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Masturbation And The Bible

For some, masturbation seems to go hand in hand with the Bible. For others, they think that masturbation is a sin due to what they’ve heard or read. There are different variations of beliefs regarding masturbation and sex in general among Christians and other denominations. The reason for these differences often comes with the interpretation of passages taken out of context from Biblical books such as the Old Testament and early Christian writings.

Nowhere in the Bible is masturbation explicitly forbidden. There is good reason for this because the problem does not come from masturbation, which is in itself neither good or bad, but the adulterous sexual fantasies that accompany it, as Christ makes clear in Matthew 5:28.

The word masturbation is never specifically mentioned in the Bible or the Book of Mormon, nor are there any clear unchallenged references to masturbation. Various passages have been held to implicitly condemn or approve of masturbation, but others disagree; there is not “a clear condemnation of masturbation”.

  • Galatians 5:16 – So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.
  • Colossians 3:5 – Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

What Does the Bible Say About Self-Satisfaction

It is said to Christians that masturbation is not talked about in the Bible. Therefore there are many questions regarding this sensitive subject: Is it sin to masturbate? If the Bible doesn’t talk about masturbation, then why do people say self-pleasure is wrong? Since the Bible clearly condemns lust, what if I can masturbate without lustful thoughts, with just a blank mind? If I am married, my spouse and I are separated for a long time, such as during a military deployment, and we have each other’s blessing to do so, is it still sinful to masturbate while thinking about my spouse? The medical field states masturbation is healthy, and since the Bible states we should take care of our bodies, isn’t self-gratification good to do then? And if masturbation helps keep me from other more obvious sins like premarital sex, adultery, or pornography, isn’t it better to just masturbate since the Scriptures are silent on this topic?

There is no explicit discussion of masturbation in the Bible, nor is there any reference of whether or not it is considered a sin. On the other hand, there are a few lines that have been construed as making a reference to masturbation in a more subtle manner. In the Bible, the passage that is most frequently associated with masturbation is the story of Onan, which may be found in Genesis 38:9–10. That “spilling your seed” is a sin is one interpretation of this verse, according to some people. On the other hand, According to the narrative, Onan did not fulfill his responsibility to provide a successor for his brother who had passed away.

Matthew 5:27–30 is yet another biblical passage that is frequently used as evidence why masturbation is considered a sin. Following his statement that it is wrong to have lusty intentions, Jesus then instructs his followers, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” It is quite unlikely that Jesus was referring to the specific sin of masturbation when he made this statement, despite the fact that there is a clear connection between lustfulness and masturbation.

Bible Verses About Masturbation

The following collection of scripture quotes will provide you with the opportunity to learn about the verses from the Bible that are usually linked with masturbation and other related subjects such as sexual immorality, lustfulness, and temptation.

  1. Genesis 38:9-10: “But Onan knew that the child would not be his; so whenever he slept with his brother’s wife, he spilled his semen on the ground to keep from providing offspring for his brother. What he did was wicked in the Lord’s sight; so the Lord put him to death.”

  2. 1 Corinthians 6:18: “Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”

  3. Matthew 5:28: “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

  4. 1 Thessalonians 4:3-5: “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God.”

  5. Proverbs 6:25-29: “Do not lust in your heart after her beauty or let her captivate you with her eyes. For a prostitute can be had for a loaf of bread, but another man’s wife preys on your very life. Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned? Can a man walk on hot coals without his feet being scorched? So is he who sleeps with another man’s wife; no one who touches her will go unpunished.”

  6. Galatians 5:19-21: “The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity, and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

  7. 1 Peter 2:11: “Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul.”

  8. Ephesians 5:3: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.”

  9. 1 Corinthians 7:5: “Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control.”

  10. Colossians 3:5: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires, and greed, which is idolatry.”

  11. Hebrews 13:4: “Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”

Masturbation And The Bible

Is masturbation a sin? Can Christians masturbate as an alternative for sex? The answer to these questions are yes and no. There is no verse in the Bible that clearly says that masturbation is a sin. Jesus did talk about tearing your eye out and cutting your hand off if it causes you to sin, which to me sometimes sounds like a prophesy of the huge porn and masturbation epidemic we have today.

But once again that verse is not talking about porn and masturbating. I’m just referring to what it sounds like in our day and age. Ephesians says, “(any hint of immorality)” I believe masturbation falls into this category and I believe it is a sin.

First, I would like to say that masturbation is extremely dangerous. It has negative side-effects. It might be pleasurable for the moment, but it has serious mental, physical, and spiritual consequences. Sex is good and it was made to be between husband and wife for intimacy, enjoyment, and for making babies. Masturbation is essentially rejecting and twisting what God intended between husband and wife. You find a way to do your own thing with self-stimulation.

