Religious views on masturbation

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Among the world's religions, views on masturbation vary widely. Some religions view it as a spiritually detrimental practice, some see it as not spiritually detrimental and others take a situational view. Among these latter religions, some view masturbation as allowable if used as a means towards sexual self-control, or as part of healthy self-exploration, but disallow it if it is done with wrong motives or as an addiction.


The most used formulation of Buddhist ethics are the Five Precepts. These precepts take the form of voluntary personal undertakings, not divine mandate or instruction. The third precept is "to refrain from committing sexual misconduct".[1] However, what defines "sexual misconduct" is vague and often debatable, and different schools of Buddhism have different interpretations.

Buddhism was advanced by Gautama Buddha as a method by which human beings could end dukkha (suffering) and escape samsara (cyclic existence). Normally this entails practicing meditation and following the Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path as a way to subdue the passions which, along with the skandhas, cause suffering and rebirth. Masturbation (Pali: sukkavissaṭṭhi) can be viewed as problematic for a person who wishes to attain the highest goal of enlightenment and liberation from samsara.[2]

An article from Beliefnet and Brian Schell, a writer for, both suggest that masturbation is essentially harmless for a layperson, at least outside the realm of karma[3][4] Shravasti Dhammika, a Theravadin monk, cites the Vinaya Pitaka in his online "Guide to Buddhism A to Z", stating the following:

Masturbation (sukkavissaṭṭhi) is the act of stimulating one’s own sexual organs (sambādha) to the stage of orgasm (adhikavega). In the Kāma Sūtra male masturbation is called "seizing the lion" (siṃhākāranta). Some people during the Buddha’s time believed that masturbation could have a therapeutic effect on the mind and the body (Vin. III, 109), although the Buddha disagreed with this. According to the Vinaya, it is an offence of some seriousness for monks or nuns to masturbate (Vin. III, 111) although the Buddha gave no guidance on this matter to lay people. However, Buddhism could agree with contemporary medical opinion that masturbation is a normal expression of the sexual drive and is physically and psychologically harmless, as long as it does not become a preoccupation or a substitute for ordinary sexual relations. Guilt and self-disgust about masturbating is certainly more harmful than masturbation itself.

The emphasis on chastity in Buddhism is much more so for bhikkhus and bhikkhunis (renunciates), who vow to follow the rules of the Vinaya. Not only are monastics celibate, but they also take more and stricter vows in order to conquer their desires. In the Theravadin tradition, masturbation is stressed as being more harmful for upāsakas and upāsikās who practice the Eight Precepts on Uposatha days, leading a more ascetic lifestyle that does not allow for masturbation.[citation needed]

There are also references in the Upāsakaśīla sūtra: "If sex is practised under the inappropriate times (times not allowed by precepts), [at] inappropriate place[s] (places not allowed by precepts), with non-female[s], with virgin[s], with a married wife, if sex relates to self-body, it is known as sexual misconduct."[6]


What the Bible itself states according to mainstream Bible scholarship[edit]

The biblical story of Onan is traditionally linked to referring to masturbation and condemnation thereof,[7] but the sexual act described by this story is coitus interruptus, not masturbation.[8][9][10][11][12] There is no explicit claim in the Bible that masturbation would be sinful,[13][14] however a ritual defilement is described in Leviticus (see #Other texts below.)

Ilona N. Rashkow states: "it is questionable whether masturbation is considered a category of 'negative' sexual activity in the Hebrew Bible" and that Lev 15:16 "refer to the emission rather than its circumstances."[15] Jones and Jones state James R. Johnson's biblical view on masturbation: "treating a solitary sexual experience, whether wet dream or masturbation, as a purely ceremonial cleanliness issue and not as a matter of morality."[16] T.J. Wray explains what the Bible actually states (and does not state) about masturbation: "Returning to the Levitical list of sexual taboos, curiously missing from the list is any mention of masturbation."[17] Then she goes on discussing Gen 38 and Lev 15 and concludes "None of this, however, represent a clear condemnation of masturbation."[17]

Traditional Jewish interpretation of the Tanakh[edit]

Maimonides stated that the Tanakh does not explicitly prohibit masturbation.[18] On the matter of masturbation, the biblical story of Onan is traditionally interpreted by Jews to be about the emitting sperm outside of vagina and condemnation thereof,[19] applying this story to masturbation,[19] although the Tanakh does not explicitly state that Onan was masturbating.[19] By virtue of Onan, traditional Judaism condemns male masturbation.[18]

Traditional Christian interpretation of the Bible[edit]

On the matter of masturbation, the biblical story of Onan was traditionally interpreted by Christians to be about the sin of masturbation and condemnation thereof,[7] since it was a constant of the prescientific mind to consider that the child is contained in the sperm the same way a plant is contained in its seed.[20] Some Catholic apologists have stated that the Church Fathers condemn all artificial birth control.[21] However, the Catholic moral theologian Charles E. Curran stated "the fathers of the Church are practically silent on the simple question of masturbation".[22] Arthur J. Mielke stated James Brundage's view as: "the themes of masturbation and sexual fantasy were unimportant to either pagan or Christian writers until the fourth or fifth centuries" (when the rise of monasticism happened).[23]

Interpretations of Leviticus 15[edit]

The traditional rabbinical interpretation of Leviticus 15 was that it applies to all sperm flows, including sperm flows due to masturbation.[24]

But [in P] the ejaculation of semen results in only a one-day impurity that requires laundering and ablutions (15:16-18), regardless of whether the act takes place during (legitimate) intercourse or by the self, deliberately (masturbation) or accidentally (nocturnal emission).

