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.

Abrahamic religions[edit]

Biblical scholarship[edit]

The biblical story of Onan (Gen. 38) is traditionally linked to referring to masturbation and condemnation thereof,[1] but the sexual act described by this story is coitus interruptus, not masturbation.[2][3][4][5][6] There is no explicit claim in the Bible that masturbation is sinful.[7][8]

According to James Nelson, there are three interpretive examinations why Onan's act is condemned: the Onan story reflects firm "procreative" accent of the Hebrew interpretation regarding sexuality, 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, and masturbation as well homosexual acts by men have been condemned more strongly than same acts by women in the Judeo-Christian tradition.[9]

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."[10] 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."[11] They state: "Johnson suggest that Leviticus 15:16-18 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. Since 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 ceremonial concern either."

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."[12] Then she goes on discussing Gen 38 and Lev 15 and concludes "None of this, however, represent a clear condemnation of masturbation."[12]

Carl L. Jech stated "Masturbation is never mentioned in the Bible".[13] 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".[14]

According to The Oxford Handbook of Theology, Sexuality, and Gender, some scholars suggest that the word 'hand' in Matthew 5:29-30, Mark 9:42-48, and Matthew 18:6-9 may implies masturbation as in the Mishnah (m. Nid. 2.1).[15]:204 Regarding those biblical passages, The Oxford Encyclopedia of the Bible and Gender Studies states Will Deming's view: "The sinning by eye, hand, and foot may come from a tradition of formulaic warnings against lustful gazing (by the eye), masturbation (by hand), and adultery (by 'foot', the Hebrew euphemism for genitalia)."[16] In addition to the eye, Deming argues that "the hand plays a major role in lust as well through masturbation".[17]


Today, Roman Catholic and Eastern Orthodox Christians consider masturbation to be a sin.

Early church[edit]

Greek Egyptian Church Father Clement of Alexandria (c. 150 – c. 215) writes in his Paedagogus, or The Instructor of Children:

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.

Scholars such as Raj Bhala and Kathryn M. Kueny say that Clement's statement includes both coitus interruptus and masturbation, the acts which make "injury to nature".[18] "The use of spermicidal potions" is also included within it, according to Kueny.[19] John G. Younger considers that Clement speaks about masturbation as well "masculine women and effeminate men" in his Paedagogus, make mention of violating the nature "to have sex for any other purpose than to produce children".[20]

Talking about the Egyptian Gnostics related to his previous experience with them, Epiphanius of Salamis (310/320 – 403), a Byzantine Church Father and Doctor of the Church, states in his Panarion, or Medicine Chest:

They exercise genital acts, yet prevent the conceiving of children. Not in order to produce offspring, but to satisfy lust, are they eager for corruption.[21]

John T. Noonan, Jr. says that the Gnostics described by Epiphanius practiced "nonprocreative sexual acts" as a centre in their religious rituals. Epiphanius calls these practices, which include coitus interruptus, masturbation, and homosexual acts, as "the rites and ceremonies of the devil".[21] Shenoute (348-466), other Byzantines which is considered a saint in Oriental Orthodoxy, views masturbation as a sexual "misconduct"[22] and an "outright illicit sexual activity".[23]

Scholars such as Robert Baker and Simon Lienyueh Wei believe that Augustine of Hippo (354–430), a Latin Church Father and Doctor of the Church, regards masturbation as a sin.[24][25][26] Other scholars, Merry E. Wiesner-Hanks and Carly Daniel-Hughes, say that Augustine condemns all sexual activities that contrary to procreation including homosexual acts and masturbation—or "solitary pleasure".[27][28] Carly says that Augustine also regards "mutual masturbation" as "unnatural intercourse" based on Romans 1.[28] Isidore of Seville, another Latin Church Father and Doctor of the Church, regards masturbation as an "effeminate" habit,[29][30] though the early penitential writers seem not particularly concur with him.[31] In his Etymologiae (c. 600–625), Isidore says that by masturbation a man dishonor "the vigor of his sex by his languid body".[30]

However, the dissident Catholic moral theologian Charles E. Curran claimed that "the fathers of the Church are practically silent on the simple question of masturbation".[32] Arthur J. Mielke stated James A. 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).[33] Nevertheless, Brundage himself states in his book that those writers had not "paid much attention to these matters",[34] and "paid only scant attention to masturbation and homosexual practices",[35] without stating "unimportant".

