Christ says

I came across this webpage the other day and I found it to be refreshingly honest. It talks about masturbation from a Christian perspective and presents seemingly reasonable arguments against it:

http://www.new-life.net/mastrbte.htm

Rupert starts off his article with a very reasonable position, and to a large extent I agree with him. If you’re an atheist or an evolutionist, his webpage is irrelevant because everyone comes from a different foundational belief system.

However, once he gets into the factual nature of harm, he treads on territory that I can legitimately engage in debate…

Dennis Rupert says:

Masturbation can become compulsive. This is certainly not true for everyone, but I’ve talked with men and women who masturbated up to 20 times a day. Any compulsive behavior such as this is unhealthy and stunts your ability to grow as a person. The Bible calls this “slavery” to sin – you are “missing the mark” (2 Peter 2:19). Like any other pleasure, masturbation can become an addiction. See How Sexual Experiences Become Addictions.

This is a common myth that the Church is always throwing up. No evidence exists to suggest that masturbation is any more likely to lead to compulsive behaviour than eating, drinking, or shopping. A society full of masturbators will not spiral into catastrophe.

In general, masturbation is a natural and healthy activity.

Many of the men I have counseled use masturbation as a form of emotional uplift. What I mean by this is that they don’t know how to properly express or handle feelings of defeat, rejection, sadness, anger, or depression. Masturbation becomes a temporary “high” or a way to anesthetize emotional pain. Masturbation was used as a substitute for learning how to properly handle negative feelings. In these cases, masturbation allowed the men to remain emotionally stunted. This spilled over into their relationships with other people, especially their wives or girl friends. One wife that I talked to said, “He uses me and masturbation like a pacifier.”

This sounds like a pretty uncommon psychological issue. It’s the first I’ve heard of it. Rupert is trying to make a mountain out of a mole hill.

As demonstrated by Archibald Hart’s research, masturbation can cause guilt feelings or at the least a sense of “this is not normal.” Feelings like this make it hard for you to relate to other people: “Other people don’t seem to struggle with this, the way I do. What’s wrong with me? I must be different. It’s better if I hide this part of myself from other people.” Guilt separates you from other people. Guilt also blunts your feelings toward God: “How could God love someone like me who struggles with lust?”

This seems to be an attempt at obfuscation here. Rupert suggests that guilt over masturbation is innate, but it’s more likely that the guilt these men feel comes from a lifetime of conditioning from various sources in society, sources originating from theology. Such conditioning is usually subtle and easy to overlook. (See John Ince’s “The Politics of Fear.”)

Sexual excitement starts in the mind, not your sex organs. Some individuals who compulsively masturbate need ever-increasing mental excitement to masturbate. They visualize wild sexual fantasies or use “hard pornography” (depicting sadism, rape, or child molestation) in order to masturbate. We’d like to think that fantasies are harmless and hurt no one. This is simply not true. As a man thinks in his heart, so he is. (Proverbs 23:7). Sexual fantasies are not at all like the loving physical relationship between a husband and wife. These fantasies will put a strain on your marriage by either comparing your spouse to your fantasies or insisting on your spouse participating in what “turns you on.”

What B.S.!!! He claims that sexual fantasies are harmful and hurtful to others. If your spouse has issues with your sexual fantasies, then it’s something you both need to work out. It is outrageous to blame you for having fantasies. This is a typical example of how the Church tries to instill shame and guilt in their followers.

And, by the way, I enjoy porn a lot and I have never wanted to watch porn that depicts sadism, rape, or child molestation. I regard myself as a typical healthy male. If the deviants that Rupert refers to exist, they are a very small minority.

Fantasizing in your mind makes you want to enact your fantasies — worse sin, big trouble. I’ve counseled individuals who began with a habit of masturbation and so-called “soft pornography.” But they couldn’t stop there. They ended up in practices of child molestation, rape, bestiality, time with prostitutes, cross-dressing, public exposure, and jail time. In spite of what our culture says, lust really can kill you.

Bull crap!!! Soft/mainstream porn leads to child molestation and rape?!! Show me the evidence!

Your lack of self-control in this area may make you susceptible to unfaithfulness in your marriage. If you cannot control your masturbation and fantasy lust (with other women), then what makes you believe you can be faithful in reality to your marriage partner?

Possible, but I see no evidence that this is a serious issue generally. It’s just more fear-mongering.

The guilt you feel about masturbation/lust can be transferred to thinking that all sex is dirty and wrong. This is not a correct thought process at all. The Bible teaches that sex in (the right) context is good and wonderful. But if most of your sexual experiences lead to feelings of guilt, you can begin to think of all sexual experience as “dirty.”

I suppose this is a possibility, but I disagree with his assertion that masturbation causes guilt.

Because of the concentration on your own orgasm or release, masturbation can train you to be selfish in marital sex. Since masturbation is usually done quickly, it is not uncommon for masturbation to create a problem with pre-ejaculation or self-centeredness in your marriage bed.

I suppose masturbation can train you to be selfish, but I see no evidence that this is, in fact, a common problem.

Clearly, Rupert is grasping at straws trying to discredit masturbation. If you dig deep enough, you can always find a downside to any human activity. The ultimate question of whether masturbation is good or bad for us can only be determined by what proportion of the human population suffers from its supposed ill effects. At this time, there is no reason to believe that the proportion is in any way significant.

Nice try, Mr. Rupert, but you’re off the mark.

(This opinion belongs solely to the author and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Good Sex Network.)

2 thoughts on “Christ says”

  1. John Ince in his book, “The Politics of Lust,” says something very insightful about sexual fantasies:

    A man who uses porn every night, or a woman who is sexually excited only by an ex-partner, clearly has problems. Most people can attend a male or female strip show, or have an erotic daydream about an attractive colleague, and later go home and focus their sexual passion on their partner. [People make] the common mistake of stereotyping an entire category on the basis of negative subsets of it.

    In fact, this is what the Church does, attacking porn, masturbation, and sexual fantasy on the basis of some negative examples. They recklessly over-generalize.

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