— Jacob Milgrom, Leviticus 17-22, pp. 1567-1568, apud Robert A.J. Gagnon, "A critique of Jacob Milgrom's views on Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13"

Before Pope Gregory I, the monastic interpretation of those verses was about "nocturnal emission".[25]

Carl L. Jech stated "Masturbation is never mentioned in the Bible".[26] M.K. Malan and Vern Bullough have stated "nowhere in the Bible is there a clear unchallenged reference to masturbation" and "masturbation is not mentioned in the Bible or Book of Mormon".[27]



The Catholic Church teaches that "Masturbation constitutes a grave moral disorder" and that "both the Magisterium of the Church—in the course of a constant tradition—and the moral sense of the faithful have declared without hesitation that masturbation is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act."[28]

Although "it is said that psychology and sociology show that [masturbation] is a normal phenomenon of sexual development, especially among the young," this does not change the fact that it "is an intrinsically and seriously disordered act" and "that, whatever the motive for acting this way, the deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside normal conjugal relations essentially contradicts the finality of the faculty. For it lacks the sexual relationship called for by the moral order, namely the relationship which realizes 'the full sense of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love.'"[28]

This is because the deliberate use of the sexual faculty outside of marriage is, according to the teaching of the Church, contrary to its primary purpose of procreation and unification of the husband and wife within the sacrament of marriage.[29] In addition, the Church teaches that all other sexual activity—including masturbation, homosexual acts, acts of sodomy, all sex outside of or before marriage (fornication), and the use of any form of contraception or birth control—is gravely disordered,[28] as it frustrates the natural order, purpose, and ends of sexuality.[30] To form an equitable judgment about the subjects' moral responsibility and to guide pastoral action, one must take into account the affective immaturity, force of acquired habit, conditions of anxiety or other psychological or social factors that lessen, if not even reduce to a minimum, moral culpability.[31]

The traditional view of masturbation has been consistent for all of the Catholic Church's 2,000-year history.[32] Early Catholic theologians universally condemned both masturbation and contraception as sinful. One such example is Clement of Alexandria, considered a saint and a Church Father, who said of masturbation, "Because of its divine institution for the propagation of man, the seed is not to be vainly ejaculated, nor is it to be damaged, nor is it to be wasted.".[33]

St. Peter Damian, in his Book of Gomorrah addressed to Pope St. Leo IX, wrote that masturbation is the lowest grade of homosexual sin. Left unchecked, it can "ascend by grades" to "fondling each other’s male parts" (mutual masturbation), which can lead one to "fornicate between the thighs" (femoral intercourse) "or even in the rear" (anal intercourse).[34]

St. Thomas Aquinas, the most prominent Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church, writes that masturbation is an "unnatural vice," which is a species of lust like bestiality, sodomy, and pederasty, and that "by procuring pollution [i.e., ejaculation apart from intercourse], without any copulation, for the sake of venereal pleasure … pertains to the sin of 'uncleanness' which some call 'effeminacy' [Latin: mollitiem, lit. 'softness, unmanliness']."[35]

However, after a study[36] commissioned by the Catholic Theological Society of America in 1972 but not approved by it when published in 1977, a number of dissident Catholic theologians have come to hold that an act of masturbation should not be judged as an objective moral evil, but assessed within the life context of the person involved. Others, among them John Wijngaards, maintain that masturbation is often no sin at all, and hardly ever a serious one.".[37] Reaction to the 1977 study showed that the dissent was not unanimous.[38][39]

Eastern Orthodox Christianity[edit]

The Eastern Orthodox Church or Orthodox Christian Church views sexuality as a gift from God that finds its fulfillment in the marital relationship, and therefore the misuse of the gift of human sexuality is sinful. Because the act of masturbation is self-directed, and by its nature is incapable of expressing love and concern for another person, it is viewed as a distortion of the use of the gift of sexuality. This is especially apparent when masturbation becomes an addiction. In the least, the practice of self-pleasure is viewed as not honoring the purpose of God's gift of sexuality.[40]

From the bishops and theologians of the early Christian church, Saint John Chrysostom and Saint Basil the Great (330 AD) to modern-day Orthodox Christian theologians, such as Stanley Harakas, Alexander Schmemann and Thomas Hopko, the Orthodox teaching on sexual morality remains consistent.

The sexual sins of fornication, adultery and masturbation, as well as hatred, jealousy, drunkenness and other sins are considered to be sins of the heart as much as the body. It is thought that turning away from sexual sin is turning away from self-indulgence for the purpose of self gratification. Instead of turning to the desires of the flesh, the Orthodox Christian claims to turn to the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is believed to be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.[41]


Theologians toward the middle of the 20th century began revising previous teachings, and some today even take pro-masturbation viewpoints. Some view it as an act of self-indulgence and even a sin of the flesh, and believe that the practice is principally considered a sin because of its invitation to lust.[42] Those who view it within the range of allowable sexual behavior encourage it as guard against adultery, pre-marital sex, or other forms of non-allowable sexual behavior, and as a method of balancing differing libidos between spouses.[43]


In the 1940s evangelical sex advice books advised against masturbation, considering it a very serious sin, but such warnings have disappeared from such books during the 1960s, "because evangelicals who noticed that the Bible said nothing directly about masturbation believed that they had made a mistake to proscribe it."[44] Also, they considered that masturbating is preferable to falling into "sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll".[44]

James Dobson stated: "Christian people have different opinions about how God views this act. Unfortunately, I can't speak directly for God on this subject, since His Holy Word, the Bible, is silent on this point."[45] He also stated: "The Bible says nothing about masturbation, so we don't really know what God thinks about it. My opinion is that He doesn't make a big issue of it."[46]


Ellen G. White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in the mid-19th century claimed to have spiritual visions from God that gave her guidance on the Christian life. She warned against overly-stimulating foods, sex, and masturbation, which she referred to as "solitary vice." She warned her followers of her visions of disfigured humans and the consequences of masturbation not only destroying one's life, but preventing access to Heaven when Jesus comes in the first resurrection. She made claims that masturbation was the cause of many sicknesses in adults from cancer to lung disease. White even stated that masturbation claimed many sinners' lives prematurely. She believed that one's diet had a direct correlation with one's urge to masturbate. She claimed that a healthy diet consisting of fruits, vegetables, wheat breads, and water would lead to a diminished urge to masturbate and thus would lead to a healthier and more fulfilling life. To ultimately produce a guide for future generations she claimed solitary vice was the cause of hereditary insanity, cancer, and other deadly diseases; clearly appealing to parents to protect their children by not engaging in solitary vice.[47]

Jehovah's Witnesses[edit]

