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• Advantages of Masturbation
• Auto-Eroticism and Ecstatic Passageways
• Masturbation Has a Lot Going for It!
• Church Educator Helps People Realize Masturbating Isn't Sinful!
• Sexual Problems Plague Americans
Author: Albert Ellis, Ph.D.
Sexual Advantages Of Masturbation
People can often achieve better sex through resorting to autoerotic practices than they would achieve if they only resorted to interpersonal sexual contacts. For example:
1. They can help establish the philosophy that sex is good in, by, and for itself; and that there is nothing whatever wrong about experiencing it as a fine thing in its own right.
2. They can explore various kinds of self-stimulation and discover which ones are maximally satisfying for themselves.
3. They can frequently learn, through masturbating, enjoyable forms of sexuality that they can subsequently use to achieve satisfactory modes of sex participation with others.
4. They can often judge just how sexually responsive they personally are, and determine how big or little a part they wish sex pleasure to play in their lives.
5. They can manage to repeat enjoyable arousal and orgasm almost at will, without any restrictions from a sex partner. They can thereby participate in sex more frequently than they are likely to do with other individuals.
6. They can best schedule their sex activities as well as their resting periods, between activities, since they do not have to depend on the participation of their partners.
7. They can avoid making undue demands on the time, energy, and sexuality of their partners, thereby often helping these partners have maximum sex satisfaction and minimum pain or frustration.
8. They can in many cases (especially if they are females) have more intense and more satisfying forms of arousal and orgasm than is likely with their regular or special partners.
9. They can best train themselves in suitable sexual fantasies, since they have no interferences or distractions from their partners, and may focus on what is most pleasing and useful to themselves in this connection. Once they learn how to fantasize best during masturbation, they can often transfer this learning to their sex affairs with others.
10. If they have unusual sexual desires or have some kinds of handicaps or deficiencies (such as inability to come to orgasm in a reasonably short period of time), they can often cater to these desires or overcome these handicaps through masturbating than they can with sex partners.
11. They often can focus better on their own sexual sensations and pleasures than when they are distracted or interfered with by the presence of partners. As in the case of fantasy, their learning to focus may then be transferable to their sex acts with others.
12. They may be less limited in their use of mechanical objects (such as dildos), special apparatuses (such as vibrators), fetishes (such as certain objects of clothing), or other sex aids than they would with a partner present.
13. They may be able, in many instances, to engage in much longer periods of arousal and near-orgasm than they would with partners; they may also be able to prolong the duration of their orgasms.
14. They may naturally have, with no intent or special technique on their part, more intense orgasms through masturbation than they are likely to have with others; and they may usually come to orgasm, if they wish to do, much faster through autoerotic practices than through any other mode of sexuality.
15. During masturbation, they can be observed by a partner, and may thus bring themselves and the partner special arousal and satisfaction. They may also be able to learn about their own sexuality and gratification by their partner's observations.
16. They may naturally build up considerable sexual tension when they do not have sex play and orgasm; this kind of tension may be satisfactorily (or more satisfactorily) released through masturbation.
17. Because they find masturbation easily available and ideal for experimental purposes and because they have minimal restrictions in participating in it, they therefore can practice it at whim and may increase their sex desire and proclivities.
18. They may have inhibitions about having sex with partners, particularly because they are too shy or ashamed to engage in interpersonal sexuality, and may therefore be afforded a very active sex life despite these kinds of inhibitions.
19. They may have specific sexual handicaps that prevent them from easily acquiring partners---such as a low sex drive, inability to come to orgasm quickly, or unusually small sex organs; and they may be able, in spite of these handicaps, to lead an active sex life through masturbation.
20. They may have specific nonsexual handicaps that prevent them from easily acquiring partners---such as small stature, physical deformity, diseases, or homely features; and they may be able, in spite of these nonsexual handicaps, to lead an active sex life through masturbation.
Emotional Advantages Of Masturbation
People can often achieve greater emotional health and satisfaction through resorting to autoerotic practices than they would achieve if they only resorted to interpersonal contacts. For example:
1. They can adopt a philosophy of enjoyment that not only aids them in their sexual but in their general life. They can seek more emotional satisfaction and less pain.
2. They can especially see the value of giving to themselves, and not merely to others; and while not becoming entirely autistic or self-centered, they can add a hedonistic philosophy to that of social interest---or choose, if that is their wish, to become more devoted to themselves than to others.
