For some masturbation is a means of escape, a way to numb the ache of their longings. Others come to believe the physical release is all they desire and are left frustrated when their core desires are left undiminished; they place an expectation on masturbation that it alone is powerless to provide.
A few are able to use masturbation as means to enter into the space of their longing, to (more) fully experience their ache and consecrate their desires and hope in God; they have an eager and confident expectation of finding fulfillment in God.
Masturbation can bring heighten awareness of our desires as we groan and wait for future glory, both human marriage and our ultimate consummation with Jesus when He returns.
Indeed, it can be a type of stretching that prepares one for greater use, love, and fulfillment.
As with the whole of life, masturbation can be a practice of one dedicating his attention to the presence of God. Truly, God is already present and it is just a matter of one tuning into His presence.
As the psalmist reminds us, in His presence if the fullness of joy, and at His right hand are pleasures forevermore (Psalm 16:11).
When masturbation is used to tune into the presence of God it can then be full of joy and pleasure. The joy and pleasure do not come merely from the physical release of masturbation, but rather from being in the presence of God. O, what holy freedom and love can be experienced in the presence of God.
Masturbation then is able to be an enhanced moment of meeting, an encounter, with God. As sex between spouses enables them to experience their intimacy on a profound level, so masturbation, while practicing the presence of God, can allow one experience a profound intimacy with God.
Moreover, as the sex act bonds a couple together, masturbation in the presence of God can enhance one’s “bond” with God. God becomes associated with intense pleasure; they are paired.
Neuroscience tells us that those things that “fire together, wire together.” What if the presence of God becomes wired to the pleasures of masturbation?
One may then become aroused in just thinking about God, anticipating their next encounter. Is this not the way between lovers? Are we not lovers with God?
Likewise, when one becomes so aroused his mind would then turn to his Lover, the one with whom the pleasure is paired – God.
Masturbation can be used to focus one’s worship and reflections of God rather than become a competing enemy.
As the redeemed of Christ, masturbation can become an instrument of worship. There are times when one’s praise of God so bubbles up inside that it seeks release in some form of physical expression; masturbation can be such an expression of praise.
Indeed, masturbation can vitalize, concertize, and allow one’s worship to be incarnate. As such, the experience of masturbation is deepened and transcended, now having meaning beyond mere physical release.
“Sexuality can vitalize, concretize, and incarnate the spiritual; spirituality can nourish, deepen, and transcend sexuality” –William F. Kraft
(This is not to say that one must give behavioral expression to such intense desires. At times one does well to just observe the desire, neither expressing nor repressing. Still, one may choose to express praise via masturbation.)
At its best, masturbation is just a foretaste of what is to come. As such, we do well to hold it loosely and not to become so attached to it, making it an idol, that we fail to look forward, and, more accurately, above to God.
Our desires and expectations must always transcend the shadows of this world, whether that be masturbation or marital sex, and rest fully in the person of Jesus.