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Masturbation Articles

Original Articles

• Flipping Off The Pleasure Police - Part 1: Introduction
• Flipping Off The Pleasure Police - Part 2: Anti-body Dogma/Negative Sexual Conditioning
• Flipping Off The Pleasure Police - Part 3: Female Sexuality
• Flipping Off The Pleasure Police - Part 4: Puberty and Sex Education
• Flipping Off The Pleasure Police - Part 5: First Orgasm
• Flipping Off The Pleasure Police - Part 6: Religious Conflicts
• Flipping Off The Pleasure Police - Part 7: Conclusion
• Flipping Off The Pleasure Police - Part 8: Theological Arguments Against Masturbation
• Selected Masturbation Bibliography
• Am I Gay?

Flipping Off The Pleasure Police: Part 1 - Introduction

Author: Dave, Solotouch's original Webmaster
Author Comments: A personal story about how masturbation gave my life back to me

Nowadays it's commonly accepted by most---but not all---North Americans that a high level of self-esteem is essential for good mental health as well as for success in school, career, family and community living in general. Countless studies by educators, psychologists and other social scientists confirm that our feelings about ourselves tend to predict either our success or failure in many aspects of our lives. However, although most educated people in the 1990s at least pay lip service to self-esteem, I find that few possess a really high level of it.

While growing up as a small-town boy in the late '40s through the 1950s I heard little about boosting self-esteem. In fact family, community and religious forces seemed united in trying to make young people feel humble, guilty, obedient and fearful. At the heart of this negativism is a self-view of our bodies and, especially, of our sexuality which is anything but healthy.

Masturbation attitudes are at the core of our sexual self-image because, as masturbation guru Betty Dodson observed, masturbation is our baseline sexuality. "Masturbation is a primary form of sexual expression," Dodson said in her masterpiece book Sex For One: The Joy of Selfloving. "It's not just for kids or for those in-between lovers or for old people who end up alone. Masturbation is the ongoing love affair that each of us has with ourselves throughout our lifetime... Masturbation is a way for all of us to learn about sexual response. It's an opportunity for us to explore our bodies and minds for all those sexual secrets we've been taught to hide, even from ourselves. What better way to learn about pleasure and being sexually creative? We don't have to perform or meet anyone else's standards, to satisfy the needs of a partner, or to fear criticism or rejection for failure. Sexual skills are like any other skills; they're not magically inherited, they have to be learned." (pages 3, 4)

Modern therapists and medical professionals recognize the importance of masturbation as a natural part of our lives. But, as is so often the case, the rest of society is far behind our cutting-edge thinkers. And, in my opinion, there are cultural institutions---led by the Christian churches---which covertly and even overtly attempt to undermine sexual expression and solo sex in particular. Even serious articles about masturbation often contain innocuous-sounding disclaimers that state that although most people masturbate, some choose not to do so because of religious or moral reasons---giving the impression that those of us who do masturbate are guilty of side-stepping religious and/or moral values. It is time that someone stands up and says that those religious and so-called moral objections to masturbation are wrong; they are based upon incomplete information, folk "wisdom," and centuries-old negative cultural attitudes toward our bodily functions. This essay will illustrate this cultural repression from a personal perspective.

I was raised in what many would consider an average middle-class home in a small Western town (United States of America). There was a strong fundamentalist Christian religious tone in the home and political attitudes were decidedly conservative. ("Right Wing" was not a term in common use in those days but I suppose my parents could be judged to have been moderately Right Wing by today's standards---definitely staunch Republicans and Mother was---and in her 90s still is---a fervid Baptist. Luckily, I have been able to adopt more realistic, tolerant views.) As a child I was loved, never physically abused nor neglected despite several spankings which I can vividly remember---administered when I probably deserved correction by parents who felt that it was okay to spank in moderation.

One exception to this pattern of non-abuse comes to mind, though, and that is the non-consensual circumcision which I was subjected to as an infant. Today I view this barbaric religious-based custom to be one of the most extreme forms of child abuse. But that is a different story. In passing let me state that the modern practice of male circumcision was initially pushed upon American parents 100 years ago by quacks and ill-informed physicians who felt it would reduce the sensitivity of the penis (it does) and make boys/men less inclined to masturbate. As everyone knows, circumcision has a religious base in Judaism but New Testament church leaders (St. Paul in particular) claimed circumcision was unnecessary for Christians. Promoting circumcision as a "cure" for the "destructive," "vile" and "immoral" practice of masturbation, as self-eroticism was then characterized, helped negate the obvious New Testament injunction that clearly stated that Christians need not be circumcised.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg, co-founder of the giant Kellogg cereal empire, was only one of many doctors who taught that masturbation was detrimental. In discussing potential "cures" for the "vice" of masturbation, Kellogg wrote that "A remedy which is almost always successful in small boys is circumcision... The operation should be performed by a surgeon without administering an anesthetic, as the brief pain attending the operation will have a salutary effect upon the mind... In females, the author has found the application of pure carbolic acid to the clitoris an excellent means of allaying the abnormal excitement."

Enough said about the link between anti-masturbation/anti-pleasure crusaders and circumcision!


Flipping Off The Pleasure Police: Part 2 - Anti-body Dogma/Negative Sexual Conditioning

Author: Dave, Solotouch's original Webmaster
Author Comments: A personal story about how masturbation gave my life back to me

Self-esteem is hard to come by in an environment permeated with negatives. The church told me I was born a sinner, a wretch, detestable in God's sight unless I mentally made a paradigm shift and agreed to believe a certain laundry list of dogmatic ideas (the divinity of Jesus, virgin birth, etc.). I needed to turn my life over to Jesus, renounce myself, live only for him; then all would be well. BUT, whether I did that or not, I could be certain that God and/or Jesus (the concept of the trinity was so confusing) was on the constant look-out. He (it was always a male deity) was snooping into my mind at every moment. He knew every thought I had, he peered at everything I did. I had NO privacy whatsoever; God was always there watching.

My body, I was told, is the temple of the holy ghost (I Cor. 6:19) and not my own. As a youngster I was even more confused about who this holy ghost was and how he/she fit into the heavenly cosmology. But God was particularly interested in what I did with my body, I could be sure of that. The teaching was that the body was corrupt (the flesh is evil) but that the holy spirit enjoyed residing there anyway. I found it very convoluted and contradictory. (See Gal. 5:17, "For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other...") The confusing doctrine that a member of the holy trinity takes up residence in the body---the body which is (according to the New Testament) corrupt, "flesh-like" and evil---is, in my view, one of the most glaring contradictions of Christian teaching. It has caused church people for centuries to go through all kinds of mental and physical torture in order to purge the body of all manners of imagined evils.

Now, as a child I was told that there were definitely good and bad things that could be done with the body. It was good to have an erect posture, but not so good to have an erect penis. It was good to brush my teeth, but not to talk too much and absolutely no swear words were to come from my mouth. Obesity was technically sinful, but the preacher didn't say much about that because half of the Baptists listening to his sermons were fat.

