Physical temptation is an ever-present sin for many people. It’s nearly impossible to avoid sexualized depictions in movies, on television, and even in music. Purity and chastity are somewhat frowned upon. And people who even dress or act modestly are ridiculed for being prudish or uptight.
When this temptation crosses over into lust, it’s a sin. Lust may lead a man to satisfy sinful urges through masturbation, an act that pulls a Christian away from God. But is masturbation without lust possible?
Reasons Masturbation is a Sin
The average person — or even a healthcare or mental health professional — might say, “There’s no shame in masturbating! It’s natural, a mental and physical release of desires and stress.”
But most men lust when they masturbate. And God is clear on the subject of lust, deepening its meaning to include the Commandment against adultery:
You have heard that it was said to those of old, “You shall not commit adultery.” But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart. (Matthew 5:27-28, NKJV)
Is Masturbation Without Lust Possible?
Though it may start innocently during childhood, masturbation usually progresses to involve lustful desires. These desires can include, in later years, the use of pornography, which men often look at when masturbating. But can you masturbate without lust?
In his book “Sex, Men, and God”, Doug Weiss wrote that there are three types of men in the world. And it’s quite difficult for a man to change his “type.”
The three types of men are:
- Type A: Men Who Don’t Masturbate. Believing that this is the smallest group of men in the Western world, Weiss says he’s only met a handful of men in his life who say they have never masturbated. He adds that masturbation isn’t common outside the Western world because it’s not a cultural norm.
- Type B: Men Who Don’t Fantasize When Masturbating. These men don’t delve into fantasy, keeping “connected” to themselves and usually showing no shame or guilt after the experience. They consider masturbation a sexual release that doesn’t involve sin.
- Type C: Men Who Lust During Masturbation. These men focus on mental or actual images or objects, “disconnected” from themselves during the act.
Weiss also discusses sex in marriage, asking men whether they can be completely honest with their wives about their sexual expressions. This discussion also begs the question, If you can’t be honest about such sexual expression, are you truly in control of it?
Weiss also talks about whether a man has a self-centered view on sex, and lays out the differences between what he calls “me-sex” and “we-sex:”
If you can’t be honest with your wife about your total sexual expression, then you probably need to evaluate the reason for your ongoing lies to your wife.
In essence, when a man’s lustful desires have free reign, sex is entirely self-centered. This also includes when a man lusts after his own wife. The Apostle Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 7:4b (NKJV), “The husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.” And the Orthodox Christian Saint John Chrysostom, a father of the early Christian Church, explained further that neither the husband nor the wife is the “master” of himself or herself, but that “they are servants to each other.”
So, is masturbation without lust possible? Is it possible to have sexual release without sinning? Yes, it is. But it’s difficult for most men.
Masturbation can provide a sexual release if it isn’t possible for a man and his wife to be with each other physically. Such reasons include chronic illness or a physical distance between them. And it’s also done for experimentation to know what feels good to you and your partner to enrich the experiences you can have together.
Still, masturbation is sinful. The Apostle Paul admonished the sexually unrestrained of the ancient city of Corinth in his first Epistle to them:
Flee sexual immorality. Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body… Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Corinthians 6:18, 20b)
He also reiterated the presence of the Holy Spirit in them: “…Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit…?” (v. 19)
And that still rings true today, regardless of modern culture’s view of sex. But one other thing that also is true is the infinite mercy of our Lord. King David, committed a heinous act of sexual sin with a married woman and tried to cover it up (through murder, no less). Yet today, he’s still considered a “man after God’s own heart,” because he pleaded for God’s mercy when the Prophet Nathan called David out on these sins:
Have mercy on me, O God, according to Your great mercy, and according to the abundance of Your compassion, blot out my transgression. (Psalm 50:3, LXX)
How Boulder Recovery Can Help
At Boulder Recovery, we know how difficult it is to deal with and heal after sexual sins. That’s why we specialize in dealing with pornography and sex addiction and their damaging effects on men, their wives, and their relationships.
Boulder Recovery offers a unique 14-Day Men’s Intensive program involving a Bible-centered Christian approach for the sex- and porn-addicted man. The intensive takes place at our treatment facility, one that’s private, supportive, and non-judgmental.
If you or someone you know needs help dealing with sexual sins, including pornography, sexual addiction, or masturbation, reach out to us at Boulder Recovery. We’re here to help you get on the road to recovery from pornography and sex addiction.