result of the sin of lust.

Overcoming Lustful Thoughts

Overcoming sexual temptation can be challenging, but doing it is possible with God’s help (Mark 9:23; 10:27). God promised his redeemed people in the Old Testament a new heart (Ezekiel 36:26-27).

This verse also implies new desires, yearnings, and thoughts. God also guarantees to put His Spirit within us so we can walk and follow His words carefully.

One of the most significant ways married Christian couples fulfill the Great Commission of making disciples of Christ (Matthew 28:18-20) is to bear and mentor children in godliness (Psalm 78:5-8; 127:3; Ephesians 6:4; Malachi 2:15).

As individuals who strive to live according to Christ’s teachings, it is essential for us to consistently demonstrate to our children and others what it means to be a Christlike person.

We must introspect and assess if we can confidently and genuinely proclaim ourselves as followers of Christ. This can be achieved by examining relevant biblical passages, including 1 Corinthians 11:1, 1 Corinthians 4:16, and Philippians 3:17.

God does not wish for you to be controlled by the act of masturbation. He desires that you do not depend on sexual self-stimulation to fulfill your physical and emotional needs instead of seeking Him.

As the Holy Spirit dwells within you, you can acquire valid methods to address and manage emotional pain, insecurities, and temptations.

Famous Pastors About Masturbation and Self-Pleasure

“Masturbation is unnatural and unethical, and anything that is either of those things is an abomination”, according to Dr. Ola Makinde.

“Every believer needs to be capable of exercising control over his body because it might result in something else”, according to Tunde Bakare

“The Bible declares that seeking pleasure outside of marriage is sinful, so doing so is equivalent to abusing a gift from God.” — Leke Akionala

Bottom Line

Masturbation is a difficult subject to discuss. It still remains incredibly taboo and is a source of guilt and shame. Speak with someone if this is a problem for you. Converse to a pastor, a counselor, or a close friend who is grounded in the Bible. Engage in conversation with your spouse if you’re married.

Nothing specific about masturbation is mentioned in the Bible. This gives us flexibility within the constraints of marriage, perhaps allowing it to play a role in our lives.


Healthline: Does Masturbation Have Positive or Negative Effects on the Brain?

Medical News Today: How does masturbation affect the brain?

Psych Central: Is It Typical to Masturbate When You’re Married?

Pastor Christopher Turk
Pastor Christopher Turk

Christopher was the lead elder/pastor of the local Christian church in Penticton, British Columbia but he was forced to close his church due to a COVID-19 impact. He has a dedication to serving his Lord's church and a pulpit competence that honors the legacy of his predecessor. Christopher is a passionate visionary for the Lord and His Kingdom! His church ministry background spans over 30 years of full-time service. Support Christian by buying him a coffee.

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