In the little research that I did for this article I truly didn't realize the kinds of horror that got inflicted on people who got caught masturbating. If you're ever curious as to the severity and methods of punishment people had to endure as early as the 18th century click there. Wow.
Ok, Masturbation is something that Christian culture has been talking about for probably the entirety of the Church's existence and has almost zero agreement on. Probably one of the biggest questions that an explicit answer is elusive to is "is masturbation a sin?". Throughout history in puritanical, prudish, moralistic, legalistic and brutally disciplinarian cultures, especially those ruled by the Catholic church, masturbation was not only considered a sin, but a mortal (sin leading to death) and a venal sin (sin that isn't quite as bad but is still bad) which incurred severe punishment that was, in their mind, beyond necessary. It was imperative! Thank God that we live in a culture where masturbation is no longer considered more offensive than child abuse. Which the punishments went way beyond child abuse. Even so much so as to punish people for nocturnal emissions by wrapping their genitals in leather pouches or vacuum sealing them in bottles with a concoction of spices and peppers which caused insane pain. Most punishments were designed to inflict as much pain, shame, guilt, and anxiety as possible. The "offender" was humiliated and dehumanized even.
Now maybe I'm off base here....
But I thought that no matter what you've done, what and or who you're doing, or what you're planning to do, God unconditionally loves us and has a plan for us that doesn't involve humiliating and debasing us. But apparently the history books and the prudish people of "civilized" society disagree.
If you haven't read the linked article please do because it is an eye opening read to see just how much people used to (and in some ways still do) hate sex and how satan just twisted one of the most beautiful gifts that we have been given as humans to enjoy and trashed it in several generations of people. They would even exhort married people to only have sex at a maximum of 12 times per year and to go through all these rigorous puritanical things to extinguish the sex drive.
Something tells me that if you can't even extinguish human sex drive with corn flakes, or carbolic acid, then I think its supposed to be there. And if its supposed to be there then in order to use it properly we need to ask Tech Support (Ask God).
Theres so much shame that's been driven into and engrained in our society regarding sex and masturbation because of people like Kellogg and simple traditional ways of thinking that came from religious crusades to try to foster piety and societal control without any understanding of the grace of Jesus Christ, the design of man as a sexual being, or the power and pleasure of God and how in giving us the ability to experience pleasure together it is a reflection of the character of God because it pleases him when we are enjoying creation.
I think it is worth us taking a moment to think through these this from a point of God's grace and from the fact that we're sexual beings, given a sex drive and curiosity and that's a good thing. We're definitely a long way from the puritanical tyranny of early american christianity and victorian society. I mean people back then thought that sex was evil, pure and simple, and that it was a necessary evil that was not to be enjoyed and utilized simply for procreation. Let alone masturbating! Pullin on the ol' puddin pop was a surefire one was ticket to hell! UGH!!! Praise Jesus that we're in a time where we recognize sex as given by God and given for our enjoyment! God is in the business of pleasure. It was God's pleasure to create us. Scripture says that in his right hand are pleasures forevermore. I mean for reals theres a whole book dedicated to the nature of romance and sex before God. Yes married people. God watches you have sex. And guess what? He loves when you enjoy it! Now that that's out of the way lets talk about masturbating and modernity.
A stress reliever, simple habit, sleep aid, medicating pain (mental or otherwise), cure for boredom, there are a ton of reasons people do it, a ton of reasons people turn to anything that feels good. It can be a one time experiment, a season of life, a full blown life habit, or just what someone does to alleviate a little loneliness once in awhile.
I think its healthy to explore your own body and find out what it does. Again God gave us sexuality, and exploring it healthily is important. Learning what makes your body feel good can make you feel more comfortable with your sexuality and your body. Some people are afraid of feeling that good, especially with other people. It can help you feel vulnerable with yourself. But its not like you need to masturbate to understand your sexuality or experience those things. Being led by the Holy Spirit in those things is good! You probably wouldn't think that God would actually tell you how to enjoy your sexuality but he does and will. Asking him about your sexuality, how it works in his timing and power and glory is a good thing!
