Well, I must say that I didn’t expect this kind of response when I started this journey. I have had lots of feedback, questions and encouragements since I wrote Part 1. For that I am very grateful to you all.
But I wanted to tie up some loose ends and leave this conversation alone for a little while.
For those of you that are already caught up, let’s get right to it.
1. Not Just For The Men
First, let it be said that I am aware that the first two blogs are very male focused. That would come from the fact that I am a man, and am trying to address an issue that was brought to my attention by one man asking another man for advice.
As a refresher, Rev. Elfert was asked by a reader named Anthony if masturbation was wrong and if it bothered God that he did it. When I read this, I felt that the response was lacking an appropriate response based on a Biblical foundation, and wrote Part 1 as a rebuttal, or a second opinion for Anthony.
In Part 2, I discussed ways to combat masturbation, ways to stop or avoid the temptation to engage in sexual immorality. I shared what has worked for me and others that I know that have the same struggle.
In all this, I may have unintentionally alienated my female audience. For that I apologize. In no way am I avoiding you or the fact that women read Christian Thought Sandbox. What advice I have offered was not intended only for the male gender, but also for the female as well. The call for a sexually moral life, or a life abstaining from sexual immorality that God calls His people to is not only for the men. While the Bible may use the word “men” when discussing the do’s and don’ts of the faithful, it is more often meant for “all men” or “all humankind”. The men and the women are equally called to a life of sexual purity. There are instances when the Bible is talking directly to the male gender, but in this case, it is not.
God’s law to abstain from sexual immorality knows no bound.
It doesn’t matter what age you may be, teenagers, middle aged adults and seniors are commanded to obey just the same. If you are of one nationality or a specific ethnicity, you are just as responsible to live rightly as a member of a neighbouring nation or another ethnicity. Cultural barriers, language differences, marital status, even sexual orientation does not exempt you from the Word of God. No category that we can make or manufacture will give us leeway or give us a way to somehow supersede God’s Law.
For those that call themselves the Children of God, male and female, are to abstain from sexual immorality in all its forms, including masturbation. We should endeavor to live a life that is masturbation free.
2. But What About The Health Benefits?
After I posted Part 2, a reader commented that I should reconsider my position on this topic. I seemed to have missed out on the fact that there are health benefits to regular masturbation. References to research and studies was mentioned and I was told that I should rethink how I was reading and interpreting my Bible.
Just as it is with research on smoking and the effects that it has on a person’s lungs, and the connection to lung cancer, all research on masturbation being beneficial is ongoing. It is not complete. They do not know this for a “fact”.
What they do know is that regular masturbation has pointed to prevention of prostate cancer. Now, hear me clearly dear reader. I do not want to suffer through the living hell that is cancer. I do not want you to live through the hell that is cancer and radiation treatments and chemotherapy and surgery. I do not want anyone to have to suffer through that.
However, to say that you will masturbate because it is good for the body is to make for yourself a loophole. Like I talked about in Part 2, often times people will not take seriously what God has commanded and will find ways to get around this absolute truth that we are not to masturbate. To say that masturbation is fine for the health benefits is to elevate your physical wellbeing and desire for personal preservation over the Word of God. Is your body so grand and holy that it trumps what God has spoken? No. Is your potential health and the possibility of a clean prostate more important than obedience to God? No.
And if you are really that worried about your prostate, eat a tomato. They have been shown to be excellent for your prostate. I can’t say it’s proven either, but if you are honestly that worried about prostate cancer, make tomatoes a regular part of your diet. This way you have the health benefits you desire and have not been disobedient to God. Everyone wins.
But avoiding prostate cancer isn’t the only health benefit that people try to attach to masturbation.
When a man has had sexual intercourse, not masturbation, but actual penetrative sex there is a chemical that is released into the body. Apparently this helps create a natural sex drive, but can cause bodily harm if not released from the body. The only way that this is possible is through an emission of semen.
This was not something that I was aware of before I started all this. I did take the required sex education class in school, but this tidbit wasn’t covered. God created the male body to have sex and to have regular ejaculations. Even on the chemical level, this is how we are built.
Some people would advocate that this is a valid reason to masturbate. We don’t want to willfully cause ourselves harm. While there is a way to avoid prostate cancer,masturbation is the only way to deal with this. Right?
