Children Masturbating Causing Harm?

Children Masturbating Causing Harm?

Here’s a conversation among three people about childhood masturbation on my post Awaking the Beast. I am writing a lot about topics similar to this one this week, but I think these topics are very important to know in raising godly children.

“The vast majorities of today’s problems with youth have their roots in masturbation. All these pseudo mental illnesses (i.e. ADHD, ADD, and much more) can be traced back to the folly and attack on the intellect of masturbation.

“This is why so many kids have such a hard time learning today, because a kid who masturbates will have a very hard time concentrating, without which genius and the cultivation of the intellect are nearly impossible.” (Ryan Messano)

“I have a diploma in child psychology. None of these disorders are bogus; they’re just not. They’re very real, they’re very damaging, and they require special treatment. No they don’t stem from masturbation. They’re often genetic and usually need an environmental trigger as well (vaccination, etc.) and parents can see them developing in their children as they grow, but be powerless to stop it.

“Mental illness DID exist a century ago, we just didn’t know as much about it as we do now. A little over a century ago, women were locked up in asylums for ‘hysterics’ – what we know now as post-natal-depression. They were ‘treated’ with electric shocks – something that we know now is akin to torture.

“Masturbation is problematic, because it leads to sin. But it’s got absolutely nothing to do with the development of children.” (KAK)

“KAK, I wouldn’t be so quick to write things off just because you have a degree. I am a woman (don’t even get me started on the stigma of women struggling with porn and masturbation) and I have been masturbating as long as I can remember, and it has ruined my life. I can remember being six years old and doing it. I knew of another girl my age who indulged as well and as the world progresses in it’s wickedness, it’s becoming much easier for children to indulge in masturbation.

“There are even some secular schools who are teaching children as young as kindergarten about masturbation as part of their ‘sex-ed program.’ All it takes is for a child to stumble upon one image to awaken the beast. It is a myth that children’s minds and bodies are not developed enough to masturbate or experience sexually immoral thoughts and feelings. It has had detrimental effects on my life and to be honest with you, the most damaging part are the comments and mindsets like yours that think ‘young children are hardly going to be masturbating.’ That is what kept me in bondage for so many years because I was afraid to ask for help. I don’t say that to be rude but that’s just the reality of it.” (Anonymous)

There are many reasons that God wants mothers to be keepers at home and protecting your children is probably high on the list. Satan prowls around looking whom he may destroy, and I know a lot of children are sexually abused, exposed to porn and sexual immorality from an early age, and being sold in sex trafficking. They are vulnerable to this type of wickedness and abuse. They need mothers who are always keeping an eye on them, watching who they are with and what they are watching. Bad company corrupts good morals. Raise your children in the protection of your home and guard them against the enemy. This is your responsibility.

Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour.
1 Peter 5:8

30 thoughts on “Children Masturbating Causing Harm?

  1. I love the translation you gave awhile back that “keepers at home” meant guarding the home. I often think of that now and realize how true it is. I’m guarding the precious children we’ve been given and raising them until they are able to go out whole into the world. There is so much out there looking to devour our children before they even start off. What could be a more important job?

  2. I’m a little bit confused about the claim that very young children are being taught about masturbation. In all the years I’ve been in the education system I have never come across that in curriculum or in everyday teaching practices. The only thing that even comes close to touch and their little bodies is to educate them on good touch vs. bad touch as part of sexual abuse awareness. Could there be some confusion about the reasons they are talking to young children about their bodies? Thank you.

    1. It’s a new push in some areas/by some “educators.” I believe it’s part of the whole gender spectrum idea, so to introduce this idea at a younger age they have a “genderbread” man that’s supposed to show how it’s a spectrum, and then they revamp the sex education to reflect that any kind of relationship is okay. Most parents come unglued when they see what these people are proposing for sex ed, so I don’t think they’ve been able to implement this very widely, but they’ve got the materials and they do involve teaching even very young children about masturbation.