The Jehovah's Witnesses teach that masturbation is a habit that is a "form of uncleanness", one that "fosters attitudes that can be mentally corrupting".[48]

Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod[edit]

The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod's Commission on Theology and Church Relations says the following regarding masturbation: "To view our sexuality in the context of a personal relationship of mutual love and commitment in marriage helps us to evaluate the practice. Chronic masturbation falls short of the Creator’s intention for our use of the gift of sexuality, namely, that our sexual drives should be oriented toward communion with another person in the mutual love and commitment of marriage."[49]

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints[edit]

Spencer W. Kimball, the twelfth president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church), urged Latter-day Saints to abandon the habit before going on a mission, receiving the priesthood, or attending the temple.[50] He taught that masturbation indicated "slavery to the flesh, not the mastery of it and the growth toward godhood which is the object of our mortal life".[51][52] As a member of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, Kimball stated: "Masturbation, a rather common indiscretion, is not approved of the Lord nor of His Church regardless of what may have been said by others whose 'norms' are lower. Latter-day Saints are urged to avoid this practice".[53] In 1980, as president of the church, Kimball repeated this counsel, described masturbation as "self abuse", and added: "Sometimes masturbation is the introduction to the more serious sins of exhibitionism and the sin of homosexuality."[50]

In a 1976 sermon entitled "To Young Men Only", apostle Boyd K. Packer compared the male reproductive system to a "little factory" and counseled adolescent boys to avoid "tamper[ing] with that factory" through masturbation; he also offered advice on how a man could break a masturbation habit.[54] Packer's sermon was printed as a pamphlet and is distributed by the LDS Church.[55]

In 2014, general authority Tad R. Callister wrote, "The Lord condemns self-abuse. Self-abuse is the act of stimulating the procreative power of one’s own body."[56]

United Church of God[edit]

The United Church of God teaches that "The United Church of God believes that sexual love is the supreme expression of love between a husband and wife and that only this use of the sexual organs glorifies or reflects God’s design and purpose." The church also says that, according to 1 Corinthians 6:16,18, any sexual activity outside of marriage is severely punished and, according to Matthew 5:27-30 in the church's view, sexual thoughts alone are enough for a person to be guilty of such sin. The church encourages its members to "guard and control their thoughts, as well as their actions."[57]


Main article: Brahmacharya

According to Hinduism, seeking Kama (sensual pleasures) is one of the four objectives of human life. Apart from a person who has taken vow of celibacy (Brahmacharya he practice the divine education and powers to the reality of life.

A treatise on sex, the Kama Sutra (4th-6th centuries) does not condemn masturbation at all; moreover, it explains in detail the best procedure to masturbate; "Churn your instrument with a lion's pounce: sit with legs stretched out at right angles to one another, propping yourself up with two hands planted on the ground between in them, and it between your arms".[58]

According to Hinduism, life begins at the brahmacharya or "student" stage, in which they are directed to chastely advance themselves educationally and spiritually to prepare themselves for a life of furthering their dharma (societal, occupational, parental, etc. duties) and karma (right earthly actions); only once they reach the Grihastya or "householder" stage can they seek kama (physical pleasure) and artha (worldly achievement, material prosperity) through their vocations[citation needed]. Sexual pleasure is part of kama, one of the four goals of life, but in hinduism "brahmacharya" takes the student to divine studies afar from sexual understandings.

However, celibacy (Brahmacharya) is one of the foundations of Hinduism and masturbation is one of the impediments to purity during the Brahmacharya phase of the life[citation needed]. The word brahmacharya tends to take on a connotation of disciplining the use of and preserving divine energy and is also understood broadly in yoga which can be understood as being applicable as appropriate in different contexts (e.g. faith in marriage, celibacy for spiritual aspirants etc.), in more extreme terms (complete celibacy full stop) or in more specific terms in relation to preserving and sublimating male sexual energy rather than losing it through ejaculation[citation needed].



Scholars of Islam do not generally approve of masturbation, except in extenuating circumstances. There is a statement in Quran "And those who guard their chastity, Except from their wives for then, they are free from blame; But whoever seeks beyond that, then those are transgressors." (23:5-7) Scholars of Islam also encourage Muslims to fast to reduce sexual desire if they cannot marry, as this was the recommendation of the Prophet, although masturbation is still permissible but disliked as a lesser evil to turn to.[59]

In Islam, sexual engagement outside of marriage is a major sin, which causes the doer to be punished in this life and in the afterlife (Qiyama). Yet if one's desire is so overwhelming one might perform a greater wrong by having sex outside marriage, masturbation becomes permissible as a necessity but in that case it will be like eating the flesh of a pig to survive from major hunger or starvation when no other food is available.[60]

So Quran says "But let them who find not [the means for] marriage abstain [from sexual relations] until Allah enriches them from His bounty. And those who seek a contract [for eventual emancipation] from among whom your right hands possess - then make a contract with them if you know there is within them goodness and give them from the wealth of Allah which He has given you. And do not compel your slave girls to prostitution, if they desire chastity, to seek [thereby] the temporary interests of worldly life. And if someone should compel them, then indeed, Allah is [to them], after their compulsion, Forgiving and Merciful." (Qur'an, 24:33)

Scholars have also stated that masturbation would not be necessary if one realises the flexible approach Islam takes to marriage. For example, according to Sheikh Ahmed Kutty, 'against the clear teachings of Islam, marriage has been rendered another difficult process today due to warped customs and conventions and undue expectations. When we approach marriage from the point of view of pristine Islam, we shall find less and less people being forced to exercise the above type of exceptional rulings'.[61]

Masturbation, like any form of sex in which seminal or vaginal fluids have been released, breaks one's fast if performed during the daylight hours and requires a major ablution if any seminal or vaginal fluids were released.

According to Sheikh Hamed Al-Ali: "Masturbation during the daytime of Ramadan breaks the fast, based on the Hadith that a fasting Muslim gives up eating, drinking, and sexual desire for the sake of Allah. Since masturbation is a kind of sexual desire, a fasting Muslim must avoid it. Therefore, masturbation invalidates the fast as does food and as it is one of the sins that if someone does it he or she would be violating the sanctity of this month."

