So as a Conservative Believer and former staff member at one of the most evangelical churches in the US and on its crusade team, may I address this issue, as I feel most people have touched on the reality of what scripture says on this subject, but not in complete fullness? Several Years ago, a dear friend who was like a blood sister to me from my teen years on made comments to me about the subject of simple nudity and the failure of many of her relationships, and the fact that she had never had an orgasm and did not masturbate. This discussion was followed by texts from her regarding some of my comments during that conversation, so I wrote her a letter in response. I think by posting it here (it is rather lengthy and I have no idea if it will fit), it may benefit some young believer who is struggling with these two issues:
I am sorry for not answering your text messages earlier than this, but there were a lot of questions, and they involved long answers. But while late, at least I am not ignoring you.
First of all, I need to explain the word modest to you as used in scripture, since you said that you thought I would have been more modest. The Apostle Paul used it mainly in his letter to Timothy when he said, And I want women to be modest in their appearance. They should wear decent and appropriate clothing and not draw attention to themselves by the way they fix their hair or by wearing gold or pearls or expensive clothes. This was in chapter 2 verse 9. If you look at the verse carefully, youll notice that Paul is talking about the putting on of clothes and other items that women would wear that would bring attention to themselves. When I tell you that a man has a modest home, has a modest income, or is modest in personality, what comes to your mind? Is it not a man who is unassuming and does not bring attention to himself? A man who does not showboat, is not boastful, but has possessions that fit his income and needs and nothing more? When that man gives someone else the credit for work well done, and that he had a simple role, do we not say he is being modest with his input, talent, and selfless manner? Why then do we twist the word modest when it is used to refer to clothing or the wearing of clothing? Websters dictionary defines modest as being quiet and humble in appearance, style: not pretentious. The historical reference is that women would use fashion to bring attention to them and place themselves above women of poorer statue. Paul hated that, as he encouraged people to help one another and be close as a family, not being divided. So he was not saying that we should cover up all of our skin to be modest indeed, he was saying the exact opposite: Do not put on or adorn yourselves with clothing that will make you pretentious.
I am trying to go in order of your texts here, but let me skip masturbation for a second and stay on topic. You mentioned how Adam and Eve wore fig leaves. Yes they did, but not until after they had sinned and saw that they were naked. Prior to this, Adam and Eve walked naked in the garden without shame, and were in complete 100% communion with the Lord. The Lord would visit them in the cool of the day and walk with them. In fact, when God created the heavens and the earth and all that was in them, each time he completed a task, He said that it was good. Yet, after He created man, he did not say that. He said something better. He said in verse 31 of Genesis 1, that it was very good. God created your body Paulette, He created mine, and He said that it is very good. You were not born wearing jeans, you were born naked. But, after Adam and Eve sinned and ate from the tree of knowledge, they knew right from wrong, they knew they had disobeyed God by eating from that tree when He told them not to, and they saw that they were naked. And they were ashamed. When God confronted Adam (who was hiding), Adam said that "I heard you in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid." What was Gods response? He said, "Who told you that you were naked?. It is really important that we realize two things: First of all, God sees us 24/7. We can not hide from God. Many verses throughout the Bible attest to this. Second of all, God was not shocked that Adam was naked, he asked Adam, Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?" The simple fact is, God created them naked. He was upset that Adam had disobeyed Him by eating the forbidden fruit. Ask yourself a question Paulette. Right now, do you think God sees you from heaven with your clothes on, or as He created you? The Bible says that we are always naked before the Lord.