  3. Yes, children need their mothers at home right from birth for many reasons. Protecting them from evil, from porn, from masturbating, is one of them.
    But I absolutely stand by my comment that masturbation does not cause any of the issues Ryan Messano claims. Anybody who has children with these issues can attest to this.
    This same chap claimed mental illness didn’t exist a century ago, yet we only have to look at old closed-down mental asylums all over the world, that have stood for centuries, to know that’s not true.

    Those parents who have children with ADHD may choose to give their child ritalin. Do you know what ritalin is? It’s basically speed. Yep that’s right, the very drug that makes most people hyperactive, has the exact opposite effect in children with ADHD. Not bad for a “bogus pseudo-illness” huh?
    Many of these children have never had the opportunity to masturbate in their lives.

    Yes, masturbation is bad. The Bible itself tells us that. It’s not rocket science. It is sinful, because it leads to more sin, and becomes an addiction some can’t control. But please, publishing rubbish about it causing “bogus pseudo-illness” on your blog is one of the reasons Christians are judged so much, and are the laughing stock of the world.

    1. I published your comment too, KAK, as you can see so I allow people to make up their own minds about what is true and what is not on this issue. It may give them reason to research it and become knowledgeable about it. We must be as wise as serpents and as innocent as doves. Children need to be taught to be wise.

      1. Show me anywhere in scripture where it says masturbation is wrong. Onan spilling his seed had nothing to do with masturbation. It was about him disobeying God’s command to impregnate someone, not the mere fact that his seed was wasted.

        Condemning activities that are scripturally OK ties believers up in legalese and creates potential stumbling blocks for believers who may not share the same belief and are not led by God to act the same way. Alcohol consumption, dancing, masturbation, etc., are often called out but not, to my knowledge, specifically condemned.

        If you personally believe masturbation to be sinful, then by all means don’t do it, but don’t place your personal standard on other Christians who do not believe the same…unless you can point to scripture that clearly condemns it.

        In my opinion, many children naturally figure out that certain parts feel good when touched, and that can lead to innocent masturbation. They aren’t fornicating or necessarily lusting after someone, although masturbation while lusting for a particular person—not a spouse—would be morally wrong and is called out in scripture.

        What about married couples who masturbate while apart or even mutually masturbate while together? I say that is all between them and God and really no other Christian’s business. I know of no scriptures that condemn the wide array of sexual activities that can occur within a marriage, although I’m open to dissenting opinions backed up by scripture.

        1. 1 Corinthians 6:18
          Why would any sexual activity within marriage be condemned? The confines of marriage is where God planned for us to have intimacy.

        2. I agree with you about children and innocent masturbation. That was what I was trying to point out to the people who think it causes “bogus pseudo mental illness”.
          All sin is about the state of our heart and our awareness. Young children are not sinning by playing with their bodies as a teenager masturbating over a naughty magazine are. The young children are completely innocent. The teenager, if they’re not careful, will find themselves in very dangerous territory.

  4. Escape, a lot of issues with masturbation are about escape. Children are trying to escape into a fantasy world were they can drown out parents fighting, dad being a loud drunk, mom screaming mean things at them or just parents who are emotionally distant etc. That’s what led my husband down that path. He was raised in an abusive, neglectful home and had no one to help him navigate his emotions, his pain and his fears. So he learned to escape through fantasy and masturbation. Then he stumbled on porn and that led to a 23 year addiction to that. He also had several one night stands with strangers during really stressful times while traveling for work. As a wife this is so painful to work through and heal from. But, as a mother my heart breaks for the little boy my husband was and all he endured with no one to protect and guide him. The perpetrators of his pain were his own parents. I don’t want to demonize his parents I do believe they did the best they could. There is hope for anyone caught up in all this. My husband has been in recovery for 3 years and with the help of a Christian counselor who specializes in sex addiction is learning the tools to navigate emotions in a healthy, godly way.

    There is research that does show that compulsive porn use coupled with masturbation does actually change the brain. It creates new neural pathways for dealing with stress. For example, you get yelled at by your boss and your brain says “Hey the last time this happened we watched porn, masturbated and felt better, lets do that again.” And it becomes your automatic response. Dr. William Struthers wrote a great book on brain research and porn use called Wired for Intimacy. It is from a Christian perspective. Porn affects the brain like drugs do.