3. When they are forced by conditions or circumstances to be alone, and this is against their wish and they feel lonely, they can divert themselves into the pleasurable pursuit of masturbation and thus feel much better.
4. They can use autoerotic pursuits to distract themselves from anxiety, self-downing, depression, and other disturbing feelings. Masturbation will not solve these basic emotional problems; but as a distraction technique it is one of the best and will at least serve as temporary palliation for emotional distress in innumerable instances.
5. Masturbation can be used as a shame-attacking and guilt-attacking homework assignment. In rational-emotive therapy (RET) and other forms of cognitive-behavior therapy, a good many "shameful" acts are given as homework assignments for individuals to practice, to show them that nothing is intrinsically "shameful"---that people only attribute "shame" or "guilt" to certain acts. As such an assignment, masturbation can prove very helpful emotionally.
6. People can use masturbation to gain confidence in their own ability to arouse themselves and bring themselves to orgasm; and when they gain such confidence, they tend to feel much better and stop downgrading themselves, sexually and in other areas of their lives.
7. When people's lives are filled with few enjoyments and many frustrations, masturbation can easily remain as one of their frequent pleasures and distractions. It may enhance their lives and make them feel much happier and less depressed.
8. People can use masturbation as a goal-directing and pro- thinking activity. Given the problem of satisfying themselves sexually, and not having interpersonal outlets easily available, they may think up various forms of masturbatory activities that will help them live more happily; and they may also develop useful goal-directed attitudes and pursuits in the process.
9. People can use masturbation as a form of self-exploration, to discover exactly what they like or do not like sexually. Thus, they can explore their own likes and dislikes as well in other important areas of their lives. They can also become more risk taking and adventurous through these avenues of enjoyment.
10. People can not only distract themselves from disturbed feelings by masturbating, as mentioned above, but they can also directly release bodily and emotional tensions thereby. The release of tension through masturbation frequently helps men and women relax, get ready for other pursuits, and restfully sleep when they want to do so.
Healthful Advantages Of Masturbation
People often achieve greater physical and general health through resorting to autoerotic practices than they would probably achieve if they only resorted to interpersonal contacts. For example:
1. Undesirable pregnancy and abortion are avoided.
2. The possibility of acquiring venereal diseases from others and acquiring various other diseases, such as colds, coughs, respiratory ailments, skin infections and the like is minimized. (This was written before AIDS; that medical problem could be added to this list.---Editor)
3. People often aid their physical healthy by managing to obtain regular sexual release and satisfaction; and sometimes by going through involved physical exercises as they masturbate.
4. Women, in particular, may help overcome pre-menstrual tension or other physical conditions association with their menstrual cycles when they masturbate.
5. Masturbation often leads to relaxed sleeping conditions and to concomitant conditions that aid some people's physical health.
6. When physically ill or disabled, people can often masturbate when it would not be practical for them to have interpersonal sex experiences, and they may thereby help themselves back to a healthier condition.
Relationship Advantages Of Masturbation
Although masturbation, when resorted to by oneself, is obviously a solitary pursuit, some people actually achieve better relationships with their partners or mates than they would probably achieve if they only engaged in sexual contacts with these partners. For example:
1. When one partner or mate wants much more sex than the other, masturbation enables one partner to be steadily satisfied and, at the same time, not impose on the other. This kind of consideration for the other partner frequently enhances the love relationship between the two.
2. When one partner or mate temporarily wants less sex than the other partner---as when one is in the last stages of pregnancy, is ill, or is disabled---masturbation may again enable one partner to be steadily satisfied sexually without imposing on the other. An ill or disabled partner may especially appreciate the other's masturbating; and their relationship may be considerably bettered thereby.
3. When one partner wants sex only occasionally or intermittently, the other partner may keep up his or her level of arousal and interest in sex by masturbating, and may therefore be ready for sex when the first partner wants to be available again. Otherwise, both partners might sink into a kind of sexual apathy and inertia and their sex and love lives might be impaired.
4. People often make themselves hostile toward each other because one partner wants the kind of sex that the other does not, or for various kinds of nonsexual reasons. When they resort to masturbation, they are able to get some of the kind of sex that they cannot obtain from their partner, and thereby hostility abates: since one partner is no longer sexually deprived and the other is not imposed on.
5. Masturbation allows both partners a large measure of freedom and self-satisfaction; when they know that they have this freedom they tend to tolerate some of the restrictions of an enduring relationship much better and have a more loving relationship.
6. Masturbation frequently helps bring about better attitudes on the part of both partners toward themselves and toward others.
