Let’s talk about the “M” word, and it’s not marriage.
However, there are life long consequences for both you and your spouse based on your choices regarding this infamous word.
It’s an ugly word and one we hesitate to use in Christian circles. We publicly decry the evils of pornography, adultery and fornication – the most obvious sexual sins, but the “M” word hides in a gray space, often unaddressed because we’re not really sure if it’s wrong, or not.
Let me table the argument, explain the consequences and you decide.
Is masturbation wrong?
I was stunned to discover that the author of rich and moral literature, such a great theological mind as C.S. Lewis addressed this question.
For me the real evil of masturbation would be that it takes an appetite which, in lawful use, leads the individual out of himself to complete (and correct) his own personality in that of another (and finally in children and even grandchildren) and turns it back; sends the man back into the prison of himself, there to keep a harem of imaginary brides. And this harem, once admitted, works against his ever getting out and really uniting with a real woman. For the harem is always accessible, always subservient, calls for no sacrifices or adjustments, and can be endowed with erotic and psychological attractions which no woman can rival. Among those shadowy brides he is always adored, always the perfect lover; no demand is made on his unselfishness, no mortification ever imposed on his vanity. In the end, they become merely the medium through which he increasingly adores himself…After all, almost the main work of life is to come out of our selves, out of the little dark prison we are all born in. Masturbation is to be avoided as all things are to be avoided which retard this process. The danger is that of coming to love the prison.” –C.S. Lewis*
Lewis only discussed the problem of male masturbation, but the consequences hold true across gender lines. They are more obvious for men, mainly because men are more easily stimulated than women. But it becomes very troubling for both spouses when it appears that the man can no longer be excited or satisfied by his wife.
Masturbation and other means of sexual self-gratification, allow the individual to find momentary release and pleasure without the responsibility of reciprocation. They can also deaden or delay the response to other stimulation, such as sex between a man and wife.
The Bible does not directly address the topic of masturbation. But it does call us to put others above ourselves, seeking the well-being and joy of our spouse before our own satisfaction.
Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other,” ~Romans 12:10.
Within the bonds of marriage, we have a great responsibility to our spouse, spiritually, physically and emotionally. As long as we are focused on personal gratification, we will be unable to experience the complete joy of loving in a Christ-like manner.
If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort form his love, if any fellowship with the spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others. Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus,” ~Philippians 2:1-5.