A while back someone submitted a question to me about masturbation and whether it was sinful or not.
There is also a thread in the forum about masturbation, through only one person has attempted an answer on it…
It is a very … touchy … subject to deal with.
So as I was recently reading through the Letters of C. S. Lewis, I was surprised to learned that
(1) C. S. Lewis struggled with the temptation of masturbation, and
(2) he had a pretty good theological answer for it.
Here is What C. S. Lewis said about Masturbation
I agree that that the stuff about ‘wastage of vital fluids’ is rubbish. For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back: sending the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides.
And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifice or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no real woman can rival.
Among these shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover: no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification is ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself.
Do read Charles Williams’ Descent into Hell, and study the character of Mr. Wentworth. And it is not only the faculty of love which is thus sterilized, forced back on itself, but also the faculty of imagination.
The true exercise of imagination, in my view, is (a) To help us to understand other people (b) To respond to, and, some of us, to produce art. But it has also a bad use: to provide for us, in shadowy form, a substitute for virtues, successes, distinctions, et cetera which ought to be sought outside in the real world — e.g., picturing all I’d do if I were rich instead of earning and saving.
Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres.
After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little, dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison (Lewis, Yours, Jack, 292-293).
In a later letter to a different man, C. S. Lewis wrote this about masturbation:
The evidence seems to be that God sometimes works such a complete metamorphosis and sometimes not. We don’t know why: God forbid we should presume it went my merit.
He never in my unmarried days did it for me. He gave me–at least and after many ups and down, the power to resist the temptation so far as the act was concerned. He never stopped the recurrent temptations, nor was I guarded from the sin of mental consent. I don’t mean I wasn’t given sufficient grace. I mean that I sometimes fell into it, grace or no.
One may, I suppose, regard this as partly penal. One is paying for the physical (and still more the imaginative) sins of one’s earlier life. One my also regard it as a tribulation, like any other. The great discovery for me was that the attack does not last forever. It is the devil’s lie that the only escape from the tension is through yielding.
… Disgust, self-contempt, self-hatred–rhetoric against the sin and (still more) vilification of sexuality or the body in themselves–are emphatically not the weapons for this warfare. We must be relieved, not horrified, by the fact that the whole thing is humiliating, undignified, ridiculous; the lofty vices would be far worse.
Nor must we exaggerate our suffering. We talk of ‘torture’: five minutes of really acute toothache would restore our sense of proportion! In a word, no melodrama. The sin, if we fall into it, must be repented, like all our others. God will forgive. The temptation is a darn nuisance, to be born with patience as long as God wills.
On the purely physical side (but people no doubt differ) I’ve always found that tea and bodily weariness are the two great disposing factors, and therefore the great dangers. Sadness is also a danger: lust in my experience follows disgruntlement nearly always. Love of every sort is a guard against lust, by a divine paradox, sexual love is a guard against lust. No woman is more easily and painlessly abstained from from, if need be, than the woman one loves. And I’m pretty sure purely male society is an enemy to chastity. I don’t mean a temptation to homosexuality: I mean that the absence of ordinary female society provokes the normal appetite (Lewis, Yours, Jack, 307-308).
C. S. Lewis on “Wanting a Woman”
We use a most unfortunate idiom when we say, of a lustful man prowling the streets, that he “wants a woman.” Strictly speaking, a woman is just what he does not want.
“He wants a pleasure for which a woman happens to be the necessary piece of apparatus. How much he cares about the woman as such may be gauged by his attitude to her five minutes after fruition (one does not keep the carton after one has smoked the cigarettes).
“Now Eros makes a man really want, not a woman, but one particular woman. In some mysterious but quite indisputable fashion the lover desires the Beloved herself, not the pleasure she can give.”
So what are your thoughts? Is C. S. Lewis right about what he says regarding masturbation? Is he wrong? Feel free to comment anonymously!
This should satisfy everyone who isn’t interested in Calvinism! The conservative denomination I grew up in unofficially seemed to think that masturbation, if not a sin, was at least unhealthy. Many seemed to believe that the story of Onan in Genesis 38 referred to masturbation. One of my college Bible professors, an expert in both Hebrew and Greek, said the passage did not and that in his opinion no place in the Bible directly addressed the issue, and beyond that it was a matter of opinion. I tend to agree.
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, I try to throw a bone in now and then for those who are not thrilled with my Calvinism series….
Charles Michael Lassiter says
You are right about this! The Onan issue is not about masturbation, but refusal to follow the custom of marrying a brother’s wife. There is nothing in scripture about masturbation and church taboo has harmed the concept and many people at the same time. It is such a difficult topic in our day of sexual revolution that its nearly impossible to do the discussion justice in a blog. I would say 3 days of close dialogue would be better, but we have lost the ability to handle civilized discussions on difficult topics, so i will end it here.
I used to agree with the predominant Christian view on this topic, until I began reading observations which challenged this viewpoint. The articles on this website (Christian marriage website) are helpful, I believe… http://site.themarriagebed.com/sexuality/masturbation-overview/masturbation-overview
Jeremy Myers says
Thanks for the link! I am not sure Lewis is right or wrong. I just am stating his opinion.
Dixie Lee says
I would love to spent time with C.S. Lewis. What a sense of humor!
