Question:

I appreciate the views you've expressed and have had questions about masturbation for a long time. My wife and I are in our seventies. For many years we had a good sexual relationship, except I wanted it a lot more often than she did. But sex was good and I recall often the special times over the years when sex was especially good. But in recent years our health has declined. My wife now lives with constant acute pain, even touching her sets off her pain. We have not had intercourse for years. I know other men have had wives that for health reasons were not able to have sex. What is a man to do and stay in obedience to God?

I still have strong sexual desires, but I will not seek sex from someone else. I don't see anything in the Bible that helps me to understand. I talked to a minister several years ago about masturbation and he advised me that if I only thought of my wife while masturbating, it would not be a sin. I admit that I look at some nudity occasionally and it helps to just see a beautiful body, but I will not look at porn. I am looking for answers, will you give me your thoughts?


Answer:

I don't know what questions you are seeking answers to. While masturbation is not directly mentioned in the Scriptures, they are covered under the laws of uncleanness, making ejaculating semen similar to a woman's monthly blood flow (Leviticus 15:16-23). While unclean under the Old Law, these things were not sinful in and of themselves.

As long as a man is healthy, he produces semen and the seminal vesicles that produce the semen have a limited storage capacity. There are two basic ways for the body to get rid of the excess semen and both involve ejaculating: wet dreams and masturbation. Not all men are able to have wet dreams and they naturally turn to masturbation to take care of their needs until marriage. Even in marriage, there are times when your wife may not be available for sex and you have to return to what you did as a teenager.

Masturbation can be used wrongfully, just like any other bodily function, even though by itself it is neither right nor wrong. Pornography is one example, but even your looking at nude pictures is not correct. "But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart" (Matthew 5:28). I know it is not as "thrilling" and it makes ejaculating a bit more difficult to achieve, but such is better than sinning.