In today’s podcast I’m going to be answering a question that was emailed to us. Is it okay for a man to masturbate while fantasizing about his wife?
We encourage you to send us your questions as I really love to answer some of things that you all are experiencing and facing.
So the question I got this week was from a guy who’s involved in an accountability group. The guys in the group are making good progress.
Is It Okay to Fantasize About Your Spouse? is fantasizing about your spouse a sin?
They’re leaving their unwanted sexual behaviors behind including masturbation and fantasy, but one of the questions that’s come up in the group is, “Is it okay for a man to masturbate while fantasizing about his wife?” Is it okay for a man to fantasize or a woman to fantasize?
If the man is fantasizing about his wife, if the woman is fantasizing about her husband?
There’s actually a lot in that question.
So I want to address this question by asking two questions:
- What does scripture say?
- What is helpful?
Join us today, as I believe this will bring clarity, wisdom and healing on our journey towards sexual integrity.
- Introduction to this episode.
- What does scripture say about masturbation?
- God’s design for marriage.
- Scripture on masturbation and sexual integrity.
- It’s not a landing spot.
- Are you really being faithful to your spouse?
- Lift up your eyes to the greater calling.
Help the show:
- Support the show
- Ask a question by emailing us
- Leave a review
- Subscribe wherever you get your podcasts
- Follow us on YouTube for behind the scenes and more.
This Episode’s Transcription
Hey, everybody. Welcome back to this week’s podcast. Hey, this week I’m going to answer a question I got from someone who emailed in. And by the way, I love when people email in questions. If you’ve emailed a question, I have not replied to it or not done a podcast on it. It’s not because I didn’t receive it or I’m not listening. Sometimes it’s because some questions are really hard, and they’re hard to answer. In a podcast, they’re they’re more suited for a conversation, maybe some coaching. So it’s either because of that, or because I’m still thinking about it and try to figure out how I might reply in a podcast. So feel free to email me again, and let me know. But we’d love to hear from you. I really do love to answer the questions that you guys are experiencing and facing as best I can. So the question I got this week was from a guy who’s involved in an accountability group. The guys in the group are making good progress. They’re leaving their unwanted sexual behaviors behind including masturbation and fantasy, but one of the questions that’s come up in the group is, is it okay? For a man to masturbate while fantasizing about his wife? Is it okay for a man to fantasize or a woman to fantasize? If the man is fantasizing about his wife, if the woman is fantasizing about her husband? There’s actually a lot in that question. There’s the underlying question of is masturbation itself, okay? And then there’s the question about, is it okay to fantasize about my spouse? Recognizing that, you know, if I’m fantasizing sexually fantasizing about someone who’s not my spouse, not my husband or my wife, then I’m obviously going outside of my marriage for some type of sexual experience. But what if I’m fantasizing about my spouse? Is that okay? So I want to address this question by asking two questions around one is, what does scripture say? And then two, what is helpful? So what does scripture say? What is Christianity as we’ve read scripture for the last few 1000 years kind of understood about God’s heart for sexuality? And then to, is it helpful? So these guys are on their way towards sexual integrity? They’re in an accountability group. Is this helpful for them on that journey? So first, let’s start with what Scripture says. We have to say right out of the gates, that Scripture is not clear does not give a clear command in one way or the other about masturbation. Some people point to Leviticus 15, and how a certain discharge would make a person unclean. Some would say that the discharge could include a nocturnal emission or an emission of semen. It doesn’t read like that to me. But take that for what you will. And some people point to Genesis 38, where Odin is charged with marrying his deceased brother’s wife in order to continue his brother’s lineage. And yet, he doesn’t want to do that. And so he pulls out during sex with his now new wife, his brother’s widow, and so that she won’t get pregnant and God is displeased with that. And so some people point to that and say, well, when he when he spilled his seed, that’s the same as masturbation. I don’t think either those are real clear. indictments against masturbation. They’re certainly not pro masturbation, neither of those would give that impression. But I’m not sure that they’re very clear. Another place you might look is First Corinthians seven. Here Paul is talking about, he says something that would be familiar to the church in Corinth, which was that a wife’s body belongs to her husband, that was pretty typically understood a wife was kind of viewed like property at that point. But Paul says no, and the husband’s body belongs to the wife, so you belong to one another. And that would have been revolutionary in the in that time. And so and he’s talking about in the context of sexual intimacy there, by the way, and so, given that if your body belongs to your wife, then is it okay for you to masturbate? Is it okay for you to masquerade even while you’re thinking about her? I’d suggest again, I’m not sure that that’s certainly not a pro masturbation verse may not be entirely clear about whether or not masturbation is prohibited. But I think it’s clearer than maybe the