- The Bible doesn't say anything specific about masturbation - and if somebody brings up Onan, tell them to read the story, for crying out loud.
- Calling masturbation "self-abuse" or perpetrating old wives tales is beyond not helpful.
- For a long time, I personally believed that the physical act of masturbation was morally neutral. In other words, if you could "indulge" without resorting to fantasy and/or pornography, it was no big deal. Of course, I knew that 99.9% of people don't satisfy those conditions - almost by definition, masturbation & lustful thoughts are linked.
- I've come to believe, however, that the biggest problem with masturbation is that it teaches people to make the orgasm/release the highest value in sex. When we go that direction, our expectations slide toward "take care of me" rather than the mutuality that Paul clearly teaches in 1 Corinthians 7.
- The adrenaline & endorphin release that accompanies orgasm can easily become addictive - I know. That was the story of my own sexual addiction issues for a number of years.
- So, if the Biblical admonition is to "avoid sexual immorality" (1 Thessalonians 4:3), then we need to carefully examine whether our choice for "self-gratification" leads us toward or away from lust.
- I guess it's pretty obvious that I think it does.
- And, as I write all this down, I'm well aware that many of you are recoiling from my conclusions... working to dismiss me as a Bible-thumping yahoo or one of those nutty "recovering addicts" who can't simply deal with his own junk but instead has to make sure everyone else makes the same choices he has. Look, this is up to you - but I encourage you to look at the subject through a different lens than we usually use: how would your spouse or potential spouse view your satisfying your "urges" through fantasy & masturbation? (Once again, you need to take a look at Paul's teachings, excerpted below.)
- Finally, is it easy to choose not to masturbate? I'm not going to lie to you - it's not. But just because something is difficult doesn't make it impossible and/or a bad idea.
Here's some quotes on the subject:
- Frequent masturbation can... form us in strange & false understandings of sexuality -- not the least the idea that sexual pleasure is an individual, and individualistic, undertaking. Masturbation teaches us that immediate gratification is a part of sex, and masturbation removes sex from a relationship. Indeed, the whole point of masturbation is to provide the release and pleasure of orgasm without the work & joy of a relationship. Laura Winner, Real Sex
- A man has only so much sexual energy. Especially once he's past his sexual peak and easing into his thirties, it's not easy to reach orgasms two or three times a day. Many men are drawn to pornography because it's an emotionally and physically easier route to sexual satisfaction than pleasing her. Yet pornography further drains men of sexual and emotional energy. In the 2004 Elle-MSNBC.com poll, 45 percent of men who used Internet pornography for five or more hours a week said they were masturbating too much, and one in five confessed they were having sex less often with their partners. Which isn't surprising, given that 35 percent said real sex just couldn't compare to cybersex anymore. Pamela Paul, Pornified
- It's good for a man to have a wife, and for a woman to have a husband. Sexual drives are strong, but marriage is strong enough to contain them and provide for a balanced and fulfilling sexual life in a world of sexual disorder. The marriage bed must be a place of mutuality--the husband seeking to satisfy his wife, the wife seeking to satisfy her husband. Marriage is not a place to "stand up for your rights." Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. Abstaining from sex is permissible for a period of time if you both agree to it, and if it's for the purposes of prayer and fasting--but only for such times. Then come back together again. Satan has an ingenious way of tempting us when we least expect it. I'm not, understand, commanding these periods of abstinence--only providing my best counsel if you should choose them. 1 Corinthians 7:2-6 (The Message)
Oddly enough, last night on The Late, Late Show, host Craig Ferguson got into a very PG-13 rated discussion about masturbation with author Frank Court. (Frank argued that masturbation is economically productive for the church... huh?!) Ain't the world weird?