What Does God Think About Masturbation?


Join Josh and Kit this week as they discuss the question, “What does God think about masturbation?” Listen in as they unravel why they think what they do, and really what God’s design is for us all.


We have to ask, ‘What was God’s design in the beginning?

…the fantasy of your spouse is not your spouse…

…we are talking about a physical act, but we are also talking about what’s our heart intent behind it…


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Kit 0:28
So it seems like a controversial interesting topic that comes up a lot is what does God think about masturbation?

Josh 0:43
Done Done? What does God think about masturbation?

Kit 0:48
So, you know, like, so is that something that you think God would think? Is that okay? Is it something that, you know, can be considered Okay, under certain circumstances? Like, I think a lot of people wonder about that mean, and don’t know what the answer is? Yeah.

Josh 1:09
Yeah, exactly. And we want to talk about it. Because I think if you’re unsettled about that, if you don’t know, first of all, it’s going to set you up to be in inner conflict. When you’re, when you’re feeling a draw toward that, yeah, it’s been an issue for you. Now, in early childhood, like when it when a little kid is very little 234, and just beginning to discover their bodies, it’s a very normal thing for he or she to find their genitals to be in playing. It’s that is a part of just body discovery. And it’s good and important. If you’re a parent and want to encourage you like, don’t freak out when your son or daughter does that. You can talk about appropriate times, and places and things like that. You want to keep an eye on it, because it can become the person that you’re the child becomes dependent on but we’re not really talking about that we’re talking about grown men and women who are making a decision to masturbate to feel the desire and who many of whom struggle with ongoing masturbation, it’s a regular part of their kind of sexual diet, so to speak. What do we think about that? So Kitt, what do you think about that?

Kit 2:14
Well, I mean, I think, you know, I really have a very strong, you know, belief and understanding and conviction about what God intended for sexuality, you know, what did he intend in the beginning, I always find that really helpful, what it got intend in the very beginning. And his intention was for a man and a woman to come together and share love, you know, physical, spiritual, emotional, relational love. And so the way our bodies are built and wired is for that. And so, to the extent that masturbation would take away from that, then that would that would be concerning if it would be a distraction, if it would be something that would take the place of. And so I’m clear about that. You know, I do think about people who are single their whole life. Yeah, we know that. And I don’t know, I’d love to talk with you about that dialogue with you about that, you know, because we’ve never really talked about this, we decided this might be an interesting topic to explore. And it’s interesting for me to be like, Yeah, what do I think about that? Yeah.

Josh 3:23
Yeah. Great. I know that that a large percentage of men and women who come to regeneration, dealing with sexual addictions, masturbation is a part of it for them. Yeah. And yeah, I will say as far as thinking kind of in the, in the line of process, like being in the process of recovery for a lot of people, man, you know, there are worse things they could do you know, if you’re if there’s a temptation or an ongoing pattern of acting out that other person masturbation maybe that that the lesser of two evils so to speak, yeah. But yeah, I have some pretty strong convictions about masturbation personally and and I want to be humble about this because I know that there are Christians I respect who hold different views on this, but I typically tend to think a lot because of what you initially said that God’s designed our body with intentionality and, and that our sexual organs are designed for union with a spouse. And so when we when we use use them in a way that’s, that is solitary. And we’re actually we’re acting contrary to God’s design for our bodies like I you know, I don’t I never intentionally breathe water because it’s not the way my body is designed. And so yeah. I mean, you know, obviously, it’s very different feeling between those two but So a couple things that come to mind for me one is the reality that for for most people, and I’m not trying to make a blanket, but for most people when they’re talking about a struggle, masturbation. They’re all Talking about sexual fantasy. Yeah. And so we’re scripture may not be as clear about well, is masturbation something that God thinks is wrong or not? He is the Scripture is clear about lust. lust is a sin when we use another person’s body as an object for our lustful gratification, then we violated that when we’ve sinned, we, we’ve Jesus says in Matthew, that it’s the same as committing adultery. And so, if masturbation includes sexual fantasy, then yeah, we were in, we’re in a, we’re in a place. That’s, that’s not where we ought to be. And so now, there’s some people who say, Well, what about if I’m just if I’m just masturbating? Like, think about my spouse, you know, my spouse wants to have sex Anyway, you know, like, I’ve talked to guys who are in business who travel a lot like me know, when I’m on the roads doesn’t attempted something about my spouse. When I masturbate, and that’s, you know, that’s the way I keep from looking at porn or something like that. Again, I’d say, Well, yeah, gosh, you know, if, if you’re going to do something, I guess that’s better than then looking at another woman. However, here’s the problem with that. fantasizing about your spouse, the fantasy of your spouse is not your spouse. And there are subtle ways that a man or a woman who’s fantasizing about their spouse can manipulate or change what their spouse does, how they look how they respond, to fit their own, kind of their own selfish desires, including, for example, that your spouse isn’t actually there yet. So your spouse hasn’t traveled with you. They’re they’re actually doing something else. And so are you loving your spouse? In reality in the real physical world, if you’re thinking about them, and masturbating about them, they’re not there for you to love in that way. And so I think it’s I think there’s a setup there to actually kind of you Yeah, I mean, I would, I would argue, I guess I’d say that it’s, it’s a more loving act towards your spouse, to respect the fact that they’re at home and to remain abstinent and wait for him or her, rather than taking their image and manipulating it so that you can feel good wherever you are.

