What does the Bible say about masturbation and mutual masturbation?

by Ray

Yellow Primrose

Yellow Primrose

Ray writes: "I grew up in the Catholic Church and was told that masturbation is a sin. I have researched and discovered masturbation is never mentioned in the Bible."
I believe you are correct, that masturbation as such, is not specifically mentioned in the Bible. The passage most people use, as if it refers to masturbation, is Genesis 38:4 and 8-9. This passage does not mention masturbation.
Ray writes: "I came to the conclusion that it is not wrong."
I agree with you. The male body continually produces sperm and seminal fluid to transport the sperm and testosterone, a hormone which affects us emotionally, physically, sexually. These natural bodily processes were created and blessed by God with the expectation that we would use them for His honor and glory.

For heterosexuals, using them for His honor and glory means sharing them with a female partner, 1 Cor 7:1-6. For gay men, using them for His honor and glory means sharing them with a male partner.

There are other things to consider beyond the fact that there is not a specific verse prohibiting masturbation. The problem with assuming masturbation is never wrong is the thoughts and fantasies a man tends to indulge while masturbating. And some men masturbate while watching gay porn. Jesus told us that what we think and what we look at can cause us to sin.
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord." -Psalm 19:14

"But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.

If your right eye causes you to sin, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell."
-Matthew 5:28-29, NIV
Jesus is using hyperbole to make a point. Literally gouging out your eye will not stop you from sinning, will not save your soul, will not get you into heaven.

Jesus' warning indicates sin and hell are real and we need to obey God and get saved instead of trusting our good intentions and our good works. When the children of Israel moved into the land of Canaan (what today we call Israel or Palestine), God commanded them to destroy all the pictures of the Canaanites.
"Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places:" -Numbers 33:52
The ancient Canaanites had pornographic images of people having sex on their pottery, their drinking vessels, in murals on their walls, floors and ceilings.

These images were often made to honor the fertility goddess. Their sexual activity linked to fertility goddess worship was specifically forbidden by God in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13.

So, while it is technically correct to say that the Bible has no specific commandment against masturbation, if we are honest, we must conclude that the illicit imaginings, daydreams and fantasies which often accompany masturbation are most definitely sinful.

All sin begins in the heart

Ralph Waldo Emerson, a close friend of Henry David Thoreau and owner of the little cabin where Thoreau stayed on Walden Pond, put it this way.
"Sow a thought and reap an act;
Sow an act and reap a habit;
Sow a habit and reap a character;
Sow a character and reap a destiny."

"Can a man take fire in his bosom and his clothes not be burned?" -Proverbs 6:27
Instead of masturbating on a regular basis or engaging in mutual masturbation, our goal should be marriage where that is legal for us or partnership with an orientation compatible partner. While there is not a clear command of scripture against masturbation, scripture is clear that we are not to entertain lustful thoughts.

Rick Brentlinger's conclusion

For those who are not married or partnered, masturbation or mutual masturbation is certainly much better than having anonymous sex with strangers, behavior which exposes us to many health risks.
"For as he thinketh in his heart so is he." -Proverbs 23:7

"And the LORD saith, Because they have forsaken my law which I set before them, and have not obeyed my voice, neither walked therein; But have walked after the imagination of their own heart, and after Baalim, which their fathers taught them:" -Jeremiah 9:13-14

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?" -Jeremiah 17:9

"For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies:" -Matthew 15:19, spoken by Jesus.

Ray writes: "My question is, another single Christian friend and I were talking about my research and he asked me, "Well then would mutual masturbation be ok?" I set out to find the answer to that question and hit a brick wall. Is there anything in the Bible that covers that question?"
While there are verses which deal with our behavior in sexual situations, these passages do not specifically address mutual masturbation. They do offer us principled guidelines to ensure that our conduct is pleasing to God.
"Now these things (from the Old Testament) were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted. Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand. Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come." -1 Corinthians 10:6-11
The experiences of the Israelites are examples for us and God expects us to heed the lessons we can learn from their experiences.
"And when Moses saw that the people were naked; (for Aaron had made them naked unto their shame among their enemies:)" -Exodus 32:25
The passage does not say that they were masturbating but it is clear that they were worshiping an idol, were naked and were having sex with people to whom they were not married.