    We all do this to some extent. While I don’t escape through fantasy and sex like my husband did, maybe I scroll social media, watch a YouTube video, buy something. All those things release feel good chemicals in the brain just like sex does. So I am even becoming very mindful during those times when I feel a pull to do those things. I always ask myself, “How am I feeling right now?” Why do I want to take a break and get on the internet? Am I overwhelmed, tired, anxious? Then I can address those issues in a healthy way and not escape them.

    Living through the pain of sex addiction and adultery has changed the atmosphere in our home for the better. No subject is off limits here. We talk to our kids about everything. And that is how it should be and should have always been. Kids need to see their parents as the go to people for wisdom and truth. That’s what we are working on now.

    1. Yes it does change the brain! The chemicals it releases become addictive. People even get physically addicted to being upset Which is why there are so many angry people.

      Have you heard the research on pain overcoming addictions? In order to counteract the feel-good chemicals, pain releases it’s own set and also regrooves the brain to help break behaviors. This is one reason spanking is very effective (God knows how He designed things). A study found that 80% of men with a porn addiction were able to help break it by wearing a firm rubber band around their wrist. Whenever they viewed porn they would snap it to cause pain and counteract the pleasure chemicals.

      1. I have read studies that say social media addiction has the same effect. So does excessive screen time in young children. Even worse if they’re playing certain video games.
        And that show Spongebob Squarepants? Studies have shown the fast sideways movement on that disrupts children’s brain development too, and can cause hyperactivity issues.
        So much that parents need to be watching for and protecting their children from!
        It’s actually scary, how many more “bad” things there are around young children now, just in the 10 years that my oldest was the age of my youngest, and it’s going to get worse.

    2. I don’t know if Lori will allow this or not, but I became addicted to masturbation, and not because my mother was a career woman, or my parents fought. My mother was very submissive and obedient, even though her marriage eventually ended in divorce because Dad found greener pastures and decided to devastate her in that way. Here’s the deal — my parents were VERY strict. Very liberal with the belt, with spanking, etc. You learned early on never to cross them, to be obedient and respectful. I didn’t dare misbehave. I learned one night after a paddling when I was huddled up in bed crying that I could make myself feel a little bit better. Pretty soon I became addicted.

      One day my mother discovered me, and I was paddled within an inch of my life. All I learned? Don’t get caught.

      Years later, I met my future husband and I was so in love with him, all desire to do this vanished. I wanted to save myself entirely for him. I did. I never sought other men to fill up that huge hole, I never said no to my husband. I fell all over myself to try to meet his needs. And now what? I was only good for a certain amount of time — I married a porn addict. Oh, he works through his issues sometimes, but always, always he goes back to porn. I was expendable.

      And if you think it’s easy to avoid masturbation under these circumstances, think again. Again — you have to have a plan, work the plan, and remind yourself every day of your values and priorities — of which mine are my children. They need a Mom who can demonstrate in every aspect of life fidelity to marriage vows, no matter what. Children can sense even the things that they do not see.

      You have to deal with it, or it will deal with you. But harsh and severe discipline can really harm a sensitive kid who really tries hard to meet expectations. I would have given my right arm to be cared about, loved and cuddled as a child. Just I would have given my right arm for my husband’s physical, concrete, and verbal affection — not just financial support and material goods. I’m ambiguous about corporal punishment and spanking as a result. I never interfered in my husband’s discipline of our children, but I always winced when he spanked them. It was too close to home for me, so I’d just distance myself so I wouldn’t undermine his authority with them. I had to, or it would have been too easy for me to interfere. I suppose even distancing myself would be considered disrespectful, but I couldn’t think of anything else to do. I realize that an opinion questioning the validity of spanking isn’t popular here, but it was the case with me.

      Another thing that happened was that as I got older and matured and had questions, they didn’t get answered. Sex was a forbidden topic in our house and questions I had didn’t get answered. I got spanked a couple of times for asking a question, too.

