YOBcast Episode 011: Masturbation, Part 1

Posted by

What is masturbation? How do we discover masturbation in childhood? Where do we draw the line of morality with masturbation, and what does the Bible say about it — if anything?

Masturbation is such a taboo topic in Christian circles, and we talked so much this episode that we actually decided to split this one in two; stay tuned later this month for Part 2. Thanks to our faithful patrons, we’ve raised an incredible $1000/month and are now committing to two podcasts every month! We’re thrilled to be doing more of what we love.

If you believe in what we’re doing at YOB from the blog to the podcast and beyond, consider supporting us financially each month via Patreon! Even $1/month gets you regular behind-the-scenes access to our blog, podcast, and video projects, and this covers the cost of our domain for a whole year.

Just $5/month allows you access to our secret, patron-only Facebook group where you can contribute questions/topics for future podcast episodes while also getting to know fellow supporters and bloggers alike. Our humble group is turning into quite the close-knit community! We’d love to have you join us.

Visit our YOB Patreon page for more information on how you can support what we’re doing.

If you enjoy our show and haven’t yet done so, please consider rating us and leaving us a review on iTunes! It only takes a couple minutes, and you can also subscribe to our show on iTunes, Stitcher, or Google Play. These simple actions help us extend our reach even further.

New to the show or wanna get in touch? Shoot us an email! We’d love to hear from you: podcast@yourotherbrothers.com

Wanna write to us the old-fashioned way? Drop us a line!

Your Other Brothers
PO Box 843
Asheville, NC 28801

Finally, don’t forget to comment on this episode. How do you define masturbation? How did you learn about it, and where do you draw the line of morality?

We hope you enjoy our latest episode below:

Show notes for Episode 011:

Tom’s “Sexuality in the Church” conference recap: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2017/02/23/sexuality-church/

Tom’s “Sexual Sobriety” post: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/2016/07/21/100-days-sexual-sobriety/

Tom’s posts: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/tom/

Elliott’s posts: https://www.yourotherbrothers.com/author/elliott/

  • Steve Boyer

    While there seems to be no direct commands against this in Scripture, there are at least 53 verses that call for us to deny ourselves. We can call it the lessor of 2 evils or we can edge without going all the way, or say we can do it without lusting but we’re still just trying to avoid the command of self denial. While none of us really want to say no to this, and it is incredibly freaking hard to say no to this, if we are truly trying to follow scripture, then the 53 should be our guide. That’s my stance, my battle, my stake in the ground and my challenge to all of you. Keep up the good fight!

  • At Peace

    Well, to get the attention you need for support of the ministry, throw in the Masturbation wrench. It always catches the eye. Excellent scheme, well done mates.

    • I sure hope this is sarcastic?

      • At Peace

        Yes it was. I was giggling when I typed it.

  • At Peace

    However, Masturbation is only good when you need to release the tension that build up in our male body. The do’s and dont’s of the scriptures do not apply to us. We do not live by the law, we can only acknowledge that the law is Holy and Spirit, our part is to accept the law as truth, but to act on it, is not ours to do. “For with the mind, I serve the law of God, but with the body, the law of sin”. In other words, I serve the law of God in my mind, but if I try to act on what is in my mind by applying it through works, I sin”. “Oh wretched man that I am”. So who’s work is this? It’s the work of the Holy Spirit to change me by the renewing of my mind that my spirit be changed in the image of Christ, so that the righteousness be revealed through us by the working of the Holy and Spirit. “I shall put my law in their hearts and I will CAUSE them to walk in them”. Masturbation is not the problem, sin is not the problem, the rejection of truth is. All through the scriptures, God has said, “they have forgotten Me’. When we forget God, we shall be turned into hell. We need to keep God at our centre. If we have to masturbate, then do it, get it over with and give thanks for the release of that bodily pressure. If you can’t give thanks, and if we are constantly thinking that everything we do is a sin, we are still in the elementary stage of our Christian experience. If you can receive this, “Behold the lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world”. Sin after the cross is no longer the issue. The rejection of the gospel when heard, is!!

