Over the past few months, we’ve started to tackle some common cultural myths relating to sexuality, including:

Myth 1: “Porn is Harmless Fun”

Myth 2: “If You’ve Got It, Flaunt It”

Myth 3: “What You Do Now Won’t Matter as an Adult”

Which brings us to Myth 4: “I Need to Masturbate!” 

As we began to tackle last month, as uncomfortable as it is to talk to your son or daughter about sex, it’s even more uncomfortable to talk to them about masturbation.  We simply don’t like thinking about our own kids and the topic of masturbation existing in the same universe.  As a result, many kids are left with tons of questions and a lot of misinformation when it comes to sexuality, purity and related issues.  Often, when one of us with XXXchurch.com talk to teenagers about sex or ask a teen audience to submit anonymous questions about sex, masturbation is at the top of their list.  They want to know if it’s OK to masturbate, if they are going to grow hair on their palms or if they are remaining pure when they masturbate. 

It’s our perspective at XXXchurch.com that masturbation isn’t God’s best.  Masturbation often involves fantasy and lust—it’s very difficult to honor God while masturbating, and both adults and kids often turn to pornography or other unhealthy thoughts and images to “self complete”.  Masturbation also often creates distance between an individual and God, which if you’re son or daughter is a Christian, can be a very harmful reality.  We talk to so many adults and teens that have had a long-time struggle with pornography and masturbation, and as a result, they feel guilty, ashamed and eventually numb to God work in their life.  A lot of teenagers and adults that struggle with masturbation use masturbation as a form of escape, and later in life, masturbation often becomes more appealing than married sex because men and women carry their masturbation habit into their married life, and it’s simpler and seems more self-satisfying. 

It’s important as parents or mentors of youth to talk about these issues rather than leaving your kids to navigate these issues alone.  One scenario that we are often presented with by teenagers is that they need to masturbate or else “something” might explode… or their lust might make them have sex with someone other than themselves… or they might die if they don’t masturbate.

If your son or daughter is a Christian, and if you are raising them in a Christian environment, it’s part of your role as a parent to help them seek self-discipline and purity.  It’s just part of the Christian life.  Masturbation always seems like the easy way out.  In the moment, teenage hormones can make our kids feel as though they can barely stand to resist acting out on their lust.  Although almost everyone stumbles in this area at some point, it’s important to help our kids understand that they aren’t gross, weird or perverted for engaging in masturbation.  In many ways, it’s just natural for them to and to do what feels good in the moment, but ultimately, it’s their responsibility as growing men and women to choose a better way. 

Often our kids have made a series of compromises that lead them to feel as though they need to masturbate.  Were they watching a TV show or movie that fueled their lust?  Did they look at pornography online?  Were they in the backseat with their boyfriend or girlfriend pushing limits?  Are they fantasizing about someone in their class?  Help them to think carefully and thoughtfully about what they are bringing into their life that makes their struggle seem so acute.  As Christians, we always have a way out from sin, and we don’t “need” to masturbate.  Nothing will explode.  No one will get hurt.  And often, masturbation doesn’t end the lust struggle, it just intensifies it.

For more on talking to your kids about sex, check out our parent resources here.