Giovanni Cappelli, as written by James F. Keenan, argues that as monastic communities developed, the sexual lives of monks came under scrutiny from two theologians, John Cassian (365–433) and Caesarius of Arles (470–543), who commented on the "vices" of the 'solitary' life. Cappelli claims that "their concerns were not with the act of masturbation, but with the monks who vowed chastity. The monks' promise made masturbation an illicit act; the act itself was not considered sinful." Keenan adds: "In fact, as Cappelli, Louis Crompton, and James Brundage each observe, prior to Cassian, masturbation was not considered a sexual offence for anyone."[36]

Brundage, however, writes in his book that Cassian regards "masturbation and nocturnal pollution central issues in sexual morality and devoted a great deal of attention to both matters". Cassian considers "nocturnal emission" a very important problem as it is an indication of "carnal lust" and, if a monk still has not overcome it, "his religious life and his salvation might well be in peril".[34] In the Conlationes, Cassian uses the word "uncleanness" (immunditia, as written in Collossians 3:5) as an equal substitute for both masturbation and nocturnal emissions, obviously regards masturbation as an unacceptable form of "sexual release".[37] In the De institutis coenobiorum, he gives particular emphasis on "the sin of fornication, which includes masturbation and sexual fantasising".[38] Brundage sees Caesarius holds similar view as Cassian. In his Sermons, Caesarius considers "any sexual longing, to say nothing of deliberate self-stimulation, a serious sin and placed it on an even footing with adultery or excessive indulgence in sex by married persons".[34] According to Simon Lienyueh Wei, as cited by some scholars, John Cassian and Augustine of Hippo hold that it is a sin if the emission is the outcome of "a lustful encounter or pleasurable recollection"; otherwise, it is seen as "a physical function".[25][26]

Mark W. Elliott says that Pope Gregory I (c. 540 – 604)—commonly known as Gregory the Great, a Latin Church Father and Doctor of the Church—treats Leviticus 15, which discusses ritual defilement, as "providing rules for all in the church community by relating emission to that of sexual intercourse rather than the previous monastic 'nocturnal emission' interpretation. ... He does, however, specify that nocturnal emissions—if caused by natural superfluity or sickness—are unproblematic for holiness, but where there is consent (i.e., masturbation) they are problematic."[39] Making a parallel between women's menstruation and "the involuntary loss of semen", Gregory declares that "natural superfluities" do not prevent both laity and clergy to participate in the Eucharist.[40]

Canon 8 of the Synod of the Grove of Victory from the 6th century imposes penances for "he who [has relations] between the thighs, [three] years. However, if by one's own hand or the hand of another, two years."[41] Those acts refer to "mutual masturbation" and "femoral fornication".[42] Another earliest set of rules which also prescribes penances for masturbation are Excerpts from the Book of St. David[43] and Canons of John the Faster.[44][45] Later, many early penitentials, such as Penitential of Finnian, Penitential of Columban, Penitential of Cummean, Paenitentiale Theodori, Paenitentiale Bedae, and the two "synods of Saint Patrick", impose penances with different levels of severity for masturbation (alone or in company) to monastics and laity.[15]:299[25][41][43][46][47]

Eastern Orthodoxy[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.[48]

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 turns to the Holy Spirit, whose fruit is believed to be love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.[49]

Oriental Orthodoxy[edit]

The Coptic Orthodox Church views masturbation as a sin because it is regarded as a "form of sexual pleasure outside of God's design".[50]

Roman Catholicism[edit]

In the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Catholic Church teaches:

By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. "Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action." "The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose." For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of "the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved." 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.[51]

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.'"[52]

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.[53] 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,[52] as it frustrates the natural order, purpose, and ends of sexuality.[54] 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.[55]

Giovanni Cappelli, as reported by John F. Harvey, undertook a study "concerning the problem of masturbation during the first millennium. Among his conclusions are: (1) Nowhere in the Old Testament or in the New is there an explicit confrontation with the issue of masturbation. (2) Cappelli does not find in the writings of the Apostolic Fathers any mention of masturbation. (3) The first explicit references to masturbation are found in the Anglo-Saxon and Celtic "penitential" of the sixth century where the subject is treated in a practical and juridical way. (4) It would be wrong, however, to interpret the silence of the Fathers about masturbation as a tacit approval of it, or as a virtual indifference."[56]:2 About the fourth point, James A. Brundage argues that neither pagan nor early Christian writers had paid much attention to these matters because they "apparently considered them trivial".[34]

James F. Keenan reports other studies by some academics which made similar claims as Cappelli. A study by Bernard Hoose states that claims to a continuous teaching by the Church on matters of sexuality, life and death and crime and punishment are "simply not true". After examining seven medieval texts about homosexuality, Mark Jordan argues that, "far from being consistent, any attempt to make a connection among the texts proved impossible". He calls the tradition's teaching of the Church "incoherent". Karl-Wilhelm Merks considers that tradition itself is "not the truth guarantor of any particular teaching." Keenan, however, says that studies of "manualists" such as John T. Noonan Jr. has demonstrated that, "despite claims to the contrary, manualists were co-operators in the necessary historical development of the moral tradition." Noonan, according to Keenan, has provided a new way of viewing at "areas where the Church not only changed, but shamefully did not".[36]

The Roman Catholic Church's official condemnation on masturbation for example: Pope Leo IX's Ad splendidum nitentis (1054),[57] the decree of the Holy Office dated 2 March 1679,[58] Pope Pius XII's Allocutio (Oct 8th, 1953),[59] and Acta Apostolicae Sedis 48 dated 19 May 1956.[60]