Its Possible to Masturbate and Not Sin
Most people would agree that theres a connection between sexual thoughts and sexual stimulation....... (that was a joke). And most people would agree that there's a difference between a thought and lusting. That's what I'm hoping to tackle here and how it applies to masturbating. I started masturbating when I was 5. I was very sexualized as a young one and it became something that I just did that felt good and soon it became a stress reliever and a nightly habit that helped me sleep. I wasn't lusting. I didn't have anything to go on that would constitute sexual lust. I was just doing what felt good. This is my point. Having a sexual thought as someone passes by is natural and normal. calling it back, playing with it and choosing to satisfy yourself for your own purposes is another thing entirely. That's where it becomes lustful. Its perfectly possible to orgasm without conjuring a sexual thought at all. And there's where one of the sin boundaries are. Having a thought is seeing the Ferrari and saying "Dang that's a nice car! Wow..mmmmmm MMM!" Lusting is "How am I going to get that car? If I can't have it I can at least picture myself driving it." The word "covet" translated in the old testament greek translation of the hebrew , called the Septuagint, is the same greek word in the new testament for "lust". Lusting is coveting. Lust is much more than a sexual thing. It goes for any and everything in our lives that we can experience a deep driving desire to obtain. Going and seeking it in our minds to satisfy an immediate desire is trying to obtain it is lust. But satisfying a bodily function because you get super aroused isn't the same thing and shouldn't be equated. So if you have to do it i'll give you the advice my youth pastor gave me while I was in the midst of puberty and raging hormones. "try to just focus on the feeling"
Our habits can be windows into our emotional triggers and states. Someone who at some point started using sexual release to cope with anxiety, abandonment, shame, fear, or insecurity probably found or are going to find that it offers no substantial or real healing. Only a momentary comfort. So paying attention to how you feel in the hours before you decide to masturbate can help you understand yourself and where you might be able to let God in and receive healing in your heart for past wounds.
If you masturbate daily, weekly or monthly there are benefits and disadvantages. Masturbating can release stress through the release of dopamine and oxytocin, neurotransmitters in your brain that are feel-good chemicals and emotional bonding chemicals. Most men do it to help them sleep. When done with pornography and when done very often for long periods of time there are pretty serious side effects like anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, fetishes, social anxiety, depression, erectile dysfunction, and low self esteem.
There are entire movements of men deciding to stop watching porn for their own health and emotional well being, religious and non religious alike. And the fapstronauts movement is probably the most well known online community. Known for their connectivity and the availability of "hard mode" (no sexual contact, artificial stimulation, or orgasming) which according to testimonies upon testimonies has had numerous beneficial effects upon the participants.
So whether or not you do it or don't do it its between you and God. We at Free Indeed would encourage you to talk to God about it and ask him if there's any kind of change or understanding that needs to be made clear in your heart for you, a habit that needs breaking, an area of life that could be explored that's been untouched by fear and shame, its up to you. Just don't feel guilty or shameful over it because God died for you in this process of learning.
God's Eyes and your shame
God isn't surprised. God has been watching people masturbate for millennia. He's watched them do it by normal conceivable means and he's watched them do it in creative ways that bring to life the marvelous and wacky ways that the depths of the human mind has the capacity to operate on. Whatever way you do it right now, God isn't disgusted, isn't disappointed in you and isn't upset with you. Every time you do it God is still sitting with you with a smile on his face proclaiming his love for you every second of every day. Shame is what he died on the cross to lift from us. Guilt and shame.
Theres a difference between lust and thoughts.
Just remember this, lusting and having a thought are two separate things. There is no possible way to control the in and outflow of your thoughts every minute of every day. That'd be insane and taxing and Jesus doesn't expect us to do that. Finding your blood pumping after seeing a fresh hot person of the opposite sex walk by you means you're human, not that you're lusting. And the difference is that lusting takes intentional thought and directed focus. "wow she/he's hot!" and "man i'd love to cut that cake, I wonder what they're wearing underneath, how can I get them home? Well I can't get them home so I'll take them home in my mind" are two very separate thoughts. And no I'm not saying be the "thought police" but Christianity has muddied the beauty of having a sex drive and being excited by someone and the twisted reality of using someone for personal satisfaction. Did you know you can lust after anything? The greek word used in the old testament translation (the septuagint) for "covet" is the same word in the new testament for "lust"
ἐπιθυμέω which means "to seek after, to turn towards, to desire deeply with intent to obtain no matter what". So again there is a huge difference between having a thought and lusting, between alleviating a perfectly natural and powerful urge and choosing to look to someone or something to satisfy you in a place that only Jesus can. For most its a habit that develops, for others its a way to cope with stress, for some its a defense mechanism that keeps them from dealing with the outside world, for others its a practiced pattern of medicating deep pain. Whatever the reason, it's okay to ask the Lord about it and maybe to seek wisdom on it from someone who knows God's grace and is someone you can trust!!!
So if you're gonna jack off you might as well talk to Jesus while doing it eh?
He's there, he loves you, he isn't disappointed or disgusted, he's not mad, and not going to withhold anything from you. He's good, he's your friend and he knows u. Thats the most important thing. Jesus KNOWS YOU. He knows that you spent all day next to the really hot guy/girl at work and you whipped yourself into a hot mess and can't think straight until that gets dealt with. He knows that you've been doing it since you were 10 or 11 and just have a learned habit or pattern, he knows that you need to be satisfied and again, PROMISES to satisfy you. So no matter where you are in this whole thing, just relax and know that it's all good and he'll lead you into the truth.
John, who lived in the lifestyle for 30 years and returned to Christ full force, and Brandon, a 21 year old straight man also in love with the Lord Jesus. A team of two brought together by God to act as one. One gay one straight both in loving relationship with Christ.