Even if you masturbate without watching porn, where does the urge come from? It comes from sexual fantasies and you are going to think about sexual things until the point of release. If you are masturbating you must stop. The temptations to sin are around us more than ever and God knew that and for those who are sick to death of this sin, Jesus said to His Father, “I will do your will and I will return by your side. But Father let these little ones come with me.

My righteousness is going to be their righteousness. My obedience is going to be their obedience.” Despite Israel’s sin God promised to save Israel. Not because they deserved it, but because of who He was. You are Israel. God promised that you will be with Him through Jesus.

I talk to many people who struggle and cry over their porn and masturbation addiction. I can feel their pain. The promise of eternal salvation through Jesus Christ is for people who actually hate their sin, want to be more, and seek to be better. The promise is not for those who want to give up and say, “if Jesus is this good I’m going to sin all I want.” It is for those who genuinely struggle.

If this is you remove anything that can trigger your desire to masturbate and go to the cross daily. Train yourself spiritually. Listen to sermons, godly music, meditate on Scripture, and pray daily. Pray that God delivers you. Fight! If you’re young make sure that you work hard so that you’re in a position to marry. I don’t care if you are 12 pray now for God to give you a spouse.

Hold onto Jesus and think about God’s love and grace because that is what makes us want to fight.


  • “Lust is a captivity of the reason and an enraging of the passions. It hinders business and distracts counsel. It sins against the body and weakens the soul.”  Jeremy Taylor
  • “Though selfishness hath defiled the whole man, yet sensual pleasure is the chief part of its interest, and, therefore, by the senses it commonly works; and these are the doors and windows by which iniquity entereth into the soul.” Richard Baxter
  • “Avoid idleness, and fill up all the spaces of thy time with severe and useful employment; for lust easily creeps in at those emptinesses where the soul is unemployed and the body is at ease; for no easy, healthful, idle person was ever chaste if he could be tempted; but of all employments, bodily labor is the most useful, and of the greatest benefit for driving away the Devil.”  Jeremy Taylor
  • “Satan is ever seeking to inject that poison into our hearts to distrust God’s goodness – especially in connection with his commandments. That is what really lies behind all evil, lusting and disobedience. A discontent with our position and portion, a craving from something which God has wisely held from us. Reject any suggestion that God is unduly severe with you. Resist with the utmost abhorrence anything that causes you to doubt God’s love and his loving-kindness toward you. Allow nothing to make you question the Father’s love for his child.” A. W. Pink

Scripture tells us to be on guard against sexual immorality.

1. Ephesians 5:3 But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God’s holy people.

2. 1 Corinthians 6:18 Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body.

3. Colossians 3:5 Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.

4. 1 Thessalonians 4:3–4 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.

Scripture teaches us to guard the heart and honor the Lord with our body. Masturbation violates these Scriptures.

5. Proverbs 4:23 Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.

6. 1 Corinthians 6:19–20  Do you not know that your body is a temple of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore glorify God in your body.

In masturbation you are coveting and lusting for someone who is not for you. It’s not only hurting you. It’s hurting someone else. It’s treating someone like they are a piece of meat.

7. Exodus 20:17  “You shall not covet your neighbor’s house. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, or his male or female servant, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.”

8. Matthew 5:28 But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

9. Job 31:1 “I made a covenant with my eyes not to look lustfully at a young woman.”

Any type of sexual activity is to be within marriage.

10. Genesis 1:22-23 God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.

11. Genesis 2:24 That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh.

12. Hebrews 13:4 Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.

Satan finds a way to pervert sex within marriage, which is good with masturbation.

13. Acts 13:10 “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord?”

No one can honestly say that they are going to masturbate for the glory of God. 

14. 1 Corinthians 10:31 Whether, then, you eat or drink or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

15. Colossians 3:17 And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Masturbating once can lead to addiction, slavery, and danger. That is why it is essential that you stay away.

16. John 8:34 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin.“

It might seem hard, but God has given us the Holy Spirit to help us overcome any addiction.

17. 1 Corinthians 10:13 No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

18. 2 Timothy 1:7 For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.

19. John 14:16 “I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”

If you’re doubting and you still proceed that is sin.

20. Romans 14:23 And he that doubteth is damned if he eat, because he eateth not of faith: for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.

Sin grows larger overtime.

21. James 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

Discipline yourself and cry out to the Lord for help. Occupy yourself, find an accountability partner, listen to sermon jams, put a child block on your computer, go be around people, stop following sensual people on social media. Distract yourself with something positive so you won’t sin.

22. Matthew 5:29 If your right eye causes you to stumble, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.

23. Matthew 5:30 And if your right hand causes you to stumble, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to go into hell.

24. 1 Corinthians 9:27 No, I keep on disciplining my body, making it serve me so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not somehow be disqualified.

Go to the cross and confess your sins daily. Christ can set you free from anything.

25. 1 John 1:9 If we acknowledge our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive our sins and cleanse us from every wrongdoing.