      I sought out and found another woman to whom I can be accountable when I’m struggling, and I can call her and talk about things until the temptation dissipates. I strongly encourage those who may be struggling to take this route if you think it will help — having it out in the open helps.

  5. Children should not be taught to masturbate as it can be an addictive habit and lead to sexual sin. However, a young child rubbing themselves because it feels good is not inherently evil. They don’t know any better. Many children discover it on their own, even if they have never been exposed to porn or abuse and were never taught about it. We don’t need to overreact about it. It’s worth discouraging it and telling them to leave that kind of thing for marriage if they’re old enough to understand that. But it’s not necessarily a sin.

    A young child is innocent. They’re not seeking sexual release outside marriage because they don’t even know what that means. They’re not fantasizing about immoral sex. They aren’t even capable of that yet. They’re just doing what feels good. It doesn’t cause harm in itself, but can become a bad habit and lead to sexual curiosity too early, so parents should gently and lovingly encourage them that while it does feel good, that kind of pleasure is meant for marriage when they grow up, so they should wait until then.

    Overreacting to shame an innocent child about masturbation will teach them that this kind of pleasurable feeling is wrong and will either make them fear sex altogether and give them serious hangups or make them want to rebel against the parents for making an innocent thing sound evil. Also, it’s completely false and ridiculous to claim masturbation causes ADHD or any other problem like that. Our bodies were made for sexual pleasure and it’s completely normal and not harmful to feel that pleasure. It is harmful to children to be sexually abused or given harmful messages about sex through porn, but simply feeling pleasure on their own without those things does not stunt their development or cause disorders. Honestly, people can be so silly about this.

    The problem with masturbation is that it takes the sexual desire outside marriage. In a child, it is not sinful, but can lead to bad habits. Children should be protected from things that lead them towards sexual expression at all since they are not yet ready for marriage. But if they discover masturbation on their own, it’s not that big of a deal. They need gentle guidance from their parents, not shame or fear. Their bodies are not evil. Sexual pleasure is not evil. We just have to channel that desire toward marriage.

    1. Thank you, I found this very helpful. Thank you for being specific about how to redirect a young child. I was punished and shamed when i was a child and it caused a lifetime of issues. I want better for my kids, biblical reasoning and gentle understanding of childishness.

    2. On the contrary Lindsay, I am the woman from the post above and I can tell you that what you are saying is just simply not true. I was watching porn and sexually fantasizing at age 6 and possibly younger as I don’t even remember a time when I didn’t do it. I can remember being in 2nd grade and seeing images of nude statues in a history book and being triggered, watching movies with suggestive scenes and being triggered, even images in magazines in waiting rooms.

      As a child, I knew it was wrong. Even at that young age, I always knew it was wrong. I knew it was wrong before my mother ever found out and that’s why I hid it from her. Because I was ashamed without ever having to be told to be ashamed. And I think it is important to feel shame when you sin no matter how old you are. Masturbation is not wrong because it “leads to sin”, masturbation is wrong because it IS sin. It’s a sin whether you’re six or sixty-six. Not everybody has the same experience as me but I know that I’m also not alone either. I don’t think any of this is an “overreaction” and I appreciate Lori spreading awareness.

      1. Who on earth exposed you to porn at the age of 6? That person should be shot. Now that you have added that in there, your posts make sense and back up exactly what Lindsay just said.

        Having been exposed to porn at such a young age, and having sexual fantasies is NOT normal childhood development. Among children who are developing normally (and haven’t been exposed to porn or otherwise sexually abused) sexual awareness, especially fantasing, doesn’t happen until near puberty. Sometimes even later.

        Exposing children to porn is child sexual abuse, and child sexual abuse in any form has incredibly detrimental effects on children’s development.
        Where I live, exposing children to porn is a crime, because it is so damaging.