After the turn of the first millennium, more theologians began to condemn masturbation in an increasingly strident manner. Peter Damian, a Doctor of the Roman Catholic Church, in his Book of Gomorrah addressed to Pope Leo IX, wrote that masturbation is the lowest grade of homosexual sin. If 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).[61] Thomas Aquinas, a popular 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']."[62]

In the late medieval period, Jean Gerson wrote a confessional manual called On the Confession of Masturbation.[63] According to researcher Chloe Taylor, this manual tells clerics to "insist that (male) penitents admit to the sin of masturbation, which... was deemed... [by this time to be an] even more serious sin than raping a nun, incest, or abducting and raping virgins and wives however more common and indeed universal (among males) a sin it was assumed to be, judging from the incredulity with which deniers of masturbation were instructed to be met..."[64]

Taylor goes on to note that "Medieval theologians recognized that by inquiring in... suggestive detail, and with... leading questions, they ran the risk of teaching sinful behaviors to penitents who had not previously been aware of the full range of sexual possibilities available to them. They deduced, however that it was worth teaching a few young penitents how to masturbate in order to save the greater number who were already masturbating without confessing to it." She notes that, according to Gerson's book, "Even once the penitent has admitted his sin the priest is not to be satisfied, and is to ask for further details... Particularly remarkable are the instructions that the priest feign a certain casualness, and that he address the confessant with a disarming affection, calling him "friend" and pretending that masturbation is neither sinful nor shameful in order to make the penitent admit to it, insinuating that he can relate to the penitent's acts—"Friend, I well believe it"—only to then backtrack and condemn the act as sinful and shameful after all."[64]

The laity did not undertake regular confession at this time but, "For those such as the ordained and the scrupulous who did undergo frequent and rigorous confessional examination, the obligation to confess in circumstances such as Gerson describes for even the most routine and private of sins such as masturbation came to cause anxiety... Early medieval penance was only for grave sins, but now the most mundane of sins could be given excruciating attention."[64]

Brundage notes that medieval "penitentials occasionally mentioned female autoeroticism and lesbianism. They treated female masturbation in much the same way as the male act, although they were more censorious of female sexual play that involved dildos and other mechanical aids than they were of male use of mechanical devices in masturbation."[65]

Talking about the dissident Catholic theologian Charles Curran, James J. Walter and Timothy E. O'Connell said that "as long ago as 1968, Curran used the idea [of fundamental option ] as a way to make sense of the fact that the Catholic tradition has long held that masturbation is an objectively serious misuse of human sexuality even though statistical evidence suggests that the overwhelming majority of human persons — including many whose behavior otherwise suggests a generous and loving approach to life — engage in this behavior. What shall we make of this paradox?... Curran suggests that for various reasons the assertion that masturbation involves "objectively grave matter" is not convincing. In this regard, his argument is about the objective character of the action and not the nature of the moral person."[66] Later, Curran stated in his works: "Generally speaking I believe masturbation is wrong since it fails to integrate sexuality into the service of love. Masturbation indicates a failure at a total integration of sexuality in the person. This wrongness is not always grave; in fact, more times it is not. ... Catholic educators should openly teach that masturbation is not always a grave matter and most times, especially for adolescents, is not that important. ... However, the teacher should not leave the adolescent with the impression that there is absolutely nothing wrong with masturbation."[67][68] In 1986, Curran was banned to teach Catholic theology by the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, because of his teachings on "contraception, sterilization, masturbation, divorce, and homosexuality".[69]

A study[70] commissioned by the Catholic Theological Society of America (CTSA) in 1972 but not approved by its board of directors when published in 1977, titled Human Sexuality: New Directions in American Catholic Thought, showed that 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. Authors of the book hold similar position as Curran's, not saying that masturbation is not a sin, only that "not every deliberately willed act of masturbation necessarily constitutes the grave matter required for mortal sin."[56]:3 Reaction to the 1977 study showed that the dissent was not unanimous, brought about controversies inside the CTSA itself.[71][72]:73 In 1979, the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith publicised an advisory that deplored the books's "erroneous conclusions", identified "numerous misreadings of the teaching of the Second Vatican Council" in it, and said that the book diminished "the morality of sexual love to a matter of 'personal sentiments, feelings, [and] customs ... .'"[72]:74[73] George Weigel restates that "these theological errors led to practical guidelines that 'either dissociate themselves from or directly contradict Catholic teaching' as taught by the Church's highest teaching authority."[72]:74

While Curran might say that masturbation could be morally acceptable on certain conditions, according to Richard A. Spinello, Pope John Paul II does not say that masturbation is always immoral because "the physical act itself is wrong and disordered". He does not examine the physical act as the sole basis for moral judgment. In Veritatis splendor, John Paul II holds that "the morality of the human act" is judged by considering what one chooses rationally by "the deliberate will", and by "the proximate end". In his encyclical, he writes: "In order to be able to grasp the object of an act which specifies that act morally, it is therefore necessary to place oneself in the perspective of the acting person."[74] Masturbation not always incurs grave sin, or mortal sin, but it can not be said that masturbation is not "gravely wrong" nor constitutes "grave matter".[75] Joseph Farraher concludes that masturbation incurs venial sin in case "the act is performed with only partial realization or only partial choice of the will", or, in Harvey's words, "no grievous sin ... while lacking in awareness, as when he is half awake, or half asleep, or when a person is carried away by sudden passion and finds himself committing the act despite the resistance of the will".[76]

