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March 29, 2010

Is mutual masturbation among married couples as sexual variety acceptable?

By D. B.

Some of what I’m sharing comes directly from previous responses Randy has written others, while I will also share with you what God has put on my heart in this area. It is good to know that you are seeking a Biblical answer to a difficult question. By mutual masturbation I am assuming that you mean that you are stimulating your partner through physical contact to the point of orgasm and she is reciprocating to you.*

First, you must recognize that your body is not your own to do with as you please. “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.”(1 Corinthians 6:19-20). All that you are, and all that you do (including sexually) should be for the purpose of glorifying God. He is the inventor of sexual intimacy, and the scriptures clearly indicate that we are created to enjoy the “one-flesh” union within the bounds that God has established (Genesis 2:24, Matthew 19:4-6). What a delightful picture we read in Proverbs “Drink water from your own cistern, And running water from your own well.....And rejoice with the wife of your youth...And always be enraptured with her love.” (Proverbs 5:15-19). What a joy to experience marriage the way it was intended to be.

Secondly, we should learn to seek the best for our wives and to live with them in an understanding way (1 Peter 3:7) We are commanded to love them, to nourish and cherish them, to help them become all that God has intended for them ( Ephesians 5:25-29). As a husband, it is important for me to subjugate my desires for the benefit of my wife. Christ gave the ultimate demonstration of this, giving up His very life for his bride.

With that as the background, it is evident that God intends for sexual intimacy in a marriage to be a wonderful thing, and that it should bring together husband and wife in a way that glorifies Him. I find that my most intimate and satisfying moments are when I am more concerned with the needs of my wife than my own desires. A counselor friend once said that “great sex” doesn’t usually occur until after 40 when couples learn to be intimate with their eyes open. The emphasis is on unity, truly becoming one, not on the physical sexual acts or orgasm.

So, to answer your question. I would say that mutual masturbation could be an acceptable way of sharing intimately with your wife as long as your heart attitude is one of seeking the best for your spouse. If this is done out of selfish desire and is not something your spouse desires to participate in (but does so out of obligation to you), then I would not see it as honoring the marriage relationship and personally would avoid it. My greatest marital joy is in being one with my wife (emotionally, spiritually, sexually), while equally as devastating is when my selfishness creates a wall between us.

I pray that you will search the scriptures and seek wisdom from the Lord on this matter. I encourage you to pray with your wife, seek to understand her needs and desires, and encourage her as you learn together to live like Christ.

*Addition from Randy Alcorn: Dave’s answer to this question is helpful. As he says, it all depends on definitions. In any case, “mutual masturbation”—the expression used by the one asking the question—is not the best term for this. It is sexual intimacy with your marriage partner that doesn’t involve intercourse. “Masturbation” means sex that involves only yourself. It is confusing to change the definition of the term. It’s like asking “Is it OK to whitewash a wall with red paint”? It requires changing the definition of “whitewash.” Again, Dave’s answer, as he makes clear, assumes a certain understanding of what the writer meant by “mutual masturbation.”

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