Empathy and Advice for Chronic Masturbator

How do I overcome an ongoing struggle with sexual self-gratification? I can’t seem to resist the temptation to masturbate, but then I feel so guilty.

We understand what you’re going through — the battle you’re fighting can be agonizing. The first thing we encourage you to do is cling to the truth that God loves you deeply. He’s promised never to leave you or forsake you as long as you put your trust in Him.

We believe that God can and will give you victory over your struggles if you sincerely desire it. More importantly, He’s able to meet all your needs and fill you with the deeply satisfying joy of knowing Him in a personal way.

Is masturbation ever OK?

The Bible never directly addresses masturbation, and Christian leaders differ widely in their understanding of its spiritual and moral implications.

This is an area where we have to be careful about laying down hard and fast rules — or making definitive statements about the mind of God (though Scripture does clearly address behaviors that are often related to this activity). There’s little to be gained by labeling the act of masturbation itself a sin. In fact, we think that misses the point.

You don’t need to feel ashamed of your sexual feelings and desires. God placed those feelings and desires within you for a reason. The Lord wants you to keep yourself from sin and save yourself for the person you will marry, but He doesn’t expect you to live without sexual arousal.

However, there’s an important distinction connected with that point: It’s one thing to acknowledge your God-given sexuality. But it’s something else to stir up sexual desire deliberately or lustfully. Masturbation can become extremely addictive because of the powerful hormonal and psychological components of human sexual behavior.

  • Individuals who become addicted to masturbation can end up carrying it with them into married life — where it can become a serious obstacle to healthy marital intimacy.
  • Masturbation frequently involves indulging in sexual fantasy. And fantasy, says Jesus, does represent a serious breach of a person’s mental and spiritual purity (Matthew 5:28).

Remember, too, that masturbation doesn’t fit with the larger meaning and purpose of human sexuality.

The meaning and purpose of human sexuality

 Sex isn’t intended to be all about me. Instead, it’s designed to function as part of the give-and-take of an interpersonal relationship between a man and woman in marriage. And the Bible has two important things to say about the meaning and purpose of sex:

  • Sex is central to the process by which husband and wife become one flesh (Genesis 2:24).
  • Sex and marriage are intended to serve as a picture or symbol of the union between Christ and His Church (Ephesians 5:31-32).

God created men and women to experience sexual fulfillment on a much higher level — within the context of a marital relationship. And we don’t want anything to jeopardize their chances of knowing that joy to the fullest extent.

So what can you do to overcome the temptation to masturbate?

How to break the habit

Ultimately, the pain a person is trying to numb with masturbation is just another indication of a God-shaped void at the center of every human heart. Only a personal relationship with the Lord can fill that empty space in a deep, lasting, and satisfying way. But there are practical steps you can take to live out His truth in your life:

  • Talk with someone — a pastor, a professional counselor or a trusted Christian friend. The more deeply hidden you keep your secret, the stronger and more powerful the struggle becomes. Confession is always the first step toward healing and change.
  • Avoid magazines, books, films, or anything else that stirs up sexual desire. Ask friends, mentors, and advisors to hold you accountable. But don’t beat yourself up when sexual thoughts intrude on their own. Instead, be as patient and gracious with yourself as you would be with anyone else struggling in this area.
  • Remember that masturbation often originates as a self-soothing behavior. It’s a way to cope with pressures and try to meet basic human needs for peace, security, comfort, and reassurance. Replace it with a legitimate method of addressing the underlying need — talking things over with a friend, taking a hike in the mountains, reading a good book, listening to music, pouring yourself into a project, or serving other people.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Would you call us to talk more? We have a staff of trained Christian therapists who are available for a free over-the-phone consultation. And they can also give you a list of qualified counselors in your area. They’ll be more than happy to help in any way they can.



Preparing for Adolescence

When Good Men Are Tempted

When Young Men Are Tempted

Stormproof Men

Men: Maintaining Sexual Purity

God’s Design for Sex

Men and Sexual Temptation

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