In his attempt to explain John Paul II's Theology of the Body, Anthony Percy writes in his book that "pornography and masturbation represent the destruction of the symbolic and nuptial meaning of the human body. ... God gives all men and women erotic energy. We call it the sex drive. This is good and it forms part of that attraction between men and women, which itself forms part of the nuptial meaning of the body. Sexual energy, therefore, needs to find its outlet in love, not lust. ... In masturbation that erotic energy is turned in on oneself. ... Masturbation, therefore, is a symbol, not of love, but of loneliness."[77] Jeffrey Tranzillo adds to explain: "Whenever man and woman employ the body to simulate love or authenticity for reasons that are ultimately self-serving and hence destructive of self and others, they falsify the language it was created to speak. That is what underlies the sin of adultery." He says that "such misuse of the body also underlies other sexual sins like contraception, masturbation, fornication, and homosexual acts".[78]


According to Brian F. Linnane, "until the twentieth century, the actual moral norms for sexual behavior were similar for both Protestants and Roman Catholics, although the justifications for these norms might, ..., be quite dissimilar. ... For both groups, sexual expression was confined to lifetime, monogamous, heterosexual marriage. Premarital sex, adultery, homosexual relations, masturbation, and the use of birth control were all proscribed by the Christian churches".[79] Adrian Thatcher says that Protestants historically regard masturbation as a sin, though they "appeal directly to the Bible whenever possible".[80]

Protestant reformers such as Martin Luther and John Calvin condemn masturbation in their works.[81] Making reference to the Onan's offense to identify masturbation sinful, in his Commentary on Genesis, Calvin teaches that "the voluntary spilling of semen outside of intercourse between a man and a woman is a monstrous thing. Deliberately to withdraw from coitus in order that semen may fall on the ground is double monstrous."[80][82] Luther sees masturbation as a sin more terrible than heterosexual rape since such rape is considered to be "in accordance with nature", while masturbation is "unnatural".[83] He also views masturbation and coitus interruptus the same act as killing children before they have a chance to be born, therefore, for him, masturbation is basically the same as abortion.[84] Luther argues that marital act is a way to avoid the sin of masturbation: "Nature never lets up ... we are all driven to the secret sin. To say it crudely but honestly, if it doesn't go into a woman, it goes into your shirt."[85]

John Wesley, founder of Methodism, holds a similar view as Calvin. Wesley, as written by Bryan C. Hodge, believes that "any waste of the semen in an unproductive sexual act, whether that should be in the form of masturbation or coitus interruptus, as in the case of Onan, destroyed the souls of the individuals who practice it".[86] Wesley considers masturbation as an unacceptable way to release "sexual tension". Like his contemporaries, he believed that many people had become badly sick which even lead to death because of "habitual masturbation".[87] He argued that "nervous disorders, even madness, could be caused by another form of bodily excess – masturbation."[88] He writes his Thoughts on the Sin of Onan (1767), which was reproduced as A Word to Whom it May Concern in 1779, as an attempt to censor a work by Samuel-Auguste Tissot.[89] In that writing, Wesley warns about "the dangers of self pollution", the bad physical and mental effects of masturbation,[88][89] writes many such cases along with the treatment recommendations.[87]


The Lutheran Church in Germany (EKD) says that masturbation is not a sin.[90]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America also states that to masturbate is not sinful behavior.[91]

The more conservative 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."[92]

The Church of Sweden says it is not a sin and pastors frequently address the issue in confirmation classes for adolescents.[93]

The Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland also has a positive view of masturbation, noting that it provides a secure approach to sex for single people by reducing the temptation to drift into promiscuity.[94]

The Australian non-denominational Christian teen sex education website, "Boys Under Attack", also says masturbation is not a sin, provided that it does not become addictive, does not involve the use of pornography and is done alone, not with another person or group of people. The site refers to Lutheran teachings on the matter.[95][96][97]


Calvinists are renowned for their moral rigor and strict adherence to Biblical standards of morality. Indeed, "Churches fashioned in the Calvinist tradition have typically set extremely high standard of behavior."[98]

In Switzerland, the Calvinist theologians Michel Cornuz, Carolina Costa and Jean-Charles Bichet all say that masturbation is not a sin, provided that the use of pornography is not involved.[99][100][101]

Likewise, the most prominent Calvinist church in France, L'Oratoire du Louvre in Paris, also believes that masturbation is not sinful, provided that the act is not done in a spirit of rebellion against God and provided that it does not become addictive.[102]

