The Bible does not directly reference masturbation, sexual self-stimulation. It does call us to sexual morality and tells us that our bodies belong to God (see 1 Cor. 6:12-20).

God created us as sexual beings, capable of intense intimacy with another person. Genesis 2:24 describes the marital union as a man and a woman becoming “one flesh.” Masturbation takes sexuality out of its God-given context, making it simply a self-focused act.

It’s easy to become fixated or reliant on masturbation, indulging in lust, which Jesus tells us is a type adultery (Matt. 5:27-28). Such behavior can continue into and distort one’s married life, as someone’s marriage relationship fails to counter the emotional issues that drove their compulsive behavior.

God calls us to a higher standard. The apostle Paul wrote, “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” (1 Thess. 4:3-5, NIV).

Our sexuality is an essential part of us, shaping how we feel about ourselves and interact with the world. It is how we connect with God and others. Masturbation narrows our sexuality down to a physical act and can leave someone feeling empty, unfulfilled, guilty, and disconnected from themselves, others, and God.

At times, when someone is not able to overcome masturbation by themselves, they should seek help from a professional. Sexual temptation is strong, and by the grace of God we can get victory even over this, but only if we are willing to struggle with self, sin, and the flesh.