Is Masturbation a Sin in The Bible?

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Adam and Eve in the Garden

Is masturbation a sin? Does the Bible say that masturbation is a sin?


These are all questions that we will touch upon today, as these are questions that we come across often. Most people will say that it depends or that it isn’t explicitly stated in the Bible. Therefore, they do not consider it a sin.

But the scriptures do indicate a few things on lustful behavior and point us to an answer.

When the Bible was written, masturbation and pornography were concepts that did not exist but similar practices were present.

Reading the scriptures can give us a better idea of this subject.

Let us first define ‘sin

What is sin? 

Sin is an immoral act committed against God. In other words, sin is an act, thought or word that is immoral, selfish, harmful and jealous. The 7 deadly sins: pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, anger and sloth (laziness) are examples of emotions or acts that are considered to be sins.  

Lust is one among them. Lust is an intense sexual desire that is completely motivated by one’s own pleasure. It is purely sexual attraction and it is known to be selfish. Lust is a hormonal desire whereas love is compassionate and caring for the other person.  

Now that we’ve understood what sin is let’s get into the teachings of the Bible. 

What does the Bible say about Masturbation and sexual immorality? 

“If our minds are ruled by our desires, we will die. But if our minds are ruled by the Spirit, we will have life and peace.” 

Romans 8: 6 

Giving in to the temptation of the flesh or desires of the world is considered sinful and lust is an emotion that is considered to be a desire of the world.  

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a person commits are outside the body, but whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body.”

1 Corinthians 6:18 

This particular verse is directly relating to sexually immoral behaviour and any behaviour that defiles our body is an act against God because in the Bible the body is considered a temple of God.  

“And then he added, ‘It is what comes from inside that defiles you. For from within, out of a person’s heart, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, envy, slander, pride, and foolishness. All these vile things come from within; they are what defile you.'” 

Mark 7:20-23 

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart” 

Mathew 5:28  

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honour, not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God.” 

1 Thessalonians 4:3-5 

“So put to death the sinful, earthly things lurking within you. Have nothing to do with sexual immorality, impurity, lust, and evil desires. Don’t be greedy, for a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.” 

Colossians 3:5 

These verses give us some idea on what the Bible is saying with regards to sexual immorality and lust. Do not be alarmed or afraid, but take these as words of wisdom and a warning according to Christian law. 

Here are 6 beliefs based on the Scriptures and how that translates to the context of masturbation and sin. 
Bible say about masturbation
  • Masturbation as self-indulgence– It is said that acts that isn’t selfless are self-seeking and are seen to be indulgences or as desires of the world. 
  • Fantasizing and visualizing other women– Masturbation may not be mentioned in the Bible but the desire to be with other people is considered a sin. Masturbation is most commonly accompanied with pornography or fantasizing about other people. This is inherently a sin according to the Bible. 
  • The Church believes that contraceptives interrupt the process of procreation. Therefore, it is unlawful. Similarly, in terms of masturbation the sperm from the semen does not result in the gift of life. In the Book of Genesis, it says that Onan was punished for spilling his semen on the ground as he did not impregnate his brother’s wife. This act did not lead to an offspring and was condemned. 
  • Sexual immorality– Sexual immorality is any sexual act that is deemed morally inappropriate by social customs. 
  • Sexual pleasure outside the realm of marriage– Sex and sexuality were thought to be institutions created by God to be expressed within marriage and any sexual activity outside marriage is considered unlawful. 
  • Fornication– Fornication is the act of sexual intercourse between people who are not married to each other. Parallels can be drawn to masturbation as sexual intercourse with oneself. 

The above reasons may give us clarity on what the Bible says about masturbation. 


A sin could be anything that is harming others or yourself. So, think about whether you or your loved ones are affected by your choices and hopefully, you can come to decide what’s right for you.  

Sin can also be anything that is excessive and is disruptive to daily life. Excessive masturbation can cause problems in your relationships and lead to self-isolation, low self-esteem, and other issues.  

Keep a lookout on your daily activities; monitor them closely and understand what habits can be changed and what are those habits that are helping you and especially your mental health.  

Make sure to get help when you need it.  

Hopefully, these verses gave you an idea of things. Through prayer, meditation, and scripture reading you can truly understand the depth of these verses and what it means to you.  

Equip yourself with the right habits to lead a good and fruitful life. 

Keep in mind that some practices from the past are outdated and faith must be renewed every day. We must find a balance and create a very personal journey with God and religion.  


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