But this God of the fundamentalists was especially interested in our genitals, I learned as a child. He was obsessed with them, in fact. A female friend told me a few years ago that her training was similar and as a girl she visualized God as a being who saw little else but her genitals. He was a genital guard god ("God," by the way, is "dog" spelled backwards!). As boys we were taught that the penis wasn't to be touched except when urinating or washing and then only briefly. "If you shake it more than three times after peeing, that's playing with yourself and God wouldn't like that."

Children in school often would tease one another by accusing their friends of playing with themselves in private. Everyone has heard the childish prank of telling a gullible classmate that masturbating would cause warts or make hair grow on the palms of his/her hands. Then everyone would laugh as the nervous kid would glance at his/her own hands thereby telling the others that he/she did "it." The message was clear: society frowned upon masturbation but early in life we learned that it was extremely rare to find anyone who didn't masturbate, whether they admitted it or not.

There was another Christian teaching which did nothing but inspire fear and extend psychological control over my young and impressionable mind. That belief was the parousia, the peculiar Christian teaching that at any moment Jesus is going to return and take all Christians with him---away from this horribly sinful and wicked world. As youngsters we were told about this doctrine over and over again. Often we were asked to think about how glorious it would be to finally see Jesus. "But, what will you be DOING when Jesus returns?" we were asked. Will this God-man find you doing something virtuous when he returns or will you be embarrassed or disgraced by being engaged in something evil? Since we children were not likely to participate in "adult sins" such as murder, use of alcohol, industrial fraud or genocide, we were left with the impression that it was our duty to God to make sure we were always being praiseworthy just in case Jesus would return within the next five minutes. That meant, among other things, that we would not be caught by Jesus while we were being unkind to another, viewing a motion picture, using playing cards, dancing or, worst of all, doing something "improper" with our own bodies. The attitude we youngsters adopted was similar to that which is provoked by the proverbial statement mothers make to children, "Always wear clean underwear in case you are in an accident and are taken to the hospital." Don't do the forbidden things because chances are Jesus will catch you at it when he returns and he and all the Christians at that moment will be looking at you with disgust and pity. That would be even worse than being seen in underwear with skid marks.

The list of forbidden activities now seems banal but at that stage of development it was an important part of our fundamentalist lives. The dancing prohibition in particular is comical because it so obviously relates to the evangelical attempt to have people not recognize sexual impulses of any kind or put themselves in any situation where they might be stimulated. I am reminded of the question and answer joke about Baptists: "Q: Why don't Baptist couples ever have intercourse in the standing position? A: Because it might lead to dancing!"

Early formation of a negative self image is very closely related to our perception of our own bodies. Elimination of urine or solid waste is icky, we were told as children, and, by association, everything else pertaining to that region of our body was especially detestable to our holy, pure and spotless God.

I think these impressions are conveyed unconsciously by parents from the very beginning of life. There are often those moans or sighs which parents emit when they are confronted by full diapers. It isn't always a pleasant task caring for a baby and our negative attitudes, I feel, are often picked up by the infant. Somehow the notion is formed that the region between the legs is unpleasant to others and, if the diapers aren't changed promptly, it definitely becomes unpleasant to the infant as well. The negative self-image about the genitals is being formed at a very early age.

Nancy Friday, in her book The Power of Beauty, writes about self-loathing and poor self-image and how it springs from a negative attitude toward our genitals. "Call it self-respect or self-love, our opinion of our genitals is central to the image of our entire being. Thinking we have a sewer down there influences how we see ourselves, clothed or unclothed. We don't admit it consciously, but when we look in the mirror or imagine how others see us, our unconscious takes the sewer into account and our self-image is distorted by the ugliness hidden between our legs. Like the tint on Lady Macbeth's hands that can never be washed clean, our genital disfigurement is displaced onto other parts of our body, becoming the ugliness of our underarms, the fleshiness of thighs, the nose, the feet, the legs, wrong, wrong, wrong!" (page 205)

As we grow older we are told to keep our genitals covered, clothed. Don't let anybody else see them. Don't touch. It all adds up to a grossly negative approach toward ourselves and, in later years, toward our sexual nature.


Flipping Off The Pleasure Police: Part 3 - Female Sexuality

Author: Dave, Solotouch's original Webmaster
Author Comments: A personal story about how masturbation gave my life back to me

Girls, I think, have an even rougher time of it. They receive all the negative conditioning that the boys get plus a whole raft of other baggage as well. Our culture imparts a terribly self-depreciating attitude upon our females and many actually loathe themselves and their bodies. They are often raised to feel inadequate, impure, unworthy of much besides serving husband and children. They, too, are taught not to explore their genitals. And the onset of menstruation with its associated discomforts adds to an already sizable negativity about the female genital region.

Church teachings have always emphasized that reproduction was the only valid purpose of sexual union. Roman Catholic teaching even goes so far as to require that individuals who are unable to conceive (such as women past menopause or an impotent man) cannot be married by the church. This doctrine is largely ignored in the U.S. but is still the practice in South America and many other Catholic countries. As Andy Polaine has written, "With procreation as the focus of the sexual act, the female orgasm was virtually denied because it had no 'use' in the purpose of reproduction. Male pleasure and orgasm is essential to this act and female pleasure is sublimated, so much so that for many women the pleasure of sex is still accompanied by heavy manacles of guilt. Masturbation is the ultimate denial of this ethic. It is sex purely for pleasure that denies reproduction by its very nature."

Interestingly, in North America especially, females have been viewed as the guardians of virtue and morality, they are supposed to be above sexual sin (sex for pleasure is considered sin or, at best, something beneath the dignity of a "pure" or "virtuous" woman) and one of their important missions in life is to keep men's sexual impulses at bay. True, these attitudes are Victorian and slowly diminishing, but they are there nonetheless---particularly in the more conservative religious sectors of society. We are all aware of the fact that there is a demeaning word in our English language for a woman who craves sexual fulfillment---nymphomaniac. I do not know of a similar word for men. For some reason, women are not supposed to enjoy sex and if they do they are labeled as something bad.

One of the best renditions of this sexual self-image problem women face in our culture was penned by Betty Dodson in her earlier manifesto for female self-loving, Liberating Masturbation (self-published, 1974). I feel the subject is important enough to be quoted in length, particularly since I can't speak personally about female experiences with the masturbation taboo. "Masturbation has been a continuous part of my sex life since the age of five," Dodson wrote. "It got me through childhood, puberty, romantic love, marriage and it will happily see me through old age. I am not typical in this respect, I have learned. Very few women masturbate regularly once they are past childhood exploration and a lot of women have no memory of even childhood masturbation.

"But I am typical in most other respects---I was subjected to the same barrage of negative sex conditioning all women get. I was made to feel that masturbating meant there was something wrong with my sex life, that I should get my sexual pleasure from the man's penis only, not from my clitoris by myself. I especially wouldn't need to do it if I was in love and making it regularly with my lover.