Shannell Eparaima says
I agree with CS Lewis. He did also say it was a struggle for him at times not to masturbate. God calls us to “cast down all arguments (imaginations) that exalts itself against the knowledge of God. Come on people stop trying to find an excuse to sin. If Jesus was in the room with you, would you feel free to masturbate. The Holy Spirit dwells within every believer of Christ, hello! Yes, unfortunately we all continue to sin in this life and hopefully less, unto that perfect day. Masturbation is self idolatry. Therefore sin. We are called and set apart from the world. We need to live like it and God has given us the GRACE we need. We are a royal priesthood, a holy nation, light and salt to the world.
Ezekiel Rage says
… if Jesus were in the room, I wouldn’t feel free to have a bowel movement either, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that relieving oneself is a sin, now does it?
Michael Reidy says
It is what comes out of our mouths’ (fm the heart) that make us unclean. Playing with oneself sexually is as natural as cleaning yourself. Now, on that scale we could monkey play all day and i dont think Our Creator really gives a hoot. Does a 12 yr old child play with themself because they are filled with LUST? I don’t don’t think so. Unless you become like one of these, you will never enter the Kindom.
Jack Maddle says
Christ told us that if a man lust after a woman then he is guilty of adultery. I would say that if it is possible for someone to masturbate using only mental images of his/her legally married spouse it would not be a sin. But if we were to imagine the naked body of others to whom we are not married to I believe we commit adultery as Jesus said:
Matthew 5:27-28: “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery.’ But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
So do what Jesus says and cut your penis off, because its causing you to sin. Then get ready to explain to the emergency services why you are making unnecessary work for them as you bleed out over the floor.
Jesus and his insanity has caused a lot of problems for adolescents, occasionally resulting in suicide. He has certainly made my life thoroughly miserable, but hey! I’m hating myself, which is exactly what Jesus wants!
Ricky Donahue says
I don’t know what every man thinks on the subject because I dare to ask or even talk about the subject nor even mention it in any of my sermons or lessons but the only time I hear the subject is when the news reports talk about these sex criminals and pedophiles did this while looking for and even while watching their next victims.
What subject I would like to discuss is in Jeremy’s own back yard and that’s the right to die Law that is legal in Oregon. Actually I lean toward it for certain reasons but most conservative christians as I am do not even believe in the living will
Jeremy Myers says
That would be a very interesting topic. I suppose I lean toward it a bit myself, though I am quite unfamiliar with most of what the law says…
Kyle Knapp says
I think Lewis’ analysis has a great deal of merit, and goes a long way toward understanding how masturbation (along with its oft partner in crime, pornography) can become an obsession for some people. But I would strongly caution against making a “law” or doctrine about it. Much as I love CS Lewis’s writings, they are not infallible.
Masturbation is never even mentioned, let alone prohibited, in the Bible. And just because a particular indulgence can become addictive, or may have negative consequences when carried to excess , does not mean it cannot also be healthy in some circumstances or for some people, when reasonably applied. Should we place a taboo on consumption of ice cream because some people overdo it? Alcohol is well known to be addictive and has caused untold destruction, yet taboos against its use arguably do more damage, with less resulting moderation, than do appeals to reason and an understanding of the risks.
Losing oneself in a bubble of isolation is a fate we should all guard against, and to this end I agree Lewis’s words warrant serious consideration. But they ought not to be an occasion for shame, self-condemnation, judgment, or the imposition of rigid rules which, according to Colossians 2, “have an appearance of wisdom… but lack any value in restraining sensual indulgence.”
Jeremy Myers says
Yes, Lewis would not want to make a law out of it. But he does seem to caution us about becoming mastered by masturbation.
I wonder, Kyle, about the lustful thoughts that generally accompany the urge to masturbate, I’m told :-), ever leading to something healthy as you suggest as a possibility with this practise.
Blessings and shalom,
I am glad that you have finally left your paradigm shifting view of Calvinism.
Alan Stevens says
American Football is not mentioned in the Bible, but sitting on a sofa watching it 24/7 whilst eating pizza and drinking beer is probably not the best way to live your life.
Jeremy Myers says
Ha ha! So true.
Brian Midmore says
Lewis has established that sin can be associated with masturbation but he has not established masturbation as a sin in and of itself. Sin can be associated with many activities while not making these activities sin. We can greedily eat a third hamburger but this does not make eating hamburgers a sin. Christians have tended to make this leap of logic. An example would be drinking alcohol which for some Christians became a sin because of its association with drunkenness and dissipation.
Jeremy Myers says
Excellent points! I sure wish Lewis was around to reply!
al k says
The issue here is who one fantacises with, in a sexual act one usually has a make believe partner.
OK, probably about to make this a little more awkward, but a couple of you have mentioned that if used in moderation, and with a healthy attitude that masturbation can be a good thing, but I’m having a hard time thinking of examples.
From my own vantage point Lewis seems to be pretty spot in with what he has to say.
Jeremy Myers says
Yeah, I think the difficulty is that masturbation and pornography usually go together.