The scriptural cure for sexual lust is not necessarily masturbation or mutual masturbation with someone with whom you are not in committed partnership although either of those is less dangerous than one night stand sex with strangers, in my opinion. The scriptural cure for sexual lust is marriage with an orientation compatible partner.
"Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband."
-1 Corinthians 7:2
The passage addresses male-female relationships because those cover the vast majority, about 95% of humanity. For the 5% of humanity who are same sex attracted, precisely the same principle applies, yet with an orientation compatible partner.
  1. Scripture views sexual relationships involving one with whom you are not in committed partnership as fornication.

  2. To avoid fornication, we are counseled to have an orientation compatible partner with whom we can meet our physical sexual needs.

  3. Married couples (or committed partners) are to meet each other's sexual needs.

  4. Mutual masturbation is not mentioned as a God-approved outlet which replaces marriage.
"The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency." 1 Corinthians 7:4-5
Hope this answer is helpful to your spiritual life and causes you to draw closer to our Lord who loves you and bought you with His own precious blood.

Remember that our goal as Christians is not to see how much we can get away with because there isn't a specific scriptural command against it. Our goal as Christians is to glorify God in every area of our lives, including our thoughts.

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This page revised October 4, 2011

Comments for What does the Bible say about masturbation and mutual masturbation?

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Feb 15, 2010
He wants you more than any other....
by: Anonymous

Look it, I don't really understand the premise of this subject on THIS site.

If you've already found a way to circumvent and ignore God's VERY direct language regarding homosexuality/Gay/Lesbian lifestyles to be an "ABOMINATION TO HIS SIGHT". That's pretty clear and it shows up in numerous locations.

The key is for us to lay aside our HUMAN-NESS and pick up the yoke of Christiandom... Model our life after His and forsake our sinful natures. Nothing good or lasting can come of homosexuality. God loves you and so do fellow people. Forsake yourselves, oh misguided children, before you lord wins. (Satan is lord of all that is Earthly) The Bible says it and I'll be interested to see what comes out here.

Feb 16, 2010
Somehow you've missed the point
by: RIck Brentlinger

I encourage you to "study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth," 2 Timothy 2:15

Your assignment for the next six weeks is: Click on any button on the NavBar under, What The Bible Says, and start reading.

God's truth in the Bible is at odds with your viewpoint. When you close your heart to truth, God stops showing you truth.

Jun 08, 2011
we don't have authority over her own body!
by: Anonymous

1 Corinthians 7
Concerning Married Life
1 Now for the matters you wrote about: ?It is good for a man not to have sexual relations with a woman.? 2 But since sexual immorality is occurring, each man should have sexual relations with his own wife, and each woman with her own husband. 3 The husband should fulfill his marital duty to his wife, and likewise the wife to her husband. 4 The wife does not have authority over her own body but yields it to her husband. In the same way, the husband does not have authority over his own body but yields it to his wife. 5 Do not deprive each other except perhaps by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. 6 I say this as a concession, not as a command.

Jun 08, 2011
Not sure what you mean
by: Rick Brentlinger

You kind of lost me there. I'm not sure what you mean with your title and with the verses you quoted, some of which I already quoted in the post that started this dialogue.

Oct 11, 2011
Importance of context
by: brian whitecalf

I want to remind people that you can only commit adultery with someone that is married. Also people should be aware that several of the examples of fornication and porn images are all linked to false gods and blood sacrifice cults.

Nov 04, 2011
Is mutual masturbation mentioned in Psalms?
by: Anonymous

I think the Psalms talk about mutual masturbation and many other sexual acts and count them as good.

Nov 04, 2011
That is Hasidic Jewish tradition, not the Bible
by: Rick Brentlinger

I am unaware of any mention in the Psalms, of mutual masturbation. I believe you are referring to Tikkun Haklali, an innovation on repentance invented by Rebbe (Yiddish for Rabbi) Nachman of Breslav, Ukraine, 1772-1810.

