by Dr. Ken Matto

In the sex saturated society we live in, it is obvious that sexual tension and lust is going to run at an all time high. There are those who will take the route of paying a member of the opposite sex (both male or females do it) to "relieve" their sexual lust. Of course if this person is a Christian and for fear of getting caught, they will either go far away from the home vicinity or to go behind closed doors and engage in masturbation. This act is done by both males and females which means this is not a one sided issue. It is probably more prevalent among males since a male's arousal time is much faster. This is such a secret subject because no one would ever admit they are doing it, whether saved or unsaved.

The question we must address is not whether the act is happening, but is this act sin? I do not want to address this subject in the confines of marriage since the Bible teaches that the marriage bed is undefiled. I want to broach this subject for the benefit of singles. Single women and men that are not sexually sinning with another will not have an outlet to relieve sexual tension. The first thing we must ask ourselves is, how do we become sexually excited when there is no marriage partner on the scene. The answer is obvious for 2 reasons:

1. Sight

2. Mind

First is sight. Every place we look we see sex. I can't even go into a convenience store to buy milk here in NJ without being bombarded with hard core pornography, both magazines and movies, right in visible sight. You try to turn away and then you spot the scandal sheets with scantily clad women or men on the front. I was standing in line at a local store to pay for my coffee and there was a woman in front of me. Her eyes were fixed on the rack of condoms. What do you think was going through her mind at that time?

Second is mind, which dovetails sight. When we see things that trigger our sexual thoughts, we could possibly apply those pictures or items to someone we know in the church. We may see someone we like (applies to both male and female) and then create a sexual scenario in our mind with what we saw and then if we are unmarried, we may put ourselves into extreme sexual excitement (sin) and have no release. So what is the next step for release without a partner, it is masturbation. Where do we get the idea that no one sees us when we are alone? The Bible states the following:

(1 Pet 3:12 KJV) For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.

(Heb 4:13 KJV) Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

(Psa 90:8 KJV) Thou hast set our iniquities before thee, our secret sins in the light of thy countenance.

(Jer 23:24 KJV) Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

I believe these 4 verses give us enough information to let us know that none of us, whether believer or unbeliever, can hide our sins from God. The only difference, is that the sins of the believer have been removed and atoned for, while those of the unbeliever are not.

Let us attend to the question of whether masturbation is sin. I have heard a radio Bible Teacher say many times, "It is not the act itself that is wrong, it is what is going on in the mind." He bases this on (Mat 5:28 KJV) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart. The key word here is "lust." It is definitely possible to look at a pretty woman or handsome man and not lust. We must be honest and realistic that lust does trigger sexual desire. Sexual lust is definitely a sin and the catalyst for masturbating. But is the actual act itself, apart from lusting in the mind a sin?

I believe the answer to that is yes. Masturbation is an aberrant form of sexual intercourse which is to be enjoyed by a married couple only. There is nothing in the Bible which gives approbation to celibate sex. Sex is to be enjoyed in the boundaries of marriage alone and the Bible gives no other way to have it.


1. It is a controlling sin and a vicious cycle

(Rom 6:16 KJV) Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness? The vicious and deceiving cycle is four-fold:

A. It begins with sexual thought. This is the place to abort the idea, as soon as it enters the mind.

B. Then the act.

C. Then the guilt.

D. Then the repentance.

Then the cycle repeats itself every time a person allows themselves to become sexually excited. (James 1:14-15 KJV) But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. {15} Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

2. It is a fantasy based sin

This sin requires a subject based on fantasy and it roots right back to the lust problem we spoke about already. (Mat 5:28 KJV) But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

3. It takes the place of God as Creator as we create the perfect sex partner in our mind.

(Gen 2:22-24 KJV) And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. {23} And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. {24} Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Another dilemma which arises out of creating our "perfect" sex partner is, if you wind up marrying that person and every thing you fantasized about them doing or you doing with them does not come to pass, it may cause a rift in the marriage.

4. We defile our brothers or sisters in our mind by viewing them as sex objects for our pleasure.

(2 Tim 3:8 KJV) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

The principle here is that when we defile our brothers or sisters in our mind it is equal to a reprobate's mind, in other words, a mind of an unbeliever still in rebellion against God. Christ died for that person you are using for self-satisfaction.

5. It is Idolatry

(1 John 5:21 KJV) Little children, keep yourselves from idols. Amen.

(1 Cor 6:18 KJV) Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body.

It is idolatry because while you are engaging in this act is Christ on the throne of your life or are you thinking biblical thoughts? You are in rebellion during this time and that is a fact you cannot deny.

It is nothing more or less than mental fornication. We may believe we are having sex without consequences but any time we break one of God's laws, whether spiritual or natural, trouble is at the door.


Suppose you are caught up in this sin, how do you break free?

1. Realize it is sin and not sickness.

(1 Cor 6:9 KJV) Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind,

2. A preprogrammed mind may be reprogrammed:

Watch what you watch

Watch what you hear

Watch what you read


(Eph 4:22-24 KJV) That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; {23} And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; {24} And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.


3. Realize you are not alone in this struggle

(2 Cor 10:4-5 KJV) (For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds;) {5} Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ;

Masturbation like every other sin is conquerable by the power of God. Do not be embarrassed to go to Him and tell Him of your sin and how this sin replaced Him. He is there to help you.

(John 8:36 KJV) If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

Freedom! It is a beautiful word.