  • Emily Gruver

    This podcast was great and very interesting + informative. Thank you for discussing this, Tom and Elliott!

  • Brian

    Tom, when you went through those months without masturbating did you have nocturnal emissions as a “natural” release? I’m starting to think that having a nocturnal emission is the natural way of bodily release rather than depending on masturbation as a way of releasing. What do you think?

  • Brian

    That’s odd, I posted a comment and while it says that I posted it, I don’t see it up here . . . . as if it was taken down

    • Not sure what happened, Brian; I didn’t take anything down. What was it you said originally?

      • Brian

        Originally I asked you Tom when you took that long period of time away from masturbating, did you go through a more natural, biological release such as “nocturnal emission”?

        • I believe this will actually be addressed in Part 2, coming out in a couple weeks. Stay tuned!

  • Thanks Mike! I wish we’d existed years ago, too. But then I probably wasn’t in a good place to help make this site exist then. All in God’s good timing . . .

  • Malcolm

    While I believe that it is best to avoid masturbation, the reality is that it is something that practically all of us do from time-to-time. As Tom and Elliott indicate in the podcast, it is not directly addressed in the Bible. If it were always a sin, it would have been explicitly addressed. Incest, bestiality, and sodomy are explicitly addressed. Lust is addressed, and lust is always a sin. So the question becomes can one masturbate without lust? I believe that the answer is yes. However, I will admit that most of the time, I have masturbated with lust, and it has been sinful. However, there have been some times when I believe that I have done it without lust. Hopefully this won’t get me kicked off this site, but I would like to offer some specific suggestions for doing so. I’m sorry if these are too explicit, but I think that the topic demands frankness. 1) If you need to look at porn or fantasize in order to get an erection, you don’t need to masturbate. If you really need to masturbate to control your sex drive, then you will become erect just on the thought that you are about to get some relief. Therefore, I don’t think that one could masturbate daily without lust — probably only once or twice a week at most would be justified. 2) Clear your mind, and focus on your breathing — steady, deep breathing. 3) Don’t look at your genitals while you are doing this. That is likely to trigger lustful thoughts. I suggest laying on your back and stare at the ceiling. I think that it is best to keep your eyes open as this helps to prevent fantasy. 4) As orgasm approaches, take note of the sensations throughout your body. It can be quite interesting to note what is happening in your body away from your genitals — you may note tingling sensations in your extremities. 5) Don’t “edge”. You don’t need to rush the process, but prolonging it only invites fantasy and sinful thoughts. 6) This may not be necessary for preventing sin, but for the sake of being able to properly perform sexually with a future wife, I suggest that you don’t stimulate yourself in any novel way that you would not experience during sexual intercourse — e.g., vibrators, or things like that. Don’t use a “death grip”, and don’t go at a break neck speed. When done with the right attitude, I believe that masturbation can be tool (pun intended) for a young man to keep his sex drive in check, and his thoughts pure.

  • Fred

    Really, and this is just my perspective, especially for me, I see it as a failure to give God control. God is our sustainer, and we give our lives and pleasure up to Him. With Him on your side, there is no temptation that is too great, including this one. You CAN be sustained by him.

    That isn’t to say it is always wrong, but, to me at least, I don’t think it really ever is right. And if it is, it’s probably an extremely specific situation that doesn’t realistically exist. But hey, prayer leads to the ultimate answer. What God says to you is worth way more than any man’s word. Lol! And that’s what I’ve been told for me: it’s not for me.

    Speaking of prayer, this is the first podcast I listened to entirely (actually I skipped about 5 minutes but still), so I don’t know for sure what you guys do throughout, but it would be a cool idea to hold, like, a prayer right before a podcast. Get some of the other community members in on it. Just an idea FWIW. I think it would be cool. To have guys from across the community all praying for God to speak through you guys right before an episode could be awesome!