Emilio Gomez says
The subject is dealt with in a very straight forward manner right here http://www.truthortradition.com/articles/what-does-the-bible-say-about-masturbation
John Coroy says
I was involved in “Christian counseling” for many years. A well known teacher in counseling, in my circles anyway, said that something like, 90% of males masturbate and the other 10% lie about it. The fact is, the bible is totally silent about it. in this writing, C.S. Lewis grapples with a difficult problem that is unique to the Christian mind set. Many NT statements like: Gal 5:19 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,” KJV seem to lend themselves to include masturbation but that is the result of bias, not understanding. C.S. Lewis and many believers think the motivation towards sexual fulfillment is the manifestation of unholy lust. We know now it is driven by our God given hormonal and genetic makeup. These natural God given drives are to be reigned in based on God’s moral imperatives however the prohibition against masturbation is not listed in any of God’s statements. Neither is it forbidden in the New Testament. In my view, the religious approach to anything that seems to a person’s conscious to be shameful must be wrong. That is personal, not universal and as such is a matter of conscious, not a matter of biblical right or wrong. I will not pontificate on matters of another man’s conscious. If it is not mentioned in the bible, then it must not be important enough for me to judge.
“These natural God given drives are to be reigned in based on God’s moral imperatives however the prohibition against masturbation is not listed in any of God’s statements. ”
It would seem that Scripture points to our spouse as the way to reign in the natural drive that we have. When Paul talks about not being able to control that desire, he doesn’t point a regimen of masturbation, but to marriage. I know I am reading into things, but I have a hard time believing that when Paul says that he wishes that all could be like him, that he meant that they could forgo marriage, and just masturbate.
To take it a step further, if Jesus Christ walked the earth as a human man, and was tempted in all ways, just like us, and masturbation is not a sin, was that perfectly viable option for Jesus to relieve any “hormonal buildup” that he may have been experiencing?
As you say, the Bible doesn’t speak to it directly, but I’m not sure I would say that the Bible is silent on the issue, as it speaks quite a bit on sexual relations. So the Bible may be whispering something to us on the issue, could probably use a little more prayerful research on our parts.
Then again Jesus was born without a sin nature which may mean he did not have those urges
Craig Giddens says
Jesus was born with a body just like ours.
Jeremy Myers says
Are you saying that you think maybe Jesus masturbated? That thought would get you kicked out of most churches!!!
Dallas Swoager says
It can be very easy sometimes to find some reasoning that allows us to do something that we are predisposed to wanting to do, so sometimes a good old fashioned wwjd (as hokey as that sounds) can blow up our thinking. It can sound reasonable to say that I have a natural urge for sex that I don’t have a wife to express it with, so masturbation seems like it might be ok. Most people would have a really hard time applying that same reasoning to Jesus. There is probably a reason for that.
Phunktional Johnkey says
Hmm. Well said. We are asked to master ourselves – carry the cross. Not an easy thing to do but necessary to overcome as we become more like HIM. The Gospel is deep but simple if we take it as children
For the single person, masturbation without any corresponding lust wouldn’t seem to be a problem. How probable is THAT? Lewis’s point about it being self-focused assumes lust employed in the imagination, and reasonably so, in my opinion.
For the married person, even if lust were not involved, it potentially displaces the sexual function of the marriage partner. I can see it being beneficial – or, at the very least, “permissible” – in a case of extended separation due to circumstances and not a breakdown in the relationship, and if the imagination were employed only with regard to one’s spouse.
Jeremy Myers says
Hm. Yes. I am trying to recall if Lewis wrote these statements before or after he was married…. I think it may have been after, but I do not remember.
I agree with you, the sexual drive is something put in us by God , now I agree that God forbids sexual immorality. I do not classify Masturbation as necessarily being sexually immoral. I don’t see how God can call a hormonal drive sinful when God created those to make us procreate. Without our sexual drives we would not procreate.
I used to think that sexual thoughts were sinful, but for the most part they come from our hormones. Hormones are responsible for our sex drives, just like hormones cause other processes in our bodies.
Though I agree that adultery is a sin (desiring somebody else’s spouse) that is what the sin is. Our sinful actions come from our heart, I think that is what God is concerned with, what is in our heart? I don’t believe biological drives created by hormones to reproduce are sinful, for they are just that hormones. I know this because I struggle with such thoughts and drives only during certain times of the month, and other times I do not at all, why is that?
Dallas Swoager says
I would caution equating things that are natural with things that are right. We need to keep in mind that the natural world that we live in is a broken one. Death itself is a naturally ocurring phenomenon, but Scripture tells us that we were not originally created to die. I haven’t looked it up, but at least off the top of my head, natural seems to carry a negative conotation in a lot of Scripture.
Yes it is true that natural world that we live in is broken because of sin. God knows that, he knows that we are born bent to sin, at the same time not all drives and urges are sinful for they are necessary for survival. You would agree that hunger is a drive, it is their to keep us alive. Same with sexual drive, it is their for procreation, so in it of itself the drive the urge is not sinful.
I think God is more merciful that we can possibly imagine, i believe he looks at the heart of the matter. I think he knows that a sexual drive needs an outlet (yet not everybody gets to marry), so their has to be an outlet that is not a sin like fornication or adultery.
All things can be sinful if they take over our lives and it becomes our God, that can be sex, drugs, gambling, video games, friends, money, etc.. I think God looks at the heart of the matter, what is our motivation for what we do?
I want to add in truth i don’t know if masturbation is a sin, I would think that if it becomes addictive to someone where they are in bondage to it, then it is a sin for sure.