That is an Hasidic Jewish viewpoint in which they repent of masturbating and nocturnal emissions by reciting ten Psalms in order: Psalm 16, 32, 41, 42, 59, 77, 90, 105, 137, and 150.

This practice began around 1805 so is relatively recent in origin. There is nothing in the Bible which leads us to believe God forgives sins based on whether or not we recite the Psalms.

In the New Testament, forgiveness for sins is only based on whether or not we accept the shed blood of Christ, Romans 3:25, 5:9.

Nov 07, 2011
by: Anonymous

Hey! The bible says in romans 1:27 that gay is wrong.

Check it out n i pray for u

Nov 07, 2011
Ignorance is NOT the fruit of the Spirit
by: Rick Brentlinger

I salute you for having the good sense NOT to put your name with your ignorant comments. I hope you will some day recognize your personal responsibility to read and study the Bible.

Please watch this video and answer the question, What was the cultural, historical and religious context of Romans 1?

Nov 11, 2011
what about intrusive thoughts from scrupolosity o.c.d.
by: eli

I have a question. I suffer terribly from scrupulosity also known as religious ocd. It causes intense sexually perverse thoughts. These thoughts are not in the least bit wanted or pleasant. They include just about every type of fornication and perversion. In a nutshell, I'm bombarded by blasphemous sexual thoughts so bad sometimes I breakdown and cry because I feel so guilty even though I know full well that these thoughts exist because its a mental disorder so I constantly am having sexual thoughts that I don't want or mean to think.

I've researched this disorder extensively for years and have found reports by christian doctors who say its not sinful because its beyond my control and I don't take pleasure in them whatsoever. Due to this I feel incredibly sinful beyond belief if I do catch myself having. Sexual desires or lustful fantasies. Not to be too graphic but even trying to masturbate without trying to think of a fantasy makes me feel like I've broken every commandment simultaniously.

I do have intense sexual urges from time to time but I don't know what to do because the ocd makes me feel guilty about everything. Can anyone help me, I don't know what to do.

Nov 29, 2011
God dearly loves you
by: Rick Brentlinger

Eli, I am not qualified to give advice on scrupulosity ocd or religious ocd but I have prayed for you and hope others who read your comment will pray for you.

God knows your situation and loves you more than you can possibly imagine.

Dear readers, please pray for our brother Eli for discernment, grace, healing and understanding in his difficult situation.

Nov 30, 2011
Not do sure...
by: Will

Rick, you pretty well here apply the heterosexual argument about masturbation and lust to the homosexual. Yet, your comment that it can be OK to mutually masturbate with another man when sexual release is required to not commit fornication is confusing. If a single straight man mutually masturbates with a woman not his wife, it is indeed fornication. His sexuality is not to be shared with anyone until he marries.

Plus, a straight man mutually masturbating with a woman would certainly be stoking his sex drive by seeing and touching the woman's body. He would be feasting on what was not his which is God's reason for a man not committing fornication or adultery. Does this make sense?

Nov 30, 2011
The practical issues of sexual health and STDs
by: Rick Brentlinger

Will, my comments were focused on mitigating health risks and the danger of STDs via anonymous sex with multiple partners in the gay community. I don't say it's not fornication. I say it's less dangerous than anonymous sex with multiple partners.

I encourage you to carefully re-read what I wrote. And we need to remind ourselves about the sexual mores of so many anti-gay hetero Christians. They talk about gays being guilty of fornication when 79 out of 100 hetero Christians are having sex outside of marriage so they are also NOT waiting to have sex until they get married.

I deal with their hypocrisy by answering their question: Isn't it all about sex for you gays and lesbians?

Nov 30, 2011
Got it...
by: Will

I see what you are saying. I come from a non-gay mindset and have no other perspective. It is certainly true that most young heterosexual Christians don't wait either. My point is similar to yours, then, that God's best is to wait until marriage. So I strongly counsel young men to wait and use masturbation to help with control. My wife and I have six sons and it has helped them immensely!

A passage to contemplate before God is Genesis 1:27-28. It's great to know that God's Holy Spirit interprets what He has said. And He always defends His own word without us ever having to defend it ourselves. I think that's pretty cool.