It is considered permissible for spouses to masturbate each others, with the only sexual acts between spouses forbidden in Islam being anal intercourse and vaginal sex during menstruation.[62]

Shi'a view[edit]

Masturbation is forbidden altogether in the Shi'a sect. The Qur'an says, "The believers are... those who protect their sexual organs except from their spouses... Therefore, whosoever seeks more beyond that (in sexual gratification), then they are the transgressors." (23:5-6) [63] and it is not allowed in any situation, unless it is meant for the assessment or treatment of a serious medical conditions.

Sunni view[edit]

The four Sunni schools of jurisprudence (known as Madhaahib - the Hanafi, Shafi'i, Maliki and Hanbali schools of Fiqh) have differing stances on the issue. Some see it forbidden in certain cases (i.e. if it leads a man/woman to ignore their spouse sexually) but recommended it when they see it as a lesser evil to illicit sex. It is generally prohibited according to the Hanafi and Hanbali Mazhabs, unless one fears adultery or fornication, or is under the desire pressure, in which case, it is permissible to seek a relief through masturbation. It is prohibited all the time according to the Maliki and Shafi`i Mazhabs.[64]

Sufi view[edit]

Since Sufis emphasize the mysticism and interior pathways to God, while deemphasizing external rules and obedience, this may not play a role in Sufi jurisprudence.[65] Sufi scholar G Bennett states that "for all those who are not committed to working on themselves for their transformation, masturbation acts like a safety valve for the sexual energy and allows it to be wasted without destructive consequences".[66]


Orthodox Judaism[edit]

The Talmud forbids male masturbation, as it leads to unnecessary spilling of semen, or the impure thoughts of women other than the man's lawful wife. This prohibition is derived from the Biblical narrative of Onan (Talmud Niddah 13a). The Talmud (ibid) likens the act to murder and idolatry. The wrath displayed by God toward Onan was invoked not through the act of spilling semen, but through disobedience to God's command for Onan to impregnate his brother's widow (see the story in Genesis 38:8-10). Others consider the death sentence excessive for failure to properly follow the laws of Levirate marriage — the Biblical option offered to those refusing a Levirate marriage was that the woman who was refused, would spit over the males shoe, after removing it from his foot. Because Onan's punishment was so much more severe, they argue that the spilling of semen was the relevant offense. Onan was not masturbating, but practising birth control by withdrawal.

According to the Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, "It is forbidden to discharge semen in vain. This is a graver sin than any other in the Torah".[67] However, Beis Shmuel expounds that this is not literal, but rather serves to frighten man into avoiding the sin.[68]

There is disagreement among the poskim, decisors of Jewish law, whether masturbation is an acceptable way of procuring semen for artificial insemination or in vitro fertilisation.[69]

Judaism in general neither prohibits nor discourages female masturbation, although some authorities consider female masturbation as necessarily involving "impure thoughts".[70]

Other movements[edit]

Reform and Reconstructionist rabbis have decided on more liberal conclusions. Reconstructionist Rabbi Alexis Roberts maintains that masturbation is "harmless, natural and healthy. It may provide release and pleasure, as well as self-knowledge that is useful for pleasurable sex with a partner. It may make it easier for young people to have sexual release in the years when they are too young for a mature, committed, loving relationship."[71] Reform Rabbi Jonathan Stein, in a proposed schema for normative Reform evaluation of different sexual activities, proposed that masturbation be considered "mutar", a term generally translated as "permissible", but which he renders as "tolerable".[72] Rabbi Walter Jacob, writing on behalf of the Reform responsa committee, asserts, "Although the statements of tradition are very clear, we would take a different view of masturbation, in the light of current psychological thought. Masturbation should be discouraged, but we would not consider it harmful or sinful."[73]

Spilling semen in vain[edit]

Sperm in vain (or Semen in vain or Seed in vain; Hebrew: זרע לבטלה, pronounced: Zera Levatala) is a Talmudic term for any sexual act in which a male's sperm is consciously "wasted",[74] whether because she is pregnant, infertile, or elderly. This is proper for the purpose of fulfilling the "Onah" Mitzvah-commandment, the husband's marital obligations.

"But why all these precautions? — Because otherwise one might emit semen in vain, and R. Johanan stated: Whosoever emits semen in vain deserves death, for it is said in Scripture."

— Babylon Talmud, Tractate Niddah, p. 13a

Prior to the 20th century, it was a Jewish term usually (but not only) referring to masturbation. In Shulchan Aruch, on "Yoreh Deah", it is stated that wasting sperm is considered to be a sin greater than any sin in the Torah.

Homosexual intercourse is also considered an act of spilling semen in vain; as for masturbation, despite not having been explicitly prohibited in the Torah, the Halkha and the Oral Torah views masturbation as an Halakhaic prohibition and a great sin. Even marital sexual acts in which the semen is not aimed at the vagina (and should it be spilled), is considered an act of seed in vain.

The Halakhic attitude towards a female masturbation is found in the opinions of the Ben Ish Chai,[75] who says that it is wrong because it creates evil forces (Kelipos), and Rabbi Moshe Feinstein,[76] who forbids it because it involves indulging in sexual fantasy about men, which falls under the prohibition of forbidden thoughts, which are forbidden for women as well. However, it does not carry the severity of male masturbation, because it does not involve the release of seed.

In modern days, the Halakhic question on whether taking a male sperm for the purpose of medical examinations or insemination is debated among the authorities.

Other texts[edit]

Leviticus chapter 15 in the Law of Moses states that any male having a "flow" is ceremonially defiled, he must cleanse himself with water, and then in the evening begin to count a period of seven days (v. 13), after which he must wash in water again, then bring two pigeons or doves to the priests on the 8th day who will make the sacrifice for him. This "flow" refers to ejaculation of semen (verse 32), whether through masturbation[16] or nocturnal emission.[16] However, verse 3 states that he is rendered unclean even if the flow is "blocked", i.e. even if he stops himself short of ejaculation. This temporary ceremonial defilement isn't masturbation-specific, it also applies to intercourse among married heterosexual partners[16] (but takes only one day instead of seven).