    • Good thoughts, Fred. We have a private Facebook group with our financial supporters, and we always pitch the next podcast episode to them. So, they’re always aware of what we’re about to talk about (and I’m sure many pray for us), though we’ve never organized any sort of audible group prayer beforehand. I like the concept, though, and maybe we’ll even incorporate prayer into the show itself one day should a fitting situation arise.

      • Fred

        Thanks Tom!

        I’ve considered becoming a financial donor when possible. After all, the help this site gives is well worth the money.

        I really think the organized prayer idea would be cool. I’m glad you like it!

  • Alan Gingery

    I think you did a great job of sharing the various scriptures and also collecting the various viewpoints that exist on the topic of masturbation as it relates to a Christian man. I look forward to part 2.

    Kevin Frye (fellow writer on YOB) has quite a few blogs on masturbation with some challenging views for Christian men to consider that don’t always fit into the typical “Churchy” teaching on masturbation…and I recommend that anybody listening to this podcast also check out Kevin’s blogs…I guarantee they will make you think.

    Ultimately, one person can not decide for another person what the proper course is on this subject, but each man should prayerfully seek God’s will for their lives and follow their consciences. By all means read the Bible passages, consult respected teachers, discuss it with other Christian men. There is no direct commandment against it. There are arguments for and against it. I recently read a comment from a respected high profile Christian leader, that his own father–a pastor, told him it was a natural way to relieve the sexual energy men that have when there was not a possibility for sex with a women in a marriage relationship.

    I was challenged by a secular psychologist (Robert Glover in the book, No More Mr. Nice Guy*) to consider HEALTHY MASTURBATION. By healthy, he meant masturbation for enjoyment, but without any of the unhealthy things (pornography, fantasy, sexting, chat rooms, etc.) that people use along with masturbation. He did not use the term LUST, but essentially (as a non-Christian writer) he was describing the Biblical concept of LUST, which most Christians agree is sinful. *This book is on codependency. Only one chapter was devoted to sex.

    Most Christians have always associated masturbation with some lustful practice or another…and so the idea that masturbation could be “neutral” as Robert Glover suggests, is very hard to believe. The homework assignment for the chapter on sex in the book, No More Mr. Nice Guy, was to practice healthy masturbation without any props, any lustful thoughts, no use of porn or sexual fantasy. I have to say that this was not an easy assignment at first (but one that I enjoyed!) My conclusion after my “homework” was that it is possible to masturbate without lust for some men. This takes practice and a commitment to keep their thoughts pure…but in one sense, every man who gets married must also make a commitment to his wife and his marriage to keep his thoughts pure, not looking at other women with lust, not viewing porn, etc. It can be done. We all face temptations!

    Temptation is not sin, it is what we do when tempted that either takes us to sin or keeps us from sin. All Christians deal with temptations…and we must all learn to respond as God wants us to. It is the process of sanctification that He calls us to. He calls us to be something so much better than we ever imagined.

  • James a la carte

    T&E, great podcast, looking forward to part 2. I was glad Elliott still blessed us at the end. 🙂

    I would be interested in hearing more in-depth conversation about how abstaining (or not) impacts us spiritually, relationally, emotionally, etc.

    • Glad you enjoyed it, James! This is definitely a gigantic topic we can dive deeper into time and time again…

  • The Dunedain

    My struggle with masturbation is the result of an over-desire for comfort. It is normal and healthy to desire good things in our lives, and even God is willing to give us the desires of our hearts, if we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4); but over-desire is idolatry. I masturbate when I feel bored, stressed, alone, or overwhelmed in an effort to restore emotional, mental, and perhaps (I’m ashamed to say) even spiritual equilibrium to myself, but idols are hard masters, and serving them is difficult. All idols, whether they are over-desires for comfort, control, power, or acceptance, demand constant maintenance and frequent payment at the altars of self-indulgence and self-gratification, and we soon find ourselves enslaved to their service. We are all too willing to pay the price, whatever it may be (reduced productivity, less community, less independence, and loneliness, as a few examples) to continue worshipping at these monuments of self in exchange for a few brief moments of “peace” before the storm resumes and inevitably drives us back to the same broken harbor.

