Yes, masturbation is
considered sinful behavior. When our Lord Jesus Christ taught saying, “But I
say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed
adultery with her in his heart” (Matthew 5:28),
he defined lust as a critical element in sin. Therefore, sinfulness isn’t
limited to physical relationships, but extends even to the thoughts of the mind
and the desires of the heart. Since masturbation involves the entertainment of
lustful thoughts and feelings, it is certainly sinful behavior.
In the Book of Proverbs, we
read, “Like a city whose walls are broken down, is a man who lacks
self-control” (Proverbs 25:28). Also, St.
Paul said, “Similarly, encourage the young men to be
self-controlled” (Titus 2:6). Self-control and discipline are critical for a
Christian life. Resisting sin requires discipline, but also pursuing a virtuous
life, and practicing spiritual means like prayer, Bible reading, and confession.
If you don’t have self-control, you won’t be able to resist sin, and you will
not be able to grow in your spiritual life either. The devil will gradually
exploit your weakness and lead you to fall into more and more sins, little by
If you allow yourself to
masturbate, how will you develop self-control? You will only lose more and more
control, and this is very dangerous. That is why the man who lacks self-control
is like a city whose walls are broken down, like the Book of Proverbs says. And
that is why St. Peter says, “Beloved, I beg you as sojourners and pilgrims,
abstain from fleshly lusts which war against the soul.” (1 Peter 2:11). If you
don’t control your lustful thoughts and feelings, this can certainly lead to
the sin of masturbation. And if you don’t resist masturbation, this sin will
certainly lead to other sins because the devil has weakened your willpower.
Your lusts will increase and your self-control will decrease. That is why St. Paul says, “Therefore
do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts”
(Romans 6:12) and “Flee
also youthful lusts” (2 Timothy 2:22).
If you fall into the sin of
masturbation, pick yourself right up and pray. Don’t fall into despair, because
that’s what the devil wants. Be very honest with your father of confession
about your weaknesses, and confess regularly. The key to having victory and
repentance is to seek forgiveness through confession, seek God’s grace through
prayer and Communion, and be determined to cut the sin from the first step of
lust. If this sin becomes a habit, do not despair or rely on your own strength
or your own determination to repent. Yes, you need to be determined, but know
that you will need God’s help. So with the guidance of your father of
confession, develop a routine of prayer, prostrations (metanias), Bible
reading, and spiritual reading, to arm yourself with God’s power.