Which religions consider masturbation evil or a sin?

No debate about whether it is or not, please. I’d just like to know what other religions, such as judaism, islam, hindu, shinto, zoroastrianism, etc. say about it. Is there a difference of opinion between various branches of each religion on the subject? For example, are the Sunnis ok with it, yet the Shias against it?

In addition, if you can direct me to appropriate lines in their sacred texts about it too, that would be very appreciated.

I would also be curious to know which christian denominations do not consider it to be inherently wrong.

Thank you for addressing this subject!

Islam considers it a sin

Other than the Roman Catholic Church, I’m not aware of any protestant denominations that have taken an official (or unofficial, for that matter) stand on the issue (no pun intented!). I would certainly know if The United Methodist Church had, and it hasn’t, but I don’t have my books handy to prove it. (Though it would be hard to cite the lack of something in the Discipline and Resolutions, the two books that contain all official United Methodist positions an policies on anything.)

I very much doubt that either the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), at least the liberal FGC denomination, or the Unitarian Universalist Church would disaprove.

Conditions apply.

What conditions?

Oh, and I happen to know that LDS considers it a sin.

Yes, please elaborate.

Under the more mystical schools of Taoism, ejaculation (regardless of how it was achieved) was believed to be a loss of life essence, and therefore bad for your health. I’m not aware of any statement that masturbation was evil or sinful (sex was certainly not seen as evil), but it would have surely been considered foolishly self-destructive.

Hey, when I was in Unitarian sex ed, we were told about popular masturbation techniques.

So, I guess you masturbated religiously, huh? :smiley:

Traditionally, it has been considered sinful in Christian & Jewish circles, tho there is no Biblical “Thou shalt not handle thy privy parts so as to induce pleasure” command. So now even among many conservative believers, there is greater permissiveness.

I’m a conservative C’tian, had some anxiety about it when I was a teen, now basically I’d counsel a young C’tian that if God had a major problem with it, He’d have put it in the Bible plainly, but use of certain fantasies, amount of time & energy committed to it, and use of porn could be sinful factors.

Basically, I think all major religions in their most conservative forms would disapprove, but I don’t know any faiths Scriptures which absolutely forbid it.

well it’s usually done on the porcelian god.

As a life-long Catholic can I jump in here? My declaration there is to imply that I’m not a religion basher. My thoughts were always that the masturbation angle was added later to coerce people to marry to have sex, thereby releiving the “horniness”. This is also, IMO, the reason contraception is banned.

More babies = more members of the Church.

Now stand back, lightning whould be here shortly

An excellent point! It may even have worked a long time ago, when people reached adolescence at 14 and married at 16. However, now that adolescence is usually reached somewhere around 11, and marriage around 26 or so, it’ll never work! That’s a long damn time to be horny!:slight_smile:

The only conditions I know of regarding Islam and masturbation are pretty much limited to Ramadan. You can’t ejaculate while fasting, but any other time is fine. Though, I could be wrong - I almost remember hearing something about not pleasuring yourself during prayer time or azan.

– Shawn K.

According to Judaism, it is forbidden to “spill seed”. Take a look at Genesis 38. It’s a story about Tamar. Her husband dies, so his brother (Onan) is supposed to hook up with her, marry her and have a child with her. That way, he carries on his brother’s name. But Onan decides to “spill seed” on the ground instead of father a child. So G-d strikes him dead.

Cheeky, it seems to me that Onan’s sin isn’t masturbating, but deliberately depriving his brother of an heir (and depriving Tamar of someone to support her when she is old).

Right. Most have used this passage to indicate the Holy Father’s stance on whacking off. A closer reading of the text seems to suggest that Onan was guilty of, uhhh… what is the term?? coitus interruptus, I think. (You know what I’m talking about.) But the bigger picture seems, from the Church’s point of view, that “Every Sperm is [Indeed] Sacred”.


It’s both. The specific word used in the verse, usually translated as “spill” but actually meaning (in Hebrew) “destroy”, is taken as specifically condemning his destruction of the semen.

Onan’s sin was in deliberately not fulfilling a command from God rather than the spillng of his seed.