"Coming from the 'Bible Belt' in Kansas, I knew very well where the church and conservative moralists stood. But even supposedly liberal friends put down masturbation and made it clear that it was a second-rate sexual activity. My only source of sex information in those days was dreary marriage manuals and random bits of male-oriented Victorian psychiatry. When I finally made it to the couch, therapists were mainly Freudians and into love and marriage which was supposed to include passionate sex.

"So masturbation, especially in women, was considered to be either compulsive or infantile behavior. Mature, good sex was vaginal penetration which included romantic love and a meaningful relationship. I had to find Prince Charming in order to live happily and orgasmically ever after in suburbia.

"The non-typical, which is to say healthy, part of me refused to be 'shaped up' so even if masturbating was wrong, I kept on doing it. Consequently, I now realize, I really enjoyed sex but the hitch was that as a woman I wasn't supposed to wave any banners for that: Instant, ready-made schizophrenia? Yes, indeed, the typical American female type.

"At 29, after much conflict over marriage versus art career, and after several affairs that were super romantic and monogamous, I got married. Just in time to escape the horrible fate of going over the hill alone. Quite typically, my marital sex soon got down to once a month and, when it did happen, my husband would come too fast. I wouldn't come at all. We would both be embarrassed, depressed and silent. After he went to sleep, I would quickly and quietly masturbate under the covers. I did it without moving or breathing, feeling sick with frustration and guilt the whole time. Of course, it fell apart. My ability to 'settle down' in marriage and substitute bridge, golf, or work for the diminished sexual activity had been ruined by my moderately healthy sexual beginnings. Also, I had a continuous reminder from my masturbation, even with the guilt, that pleasure from sex could be available to me.

"To understand the importance of masturbation I had to wade through ten tons of firmly implanted fear, guilt and misinformation in order to think or talk about it with any kind of open mind. In struggling to understand the extent of my own repression as a woman, I have had to face these sexually based negative emotions every step of the way.

"Among the many issues involved in the liberation of women, the two major fronts in my own personal liberation have been SEXUALITY and ECONOMICS. Ultimately, they are not separable---not as long as the female genitals have economic value instead of sexual value for women. Saving sex for my lover/husband was my gift to him in exchange for economic security-called 'meaningful relationship' or 'marriage.' My future depended upon finding the right partner whom I would possess forever with my gift of sex and love.

"With that romanticized image of sex, in a society that doesn't have economic equality between the sexes, I was forced to bargain with my cunt for any hope of financial security. Marriage under those circumstances is a form of prostitution.

"I didn't know that the romantic image of love and marriage didn't necessarily include sexual expression. As soon as I got married I quit my job, which I hated, and became economically and sexually dependent. Only there was not much sex. So I concentrated on the marriage. After five years of that kind of dependency it's no wonder that I was paralyzed with fear about re-entering the job market and re-activating my sex life.

"When you are romantically 'In Love,' it's like mainlining emotion, shooting up feeling, and you are hooked on your beloved and in no way could you live without your 'fix.' We are raised romantic junkies who are doomed to marry. Day to day living in long term marital units is the exact opposite of the romantic ideal. We get torn between the dream and the reality and live conflicted lives, rather than happily ever after. The smart romantic addict learns to move along to the next 'beloved' without killing herself off with regrets, sorrow, despair, anger, rage or suicide.

"One of the things that kept me so physically repressed was that my only images of sex were based on the 'Romantic Ideal' and marriage. The fantasy I masturbated with as a teenager was my wedding night. I fantasized myself as being physically perfected. No fat, no acne, no braces on my teeth, perfect hair, and a knockout of a nightgown. My sexual buildup was visualizing my physical perfection and my orgasm came when I dropped my exquisite lace peignoir to expose my naked loveliness for my husband. I never fantasized him, what he looked like, what his body or his cock looked like, what we did sexually, or what kind of energy we exchanged. Nothing! That fantasy was a combination of 'True Romance' and 'Vogue' and those magazines were my pornography.

"The most popular romantic image of sex is having orgasms from penetration only. Most of us are in search of the ideal orgasm from fucking. We feel frustrated and impotent that we can't come with intercourse while our husbands and lovers do. We blame ourselves and feel sexually inadequate, even though we can have orgasms with masturbation, oral sex and clitoral stimulation.

"We have been conditioned to this idealized image of lovemaking by love stories, Hollywood, advertising and television. The movies have given us most of our visual material for romantic sex: long wet kisses, misty drooping eyes, thousands of 'Darling, I love you's'; along with passionate embraces after tearful, painful separations, and when it comes to the actual sex ... camera fades, dissolves.

"When we finally make it to the bedroom, the only available script is the missionary position (man on top) and the cock in the hole, preceded by some ritualized foreplay that isn't playful. So we concentrate on the romance, loving and possessing our beloved and a headline reads: 'Young suburban mother of three dies from overdose of alcohol and tranquilizers,' or 'Jealous ex-lover kills girlfriend and new suitor.' It's ridiculous and destructive to repress sex, pleasure, and our bodies, perpetuating negative possessive feelings of jealousy and violence, all in the name of love.

"The man is primarily responsible for running the whole romantic fuck. He is coming from a background of sexual deprivation and is expected to get an erection (from her naked beauty), keep the erection, and hold off orgasm while he brings his beloved to orgasm with no information or indication about what turns her on.

"She is passive, beautiful and graceful while she waits for this incredible experience called Orgasm, and nothing happens so she concentrates on the love, closeness, and the meaningfulness of their relationship. That's one of the romantic versions of sex role stereotypes.

"Another sex role stereotype is the man who expects his woman to give him his erection. She feels it's her responsibility to turn him on and is totally focused on his pleasure and orgasm. She does oral sex to get him hard, he then swings over into Position A, puts it in and runs the entire fuck according to what feels good to him. She accommodates him and goes into her passionate act of sighs and groans or screams to excite him more. He comes, she fakes it and he dozes off to sleep holding her in his arms. She feels good because she has pleased him and concentrates on the love and closeness. He feels good because her response proves he's a good lover and he loves her loving him.

"The national average of coitus with full erection according to Kinsey was 2.5 minutes of thrusting after penetration. There really aren't that many fast coming women or superstuds around! As we limit sex to erections and penetration we perpetuate the battle between the sexes...the man struggles to hold off orgasm while the woman hurries to come fast. There is a vast range of sexual and sensual pleasure available to everyone if we simply get more open minded about what sex and pleasure are about. The romantic image of sex creates a ritualized genital sex that leaves no room for sexual play or growth. We must let go of the idea that there is a 'right' or 'best' way to have sex and orgasms."

