'I'm Ashamed to Admit I Have a Problem with Masturbation'

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Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience.

Was Jesus ever tempted sexually?

A young man who took one of Christendom's premier preachers aside at a conference sheepishly and confidentially asked this question. Ern Baxter whose message, "Thy Kingdom Come" is the best message I ever heard in my forty-five years as a Christian often shared the story. He knew as we age we easily forget the raging hormones and intense sexual struggles of earlier years.

His answer?

"Young man, the Bible tells us Jesus in His humanity can 'sympathize with our weaknesses as one who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin' " (Heb.4:15).

Hearing the answer, the young man breathed a sigh of relief, thanked Mr. Baxter and quietly exited the room.

When I was a young, single man someone gave me a tract with this title, "I Could Never Tell Anyone I Have a Problem With…" The cover depicted a dejected young man sitting with his head buried in his hand, staring at the ground, obviously in torment.

I thought it was significant that the title didn't finish the sentence revealing the area of struggle. Solo sex is an uncomfortable topic that many people prefer to avoid.

In my library I have a 500 plus page book by an internationally known Christian author on marriage and family life. The manual is a comprehensive reference book answering over 400 questions, yet to my knowledge there is not even one reference to the subject of this commentary.

I'm addressing it not to shock or be controversial or offend anyone but rather to help people wrestling with this challenging issue. Certainly our sex-saturated culture has a multitude of voices sharing their perspective. Doesn't it make sense to have sound, scriptural counsel amidst all the ungodly advice bombarding us from every corner?

What follows will seem foolish and preposterous to pop culture adherents yet to those desiring to please God and live pure it brings peace, joy and freedom. Ephesians 5:3 calls us "God's holy people" and says "there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity… for it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret" (v12).

If you don't think this really is much of a problem for scores of people in our society, I respectfully disagree. It's probably an overstatement when people say, "Ninety percent of people do it and the other five percent are liars," yet I'm persuaded multitudes are just not aware of the extent of this behavior and how it's being aggressively promoted in society today.

  • Pornography and erotic literature like "50 Shades of Grey" (soon to be released as a movie) is rampant and fueling out of control sexual desires. This book alone has sold over 100 million copies worldwide!
  • Sex education classes and the World Health Organization encourage masturbation, plus abortion and homosexuality to children and teens worldwide.
  • Artists on YouTube and throughout the music industry gyrate while grabbing their crotches and celebrate pleasuring oneself: "U and Ur Hand" -Pink; "Touch of my Hand" -Britney Spears; "I Touch Myself"-Divinyls.
  • Conan O'Brian made a cultural icon out of the regularly featured "Masturbating Bear".
  • "Sex aid/toys" are now advertised on mainstream TV, in magazines and newspapers, and available for purchase at your corner drugstore.
  • Life-size "Love Dolls", recreating the appearance and texture of human females and males, are advertised; pushed on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter; and highlighted on CBS's "2 Broke Girls" and HBO's "Real Sex."
  • Certain novelty stores in family malls now sell the "Masturbating Man" windup toy.
  • "Christian" ministers seeking popularity and packed facilities proclaim, "Masturbation is actually a gift of God" (exact quote). Charlie Shedd in his bestselling book of advice for teens, "The Stork is Dead", said masturbation is "the wise provision of a very wise Creator..."He knew we'd need it!"
  • Talk show hosts and so-called experts on sexuality espouse their advice everywhere in our culture. Celebrating premarital sex and masturbation, most of them refer to their guru Alfred Kinsey and his "landmark" studies on sexual behavior. What they don't tell you is that historian James Jones in his biography of Kinsey stated the pseudo-researcher was "a closeted homosexual and masochist who was obsessed with sex and driven by his own sexual demons..."

Here's the Deal: Embracing a Biblical Worldview Brings Liberty and Guilt-free Sexuality.

1. There is Both Beauty and Mystery in Sex.

Many Christians are ashamed to discuss what God is not ashamed to create and call "very good" (Gen 5:2). Satan seems to have engineered a conspiracy of silence on the subject of sex in many circles.

Jesus said, "The thief (Satan) comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full" (Jn. 10:10). This includes a rich and fulfilling sexual experience when aligned with God's unchanging standards.

According to Scripture, the wisest human being was King Solomon who wrote over 1000 songs. His greatest song was the "Song of Songs" describing in poetic terms an amorous relationship between a pure maiden and her shepherd lover. It is a celebration of marital intimacy that includes:

  • Erotic dialogue throughout
  • Enjoyment of her breasts (7:7-8)
  • Intoxicating kissing (1:2)
  • Manual stimulation (2:6)
  • Sensual description of a lover (7:1-9)
  • Extensive use of highly sensuous and suggestive imagery involving the mouth, touch and perfumed aromas

Sexual pleasure is of divine origin, a gift from Almighty God, and enjoyed to the fullest when aligned with the will of God in covenant marriage.

2. While God "Richly Provides Us With Everything for Our Enjoyment" (1Tim. 6:17), He Commands Us: "Do Not Arouse or Awaken Love" (Sol. 8:4) Before the Proper Time.

"There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven… a time to embrace and a time to refrain... He has made everything beautiful in its time." (Eccl. 3:1-5).

My beautiful, 33-year-old daughter, Melanie, recently came to the place where God confirmed for her and her Christian sweetheart that they are moving towards marriage. Keeping herself pure for these many years has not been easy but long ago she made a quality decision to do things God's way.

Scripture always speaks approvingly of sexual pleasure as long as it is confined to married partners. God categorically and without exception prohibits premarital and extramarital activity.

"You will remember the instructions we gave you in the name of the Lord Jesus. God's plan is to make you holy, and that entails first of all a clean-cut with sexual immorality. Every one of you should learn to control his body, keeping it pure and treating it with respect" (1Thess. 4:2-4 Phillips).

A fire is warm and wonderful in a fireplace under control, but if that same fire is set loose it can burn down a house. Likewise, water is refreshing in the tap under control, but that same water rushing through a broken dam on a rampage can devastate an area and destroy human life. The difference? Control.

Our Creator's brilliant plan is for single men and women to develop the fruit of self-control (Gal 5:23) prior to marriage by drawing on His grace and cooperating with His plan for sexual purity.

Do you know the number one reason why marriages break up? Sexual problems? Financial problems? Emotional problems? No. The primary reason is simply a lack of self-control! If a person can't control himself, he or she is vulnerable to multitudes of problems. Sexual problems break in. If a person can't control himself – financial problems crash in. It's the same with anger problems. Proverbs 25:28 reminds us, "A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls."

Larry Tomczak is a best-selling author and cultural commentator with over 40 years of trusted ministry experience. His passion is to bring perspective, analysis and insight from a biblical worldview. He loves people and loves awakening them to today's cultural realities and the responses needed for the bride of Christ—His church—to become influential in all spheres of life once again.