    It’s all about where we run to for…(fill in the blank – comfort, power, control, etc. etc. etc. etc.) when we feel…(fill in the blank – frightened, angry, humiliated, rejected, overlooked, etc. etc. etc. etc.). If it’s anything other than God, and it often is, we are only setting ourselves up for the empty and bitter cycle of idol worship.

    This is why God hates idols. He is a jealous God for our own good. In the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 11), Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” We can do nothing in and of ourselves to remove these idols from our hearts. We have to let God reveal our idols to us and then run to Him so the power of the Holy Spirit can work in our lives to uproot what we have already buried deep inside. What God wants most is for us to love Him with our whole hearts, but idols take up space for us to be able to do that. I need the Gospel, daily (Paul said he crucified the flesh daily) and completely, and I need my Savior’s rescue, daily and completely.

    A final thought: I believe it was Timothy Keller who said, “The root of holiness is to warm yourself at the fire of God’s love rather than to steal love and self-acceptance from others.” I think about this a lot, especially in regards to masturbation. The things I do to satisfy the urge to masturbate require me to objectify other men, which is, in essence, stealing love and acceptance from others, even if they are witting participants. In my moments of weakness, I instead need to run to God whose love is steadfast and unchanging if I want to experience true fulfillment of the longings which drive me to masturbate in the first place.

  • The Dunedain

    My struggle with masturbation is the result of an over-desire for comfort. It is normal and healthy to desire good things in our lives, and even God is willing to give us the desires of our hearts, if we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4); but over-desire is idolatry. I masturbate when I feel bored, stressed, alone, or overwhelmed in an effort to restore emotional, mental, and perhaps (I’m ashamed to say) even spiritual equilibrium to myself, but idols are hard masters, and serving them is difficult. All idols, whether they are over-desires for comfort, control, power, or acceptance, demand constant maintenance and frequent payment at the altars of self-indulgence and self-gratification, and we soon find ourselves enslaved to their service. And we are all too willing to pay the price, whatever it may be (reduced productivity, less community, less independence, and loneliness, as a few examples) to continue worshipping at these monuments of self in exchange for a few brief moments of “peace” before the storm resumes and inevitably drives us back to the same broken harbor.

    It’s all about where we run to for…(fill in the blank – comfort, power, control, etc. etc. etc. etc.) when we feel…(fill in the blank – frightened, angry, humiliated, rejected, overlooked, etc. etc. etc. etc.). If it’s anything other than God, and it often is, we are only setting ourselves up for the empty and bitter cycle of idol worship.

    This is why God hates idols. He is a jealous God for our own good. In the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 11), Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” We can do nothing in and of ourselves to remove these idols from our hearts. We have to let God reveal our idols to us and then run to Him so the power of the Holy Spirit can work in our lives to uproot what we have already buried deep inside. What God wants most is for us to love Him with our whole hearts, but idols take up space for us to be able to do that. I need the Gospel, daily (Paul said he crucified the flesh daily) and completely, and I need my Savior’s rescue, daily and completely.

    A final thought: I believe it was Timothy Keller who said, “The root of holiness is to warm yourself at the fire of God’s love rather than to steal love and self-acceptance from others.” I think about this a lot, especially in regards to masturbation. The things I do to satisfy the urge to masturbate require me to objectify other men, which is, in essence, stealing love and acceptance from others, even if they are witting participants. In my moments of weakness, I instead need to run to God whose love is steadfast and unchanging if I want to experience true fulfillment of the longings which drive me to masturbate in the first place.

  • The Dunedain

    My struggle with masturbation is the result of an over-desire for comfort. It is normal and healthy to desire good things in our lives, and even God is willing to give us the desires of our hearts, if we delight in Him (Psalm 37:4); but over-desire is idolatry. I masturbate when I feel bored, stressed, alone, or overwhelmed in an effort to restore emotional, mental, and perhaps (I’m ashamed to say) even spiritual equilibrium to myself, but idols are hard masters, and serving them is difficult. All idols, whether they are over-desires for comfort, control, power, or acceptance, demand constant maintenance and frequent payment at the altars of self-indulgence and self-gratification, and we soon find ourselves enslaved to their service. And we are all too willing to pay the price, whatever it may be (reduced productivity, less community, less independence, and loneliness, as a few examples) to continue worshipping at these monuments of self in exchange for a few brief moments of “peace” before the storm resumes and inevitably drives us back to the same broken harbor.

