Playing with Fire

WARNING: The following content may not be appropriate for all readers.  

From Erin: Many of you have written to us about your struggle with this issue recently. We think it is so important that you here God’s Truth that we’ve pulled two posts on the subject from our archives. 

We have a received several comments on this blog about a subject that can be difficult to talk about—masturbation. Our ministry to young women outside the blogosphere confirms that this is growing issue among young women, and as a result it is an area of increased deception and bondage.

But we hesitated to address it on this public forum. We treasure the hearts and minds of the girls who read LYWB.com. We don’t want to expose you to something you’ve been protected from and we don’t want to pique your curiosity or write anything that might cause you to experiment in this area. So for months we prayerfully considered how to respond and repeatedly decided to postpone writing this article.

But your questions and comments about masturbation kept coming. In addition, some influential cultural voices made statements encouraging masturbation as a “healthy” practice for young girls, leading us to conclude that it was time to address this issue.

As is the case in every area, culture is not the ruler we should use to measure the morality of an issue. God’s Word is our standard of Truth! And because of God’s Word, we can conclude that masturbation is wrong for three key reasons:

1. It’s “hinting.” 

Ephesians 5:3 defines God’s standard of purity: “But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality.”

I suppose if you wanted to you could argue that masturbation isn’t “really sex.” And you could correctly say that the Bible doesn’t give a specific command concerning masturbation. But you’d have a tough time making a case that it doesn’t hint at sex.

Masturbation creates a sexual response in the body. This is the same reason we use so much blog space to encourage you to dress modestly—because it causes a sexual response that wasn’t designed to be experienced outside of marriage. That is why the Bible warns us not to even hint around with sex. If you seek to pursue God’s standard of purity, you shouldn’t see how close to the flames you can get without getting burned. You should run in the opposite direction of anything that comes close to tempting you to sin sexually. Masturbation isn’t a good way to relax. It isn’t a “normal” teenage behavior that every girl should try. It is playing with fire.

2. It is grounded in lust. 

There is no doubt about it, God’s standard of purity is high. In fact, Jesus tells us that sexual purity involves more than our outward behavior, it also includes our thought life.

In Matthew 5:28 Jesus said, “But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”

Jesus’ standard was enough to cause a stir in His day, and it is still shaking things up in ours. The world will tell you to get as close to the line as possible when it comes to sex. But that does little more than create a battlefield in your mind.

We find more evidence that lust is serious business in Colossians 3:5: “Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry.”

Don’t dabble in it. Don’t experiment with lust. Don’t ignite sexual passions hoping there won’t be serious repercussions. Put it to death. Run. Flee. Stop.

3. Sex was designed for marriage.

Nancy and Dannah address this point in LYWB:

“God designed sex and our sexual responsiveness to be something we enjoy in the context of marriage. While the Bible doesn’t give a specific command concerning masturbation: it does forbid sexual activity outside of marriage. Sex was never intended to be a solo activity” (Lies Young Women Believe, 181).

In Genesis 2 we are given a beautiful picture of the unique bond between men and women when the Scripture describes the man and wife becoming “one flesh.” That is the beautiful power of sex between a husband and wife-it binds them together and makes them “one.”

Masturbation doesn’t bind you to anyone. It is an activity done alone and usually in secret. And there is almost always a great deal of shame attached to it.

This is not God’s plan for your sexuality. It is designed to be a gift shared between you and your husband. When sex is shared between a husband and wife who have adhered to God’s purity standard, there is no shame. Why experiment with sex under any other circumstances?

(Check back tomorrow for an important follow-up post. Our goal in addressing this topic isn’t to make you feel dirty, ashamed, or trapped. Instead, we want to expose the lies connected to this area of sin and point you toward the grace and freedom freely given by Jesus Christ!)

About Author

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Erin is passionate about pointing young women toward God's Truth. She is the author of several books and a frequent speaker and blogger to women of all ages. Erin lives on a small farm in the midwest with her husband and kids. When she's not writing, you can find her herding goats, chickens, and children.

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