Other than this 7-day ceremonial defilement (which is actually quite similar to the Taoist concept of "diminished Qi" as detailed below), there are no consequences or punishments specified for masturbation or mere ejaculation to be found in Mosaic Law. However, the Temple Scroll, used by the sect responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls, states that a man may not enter the holy grounds of the Future Temple in the New Jerusalem for a period of seven days after ejaculating.


Some teachers and practitioners of Traditional Chinese medicine, Taoist meditative and martial arts say that masturbation can cause a lowered energy level in men. They say that ejaculation in this way reduces "origin qi" from dantian, the energy center located in the lower abdomen. Some maintain that sex with a partner does not do this because the partners replenish each other's qi. Some practitioners therefore say that males should not practice martial arts for at least 48 hours after masturbation while others prescribe up to six months, because the loss of Origin Qi does not allow new qi to be created for this kind of time.

Some Taoists strongly discouraged female masturbation. Women were encouraged to practice massaging techniques upon themselves, but were also instructed to avoid thinking sexual thoughts if experiencing a feeling of pleasure. Otherwise, the woman's "labia will open wide and the sexual secretions will flow." If this happened, the woman would lose part of her life force, and this could bring illness and shortened life.[77]


Wicca, like other religions, has adherents with a spectrum of views ranging from conservative to liberal. Wicca is generally undogmatic, and nothing in Wiccan philosophy prohibits masturbation. On the contrary, Wiccan ethics, summed up in the Wiccan Rede "An it harm none, do as thou wilt", are interpreted by many as endorsing responsible sexual activity of all varieties. This is reinforced in the Charge of the Goddess, a key piece of Wiccan literature, in which the Goddess says, "all acts of love and pleasure are my rituals".[78]


The Zoroastrian holy book Avesta, with its stress on physical cleanliness, lists voluntary masturbation among the unpardonable sins that one can commit. Verses 26-28 of Fargard VIII, Section V of the Vendidad state

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man involuntarily emits his seed, what is the penalty that he shall pay?

Ahura Mazda answered: 'Eight hundred stripes with the Aspahê-astra, eight hundred stripes with the Sraoshô-karana.'

O Maker of the material world, thou Holy One! If a man voluntarily emits his seed, what is the penalty for it? What is the atonement for it? What is the cleansing from it?

Ahura Mazda answered: 'For that deed there is nothing that can pay, nothing that can atone, nothing that can cleanse from it; it is a trespass for which there is no atonement, for ever and ever.'

When is it so?

'It is so, if the sinner be a professor of the law of Mazda, or one who has been taught in it. But if he be not a professor of the law of Mazda, nor one who has been taught in it, then this law of Mazda takes his sin from him, if he confesses it and resolves never to commit again such forbidden deeds.


