Wait...what? Sex is designed for you to engage in with your spouse, but it's not specifically for you and your pleasure. We're going to talk about what so many churches and church leaders are fearful of discussing: masturbation. Before we tackle that subject, we have to establish what God has intended for sex and sexual intimacy.
Sex was and is God's idea. His purposes for sexual intimacy are four-fold. I'll share them here in ascending order of importance:
- For reproduction. Sex is intended for the creation of children. God's command to "be fruitful and multiply" has not changed and cannot be revoked.
God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.” ~Genesis 1:28.
Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him, Like arrows in the hands of a warrior are children born in one’s youth. Blessed is the man whose quiver is full of them. ~Psalm 127:3-5a
- For pleasure. Sex is intended for the pleasure and enjoyment of the man and woman inside the context of marriage. Contrary to the interpretations of the medieval church, God is the author of sexual pleasure, not the censor.
May your fountain be blessed, and may you rejoice in the wife of your youth. A loving doe, a graceful deer—may her breasts satisfy you always, may you ever be intoxicated with her love. ~Proverbs 5:18-19
- For protection. Sex is intended to protect a husband and wife from temptation. Failure to sexually satisfy each other in marriage can lead to a spouse looking outside the marriage for fulfillment.
But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 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. ~1 Corinthians 7:2-5.
- Most importantly: For the Glory of God.
So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1Corinthians 10:31. 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. ~Colossians 3:17
Yes, sex was designed by God. He knows what it's all about and He's not ashamed of what He's created. He also cannot do or create anything that is not designed to bring glory to Himself. When you elevate sexual intimacy with your spouse to the level of importance that God intended, you'll see it's not about you. It's much greater than you or me. Some believe the moment of orgasm in the context of marital sexual union is a brief sample of what we'll experience when Christ returns for His us, his bride. I agree.
Voddie Baucham said "We don't think enough of sex." Notice he didn't say "we don't think of sex enough." Sex is first and foremost meant to be pleasing to God.
So, now that we've set that foundation in place, let's define masturbation. Merriam-Webster says this:
masturbation noun \mas-tər-ˈbā-shən\ definition: erotic stimulation especially of one's own genital organs commonly resulting in orgasm and achieved by manual or other bodily contact exclusive of sexual intercourse, by instrumental manipulation, occasionally by sexual fantasies, or by various combinations of these agencies.
Next, with all of the above in mind, I want to give you several reasons why masturbation is selfish and outside of God's plan for sex.
Masturbation is an inherently selfish act. Any act which is undertaken for selfish gain will not be honored by God.
“I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.~1 Corinthians 10:23-24
People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God. ~2 Timothy 3:2-4 (emphasis mine)
Masturbation sets up false intimacy based on fantasy, not reality. It sets you up for unrealistic expectations in real-life relationships. Healthy relationships require emotional attachment and commitment, which then can lead to deeper intimacy. Engaging in masturbation and the fantasies that accompany it lead to you to believe that sex will be available at the moment you desire it, regardless of the feelings of your spouse.
Masturbation forces the object of your lustful fantasy to become an unwilling partner. Many who advocate masturbation as "perfectly normal and healthy" do not take into consideration the object of the person's lust. Even if you are thinking about your spouse when masturbating; are your fantasies extolling them and building them up?
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word. ~Ephesians 5:25-26
Masturbation is the result of a lack of self-control.Galatians 5:16-17 reads: “walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do."It is up to us to decide, with God's help, to resist the temptations and desires of our flesh. We do this by first learning what is acceptable and what isn't through the Word of God and through heeding the conviction the Holy Spirit puts upon our heart.
Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. -Galatians 5:24-25
Masturbation and the use of pornography/fantasy always escalate. Eventually, the fantasies and images used to masturbate to orgasm will not be enough. You'll need new images, new material and increasing "shock value". In order for you to reach the same heightened levels of excitement, you'll need more exciting images. Think of it this way: if you've ever ridden a roller coaster at an amusement park, you know the first ride is always the scariest, the most thrilling, the most exciting. Then, on successive rides, it might be fun, but eventually you need a different or bigger rush. Porn and fantasy work the same way. For an extreme example of this, watch this interview with Ted Bundy, one of the most infamous serial killers in our nation's history.
Masturbation is often followed by feelings of shame or guilt.Embarrassment and shame at the thought of being caught while engaging in masturbation indicate a conviction in our hearts about our activities.
Masturbation is sinful. No, you won't find any scripture that implicitly states masturbation is sin. However; it is self-serving and ultimately makes our desire to satisfy our physical needs an idol we're willing to put before God.
In Matthew chapter 5, Jesus said the following as He was discussing adultery: You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 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. 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.
Now, I don't believe Jesus was telling us to mutilate ourselves, but I do believe He was instructing us to do whatever it takes to keep ourselves from sinning. Also notice that as He is saying that looking at a woman with lust is to be considered adultery (sin) He tells us to gouge out our eye and cut off our hand to prevent us from committing that sin.
Don't you find it ironic that hands and eyes ("mind's eye" included) are used for masturbation?
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