Then God clothed Adam and Eve. Why? Three reasons. The first was to atone for their sin. The Bible says that there is no forgiveness of sin without the remission of blood (or spilling of blood). God had to slay two animals to shed their blood in sacrifice to atone for the sin that Adam and Eve had committed. He then used the skins to clothe them. Again, why? The second reason. Whereas Adam and Eve were capable of sin, they were still perfect and sinless until they ate from the Tree of Knowledge. When they did that, they fell from perfection. They not only fell, but God had no choice but to let them live a life according to their choice. They chose disobedience. They chose to live apart from God. They were kicked out of the Garden and had to now live in the world a fallen world. Now, the beasts that were their pets would be their predator, their food, and their beasts of burden. The fallen world now had thorns, weeds, thistles, and other plants that could harm them. The sun was no longer cool and comforting. It was hot, and burned them, and it grew cold at night. They were given skins to wear from the animals that died for their atonement, as protection from a fallen world. Three, and most important. It was to cover their shame. But it was the shame Adam and Eve felt Paulette, not Gods shame. How can God be ashamed of what He created and said was very good? Yes, Sin entered the world, but remember that God sees us when we are in right standing with Him, as being righteous. If He atoned for their sin by slaying the animals and spilling their blood, and they were in right standing, why would God then clothe them for His sake? He didnt. He clothed them for their sake.
No where in scripture does it say that non-sexual nudity is a sin. In fact, in every single case where God punished someone and nudity was involved, they were punished not because they were naked, but because of another sin. Noah is a good example. Or the Jews in the desert when Moses was on the mountain. Scripture simply does not say anywhere where being naked is a sin. In fact, we have to look at extra-biblical references to see what life was like in those times, and the most reliable source is the Jewish/Roman Historian Josephus. In his writings, we see that nudity was very common in every day life. People performed manual tasks in the nude. Everyone swam and bathed in the open in the nude. People lived in one room houses that had no privacy from one another, and everyone saw family members naked.
In fact, think about it. Historically, people were (here is that word) modest in their means. They did not have a Kmart where clothes were cheap. No, in fact, clothes had to be handmade and took a lot of labor and time. Most people had two sets of clothing, tops. So if you were going to be working in the hot sun in the dirt of a field, or fishing with fish scales, slime and guts all over, do you think they wore the only clothes they possessed, or went naked? This is backed up by scripture. The Bible said that Peter was fishing naked after the resurrection, and when he recognized the Lord on the shore, he gathered his garments and swam to shore. And btw, what was Jesus response? Did He chastise Peter for fishing naked? Naw, he said, sit, lets eat.
Jesus did go naked when He washed the feet of the disciples, and as was customary, He went naked when He was baptized by John the Baptist (everyone who was baptized was done in the nude again, why wear precious clothing in a muddy, stinking river like the Jordan River?) And yes, as was the Roman custom, Jesus was crucified naked.
I can site example after example. But here is the clincher Paulette: If we as Born Again Believers are in a right standing with God, who are justified (just as if it never happened) in their faith, who have been placed in a position with God where He sees us without sin and are covered in the blood of His Son, then are we not in the same position as Adam and Eve BEFORE the fall? The answer is yes!! So being naked before God should be as natural as He first intended.
So why all the confusion? Let me ask you a question: who is the father of confusion? Satan. There is a difference between good nudity and bad nudity. Satan loves to take something that is good, and pervert it. He takes the beautiful human body, and sexualizes it. Porn is prevalent because of Satan. God said that naked humans are very good. Satan says that naked humans mean sex. I could spend pages on this topic, but if you want good resources to read, I can give you references.
The final straw? There is a litmus test for us Christians when it comes to behavior: Would you continue to act in the manner you are acting right now, if Jesus Himself was standing right next to you. In regards to non-sexual nude recreation, I say, Of course I would!! Jesus looks at me right now (well, not RIGHT now, because RIGHT now, I am in fact naked at my computer - but when I am working or have clothes on) as if I am in fact naked before Him anyway. He does not see Paulette with her high heals and tailored jeans, and blouse from the best fashion store at the mall ... he sees you naked.
