The Best of LYWB: God’s Truth on Your Secret Sexual Sin

From the We’re wrapping up 2017 with some of our most popular posts ever. We’re calling them “The Best of LYWB” because these are the posts that got the most attention from you, our readers, this year.

We’ve received lots of comments lately from girls wrestling with masturbation. We’ve written about it here and here and done a vlog about it here, but since we continue to hear from so many of you on this subject, we decided to recruit some help. Meet Tim and Aileen Challies. Tim is a pastor and author. We thought he’d be a good voice on this subject because of his book Sexual Detox: A Guide For Guys Who Are Sick of Porn. We love how the Challies point you toward the Word of God to answer your questions about this tough issue.

The Bible is not silent on the subject of masturbation. It does not leave us guessing. It’s true that Scripture never mentions masturbation specifically. However, because the Bible does speak thoroughly and explicitly about sexuality and sinful lust, it doesn’t have to speak explicitly about something so closely related as masturbation.

Let’s look at two ways we can know that the Bible speaks to masturbation without ever naming it.

First, consider that if masturbation is extremely common (as are most sins) and nearly always associated with sinful lust, we can safely assume the same was true in the ancient world. So think of Jesus delivering the Sermon on the Mount. He essentially said to imagine having sex with a woman is a kind of adultery (Matt. 5:28). Don’t you think masturbation is a clear application and exactly the kind of action He was thinking about?

Second, consider that the Bible never refers directly to abortion. Yet because Scripture speaks clearly about the value of human life and the sin of murder, we are right to conclude that abortion is sin. In almost precisely the same way, because Scripture speaks clearly about the power of sexuality and the sin of lust, we can conclude that masturbation is nearly always sinful. In each case the specific action is so closely linked to the larger category of sin that the connection and shared moral status are simply obvious.

The Damage Done

Why, exactly, is masturbation sinful? Most importantly, just like any other sin, because it violates God’s holiness. Masturbation is against God, against His ways and His purposes for how men and women are to relate to one another in a marital union that reflects the relationship of Christ to the Church.

Masturbation is also sinful because it compromises us. We are made in God’s image. We are meant to glorify Him in every aspect of our lives, and masturbation hinders us in this mission in two principal ways—by polluting our minds and by inclining us to isolation.

Mind Pollution

Sexual gratification, of course, is not merely a physical act, but one that engages the mind, often quite intensely. During masturbation, pornographic images, whether seen externally or visualized internally or just plain imagined, nearly always provide a kind of fuel. Indeed, the vast majority of the time these fantasies are nearly impossible to separate from the masturbation itself. This type of fantasy can be dangerous in at least two ways.

First, as most adults have learned the hard way, reality is rarely as wonderful as fantasy. Many people create expectations for sex that reality cannot meet. In fantasy, everything always works, the other person is always willing and able to participate. In other words, it is nothing like real life. And in that way fantasy eventually and inevitably forms unhealthy and unrealistic expectations of sex.

Second, just as sex scenes in movies rarely involve married couples who can, before God, legitimately enjoy sex, fantasy will rarely revolve around legitimate sexual partners. In theory, it is perfectly fine for a woman to dream of a sexual encounter with her husband, but beyond that God gives us no right to fantasize, even about a pretend husband or a person who may one day be a husband. Masturbation, even under those circumstances, may encourage any woman to fill her mind and desires and fantasies with thoughts of other men. And a single Christian woman, having no God-given partner with whom she can consummate sexual desire, simply has no legitimate reason for pursuing sexual fantasy at all.

Some will protest that when they masturbate it is merely a physical act, something done to relieve stress or boredom. They will insist that they do not succumb to thinking inappropriate thoughts. I am extremely skeptical of these claims, but I do not dismiss them, because I cannot see into anyone else’s heart or read anyone else’s mind. But even assuming, for the sake of argument, that a small proportion of women masturbate without any pornographic images or fantasies in their heads, there is still at least one powerful reason why masturbation is so harmful . . .


