Christian morals



20. I would like to ask you this question: is masturbation a sin? I read the Bible, and I have noticed that the only carnal sins the Bible speaks of are fornication and adultery. However, I read in 2 Timothy 2:22: “Flee also youthful lusts” (NKJV). I would like to know what youthful lusts are, whether they are sexual desires (masturbation, fornication etc.) or something else. I know some psychologists and pedagogues who say that masturbation is an important moment for the life of young people because they come to know and explore the function of one of the elements of their body, that is, sex. I know that there are different opinions about it; however, I would like to know from you what the Bible says about it, bearing in mind what these doctors say. I wait for you answer. My best regards.



Yes, autoerotism (or masturbation) is a sin in the sight of God because it prompts man or woman to think evil thoughts (even if he or she thinks them just for a short period of time), which are an abomination to the Lord (Proverbs 15:26). For it is evident that autoerotism is accompanied by evil thoughts, that is, by impure thoughts, which are often produced or stimulated by evil photographs and movie scenes, and by other things which excite the senses of man.

However, evil thoughts not only accompany autoerotism, but they also produce autoerotism, that is, they cause autoerotism. This concept can be expressed biblically through the following words of James: “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death” (James 1:14-15). Autoerotism, therefore, both before and during, is marked out by evil things, that is, evil thoughts and the longing for evil things. In other words, by lust.

I know that there are psychologists and pedagogues who teach that autoerotism is a right and good thing for the reasons that you know and have mentioned, but this proves that those who belong to this crooked and perverse generation have put darkness for light, and bitter for sweet. And unfortunately autoerotism is not the only wrong thing in the sight of God that this generation regards as a right and good thing. I give you some examples: fornication is regarded as a good thing, so it is right for a young man to have sex with a prostitute (or with his girlfriend) in order to give vent to his carnal passions; adultery also is regarded as a good thing, for many sexologists and gynaecologists consider it a useful diversion that is able to help married people (think of it, for them adultery is beneficial to marriage!!!). And homosexuality is considered a personal choice that must be respected, and not condemned. Therefore, since fornication and adultery are encouraged, and homosexuality is allowed, how could we think that the wise according to the flesh will condemn autoerotism? But which are the biblical passages that can be taken to show that autoerotism is wrong in the sight of God? In other words, which are the biblical passages that condemn autoerotism? I will quote those passages I consider the main ones.

“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth … uncleanness ….” (Colossians 3:5 – NKJV), “Now the works of the flesh are evident which are …. Uncleanness …” (Galatians 5:19 – NKJV). As you can see, autoerotism can be called ‘uncleanness’, and this is confirmed by conscience. Why does autoerotism make people feel unclean and guilty? Because of the witness of their conscience, that God has put in every man. There is no doubt about it. Therefore, consider carefully the witness of the conscience because we need to refer to it in order to understand if certain things are wrong. Because, as you know, the conscience doesn’t rebuke us when we do good things or we think about good things, but only when we do evil things or we think evil thoughts or we speak evil things. I give you an example: if we give some money secretly to the poor, the conscience tells us that we have done a good work and praises us; but if we steal a walnut from a poor or a rich man, then the same conscience rebukes and accuses us. Another example: if we are self-controlled in eating, our conscience does not accuse us; but if we smoke, then our conscience begins to tell us that we are doing a wrong thing, even though the Bible does not say explicitly that we must not smoke. Why then does the conscience accuse us? Because the Bible says that our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, and this temple is holy, thus we must possess it in sanctification and honor; instead, smoking damages and defiles it.

We can say a similar thing about autoerotism. Why do those who practice autoerotism feel guilty, even though many psychologists encourage it? Because of the witness of their conscience. Instead, if they lie with their wife or husband, their conscience doesn’t rebuke them. What I am saying confirms very clearly the words of James I quoted before, according to which sin, when is full-grown, brings forth death; that’s why after a person has committed a sinful act, he feels spiritually bad, he is pierced inwardly and he is rebuked by his conscience. All these things are the consequences of sin. This is how we discern whether a certain act is sinful, even though the Bible does not say explicitly it is sin: when it brings forth an inward uneasiness, which is accompanied by the sense of guilt, we realize that we have committed a sin.

The words of Paul to Timothy that you have cited, that is, “Flee also youthful lusts”, can be taken to show that autoerotism is wrong, too; and therefore we ought to flee it, in that autoerotism is one of the youthful lusts. The youthful lusts are very numerous, and they all distract the young people from the holy things of God, they hinder them from pursuing godliness, righteousness, love and peace. The list of the evil desires or passions of youth is very long. There is the passion for girls, which prompts them to have as many flings as possible (that is, to lie with as many girls as possible); the passion for music (rap, rock, etc.), which prompts them to buy the records and the posters of their favourite singers (who are their idols), and to attend their concerts; the passion for sport (I myself was a slave of this passion, for I was a basketball player and I was crazy about basketball, which I must admit kept me far from God) which prompts them to love sports; the passion for cinema, the passion for theatre, and so on.