Wrong. While I cannot deny the science and the marvelous way that God has made the body, I want to remind people of something that was most certainly talked about in your sex ed class; the wet dream. The wet dream is the body’s natural emission of built up semen and other chemicals in the reproductive system. There is no need for you or anyone else to do anything to your sex organs to cause this to happen. Miraculously, the brain knows when the body cannot take it anymore, and will voluntarily ejaculate.
God has created a way that the male body can go without masturbating to release any chemicals in the reproductive system in a perfectly harmless way. There is no sin committed, no sexually immoral act done.
One issue is that people don’t want to wait for their bodies to take care of this need. Why patiently wait for what will naturally resolve when I can fix it right now? And enjoy it rather than being oblivious to it? This thinking is ripe for being another supposed loophole or a way of trying to bypass God’s clear commands and should be avoided by Christians.
It is faulty thinking and disobedience to God to assume that there are health benefits to masturbation. The reality is, there aren’t any. Eat a tomato and be patient.
3. But What About Stamina or Endurance?
I do not know where the idea that sexual stamina or endurance in sexual activities equates to great masculinity or femininity, but it seems to be extremely prevalent today. Apparently, having sex with numerous partners, mastering certain sexual acts and just being sexual all the time has become a lifestyle to aspire to now.
As a way of achieving this end, some people use masturbation as a form of exercise, practice before the big game, as it were. The end goal is a more enjoyable and longer lasting sexual experience.
While this excuse is another example of creating a loophole and trying to escape God’s commands, I cannot fault people for wanting to have an enjoyable experience when talking about sex.
Sex was made to be enjoyed. It was created to be a good time. Look at all the chemicals that are released when you have sex, all pleasure focused chemicals. If God didn’t intend sex to be fun, then there would be no “pleasure” chemicals. It would not feel so good. Instead it would be a simple mechanical act. Not a mind blowing, physically exhilarative experience.
My advice, if you want to have more enjoyable and longer lasting sexual experiences, is simple. Have more sex. Masturbation is nothing like sex. You can talk about stimulation and trying to last longer, but what you do by yourself is nothing like what happens when you are having sex.
The only thing that is going to help you enjoy sex more is more sex.
(And I say that in tandem with what the Bible says about sex. That for Christians sex is found within the covenant vows of marriage. Sex outside of marriage is not acceptable for those that call themselves followers of Christ.)
4. So What Should I Do With My Desires & Needs?
One of the biggest things that people are left with wondering after reading Parts 1 and 2 is this question, what am I supposed to do with these sexual desires or my sexual needs?
Rev. Elfert, in a recent Father Knows Best article, said this.
“God wants us to be sexual.
God made us to be sexual.”
This I agree with. God did make us to be sexual. Why would we have genitalia if we weren’t supposed to be? Why would God have made Adam and Eve and left them alone in the garden, naked, if He didn’t want them to be intimate? Why would God tell them to be fruitful and multiply, if He didn’t want them to be having sex?
You would have to have some really unique hermeneutics to come up with the biblical idea that sexuality is bad.
To say that as human beings, male and female, we have a sexual drive or a desire for sex is to speak truthfully about how we were designed and made to operate. I think the folly comes from calling it a “need”.
When someone talks about needs, I think of the necessities for life. Food is a need. Water is a need. Without any food or water the human body will slowly shut down and die. This is proven. It is a fact. That is why people are often advocating that everyone has food to eat and clean water to drink. Because these two “needs” are essential to human life, and to sustaining that life.
However, we also know for a fact that the body can go for periods of time without food or water. I was in the doctor’s office one morning and it was filled with elderly men and women that were waiting to have some diabetes tests done. Everyone of them had to fast, eat no food, for at least 12 hours before the test.
They had to deny their need for food. They had to say no to their body. It wasn’t that what they were feeling was wrong, but these diabetic men and women understood that there was something more important than the hunger that they felt that morning.
When I was a teenager, my youth group would often participate in the World Vision 30 Hour Famine. For 30 hours we would deny ourselves any food and raise money to get food to those in third world countries. Going without food for little over a day was a tiny exercise in experiencing what so many live through every day. For 30 hours, we stopped ourselves from eating for the greater purpose of raising funds and awareness of global hunger.
