Masturbation + Erotica = Fornication?
Another sad conclusion to which many anti-advocates have come is that masturbation, especially if accompanied by any form of erotica, equals fornication and adultery. They are saying, in effect, that the 13 year old boy who looks at a picture of a young lady in a translucent lace teddy while masturbating is sinning just as much as his adulterous father who is having an “afternoon delight” with a "lady of the night” in a downtown hotel room. They say the boy is looking at the picture and “lusting” after that woman. Lust in the heart is the same as the act, so “yes,” both are equally guilty of immorality.
I have many words with which I could describe this line of reasoning, but I will settle for only one – STUPID! Ok two – asinine!
It is stupid to think that a boy alone in his room pleasuring himself is anything like a jackass of a man screwing a hooker! (And no, the masturbating boy is not on his way to becoming the adulterous father.)
The man is violating his marriage vows and defiling his body. If he is a professing Christian he is defiling the Church as well. The boy is neither violating nor defiling anything. He is merely stimulating himself in the most convenient way toward the most pleasant end. (Please Lord, deliver us from stupid and stinking thinking. Amen.)
A Lonely Businessman
Or imagine a lonely man on a business trip. He meets an interesting and attractive young woman who is also alone, lonely, and “interested.” He politely excuses himself from her company and retreats to the safety of his room, his lonely room, where he is feeling both stimulated and frustrated, and even lonelier.
He turns on the TV and before long something “turns him on.” (At this point it didn’t take much.) His arousal is easy and instant. In this state he will not easily get to sleep. And it was an image that encouraged his erection. So what does he do? Get bogged down in a theological quagmire about “lust?” No. He takes matters into his own hands and within a few minutes has an orgasm and goes quickly to sleep. The next day he sees the young woman again and the temptation he experiences is considerably less.
This man has acted with honour. He didn’t take advantage of the opportunity for easy casual sex. He didn’t make a phone call and pay a young woman come to his room for a “massage” with “a happy ending.” No, he simply masturbated.
Overcome With Lust?
Those who say he has was “overcome with lust” when he chose to masturbate are very, very wrong. He has simply done the natural, sensible, godly thing. He met the biological needs of his body, and then got some rest.
And no, he did not commit physical or emotional adultery. And even if he had sought out the stimulating image his heart and actions were still pure. He had no intent for the person whose image he saw (which intent is the essential qualifier of lust.) His only intent was for a few brief moments of personal pleasure and peaceful release.
It is sad. So many in the Church today underestimate the seriousness of real sexual sin and its defiling effect on the Christian, the Church, and the community, and we exaggerate the “problem” of masturbation (and all it quite often involves) calling this blessing from God what it definitely is not, sin. These things ought not to be.