As an American teen, you have been told that your body belongs to you. You can do what you want with it. Many teen publications openly and unreservedly promote masturbation. An underlying belief is that pleasure overrules your decision-making.
The Bible says, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2, NIV). This passage applies to both adults and teens who are believers.
Dr. Douglas Weiss shares a powerful revelation called “The Three Owners” in his book Clean. It will help you understand more clearly what God’s Word has to say on this subject. This may be very surprising to learn, but there are three owners of your sex organ. Your sex organ doesn’t simply belong to you—not like the world says.
Who are the three owners?
The first owner is your Creator God. A notable Scripture is Romans 12:1: “Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual worship.” In other words, our sexuality is one way we honor and worship God.
God wants us to worship Him with our whole being—including our bodies. Let’s make this as nitty-gritty as possible. This means we need to ask for God’s permission before we make decisions about masturbation, looking at pornography, or engaging in premarital sex. If we submit to His leadership and guidance, we will find freedom and victory.
The next owner is most likely someone you have not yet met—your future spouse. She/he is the most precious gift you will ever receive from God except for Jesus Christ! Your spouse is the person you will promise to love, honor, and cherish.
There is something you urgently need to know about your wedding day. It’s something that you don’t ever want to forget. Dr. Weiss says on the day of a person’s wedding: “On that day, at the altar of marriage, a sex-organ transfer occurred [will occur].” Truthfully, this is what the Bible teaches.
Your future spouse will own your sexuality! Here is what the Word of God says, “For the wife does not rule over her own body but the husband does; likewise, the husband does not rule over his own body, but the wife does” (1 Corinthians 7:4). Most people still understand that when you marry someone you forsake all others.
Let’s look at this from where you are right now. The person you are dating will be someone’s spouse one day. You have no right to their sexuality. Now, when you marry one day, you will own your spouse’s sexuality, right? This raises some very interesting questions. How will you treat someone else’s future spouse? How do you want some other guy treating your future wife?
The final owner for us to talk about is you. Hopefully, you are convinced that your sex organ is not only yours—it belongs to God, your future spouse, and then you. You have the right to go to the bathroom. If you understand that you are under authority of God, then we are not free to do what pleases us.
The effect on recovery
Here is another MAJOR POINT. It is important for you if you are struggling with the combination of pornography and masturbation. For most teens struggling with pornography, masturbation is a deep-rooted habit. In recovery, we are trying to break this neuro-programming in our brains. The continuation of masturbation can make it very difficult to change the thought patterns.
In many cases, stopping masturbation is a necessary part of a successful recovery. If you have been masturbating for years, stopping this habit will be a process that takes time and support.
Is it really that important? There are a significant number of teens in recovery who have reported that continuing to masturbate has undermined their recovery. Masturbation helped to drive their fantasies and often served as a stimulus to other forms of acting out. This is a MAJOR POINT.
The harm caused by masturbation depends on several factors. Most of all it depends on what you are thinking about or viewing when you do it. If you are masturbating most often with porn images or fantasies, then it is an issue. This pattern usually leads to isolated, self-centered, and unrealistic sexual experiences.
You may be among the many teens whose acting out is primarily masturbation and viewing pornography. Several researchers have observed that those who struggle the most with compulsive behavior are those who act out with “only” masturbation and watching pornography. Masturbation fueled by fantasy can be very addictive and hard to stop for those obsessed by it.
You will benefit from making a clear, informed decision about masturbation. The information provided here can help you. It is my hope that you find sexual expression that is psychologically healthy, socially responsible, intimacy enhancing, and spiritually fulfilling.
Take this assessment
How you answer the following questions may help in making your decision about masturbation. This is a decision that only you can make. If it is going to be part of your life, you are encouraged to decide whether it is wise or not. And if you choose not to masturbate, determine the boundaries you want to establish to remove this habit from your life.
The questionnaire below can help you think through your decision. There are a series of questions in this exercise, and you are asked to check either “yes” or “no” for each one. Read the statements and check your response. You are asked to do an honest assessment of masturbation as you practice it and its role in your recovery.
Questionnaire (answer yes or no):
- Am I trying to medicate or numb my feelings?
- Will I feel ashamed afterwards?
- Am I relying on fantasy or porn to masturbate?
- Am I doing this to release stress?
- When I masturbate, do I go on a binge?
- Am I becoming more “me-centered”?
- Am I breaking a boundary necessary for my recovery?
- Am I more out of touch with my feelings?
- Am I dishonoring God as I masturbate?
- Am I creating a problem for my future marriage?
If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, you are encouraged to discuss your responses with your parent or therapist. We know this may not be any easy discussion, but it is an important one to your recovery.
What will be your decision about masturbation? Did the questions help you process important factors in your decision-making? What do you hear God saying to you about this issue?