Sharelines

  • How Does Masturbation Affect God’s Plan for Sexuality?  

Ever wonder why you have such strong sexual desires?  God could have made us without them, but he didn’t. We can’t really deal with masturbation without asking the bigger question of what our sexuality is for. A full answer goes way beyond the scope of this post.  Our sexuality was never meant to point inward, but ‘outwards, towards union and love’.

God’s Word goes on to take us on a quick tour of relevant scriptures:

  • Genesis 2:24.  ‘The man shall… hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.’  They ‘became one’ fully through the act of sex.
  • Ephesians 5:22-33.  Paul basically says that marriage and the gospel explain each other.  ‘This mystery [of marriage] is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church’ (Ephesians 5:32).  In sexual intercourse, the intimacy of marriage takes on its clearest expression and displays the kind of closeness God desires with us, his church.
  • 1 Corinthians 7:4.  ‘… the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise, the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does.’  Here, Paul makes it plain that a husband and wife aren’t supposed to be selfish with their bodies. Instead, they should view their sexuality as a way to serve their spouse.
So, our sexuality points to God’s intimacy with us, his church, and, is mainly for serving our spouse. Not ourselves.Click To Tweet

With this background, we can put masturbation in its bigger context.  Does masturbation accurately portray our intimacy with God? Is it focused on serving others? I think it’s pretty obvious that the answer to these questions is ‘no’.  Masturbation says, ‘sex is all about me’, and that’s the main problem.

How does this affect marriage?

So if masturbation trains us to view sex in a selfish way, what will that mean for our marriage?

When I first got married 19 years ago, I was surprised by what physical intimacy was actually like. (Spoiler alert: it wasn’t like Hollywood, where people act like wild horses and nothing ever goes wrong.)

Sex required infinitely more of me than I had ever imagined.  Being fully present. Seeing what my wife actually enjoyed – and didn’t.  Dealing with my own insecurities at the moment.

There were a lot of layers to this, and I’m still not sure I understand them all.  But in part, my struggles with masturbation didn’t require me to deal with any of this.  No need to be present, worry about anyone else, or, deal with my insecurity.

So, even though I didn’t struggle with masturbation after marriage, I brought my selfishness with me. And that hurt my wife, and the intimacy (physical and spiritual) we were trying to create.

If you’re already married, allow me to say one more thing.  As you know, sex is meant to bring us together with our spouse.  Let’s be honest, men: most of us have found the motivation to get out of a grouchy mood, put our work down, or sought forgiveness partly because we want to have sex with our wives again!

<
Gary Chapman's Seeds of Love
Get more — Free! e-booklet — Gary Chapman's, Seeds of Love

But couples struggling with intimacy, in general, will be tempted to bypass the difficult road back and get their physical needs met apart from one another.  By masturbating, for example.

If that’s where your marriage is, I want to give you a hug and say I can understand how you got there. But I also want to beg you to go to your spouse and begin talking about turning things around.  No matter how icy things are between you, there’s grace for you and your marriage.

Will God help me?

At the end of the day, all of us have sexual desires that are deeply good, baked into us by God himself. And yet they’re corrupted by our three enemies: the world, our fallen sin natures, and the devil.

The question isn’t, ‘Will I struggle with my sexuality?’ but rather, ‘How will I handle it when I do?’

We won’t handle masturbation – or any other area of life – perfectly.  That’s why Jesus came, right? Through his death on our behalf, ‘he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified’ (Hebrews 10:18).

So your struggles with masturbation don’t define you.  Jesus does.

That means we’re free to keep seeking him in our sexual struggles.  When we do, we’ll learn in a very practical way that he ‘is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1).

Points to remember:

  • Spend some time to learn more about God’s design for sexuality.
  • If you’re single, remember you are setting the tone even now for sex in your possible future marriage.
  • If you’re married, evaluate where you could be selfish in your sexuality.
  • Remember, above all, that God is on your side and wants to help you.

Copyright (c) 2018 Bryan Stoudt, used with permission.