Faith Identity

How to Stop Masturbating

MW Editor’s Note. This topic can be squeamish for some. The intent is to be forthright about a very real issue and to provide some thoughts on how to address it in a healthy way that ultimately honors God in how you live out your sexuality.

It’s the proverbial dilemma virtually every guy faces. Usually, it starts at the onset of puberty and can become a seemingly never-end roller coaster ride that can morph into an addiction. Masturbation. It did for me. Unbeknownst at the time, masturbation was re-wiring my brain to rely on the dopamine releases every time I gave in. The typical pattern was triggered by stress and pressure along with hormones that made lust a driving force in my adolescent and young adult years. Interestingly, my addiction seemed to work against my faith commitment to Jesus.  Had someone asked me in my adolescence how my walk with Jesus was going, I’d say “not well”.  And, that “not well” was directly connected to my struggle with purity. 

You are Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

As I have commented with many young men who deal with this struggle, the fact your penis functions, you have erections and your body produces semen is not a sin. Psalm 139 talks about how we are fearfully and wonderfully made. The sin comes not from the function but from the heart. The motives behind the act. 

How You View God and Yourself

How we treat our bodies speaks volumes about our view of God and our view of our self. Identity plays a core role in whether we masturbate or not. As counselor Michael John Cusick says (quoted in Volume 7 of the And Son’s Magazine- page 067)

 “You think that right now all you want is porn or an orgasm or this woman’s attention and invitation.”

That’s what we guys deceptively think. “I’m going to explode! If I can’t get her to sleep with me, then I’ll resort to another foray of porn and masturbate.”  The problem is that cycle usually piles on shame. If one has any sense of morality, that dirty feeling overwhelms you. For some, the addiction sears their conscience. They’ve resigned themselves that masturbation will be a secret part of their manhood for as long as they live. If you struggle with masturbation, you know the list:

  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Perverted views of sexuality
  • Pornography
  • Lack of real intimacy in relationships
  • Objectifying women
  • For some guys, it leads to gender confusion.

Semen Production

A study from www.livescience.com was done on how much semen an average man will produce over his lifetime (from adolescence to his elderly years).  

the average male will produce roughly 525 billion sperm cells over a lifetime and shed at least one billion of them per month. A healthy adult male can release between 40 million and 1.2 billion sperm cells in a single ejaculation. 

Sniff and Swim: How Sperm Find Eggs | Live Science

Given each ejaculation is about a teaspoon of semen containing millions of sperm, a guy will produce 

somewhere between 6-8 gallons in his lifetime.  To give you a sense of what masturbation does to a guy, here’s a typical example.  

Let’s say a young man has his first wet dream (nocturnal emission) around age 14. Let’s say he decides to masturbate instead of letting his body experience normal wet dreams (Wet dreams are not a sin.) If he masturbates around 4-5 times a week, that’s about 5 teaspoons of semen a week. If he continues to masturbate from age 14 well into his young adult years (such as age 25), he will have done so somewhere around 2500-2900 times. That’s about 3-4 gallons of semen. In other words, he’s spent a large percentage of his lifetime production of semen on himself. Not only is that a guaranteed way to reinforce a self-gratification lifestyle, but It has also literally wired the young man’s brain to view sexuality as for his benefit first. If he marries, he will view sexual intercourse with his wife for his gain. He’s using his wife instead of serving her.

Unsettled Souls

Within the church and in many mentoring relationships, there is a well-intended emphasis on accountability. We think being in an “iron sharpens iron” relationship with another man will help solve this sexual purity dilemma.  Whereas accountability has its place and can contribute to resolving issues like masturbation, its focus is essentially on behavior management.  (MW has an article on three different types of accountability.) Three Types of Accountability – Mentoring Warriors

Where the real problem lies is with the heart. To continue with Michael John Cusick’s quote from the And Son’s Magazine,

“And yet what you really want is life and goodness and blessing and joy and 

self-respect and integration.”

Your soul longs for identity. You want to be known to the deepest depths of who you are. Fully known and fully loved. There is only one person who can know and love you like that: God. Forget the posing that goes along with trying to be a good Christian guy. This is not about being religious. It’s about an intimate walk with God through the person of Jesus Christ that will so settle your soul, you don’t need to use and abuse your sexuality anymore.

My experience, along with many young men I mentor who has had a sordid sexual past, have found increasing victories in proportion to the intimacy they have with Christ.  Not performance, but relationship.

It Begins in Puberty

Adolescent males, for the most part, are poor at relationship building. Sure, they may have their buddies and tend to slap, fist bump, and wrestle with each other. Their conversations are often more grunts and groans than honest, open dialogues.  And yet, we all expect them to become these well-behaved, thoughtful young adult men that we hope will sweep our daughters off their feet. We picture them becoming the best husbands and sons-in-law we could ever ask for. All the while, they are masturbating away behind closed doors. 

Connecting the Dots

We haven’t spent much time talking about why masturbation is sinful. Our culture does not see it as such. They think it is perfectly normal. The reality is virtually all masturbation is saturated with lust. Jesus said that to even look on a woman lustfully is to have actually committed the sexual act. Guilty.

Connecting the dots refers to moving away from lust and lustful actions like masturbation by moving towards an intimate walk with Jesus; being led by the Holy Spirit.  The more you are satisfied with Christ, the more your sexuality will be expressed the way he intended.

We will look at how to grow an intimate walk with Jesus in a later post but for now, take time to reflect on your sexual behavior as a man and ask God to show you what your heart is actually searching for. Perhaps, some of the things Michael John Cusick mentions are what your soul really desires.

Warrior On!

David Riffel is the Founder and Executive Director of www.Mentoring-Warriors.com. Having gone through his warrior years (18-30) essentially without a mentor, God has placed in him a heart for warriors, to come alongside them in various ways as they figure out life. David’s newly released book, Mentoring Warriors: Coming Alongside Young Men 18-30, outlines principles for mentoring and gives advice for warriors in six key areas of life: self-management, life skills, education/career, relationships, faith, and identity.

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