Literally everyone hates this word. Whoever made it up should be removed from society because it’s so gross. Maybe its just the meaning behind it, but still.
After releasing several blogs on porn, I received several messages asking if I think masturbation is wrong, “if I do it without lusting…” (Good luck with that!). I have spent months thinking about the answer to the question, and have come to a conclusion. I think the answer is found by examining the two elements involved: God’s purpose for the human body, and God’s purpose for sex.
I’ve talked to many friends who justify their use of masturbation in numerous ways. “I only think of my wife when I do it…”, “It doesn’t hurt anyone, so what’s the problem?” (Ah yes, the postmodern anthem) or the physiological approach, “I need to drain naturally every now and then or else it’ll get clogged up.”
As for the last excuse, I know a small number of people who have never masturbated, or at least, haven’t done it for years, and somehow they manage to survive.
I was talking with my friend Dalton recently, and at one point I asked him what he has been learning the past several months. Like a great friend, I forget most of what he said, save for one line:
I have been learning that my body is for use by the Lord Jesus Christ, and for others.
What an uncommon sentence in our culture! How antithetical to our modern views of sexuality and the human body! The words sounded weird upon my ears, but I realized that what he was saying was absolutely biblical. 1 Corinthians 6 talks about how our bodies are no longer our own, but belong to Jesus. If this is the case, it heavily affects how we use them and think of them.
In thinking of masturbation in this light, you have to ask yourself, does masturbation serve others, or the Lord? No. It serves only yourself. The act is utterly selfish and me-centric.
I know a lot of people would push back that, despite the selfish nature of masturbation, it doesn’t hurt anyone else. I would push back by pointing out that every action we commit programs us. For instance, if I regularly please myself, I would condition my brain to think that I am the ultimate source of my own satisfaction. Not only that, but I would come to think that my pleasure is the highest priority, and that the purpose of my body is for myself.
Over time, this will translate to other areas in my life. I deserve to go first in line. I should not have to wait for others to be served before me. I deserve a nicer car with good air conditioning. I deserve the best food and who cares about the millions of people going to bed hungry tonight.
As Christians, this action has the potential to program us to live in a way opposed to the gospel (In one sense, our “Personal Relationship Jesus” culture has already done that, but that’s for another time). The gospel should re-form our lives to put others first in a self-sacrificial way. Paul goes so far as to say we should offer our bodies as living sacrifices.
Yet somehow, our American Christian culture has allowed a gnostic dichotomy to arise in which our spirituality is severed from our physical bodies.
The sexual element of our bodies, intrinsic to our human nature, is that our bodies are meant to be giving entities. Sex is meant to be a giving exchange between two people. When a husband makes love to his wife, his goal should be to serve her and vice-versa.
Masturbation is the opposite of that. It reinforces a body that gives only to itself. It is self-medicating. Sure, it feels good, but so does eating a lot of doughnuts, or doing a lot of drugs. Just because something feels good doesn’t make it healthy or even ethical. This is aside from the fact that masturbation is most often an escape from loneliness, a lack of intimacy, insecurity, et cetera. When unhealthy roots in our lives drive us to unhealthy solutions, the outcome cannot be good.
When one masturbates, they are not using their bodies to serve others. They are serving themselves, reinforcing habits of pride and selfishness.
So, to answer all who asked me: no, I do not think masturbation is good or healthy. Of course there is grace when we screw up, and God knows we will. But I think masturbation is a habit to turn from because of its destructive nature.