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Masturbation: wrong?
(A few thoughts on the consequences)

Masturbation is self-stimulation to produce an orgasm. To put it crudely, you're imagining you're having sex. Many teenagers masturbate, it is very common. However, this does not mean that it is necessarily right! It may be that you feel great to ejaculate (in the case of guys), but afterwards many people feel a bit guilty. Many of those would say that they don't, but then why do nearly all try to conceal the fact that they masturbate from anyone else? Is it a guilty conscience, just normal embarrassment at a sexually related issue, or something else?

Masturbation isn't good news for several reasons:

  • If you look at magazines or watch videos to get a high, you begin to want more than just "soft" pornography (because that's what swimsuit pictures are). Then you get into the hard-core, but you still aren't satisfied. You may start to fantasize about people you see around you, which can make interacting with them difficult.
  • Masturbation in many cases takes place when someone feels lonely or down (it can act as a pick-me-up). The problem comes that after the act you still feel down, perhaps even more because of guilt or disgust.
  • God uses our bodies, in a sense, as his home. In the Bible it says: "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit whom you have from God, and you are not your own?" (1 Cor. 16:19)
    Therefore, shouldn't we try and keep our bodies in good condition? Something else that the Bible says, is that if we just look at someone and feel a sexual desire for them then it's as bad (in God's eyes at least), as actually having sex with them. This doesn't mean that we shouldn't love someone, but there is love, and then there is lust (i.e. you love someone for who they are, or you "love" him or her for how sexy they are). One of the fundamental rules that the Bible gives is "don't have sex with someone you aren't married to". In other words, if you imagine you are having sex with someone who you aren't married to, when you masturbate, you are breaking one of God's laws.

Many people make the point that those who do not have a way of expressing their sexual desires have a "safe" way to do so through masturbation. It is an understandable view to have. However, surely sexual feelings should be subject to normal self discipline? It is not repression to not masturbate - simply a good example of taking control of one's desires and thoughts! Of course masturbation is better than having premarital sex, but is there an actual need for either, or is it just too easy to give in to the temptation?

Avoiding it: so how do we prevent it? Well, with any problem, we must find its root, and then attack it from there. With masturbation it is reasonably clear: stop trying to get films/magazines/web sites, that have the kind of thing on them that will start you thinking and eventually masturbating. It isn't easy, but it can be done. A lot of the time, masturbation takes place when you're bored. The solution is always to try to have something to do: read a book, write a letter/e-mail to someone, take a walk… Again, it isn't easy, but you can do it if you try.

Another situation where masturbation is common is when a person feels that there is nobody who loves them, in terms of a boyfriend/girlfriend. If you do have a partner who's far away, then you're more likely to look for an imagined sexual substitute, not (hopefully), because this is what you do with your girlfriend/boyfriend all the time, but because you feel lonely. This is one the ways of feeling good: the same applies to getting drunk. Try to keep in contact with your partner: write, telephone, carry a photo of them around with you…

Lastly, try not to keep any papers or magazines/cached web pages, etc. with any pictures or text that might make you masturbate. If necessary, rip out these bits, cut them up into tiny pieces, and put them in the dustbin.

If you really want to stop masturbating, tell someone about it and make a deal with him or her that each week you tell them whether you've masturbated. The point is that if you're honest, you obviously won't want to tell them each week that you have, so during each week you'll try not to masturbate. The whole thing is known as accountability, and really does help.

Above all, pray to God for the will power necessary to overcome the temptation to masturbate. It is hard, but God has promised that he will always give us what we need to overcome any problem. Trust Him to help you. If you don't know much about God or don't think he exists, see this page, or e-mail us here at CenterWeb.