As a postscript to the above, let me briefly tell about a female friend of mine (Louise) who has, all of her life, been a devout evangelical Christian---very protected and largely unwise to the world. She told me that after being married more than 20 years and raising three children she was still totally unaware that a woman could have an orgasm; nobody had ever told her there was such a thing. One day she and a woman friend were talking and the subject of sex came up. Louise heard for the first time from this friend that husbands weren't the only ones who could have orgasmic pleasure in bed. Luckily for Louise, this friend also told her about masturbation. As soon as she was alone, Louise rushed to the bathtub to try it out and, sure enough, she came! To this day she still hasn't had an orgasm with her husband but she regularly does when she's alone. Her fellow church-goers would be shocked! But for this Christian (who is still married to her traditional Christian husband) masturbation has been a blessing.


Flipping Off The Pleasure Police: Part 4 - Puberty and Sex Education

Author: Dave, Solotouch's original Webmaster
Author Comments: A personal story about how masturbation gave my life back to me

Puberty brings a whole new set of problems for young people who have been indoctrinated in Christian anti-body teachings. In my own experience I always was familiar with the subtle pleasure that was associated with an erection. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to discover that certain manipulations of the penis are pleasant. But after puberty arrives, those sensations lead to something even more dramatic---orgasm. Suddenly, this self-touching is much more than just feeling yourself or exploring---it is a means to a goal: achieving that altered state of consciousness that sublime ecstasy that is experienced in orgasm. The pleasure police begin working overtime with young people who are old enough to experience the dangers of orgasm!

I've always found our customs of sex education in North America to be wholly inadequate and of little use to our young people. We are taught in school about the mechanics of reproduction. Most of us received little or no direct instruction about sex in the home. In my own instance, the ONLY home-based sexual "education" came from my father when I was probably 15. It consisted of a single simple warning, which he undoubtedly heard from his parents (perpetuating a myth begun in the nineteenth century): "Never play with your penis; that will make you go insane." By that time of my life I was already masturbating and dealing with a tremendous range of frustrations and conflicts associated with that solitary pleasure. Dad's instruction was not helpful and it did nothing but add to an already high level of psychological pain and confusion.

Parents seldom (and schools never, I understand) describe sexuality to children as a mechanism for feeling good, both physically and emotionally. [In my comprehensive sex discussions with my own sons I told them about sexual pleasure and that it was okay to masturbate.] We teach your children that sex has but one noble purpose---creating babies. Oh, there are some who admit that sex IN ITS PROPER PLACE (marriage) is useful for helping the husband and wife bond in order to create a more loving atmosphere for the upbringing of children. But the message still is that sex has one single purpose, engendering babies. The physical pleasure is never to be sought after; that is only a secondary benefit when sex is experienced within the marriage bed. It reminds me of a comment made years ago by a girlfriend after we had both had explosive orgasms. "Do you suppose it's all right to feel this good?" she asked with a twinkle in her eye. She was kidding, but that joking remark sprung from a deep feeling that it is NOT all right to experience physical pleasure. That attitude is still widespread in our culture. We are afraid to tell children that the physical and emotional pleasures associated with sex are tremendous. They are enjoyable. They are uplifting (or can be). They contribute to better physical health and emotional well-being. We do not tell our children these things because we are telling them, instead, that sex is to be restricted, tightly controlled, and experienced only with one's spouse.

Our cultural attitudes toward sexuality did not come from any natural source of what was right or wrong; they have been slowly developed over the centuries. Christian writings, which are the basis of many of our cultural beliefs, are not too favorable toward sexuality. St. Paul said, "It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband" (I Cor. 7:1-2) and "I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, It is good for them if they abide even as I [lb]single[rb]. But if they cannot contain [sublimate their sexual needs], let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn [with passion or burn in hell]." (I Cor. 7:8-9) Paul also demanded that "those who have wives" should live "as though they had none (I Cor. 7:29). The insinuation is that there are to be no orgasms at all---that chastity and abstinence are the most desirable conditions for humans. But if you are the poor slob who can't live without shooting off once in awhile, then by all means marry and have an occasional orgasm.

According to Joachim Kahl, a former theologian (see bibliography; quote from page 75), "The New Testament is the work of neurotic philistines, who regarded human sexuality not as a source of joy, but as a source of anxiety; not as a means of expressing love, but as a means of expressing sin. Often overtly, but sometimes in a more concealed manner, the New Testament writers outlawed everything to do with the body."

These doctrines are still the official Roman Catholic preference but chastity is now pretty much institutionalized within the priesthood and the women religious (nuns). The negative attitude toward sexuality, which is still codified in Catholic doctrine, remains in only slightly modified form in virtually all Christian denominations. (For an in-depth discussion of Christian teachings about sexuality I highly recommend Uta Ranke-Heinemann's scholarly book Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven: Women, Sexuality and the Catholic Church. Remember, much of the Protestant attitude toward sex originated in the Roman Catholic Church so this book is a valuable eye-opener to all of Christianity's anti-body rhetoric. It should be noted that Thomas Aquinas, the great Catholic scholar, taught that masturbation was a greater sin than harlotry and the church prescribed very severe punishments for this "transgression.")

Again, the implication is quite clear: Sex is dirty, mostly unacceptable by God, it must be tightly regulated and it is improper and invalid unless it is experienced within the confines of marriage. Some churches go so far as to teach that only certain positions of intercourse are acceptable (hence the term "missionary position" because missionaries were fond of telling their heathen converts that the varied ways of coupling they previously used were not looked upon favorably by their new Christian God.) Oral and anal sex is strictly taboo by most churches and masturbation, if it is ever talked about at all, is given a resoundingly negative coloring.

It seems to me much more logical to teach people the joys of self-loving as a wholesome and pleasant alternative to unwanted relationships, unwanted sexually-transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancies. But, instead, we tell your young people to "just say no" and remain non-sexual beings until they are magically transformed with the slipping of a wedding band upon the third finger of the left hand. It just doesn't work that way. As Dr. Ira L. Reiss has written, "The 'Just say no' approach to sex simply ensures that young people who say yes will be unprepared to prevent disease and pregnancy."


Flipping Off The Pleasure Police: Part 5 - First Orgasm

Author: Dave, Solotouch's original Webmaster
Author Comments: A personal story about how masturbation gave my life back to me

How vividly can I remember my first orgasm! It happened when I was in the fifth or sixth grade. I had been out somewhere on my bicycle and stopped by my aunt and uncle's house to use their bathroom. Nobody was home but they always left the door unlocked and I knew it was okay with them if I went in.

After peeing, I began to enjoy the privacy by gently rubbing my penis. This I did often, working up a nice hard-on. I knew it was "wrong" and "sinful," but I did it anyway, hoping to deal with my compounding guilt at some other time. In my aunt's bathroom on this day, however, my erection came on very quickly and intensely. For some unknown reason my penis felt much better than it had a day or two before, the last time I had rubbed it into hardness. I decided to explore these sensations a bit more and dropped my jeans and shorts to my ankles while I stood there, cock in hand.