Kit 7:06
So it’s some of what I hear you saying is that there can be some selfishness involved, maybe that you might want to pay attention to. Yeah, absolutely. And so maybe that’s a key issue. Because we’re, you know, we’re talking about a fiscal act, but we’re also talking about what’s our hearts intent behind it. And so maybe that is a is a key issue. But what about singles.

Josh 7:33
So I think you’re an initially and I know this, there’s more, there are a variety of singles and people who are singles for different single for different reasons. But I’ve talked to a lot of young men, and then they’re young men and women who are kind of, you know, they’re of age, so to speak. I remember as a single guy, one of my mentors saying, you know, Josh, sometimes you just kind of want sex. I mean, God’s designed your body to be having sex at this point in your life, you’re, you know, you’re almost 30 You know, you’re God’s design, you’re ready as a teenager for sex. Yeah. So there gonna be times you’re just gonna want that. But I think the problem with masturbation in that regard is that I think about the issue of, of training yourself to be the person you want to be. And I know that I know, I don’t know anybody who decides they’re younger, I want to train myself to be an unfaithful spouse. And, and in order to be a faithful spouse, we need to grow in and practice the virtue of chastity and the virtue of self control. And, and I think the saints have all talked about it as self mastery. And if we, if we respond to our bodily desires by giving in to masturbation, I think part of what we do is we we train ourselves that this is, this is what I’m gonna need when I’m married to the person who can’t say no to sexual desires is not free. And there Yes, doesn’t mean as much as Christopher West said, you know, he can’t say no, then what does your yes really mean?

Kit 9:01
So that that’s, that makes sense. I also think it’s interesting, though, because we do have physical bodies that do respond. And when you’re talking to your children, for example, about sexuality, and you’re trying to be honest and open about how your body’s wired, you talk to them about these physical parts of you that when you touch them, they’re going to respond. So men and women who are single are going to know that you don’t want them to not explore their bodies or be familiar with their bodies and not be ashamed of them not be you. So what about that, like, what do you do with all of that?

Josh 9:39
What do you think, what, where do you go with that?

Kit 9:41
Well, I think it’s just an interesting, you know, tension, because on the one hand, we again, we don’t want to be ashamed of our bodies. We don’t want to be in denial about the fact that our bodies are wired this way and they feel these things. Those desires are God given desires. And so we, as we get, get familiar with that, or get comfortable with that we’re going to feel these things. And then what do we do with that? How do we, you know, not completely, you know, give in to them, but how do we not be in denial? Because a lot of times what happens for women too? Is they lace for women, you know, they’re kind of, they’re kind of trying to keep themselves pure, and, and f4 when they’re married, and then it’s like, suddenly there should be a switch, and you should go from that ever having sexual feelings to suddenly now, you know, be fully present in that.

Josh 10:39
Yeah, yeah. So

Kit 10:40
I think it’s tricky.

