What about masturbation, then? The issue was raised on last week’s young adults fellowship. One of the speakers, a medical doctor, told us that from the medical perspective, there is nothing wrong about masturbation. In fact, it is a healthy thing to do, because the male reproduction system keeps producing sperms non-stop. And it needs to be excreted, because accumulated semen could have a negative physical effect like dizziness. But, it can only be excreted by two ways, the passive one (wet dreams or nocturnal emission) and the active one (masturbation).
The passive one occurs, of course, if the semen has been accumulated so much such that it needs to be excreted by the body itself. That’s why actually the active one is more recommended, from the medical point of view. It is perhaps more beneficial, as well. For example, recent studies even found that routine masturbation led to lower risk of prostate cancer (in retrospect, of course it means routine ejaculation is healthy, which can be attained by routine sex between husband and wife in the context of marriage).
However (I know you’ve been waiting for this word, so you can lay down your stones now), on the other hand, masturbation is rarely a purely excreting exercise. It is different from, say, spitting or sweating or urinating, although it is still an excretion process like the rest of them. Masturbation involves physical pleasure, as well, which images (albeit perhaps faintly) the physical pleasure experienced in the act of sex. Of course, as Pa Ayub mentioned, sex involves much more than physical activity and pleasure, but certainly it is no less than that. And in this regard masturbation might be problematic, and I would say not advisable, since it could evolve into a form of self-sex or pseudo-sex.
Previously I have written on how sex should be expressed within the context of marriage because of the covenantal nature of marriage. And, looking at masturbation from this covenantal point of view, masturbation will betray the nature of the covenant. Covenant is always between two partners, and it requires two partners to be consummated (hence, in marriage, sex). If sex is a form of mutual self-giving, then masturbation could become a form of self-gratifying. Of course, I understand perfectly that perhaps our intention is purely to excrete the semen and nothing else. But there is always the pleasure that comes up with it and thus it is easily twisted for many impurities which are lurking at the door. If a covenant called marriage is consummated in sexual act, then masturbation can become an expression of covenant to self. And such covenant to self, tragically, could enslave ourselves in the long run.