Is Masturbation a Sin by Biblical Teachings?

Is Masturbation a Sin by Biblical Teachings?

Masturbation is a sensitive and personal topic that raises questions for many Christians about what the Bible says regarding whether it is sinful or not. This article will explore the complex religious and ethical debates around masturbation from multiple angles.

What Does the Bible Say About Masturbation?

There are no direct references to masturbation in the Bible. However, some interpret certain passages as indicating whether the act is considered sinful or not:

– The story of Onan in Genesis 38:9-10 describes him practicing coitus interruptus with his brother’s widow, Tamar, to avoid raising offspring in his brother’s name. Onan “spilled his semen on the ground” and this was displeasing to God. Some associate this story with condemnation of masturbation.

– Other passages like 1 Corinthians 7:8-9, Matthew 5:28-30, and Leviticus 15:16-18 regarding “emissions” and “uncleanness” are debated as well.

Overall, it’s complex with no definitive consensus from these indirect scriptural references. There are reasonable faith-based arguments on multiple sides.

Common Religious Perspectives

Here are some common religious stances on the issue:

It’s Sinful– Masturbation constitutes sexually immoral behavior outside of marriage. It’s considered lustful and selfish.

It’s Not Sinful – The act itself isn’t inherently immoral. Lustful thoughts during it may be, but masturbation can occur without sinful thinking.

It’s Complex – Onan’s story had unique circumstances. “Spilling seed” was not his only offense. The other passages are unclear in context. It should be an individual decision.

There are good-faith reasons across these viewpoints. There may not be an objectively “right” answer applicable to all.

Practical and Ethical Considerations

Beyond just theology, other angles to weigh:


– Natural stress relief
– Healthy exploration of sexuality
– Alternative to high-risk activities


– Possible addiction/compulsion
– Creating unrealistic expectations
– Promoting objectification

Other Factors

– Age, development, context
– Honoring partners’ boundaries
– Aligning with personal values

The basics come down to moderation, self-control, and avoiding harm to oneself or others.

In Conclusion

There are substantial arguments on multiple sides of this issue. There may not be a definitive answer. Christians can thoughtfully disagree on this complex and sensitive topic.

Ultimately, faith, reason, and ethical responsibility should inform believers’ stances. An open, non-judgmental dialogue is important for understanding different viewpoints.