7. People who resort to masturbation when they are mated and who find unusual or extra satisfactions in this kind of autoerotic activity tend to feel less overconstrained by the mating relationship and to adjust better to their partners.
8. As noted previously, people who learn self-satisfying sex acts in the process of masturbating can often bring these acts to their participation with others and thereby enhance their interpersonal sex relations.
Other Advantages Of Masturbation
Millions of people throughout the world have always found and still find a great many other advantages when they resort to masturbation that they would not find if they only participated in interpersonal contacts. For example:
1. They save a great deal of time and energy arranging for masturbatory pursuits rather than always having to arranged for interpersonal sex.
2. They can easily intersperse their masturbatory activities with nonsexual acts, while they often do not do the same with their interpersonal sex contacts.
3. They can masturbate with just about no paraphernalia, room requirements, space requirements, etc.; while they often have trouble in these respects when having sex with a partner.
4. They can engage in masturbation most inexpensively, while other forms of sex often require some kind of monetary outlay.
5. They can easily and quickly keep themselves out of potential sex, love, or general trouble by resorting to masturbation. If they could not masturbate, they might sometimes be tempted to resort to various kinds of unethical or criminal behavior.
6. They can use masturbation in symbolic, religious, value laden, and other ways and, if they wish, derive unification experiences and other profound nonsexual exp
eriences from engaging in it.
You will note, in the foregoing list, some fifty advantages of masturbation. The list is hardly exhaustive and could undoubtedly be increased to more than a hundred.
All of which proves---what? Merely that autoeroticism is a major and important part of human behavior.
(The above was electronically reproduced by permission from the Foreword to Human Autoerotic Practices, edited by Manfred F. DeMartino (New York: Human Sciences Press, 1979). Copyright 1979 by Human Sciences Press. Dr. Ellis is a well-known psychotherapist and sexologist. He has written many books on sexology including the excellent Sex Without Guilt, New York: Lyle Stuart, 1958, and Hollywood: Wilshire Books, 1965.)
Author: Marcia Singer
Eroticism is about being turned on. Ecstasy is also about being turned on, as every cell in your body celebrates Life. The creative life energies that we call "sexuality," the perceptive faculties we refer to as "sensuality," when allowed true freedom and fullness of expression, produce the erotic, orgasmic state that we call ecstasy. Ecstasy is perhaps the fullest orgasmic state we can attain with our earthly bodies. I call these "Ecstatic Passageways," because for me, there is no higher calling than to find and share these.
I will explore these passageways with you, in hopes of enhancing your appreciation for the wondrous instrument and vehicle for ecstasy called "bodymind." Let's break new ground then with the taboo area of auto-eroticism by first moving away from the notion that it is synonymous with masturbation and genital orgasm, and secondly, removing masturbation from our minds as questionable responsible adult behavior.
Loving begins at home, within each of us. This means an ever deepening recognition of myself as an embodiment of Divine Creation. It also means an increasing appreciation of how the degree to which I respect, cherish, and delight myself colors all my daily interactions with others. If loving begins at home, so does lovemaking. Generically, lovemaking is any act of creating love, especially when it's conscious: kissing a child, fondling a kitten, smelling an early spring rose, consorting with the wind spirits on a breezy afternoon, melting in a lover's embrace. If you allow sexuality to be creative lovemaking energy in action, you'll experience any of the above expressions of lovemaking to be sexual---and sensual.
Play with that word, letting it become "sense-you-all." Imagine yourself keenly alive, alert, all your sense-abilities in play. Open up past our cultural vision that severely limits these concepts, often to the notion of a pursuit of sexual intercourse---unless you consider that intercourse itself is a movement toward Divine Union. Our restrictive cultural definitions, plus all its consternation and repressiveness about bodies, instinctual expressions such as touching, feelings/emotions, sexuality, sensuality, and fear of pleasure itself, severely limit the potential richness of our erotic natures and lovemaking capabilities. Our legacy is often a profound disappointment, a yearning for elusive intimacy.
Isn't it time for us all to celebrate ourselves as wholly Divine and naturally erotic? Why not experience ourselves as inherently sensual and sexual, all the time, and lovemaking as a natural, instinctual creative act? Let's stretch to consider that every act is "creative," being Creator/Love expressing, and therefore is lovemaking! If fear of being fully alive disappeared, we might imagine being ecstatic 24 hours a day! This dance of learning to feel naturally "turned on" is the art of ecstasy, and the art of auto-eroticism, the experience of sensual and sexual bodymind as facets of the pulse or rhythm of Life itself.