  • Wile, Douglas. The Art of the Bedchamber: The Chinese Sexual Yoga Classics including Women’s Solo Meditation Texts. Albany: State University of New York, 1992.
  • Numbers, Ronald L, "Sex, Science, and Salvation: The Sexual Advice of Ellen G. White and John Harvey Kellogg," in Right Living: An Anglo-American Tradition of Self-Help Medicine and Hygiene ed. Charles Rosenberg, 2003.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Higgins, Winton. "Buddhist Sexual Ethics". BuddhaNet Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  2. ^ [1] Not having sexual intercourse, including masturbation, any action that brings an orgasm and so forth, because this results in a rebirth. Loss of seed causes the organs to lose power, the mind to become unclear, the senses to lose power, and the body to lose color. The worst things are sexual intercourse in a holy place, where there are gurus or holy objects, intercourse with a female arhat, a celibate person, or the mother, or oral and anal intercourse. This precept includes anything that causes loss of sperm. Nocturnal emission in dreams and so forth is not exactly the same as if it is done consciously, but we still create negative karma. To do it consciously creates much more bad karma than dream time. Generally, the action that is the opposite of the precept brings the opposite negative result, takes us further from enlightenment, and keeps us longer in samsara. Even if the person is near to realizations, if he breaks the precepts he tends to lose knowledge and continuously suffers, mostly in the three lower realms. This is the basic total result of breaking any of the precepts. It’s the same thing for sexual intercourse, loss of seed—this takes us further from enlightenment and makes us always attached to temporal happiness. On this basis even if the person is born in the three upper realms the person is continuously attached to the action and the temporal happiness of it. This mental habit always continues to get stronger in future lifetimes and is difficult to control, and even though one receives a human body it has ugly colors and imperfect organs. Also in the present lifetime, for the person who wants to meditate, this can be the greatest disturbance. We may think that doing the action of masturbation a great deal will stop it, but this is wrong, a big mistake: it is like trying to stop the fire by pouring petrol into fire. This action is extremely old. For all sentient beings, as humans we did it, and we have done it in every form, countless times. None of this experience is new. It is because of the habit, ignorance, and attachment to this action that it has not stopped, and it is endless if an effort is not made to stop it. This is one of the greatest disturbances to meditation—it doesn’t keep the mind relaxed and as a result of the attachment to temporal happiness, the mind is taken out of meditation. Due to this, we are always attached to other people of opposite sex and much distracted. Memories always come into the mind; and also it causes us to have unclear visualizations of Buddha, so that when we meditate we don’t see the object clearly, and may not remember Him even if it’s a usual object. From the Mahayana tantric yoga practice point of view sexual intercourse is the worst disturbance for meditation.
  3. ^
  4. ^>
  5. ^ Shravasti Dhammika. "Masturbation". Guide to Buddhism A-Z. Bhante Dhammika. Retrieved 25 June 2015. 
  6. ^ Sūtra of the Upāsaka Precepts, fascicle 6, Chapter 24a
  7. ^ a b Vines, Matthew (2014). "4. The Real Sin of Sodom". God and the Gay Christian: The Biblical Case in Support of Same-Sex Relationships. New York, NY: Doubleday Religious Publishing Group. p. 72. ISBN 9781601425171. OCLC 869801284. 
  8. ^ Coogan, Michael (October 2010). God and Sex. What the Bible Really Says (1st ed.). New York, Boston: Twelve. Hachette Book Group. p. 110. ISBN 978-0-446-54525-9. OCLC 505927356. Retrieved May 5, 2011. Although Onan gives his name to "onanism," usually a synonym for masturbation, Onan was not masturbating but practicing coitus interruptus. 
  9. ^ (official Catholic tract declared free from error by a book censor and approved by a bishop.) Quote: "The Bible mentions at least one form of contraception specifically and condemns it. Coitus interruptus, was used by Onan to avoid fulfilling his duty according to the ancient Jewish law of fathering children for one’s dead brother."
  10. ^ Ellens, J. Harold (2006). "6. Making Babies: Purposes of Sex". Sex in the Bible: a new consideration. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers. p. 48. ISBN 0-275-98767-1. OCLC 65429579. Retrieved 2012-01-24. He practiced coitus interruptus whenever he made love to Tamar. 
  11. ^ Confirmed by The Web Bible Encyclopedia at quote: "Some have mistakenly assumed that Onan's sin was masturbation. However, it seems clear that this is not the case. Onan was prematurely withdrawing from sexual intercourse with his new wife, Tamar. This is a form of birth control still practiced today (coitus interruptus)."
  12. ^ Church Father Epiphanius of Salamis agrees, according to Riddle, John M. (1992). "1. Population and Sex". Contraception and abortion from the ancient world to the Renaissance. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press. p. 4. ISBN 0-674-16875-5. OCLC 24428750. Retrieved 2012-01-24. Epiphanius (fourth century) construed the sin of Onan as coitus interruptus.14 
  13. ^ Patton, Michael S. (June 1985). "Masturbation from Judaism to Victorianism". Journal of Religion and Health (Springer Netherlands) 24 (2): 133–146. doi:10.1007/BF01532257. ISSN 0022-4197. Retrieved 12 November 2011. Nevertheless, there is no legislation in the Bible pertaining to masturbation. 
  14. ^ Kwee, Alex W.; David C. Hoover (2008). "Theologically-Informed Education about Masturbation: A Male Sexual Health Perspective" (PDF). Journal of Psychology and Theology (La Mirada, CA, USA: Rosemead School of Psychology. Biola University) 36 (4): 258–269. ISSN 0091-6471. Retrieved 12 November 2011. The Bible presents no clear theological ethic on masturbation, leaving many young unmarried Christians with confusion and guilt around their sexuality. 
  15. ^ Nemesnyik Rashkow, Ilona (2000). "Sin and Sex, Sex and Sin: The Hebrew Bible and Human Sexuality". Taboo Or Not Taboo: Sexuality and Family in the Hebrew Bible. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press. p. 16. ISBN 9781451409871. OCLC 42603147. Since it is questionable whether masturbation is considered a category of "negative" sexual activity in the Hebrew Bible, I shall not discuss masturbation. (The sin of Onan [Genesis 38] is not necessarily that of masturbation; otherwise, oblique references to seminal emission, such as "a man, when an emission of semen comes out of him" [Lev 15:16], refer to the emission rather than its circumstances. Female masturbation is never mentioned in the Hebrew Bible. 
