Masturbation—How Can I Fight the Urge?
“IT IS a very strong addiction,” said a young man who struggled with masturbation for over
15 years. “It can be just as habit forming as any drug or alcoholic beverage.”
The apostle Paul, however, did not let his desires become like a harsh master. On the
contrary, he wrote: “I pummel my body [fleshly desires] and lead it as a slave.”
(1 Corinthians 9:27) He got tough with himself! A similar effort will enable anyone to
break free from masturbation.
“Prepare Your Minds for Action”
Many masturbate to relieve tension and anxiety. Masturbation, though, is a childish way to
react to problems. (Compare 1 Corinthians 13:11.) Better it is to show “thinking ability”
and attack the problem itself. (Proverbs 1:4) When problems and frustrations seem
overwhelming, “throw all your anxiety upon [God].”—1 Peter 5:6, 7.
Suppose you accidentally see or hear something that is sexually stimulating? The Bible
recommends: “Prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled.” (1 Peter 1:13, New
International Version) Exert your mind and reject the immoral thought. The arousal will
soon die down.
Rejecting bad thoughts is especially difficult, though, when one is alone at night. One
young woman advises: “The best thing to do is get right out of bed and get busy with some
type of work, or maybe have a little snack, so that your mind turns to other things.” Yes,
force yourself to ‘consider whatever things are of serious concern, righteous, chaste,
lovable, well spoken of.’—Philippians 4:8.
When you have difficulty falling asleep, endeavor to imitate faithful King David, who
wrote: “When I have remembered you [God] upon my lounge, during the night watches I
meditate on you.” (Psalm 63:6) Forcing your mind to ponder on God and his qualities will
often break the spell. It also helps if you keep thinking of how God views this unclean
Take Preventive Measures
“Shrewd is the one that has seen the calamity and proceeds to conceal himself, but the
inexperienced have passed along and must suffer the penalty,” wrote the inspired wise man.
(Proverbs 22:3) You can show yourself shrewd by exercising forethought. For example, if
you find that engaging in certain activities, wearing tight-fitting clothing, or eating certain
foods has caused you to become sexually stimulated, then by all means avoid such.
Alcoholic drinks, for example, can lower one’s inhibitions and make self-control harder.
Also, avoid like the plague any reading matter, TV programs, or movies with sensuous
themes. “Make my eyes pass on from seeing what is worthless,” prayed the psalmist.—
Preventive measures can also be taken for those times when you are particularly vulnerable.
A young woman may find that her sexual desires become more intense at certain times of
the month. Or one may be emotionally hurt or depressed. “Have you shown yourself
discouraged in the day of distress? Your power will be scanty,” warns Proverbs 24:10. So
avoid being alone for long periods of time. Plan upbuilding activities that will keep your
mind involved in challenging undertakings, giving it less opportunity to gravitate toward
A Spiritual Offensive
A 27-year-old man who had struggled with the habit since he was 11 was finally able to
gain the victory. “It was a matter of going on the offensive,” he explained. “I read the Bible,
at least two chapters every single day without exception.” He has done this without fail for
over three years. Advises yet another Christian: “Before going to bed, read something
related to spiritual things. It is very important that the last thought of the day be a spiritual
one. Prayer at this time is also extremely helpful.”
“Having plenty to do in the work of the Lord,” such as the work of teaching others the
Bible, also helps. (1 Corinthians 15:58) One woman who overcame masturbation stated:
“One thing that now really helps me to avoid this habit is that as a full-time evangelizer my
mind and energies are all turned toward helping others to gain an approved relationship
By heartfelt prayer, you can also beg God for “the power beyond what is normal.”
(2 Corinthians 4:7) “Before him [God] pour out your heart.” (Psalm 62:8) One young
woman says: “Prayer is an instant tower of strength. Praying at the time the desire arises
definitely helps.” Also, upon rising and throughout the day, express your resolve to God
and plead for his strengthening holy spirit.—Luke 11:13.
Help From Others
If your personal efforts are not successful, speak to someone who can help, such as a parent
or a Christian elder. Young women may find it helpful to confide in a mature Christian
woman. (Titus 2:3-5) One young man who was at the point of despair said: “I talked
privately with my father one evening about it.” He revealed: “It took everything I had to tell
him. I cried as I told him, I was so ashamed. But I’ll never forget what he said. With a
reassuring smile on his face, he said: ‘You make me so proud of you.’ He knew what I had
to go through to get to that point. No words could have lifted my spirits and determination
“My father then showed me a few scriptures to help me see that I was not ‘too far gone,’”
continued the youth, “and then some more scriptures to be sure I understood the seriousness
of my wrong course. He said to ‘keep the slate clean’ until a certain time, and we would
discuss it again then. He told me not to let it crush me if I relapsed, just go a longer period
of time without giving in the next time.” After overcoming the problem fully, the young
man added: “Having someone else aware of my problem and helping me was the greatest
Dealing With a Relapse
After working hard to overcome the habit, one youth suffered a relapse. He admitted: “It
was like a crushing weight on me. I felt so unworthy. I then rationalized: ‘I’m too far gone.