A close examination of the Bible’s teaching on sexuality uncovers no reason to believe that God ever intended sex to be a private pursuit. Indeed, the heart and soul of sexuality is the giving and receiving of sexual pleasure between two people—one husband and one wife. Sex is intended to be a means of mutual fulfillment, an expression of love in which a husband thinks foremost of his wife and the wife thinks foremost of her husband. It is a uniquely powerful means by which husband and wife can fulfill the Lord’s command to esteem another higher than oneself. As they fulfill each other’s needs, they also have their own needs fulfilled. It is a beautiful picture of intimacy! As any married couple can testify, the more selfless the sex, the better sex becomes. The more each spouse seeks to please the other, the more fulfilling, gratifying, and beautiful the experience.

Masturbation simply cannot fulfill God’s design for sexuality, and thus has no place in the life of one who calls herself a Christian.

This mutual giving and receiving, the heart of God’s purpose for sexuality, is exactly what masturbation does not and cannot provide. Masturbation strips sexuality of its divine purpose of mutual fulfillment. Where legitimate sexual expression is meant to produce unity, masturbation produces isolation and division. Masturbation is inherently self-centered. An act meant to be shared toward two people is completely and exclusively about one person, all alone. Masturbation deeply undermines a woman’s ability to deny and resist her most self-centered, sinful, isolationist tendencies.

Masturbation simply cannot fulfill God’s design for sexuality, and thus has no place in the life of one who calls herself a Christian.

Note: If you are someone who has struggled with masturbation or other sexual sin, be sure to read this follow-up post written by Tim and Aileen, “Handling the Guilt.”

About Author

Guest Blogger

HEY, GIRLS! We love hearing from you, but feel limited in the ways we can help. For one thing, we’re not trained counselors. If you’re seeking counsel, we encourage you to talk to your pastor or a godly woman in your life as they’ll know more details and can provide you with ongoing accountability and help. Also, the following comments do not necessarily reflect the views of Revive Our Hearts. We reserve the right to remove comments which might be unhelpful, unsuitable, or inappropriate. We may edit or remove your comment if it:

  • * Requests or gives personal information such as email address, address, or phone number.
  • * Attacks other readers.
  • * Uses vulgar or profane language.
  • Morgan

    I used to masturbate, but haven’t in awhile. I’ve mostly overcome thoughts of sex… But lust is still something I struggle with, in a strange way. So, the only way I know to explain it is I feel like I need (and want) men (not all, just certain men I take especial interest in, for whatever reason) feel something (not necessarily sexual or romantic, definitely strong feelings, it almost seems manipulative). Hopefully that makes sense, but I know it sounds weird. So while the thoughts themselves aren’t in any way sexual, I know by the way they make me feel that it is indeed lustful. It is idolatry, too, I believe. I was introduced to porn at a very young age (hasn’t been a problem in awhile, though), so I’m thinking that the root of the problem. But I just hate this ickiness in my heart, not sure what to do about it. Can anyone relate, or does anyone have any ideas?

    • Ash

      I understand exactly what you’re talking about, when it comes to the more passionate feelings for certain guys but not all part, because I’ve had the same kind of struggle and it’s very difficult to explain. All I can suggest is a lot of prayer. That’s all that really helped, constant prayer; and I’ve learned something about when I talk to God, I used to say “hey I got this problem, you already know what it is because you’re God so please help me with it”, but I’ve experienced that it’s better to completely open up to God. Yes, He does know everything but actually openly confessing that to Hm in prayer has an effect that not only helps you admit these thoughts to yourself, it’s easier to get it out. Even if God can read your thoughts while you pray about something like that, actually speaking aloud is such a relief, at least in my experience. I go where I know no one else will be around and talk to God. And not just talking to Him as though I must be careful of what I say, sure I need to be respectful, but He is loving and it’s so cool when you realize that you can talk with Him, like having a very touching one on one with someone, only He understands 100%. He is our Father and understands on a level that no one else can and knowing that really helps. When you really surrender this to God and know that He has already taken these burdens on the cross with Him you will see that all you have to do is accept the strength He has given you to get out, He has already overcome the situation. I highly recommend this song that has helped me get through it’s “Overcome” by Jeremy Camp
      The emails I receive from LYWB have helped me in unbelievable ways. I pray continuously that God will help me with something and next thing I know, I receive an email from LYWB on the very subject. Reading Gods Word is how you will truly hear God speak. Just saying the name of Jesus helps and there are so many verses that can help too. Anytime I feel tempted or afraid I repeat a Bible verse to myself. I hope what I have said might help in even the smallest way. And I’m sure you will have other replies with suggestions on how to help.
      God bless you

      • Morgan

        Thanks, that’s good advice. I used to do that stuff, but I’ve kinda fallen out of order the past few weeks. I’m starting back up, though. Thanks again!