  16. ^ a b c d Jones, Stanton; Jones, Brenna (2014). "CHAPTER 13: Developing Moral Discernment About Masturbation and Petting". How and When to Tell Your Kids About Sex: A Lifelong Approach to Shaping Your Child's Sexual Character. Colorado Springs, CO: NavPress, Tyndale House. p. 253. ISBN 9781612912301. OCLC 104623265. 1. We are aware of only one argument that attempts to draw directly from the Scripture to establish a basis for the acceptance of masturbation, found in J. Johnson, "Toward a Biblical Approach to Masturbation, Journal of Psychology and Theology 10 (1982): 137-146. Johnson suggest that Leviticus 15:1-618 should set the tone for our dealing with masturbation. Verses 16 and 17 say that a man who has an emission of semen should wash and be ceremonially unclean until evening. Verse 18 goes on to say that if a man and woman have intercourse, the same cleanliness rules apply. By bringing up intercourse separately, the passage surely does imply that the emission of semen in verses 16 and 17 occurred for the man individually. The passage may be referring to a nocturnal emission, or wet dream, rather than masturbation, but the passage is not specific. Johnson suggests that this Leviticus passage is significant for treating a solitary sexual experience, whether wet dream or masturbation, as a purely ceremonial cleanliness issue and not as a matter of morality. The passage also puts no more disapproval on the solitary experience than it does on intercourse. Because Christians today commonly view the Old Testament ceremonial law as no longer valid, this author suggests that masturbation is not in itself a moral concern from a biblical perspective and is no longer a 
  17. ^ a b Wray, Tina J. (2011). "Chapter 7. Should We or Shouldn't We? A Brief Exploration of Sexuality and Gender". What the Bible Really Tells Us: The Essential Guide to Biblical Literacy. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers. pp. 142–143. ISBN 9781442212930. OCLC 707329261. Returning to the Levitical list of sexual taboos, curiously missing from the list is any mention of masturbation. Many people assume that this, too, is forbidden, but the truth is, the word masturbation is never specifically mentioned in the Bible, though some argue that it is implied (and also condemned) in several places. The story cited most often is found in Genesis 38... For centuries this obscure passage has been used as an indictment against masturbation though it is not masturbation at all. ... But if Onan's story is not about masturbation, then where in the Bible is the practice forbidden? Some commentators conclude that the word porneia—a word already discussed in the first two assumptions—is a catchall term to include all forms of unchastity, including masturbation, but others vehemently disagree. In the book of Leviticus, there is explicit mention of purity regulations regarding semen that seem to emanate from either masturbation or possibly nocturnal emission: [Bible quote Lev 15:16-17] None of this, however, represent a clear condemnation of masturbation. 
  18. ^ a b Maimonides, Commentary to the Mishnah, Sanhedrin 7:4, apud Dorff, Elliot N. (2003) [1998]. "Chapter Five. Preventing Pregnancy". Matters of life and death : a Jewish approach to modern medical ethics (First paperback ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Jewish Publication Society. p. 117. ISBN 0827607687. OCLC 80557192. Jews historically shared the abhorrence of male masturbation that characterized other societies.2 Interestingly, although the prohibition was not debated, legal writers had difficulty locating a biblical based for it, and no less an authority than Maimonides claimed that it could not be punishable by the court because there was not an explicit negative commandment forbidding it.3 
  19. ^ a b c Judaism 101: Kosher Sex Jewish law clearly prohibits male masturbation. This law is derived from the story of Onan (Gen. 38:8-10), who practiced coitus interruptus as a means of birth control to avoid fathering a child for his deceased brother. G-d killed Onan for this sin. Although Onan's act was not truly masturbation, Jewish law takes a very broad view of the acts prohibited by this passage, and forbids any act of ha-sh'cha'tat zerah (destruction of the seed), that is, ejaculation outside of the vagina. In fact, the prohibition is so strict that one passage in the Talmud states, "in the case of a man, the hand that reaches below the navel should be chopped off." (Niddah 13a). The issue is somewhat less clear for women. Obviously, spilling the seed is not going to happen in female masturbation, and there is no explicit Torah prohibition against female masturbation. Nevertheless, Judaism generally frowns upon female masturbation as "impure thoughts."
  20. ^ Nelson, James (2003). "Homosexuality and the Church". In Laderman, Gary; León, Luis D. Religion and American Cultures: An Encyclopedia of Traditions, Diversity, and Popular Expressions 1. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio. p. 884. ISBN 9781576072387. OCLC 773527161. 
  21. ^ StayCatholic: ECF Contraception
  22. ^ Mielke, Arthur J. (1995). "Chapter 4. Christian Perspectives on Sex and Pornography". Christians, Feminists, and the Culture of Pornography. Lanham, MD: University Press of America. p. 59. ISBN 9780819197658. OCLC 878553779. 
  23. ^ Mielke (1995: 60)
  24. ^ Gagnon, Robert A.J. (2005-02-07). "A critique of Jacob Milgrom's views on Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13" (PDF). Pittsburgh. p. 6. Retrieved 2015-06-25. Milgrom acknowledges that the rabbis condemned masturbation (b. Nid. 13a, b). Nevertheless, “it is their enactment, not that of Scripture” (ibid., 1568). 
  25. ^ Elliott, Mark W. (2012). "Leviticus 15". Engaging Leviticus: Reading Leviticus Theologically with Its Past Interpreters. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 148. ISBN 9781610974110. OCLC 773015476. 
  26. ^ Jech, Carl L. (2013). "CHAPTER 2. Beyond Heaven and Hell". Religion as Art Form: Reclaiming Spirituality Without Supernatural Beliefs. Eugene, OR: Resource Publications, Wipf and Stock Publishers. p. 97. ISBN 9781621896708. OCLC 853272981. 
  27. ^ Malan, Mark Kim; Bullough, Vern (Fall 2005). "Historical development of new masturbation attitudes in Mormon culture: secular conformity, counterrevolution, and emerging reform" (PDF). Sexuality & Culture (New York, Philadelphia: Springer) 9 (4): 80–127. ISSN 1095-5143. While nowhere in the Bible is there a clear unchallenged reference to masturbation, Jewish tradition was always seriously concerned about the loss of semen. The Book of Leviticus, for example states: [Bible quote Lev 14:16-18] ... Although masturbation is not mentioned in the Bible or Book of Mormon, absence of scriptural authority on the matter, Kimball said, is irrelevant: “Let no one rationalize their sins on the excuse that a particular sin of his is not mentioned nor forbidden in scripture” (p.25). 
  28. ^ a b c Cardinal Seper, Franjo (2005-12-29). "Persona Humana: Declaration on certain questions concerning sexual ethics". § IX. The Roman Curia. Retrieved 2008-07-23. 
  29. ^ Pope Pius XI (1930-12-31). "Casti Connubii". Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  30. ^ Pope Paul VI (1968-07-25). "Humanæ Vitæ". Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  31. ^ Libreria Editrice Vaticana (ed.). "Catechism of the Catholic Church". 2352. Retrieved 2009-07-23. 
  32. ^ For historical examples of condemnations of masturbation, see:
    • Pope Leo IX, letter "Ad splendidum nitentis," in the year 1054 DS 687-688
    • decree of the Holy Office, March 2nd, 1679: DS 2149 Translation: 1124:

