Is Masturbation a Sin?

Masturbation has been on the radar of religious persons for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Many people say that masturbation is a sin, while others believe it is healthy and natural. Is masturbation a sin? Interestingly enough, the Bible doesn’t actually make it clear. So why are children punished when they are caught doing it? Here’s more about what the Bible, and many parents, have to say about masturbation.

Is Masturbation a Sin?

What Does the Bible Say about Masturbation?

When asking if masturbation is a sin, most people turn to the Bible for proof one way or the other. Unfortunately, there is nothing in the Bible that explicitly says a person cannot pleasure themselves, though there are some scriptures that might be interpreted that way.

At some point, it is sure that masturbation was seen as a sin, as well as other issues of sexual reproduction. For instance, some in the Christian denomination believe that having sex without the chance of procreation is a sin, while others believe that using any type of birth control is against the will of God. Those who believe in these things might also believe that masturbation is a sin, because it is a private sexual act that does not lead to pregnancy.

So is masturbation a sin? Let’s look at the two scriptures that are most often used to tell children that they can’t masturbate:

For the scripture from Genesis, it is possible to interpret it as something other than masturbation; after all, he was having sex with someone else, not with himself. Masturbation is, by definition, something that a person does to self-pleasure. When it comes to the scripture from Leviticus, many have found the same issue: The man is lying with a woman, not with himself. However, even if this did refer to masturbation, it makes it clear that the act is unclean – but not a sin.

Scientific Facts About Masturbation

Is masturbation a sin? Some say yes, some say no. But what does science say?

Masturbation is seen as a natural and very human urge. In fact, very young children will do it from the moment they discover their genitals and that it feels good to touch them. Masturbation is seen as a normal part of human development, and in fact, has added bonuses: It’s healthy, it allows someone to explore their sexuality without fear of disease or pregnancy, and it can even relieve depression.

Masturbation is also quite common: Almost everyone does it!

Masturbation in Different Groups

Self-pleasuring might have even more benefits than those listed so far. Here are more points to ponder about masturbation:

  • Male. Several medical studies have found that men who masturbate frequently show a decreased risk of developing prostate cancer later in life. In fact, masturbation might be healthier in that regard than intercourse, because sex with another person brings in a whole host of problems, including the possibility of sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Female. Because masturbation can cause intense orgasms, there has long been a myth that it will lead to decreased sensitivity for a woman – but that’s not the case. In fact, those who masturbate tend to know their bodies much more intimately, and therefore can have more fun in bed with a partner.
  • Infancy and toddlerhood. Many children begin to play with their genitals at an early age, usually at around ten months. Though there isn’t a goal in mind when they do this, they know that it feels good, and that’s what matters to them.
  • Preschool. At this age, children masturbate (or touching their genitals without knowing what it means) because it feels good, or because they are trying to alleviate some negative emotion, such as stress or boredom. That suggests that masturbation is a healthy thing for mental and emotional development.
  • School age. Masturbation becomes almost universal by the time puberty rolls around, especially after they discover that it can lead to orgasm. Boys tend to be more comfortable talking about it with other boys, while girls tend to see it as something a bit shameful. This might be due to social norms, not to the emotions raised by masturbation itself.

Parental Concerns

Even though masturbation is perfectly healthy and normal, many parents have concerns about the act—and it goes beyond asking is masturbation a sin. Some parents are very uncomfortable with their own sexuality, and even more uncomfortable with that of their children. They might not want to talk to their kids about sex or the things that go along with that. In order to overcome this, it might help parents to read scientific books about masturbation and sex, and speak to a counselor about the best ways to communicate with their child, no matter the age.

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