In a 1991 report on human sexuality, the Presbyterian Church (USA) stated that "churches need to repudiate historically damaging attitudes toward masturbation and replace them with positive affirmations of the role of masturbation in human sexuality."[103]

Calvinists however oppose "sexual touching" (including mutual masturbation) between unmarried parties, even if they are engaged to each other, considering this a form of fornication.[104][105]

Citing 1 Corinthians 7:3-4, Reformed author Jay E. Adams argues that "masturbation is clearly wrong since it constitutes a perversion of the sexual act".[106]


The United Methodist Church does not have an official position on masturbation.[107]

The Uniting Church in Australia teaches that "masturbation is an important part of childhood and adolescent discovery and sexual development. It should not be stigmatised."[108]


The Church of England does not take a view on masturbation.[109] Many Anglican books on sex and marriage advocate masturbation.[110]

The conservative Anglican Diocese of Sydney believes that masturbation "can help us find sexual release when we cannot control our desire nor satisfy it through a marital relationship and in this sense it can be helpful." However, the Diocese notes that it can become associated with sin if it leads to either the consumption of pornography or to looking lustfully at people in real life in order to fuel fantasies. They warn that either of these can, in turn, suck someone into a cycle that cannot be controlled.[111] (The 1998 Lambeth Conference's Resolution I.10 says that the use of pornography is sinful and includes it in a list of the forms of sexual activity inherently contrary to the Christian way of life. Masturbation itself is not mentioned in the resolution at all, either in positive or negative terms.)[112]

On his letter to Mr. Masson dated 6 March 1956, C.S. Lewis writes: "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. ... Masturbation involves this abuse of imagination in erotic matters (which I think bad in itself) and thereby encourages a similar abuse of it in all spheres. 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."[113][114]


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."[115] Also, they considered that masturbating is preferable to falling into "sex and drugs and rock 'n' roll".[115]

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."[116] 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."[117]

Others make a distinction between masturbation and sexual fantasy.[118] Richard D. Dobbins proposes that it is permissible for teenagers to fantasize about their future spouse during masturbation.[119]

Garry H. Strauss, a psychologist counseling the students at Biola University wrote that there is no mention of masturbation in the Bible, therefore masturbation is permissible, but pornography and sexual fantasies are not permissible.[120]

Two Evangelical scholars, Alex W. Kwee and David C. Hooper, addressed the issue in an academic paper. They note that "The Bible presents no clear theological ethic on masturbation... Of the many aspects of human sexuality that we address in our work, masturbation ranks as the most misunderstood for the lack of open, rational dialogue about this topic within the Christian community... Within evangelical frameworks of sexual ethics... there has never been a well-defined theological ethic of masturbation, in contrast to the ethics of pre-marital sex, marriage, and divorce that are worked out from foundational Christian anthropological assertions about gender, sexuality, and their relationship to the imago Dei... Masturbation falls thus within the proverbial grey area of evangelical sexual ethics."[8]

They go on to note that "we find that the questions that Christian young people ask about masturbation can be reduced to two essential queries. Christian youth want to know whether masturbation is "right or wrong" (i.e., what is the "correct" moral stance to take based on what the Bible says?), and whether masturbation is "normal" (i.e., what can we say about the psychological dimensions of masturbation?)"[8]

Answering the first question, they note that "The Bible does not directly address masturbation, leaving Christians to articulate a moral stance from various scriptures that in our view cannot support a deontological prohibition of masturbation... Today the general consensus in the Christian community is that Genesis 38:6-10 is irrelevant to masturbation. Modern readers of course understand Onan's act not as masturbation but as coitus interuptus. The technical designation of the act, however, is unimportant compared to the ethical violations manifesting through the act. The interpretive context for Genesis 38:6-10 is found in the ancient Israelite law (Deuteronomy 25:5-10)... Whatever his reasons for not consummating intercourse, Onan was punished for violating a specific Hebrew law and for failing in his covenantal duty to his deceased brother. Onan was judged for undisclosed but probably exploitative intentions... and certainly for his callous repudiation of his traditional obligations of familial care and responsibility."[8]

They state also that "Our... objection to using Matthew 5:27-30 as a basis for the blanket condemnation of masturbation is that such an interpretation can only be supported by de-contextualizing this passage from Jesus’ overall message... [and]... proper contextual interpretation of Leviticus 15:16-18 would therefore support the view that masturbation in and of itself is morally neutral."[8]

They note that "There is a moral difference between masturbation done in the presence of pornography or the phone sex service (inherently selfish and exploitative mediums), and masturbation as the sexual expression of a fuller yearning for connectedness, i.e., connectedness that is not primarily sexual",[8] concluding that "Scripture does not directly address masturbation, giving rise to guilt-inducing misconceptions about a behavior that is extremely salient to unmarried college-aged Christian men whose value system leads them to eschew pre-marital sex".[8]

The Evangelical scholar, Judith K. Balswick, in her book, Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach, argues that "Masturbation can be a healthy, enjoyable way for a person without a sexual partner to experience sexual gratification."[121]