Dec 06, 2011
I want you to show me
by: JB

I have been reading the content of this page and now I am left wondering whether the Author is for or Against God's command. I would like to say that I believe that the bible is like a mirror given to God's people so that when we look through it we can see how we look by comparing our current state to what we are expected to be. Now having read the bible I realized that evils related to sexuality can only be avoided or solved by marriage, a solution God himself created and blessed. However I think that it is important to note that he was very specific in this solution. it was not good for a man to be alone so He created a woman. This meant three things 1. Man cannot have sexual relations with animals or other creature, 2. Man can only have sexual relations with a woman and not a fellow man neither should woman with woman, 3. the purpose for which God created man and woman is clear. some of his biggest blessings were children. Abraham and Sarah

How come then that the writings on this page support evils like homosexuality (using biblical scripture misinterpreted). Sodom and Gomorrah read! I want you to show me where in the bible it is allowed for men to marry men or women to women show me

Dec 06, 2011
Please read and explore this website
by: Rick Brentlinger

JB, I encourage you to read and explore this website to find the answers you seek. Truth is available for those who seek it. Click the NavBar buttons and enjoy.

Dec 27, 2011
gay is wrong so wrong !
by: Anonymous

in thre begin God create adam and eve.that is a clear sign that God needed a man and a woman to be together,and yes the bible might not clearly state the word masturbation is wrong,but please read 1thes-4:2-8.i will pray for you

Feb 29, 2012
Darn It Son....
by: Fla305

Last,Time I Checked Bi-Sexuality, Transgender, & Etc. Does Not Slide In The Face Of Our Lord Cased Closed. Except For Heterosexuality That The Lord Supports But The Other Sexuality's Are No Go's In The Lords


= BIBLE - That's The Acronym For His Manual.

Rick's comment: Cool acronym and typical goofiness from a professing christian. A word of advice - DO NOT believe everything you think!

As part of your Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth, I hope you learn to read and study the Bible in context, 2 Timothy 2:15. Have you memorized that verse yet?

Mar 01, 2012
The Bible is Silent on the Matter
by: Anonymous

The Bible does not say anything about masturbation at all. No verse within the entire book explicitly or implicitly describes the act, much less passes any judgment on it.

Any attempts to "infer" how God feels about it based on scriptures about other sexual acts or scenarios require a GREAT deal of assumption, and ultimately amount to the opinion of the one making the inference, rather than coming from any established teachings of Christ. Moreover, such attempts usually try to prejudge ones motivations for masturbation and presume that one is also engaging at the same time in a host of other activities deemed sinful, so that masturbation must also be guilty by association.

Further, attempts to use Pauline teachings to judge masturbation often fail to recognize that much of the New Testament comes from letters written by an author to a specific recipient or group of recipients, and undoubtedly infused with the writers own opinions on the matters discussed therein. While Paul was most certainly a pillar of the early Christian church, it would be a stretch to presume that God considers something a sin merely because Paul might have frowned upon the practice.

Mar 02, 2012
Who Ever Said I Was Christian?
by: Fla305

Last Time I Checked I Wasn't Professing Anything Sir. So, Instead Of Arguing With You We Will All See When The Rapture Comes & Who Get's Deceived By The Anti-Christ

Mar 02, 2012
Are you drunk or just confused?
by: Rick Brentlinger

You used the phrase, "does not slide in the face of our Lord," as if you are His. There are only two possibilities: You are saved or you are lost.

I apologize for assuming you are saved.

Jun 24, 2012
Have you not read the rest of the Bible?
by: Anonymous

You clearly pick and choose what you want to believe. How can you use the Bible to explain why masturbation may be wrong while you turn a blind eye to homosexuality by openly endorsing it?? Or have you just not read the rest of the Bible where homosexuality is condemned yet??

Rick's comment: You labor under the mistaken assumption that the Bible supports your views. If you are interested in truth, click the links on the NavBar under, What The Bible Says, for additional information.

It may surprise you to learn that your views can only be supported by ripping verses out of context to make them teach something they do NOT teach in context.