      2. It’s heartbreaking to read of your experience, Anonymous. If you were allowed access to porn at or before the age of six, then you were neglected at least, possibly even groomed. No child should ever have access to those kinds of videos and images, and most don’t even know they exist, much less how to find them. Even movies with suggestive scenes aren’t appropriate for children, that’s why they have ratings on films. I’m sorry you were not protected as a child should be, and hope you’ve gotten help in the years since.

      3. Anonymous, you’re definitely not alone. I was too ashamed to come forward earlier, but truthfully, this was a MAJOR stumbling block for me my WHOLE childhood. I was molested as a toddler and never told until years later and this cause me to masturbate in my earliest memories up until, honestly, still struggling today. My parents would regularly have grown up movies on where we were told to “cover our eyes”, but we could still hear the content and guess what was going on. As time grew on, rules began to relax, and I was ten years old sitting right next to my dad when a nude woman was on the TV screen. I felt really uncomfortable but my dad did nothing. It only worsened when I got to middle school and the books in the middle school library began to reference to sex.

        The summer of my eighth grade year is when I first began my addiction to erotica. I knew the entire time it was wrong, but I was too ashamed to ask for help. I would have rather been a regular fornicator than admit that I needed help to stop masturbating. It was so bad just before I got saved that I could not go to sleep without masturbating. I don’t have advice to give tbh, this is really heavy, but I could not allow parents to, with all due respect, ignorantly assume toddlers, children, etc are not tempted to masturbate. The devil does not play fair, and he does not care that you are an under developed child, the younger he hooks you, the better. Thanks Anonymous for telling your story, you gave me the courage to tell mine.

        1. I’ve never claimed that I had a normal childhood. I was exposed to porn and suggestive content at young age by people who probably assumed that I was too young to understand or be tempted. And that’s my whole point! People assume that a child isn’t developed enough to care about that when they see it but they do! That’s why I say it only takes for a child to stumble upon one image to awaken the beast. And with horribly sexual images everywhere we look now, I don’t know how children can even be guarded from all the dangers anymore. It’s heartbreaking.

          Mara, thank you for sharing your story. I’m sorry to hear what you went through as a child and how it has affected your life. It’s an impossible sin to overcome. That’s why we simply can’t do it without Jesus. It helps to tell somebody that you trust so that they can help hold you accountable. I shared with my husband before we even got married and he has been an amazing source of support for me. Before him, I had no accountability and my relationship with God wasn’t as rock solid as it is now so I had no reason to try and stop. Now, I know that I’m hurting the two most important things in my life when I do it, my husband and my God. The temptation is always there and I still allow it to control me sometimes. There’s no quick fix unfortunately. But I know God’s grace covers all and his strength is my strength. I am so blessed to know that my story encouraged you. May God be with you Mara to heal you and help strengthen you!

          1. I was sexually molested at the age of 9 by my older stepbrother ongoing until I was 13. My mom did not really screen content in movies when I was growing up unless it was R rated we could watch it. Being molested and seeing these movies did awaken a curiosity in sex. My stepbrother showed me porn in the man cave that my stepdad had as well. I developed physically at 10 and started my cycles when I was close to 11 years old. I would go to the library and read romance novels. I would go to the reference section and look at sex education materials for adults. I would hide what I was reading whenever someone came by so I knew it was wrong. I couldn’t wait to have a boyfriend and lose my virginity as a teenager. I continued to do those ungodly things and struggled with those sinful sexual desires for many years. All because i was a child and I was not protected by my mom.

  6. Being sexuallized in the way you’re describing, at such a young age, is not part of normal development for children and is often a sign there has been some sexual abuse. Sexual abuse can include being exposed to pornographic images as a young child before the brain can manage the images and is able to process them. I’m not saying you experienced sexual trauma but what you’re describing is very different than a baby discovering themselves and touching thenselves. I’m not sure that will lead to any future addictive masturbation behavior.

    1. I was sexually fantasizing from age 5, without knowing at all what it was.

      I was never sexually abused, and I had never seen pornography.

      It is ‘normal’ because we are sinful by nature.