We are sexual beings in sinful bodies, and I think as long as we are in this body, we will not be sinless and perfect in our ways. I think God takes that into account that we are stuck in these bodies with urges that sometimes are not satisfied.
I can say that I can go to Las Vegas and gamble, yet I don’t feel addicted or in bondage to it, so I don’t believe that it is a sin. Yet for someone else it can be? It is difficult to navigate these gray areas.
I think we do need to strive to not be in bondage to anything but Christ.
Jeremy Myers says
Right! Whether it is allowable or not, when it becomes an addition, then it has mastery over the person, just like anything else. Great points. Thanks!
Ty DeVonna says
I agree with Gladys. As a woman, a number of times over the years i have awakened in the midst of a strong and powerful orgasm, and not remembering if I were dreaming. it just HAPPENED, and i did not start it or instigate it or even fall asleep having thoughts that could lead to it. Afterwards i fell asleep and slept peacefully the rest of the night. There is no way i would call that a sin, and i have talked to God a LOT about it. There is so much we do not yet understand, but i have felt no rebuke from God, only HIS LOVE.
What are you thinking about or watching when you masturbate? I believe this is covered by Jesus on the sermon on the mount in Matthew 5:27 in Teaching about Adultery
27 “You have heard the commandment that says, ‘You must not commit adultery. 28 But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. 29 So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, 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. 30 And if your hand—even your stronger hand—causes you to sin, 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 be thrown into hell.
So maybe masturbation is not covered in this but the Lust part of it is. Then anyone who says they don’t lust during masturbation the you have the Thou shall not lie in Leviticus 19:11 “ ‘Do not steal. “ ‘Do not lie. “ ‘Do not deceive one another. and Exodus 20:6 “You shall not give false testimony against your neighbor. I think we can go further in saying you are worshipping yourself during masturbation. I also do not believe masturbation is honoring to your father and mother. Don’t get me wrong I also strugle with this but typing up this realy convicts me.
The Church “His Body” is not under the Law you mention in Leviticus, Exodus, and even Matthew.
What does that have to do with it?
The Church “the Body of Christ” began at or after Pentecost depending on one’s view. We in this age are not under the law……Christ freed us from the Law……..so what is it that we are to follow today?
The Law of Moses says “Love your neighbor as you love YOURSELF”
The Law of Christ says “Love others as I have loved you and gave Myself for you”.
We (Believers in His Body) are to mimic the character of Christ. Therefore the PERFECT situation is to avoid all lustful pleasures and indulgences. But we are not perfect yet! Paul the Apostle struggled with yielding to the ‘things I should not do’ and sometimes avoided the ‘things I should do’
Romans 8:1 “There is now no condemnation to those who are IN CHRIST” Great, that throws the door wide open? Ney,Ney says the Apostle. We do not deliberately sin to have God show more Grace. So there is a ’cause and effect’ here. (and loss of reward)
C S Lewis does a masterful job on this difficult subject. If one’s spouse is unable to accommodate this area of marriage, what is the healthy spouse with all the pent up desires to do??
John 2:14-17 is both haunting and helpful to the understanding of ourselves: “Love not the world…for the things of the World, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life are not of God, but are of this world and the world is passing away and the lust thereof”……
So is masturbation a sin? Is lust of the flesh? Is lust of the eyes? Is the pride of life?
You answer that, but at the very least it breaks fellowship with our loving God and our endearing Savior who thought of Himself of no repute including dying a criminals death that you and I might have life.
Phunktional Johnkey says
Nail on the head mate! Masturbation breaks our fellowship! It affects US not GOD. Anything that causes one to hide while indulging is surely not good for one, is it?
Paul said all things are not expedient. David said strong drink not fit for Kings. There are things that don’t build character and masturbation is one of them. The struggler does have a High Priest that is willing to help without any judgements only that like Adam we tend to run away when we indulge because of the shame the act brings. Sin truly is deceitful!
What about, “Do not let any part of your body become an instrument of evil to serve sin. Instead, give yourselves completely to God, for you were dead, but now you have new life. So use your whole body as an instrument to do what is right for the glory of God.” I see the sin of lust that leads to masturbation as the sin that is being served. Just my unschooled in theological maters opinion.
Jackson Snyder says
What is sin? This is what I want to know from Christians. Seems like the various catechisms say that ‘sin is breaking God’s law.’ That’s what it also says in 1 John 3:4. So the catechisms are correct. So if sin is breaking God’s law:
Where do we find masturbation in the law? Lusting after someone is NOT always the prelude to masturbation. What about relieving a pressure that will eventually lead to lusting after another? Torah does not speak of this at all. However, Torah does speak of bringing the name Yahweh to naught, breaking the sabbath, eating flesh that is abominable and attempting to contact the dead. These are apparently the mortal sin 1 John 5 talks about. Masturbation a sin? If it is, compared to these other direct commands, it is a drop in the bucket. Many deny breaking the first four commandments and the meat ordinances as sins, yet, like Lewis, they cling to something that is a personal need like urinating, defecating or vomiting. None of these are necessarily pleasurable, but they are essential and they are no more sin than masturbation. Typical Christian doubletalk. Maybe some priorities need to be set straight here!
Amen. Picking and choosing based on personal bias.
