Positive Protestant beliefs on masturbation
Protestant beliefs accepting masturbation:
We have not found any biblical verses which deal directly with masturbation.
Still, when this section of our web site was first written in 1997, all of the
Protestant web sites dealing with the topic
severely condemned the practice. Some even taught that masturbators would
automatically end up in Hell.
Since then, some moderate voices have emerged within the mainline and
conservative Protestant community:
Acceptance by mainline Protestant groups & individuals:
There is no reason to be fearful,
Pastor Paul of Gentle Spirit Christian Church, Atlanta, GA wrote:
From my point of view, masturbation
only becomes a problem if you are doing it so often that you hurt
yourself (bruising or making yourself irritated) and/or you no longer
desire a healthy sexual sharing with the person you love. In other
words, it replaces the sexual act with your partner in life. If you are
finding yourself preoccupied with masturbation and or the material that
generally goes along with it then I would say you have an issue to deal
with. Otherwise, you sound like a healthy man to me who is concerned
that what you do is OK with God. The fact you are concerned about
sharing your sex life with the one for whom you love is something I wish
there was more of these days.
However, saving yourself for your husband is about not being with any
person other then your husband either before or after. While most would
not admit it, masturbation is practiced even during the marriage. In
fact, masturbation is one of the tools we have for saving ourselves for
that special person with whom we will live and maintain our life with.
So, my dear child of God, while many in the world may be shaky, fearful
and guilt-ridden with an act that everyone does--there is no reason to
be fearful, guilty or all that concerned, morally, ethically, or
Acceptance by Fundamentalist and other Evangelical groups & individuals:
||Masturbation is OK as long as it is done with the right fantasy:|
New Man, an Evangelical Christian magazine, published an excerpt from
Richard Dobbins' book "Teaching your children the truth about sex." 8,9 Dobbins notes that "nationwide
surveys indicated that about 55% of all 13 year-olds, both boys and girls"
and more than 80% of of 15 year-olds masturbate. He emphasizes the importance of
parents talking to their children about the practice because so many are
confused and troubled by it.
He writes: "Openly discussing masturbation and sexual fantasy with your teens
will help them avoid the explosive damage sexual misbehavior can bring." His
prime concern is that the youth, during masturbation, will use either
pornographic pictures or fantasies involving a specific person. Their brain will
train itself to link the sexual stimulation with the fantasy that they use. This
can cause a need for pornography to be carried over into their married life.
However, if they direct a fantasy towards their future spouse, "...then there
is nothing morally wrong with it." For the teen, "The spiritual issue is
the fantasy accompanying the activity, not the activity itself." He
suggests that the parent:]
||Inform their child that sexual fantasies are a normal part of puberty.]
Teach that for a teen to Involve a specific person in their sexual fantasies
before becoming engaged "will devalue that person."]
||Warn them about the dangers of using pornography or mental images of
specific persons to stimulate their sexual excitement.]
||Teach them that, while masturbating, they should fantasize about making love
with their future spouse.]
||Explain that they should ask God for grace, if needed, to overcome feelings
||Neither condone nor condemn masturbation.]
||Review their own experiences during their teen years.
Masturbation is not much of an issue with
Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, a Fundamentalist Christian advocacy organization,
"It is my opinion that masturbation is not much of an issue with God. It
is a normal part of adolescence which involves no one else. It does not
cause disease. It does not produce babies, and Jesus did not mention it
in the Bible. I'm not telling you to masturbate, and I hope you won't
feel the need for it. But if you do, it is my opinion that you should
not struggle with guilt over it. Why do I tell you this? Because I deal
with so many Christian young people who are torn apart with guilt over
masturbation; they want to stop and just can't. I would like to help you
avoid that agony." 1
See also a Q&A section in the Focus on Your Child web site.
Masturbation in and of itself is not wrong:
Gerald Coates writes:
"Compulsive masturbation, simply for the purpose of self
gratification, with other people in mind is wrong. .....But masturbation
for the purpose of self control is something altogether different. The
act in and of itself is not wrong. When someone is under pressure to the
point of distraction, whether single or married, it is often better that
they relieve themselves - for at that point no mental stimulation is
Coats has been severely criticized by other
Evangelicals. 7 His views on masturbation may be atypical
of conservative Protestants.
Christians should not condemn masturbation:
Dean & Laura VanDruff write:
"Since scripture does not forbid masturbation directly, neither
should Christians in general. 'Nothing beyond what is written' in terms
of how we should help lead others to the Lord is the rule....We should
stick to emphasizing the things God has told us are important, and not
be teaching things that the Lord has never expressed His opinion
on.....Sex was not created for this, you can be sure. That God allows
masturbation to even work is a mystery (ever try tickling yourself?) and
so it is reasonable to assume that it is a 'gift' to keep ourselves from
temptation.... masturbation, never forbidden by God, can be used as one
of the ways that we can 'learn to control our bodies'; not by inflaming
the body with pornography or fantasies so that it can be done too often,
but in using it to keep ourselves from dangerous, physical temptation
when it can (rarely) be done without sinning in any way." 4
The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.
James Dobson, "Preparing for Adolescence - Straight talk to teens and
parents," Regal (1979). Believed to be out of print.
James Dobson, "Challenges in the Teen Years: Masturbation,"
Article, Focus on
the Family, at:
Gerald Coats, "Kingdom Now," Kingsway (1993). Believed to be out of
Dean & Laura VanDruff, "Masturbation: A Sin for Christians?," Acts 17:11
Bible Studies at:
Paul Turner, "Seeds of Hope: What does the Bible say about masturbation?"
Gentle Spirit Christian Church, at:
Ra McLaughlin, "Self Abuse?", Third Millennium Ministries, at:
Neil Richardson, "Unmasked: Gerald Coates," Christian Witness
Ministries, (2001) at:
Richard Dobbins, "Time to talk about the M word," New Man magazine,
2006-May/June, Pages 29 to 32.
"Teaching your children the truth about sex," Siloam Press, (2006). Read
reviews or order this book safely from Amazon.com online book
Copyright © 2005 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants
on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2006-DEC-28
Author: B.A. Robinson