→Lust and temptation
But why is masturbation a sin? In contrast to adultery or rape, what harm does it do? One answer is that a masturbator is probably also entertaining lustful thoughts--precisely the sin mentioned by Christ. But might one legitimately fantasize about one's spouse, or intended spouse? Or masturbate without thinking about anything at all? Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the question is not mentioned in the creeds, nor has Orthodoxy produced the equivalent of papal [[encyclical]] capable of finally deciding the matter.
The principle that sinful thoughts lead to sinful actions is widely recognized
Courtship (i. e., dating and romance prior to marriage, with the idea of evaluating possible partners) presents a special problem.
==Some illicit sex acts==