While you can’t find an explicit command against masturbate, God said from the beginning, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (Genesis 2:18). The outlet for sexual expression seems to be always in the context of (hetrosexual) marriage (see 1 Corinthians 7), especially because “there is sexual immorality” and to avoid temptation. For singles: “Now to the unmarried and the widows I say: It is good for them to stay unmarried, as I do. But if they cannot control themselves, they should marry, for it is better to marry than to burn with passion.” (1 Cor. 7:8)
I struggle with varying degrees with masturbation since my youth; I am middle-aged and married but still struggle with it. In my experience, masturbation has more to do with sowing to the flesh than an act of love. It is more addictive and causes one to draw inward, to his own imagination, and to find relief in himself/herself rather than develop patience/forbearance and express love to another.
I agree with CS Lewis.
Phunktional Johnkey says
I agree with you as well. God is able and always willing to help us.
Phunktional Johnkey says
The man could write! Such eloquence in putting his point across. And all this was written before this period of the ubiquitous internet images and celebrity culture. As one who has struggled with this as a result of earlier life experiences I can say that God is able to deliver us from it. I believe that sincerity with one’s self, a clear view of how this destroys us and our relationships, and willingness to read the word of God, pray and follow His leading really helps in overcoming. Also, reducing exposure to the things that excite such passions goes a long way. Sin is truly deceitful and it takes walking with HIM go overcome it but it is possible. We press on go the glorious high calling!
I believe a stronghold is the reason people masturbate. The Lord tells us to tear down strongholds. Our minds should not always be on sexual things, but our society puts it in front our eyes all the time. Avoid sexual scenes in movies. In fact, don’t watch R-rated movies. What you look at affects your sexual drive. Also, alcohol increases the sexual drive, so avoid alcohol. Our minds should be consumed with the Lord, not our sexual drive. If you have a hormonal imbalance, talk to your doctor about it, and don’t let the doctor downplay it. For those of us from the older generation, we are shocked and amazed at the increase in sexual content in commercials, movies, TV shows, comedy, talk shows, general conversation, and the like. It’s as though our society has become a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah where sex is the prevailing wind everywhere. Stop making excuses for sin and tear down strongholds in your life.
I literally did not understand the opinion of CS Lewis. I am Filipino and I found it difficult to understand the kind of English that he used.
Anyway, I am a believer, I am born-again Christian, single and I love masturbating. I even speak in tongues when I am about to ejaculate. Will God throw me to hell because of it?
please my brother read carefully the story of Juda and Tamar in the bible… what we do not know and understand is the consequences related to masturbation in our life in a long run… masturbation is a sin as sexual sin like fornication.. it a sin related to the body because your body belong to the Lord and your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…the revelation behind the fact that masturbation is a sin is that its involve the sexual pleasure in your mind that manifest in your body and in a long run drive you to a self satisfaction of your sexual desire and corrupt the mind. Practicing masturbation leads to the lake of fire.. and moreover, it is an abomination to associate the things of God and the pleasure of the flesh.. so you can’t speak in tongues while to masturbate or ejaculate…the bible says those who call upon the name of the Lord shall depart from iniquity…
What a crock of hooey. There’s nothing wrong with whacking off. It’s fun. It feels good. It helps you relax. It doesn’t interfere with the rest of your life. Typical religious balogney trying to suppress and control it’s followers. How about entering this century, people.
Yepthisis Totallymyname says
Actually…. yeah, it can interfere with the rest of your life. It’s an addictive activity. It affects your thoughts about the opposite sex.
And don’t use that “It’s fun, it feels good” logic. Smoking a joint is fun, too. But try doing it all the time. In the long run, it’s not beneficial. Heck, it isn’t even neutral. It really is detrimental to your health, and it interferes with your social interactions.
Furthermore, what Lewis said isn’t “religious balogney”. It’s actually rather open minded and… honest. It doesn’t say “MASTURBATION IS A SIN AND YOU’RE GOING TO HELL!!!” (Which would be religious crap), nor does it say “Well, anything is alright, as long as it makes you happy.” Truth is, more often than not, the healthy medium between two extremes.
You strike me as someone who has a bone to pick with the church. Maybe even God. I admire the fact that you haven’t simply submitted to the aggressive Pharisaic brainwashing of most “churches”. But dude… you’ve submitted yourself to the aggressive, anti-God brainwashing that’s constantly happening to people all around the world. Stop clinging to your extreme, and weigh the evidence for both sides. Study some modern Christian thinking. And some modern atheist thinking. Heck, study some modern Buddhist thinking (Though I am a Christian, I personally really like the heart of Buddhism. You might too.)
Find the truth.
And don’t try to be the troll on blog posts. I mean seriously…
Leland Mccartney says
Jesus said some are made eunuchs for the kingdom of God. Sexless. Period.
Heterosexual marriage, not Auto-sexual. All sexual activity outside of the loving marriage bond
is the falling into the miasma of this world.
12“Everything is permissible for me,” but not everything is beneficial. “Everything is permissible for me,” but I will not be mastered by anything. 13“- Food for the stomach and the stomach for food,” but God will destroy them both. The body is not intended for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body. 14By His power God raised the Lord from the dead, and will raise us also.…
2 peter 2:9 …. for a man is a slave to whatever masters him….