other two verses so. And then the other place I look is in Genesis one and two. So here we’re talking about what is God’s heart? What is his design, as revealed in Scripture for our sexuality for marriage and sexuality? And by the way, this is what Jesus does in Matthew 19, when when the Pharisees asked him a question, he refers back to Genesis one and two. And he says, in what you’re describing, was not so in the beginning, in the beginning, it was like this, and he’s specifically talking about a question about marriage. And so I think we’re in safe territory do the same. So in Genesis one, God creates mankind in his image humanity in his image, male and female, any and his first command to them is Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth. So in other words in common land Which husband and wife, have sex and have children and grandchildren and on and on and on. And then in Genesis two, God creates man and then creates a woman. And the man says, she has bone of my bone, flesh, my flesh and the scripture say, For this reason, a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife and the two shall become one flesh. So I think looking at these two passages, Genesis one and two, we find two distinctives for marriage, two things that are a part of God’s heart, his original design for marriage. In the beginning, marriage was something that was both unitive, it made two into one flesh, and also procreative. It was about bearing children, or at least being open to children. So the sex act was something that was going to be open to new life. Masturbation DOESN’T allow for either one of those, there is no possibility of new life when a man is masturbating, even when he’s thinking about his wife. And there’s no possibility for union with his wife, even when he’s thinking about his wife because his wife’s not there. And so I think that’s a pretty clear indicator that at best masturbation is outside of God’s original design for sex. So if you’re looking for scriptural permission, that masturbation is good, I think you’re going to be hard pressed to find it. Even though you may not find any real explicit command against I think you’d be hard pressed to find anything in Scripture, that would be like, Yep, this is actually a really good thing. So let’s put that out there for your consideration. A lot more can be said I’m sure about what Scripture teaches about sexual morality in general. But just an answer to this question today, let’s move on to the next part, which is what is helpful. So these guys are in recovery. They want to grow in sexual integrity. Hopefully, if you’re listening, you want to grow in sexual integrity is masturbation and masturbation while thinking of your spouse is going to help you grow in sexual integrity. And here, I think we get a lot clearer. So on the one hand, we might say, you know, if you’ve got a history of viewing pornography, or acting out sexually with other people, or masturbating and fantasizing about people who are not your spouse, is it better to fantasize about your spouse? I’d say, yeah, it’s better, I’d say that’s a step in the right direction. I think it’s better to do that than to, to open your brain to thinking about other people. Because we do know, neurologically that there’s something that happens with sexual climax, that imprints on your brain that that, you know, neurons that wire together, sorry, neurons that fire together, wire together. And so if you’re viewing pornography, or acting out sex with another person, or fantasizing about another person, you’re those neurons that wire together, fire together, sorry, are going to wire together. So your brain is going to learn to associate sexual climax with pornography or with another person and you don’t want that. So yeah, I think masturbation while fantasizing about your spouse is a step in the right direction. However, I think it at best is a step. It’s not a landing spot. And here’s why. When you masturbate, fantasizing about your spouse, are you really, truly and can you say thoroughly that you are fantasizing wholly about your spouse? about who she is? Is she who you’re imagining in your head? Is she exactly like your spouse? Or is it possible in the heat of the moment, that she’s acting a little differently than your spouse? Treating you a little differently? Engaging with you a little differently? And I think the answer to that has to be unequivocally it is not the same person, that you fantasize, even though you’re imagining your spouse, when you are having sex with your spouse, who’s in control of your spouse. Well, she is your wife is in control of herself. But when you’re fantasizing who’s in control of your, your fantasy wife, you are, you are you’re pulling the strings, she’s doing what you want, when you want how you want. Not to mention that she’s actually not even really there. Right, which is not something that we should take lightly. Your wife for whatever reason is not available sexually for you, either because you’re traveling or she’s traveling, so you’re not together. So that that imagination is not really her. Or maybe she’s not available because it’s during her monthly period. Or she feels sick. And so are you really being with her as she is when you’re fantasizing about her? Or maybe you’re not having sex right now, because there’s an argument between you or because you’re in recovery for sexual addiction, and she doesn’t trust you very much yet. And it’s hard for you guys to be intimate. So are you really being with her and faithful to her? When you imagine her and fantasize, masturbate? And I’d suggest that it’s the answer. That’s got to be no. And the other thing I just just throw out there to other kinds of birds. ometer checks your heart checks around this one is.