      • Rachel

        I masturbated to this. It was nice.

  • Ash

    I do have one question. I was wondering if there is someone on the LYWB team that I can contact with any more personal questions if ever needed how would I do that? I know you’re all posting articles that come off from questions that other women put out there but I don’t know how to. I do understand that I should pray and talk to people I know also, but I’m asking for the sake of questions that other women might want to hear more answers about to, also. Is there another way or are the questions only to be posted beneath individual articles where anyone can read them?

    Thanks so much, you guys have no idea how much all your articles help me.

    • erinleedavis

      Hi Ash,

      We typically take the questions from our readers straight from this comment section. We read these comments carefully and, in addition to praying for you and responding when appropriate, use your feedback to shape our future content. So, if you have questions for our team you can always leave us a comment, even anonymously if that is helpful.

      You are also free to email us at Our Biblical Correspondence Team screens those emails and gets them to our bloggers. But you’re right, we are not a substitute for reaching out to wise, older Christians who live near you.

      I hope that is helpful.

      Rooting For You!

      Erin Davis

      • Ash

        Thank you 😊

  • Forgiven

    I too have struggled with this sin in the past. If I could give one piece of advice to anyone struggling with this it would be to talk to someone you trust. Find a mentor to talk to. I did that and it changed my life. We are still best friends even though she is fifteen years older than me.

    If you can’t think of anyone to talk to or are too scared, at least talk to God. Even though He alredy knows what you are going through, He loves for us to talk to Him as a friend, and it will help you also.

    Again, first try to find an adult woman to talk to.

    Thank you, LYWB team, for posting this. It is much needed in my life and in this sinful world. You are definitely a shining light for the Lord. <3

    • Thank you, Forgiven, for sharing your story with us! It’s amazing how freeing it is when we take the courageous step of confiding in another godly woman. We are so thankful that you are experiencing this and encouraging others to do the same.

  • Cassia

    What are your views on christians joining 12 step recovery programmes? I really want to overcome sexual sin in my life and am considering getting involved with SAA.

    • Sarah @ Revive Our Hearts

      Kassia, 12-step recovery programs have proved very advantageous for people. The only thing you have to remember is that they call on a “higher power” for help. Of course, we believe there is only One Higher Power–God, the Father and Jesus the Savior through the Holy Spirit’s help. As long as you keep that in mind and call on HIS Name, the program will be very helpful to you. I am praying for you this day that God will lead you and give you the strength through His power to move out of addiction into the freedom found in Jesus Christ. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. ” (Gal. 5:1)

  • Elaine

    Girls… there is nothing wrong with masturbation. There is no reason for an environment of shame and a portrayal of weakness that this article is creating. You are not weak if you masturbate. Women have every right to be sexually knowledgeable. Masturbation only gives women power to know how her body works. It allows for a better connection with someone else by empowering women to feel confident in her body. This way you can help yourself and your partner. I think the author of this article and you would be surprised to research historical and medical views on masturbation. Only recently have women been forced to feel shame. Own it. Lose the shame. Lose the guilt. You can be a godly women and still empower yourself in this way.

    • Kassia

      I think it’s different for different women. For me personally I can’t masturbate without it eventually leading me down a dark road of illicit sexual fantasies and porn addiction.
      That really ends up hurting my relationship with God.

    • erinleedavis

      Hi Elaine!

      We are glad you are here on our blog and we welcome dialogue, especially about issues our readers are struggling with including God-honoring sexuality.

      As the manager of this blog, I’d like to ask you to keep a few things in mind.

      1. The target audience for this blog is young women. Our average reader is fifteen. While we certainly welcome readers from all demographics here, and are willing to talk about difficult topics openly, we take prioritizing the innocence of our youngest readers very seriously. We are careful not to write (or allow others to write) anything that might compromise the innocence of these young readers.