In regards to dating: I dont care. I would rather remain single for the rest of my life than be with someone who thinks the human body is dirty and something to be ashamed of. I will not live that way ever. In regards to your comment that I appear to be this strong Christian guy, in regards to someone finding out: I stand for Truth. Non-sexual nudity is not a sin, and I am not afraid to stand by what I believe and can defend it from scripture. As a side note: We are encouraged to not allow a weaker Christian to stumble due to our liberties, so I am very careful for that reason, who I tell, and who I dont.
Masturbation: The Bible is 100% silent on this subject. Thats right. It is not even mentioned. There are quite a few people in positions of authority within many denominations that take a story from the Bible and use it to make it look like masturbation is a sin, but it is taken out of context. In Genesis 38, after Joseph had been sold into slavery by his brothers, Judah left them as well and married a Canaanite woman. He had two sons by this woman; Er and Onan. Er married Tamar, but he was evil, so God judged him and took his life. Judah then went to Onan and told him to take Tamar as his own wife and bear children by her since Er was the first born, and this was the custom if the first born died to carry on the family name. It says that Onan did not want a child that would not be his heir, so he spilled his seed upon the ground. God judged him and took his life and many people point to this as why masturbation is a sin. There are several problems with this: One, we dont know that he masturbated when he spilled his seed, because he could very well have simply withdrawn during intercourse and ejaculated on the ground. But for the sake of argument, lets say that is what he did: he masturbated. Well God did not judge him for masturbating, he judged him because he refused to have children by Tamar to carry on the family name! In fact, the New Living Translation says that, "But Onan was not willing to have a child who would not be his own heir. So whenever he had intercourse with his brother's wife, he spilled the semen on the ground. This prevented her from having a child who would belong to his brother. But the LORD considered it evil for Onan to deny a child to his dead brother. So the LORD took Onan's life, too." In this translation, the word intercourse is in fact used. Most reputable scholars agree that this story has nothing to do with masturbation at all.
What does the silence in scripture mean? Well, God is leaving the choice up to us. But by being silent, He is saying that it is in fact permissible and not a sin. It would be great if you could just read my journal entry on this subject, but you would be shocked by reading it, and Paulette, one thing we need to be careful about, with ANYTHING, is that anything CAN be a sin, if done with the wrong heart and the wrong motivation. For example, did you know that going to church can be a sin? What? Am I nuts? No. If you go to church because you love the social scene, or you want to look important, or because you simply love church TO THE POINT THAT YOU LOVE CHURCH MORE THAN THE GOD WHO CREATED THE CHURCH, going to church is in fact a sin. Look, nothing should ever come before God. He is number one. My mate does not come before God, my children do not come before God, nor my career. If I sing praise songs, but I forget or dont care about the One who the song was meant to praise, than I am sinning!
So what does that mean in regards to masturbation? Well, while it is in itself not a sin, it can be. If I masturbate so much that it gets in the way of my relationship with God, than it is a sin, just like anything else would be that came before God. Also, if you masturbate while thinking/lusting about someone, than that can be a sin as well. If I masturbate while thinking about that cute girl at church, than that is a sin. But by itself, masturbation is not a sin.
I think, and most mature Christians agree, that God gave us masturbation as a relief valve if you will, to relieve the stress of sexual tension in order to remain pure before Him. Unlike you, I have an extremely high sexual drive. If I did not masturbate at least once a day, I would be getting myself into serious trouble. I would be sleeping around and disobeying the Lord by having intercourse outside of marriage.
So if a girl has a dildo and a vibrator in her nightstand, I say you go girl! Good for you!. If I counsel a man on masturbation (and I have many times over the years ... and M has counseled many women as well), we carefully ask questions to see whether or not they are doing their acts while lusting after someone, or if they are doing it excessively to the point where it is interfering with their walk. If not, we put it into perspective for them, and they are relieved to realize the freedom they have in this regard.
What is a shame is people like yourself who were terrorized and made to believe that it is so dirty, that you now are so self conscious, have no sexual desires, and live lives full of shame if they do. Shoot Paulette, we even know of boys within the LDS church that have committed suicide because their priests told them they were going to hell for masturbating. What a crying shame.