I’ve talked to a lot of guys who who masturbate thinking about their wives, but their wives don’t know. I think it’s a pretty good tell you that, that you’re really not giving yourself to her. This is something you’re reserving for yourself. So you’re keeping a secret from your wife that you’re fantasizing about her and masturbating? Are you being faithful to her in mind and body? I’m not sure that you are. And then add to that, if you were to ask your wife, how would she feel about it? Would she feel like she’s there in the room with you? She wouldn’t. I think, guys what we’re getting at right at the heart of this, and whether you’re a woman who is wrestling with, you know, fantasizing about your husband, or a wife, or husband fantasizing about your wife, I think we’re getting down to is that we are human beings, body and spirit, and our bodies matter. You can’t be sexually intimate with somebody who’s not present with you. In this doesn’t work, I mean that you actually need another person in order to be sexually intimate with them. So to be sexually intimate with your spouse, to be sexually faithful to your spouse, means that you’re reserving sexual intimacy for them and then alone, and they’re actually involved in the process. Alright, let me leave this and conclude as one final word here, that’s really important. In no way, am I trying to create a brand new law for you to live under? And no way? Am I trying to say you have to be perfect about this, and no way. Am I trying to be down on you if you wrestle with masturbation, and fantasy. I know, I know, I know the intensity of the temptation to masturbate and to fantasize, I know it can be a very difficult habit to overcome. And so I’m not trying to add extra burdens to you if this is a part of the journey that you’re on. What I hope to do instead is to is to lift your eyes to the greater calling, that’s before you this invitation in Christ, to grow to become more faithful as a husband or as a wife, to grow to be one whose love rules over your passions whose love is actually the the fuel the engine, for your sexual desire, and not the other way around where your sexual desire actually Trumps love in your life. You’re invited to this great journey with Jesus, where you’re learning, to master your body, to master your passions, to master your desires, and to place him at the service of self giving self sacrificing love, for God and for your spouse. And that’s a beautiful journey. And so my hope is to lay these things before you not to add a dour sense of you know, God’s watching. And if you cross this line, you’re not supposed to, he’s going to, he’s going to punish you. That’s not what I’m trying to talk about at all. But rather, I think God’s heart in seeking and saving that which is lost in you is to is to lift your eyes to give you this new aspirational vision of what faithfulness, what sexual faithfulness with sexual integrity looks like. And that’s a beautiful journey that you’re on. And as you follow along the way, if you stumble along the way, where you’re seeing increases his grace increases all the more he is with you, and He loves you, He loves you, He loves you. He is faithful to you, and always present with you. And when he thinks about you, he moves towards you, because his his love for you is in fact through Christ. incarnational so, Lord, would you help us on this journey towards becoming men and women who are more sexually whole and you stored Well, our sexual desires? pray this in Jesus name, Amen.