    It’s all about where we run to for…(fill in the blank – comfort, power, control, etc. etc. etc. etc.) when we feel…(fill in the blank – frightened, angry, humiliated, rejected, overlooked, etc. etc. etc. etc.). If it’s anything other than God, and it often is, we are only setting ourselves up for the empty and bitter cycle of idol worship.

    • The Dunedain

      This is why God hates idols. He is a jealous God for our own good. In the Gospel of Matthew (Chapter 11), Jesus says, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” We can do nothing in and of ourselves to remove these idols from our hearts. We have to let God reveal our idols to us and then run to Him so the power of the Holy Spirit can work in our lives to uproot what we have already buried deep inside. What God wants most is for us to love Him with our whole hearts, but idols take up space for us to be able to do that. I need the Gospel, daily (Paul said he crucified the flesh daily) and completely, and I need my Savior’s rescue, daily and completely.

      A final thought: I believe it was Timothy Keller who said, “The root of holiness is to warm yourself at the fire of God’s love rather than to steal love and self-acceptance from others.” I think about this a lot, especially in regards to masturbation. The things I do to satisfy the urge to masturbate require me to objectify other men, which is, in essence, stealing love and acceptance from others, even if they are witting participants. In my moments of weakness, I instead need to run to God whose love is steadfast and unchanging if I want to experience true fulfillment of the longings which drive me to masturbate in the first place.

      • mike

        YES! Learn to run to Jesus when you are thirsty. Run to idols and seconds later you’ll be even more thirsty. But like to the women at the well of John 4, Jesus said the water that He gives will never leave you thirsty again!

  • A Friend

    I can remember basically–in so many words–ejaculate and you’re hell bound. Thus, any “good feelings” were sin and OMG(osh), I’ve just been given a ticket to purgatory. With that fear, I remember thinking after masturbating, the days and days of guilt, and I associated orgasms with sin. However, I thought I was weird later in college years and beyond, because I could masturbate with no association with sensuality. Stress, unable to sleep, ad infinitum, relieving myself was a great way to fall back to sleep, calm down, and even avoid inappropriate encounters. I’m glad others have said likewise. Again, nice to know I’m not alone.

    • Can totally relate with that hellbound mindset, though maybe not to quite that extreme. Tons of guilt and remorse every time I did it as a kid, though.

  • Christian

    My podcast so far. Thanks for y’alls quality treatment of the subject. Elliott, love your biblical analysis. Looking forward to the next one!

    • Thanks for the feedback, Christian! Always striving to get better every episode.

  • Eddie

    I have to subscribe with the dictionary definition referenced by Elliot for the definition of masturbation. I wrote about my own personal discovery here on YOB. My dad rented what seemed like an innocuous foreign film but it had a fair amount of sexual activity by the two main stars. It was that imagery stuck in my head that lead me to discover masturbation. I visualized internally myself as the male character having relations with his female counterpart to the point of reaching climax. Where I have drawn the line of morality has been very gray. At first the sexual release was liberating and pleasurable, yet it took a bad turn when it became addictive. I justified it (like all addictions) by telling myself if I could just do it I could at least feel good for that short period of climax. It became my go-to stress relieving activity throughout high school and college. I don’t know how I’d rank it as immoral or part of biological design. This is where I tend to be a bit rebellious and self-righteous towards God saying: “Hey, you made me this way, your design. The hormones get going after a time of abstinence. How else do you want to deal with this?” Sadly, afterwards I feel guilt ridden and ask Him to forgive me hoping this transgression won’t cause me get a one-way ticket to hell.