Another Evangelical writer, James B. Nelson, notes in his book, Embodiment: An Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology, that "The physiological intensity typical in masturbatory orgasm frequently surpasses that of intercourse, and relational fantasies usually accompany the act in compensation for the absence of the partner", implying this is a gift from God for those who lack a spouse.[122]

Finally, in the book, Singles Ask: Answers to Questions about Relationships and Sexuality, by Howard Ivan Smith, the Fullerton Evangelical theologian Archibald Hart is quoted as saying that, "I do not believe that masturbation itself is morally wrong, or... sinful."[123]


A Church of Christ in Tulsa, United States, has also taken the view that "Masturbation is not mentioned in the Bible and isn’t the same thing as sexual immorality. The historical church has had difficulty explaining this practice, but there is no good reason to lump it with sexual immorality and heap guilt on single people in particular... For most males and females, masturbation is a natural part of self exploration. However, masturbation can program us to think sex can be done alone. Coupled with pornography, we get two steps away from married sexual love... The warning is for masturbation not to become an obsession that impacts your conscience, future sex life, and leads you into fantasizing with pornography."[124]

A Swedish Pentecostal pastor, Christian Mölk, also says that the Bible does not explicitly mention masturbation as a sin. He notes that Onan's sin was about failing to do his duty under the Levirate law mentioned in Deu 25:5-6. Under this law it was "the closest brother's duty to ensure that his family survived by marrying the widow. When Onan "spilled his seed on the earth," it means that he refused to get a seed to his brother and instead utilized his brother's widow for his own sexual pleasure." He goes on to note that another text which is sometimes invoked is Matthew 5:27-30. Here, he says, Jesus is simply warning that it is not only wrong to cheat in one's action but also that it is wrong to cheat in one's heart. Therefore a person should not look with lustful intent at someone else's wife. He says these texts are not about masturbation and that the Bible does not explicitly mention that masturbation is a sin.[125]

The Texan Pentecostal pastor and church founder, Tom Brown, has written on the subject of "Is Masturbation a Sin?", stating that "Masturbation has been around for a long time, and since God does not clearly condemn it, I would not be too bothered with it, either. Masturbation is practiced far more than adultery or fornication, yet God is practically silent on the issue. This ought to tell you that God is not overly concerned with it... However, let me caution you against addiction to masturbation. Just like most things, masturbation can turn into an addiction... Paul said, "'Everything is permissible for me'—but I will not be mastered by anything" (1 Cor 6:12). This includes masturbation. Also, you should never use pornography to masturbate... Concerning single people, I have no advice other than a prohibition [on] pornography..."[126]

He goes on to note, "If a believer uses masturbation to alleviate sexual temptation, that's far better than actually being tempted to commit fornication or adultery. I would rather have a man masturbate than go to a prostitute... Another thought, if masturbation is sinful, then you would expect there to be bad health consequences to it, such as found in adultery, homosexuality, and fornication (diseases for one thing). Instead, research has found that masturbation serves to release sexual tension..."[126]


In 1960 the British Friends Home Service, published a pamphlet on marriage that was read and approved on both sides of the Atlantic that stated that "Masturbation as a child is healthy, but not as an adult." However, four years later, in 1964, the Quaker physician, Dr. Mary Calderone, argued for the emerging view that masturbation was a normal useful means for "relieving natural tension in a healthy and satisfying way."[127]

More recently, Quakers, while formulating a testimony on sexual intimacy, have noted that "one possibility for a testimony of intimacy is a pronatalist position that is focused on the imperative to have children. This is a long-standing position of the Roman Catholic Church and a teaching that has considerable sway among many Protestant Evangelicals... In this teaching, [the] main purpose [of sex] is procreation... In this pronatalism, masturbation is... wrong, as is contraception, but there are no clear scriptural texts against these practices. Their prohibition is taken to follow from the central teaching that the purpose of sex is the creation of legitimate offspring... For several reasons, Friends are likely to feel uncomfortable with this pronatalist framing of the morality of intimate relationships. For many Friends, the most serious objection of all... would be pronatalism's steadfast focus on increasing the population. With seven billion human beings alive today on planet Earth, further population increase should hardly be the predominant emphasis informing relationships of intimacy. Yet the central warp thread of this teaching is the urgency of procreation..."[128]


A 2011 article in Canadian Mennonite magazine notes that Anabaptists have always historically had a sex-negative attitude but goes on to state that "Masturbation is one of the most common sexual experiences across the spectrums of age, culture, partnered and single life situations, and genders... Finding pleasure in our own God-given bodies can be good... [but] if it draws someone away from God, then for God's sake, don’t do it. But we ought to release the stranglehold of guilt formerly associated with the practice of self-pleasuring." (The article also argues that Anabaptists should commit themselves to avoiding pornography for a wide variety of reasons).[129]

Other sects[edit]

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".[130]


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.[131] 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".[132][133] 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".[134] 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."[131] He also stated about masturbation: "Let no one rationalize their sins on the excuse that a particular sin of his is not mentioned nor forbidden in scripture".[14]