When people talk about sex and masturbation the idea of denying one’s self is unheard of. It is thought to be criminal or even harmful to yourself. Because expressing one’s sexuality is a “need”, they say.
The reality is, just like men and women all over the world fast from food, deny themselves breakfast for a test, we can deny ourselves sexual satisfaction and still live. The diabetic men and women did eat later that day. After 30 hours of fasting, we teens gorged ourselves on pizza. We survived. Denying ourselves did not kill us. We were not worse for the wear. It did not damage us emotionally, physically or psychologically.
If anything, denying ourselves opened our eyes to the reality that there are more important things than our own pleasures.
Men and women can go without masturbation, even go without sex, and be perfectly fine. They will not shrivel up and die because of this denial. Think about it this way. For the first 14 years of your life, you were a sexual being. You had genitalia. There were hormones filling your body, but you didn’t have to have sex or masturbate to live. You were perfectly fine to eat, drink, play outside, go to church and school without any sexual activity. Now, the average age for sexually active children is continually falling, but lets say 14 is the average age. 14 years is a long time to deny one’s self, but it doesn’t break you. Like wise, on the other end of life, closer to the end, sexual activity will become less important. While people can be having sex into their later years, there is not the same desire or drive for it. Does that mean that elderly men and women have lost that sexual nature or sexual being-ness that they were created with? Of course not. They are simply denying themselves, refusing to do or give into those desires because they are not necessary for life. What is more important is food and water.
Our desire for sex or sexual satisfaction is not a “need”. It doesn’t have to be satisfied. To say that it must is to elevate our sexuality to a pedestal that it was never intended to stand on. To say that you can’t control your need or your desire for sex or masturbation is to demean yourself and glorify your sex drive. You can’t tell your body no? That is depressing. Men and women do that all the time, like fasting from food or avoiding certain vices like alcohol or smoking tobacco. They realize their body wants something but they continually speak to their desire or need and let it know who is in command.
You can’t control your desire or need to masturbate or have sex? I’m sorry, but that just isn’t the case. I find it remarkably foolish of people to say that they have no power of their own bodies when that is not the truth. The mind, our thought processes, that is what controls the body. The urges and desires and needs we feel do not have to be given into. To live that way is to live like a child that must have every toy that it sees in the toy aisle at Wal-Mart. It must have it, it must do that because that child has no self control or understanding of what a disastrous choice giving into everything would be.
I’m not saying that this is easy or that your sexual desires and urges will vanish with a single decision to abstain or not give in. Refusing these desires is a very difficult and taxing ordeal. But that doesn’t mean that it isn’t a fight that you can’t win, or that it isn’t a battle worth fighting.
And please understand, I am passing judgment on myself first. I am guilty of giving into my desires and urges. I have masturbated. I have sinned and done exactly what I knew I wasn’t supposed to. That doesn’t make anything that I have said less true.
What it does is illustrate how prevalent this lie is that we must give in, and how we like to accept that lie over the truth. Christians are not to be like that. We are not slaves to our desires or our needs. We are called to be slaves to Christ, to be obedient to Him and His commands. And He calls us to a holy and righteous lifestyle. One that is pure and avoids sin, and that includes masturbation.
5. You Can’t Tell Me What To Do
You know what? You are wrong.
I can tell you want to do. I can show you what the Bible says about masturbation, about sexual immorality. I can tell you that you need to deny yourself and pursue a pure and holy sexual lifestyle. I can tell you how to avoid and move away from masturbation. I can tell you all these things, all I want.
What I can’t do is make you listen and act on them.
That part falls to you.
I started down this path asking Christians, not people that do not call Christ their Lord, to realize what the Scriptures said and to start living by them. The Apostle Paul told the church in Corinth to flee from sexual immorality, run away from it, do whatever you have to so that you are not guilty of this sin.
I wanted to see Christian brothers and sisters take seriously the call of God to live a holy lifestyle, to live in the world, but not to live by its standards. I wanted to encourage and edify those that struggled with this one particular issue that they are not alone and that they can live in victory over this addiction.
If that is something that you want as well, then I encourage you to do what I tell you. Do what the Scriptures tell you, because I am only repeating what it has said. Do what God has asked of you, what He knows you are capable of doing. Avoid sin and live a life that honours our God.