I don’t have Jehovah’s favor anyhow, so why be tough on myself?’” However, a relapse
does not mean that one has lost the fight. One 19-year-old girl recalls: “At first it happened
about every night, but then I began relying on Jehovah more, and with the help of his spirit
I now only fail maybe six times a year. I feel very bad afterward, but each time I fail, when
the next temptation comes, I’m much stronger.” So gradually she is winning her fight.
When a relapse occurs, analyze what led up to it. One youth says: “I review what I have
been reading or thinking about. Almost always I can pinpoint the reason I slipped. This way
I can stop doing that and correct it.”
The Rewards of a Good Fight
Said one youth who overcame masturbation: “Since overcoming the problem, I can keep a
clean conscience before Jehovah, and that is something that I wouldn’t trade for anything!”
Yes, a good conscience, an improved sense of self-worth, greater moral strength, and a
closer relationship with God are all rewards of a good fight against masturbation. Says one
young woman who finally overcame masturbation: “Believe me, the victory over this habit
is well worth the effort put forth.”
Questions for Discussion
□ Why is it dangerous to dwell on erotic thoughts? What can a youth do to get his or her
mind onto something else?
□ What preventive measures might a youth take to lessen the temptation to indulge in
□ Why is a spiritual offensive helpful?
□ What role does prayer play in overcoming this habit?
□ Why is it helpful to confide in someone if there is a problem in this regard?
Pornography—Habit-Forming and Dangerous!
“Pornography is everywhere: you walk down the street—there it is displayed openly on
newsstands,” recalled 19-year-old Ronald. “Some of our teachers would bring it to school,
reading it at their desks while waiting for the next class.” Yes, many people of various ages,
backgrounds, and educational levels are avid readers of pornography. A youth named Mark
said: “When I read girlie magazines and viewed the photographs it was exciting! . . . I
looked forward to new issues of these magazines because going through ones I had finished
didn’t give me the same flush of excitement. It’s habit-forming.” But is it a good habit?
Pornography has an overwhelming message: ‘Sex is purely for self-gratification.’ Much of
it is saturated with rape and sadistic violence. Many viewers soon find that “milder” forms
(soft-core) are no longer stimulating and so they seek out pictures or movies that are even
more obscene! As Ernest van den Haag, an assistant professor at New York University,
said: “Pornography invites us to perceive others only as pieces of meat, as objects of
exploitation for the sake of our own sensations of pleasure.”
Pornography further presents a warped, idolized view of sex that often leads to marital
problems. Says one young wife: “Reading pornography caused me to desire with my
husband the abnormal things portrayed in the books. This led to constant frustration and a
letdown sexually.” A 1981 survey was conducted among several hundred women regarding
the effects of pornography on their rapport with the men in their lives who read it. Nearly
one half reported that it caused serious problems. It actually destroyed some marriages or
engagements. One wife lamented: “I can only assume by [my husband’s] need and desire
for sexual release with pornography that I am inadequate . . . I wish to God I were a woman
who could satisfy him, but he prefers plastic and paper and his need has destroyed a part of
me. . . . Pornography is . . . anti-love . . . It is ugly, cruel and destructive.”
Of greatest concern to Christian youths, however, is the fact that pornography directly
works against one’s efforts to be clean in God’s sight. (2 Corinthians 6:17–7:1) The Bible
shows that “because of the insensibility of their hearts” some in ancient times came “to be
past all moral sense” and “gave themselves over to loose conduct to work uncleanness of
every sort with greediness.” (Ephesians 4:18, 19) Would you want to experience such
corruption? Remember, even an occasional indulgence in pornography can have
a desensitizing effect on one’s conscience. It has led some young Christians to masturbation
and, worse yet, sexual immorality. The wise thing, then, is to work hard to stay free from
“Many times pornography is in my direct line of sight,” says young Darryl. “So I
am forced to see it at first glance; but I don’t have to look a second time.” Yes, refuse to
look where it is openly displayed, and refuse to allow classmates to goad you into looking
at it. As 18-year-old Karen reasoned: “As an imperfect person it is difficult enough trying to
keep my mind on things that are chaste and praiseworthy. Would it not be all the more
difficult if I deliberately read pornography?”
The above information came from a book published by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. This book
is titled Questions Young People Ask—Answers That Work. If you are
interested in a copy of the book, it is free. You may request it from me, or, ask any
Jehovah’s Witness that you see for a copy.
Did you find the information in this paper to be helpful? You should think about that if you
did. My personal experience with the material that is printed by the Jehovah’s Witnesses is
that it is always clear, concise, to the point, and very helpful. And, it is always based on the
Bible. When you really want such advice, where else are you going to go?
Please note; if you have any interest in a FREE home Bible study, please contact me and I
can arrange it. And when I said free, understand, please, why it is free;
1 Corinthians 9:18 What, then, is my reward? That while declaring the good news I may
furnish the good news without cost, to the end that I may not abuse my authority in the
We, as Jehovah’s Witnesses, do actually make every attempt to live according to Bible
principles and this includes obeying what the Bible says. And what is said above about
furnishing the good news without cost is confirmed here in the Bible;
Matthew 10:7 As YOU go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of the heavens has drawn near.’
8 Cure sick people, raise up dead persons, make lepers clean, expel demons. YOU received
free, give free. 9 Do not procure gold or silver or copper for YOUR girdle purses, 10 or a
food pouch for the trip, or two undergarments, or sandals or a staff; for the worker deserves