      2. While researching the historical and medical views of this issue, might be of interest, we are primarily concerned with the Biblical perspective on all issues. As outlined in the post, we see Biblical evidence for girls (and guys!) to avoid masturbation as they seek to live out Godly sexuality.

      Though there is mounting research from secular researchers that masturbation does not in fact lead to healthy sex with a partner. I won’t post links here to protect our readers, but the research indicates this is more complex that simply religious views vs. non-religious views.

      3. It is never our intent to cause shame. As I look back through this post and our other posts on this topic, I see us pointing readers toward the Gospel and encouraging to bring this area of temptation/sin into the light in order to be free from sin and shame. That is our primary goal in addressing this topic at all.

      A conversation that is helpful and protects the hearts and minds of our young readers is welcome to continue here on the comment thread.

      Or you are welcome to email our team at and we will respond to you as we are able.

      Grace & Peace!

      Erin Davis

  • Marie

    Funny that this website is called lies young women believe, considering that all you do is spew ridiculous lies to women

  • Jackie

    I pray to God that you will read and answer this. I’m in trouble. I don’t know what to do, I sinned, And fell into sexual sin with a boy of my church. I have told a friend of mine, But still I feel like I need to confess my sin to one of my leaders, Specially because, most of the time I don’t wanna go to church because I’ll see this boy, who has started dating another girl from my church. I told him I need to confess it, in order to feel fully forgiven, And to heal completely. But he doesn’t want me to tell anyone because it will cause both of us to be disciplined by being taken off of communion , He says that we only need to be forgiven by god not by men. And that he has already asked for forgiveness to god and feels forgiven and that I need to accept god’s forgiveness too. Meanwhile my relationship with God is not so good, I feel too guilty to even serve him. Please help, what should I do??

    • Xopher Leonard

      I have great news. There is no God. You have been lied to your whole life.

      • The Fox

        Seriously, why are you even on this site. It is apparent you’re not a Christian. It appears your whole reason for being here is to cause trouble. It is one thing to disagree in a logical and respectful manner. However, you’re deliberately being insulting and ridiculously angry. It comes out in your criticism.

        You don’t get to tell another there is no God. That is a decision they have to come to. You also don’t have a right to tell someone you don’t know that they have been lied to all of their life. This young lady came to this site seeking advice and some sort of help.

        Yet, you offer nothing but foolishness. Whether you believe in God or not is irrelevant. I believe in God, and I’ll pray for you. That’s also something YOU do not have control over. May the true and living God quicken your dead spirit before you take your last breath.

    • Satanic_Panic

      Get over it, loser.

  • Lauren

    I am a gay woman who masturbates a HEALTHY amount, and the reality of sex always exceeds the fantasy of it. I only date women who masturbate, because when they don’t, they have no idea what they’re doing in bed. In reality, masturbating is a healthy and empowering act that allows women to take control of their own sexualities.

  • Emma

    In talking about the man, you are describing a person who is willing to do whatever you you want them to do. You are talking about someone who fulfills your need completely. This in itself is a fantasy. Someone who fulfills your need requires experiences and a knowledge of what you personally enjoy. This requires self experience. If you are not allowing women to be knowledgeable their own experience, you are denying them the experience you are describing in your own article. You are fantasizing. Real relationships require work and personal “isolational” growth. Please stop fantasizing a man, in a way you yourself vilanizes, and instead talk about productive, growing ventures for women.

  • Xopher Leonard

    So much misinformation in this article.

  • Satanic_Panic

    This is pathetic

  • noémie

    Thank you for this blog. I found this side some time ago. Nowadays it very important to say the truth about this. I have myself this problem but i now that Jesus has the power to set me free. It’s a fight but the fight is already won because Jesus had died and he is our savior. But we have to believe that he wins….every fight!
    Girls, have courage!! The way to the cross is open. You can come to Jesus and you can ask for forgiveness.

    In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
    Ephesians 1:7

    Always seek refuge in Jesus when a temptation comes.

    And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
    Acts 2:21

    (Sorry for spelling mistakes, but I am from Switzerland…. )

    • Thank you for your kind words and Words of truth, Noemie! We are so thankful that you have Jesus in your battle with you. In Him you can find freedom and victory! I’ve paused to pray for you today. May God bless you!