Sometimes we are well aware of what has mastery over us, but sometimes we are not until the Holy Spirit reveals it, and sometimes we are overly critical of ourselves as well. We need Christ to shine his light in our hearts for it is by his sacrifice and grace we are saved! amen
Anon to this one! says
If it bothers your conscience, then for you it is a sin (See Pauls writing about conscience) and given that so many men are bothered in conscience about masturbation I think it safer to conclude it a sin. Finally, who has ever masturbated without fantasizing? The fantasizing is definitely wrong.
Keep in mind back in the days, Men typically got married in their teens, and life was somewhat tougher than it is today. Idle minds (and hands) make mischief. There is a reason why one of the old remedies for masturbation was lots of physical sport. An exhausted person will often fall asleep before temptation kicks in and if one waits long enough, the body tends to deal with the build up of fluid by itself.
Michael Flores says
Google “ex-christian.net the final frontier of tyranny” and “matthew 5:28 genocide or slavery”? and read the comments under these articles as well. This one of the very worst if not the worst and most destructive teachings Christianity offers!
To me the issue is it a sin and the bible is not clear on that however any activity that takes replaces intimacy with God is idolaty and that is a sin.We have to guard our hearts from such things.brentnz
“The evidence seems to be that God sometimes works such a complete metamorphosis and sometimes not. We don’t know why: God forbid we should presume it went my merit”
~ C. S. Lewis
With all due respect to Mr. Lewis, this is an area where I believed he did not fully see or believe. “Evidence” here is the key word. God evidence is based on faith. The tangibility of things not seen. When we read in Ephesians 3:20 that God is able to do ABUNDANTLY MORE than all we ask or IMAGINE according to the POWER that WORKS IN US…” in other words, we must first come to the realization and belief that masturbation can be overcome through the grace and power of God through the cross of Christ. IT IS ACCESSIBLE WITHIN US TO FULLY PERFORM AND LIVE OUT OF. God is not choosing who will and who won’t live out of purity. He is not a “yes and no God” but “In HIM it has ALWAYS been YES” [2 Cor 1:19-20]…we just have to tap into that “yes”. I believe C. S. Lewis was not able to do that and so he made this statement based on his own limited experience and observation.
I know this is an old post but, This is the dreadfully ironic thing about this entire conversation. Did any of you selfish Christians ever stop to consider the people you are consuming like animals? Did you ever stop to consider what a person’s spouse would be going through in the midst of your figuring out what’s acceptable or not to your God? Did you ever think about how people have left, relationships, family ties, friends, jobs and their everything to pursue a relationship with the only true and living God? While you guys are contemplating whether masturbation is ok for YOU maybe, I don’t know you could think about the women that are trapped in sin and abuse so you could get off on their suffering or the woman sleeping next to you that gave her life to be faithful to you but, you were too busy trying to convince yourself what’s right and wrong to care about anyone around you. So, masturbation is FINE! Who cares?? But exploiting women and the people who you should be loving is absolutely absurd! There is a difference between masturbation and exploitation, there is a difference between fantasizing about fake women wanting you and participating in women actually being exploited. For goodness sake, I came to Christ wanting something REAL and gave everything I am to him only to find this kind of lunacy in Christianity, do I give up exploiting people or not? Geez, talk to me when you are living out of your car because Jesus matters more than life itself! When he saved you from the grips of death and gave you an actual life worth living!
Kas i dont think it is fine at all we were created by God to be the same image of his son sin distorts that image we forget who we are and in so doing destroy ourselves and hurt those around us that is not fine.We were created to be like Christ in him we find our true selves rather than lose who we are and our purpose for existing.I agree totally with what you are saying the issue is that we are in a spiritual war and it can only be won in Christ.The word says follow the Lord with all your heart mind soul and strength.I can see you are sincere with your faith in Jesus it is always best to follow him you have made some hard choices in doing that.He says he will never leave us nor forsake us may he show you the depths of his grace and love towards you.regards brentnz
I apologize but I don’t understand your comment, no I do not mean this as a glib remark. I genuinely was interested in this subject because of late it has somewhat been playing on my mind and so sought to discover the truth on the matter and so sought out discussions and literature by christian writers that I might examine their different stances on the issue and try to find a moral cross-section as I think is appropriate for all questions since the ranging views are like politics ranging from far left wing to far right wing views. I mean there are varying nuances in circumstance that must be applied to each situation to provide an adequate answer, for example:
What if you are married and your spouse has some sort of medical condition that prevents sex?
What if you and your spouse are forced to be apart for extended period of time due to work or separation by some circumstance?
What if you use pornography that you and your spouse make to aid in situations such as I have stated above? This in many ways circumvents many of the issues that C.S Lewis talks about in the quote.
What if your partner can not or does not care to satisfy you in the bedroom, I know that this is unfortunately the case for many women? Is it wrong to satisfy yourself during intercourse thereby not really infringing on the limits Lewis sets in this quote?
I remember in one of Paul’s letters he speaks about sexual conduct between a married couple and I totally agree on his position which is basically that sex is in itself not a vile temptation of the flesh as some would have us believe, he actually recommends that “The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband” 1 Corinthians 7:3 adding shortly after “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” Since most would agree that Paul’s writings are surely divine inspiration for the total concept of “mutual gratification” in that time was not entertained in the minds of most ancient cultures it was seen more so as a “chore” that women did for their husband so that he would not stray into adultery. Then the lucid addition of “So Satan may not tempt you with your lack of self control” I mean one can easily make the rational assumption or argument that masturbation is a good remedy in this regard as well to help relieve the desires of the flesh that might other wise lead a married person to adultery. I am not a theologian and do not assume to know the mind of God nor am I a man of any particularly extensive education so I do not claim that I have the answer at all I just notice that this thread did not get much attention and so thought that I might take it upon myself to open it up for further discussion for those interested I will check back periodically to continue the discussion.