I continued the rubbing for quite awhile, testing what motions made me feel better. There was definitely something different today, I thought, and I liked it very much. The intensity of the feelings suddenly began to increase and I recall a brief "swooning" sensation as I slipped even more toward total absorption in the powerful sensations that were surging throughout my entire body. Then it hit me like a hammer: A throbbing pleasure that seemed to set my cock and balls on fire. The heat spread clear to my asshole; I could hardly remain standing. My hand motions instinctively increased in speed.

But all of a sudden I was slammed back into reality at the peak of the throbbing bliss. Something was drastically wrong: A long stream of thick, creamy-white fluid was shooting out from the hole in my cock, all over my aunt's upholstered clothes hamper, the carpet and my undershorts that were stretched between my ankles. "Hell, what have I done? What's happening? What is this stuff? How can I clean up this mess? Have I ruined myself?" All those worries and questions racing through my mind obliterated the fun I was having with my body. Suddenly life was different. I had been initiated not only to a new sensation; I had also been introduced to a hundred-thousand new fears, doubts, questions.

After a day or two passed I had calmed down enough to consider trying to duplicate the experience again. By that time I had decided that what had happened must not have been harmful because everything between my legs continued to function normally. So, I cautiously grabbed my penis, worked it into hardness, continued to rub and, bingo, that same white fluid shot out again. This time it was expected so I was able to appreciate the marvelous sensations without alarm. I was now a confirmed self-lover!

Over the next couple of years I learned on the playground from other boys that they too had had similar experiences. In fact, a couple of the guys suggested we "beat off" together. We did, and it was amazing to see their hard, red-headed penises squirting just like mine did. They all reported to me that it felt really good and that they did it often.


Flipping Off The Pleasure Police: Part 6 - Religious Conflicts

Author: Dave, Solotouch's original Webmaster
Author Comments: A personal story about how masturbation gave my life back to me

But I was having inner conflicts because of my religious upbringing. There was no question in my mind, at that time, that what I was doing was wrong. But I couldn't seem to help myself. I just HAD to masturbate from time to time or else I became miserable. I would try to quit, but then a couple of days later I'd do it again---or maybe two, three or four times on that day. I'd try to quit again, then I'd have a wet dream. It seemed about as difficult to leave alone as food.

Doubts started to build up about the sinfulness of something that was rapidly appearing to be a happy and quite possibly normal practice. By that time I understood the mechanics of reproduction and I knew that the white fluid contained sperm. I also knew that this was pumped into a woman's body through sexual intercourse. Obviously, intercourse would make my penis feel similar to those times when I masturbated. What was the damned difference between shooting the semen on my tummy or into the body of a woman? Why is one experience apparently all right with God while the other was not? It was almost as confusing as the concept of the trinity!

The whole contradiction reached a screaming denouement when I was about 15. I had a newspaper route and one evening, in a driving rainstorm, I was thinking of the right-and-wrongness of masturbation as I delivered papers. By that time I had experienced the fundamentalist conversion experience; I considered myself "born again." I desperately wanted to do God's will but this masturbation "sin" was my roughest stumbling block. I was failing God once, twice, sometimes three to six times daily. And, what's more, I was physically enjoying it. But, as preachers predicted, when someone does something which they are told is sinful, guilt keeps piling up.

As I peddled through my route the tears and sobs began to well up from the knot deep within my stomach. What was I to do? I had realized that it would probably be impossible for me to completely cease with my masturbating. But, then, I reasoned, what kind of a God did I have who would equip me with a healthy penis, lots of semen and good nerve endings to enjoy the sensation---and then call me a sinful brat for doing what came naturally? It just didn't seem right; something in this "masturbation is sin" rhetoric was dreadfully wrong. Dad had already told me that beating off would make me insane. Were all these confusing thoughts and emotions the onset of mental illness? Were my friends also going to go mad? Would we all end up in some sanitarium?

I still remember the house across the street from the fire station, now long gone. As I tossed Mrs. Henderson's newspaper onto her porch the tears were still flowing down my cheeks, mixing with the cold rain. With the toss of Mrs. Henderson's newspaper came my decision that I had to follow my body and not someone else's ideas. If I went insane, so be it. At least I'd feel good as I went mad. I was determined that my private playing with myself was going to continue regardless of my temporal or eternal fate. It just wasn't right to deny myself something that I truly enjoyed, something I was beginning to see as helpful and wholesome. My young mind went across a very long bridge in front of Mrs. Henderson's house. I had reasoned a difficult personal problem and come up with a logical solution. I had listened to the quiet voice of nature over the screams of hundreds of my dogmatic advisers. And as painful as it was for me, I had to confess that the God who had been painted for me just didn't fit with my own teenage reality. Over the years I've walked farther and farther away from that image of a snooping "genital guard" god.

The struggle on that newspaper route ended shortly after the decision in front of Mrs. Henderson's house. At the end of my route was a Mobil gas station. That night I parked my bike, ducked into the rest room, and paused a moment under the heat lamps. I was shivering cold and my clothes were entirely soaked; the warmth felt good. Quickly I went into the stall, pulled down my jeans and gently grabbed my cold and shriveled cock. It didn't take much manipulation to make it warm and erect. In a few minutes more my shoulders were thrown back, my penis pointing proudly up and out and my hand, fully encasing my meat, pumped furiously. A long stream of jism burst forth all over the toilet as my body convulsed in pleasure. After wiping up the mess, I reflected that I didn't feel a bit closer to insanity than when I started my route. If anything, I was leagues closer to sanity because I had begun the slow process of reclaiming my own mind and body.

As an aside, I refer readers to an excellent article written by Mark A. Taylor (republished in this website) which tells about how one young Idaho teenager resolved this masturbation-religion struggle by committing suicide. This sad story is repeated hundreds if not thousands of times each year simply because adults won't be honest with themselves or with their children. Masturbation is a part of life whether we like it or not. We have been kidding ourselves for centuries, living double lives: masturbating while we tell ourselves it's wrong. Then we inflict this confusion on our children.

For several more years I continued in my evangelical faith, even drifting for a while into charismatic Christianity (receiving the so-called baptism of the holy spirit accompanied by speaking in tongues and all the rest). My goal was to be a minister or an evangelist. But all the contention, the unrealistic inerrancy attitude toward an obviously flawed bible and the general lack of genuine joy in the evangelical lifestyle eventually led me into the Episcopal Church. I was a candidate for the priesthood when I finally decided I was living a lie. I left Christianity behind at that time and, for the first time in years, I felt a burden lift from my heart and mind. I'd been enslaved to a dogmatic system, which was strangling the happiness and reason out of me. There have been numerous intellectual reasons for this attitude shift, but it all started when, as a teenager, I recognized the incongruity of Christian teachings about the body and our sexuality. That is not to say that I made my decision because of masturbation; that was where the doubt started. You see, the church lied to me about my natural sexual feelings by telling me they were "impure," "best suppressed," "of the flesh," etc. I was specifically told masturbation was wrong and hazardous to my physical and spiritual health. Yes, these people were wrong and they acted out of misunderstood concepts of what the bible taught, but I had to admit that the experiences I was having with masturbation were absolutely not what I was being told they were. They were joyful, pleasurable, wholesome. I finally had to admit that I'd been lied to for whatever reason(s). And if I had been lied to about something as fundamental and as important as my own body and its sexuality, perhaps there were other things I'd been misled about as well. My search for truth began. I dearly wanted it to end up that my faith was correctly placed, but I had to finally admit that Christianity was false and that I had been suckered. A thorough study of the bible was what convinced me of that.

