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Talking to Kids About What the Bible Says About Masturbation
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Masturbation tends to be a hot topic. What is the biblical standpoint on this and how do we speak about it with our kids? In this episode, Elizabeth Urbanowicz looks at the biblical theology of sex to understand what the bible says about masturbation and how to effectively communicate this your children.
Note: The following is an auto-transcript of the podcast recording.
Hello friends, and welcome to another episode of the Foundation Worldview Podcast where we seek to answer your questions so that you can equip the children God has placed in your care to carefully evaluate every idea they encounter and understand the truth of the biblical Worldview. I'm your host, Elizabeth Urbanowicz, and I'm thrilled you've joined me for another episode today. Now, before we dive into our question, I just want to give you a little bit of a warning. If you have children in the room listening with you right now, you may want to pause this podcast and wait to listen to it until a time when you are not within the earshot of the children, God is placed in your care because we're going to be covering a more sensitive topic. Now, today's question asks, "masturbation tends to be a hot topic now. What is the biblical standpoint on this and how do we speak to it with our kids?"
Okay, really interesting question, but also an important one to discuss. Now, the first thing that I would say is we probably need to be talking about this topic with our kids at a much younger age than what we're comfortable with. We're probably thinking, oh, this is a high school topic. We're just with the way that our world is going. Probably by the time our children are 10 or 11 years old, we should have covered this topic with them. Now, if you are listening and you are a ministry leader or a Christian educator, I'm not saying this to you, topics of sex and sexuality, they should be reserved for the parents to discuss with children. So if you're a ministry leader or a teacher, you can listen to this podcast as an encouragement of how you can guide the parents who God has placed in your sphere of influence.
But I'm not recommending that you have these conversations with the children in your ministry. Now, if you are a parent again by the age of 10 or 11, this really should be a conversation that we're having with our children simply because of the world in which we live in. Recently, I was reviewing one of the sex ed curricula that is now being implemented in different public schools across the country, and in the seventh grade material, one of the activities that they had seventh graders do, so seventh graders are usually 12 or 13 years old, and one of the activities that they had them do is they had all different forms of sexual activity listed on a chart, and the students actually had to cut out the different forms of sexual activity, and then they had to categorize them according to the riskiness of the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases.
And so there were things like masturbation, oral sex, anal sex, vaginal sex, all of those things listed. And here these little seventh graders are cutting out these cards and categorizing them. And so hopefully none of the children who are in the care of the adults listening to this podcast are in that situation. Hopefully if your children are in public school, you know the curriculum that's being implemented, but even if that's not happening in your child's school, or even if your child is homeschooled, the children within your child's sphere of influence at your church and your neighborhood, they may be going through things like this. And so again, anytime we're talking about a topic that involves sex and sexuality, we want to make sure that we are the first ones to have this conversation with our children. So what I'm going to outline now about how we do this and what we need to think through, these are conversations that we really should be having with our children by the time they're 10 or 11 years old.
Now, in order to answer this question, what is the biblical standpoint on masturbation? We need to ask ourselves the question, what is the biblical purpose of sex? Because understanding what the biblical purpose of sex is will help us understand, okay, what is the biblical understanding of masturbation? Now, when we're thinking of the theological position of what sex actually is, we're actually going to be thinking of the biblical theology of sex rather than the systematic theology of sex. Now, just as a really brief overview, systematic theology is kind of putting together a puzzle. When someone is doing systematic theology, they're looking throughout the whole of scripture and they're saying, okay, what are all of the verses that talk about this topic? And then putting those verses together and they come together, kind of like a puzzle piece to say, okay, what is the entire biblical picture of this?
That's systematic theology. Biblical theology is more like a flower in that there are some topics in scripture that God touches on toward the beginning of scripture, that as he goes throughout the entire biblical narrative, he grows the human understanding of that topic, not because God's understanding of that topic has grown. No, God is immutable. He's unchangeable. He has always had a full understanding of these topics, but he was just giving people a more thorough understanding of what this topic actually is. And so as we look throughout scripture, we see the biblical theology of sexuality come to maturity by the time we reach the New Testament. So kind of like a flower that grows from a seed and it grows and eventually it opens up and blossoms. We're seeing, oh, this is the full picture, way back in the garden, this is what God had intended.
But it takes the entire biblical narrative for us to get there and to understand, okay, the un flowering of that truth. So if we're looking at the biblical theology of sexuality, what is the biblical purpose of sex? Well, in the beginning, in the garden, we're giving a very basic understanding of what sex is, that when God creates mankind in his image in Genesis 1:27, then he gives them the command in Genesis 1:28 to be fruitful and multiply, to fill the earth and subdue it. So one of the biblical purposes of sex is that we humans can fulfill the command to be fruitful and multiply. So one of the purposes of sex is to bring forth children. Then as we continue on the biblical narrative in Genesis 2, it talks about Adam knowing his wife. Actually, I'm sorry, that is incorrect. It's Genesis 3 that talks about that Genesis, knowing Adam, knowing his wife, Eve, and then her becoming pregnant.
And the biblical narrative consistently uses this Hebrew word, and I apologize, I'm not going to say it correctly because I'm not a Hebrew scholar, but it consistently uses this word, yada, which means to know which is a euphemism for sex, and it's used all throughout the Old Testament. So first we see that the purpose of sex is to be fruitful and multiply, to bring forth children. Then second, that the biblical purpose of sex is for a husband and a wife to know one another intimately. And now, if you know anything about brain chemistry, that scientists have actually found that the chemicals that are released in the male and the female brain during sex, the hormones that are released, they're actually bonding hormones. What is chemically released during the act of sex is physically bonding one person to another, that they're actually getting to know one another.