      Voluptuousness [Latin: Mollities, lit. 'softness, unmanliness,' another word for 'masturbation'], sodomy, and bestiality are sins of the same ultimate species

    • Pope Pius XII, "Allocutio," Oct 8th, 1953 AAS 45 (1953), pp. 677-678:

      ce qu'une n'est pas licite: "masturbatio directe procurata ut obtineatur sperma"
      ("this is not lawful: 'masturbation directly procured to obtain sperm'")

    • May 19th, 1956 AAS 48 (1956), pp. 472-473
  33. ^ (The Instructor of Children 2:10:91:2 [A.D. 191])
  34. ^ Damian, St. Peter (October 2015). "II. On the Different Types of Sodomites". The Book of Gomorrah: St. Peter Damian's Struggle Against Ecclesiastical Corruption. Matthew Cullinan Hoffman (trans.). Ite ad Thomam. ISBN 978-0-9967042-1-2. translator's footnote (146): 'Damian makes use of this fourfold gradation of sexual perversion for most of the work, although he occasionally also addresses the sin of bestiality, which he regards as slightly less evil than anal sodomy (see chapter 7), as well as the sin of contraception, which he also sees as a form of sodomy (see chapter 4).' 
  35. ^ Summa Theologica IIª-IIae, q. 154 a. 11 co. (in Latin)
  36. ^ A. Kosnik and others, Human Sexuality. New Directions in Catholic Thought, Search Press, London 1977, pp. 219-229.
  37. ^ Wijngaards, John. "Touching oneself - masturbation, self-gratification: a Catholic view". 
  38. ^ The Historical Development of Fundamental Moral Theology in the United States, Curran
  39. ^ Courage to Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church, Weigel
  40. ^ Fr. John Matusiak. "Church's view of masturbation". Orthodox Church in America. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  41. ^ Archpriest Joseph F Purpura, Antiochian Orthodox Christian Archdiocese. "Pre-marital Sexual Relations". Moral and Ethical Issues: Confronting Orthodox Youth across North America. Author Books and Barnes & Noble. Retrieved 2008-06-26. 
  42. ^ Miller, Jeff (2008). "Masturbation". 
  43. ^ Wright, Anne (2009). Grandma's Sex Handbook. Intimate Press. pp. 123–146. ISBN 978-0-578-02075-4. 
  44. ^ a b Williams, Daniel K. (2013). "5. Sex and the Evangelicals: Gender Issues, the Sexual Revolution, and Abortion in the 1960s". In Schäfer, Axel R. American Evangelicals and the 1960s. Madison, Wisconsin: University of Wisconsin Press. p. 104. ISBN 9780299293635. OCLC 811239040. The leading evangelical sex advice books of the late 1940s had contained strong warnings against masturbation, placing it in the same category of such sexual sins as homosexuality and prostitution. Even in the early 1960s, some evangelical sexual advice books for teens still contained warnings about masturbation, but by the end of the decade, those warnings had disappeared, because evangelicals who noticed that the Bible said nothing directly about masturbation believed that they had made a mistake to proscribe it.19 
  45. ^ Dobson, James (2012) [1978]. Preparing for Adolescence: How to Survive the Coming Years of Change (Ebook ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Revell. p. 50. ISBN 9781441224835. Still, the subject of masturbation is a very controversial one. Christian people have different opinions about how God views this act. Unfortunately, I can't speak directly for God on this subject, since His Holy Word, the Bible, is silent on this point. I will tell you what I believe although I certainly do not want to contradict what your parents or your pastor believe. It is my opinion that masturbation is not much of an issue with God. It's a normal part of adolescence, which involves no one else. It does not cause diseases, it does not produce babies, and Jesus did not mention it in the Bible. I'm not telling you to masturbate, and I hope you won't feel the need for it. But if you do, it is my opinion that you should not struggle with guilt over it. 
  46. ^ Dobson, James C. (2000). Preparing for Adolescence: Growth Guide. Delight, AR: Gospel Light. ISBN 9780830725021. The Bible says nothing about masturbation, so we don't really know what God thinks about it. My opinion is that He doesn't make a big issue of it. It won't cause you to become crazy, as some people say. So I would encourgage you not to struggle with guilt 
  47. ^ Numbers, Ronald L, "Sex, Science, and Salvation: The Sexual Advice of Ellen G. White and John Harvey Kellogg," in Right Living: An Anglo-American Tradition of Self-Help Medicine and Hygiene ed. Charles Rosenberg, 2003., pp. 208-209
  48. ^ "How Can I Conquer This Habit?". Awake! (Watch Tower Society): 18–20. November 2006. 
  49. ^
  50. ^ a b Spencer W. Kimball, "President Kimball Speaks Out on Morality", Ensign, November 1980; quoted in Spencer W. Kimball, President Kimball Speaks Out (Salt Lake City, Utah: Deseret Book, 1981), p. 10.
  51. ^ Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1969) p. 77.
  52. ^ >Kimball, Spencer W. (1982). Edward L. Kimball, ed. The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball. Salt Lake City: Bookcraft. p. 282. ISBN 0-88494-472-7. 
  53. ^ Spencer W. Kimball, "Love Versus Lust", Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year (Provo, Utah, 1965, p. 22); quoted in "Chapter 5: Teaching Adolescents: from Twelve to Eighteen Years", A Parent's Guide (Salt Lake City, Utah: LDS Church, 1985).
  54. ^ Boyd K. Packer, "To Young Men Only",
  55. ^ Boyd K. Packer, "To Young Men Only",
  56. ^ Tad R. Callister, "The Lord's Standard of Morality", Liahona, March 2014.
  57. ^ "Is masturbation a sin?". 
  58. ^ How to Raise Kids Who Won't Hate You By Alan Thicke; p.125
  59. ^ [2] Sahih al-Bukhari; Book of Wedlock, Marriage (Nikaah); Hadith 4
  60. ^ [3] AskTheScholar by Sheikh Ahmed Kutty What does Islam teach about masturbation for both males and females?
  61. ^ [4] AskTheScholar by Sheikh Ahmed Kutty What does Islam teach about masturbation for both males and females?
  62. ^ [5] AskTheScholar by Sheikh Ahmed Kutty
  63. ^ Marriage and Morals in Islam
  64. ^ Marriage in Islam - Part 1 by Hussein Khalid Al-Hussein, Ph.D. Refer to: Section Al-`Alaqat Al-Mubahah (Allowed Relationships)
  65. ^ Appreciating All Religions: Religious Literacy in Small Bites - Page 121, Paramjit Singh Sachdeva - 2010
  66. ^ Palmistry: The Universal Guide - Page 113, Nathaniel Altman - 2009
  67. ^ Kitzur Shulchan Aruch, סימן קנא: א (Chapter 151: 1); Rabbi Shlomo Ganzfried
  68. ^ Shulchan Aruch, Even Ha'Ezer 23:1
  69. ^ Jewish Law - Articles ("The Use of Cryopreserved Sperm and Pre-embryos In Contemporary Jewish Law and Ethics")
  70. ^ Kosher Sex
  71. ^ "Masturbation: Is It Kosher?". Beliefnet.
  72. ^ Stein, Jonathan (Fall 2001). "Toward a Taxonomy for Reform Jews to Evaluate Sexual Behavior". CCAR Journal (Central Conference of American Rabbis). Retrieved 2007-08-27. 
  73. ^ Jacob, Walter (1979). "Masturbation". American Reform Responsa (Central Conference of American Rabbis). Retrieved 2007-08-28. 
  74. ^ Bris Kodesh i.e., released as an act not for the purpose of procreation, or in normal intercourse with one's wife, even when she is for whatever reason not able to become pregnant from that seed,, Glossary
  75. ^ Od Yosef Chai p. 37, quoting the Arizal in Shaar HaKavanos, Inyan Drushei Layla, sec. 7
  76. ^ Igros Moshe, Even Ha'ezer 1, sec. 69.
  77. ^ Wile (1994), p. 59.
  78. ^ "Alternative Sexuality". Tangled Moon Coven. 2006-08-08. Retrieved 2006-12-30.