That departure from the church was 30 years ago and my life continues to get even better. Even though I have a regular sexual partner (my loving wife), I still enjoy masturbating. She enjoys masturbating, too. We do it in solitary; we do it together. It's a normal part of our lives and it can be a happy, rewarding part of anyone's life if we just give the pleasure police the finger!


Flipping Off The Pleasure Police: Part 7 - Conclusion

Author: Dave, Solotouch's original Webmaster
Author Comments: A personal story about how masturbation gave my life back to me

In closing, I need to add some comments about the typical convoluted Christian "reasoning" which is used to discourage masturbation. From my observation, the Catholic and Mormon leaders seem to have the most vocal and public objection to masturbation. In most Protestant denominations or independent churches opposition to masturbation is expressed quietly in counseling sessions or, from the pulpit, it is just lumped in with all the other things that are termed as the "sins of the flesh."

It's amusing to note that one Pentecostal preacher---Jimmy Swaggart---was caught a few years back with his own pants down, masturbating in front of a naked prostitute while she was doing "nasty" things for the evangelist. I'm sure his oozing cock is only the tip of the church's iceberg. Also, I think that it is plausible that if celibate priests were told it was all right to jerk off they might be less inclined to seduce alter boys and choir girls (a problem which is becoming increasingly difficult for the church).

---Your Webmaster-bator


Flipping Off The Pleasure Police: Part 8 - Theological Arguments Against Masturbation

Author: Dave, Solotouch's original Webmaster
Author Comments: A personal story about how masturbation gave my life back to me

Now, on to the arguments used by Christians to "convince" people that touching themselves too much is sinful in the eyes of their peeping-tom God:

Masturbation is just a bad habit: Psychologists and sex researchers tell us otherwise. Masturbation is a normal part of human development.

Masturbation is something which goes away when people get married: Again, research shows that this is seldom the case. Masturbation is our baseline sexuality and while sex with a partner satisfies many needs, for most people it doesn't erase the need we have for tender sexual moments while alone. In fact, studies show that the use of masturbation actually increases for older people, particularly women.

Masturbation is a sign of spiritual immaturity: What is "spiritual maturity" anyway? Is it spiritual maturity to try to sublimate our natural sexual needs? Is it spiritually healthy to repress the aching desire for orgasm and sexual intimacy (with ourself or with others)? Modern research shows that people who repress and abstain from orgasms have a higher risk of certain serious mental and physical health problems. That definitely cannot be conducive to what Christians would classify as "spiritual maturity." But, then, maybe it is. Perhaps being up-tight, repressed, unfulfilled, wallowing in self-administered anxiety and guilt is what makes a Christian "spiritually mature." It certainly matches what I've observed in the lives of most of the zealous Christians I've known.

Masturbation almost always is accompanied by fantasies and/or pornography: So what? Research shows men and women utilize fantasy both in masturbatory and partner sex. It is a normal function of sexual behavior. Passion is part of sex, whether the Christians like it or not, and fantasy fuels passion. In the sermon on the mount, however, Jesus clearly states that one can commit adultery in one's mind and that the thought makes one as guilty as the actual unauthorized sexual act (Mat. 5). To the Christians, the therefore, fantasies involving longed-for sexual partners or fantasies about "forbidden" or "sinful" sexual practices makes the thinker guilty of fornication and sexual uncleanness. This is sin, they say. I say, "bunk." Jesus, I feel, was way off base with this comment, if he ever made it at all. Christians have gone into left field by claiming fantasy and use of sexual images is a form of idolatry which involves the worship of another person (or persons) or the worship of sex itself. I personally think this is a radical, extreme argument designed to coerce Christians into following the straight-and-narrow path the church sets out for them---a path, by the way, which attempts to regulate how much pleasure one is entitled to. But for those who think they can't live without following the teachings of Jesus, let them dwell upon his statement where he says it is preferable that his followers be castrated (Matt. 19:12).

The porn issue is a complex one which has been treated by many writers. Yes, many people do use sexual images (photos, videos, even works of art hanging on museum walls) to enhance their masturbatory sexual pleasure. Surveys show use of such aids is increasing for both men and women. I say "if it feels good, do it." But so many in our culture are hung up on this "purity" thing. To view sexual images or read erotic literature isn't thought of as good, proper or politically correct. For in-depth examination of this issue I refer the reader to the titles in the bibliography below by Verda Burstyn, Nadine Strossen, F.A.C.T., Wendy McElroy and Andy Polaine. There are many others as well.

A person who masturbates and uses fantasies will not do well when attempting to relate with a real marriage partner: This is more bunk which is easily disproved by sexuality research. In fact, most sex therapists recommend that their clients masturbate in order to improve their sexual functioning. Books listed below by Betty Dodson and Lonnie Garfield Barbach show the efficacy of this therapeutic practice.

Masturbation naturally results in shame: No, that isn't the case. Shame is a learned behavior and it is taught by the church and by parents who have been indoctrinated to the idea that masturbation is shameful. There is no holy spirit "convicting" people of their sins; we learn these feelings from others. Sex Without Guilt (1958) by Dr. Albert Ellis is a classic in this area of sexual feelings. People troubled by guilt or shame should have this volume by their bedside at all times.

Masturbation is never fulfilling or satisfying because it is an incomplete act without a partner: Sex with a partner is often very fulfilling. But ask any woman who has an inconsiderate partner that doesn't help her reach orgasm how fulfilling her sex life is. To that person masturbation would be an incomparable improvement over the oaf who lies next to her in bed. The fulfillment or satisfaction one receives from any sexual experience is self-determined. If an individual labors under the church's teachings, then masturbation will not be fulfilling. If one strikes out on his or her own and takes the masturbatory experience for what it is, it will be immensely satisfying.

The Christian argument about how unfulfilling masturbation seems to be is based on a complex string of concepts. They stress, and even many non-Christians echo their flawed logic, that sex can never be satisfying, fulfilling, "complete," etc., without being accompanied by "love." If that is the case, then solo sex, according to them, can never be seen as a valid sexual expression. Liberal Christian writers who acknowledge that masturbation is not specifically prohibited by their Bible are fond of using analogies like comparing sex to dessert. Masturbatory sex is like plain cake---it's ok if absolutely necessary, but very ho-hum when contrasted with cake covered with delicious frosting (the frosting in this analogy is love---a very narrowly defined love at that: god-inspired love which can exist only between married partners of the opposite sex). These Christian apologists argue that masturbation is all right if you "have" to have an orgasm (for example, when your partner is away and you are just foaming at the mouth for sex), but it is woefully inferior to sexual intercourse with your spouse. Such conditioning is bound to produce the desired social effect: make people feel empty, unfulfilled and guilty whenever they masturbate. Each time they touch themselves, these negative attitudes return with even more force.

