Sexual lust is definitely a sin and the catalyst for masturbating. But is the actual act itself, apart from lusting in the mind a sin? I believe the answer to that is yes. Masturbation is an aberrant form of sexual intercourse which is to be enjoyed by a married couple only. There is nothing in the Bible which gives approbation to celibate sex [by oneself].
Why is masturbation wrong?
1. It can be enslaving (Rom. 6:16).
2. It is based on fantasizing and lustful thoughts (Mt. 5:28).
3. It is contrary to God’s plan for sex (Gen. 2:22-24).
4. It creates an unrealistic or inaccurate expectation for your (future) spouse (Mt. 7:12).
5. It views others only as an object for sexual gratification (1 Thes. 4:6).
6. It is an idolatrous action not in line with biblical thinking (1 Jn. 5:21).
Masturbation like every other sin is conquerable by the power of God. Do not be embarrassed to go to Him and tell Him of your sin and how this sin replaced Him. He is there to help you.
Is masturbation wrong? Let me address the issue mainly for men. I cannot imagine sexual orgasm in the loins without sexual image in the mind. I know there are nocturnal emissions, which I regard as innocent and helpful, but I doubt that they are ever orgasmic apart from a sexual dream that supplies the necessary image in the mind. Evidently God has constituted the connection between sexual orgasm and sexual thought in such a way that the force and pleasure of orgasm is dependent on the thought or images in our minds. Therefore in order to masturbate, it is necessary to get vivid and exciting thoughts or images into the mind. This can be done by pure imagination or by pictures or movies or stories or real persons. These images always involve women as sexual objects. I use the word “object” because in order for a women to be a true sexual “subject” in our imagination she must in reality be one with whom we are experiencing what we are imagining. This is not the case with masturbation. So I vote no on masturbation. There may be other reasons why it is wrong. For now I rest my vote on the inevitable sexual images which accompany masturbation and which turn women into sexual objects. The sexual thoughts that enable masturbation do not help any man to treat women with greater respect. Therefore masturbation produces real and legitimate guilt and stands in the way of obedience.
God designed sex to be relational, but self-stimulated sex is lustful. God designed sex to be covenantal, but self-stimulated sex is non-committal. God designed sex to be intimate, but self-stimulated sex is superficial. God designed sex to be fruitful, but self-stimulated sex is fruitless. God designed sex to be selfless, but self-stimulated sex is self-centered. God designed sex as a complex union, but self-stimulated sex involves personal isolation. God designed sex as a complementary heterosexual act, but self-stimulated sex is a personal homosexual act.
Many men, even Christian men, view sexual relations with their wives as little more than an opportunity to masturbate. They are concerned only with pleasing themselves. They do not realize that God gave them their sexual organs, not primarily for their own pleasure, but rather for the pleasure of their wives (1 Cor. 7:4). They have never learned that in sexual relations, as in all other areas of life, it is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
Masturbation, although not identified by name in the Bible, must be viewed as sinful for at least three reasons. First, masturbation is a perversion of the intent of sex. It’s selfish rather than loving – it’s taking rather than giving. God did not give you your sexual organs so that you could please yourself with them, but rather so that you could bring pleasure to your wife, and so that she can express her love to you by giving you sexual pleasure. Second, masturbation almost always involves sinful lust. Jesus made it absolutely clear that everyone who looks on a woman to lust for her has committed adultery with her already in his heart (Matt. 5:28). Third, masturbation is an activity that causes Christians who practice it to experience guilt. The Bible is also very clear about the sinfulness of Christians who willingly participate in any activity for which their consciences condemn them (Rom. 14:22-23).
A person who gratifies himself (masturbates) is totally self-focused. This act is clearly not the right use of our intimate parts. Our bodies do not belong to us but to God and to our spouse; otherwise, we’re being selfish (1 Corinthians 7:4; 13:5). Another reason masturbation is wrong is because it usually involves engaging in lustful thoughts (Philippians 4:8). A third reason is that it becomes a very enslaving activity (1 Corinthians 6:12). Finally, it removes any need of self-control in the sexual area (1 Corinthians 7:1-2; Galatians 5:22-23).
In relational terms, sexual fantasies are a world where you practice selfishness and manipulation. Would you honestly describe any of this as love? No matter how widely your fantasies may vary, in every instance you play god with people. You reduce those made in the image of the true God to mindless robots who serve your whims.
Pornography is inextricably linked to masturbation for most men. In spite of the blessing the secular world give to this practice, declaring it as normal, we know that it connects to poisonous sexual images in our minds. Masturbation feeds on visual images to excite us.