Is masturbation a sin when it is not accompanied by pornography or sinful thoughts?


I masturbate and I've been addicted to it now. Anyhow, I  read in your article that if one produces semen with any sexual purpose, it is a sin (such as seeing a pornographic picture or video). My question is would masturbating without thinking of such things and just masturbating in clear mind, that is not at all thinking of sex at all, would it be a sin or not?


I believe you are referring to the answer to the question "Is masturbation unacceptable?" In that answer, I showed that the Old Testament mentions the emission of semen generally and specifically though sexual acts and nocturnal emissions. Any emission of semen made the man ejaculating and what the semen contacted to be unclean for one day. I then showed that uncleanness did not mean the person sinned, but that if the rules for uncleanness were broken, then the breaking of those rules was a sin. I then showed that masturbation would be covered by those rules, though it was not specifically mentioned. The conclusion is that there is no direct evidence that the act of masturbation is a sin.

However, I went on to state there are things often associated with masturbation, which can be easily shown to be a sin, such as the use of pornography. The article "A Look at Pornography" goes into why pornography is both sinful and harmful in detail.

The statement that producing semen for any sexual purpose is a sin, is false. The most simple counter argument is that sexual intercourse between a husband and wife is not a sin (Hebrews 13:4), yet semen is produced in the act of sex. We could also argue that a man putting his penis in a woman to whom he is not married would be considered fornication even if he does not ejaculate. Thus we would conclude that it is not the act of releasing semen that determines sinfulness or righteousness.

But your question is whether masturbation would be sinful if the person doing it was only using it to release semen and managed to do so without thinking about sex outside of marriage. Such is possible, especially when the seminal vesicles are full and a man's sexual desire is so strong that it is easily triggered. On one level the triggering of ejaculation is a response to physical stimulation. It is that mechanical response that homosexuals use to convince young men that they "obviously" have homosexual desires. But the reality is that it is just an instinctive response to certain physical stimulation.

God warned the Israelites not to alter His laws. "You shall not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you" (Deuteronomy 4:2). A similar warning is given to Christians. "As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed" (Galatians 1:9). These warnings cut two ways. I must be careful not to call righteous something that God said is a sin. But I must also must be careful to make up sins to add to God's laws.

Solomon also mention that people have a tendency to go to extremes. "Do not be overly righteous, nor be overly wise: Why should you destroy yourself? Do not be overly wicked, nor be foolish: Why should you die before your time? It is good that you grasp this, and also not remove your hand from the other; for he who fears God will escape them all" (Ecclesiastes 7:16-18). The sermon outline, "Extremes," discusses these verses in detail. For now, though, let us note that a person becomes overly righteous by making up rules for righteousness which are beyond what God commands.

Because masturbation, as an act, is not condemned directly or indirectly in the Scriptures and because the act can be covered by the uncleanness regulations in the Old Testament and, thereby, considered to be both known and accepted -- or at least tolerated; I cannot label the act as sinful. But I will deal with the related issues and speak about their sinfulness -- pornography, exposing one's nakedness, and mutual masturbation, which is just another way of speaking of homosexuality or fornication depending on who is involved.

Now, let's address another point that you raised. You state that you're addicted to masturbating. Strictly speaking that would not be true -- not in the sense that an alcoholic is addicted to wine or a druggie to his drugs. You have developed a strong habit to masturbate.

In the teenage years, it is easy to fall into compulsive habits. It is a side-effect that results from the brain developing. One way to look at it, as you are growing up, there are so many things changing around you and in you, that comfort is found in small things. Add to this that ejaculation comes with both orgasm and a rush of serotonin after ejaculation, it is not surprising that young men get caught up in seeking comfort in masturbation. The problem is that the good feelings are only that -- feelings. They don't change situations around you. It doesn't make your life better.

Peter warned regarding false teachers, "for a man is brought into bondage by whoever overcomes him" (II Peter 2:19). When you allow anything in this life to rule your behavior, you leave yourself wide open for temptation and sin. "Every man who strives in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they do it to receive a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible. I therefore run like that, as not uncertainly. I fight like that, as not beating the air, but I beat my body and bring it into submission, lest by any means, after I have preached to others, I myself should be rejected" (I Corinthians 9:25-27).

Let me give you an example. Money, by itself, is nothing more that a means of purchasing goods. But when we allow ourselves to be consumed by the thoughts of gaining money, it then becomes a pathway for sins. "For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some have been led astray from the faith in their greed, and have pierced themselves through with many sorrows" (I Timothy 6:10). The same problem arises from lusting after other things as well. "Don't love the world, neither the things that are in the world. If anyone loves the world, the Father's love isn't in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn't the Father's, but is the world's. The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God's will remains forever" (I John 2:15-17).

Therefore, it is one thing that you feel the build up of semen in your seminal vesicles and want to ejaculate to get diminish the strong sexual desire that accompanies that build up, but it is something entirely different to spend every chance you can pursuing a sexual "high" through masturbation.

I hope this clarifies the matter.