God did not design sex to be a solitary experience: Says who? To me, my body is designed perhaps even better for solitary sex than for sex with a partner. The penis is easily manipulated to orgasm as is the clitoris. Body design has nothing to do with any prohibition on masturbation. What the church is saying is that they don't think masturbation is "natural" for humans. That is a value judgment. Many animal species have been observed to masturbate and certainly humans find it quite easy to do so. It appears to be natural for organisms to manipulate themselves to orgasm. There is nothing in human experience to verify the Christian contention that sexuality is, by design, reserved exclusively for partner-to-partner union. That argument is entirely theological in nature.

Masturbation is, by its nature, narcissistic: Narcissism is defined as "self-love" or obsession with one's appearance, comfort, importance, etc. The Christian way is to set aside all aspects of self. Self-esteem is considered by many Christians as evil; we need, they say, to see ourselves as we are---sinners, rotten to the core. Anything that helps build up our self-image is therefore wrong. Fundamentalists in many states in America have objected to school curriculums that teach self-esteem because of their theological view that we should not think anything good about ourselves. Another weird twist shows up in Tim LaHaye's book The Battle for the Mind (1980---LaHaye is a Christian evangelist) where he asserts that any school system advocating freedom of thought is bent on brainwashing our children. These same Christians claim that masturbation places emphasis upon the self and gratification of personal needs instead of upon God and one's family. I think it's another extreme theological argument with no basis in reality. Self-debasement isn't healthy. Neither is an obsession with some other-worldly god. Masturbation is good for the self-image, if one doesn't succumb to church-inspired guilt, and a good self-image helps individuals relate in a positive way with others.

I'm tempted to quote the famous Max Otto who wrote, "Need we ask why we cannot forget about authoritarian religion and concentrate upon the problem of a good life in a good world? We are not allowed to. Reactionary forces are at work among us---well-organized forces---often under the leadership of able, high-minded and sincere persons, and they are seeking to take advantage of the present sense of confusion and uncertainty to fasten the grip of a supreme authority in the name of God over the whole of human life, although these forces reflect an outgrown stage in man's intellectual and spiritual evolution."

Abstinence and celibacy are the best choice for singles before marriage. Total sexual inactivity before marriage is best because premarital affairs, masturbation and other sexual expression make the marriage much less than it ought to be: Tell someone something often enough and they will eventually believe it. The Christians who say they regret sexual expression, including masturbation, prior to their marriage have probably been convinced to regret it because their church tells them those activities were wrong. They aren't necessarily wrong in my opinion. And, certainly, just because the church says it is wrong doesn't convince me it really is. Christians will tell me that I'm only deceiving myself about this; I really DO regret what I did sexually before my marriage. Andy Polaine makes an excellent point when he says that "people deceiving themselves has long been an argument that groups wishing for, or fearing loss of, control have used in their struggles to persuade the 'ignorant' that they will only find the answers, the truth, if they follow the examples set by these 'leaders,' whether moral or political or both. It is a patronizing and desperate attempt to 'convert' people who have already made their own decision on a subject." Whereas many Christians will admit their regret, many non-Christians will do nothing of the sort. And I dare say that there are many Christians who secretly think back on earlier escapades with longing and pride. As for myself, I regret nothing except for the years that I denied myself pleasure and wrestled with the problems foisted upon me by fundamentalist Christianity. I am angry that I allowed myself to come under the control of guilt-possessed, anti-body people who got their kicks out of seeing others wallowing in their negative theological muck.

Our purpose in life is to deny the flesh and please God, not ourselves. Masturbation interferes with this because it is caving in to our sensuality and lust; we should be focusing on the word of God: Well, I disagree. After all, didn't Jesus say we are to love our neighbors as we love ourselves? Self-loathing, calling our natural biological instincts vial and continually denying and mortifying the body is anything but constructive or self-loving. Jesus' own saying about love of self should inspire Christians and other religious people to rethink their doctrines. It seems that his statement really says that a high level of self-esteem (or self-love) is essential to individuals who want to interact constructively with those around them. Masturbation is not caving in to uncontrollable instincts; it is a natural, beautiful, tender act with many physical and emotional benefits.

According to psychiatry professor Dr. Wendell W. Watters (see bibliography on this website), "Self-esteem refers to the value an individual assigns to himself or herself as a person. High self-esteem needs to be differentiated from narcissistic bliss, manic euphoria, and competitive triumph, which are all, in a sense, defensive reactions to low self-esteem. Nor should self-esteem be confused with self-indulgence or smugness. It simply refers to the degree to which one accepts and values oneself, warts and all. Although psychiatrists and psychologists are noted for disagreeing on just about everything, they do all agree that self-esteem, as understood here, is one cornerstone of sound mental health. People who are considered mentally sound generally have a high level of self-esteem; they feel reasonably competent and secure as people; they generally like themselves, and feel capable of being liked and loved by others. In addition, they are capable of manifesting genuine liking and loving for others. People with high self-esteem are able to be appropriately assertive in trying to have their needs met in a non-manipulative, nondestructive way. Conversely, the one feature common to all psychiatric patients and many chronically ill patients is low self-esteem...[The Christian church's] teachings are uncompromisingly antithetical to the development of self-esteem...According to Christian teachings, the self is to be abased, not esteemed." (pages 50-51)

The Bible specifically prohibits "Onanism" or masturbation: This objection relates to the story (fable?) of Onan in the Old Testament (Gen. 38). Onan was told to copulate with his dead brother's childless widow according to the custom of the Hebrews (a commandment by God, actually). Onan inserted his penis into her but withdrew just prior to ejaculation. This act allegedly angered God who struck him dead as he rose from between the poor woman's legs. A misreading of the text over the centuries has inferred that Onan was slaughtered by God for masturbating. Virtually all Biblical scholars agree that this is not the case; Onan's death was the result of his disobedience and his "coitus interruptus," not masturbation. An interesting tale perhaps, but completely without relevance to today's world or our discussion of masturbation. Nowhere else in the Bible is masturbation mentioned or implied. However, churchmen lump it in with references to "sins of the flesh," "fornication" and other words which relate to forbidden sexual practices. Remember, these are the same people who tell us oral sex of any kind, same-gender sex, even thinking sexy thoughts is abominable to God. Where should you place your trust? In these self-righteous theologians or your natural instincts and reason? If we listen to the theologians, we will come to believe that anything that happens between our legs is bad. There has to be a better rule to follow than that which has been provided by the Christian churches.