Josh 10:43
So, what you’re saying is that, for women, not? Well, let me just let me, let me just make it really explicit, and you can save it for when you’re really explicit in a respectful way. So you’re, you’re saying that, that maybe masturbation for for a woman would be a helpful thing. So so that when they get married, it wouldn’t be like, you know, something that’s been shut off. Now another, you know, trying to turn this rusty valve, so to speak, and, and, and then just, you know, then they’re ready for, for sex with the husband.

Kit 11:20
Yeah, they’re, you know, they’re not completely like, shutting everything down, and being in denial and, and not having any familiarity with any of it. And then boom, and now you need to, you know, bring it all to, to bear in this one moment.

Josh 11:37
I think I think I tend to, when I think about Master, I tend to use so many, so much of my own experience, and so much of the experiences I walk with other people, is that the masturbation has become a compulsion, it’s become an addictive aspect of somebody’s life. And so I do tend to think of it in regards to like, you know, we don’t want to be mastered by by this thing. And there is, you know, sex is powerful. sexual desires are powerful. And I, I really want to, and I guess the other piece of it is, is when I want to encourage people with the reality that we actually don’t need sex, I mean, it as an individual, like, we, we can refrain, we can walk in abstinence, it is possible. And so, I think, yeah, I get worried about the conversation about like, well, maybe a little masturbation will help me prepare for marriage, because, because I think I get concerned about people having an addiction or becoming habituated to something. And they also get get worried about promoting or putting out there the idea that, you know, you need this, you can’t, it’s unhealthy to not go without or to go without this, which I think is what the world says, Yes, that’s true.

Kit 12:46
Well, and I think the other hard part of it is that often, I, you know, masturbation can lead to, like you said, fantasy, and even pornography. And so it’s, you know, it’s not a just, it can turn into a kind of a runaway train, it can turn into this, you know, compulsive sort of behavior that is not at all healthy. And so I see the, the danger, that, you know, the warning signs, and, and just as I said, you know, to parents at the beginning, you want to, you’d want to watch if your son or daughter is beginning to it seems like they’re, they’re doing this compulsively, because it can become a way that people try to cope with stresses, deformities, pains very much is,

Josh 13:29
I mean, it’s just not not unlike taking a drug from outside the body and bring into the body, it’s using a drug that the body produces, by through self stimulation.

Kit 13:39
So it can be Yeah, it can be a it can be a habit that creates some, some really difficult kinds of compulsions. And, and, and that’s what makes me you know, think, gosh, you know, this really is a very sensitive issue, this isn’t just a easy thing to know

Josh 14:02
about. And the other thing I would add is, I think that there are there, there are other ways to be, I mean, there are ways to become familiar and be familiar with your body to know that your body is sexual to honor that, and to deal with the desire for sexual release. And, you know, we, while a person is single, that person still needs, physical touch, still needs community still needs to be known, still needs to be heard. And, and so I think making sure to nurture those other ways of being remaining healthy in your own identity and in your relationships can help to, to reduce perhaps the desire, the temptation towards using masturbation as an outlet or as a substitute for those that maybe

Kit 14:49
that’s a really good point, because I don’t think we do that very well. You know, maybe we don’t talk very openly about this or about how single people need physical affection and interaction with people. And so what does that look like? And maybe it’s just a matter of getting a little bit more open and honest about what’s going on and what people really need. And how do we do this better?

Josh 15:13
Yeah, I remember a mentor of mine was working with a guy for a while and the guy, his problem wasn’t masturbation. His problem was going to he was going to exotic massage parlor. So it was more sexualized massage. And he knew that was wrong, he needed to do it. And as my mentor was talking to me, he was like, you know, what was coming up was like, it just the guy’s craving for touch. And so I met her said, he was just going to get a normal massage. Yeah, this has become a sexualized thing for you, but but you need to touch on I remember as a single times of getting prayer from other men who, when they lay their hand on my shoulder, I had to admit, like, gosh, part of the joy of getting prayer was just Ah, thank you for touching. Yeah, yeah. So

Kit 15:57
and, you know, I think the other thing that’s, that I’m aware of, is how much fear can play a part in all of this, like, like, so. Okay, so masturbation, delicate issue, let’s talk about let’s not be fearful of things, let’s not create these places in Christianity that are like, well, don’t talk about that. And oh, my gosh, they’re talking about that, well, I’m writing them off. And, you know, like, I think we, we, we can sometimes as Christians react out of fear, and shut things down. And, and, and miss out on some of these conversations that people are having with themselves, or wondering about, but they don’t dare bring it up to another Christian, I’d like to see that change so that we can really be honest about all this stuff and say, like, well, then what do you do about it?