I think this is a good example of an open and honest discussion primarily about a thorny aspect of sexuality which is not limited to, but generally associated with males. Of course, in these discussions, you can always expect to hear from perverted poseurs who self-titillate and think it is funny to mock truth-seekers.
You can also expect blowback when you begin to shed light on one of Satan’s favorite vehicles of destruction and enslavement, his perversions of God’s beautiful and exciting gift of human sexuality. That would explain the purpose of the previous comment (10/24). The remarks have all the hallmarks of satanic attack — angry, hateful, judgmental, shaming, distracting, subtly deceptive, blatant lies, exaggerated distortions of truth, catastrophizing, discouraging, etc.
Just thought I would point that out in the category of not being unaware of how the enemy operates whether it be through fully yielded willing vessels or ignorant, fleshly, and oblivious ones.
Oh, and as to the topic addressed in the blog, I think Lewis made some good points. I also think that it is a battle worth fighting, for one because accepting it tends to lead to greater sin, but there is no formula that everyone can use to win it. It’s almost as if the whole process of wrestling with issues like that and never giving up is designed to help people grow in obedience and maturity in Christ.
1 COR 6:19 To me relates to this issue of masturbation is that our bodies are not our own but were bought at a price therefore we honor God with our bodies.We submit our fleshly desires to him rather than gratify the lusts of the flesh he has given us marriage as the proper place to enjoy sexual desires they are natural and bring joy and fulfillment within marriage.
Why are our bodies a temple because the spirit of the Lord indwells in us in fact our bodies are holy because of Christ and should be respected.Its because we are carnal that we chose to please ourselves if we walk in the truth we woiuld know that.Because we are called to be holy as he is holy in all our ways that includes thoughts speech and actions.brentnz
What I do not like about this post is that, it some how forgets or ignores the fact that women have sexual desires too. That they just don’t have those desires when they have to please their spouses.. And that women masturbate too. The whole post is from a perspective of “male masturbation” and not just masturbation as a whole.
Like all habits that become addictions, you have to let go of it. ( no pun intended). If you feel guilty about it, that’s a good thing, now you can ask forgiveness, and carry on in your Christian faith. If not you may stay where you are and let the shame take over. Rationalization and Minimization are both devoted to our human selfishness, thus R and M are not of God. If you know something is not of God, its sin. And Jesus has paid the price already for us. And this is just my opinion of how I understand the Scriptures as revealed to me.
PS. I have enjoyed C S Lewis books.
Obviously this did not make it into God’s top 10 sin list. I don’t believe God expects ‘perfection’ here. Obsession with sex and “solo sex” is not healthy. I think on some occasions it can simply be a physical release of tension, and the whole event, can take less than two minutes. As long as it’s not abused I do not think men should beat themselves up over it. Just one mans opinion. One more reason to find a wife and be nice to her 🙂
(I could go on and on about adolescents, those committed to not marrying and more but…)
When we are looking to justify masturbation we are making a choice already. The two issues here are the carnal mind, which is enmity with God, and our reforming our hearts to God in the face of the sins of our life. We choose one or the other there is no muddying of the water. The desire to muddy the water is to justify our choice to embrace the carnal mind. The carnal mind enjoys lust and desires and taking part in it, for it thirsts for it and savors its indulgences. We must be honest about this before we can overcome our own carnal mind and confess it to God before we can reform our hearts from this very challenging quest of the flesh. Our goal is to despise sin in our hearts because of how it separates us from God not to enjoy sin and fortify our carnal mind within a fortress justified by words from worldly minds. When our focus is on pleasing ourselves over that of pleasing God, then we clearly are in much need of new understanding of what Jesus said when he spoke of adultery in Matthew.
Michael Reidy says
3 yr old grandson:
Technically he was pleasuring himself…a natural, normal experience but a child must be carefully taught was is socially acceptable.
My daughter brought this topic up while my grandson was playing with himself on the couch while we were all watching TV. My daughter was shocked. She had sisters…no brothers. She did not know if she should scold him or ignore him or what…she said dad, what do I do?
I’m glad I was there…I explained to her…we’re all watching TV, just tell him, “Dont do that”… in a calm voice. Dont shame him.
He is 3 yrs old. Treat this behavior the same you would if he was picking his nose… or any other behavior.
As adults, we can over-react…but I think God never over-reacts.
As he gets older, of course, he will do what he wants; on his own time and in his own space. Teach him what is socially and spiritually good.
This is an interesting topic because a child has instincts; and we are all a little different.
God, throughout all His word, has called us to be selfless and not self-focused, giving up the immoral ways of this world and not walk in the ways we had walked before we were saved. Masturbation is definitely the ways of this world because it is by definition self-focused and selfish. It is all about gratifying the hunger of one’s own fleshly desires, which God tells us to put to death. And like Paul says, just because something is permitted, does not make it profitable. So, look at the fruit the action is producing – is it beneficial and is it glorifying God? Does it Glorify Jesus and serve His purposes? For God’s word clearly states in 1 Cor. 10:31, “So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.” And I don’t see how the selfish act of masturbation glorifies God or serves to further His kingdom purposes.
