#Question: Since I’m Celibate, May I Masturbate?

ANSWER: The Bible never explicitly mentioned masturbation or states whether or not masturbation is a sin. The Scripture most frequently pointed to in regards to masturbation is the story of Onan in Genesis 38:9-10. Some interpret this passage as saying that “spilling your seed” on the ground is a sin.


However, that is not precisely what the passage is saying. God condemned Onan not for “spilling his seed” but because Onan refused to fulfill his duty to provide an heir for his brother. The passage is not about masturbation, but rather about fulfilling a family duty. A second passage sometimes used as evidence for masturbation’s being a sin is Matthew 5:27-30.

Jesus speaks against having lustful thoughts and then says, “If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away.” While there are parallels between this passage and masturbation, it is unlikely that masturbation was what Jesus was alluding to.

While the Bible nowhere explicitly states that masturbation is a sin, there is no question as to whether the actions that lead to masturbation are sinful. Masturbation is nearly always the result of lustful thoughts, sexual stimulation, and/or pornographic images. It is these problems that need to be dealt with. If the sins of lust, immoral thoughts, and pornography are forsaken and overcome, masturbation will become a non-issue.

Many people struggle with guilty feelings concerning masturbation, when in reality, the things that led to the act are far more worthy of repentance.

There are some biblical principles that can be applied to the issue of masturbation. Ephesians 5:3 declares, “Among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity.” It is hard to see how masturbating can pass that particular test.

The Bible teaches us, “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). If you cannot give God glory for something, you should not do it. If a person is not fully convinced that an activity is pleasing to God, then it is a sin: “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23).

Further, we need to remember that our bodies have been redeemed and belong to God. “Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

This great truth should have a real bearing on what we do with our bodies. In light of these principles, the conclusion that masturbation is a sin is biblical. Clearly, masturbation is not glorifying to God; it does not avoid the appearance of immorality, nor does it pass the test of God’s having ownership over our bodies.

Maybe you’re someone who can partake in masturbation without it becoming lustful, but for many people that is not the case. 

If we disconnect the experience of sexual pleasure from the moment of giving ourselves for another,  in love, we fundamentally distort the meaning of the human body in its sexual dimension.

In the auto-eroticism of masturbation, we pursue a particular sort of satisfaction or a particular experience of pleasure.  But it is through the mutual self-giving in love that our humanity is established (whether in sex or beyond), rather than the abstract experience of pleasure or the fulfillment of a craving or felt need.

However enjoyable it might be, masturbation fails to fulfill this form of human sexuality, and as such, can be corrosive to the integrity of our persons and our intimacy of the Spirit.



15 Replies to “#Question: Since I’m Celibate, May I Masturbate?”

  1. Bravo.You have said it all. I have considered the practice one of selfishness which you alluded to.Thanks for shedding more light though.

  2. I’ve heard masturbation is a sin,but I want to ask,what if one masturbates to sleep at s crucial point he/she struggles to sleep,masturbation could help one achieve,when one masturbates it could be because the person needs to fall asleep(something which masturbation can do),not necessarily meaning he has lustful desires

  3. Good point. For me, I believe masturbation is an unclean act, and we’ve got to look at the bible’s view on uncleanliness. God is clean and holy and though we cannot match God’s holiness we can try to be clean. As humans, it’ll be right to view holiness not as ‘perfection’ or ‘self righteousness’ but being separate from the world. The Bible does not specifically mention masturbation—the deliberate self-stimulation that produces sexual arousal and orgasm. However, God’s Word commands Christians: “Deaden, therefore, your body members that are upon the earth as respects fornication, uncleanness, [and improper] sexual appetite.”—Colossians 3:5.
    Masturbation fosters a distorted and self-centered view of sex. The Bible assures us that God can impart “power beyond what is normal” to those who make a sincere effort to break thishabit.—2 Corinthians 4:7; Philippians 4:13.

  4. Good point 4lah but what when an adult doesn’t want to go into foRnications and adultery but mastuRbate to satisfied hIs or her sexual organs is it a SIN to do dat also

    1. Guys, Masturbation does not ease sexual tension. instead it builds it up to unbearable proportions in the long run. What do you THINK about when you masturbate? are your thoughts not lustful? check your thoughts, renew your mind with the word and you won’t need to satisfy your “organs”.

        1. Kunle, Masturbation is not a sleeping drug. 🙂 It’s not a cure for insomnia. find out why you are not sleeping. make neccesary lifestyle changes and if insomnia persists, consult a doctor.

  5. The truth is that masturbation can be achieved without lustful thoughts and some medical research have even aluded to the fact that it is a healthy practice to deal with stress and sleep related issues, especially for the man. It is important to have a balanced outlook on this, and before some holy rollers come at me, I am married and have been saved since 1989!

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  8. Once you get past the religious superstitions, the sexual orgasm simply uses the same neurological reflexes as a sneeze. It releases tension and, in the case of men, unloads the build up of semen. If I go for more than a few days without wanking, then I actually suffer physical pain! That’s even if I have NO lustful thoughts for anything! The back up is purely a physical accumulation and I am compelled to get rid of it. I am FORCED to do what I have to do and for the same reason that one uses the toilet for ridding the body of its wastes.

    I have no girlfriend or wife out of choice. I am straight. Given the poor quality of women today, I’d rather go without. Masturbation becomes a body maintenance activity, rather than an outlet for lust. Once I’m done, I can go about my day with a clear mind and not be plagued by an ungrateful woman or noisy kids.

  9. I understand what you’re saying,but what if one has a dream of sexual act & you actually feel an orgasmic sensation? Thus making the dream feel real even though you’re trying to wake up & stop it.Not masturbating, but the thought of the dream you were just having finishes it.Asking for a friend.

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