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The Refined Collective Podcast

Jul 15, 2020

Today is part TWO of a conversation on masturbation on the podcast. If you missed part one, check it out here before you listen to this episode. This week, I’ll be walking through what the Bible says about masturbation and if it is really a sin. 


Is Masturbation A Sin?

Brokenness is the beginning of the gospel—David Kim. 


  • My honest answer is: yes, no, maybe.

o   Is it possible to touch myself and explore my body and experience pleasure and stay connected to myself, God, and others? I think so.

  • All the way from Genesis to Revelation there’s this rhythm we see of death to life, brokenness to restoration, renewal and redemption.[1]Clearly there is some real brokenness with masturbation, but if Jesus came to make all things new, is it possible that He could have a redemptive vision for this too[2]
  • 1 Corinthians 6:12-13; 10:23

o   Paul says it twice: Everything is lawful, but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible, but not everything is beneficial.


How Can Masturbation Be A Win?

  1. Pleasure
  • God is for our pleasure. How do I know? Taste buds, sunsets, brownie sundaes, and the only purpose of the clitoris is pleasure.
  1. Practice Healthy Consent
  • Consent in sexual encounters whether it’s a hug or sex is VITAL. But if we don’t know what we want or what feels good we won’t have the tools to communicate our wants and needs.
  • Masturbation can be a way to:

o   Know your body.

o   Know what feels good and doesn’t feel good.

o   And have the ability to communicate that.


  1. Mutual Honor and Acceptance
  • We put on other people a tenth of what we put on ourselves. If I judge, shame, dismiss my sexual desire and in essence don’t accept it, how can I accept my partner’s?


  1. Connection and Innocence
  • To God:

o   Mark 12:29-30— love God with all of you.

  • To self and others:

o   Matthew 18:3— be like little children.

o   If little children can masturbate in innocence, can we not get back to that as well?


  1. Practice Being Present: Sensuality
  • Dr. Celeste Holbrook, the Christian sexologist, describes sensuality beautifully: it’s the act of being present. She talks about how toddlers are the most sensual beings because they’re in a constant state of discovery.
  • Porn and masturbation are not mutually exclusive.
  • Removes fear and shame around body, self, and sexual desire.


Questions to Ask Yourself

  1. Am I addicted to porn?
  • I am not here to shame you if this is your story.
  • Masturbation for a person addicted to porn would be like a drunk living at a bar. Not a win for you right now.
  • Phylicia Masonheimer has some amazing resources for you around this topic.
  • Sexuality can be activated by abuse. If that is your story, I am so sorry and remember that it is never your fault. Your sexuality is not tainted and you have permission to work through this.
  1. Why am I feeling turned on right now?
  • 50 Shades of Grey, porn, or a normal Wednesday afternoon?
  1. What am I really looking for in this moment?
  • Connection?
  • Intimacy?
  • Release?
  1. How can I honor myself, God, and my future in this moment?
  • Really take the time to answer this question for yourself. 
  1. If shame weren’t a part of the conversation, how would I show up?
  • Shame and fear is not the heart of God— Ephesians 3— rooted and grounded in love. Jesus came for the abundant life— not a spirit of fear, but of power!
  • Is it possible to masturbate and stay present and not fantasize?
  • Is it possible to remain in healthy community with myself, God and others and masturbate?
  • Is it possible to experience self-pleasure and remain outward focused? Yes!
  • Grace Alone: In every other area of our lives we’re willing to fumble, but sexually we’re so terrified. It’s like 1-strike you’re out and sent to the pit of hell. No!
  • Just because some people may become alcoholics, doesn’t mean everyone will.
  1. Who am I becoming? (Jon Tyson)
  • What are the actions, words, choices of your life propelling you towards?
  • When to discern if this is problematic behavior?

o   Porn/erotica.

o   Isolation.

o   Keeping you from relationship.

o   Distraction from everyday activities.

o   Can’t work, go out, or sleep without it— like any addiction.

o   Fantasy land vs. real life.


So is masturbation a sin? Yes, no, maybe. Where is your heart? I have masturbated in all 3 scenarios. Give yourself permission to search your heart, to explore, and seek God’s heart. If fear is a part of the conversation, reject it!




Books to Read:

[1] Timothy Keller. The Gospel in All Its Forms. Acts 29, December 12, 2008. Accessed September 10, 2019. Another incredible resource on this is the book Every Good Endeavor by Timothy Keller. It’s a book I wish  I would’ve read when I was in my 20s; it would’ve saved me a lot of heartache.

[2] “He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, for these words are trustworthy and true.” (New International Version, Revelation 21:5).

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