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.[135] Packer's sermon was printed as a pamphlet and is distributed by the LDS Church.[136]

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."[137]

Seventh Day Adventists[edit]

Ellen G. White, one of the founders of the Seventh-day Adventist Church, in the mid-19th century said she had 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 said 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 said 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 said 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.[138]

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."[139]


In Sunni Islam, there are varying opinions on the permissibility of masturbation (Arabic: استمناء‎, translit. istimnā’‎). It is haram like other extra-marital relationships in Shi'a jurisprudence which considers it as a bad habit that obstacles concentration in salah too.[140] It is considered as haram according to the Sunni Imam Malik, too.[141][142] But according to three other Imams it is permissible only as self-restraining from adultery. Bathing is compulsory after any kind of seminal discharge whether through sexual intercourse, masturbation or nocturnal emissions (wet dream).


Maimonides stated that the Tanakh does not explicitly prohibit masturbation.[143] 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,[144] applying this story to masturbation,[144] although the Tanakh does not explicitly state that Onan was masturbating.[144] By virtue of Onan, traditional Judaism condemns male masturbation.[143]

Leviticus discusses a ritual defilement relating to emission of sperm. The traditional rabbinical interpretation of Leviticus 15 was that it applies to all sperm flows, including sperm flows due to masturbation.

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"

Milgrom acknowledges that the rabbis condemned masturbation... Nevertheless, "it is their enactment, not that of Scripture."[145]

— Robert A. J. Gagnon, op. cit.


In Hindu bathing is compulsory after masturbation but no sin but part of life [146]


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".[147] However, different schools of Buddhism have differing interpretations of what constitutes sexual misconduct.

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) is accordingly seen as problematic for a person who wishes to attain liberation. According to a lecture by Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche, it is important to abstain from "sexual intercourse, including masturbation, any action that brings an orgasm and so forth, because this results in a rebirth."[148] He clarifies: "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."[148]

Shravasti Dhammika, a Theravadin monk, cites the Vinaya Pitaka in his online "Guide to Buddhism A to Z", and states 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.[149]

His opinions regarding non-Buddhists notwithstanding, the Buddha did encourage his serious disciples to limit their sexual behaviour or to embrace celibacy.[150] Indeed, emphasis on chastity in Buddhism is strong 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 also stressed as being harmful for upāsakas and upāsikās (lay devotees) who practice the Eight Precepts on Uposatha days, leading a more ascetic lifestyle that does not allow for masturbation. Indeed, masturbation is explicitly characterised as sexual misconduct 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."[151]

Nevertheless, some contemporary writers on Buddhism suggest that masturbation is essentially harmless for a layperson.[152][153]


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.[citation needed]

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.[154]


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".[155]