And then as we continue on in the biblical narrative, but the time we get to the New Testament, to the book of Ephesians in chapter 5, we learn that marriage is a picture of Christ and the church. So the sexual union, it's not only just to be fruitful and multiply and to know one another, it's actually to paint a picture of the union that we have as the church have with our savior Jesus. So when we look at that biblical theology, we see those three purposes of sex, be fruitful and multiply, to know one another, and to paint a picture of Christ and the church. So that is according to scripture, that's the biblical purpose of sex. So now when we're applying that to the topic of masturbation, we need to ask ourselves, does masturbation fulfill these three purposes of sex that are outlined in scripture?
Well, let's think of the first one being fruitful and multiplying. Does masturbation lead to the creation of children to being fruitful and multiplying? No. Masturbation is an act of sex with one person. One person by themselves is not capable of physically being fruitful and multiplying. So masturbation does not fulfill that first biblical purpose of sex. The second biblical purpose to know one another. Is masturbation fulfilling the purpose of spouses getting to know one another? No. Whether the person masturbating is single or married, there is no knowing of one spouse to the other in that act. So masturbation does not fulfill the purpose of spouses getting to truly know one another. Then the third purpose of painting a picture of Christ and the church. So when we think of masturbation, does that accurately paint this picture of the one flesh union of a husband and a wife, which reflects the picture of Christ and the church?
No masturbation is one person, and so this actually paints a picture of idolatry instead of the union of Christ in the church. It paints a picture of someone worshiping themselves rather than worshiping God. So we see from this very clearly that masturbation is not biblical. It does not fulfill the three biblical purposes of sex. It doesn't equip someone to physically be fruitful and multiply. It does not help spouses get to know one another, and it does not paint a picture of Christ and the church. It paints a picture of idolatry. In fact, all sex outside of the marriage covenant, whether it's premarital sex, extramarital sex, heterosexual sex, homosexual sex, or self stimulated sex, it all paints a picture of idolatry, of unfaithful to Jesus. Not only that, any type of sex outside of the marriage covenant is producing chemical bonding with someone or something that is not our spouse.
And so in that process of bonding with another and then breaking that bond, we are actually chemically killing our ability to bond with and truly get to know our spouse. And this makes sense that this is happening because if you read Romans eight, in Romans eight, it's very clear that idolatry always leads to death. The mind that is set on the flesh leads to death that God's design is so good, and when we go against that design, that rebellion leads to death. And so when we think through, okay, how do we talk with our children, with our children who are 10 on up about this concept of masturbation? Well, what we can do is we can actually just go through what I outlined for us looking at, okay, what is the biblical purpose of sex and reading in Genesis one about the command to be fruitful and multiply.
And then reading the different passages in the Old Testament that talk about a spouse, a husband laying with his wife and knowing her. Another purpose of sex is for a spouse to know their husband or to know their wife, and then even you can even bring in some of that chemical bonding. If you're not familiar with that, highly recommend you check out Mama Bear Apologetics Guide to Sexuality because they have an entire chapter just talking about the chemicals that are released during the act of sex and how they bond one person to another. Then read in Ephesians 5 that talks about marriage, painting a picture of Christ and the church, and talk through what are these three purposes of sex to physically be fruitful and multiply, to know one another, and to paint a picture of Christ and the church.
And then we don't have to go into all the mechanics or grave detail if we're talking with a 10 or 11 or a 12 year old, but just talking about, here's this word that you're probably going to hear at some point in our culture, whether it's from a friend, whether it's in a textbook, whether it's something that you find on YouTube, but talk about what masturbation is. That it's actually trying to be sexually stimulated by yourself. Not actually having sex with another person, but to be stimulated by yourself. And then talk through, you know what? When one person is by themselves, can they be fruitful and multiply by having more children? No. When one person is by themselves, are they bonding with their spouse? No. When one person is by themselves, are they painting a picture of Jesus and the church? No.
So then you can be very clear that this is what scripture says. This is the purpose of sex. Masturbation does not fulfill that purpose. And I just highly recommend that you have this conversation with your children. You lay this foundation because you never know when it's going to come up. Just a little while ago, I learned from a friend who was part of a youth group at a church that at her youth group, they had a panel discussion and they broke the guys and the girls up separately, and they had women in the church come and speak to the girls, and the girls could ask them any questions that they wanted about sex or sexuality. Same with the boys. Now, first of all, I don't really agree with that unless the parents are there, because parents should be the ones who are talking with their children about sex and sexuality.
But even putting that aside, I learned from a friend who was actually on this panel that another person who was on the panel, one of the girls in the group asked, what about masturbation? Is that okay? And one of the women on the panel actually said, that's a personal decision. You need to decide whether or not you're okay with that, as if the Bible didn't speak to it at all. And when I heard this, I just felt so nauseous. And so we want to make sure that we are able to have this conversation with our children before anyone else does. Whether it's someone out in secular culture or even someone within the church, it's so important that we make sure that we are laying a solid, positive, biblical foundation for understanding God's good design for sex and sexuality, and then understanding what the deviations are from that, and why they do not align with God's good design.
That's a wrap for this episode, but if you found this content beneficial, would just ask that you would consider liking subscribing, writing a review, and even sharing this content with those in your sphere of influence, just so we can equip more people to get the kids in our care, understanding the truth and the goodness and the beauty of the biblical Worldview. As always, as we leave this time together, my prayer for you is that God would richly bless you as you continue to faithfully disciple the children he's placed in your care. I'll see you next time.
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