Lastly, to finish answering the texts you sent me: masturbating and oral sex with a lover: I am being honest here; the oral sex is wrong. Things get hot and heavy sometimes, and when they do, one of three things is going to happen: because I am erect for a prolonged period, I need to cum or I will get serious pain with blueballs , so I will either a) masturbate as soon as I get home (or on many occasions, on the way home), b) preferably have her watch me or each other while masturbating, or c) we masturbate each other. This is my personal opinion Paulette, and I am stating it as such: I do not think masturbating in front of, with, or to my lover is a sin. I would much rather have that release than sin by having intercourse.
For me, I absolutely love oral sex. I love everything about it, especially feeling my lover cum as my tongue vibrates against her clit. The vast majority of the time I give oral, I dont get it in return (except with L, as she loved giving as much as I did). So I rarely have someone suck my cock and cum in their mouths. Paulette, I know this is a sin, and I try my best to abstain. I am a sinner saved by grace, and I sometimes fail to remain pure. But at least M is still a virgin. We may have had oral sex, but she will give her virginity to her husband. I did not take that from her. I am not perfect. I never claimed to be. I do my best to remain pure, and if I screw up, I ask for forgiveness and drive on with life.
And that is why I do masturbate so much, to keep that sexual tension in check. For me, it works. For many others I know, they feel the same way.
You can do what you want. But I suspect that you have no sexual desires because one, you think (at least on a very powerful subconscious level) masturbating is dirty , and because your body is physically asleep. Granted, I know you dont have the desire, but I suspect that if you used a vibrator on yourself and allowed yourself to have a full orgasm, your body would in fact wake up. Thats your personal life, your decision, but I thought I would put my two cents in. Anyway, it is now midnight, I have answered your questions and texts. Paulette, one thing you will find in your walk with the Lord is that human beings are sinners. As Christians, we are sinners who live under Grace. That is not a license to sin, but it does mean that we WILL fail, but when we do, we turn TO God, and not away from Him. If you want to make certain judgments about me because of the way I live, then I cant stop you. But I know I am living a life that has Jesus Christ as my Lord, I am doing the best I can, and when my best is not enough and I fail, I shake it off, and look to Him. He is the author and the finisher of my faith, and one day, we will be with Him forever, and sin will not be an issue. Amen?
I hope this helps a brother or sister who is struggling with this.
I totally disagree with sbhguy. Masturbation is NOT a sin. The Bible is 100% silent on the subject. Why? Why is God's Word, which is complete and all encompassing, silent on the subject of masturbation? And if people want to try and use the example of Onan spilling his seed on the ground, than you need to re-examine that in light of my last entry (read above).
God is silent on this subject because in and of itself, it is not a sin, just like eating food is not a sin. Eating food CAN be a sin, if one becomes glutenous ... just like masturbation CAN be a sin for the reasons I stated in the last entry. For Pete's sake people, stop spreading this bondage of shame that others try to use to make us ashamed of something natural and allowed by God as a relief from sexual tension. It is permissible, especially if one has their priorities right. In addition, we live under Grace and not the Law. The Law is dead. The Law puts us back into bondage, and Jesus broke those chains once and for all on Calvary when He cried out, "It is finished!"
Humans are the creators of so many stop signs and don't this and don.do that. If you look at the Song of Solomon you see the joys of oral sex and the fruit of all sorts of sexual indulgences, and to keep up with a thousand beautiful women. So enjoy be fruitful and fill the earth with believers...
Sounds like Solomon had a lot to sing about, lol!
Nope. For some masturbation is their only release from sexual tension. Its far better to have a sexual partner for alls ex acts as long as both are mutually agreed, including masturbation. It can be a very beautiful act, delivered with love and kindness.
We have some experience on this topic...At the risk of appearing a little pompous, first, one must define sin? Holy script...All things in him are yeah and amen, move to what makes you happy. LOL. Enjoy your ride!