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. ^ 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. 
  2. ^ 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. 
  3. ^ (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."
  4. ^ 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. 
  5. ^ 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)."
  6. ^ 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 
  7. ^ Patton, Michael S. (June 1985). "Masturbation from Judaism to Victorianism". Journal of Religion and Health. Springer Netherlands. 24 (2): 133–146. ISSN 0022-4197. PMID 24306073. doi:10.1007/BF01532257. Retrieved 12 November 2011. Nevertheless, there is no legislation in the Bible pertaining to masturbation. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f g 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. 
  9. ^ 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. 
  10. ^ 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. 
  11. ^ 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 15:16-18 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. Since 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 ceremonial concern either. 
  12. ^ 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. 
  13. ^ 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. 
  14. ^ a b 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). 
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  56. ^ a b John F. Harvey, OSFS. "The Pastoral Problem of Masturbation" (PDF). 
  57. ^ "bxu". Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  58. ^ DS 2149 Translation: 1124. "Voluptuousness [Latin: Mollities, lit. 'softness, unmanliness,' another word for 'masturbation'], sodomy, and bestiality are sins of the same ultimate species"
  59. ^ 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'")"
  60. ^ AAS 48 (1956), pp. 472-473
  61. ^ 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).' 
  62. ^ Summa Theologica IIª-IIae, q. 154 a. 11 co. (in Latin)
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  75. ^ Lawler, Ronald David; Boyle, Joseph M.; May, William E. (1998). Catholic Sexual Ethics: A Summary, Explanation & Defense. Our Sunday Visitor Publishing. pp. 182–184. ISBN 0879739525. 
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  83. ^ De La Torre, Miguel A. (2007). A Lily Among the Thorns: Imagining a New Christian Sexuality. John Wiley & Sons. p. 119. ISBN 0787997978. 
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  86. ^ Hodge, Bryan C. (2010). The Christian Case against Contraception: Making the Case from Historical, Biblical, Systematic, and Practical Theology & Ethics. Wipf and Stock Publishers. ISBN 1621892190. 
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  104. ^ John Witte; Robert M. Kingdon (20 October 2005). Sex, Marriage, and Family in John Calvin's Geneva: Courtship, Engagement, and Marriage. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing. p. 486. ISBN 978-0-8028-4803-1. 
  105. ^ John Witte (2012). From Sacrament to Contract: Marriage, Religion, and Law in the Western Tradition. Presbyterian Publishing Corp. p. 199. ISBN 978-0-664-23432-4. 
  106. ^ Adams, Jay E. (1986). The Christian Counselor's Manual: The Practice of Nouthetic Counseling. Harper Collins. p. lxi. ISBN 031051150X. 
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  109. ^ Meek, James (2 February 2000). "Churches give sex education guidelines". Retrieved 29 May 2017 – via The Guardian. 
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  111. ^ Development, Kreativ Design &. "Is masturbation a sin? - Questions & Answers". Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  112. ^ Office, Anglican Communion. "Section I.10 - Human Sexuality". Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  113. ^ Dorsett, Lyle W. (2004). Seeking the Secret Place: The Spiritual Formation of C. S. Lewis. Baker Publishing Group. p. 123. ISBN 158743122X. 
  114. ^ Payne, Leanne (1995). The Broken Image: Restoring Personal Wholeness Through Healing Prayer. Baker Books. pp. 81–82. ISBN 080105334X. 
  115. ^ 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 978-0-299-29363-5. 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 
  116. ^ Dobson, James (2012) [1978]. Preparing for Adolescence: How to Survive the Coming Years of Change (Ebook ed.). Grand Rapids, Michigan: Revell. p. 50. ISBN 978-1-4412-2483-5. 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. 
  117. ^ Dobson, James C. (2000). Preparing for Adolescence: Growth Guide. Delight, AR: Gospel Light. ISBN 978-0-8307-2502-1. 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 
  118. ^ Cheddie, Denver (2001). "Is Masturbation a Sin?". 
  119. ^ Dobbins, Richard (2006). Teaching Your Children The Truth About Sex: Discussing Sexuality With Your Children, From Infancy to Adulthood. Siloam Press. ISBN 978-1-59185-877-5. 
  120. ^ Strauss, Garry H. (September 2002). "Promoting 20/20 Vision: A Q & A Ministry to Undergraduates". Journal of Psychology and Theology. La Mirada, CA, USA: Rosemead School of Psychology. Biola University. 30 (3): 228–233. ISSN 0091-6471. Retrieved 3 October 2016. 
  121. ^ Judith K. Balswick; Jack O. Balswick (1999). Authentic Human Sexuality: An Integrated Christian Approach. InterVarsity Press. ISBN 978-0-8308-1595-1. 
  122. ^ James B. Nelson. Embodiment: An Approach to Sexuality and Christian Theology. Fortress Press. ISBN 978-1-4514-1023-5. 
  123. ^ Harold Ivan Smith (June 1988). Singles ask: answers to questions about relationships and sexual issues. Augsburg Fortress, Publishers. ISBN 978-0-8066-2379-5. 
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  127. ^ ""Sex is not a shortcut to spirituality:" Liberal Quakers". Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
  128. ^ "Toward a Testimony of Intimacy". 28 February 2013. Retrieved 29 May 2017. 
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  130. ^ "How Can I Conquer This Habit?". Awake!. Watch Tower Society: 18–20. November 2006. 
  131. ^ 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.
  132. ^ Spencer W. Kimball, The Miracle of Forgiveness (Salt Lake City, Utah: Bookcraft, 1969) p. 77.
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  134. ^ 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).
  135. ^ Boyd K. Packer, "To Young Men Only",
  136. ^ Boyd K. Packer, "To Young Men Only",
  137. ^ Tad R. Callister, "The Lord's Standard of Morality", Liahona, March 2014.
  138. ^ 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
  139. ^ "Is masturbation a sin?". 
  140. ^ Rizvi, Muhammad (1994). "3. The Islamic Sexual Morality (2) Its Structure". Marriage and Morals in Islam. Scarborough, ON, Canada: Islamic Education and Information Center. 
  141. ^ The Lawful And The Prohibited In Islam, Yusuf Al-Qardawi - 1997
  142. ^ The New Arab Man: Emergent Masculinities, Technologies, and Islam in the Middle East, p 168, Marcia C. Inhorn - 2012
  143. ^ 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 
  144. ^ 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."
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  147. ^ Higgins, Winton. "Buddhist Sexual Ethics". BuddhaNet Magazine. Retrieved 2007-01-15. 
  148. ^ a b Lama Thubten Zopa Rinpoche. "Kopan Course No. 03 & No. 04 (1972-73): Appendix One: The Eight Mahayana Precepts". Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
  149. ^ Shravasti Dhammika. "Masturbation". Guide to Buddhism A-Z. Bhante Dhammika. Retrieved 25 June 2015. 
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  151. ^ Sūtra of the Upāsaka Precepts, fascicle 6, Chapter 24a
  152. ^ Brian Schell (January 8, 2009). "A Sensitive Topic". Daily Buddhism. Retrieved January 9, 2017. 
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  154. ^ Wile (1994), p. 59.
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