Dec 28, 2012
I'm surprised
by: Anonymous

I am surprised how you can suggest the possibility that masturbation is sinful while you argue that homosexuality is not sinful. If homosexuality is not sinful, it stands to reason that any behavior that is natural (not abnormal such as sex with animals), no longer linked with idolatry, and does not wrong another person, is acceptable behavior. That would also include masturbation, not just homosexuality.

If homosexuality is okay, so is "pre-marital sex" (if consensual, not covenant-breaking, and not idolatry-related), and therefore so is fantasizing about it, IF such fantasies are involved in the behavior of masturbation (for the sake of argument). The only way that masturbation would be sinful is if it involved fantasy about sex with a MARRIED person or with a cult prostitute.

In short, either fornication means "sex outside of marriage" and it also includes homosexuality, or it means something else (such as "participation in whoredom or adultery" as the verse "but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge" would imply) and therefore neither homosexuality, pre-marital sex (necessarily) in today's world, nor masturbation are a sin. I'm inclined to believe the latter option. And if the former definition of "fornication" is correct, then of the three behaviors I mentioned, masturbation is the only one that may NOT be sinful.

Rick's comment: I encourage you to carefully reread what I wrote since I am careful to distinguish what is sinful and what is not sinful. If you are going to define fornication, doesn't it make sense to examine every time that word is used in the Bible?

Doesn't it also make sense to examine the meaning of the Greek word πορνεύω porneia, to see how that word was used in the first century when our New Testament was written? The best scholarship on the subject indicates that porneia or fornication often referred to idol worship or stepping out on your marriage partner, i.e., breaking your commitment to your marriage partner.

Perhaps if I have time in 2013, I'll do a Bible study for this website on the meaning of porneia and our English word, fornication.

Aug 08, 2014
we could do this all day
by: Dana

the spirit of god is in us when we are saved leading us and helping us to understand the words of God and even when we are not saved the holy spirit has sway cause god ultimately decides.

if one has a question about what is a sin its in the bible but even more so it is our sense of discernment fueled by the holy spirit.

so if its wrong u will know by the festering question in your heart the spirit wont let u rest if righteousness is what u seek if god is what u seek u will feel conviction. however we can ignore the spirit and god and allow our flesh to justify our desires and find scripture to comfort our earthly and ferrocious desire to live for ourselves instead of gods glory. we must die daily.

it is painful it is humbling but it is personal and between u an god. we can only watch and pray. god bless u all may u deal with your own salvation with fear and trembling.

May 15, 2015
Lord have mercy
by: Thelma

Mr Rick, I pray for you that you will give your life to Christ, be filled with His Holy Spirit afresh so that the spirit of error will leave you so that you will not lead many to hell here on earth and there after.Jesus was anointed and He was delivering all those that were oppressed but you, who anointed you? the spirit speaking through you is definitely not the Spirit of God but nevertheless, i pray that God Himself will visit you and deliver you from destruction and the people who lack personal relationship with Jesus the Christ that are taking your demonically given advices to continue to live in sin and bondage.in Jesus name amen.

Rick's comment: Hi Thelma - I get that kind of response more often than you might think, and it always makes me smile. Why do people who rarely study the Bible assume that people who disagree with them must be unsaved?

Do you see the arrogance and pride in your comments? I disagree with YOU so I MUST NOT be saved. Is that how you approach life in general - when someone disagrees with YOU, they must be unsaved?

Lord have mercy! Has it never occurred to you that your lack of study is the problem? Here's something to keep in mind: When someone disagrees with you on what the Bible says, your first thought should not be, He's not saved.

Sep 16, 2015
What is your take on pedophilia?
by: Pietas

I found this page by typing https://www.gaychristian101.com/ masturbation. I did the same with pedophilia and found nothing. It should have an article too. Pedophilia is not outlawed in the Bible but I think when Jesus said if you harm a little child you deserve a millstone around your neck, that covers it along with anything else including the "rod" that fundamentalists like to use when disciplining.

You can love children but if it turns sexual, you are in sin. You can raise a child up righteously like a king uses his rod or a shepherd uses his rod for his sheep, without hitting the child.

Rick's comment: Hi Pietas - I do have a page on this topic.

Do you acknowledge pedophilia in any way?

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