Religion doesn't play an inhibiting role anymore; people are still practicing their faith and not having conflicts between the religion and masturbation: Research would tend to disagree with any statement that says religion is no longer negatively influencing the ability of humans to explore and enjoy, guilt-free, their sexuality (particularly sex play enjoyed in solitary). The Janus Report on American sexuality shows a direct correlation between religious preference and participation in masturbation. In answer to the survey statement, "Masturbation is a natural part of life and continues on in marriage," 63% of Protestants and 67% of Catholics either agreed or strongly agreed. However, this contrasts with 75% of Jewish respondents who agree or strongly agree and 77% of respondents with no religion. Protestants and Catholics who disagreed with the statement were twice as numerous as those who were Jewish or had no religion. Interestingly, the Janus report found that enjoyment of masturbation was much more prevalent in the West and Northeast parts of the U.S. than in the Midwest or South where church-going is more popular. Survey findings in Sex in America do not cover relationships between masturbation and religion but there is one survey question, relating to masturbation and guilt (page 167), which reveals that masturbators are more often than not subject to guilt when they pleasure themselves. Guilt, as we know, is often, if not usually, associated with religious training.

Masturbation is a bad sexual practice because, being solitary in nature, it does not permit possible conception. Sex is for reproduction only: This, of course, is the major argument Roman Catholics use against masturbation and homosexuality. The premise is that sex engaged in for pleasure alone is wrong; there has to be that possibility of conception to make it legitimate. Hence, the church attacks masturbation, homosexuality, contraception, rubbers, and so on. They have boxed themselves in to a very difficult corner and many Roman Catholics are rebelling. According to Dr. Wendell Watters, M.D. (see bibliography below), "In devising a code of sexual behavior that would guarantee the survival of the church, the early fathers left no stone unturned in their determination to convert the female uterus into a factory for turning out Christian babies. Since masturbation is the simplest form of sexual gratification, and requires no partner, special condemnation was reserved for it. According to Tannahill Sex in History, the West's Christian society is the only one in which masturbation was totally proscribed." As late as 1975 the Vatican reaffirmed that masturbation was "an intrinsically and seriously disordered act." It isn't! It's a normal part of human sexual development and behavior. And it's a marvelous form of birth control. Perhaps the Catholics, who harangue continuously about abortion, should see the light and realize that if more people masturbated there might be fewer unwanted pregnancies and, hence, fewer abortions.

Other Religions

I have focused on Christianity in this essay (and Judaism since in our culture the two share common attitudes toward masturbation) for the obvious reason that it is the religious philosophy which is predominant in my culture and, in many respects, it is one of the most anti-sexual religions the world has ever seen. But non-Christian religions also have something to say about masturbation. As could be expected, Islam, which shares a Jewish heritage with Christianity, has a similar strict prohibition against masturbation. Oriental religions are a bit more tolerant, especially of female masturbation. Male masturbation is thought by practitioners of Oriental religions to be harmful because of the loss of semen. Semen is considered a vital substance and keeping it within the body is supposed to be spiritually advantageous. In contrast, modern medicine tells us that periodic release of semen is physically advantageous. We are told that traditional African religions tolerated masturbation.

If you have access to scholarship describing cultural-religious attitudes toward masturbation, please contact the current Webmaster.


Selected Masturbation Bibliography >>

Am I Gay?

Author: Chris (Ex-Solotouch Webmaster)

About three or four times each week, I get an email from a frantic young man that goes something like this: "Chris, I like to ___. Does this mean I'm GAY?!?!?" The blank is filled with anything from "think about my buddy while I masturbate" to "put on women's underwear." The fact that I get this question so often shows that things are about the same now as they were when I was a kid, and probably about the same as when anyone reading this was a kid. The number one worst social blunder you could make was to do or say anything that might cause people to think that you are a homosexual.

As we get older, of course, most of us slowly realize that some people we know are gay and that these gay people really aren't all that different from people that aren't gay. We let down our guard a bit, because in part, it's not socially acceptable among mature people to talk badly about "queers" and "faggots." Perhaps it's also partly because it's now commonly accepted that many people who "gay-bash" are, in fact, repressed homosexuals themselves. But one thing is clear: Most of us still don't want people thinking that we are gay. "I'm cool with gay people," we'll hear ourselves say, "I mean... more chicks for me, right?"

So, this article is for all you people out there who are trying to figure out if you are a homosexual. You want a formula, an equation into which you can plug your thoughts and actions and out will come a "GAY" or "STRAIGHT." Well, you're in luck---I'm going to give it to you.

The most popular class at my college was a psychology course called "Human Sexuality." The course was progressive and beneficial for everyone who took it. One of the topics, of course, was sexual orientation. The professor proudly explained to us that there is a new system of classifying people according to their sexual orientation.

First some background: Early methods of classification were simple. Either you were "straight" (i.e. normal) or you were "queer" (i.e. different). But bisexuals threw a wrench into the system. So, a sort of linear scale evolved:


Straight     Bisexual      Gay

But this doesn't cover everyone either. What if you're extremely attracted to members of both the opposite and same sex? What if you're really not attracted to either? So, enter The Sexuality Matrix (my name for it). This is the latest and greatest classification method.

The Sexuality Matrix

You can plot a person's sexual orientation on the two-dimensional graph by first plotting his/her level of attraction to the opposite sex on the 0 to 10 scale. Do the same thing for his/her level of attraction to the same sex, and you can now happily determine whether s/he is heterosexual, homosexual, bisexual or asexual. Ahhhh... All fixed.

So I flaunted my knowledge of this new, politically correct method of classifying people by their sexual preference on the Whispering Lily forum. The ensuing conversation led me to a simple conclusion. This is crap. All of it is crap. No one goes around drawing up graphs so they can plot how much people like, say, sunsets versus sunrises. (I am, by the way, a bisolarphile.) None of this "science" answers the question: Who cares and why?

The answer is more complex than any of us know, I'm sure. The only reasonable reason that I can see for a person wanting to know another human being's sexual preference is so the person can determine if the other is a possible mate or partner. And just because the preferences match doesn't mean that the other will be attracted to the particular person in question. So, there really is no good reason for caring if someone else is gay. But that does not change the fact that people do care if others are gay. And, in turn, people care if they are gay themselves.

So, here is your answer: Homosexuality is not a disease. It is not a condition that you wake up one day and find you have. It's not a condition at all. It's a concept. It's used to communicate to others what it is that you're looking for.

It's common for people to be attracted to people of the same sex---many experts believe that everyone is to some extent. After all, when you masturbate you are engaging in a sexual act with someone of the same sex. Does masturbation make you gay? No. Does the fact that you have fantasies about people of the same sex make you gay? No. Does wearing women's clothes make you gay? No.

It's up to you to decide if you are gay or not. And, better yet, it's up to you to decide whom, if anyone, you tell about your decision. Even better: you can change your mind. So the next time someone asks you if you're gay, say whatever you want. If you're not in the mood, I recommend "Not tonight."


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