      Anonymous’s comment is SPOT ON about the dreadful shame, and knowing that it was very wrong without even knowing what it is. YES it is sin, because we live in a fallen world where the devil tempts us from our cradles. How is it any different from the two-year-old who lies when asked if he broke something? Sure he’s not as responsible for his actions, but it is still his sinful nature testing the waters. As early as parents are trying to teach their babies to talk and walk, the devil is teaching them to sin.

  7. Masturbation causes a lot of harm but ADHD is a stretch, haha, it reminds me of the old “you’ll go blind if you masturbate”. I think ADHD is so common nowadays more due to the constant exposure to computers and television, where there is always something going on and kids don’t even have to be imaginative to have fun nowadays. I also think the opinion of the person who is educated on a matter perhaps carries a bit more value than the opinions of us, “mere mortals” who don’t really have the and can perhaps misinterpret what we read on the matter … I’m not trying to underplay the damage masturbation does, not at all. I just think we ought to be honest when discussing these issues: like, just say these actions will surely cause you a lot of sexual disfunction and they will lead you down the wrong path in life, further and further away from God, I think that’s bad enough, haha, you don’t have to involve ADHD or blindness to scare me, I’m already frightened.

  8. Men and boys are very visually oriented.
    Starting at a certain age, boys can’t help being around half-dressed girls, girls with skin tight clothes, etc. When they turn on the TV, they get the same thing. The internet is far worse. The average boy is placed in a state of arousal continuously throughout the day (it doesn’t fully go away) with no morally licit way to channel that desire. Not real surprising that they do this.

    I don’t know what the answer is but it wouldn’t hurt if girls would dress modestly. TV and the internet is awful of course – if you can do without them all the better.

  9. The first poster Ryan provided no research or data showing his claim that masturbation leads to adhd and other mental health issues was true. It is pure speculation. There would need to be a scientific research study to show this. Yes masturbation is sinful, no question, but it’s a pretty baseless claim to say to causes adhd. I agree with KAK, this type of ludicrous speculation is actually a poor witness for the gospel. God gave us amazing brains to use reasoning, to study our world and see how things work. If you want to make such a claim at least back it up with evidence.

  10. I was recently diagnosed with adult ADHD at the age of 39. And I can confidently say that masturbation wasn’t the cause. My parents had the TV on almost constantly. Ànd I also played video games regularly with my brother. So I can bet you anything but I reckon that has something to do with the dopamine production (or lack thereof) in my brain. I also grew up in a family rife with disorders such as bi polar, OCD, acrophobia, asbergers etc and I suspect the cause is my paternal great grand parents marrying and producing 12 children. (They were first cousins😝😝). And there’s been problems in the family ever since. But saying masturbation causes ADHD and other issues is unfounded and ridiculous.

    Michael Pearls ‘The science of addiction and the brain’ is an excellent resource to have on the subject. 😃

  11. Oh Lori – as so often thank you for having the courage to discuss this.

    Children are not taught to masturbate at any school I am aware of but schools, the education system and secular society does teach the lie that masturbation is not just harmless but healthy and normal. When it is a serious sin which leads to a succession of further sin and problems in later life and through into marriage.

    Yes little children do experiment, do touch their private parts and innocence find comfort in doing so. Boys especially are fascinated by their genitals. But as with so many things children do it is for their parents to teach them appropriate and Godly behaviour. An innocent child needs to be taught gentle and without shame or stigma to respect the body God gave them, to keep themselves modest and not to touch themselves except for hygiene and bodily functions.

    As they grow up and become more aware of their sexuality parents have a duty to teach chastity and the implications of sin and that should include (as appropriate to age etc) and awareness that masturbation is sinful, and it a behaviour that they should be ashamed of and that they should strive to conquer.

    For men and especially teenage boys, it may be normal but so are many sins. That does not make them acceptable.

    I would argue and I know that feminism tries to deny this but I do not believe that habitual masturbation is normal for women (with the exception of some who have been dreadfully abused as children). Furthermore I have never heard even the most secular of women feel otherwise than that it is shameful and ‘dirty’ because quite frankly sin and especially sexual sin should make us feel ashamed.

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