Josh 16:50
Yeah. Yeah, I like that, too. And I also think that there are ways that if we make masturbation a really big deal, you know, I know, I have a pretty hard line about masturbation. But, but I, when I’m walking with people, you’re struggling with it, I don’t usually find you know, bringing the hard line is is is helpful. You know, like, let’s talk about what’s going on underneath let’s, you know, let’s be patient, let’s walk in the process. Because if we make it a big deal, I think you can become a bigger deal.

Kit 17:17
Well, in Josh, I know you well enough to know that you would bring compassion, you might have a clear, you know, lying about it. But I also know that you are very compassionate to people who are struggling with these things. And you, you wouldn’t come with it, you wouldn’t lead with the judgmental foot, you would leave like you said,

Josh 17:37
struggle for me. I mean, I remember, you know,

Kit 17:39
yes. So as it was for me, and so I have a lot of a lot of compassion for you know, people who, who are struggling with this and, and feel shame and feel misunderstood and feel like Christians don’t understand or, you know, that that kind of thing, or they’ll judge me, and I think it is so important that we can have these lines, but how do we allow people to be where they are? and not feel shame? Or judgment? over it?

Josh 18:09
Yeah. And there’s so always the tension between grace and truth. Yeah. And also, when you right at the beginning, like, you know, going back to the beginning, what was God’s design in the beginning, and, and that’s a, you know, let’s commend to listeners, you know, if there’s something you’re struggling with, and you’re not sure that you think it’s right or wrong for the Lord, encourage you take some time with the Lord, search the Scriptures, and come to conviction. So that you know, where you stand. I also have to, because you were mentioning, you know, like, well, what, you know, what about the young woman who, you know, if they’re like, in trying to control their sexual desires, they, you know, they, that’s just not something that you kind of, they avoid that, and then they get married, and it’s now it’s, you know, sex is difficult, and in this part of their body, that’s not, they got to kind of warm up, let me just say, some of the men come on, like, if, like, part of the joy of marriage, and we know that not everyone gets married part of the joy of marriage. And part of the responsibility of a spouse and marriage is to, is to learn and to walk through the process of how do we not how do we have a great sex life? But what is our sex life going to be? This isn’t like, you know, like, just lay down the expectation and the demand that the wedding night be, you know, wonderful sex, it’s, it’s often not, you know, so start with we’re gonna get to know each other’s bodies. Now this part of our lives together. And that means if if you have remained a virgin till married till till this night, and sex is hard for you, or it’s, this is not easy for you or this is painful for you, then we’re going to take it really slow because this is not about having great sex is about me, loving my spouse. And so

Kit 19:55
maybe that’s another conversation like, what does that look like for men and women, too. Really for us as Christians to really, you know, honestly talk about how we’re built differently. And what that means in sexual intimacy in a marriage. Oh, should

Josh 20:10
we start with the wedding night sometime. So if you’re listening, here’s we’re gonna say, and this is always an invitation this podcast, we want this to be a helpful podcast that speaks to you that addresses the questions, the issues that you’re having. We would welcome you to respond. Are you with us? Ask questions. Let us know your perspective. We would love to have you included in this conversation. It just helps inform what we talk on this podcast. So Kitt. Thanks. It was it was this is nice. I didn’t know what you would talk about this. And we’ll have more conversations about this offline. I’m sure Jay. Yeah, enjoyed it, too. All right, Jesus, we just pray for every man every woman listening, particularly those for whom masturbation is a is a reality, an issue in their lives. Lord, lead them in the path you’d have them to take. And we pray for, for each of them that they would grow in self mastery, and grow in self giving love, or that we might, day by day, step by step become more and more like Jesus. And it’s in your name Jesus, we pray.

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