Thank God for Lewis, with his honest, true and clear reason.
Always when I read his works, I have a moment of: ahhh, how could I not see that truth before?
As a person who struggles with masturbation and pornagraphy, I appreciate and relate to Lewis’s struggle. It reminds me that we are commanded to take every thought captive. Lewis is right, I lie to myself when I say this is worst misery I face every day. It is a total line of b
S. I tell myself. I excuse my behavior rather than confront it and deal with head one. Take courage and be strong. That strength comes from the dwelling of the holy spirit and accessing or better yet letting Christ given me the courage to say no.
I found this post exciting but will try to provide a balanced view that makes godly sense. Before beginning, it’s good to establish a few things.
First, God’s will or word is not contradictory. God cannot say one thing in one part of His Word and something different about the same issue in another part of His Word because a house divided against itself cannot stand (Matthew 12:25)
Second, people try to rationalize the Word of God to fit their various purposes. In most cases, that will be biased, wrong, or irreverent. It’s not your word, but God’s. Only God can defend and Interprete His Word correctly. Jesus, which is the Word (John 1:1), said in John 14:26 that the Holy Spirit would teach us all things. Holy Spirit is the third person in the trinity and is equal in dimension to God. Chances are without Him leading or helping you; you would get your interpretation of God’s Word wrong. And, obeying God Word is not by force, but mandatory to either make Heaven or be called His own because according to 2 Timothy 3: 16-17
Third, a reason why Jesus came to the world is to shift our thinking to a much higher dimension. There are so many examples like that in the Bible. One is Jesus saying if you look at a woman lustfully, you have sinned, as against actually sleeping with her, which was the lower and older way of thinking. Another is talking about love; that if you show love (higher dimension), you have met all the laws in the old testament (lower dimension). Think of it this way: when you were in elementary school, they taught you 1 + 1 = 2, but when you get to the Ph.D. level, you know there are so many ways to get the answer 2. And satisfying requirements of the Ph.D. automatically means you’ve met elementary study because it’s more advanced. You are no longer under the law, but living by the Spirit and grace Romans 13:8-10, Galatians 5:17 – 25, Romans 6:13 -16.
The higher level Jesus brings now means things are both literal and implied in the Bible or the Word of God, as against when it was just the former before Jesus came. Having only the former makes it narrow-minded. However, having both makes the Bible a complete reference and brings answers to all spiritual things concerning the will of God. God has told you he has given you everything you need (1 Peter 1:3-7). God instructed that His Word be sealed until the end (Daniel 12:4), and you cannot add or remove anything from it (Revelation 22:18-19). It is complete has it is and enough to answer anything because there is nothing new under the heavens (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
Now that you understand these things let’s proceed. Masturbation not listed doesn’t mean the Bible didn’t imply it. A Google search of the words “What does masturbate mean” says to stimulate the genitals of (someone) to give them sexual pleasure. Understanding the root of the word gives you a better perspective. Masturbate comes from the Latin origin word: Masturbari. This word transformed into Masturbat, and then Masturbate over the years. Masturbari comes from a compound of two Latin words: Manus (“hand”) + turbare (“to unsettle, throw into disorder”) or a deformed compound of manus(“hand”) + stuprare (“to defile (the self)”), from stuprum, with influence from turbare – though the first part could also be mas (“man”) (reference from https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/masturbor#Latin). Dictionary meanings also give synonyms of “abuse oneself,” “practice self-abuse,” “play with oneself.” Seeing these, can one say masturbation is defiling the body Jesus bought with His blood? I will be leaning to a Yes here.
Looking at these meanings and the root of the word in itself opens up a can of worms addressed in the Bible (a complete book) itself. First, that comes to mind is 1 Corinthians 6:19-20: your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit; you are not your own but bought with a price. 1 Corinthians 3:17-19 also tells what happens if you defile that temple of God, which is your body. Another that comes to mind is that as a child of God or believer, you are fighting a spiritual battle in this world (Ephesians 6:12-13). The Bible warns you that as someone in this war, you don’t entangle yourself with worldly affairs (2 Timothy 2:4). It’s like being in the war front and have bullets flying around, and you want to play. Ask soldiers on the war front, and they’d tell you some can go without water or food for an extended period depending on conditions. Some go days without taking a bath.
In conclusion, Jesus knowing this is warfare said in Matthew 26: 40 – 43 that you need to watch and pray because the flesh is weak, but your spirit is willing. Paul sums it up by talking about his struggle with sin by saying in Romans 7: 15 – 25. It is a constant battle between the sinful nature of the flesh and the works of the spirit. It is the same battle everyone on Earth has with any sin. Nothing new. Salvation is just the first step in the race of being like Christ. Being saved like Paul doesn’t mean you won’t struggle with sin, but Paul also told us to work out your salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), which is the “watch” Jesus mentioned earlier. That also means continuously renewing your mind as in Romans 12:1-2, and also using the weapons of our warfare as in 2 Corinthians 10: 3-4. From the day you become God’s own by giving your life to Christ, it will be war till you finish the race and meet your redeemer at the end.