Ecstasy comes from making love with yourself and all life around you. Imagine being fully present and alive each moment. Imagine the "juice" you would generate. This is true self-pleasuring, another word often used for masturbation, a behavior that has certainly gotten a lot of mixed reviews. Masturbating has been said to cause warts and madness, and provide a speedy route to hell. It's still linked to the Protestant work ethic in which pleasure itself is suspect, along with anything that can produce it, ESPECIALLY anything linked to "the flesh" and instinctual energies. This locks up our feelings and emotions, bodies and minds, away from rapture. Even among educated persons today, many people associate masturbating with an adolescent mentality, or as a poor health choice. Most schools of Tantra Yoga teach that masturbating to ejaculatory orgasm saps life energy, especially for men.
In these atmospheres, self pleasuring is random, distrusted and infrequently available as the healthy, healing ecstatic passageway it is meant to be.
Author and athlete, George Leonard, in his now out-of-print work entitled The End of Sex, provides valuable perspective. He divides our lovemaking potential into two categories, the sexual and the erotic. He uses the word "sex" to denote the common, semi- conscious, depersonalized, generalized and manipulative activity most people engage in. I see this as coming from a bodymind split, a feeling of need arising from an alienation from Self and general lack of true intimacy. Typically there is a longing for "something" that remains elusive, perhaps a sense of connection with our Divine nature. Sexual activity, then, is reduced to an addiction or a way to "sell" ourselves, our products and services, and often a furtive, pathetic attempt to feel OK.
How does Leonard define "erotic?" Erotic denotes an encounter with Eros, the true Lover, and participating fully in the moment. It's where heaven meets earth. Each erotic encounter is unique, personal, and a conscious activity. There is no "goal" and no "performing." There is lovemaking. This is the domain of intimacy and of knowing Divinity within self and partner, and both as Beloved. This is also what I believe we all want to experience at a deep level no matter what our outer behavior suggests.
The point here is that we must pay attention to the kind of experience we are having if we want to have the most from our sensual and sexual lives. In his book The Way of the Lover, Robert Augustus Masters speaks eloquently about doing away with "compulsive rituals" and "pleasurable sedation," mere relieving of tension, to "lucid passion" where "love out-dances every alibi." He asks us to let ourselves "be a meeting place of grief and joy, a potent and throbbingly human intersection of both the mortal and the Everlasting." He describes ecstasy for us as an intensification of happiness that accompanies true Being, rather than being related to attaining something. He also counsels that in sexual terms, if this sort of happiness is not present throughout our lovemaking encounter, orgasm won't assure it. Says Masters:
"If such happiness is not present before we begin to engage in sex, then our sexual act is precisely that, an ACT whose predictably scripted dramatics are intended to produce 'good' feelings and intimacy, an act that is but fleshed-out fantasy, starring us in our search for ecstasy.... If what precedes orgasm is not ecstasy, then orgasm is but best a bolt of pleasure, a few waves of intense thrill; even if it's a storm, a great bursting, an intoxicating undulation of delicious current...it is still only a cul-de-sac of quickly spent excitation.... Ecstasy exists in the heart of each moment, in the very depths that we flee in our compulsive search for pleasurable release. Ecstasy is the full-bodied freedom of unexploitable freedom, a feeling that pervades our entire being...the shout of the awakened heart..."
Whether Masters is accurate or not, realistically, I'm sure many would welcome even some of the kinds of intense pleasures described above, whether or not true ecstasy is being experienced yet. In my private practice it's common to meet individuals who experience little pleasure or passion at all. Yet I feel it's very valuable to keep opening to all that is possible, especially when our hearts are participating. This allows for the possibility that we've only touched the tip of an iceberg, and an erotic and ecstatic iceberg at that!
Getting down to basic pleasurable and practical brass tacks: How successful are you at providing yourself with deeply pleasurable experiences? How do you make love to yourself? Think about it carefully. Do you treat your senses to pleasure meals? How much life to you absorb? And give back? Have you ever experienced making love with the sun or moon? Stars? Wind? A tree? What touches you? Do you enjoy the experience of touching yourself? If you're like most, you'll have to pause both to remember any specific acts of self touch as well as to consider if they pleased you or not. You probably have more questions than answers. It's helpful in creating the touch life of your dreams to answer such fare as, "What kinds of touches did I engage in today? What kinds of self touches are even possible?"
Let's get specific. Keep a "Touch Journal," either all the touch events you can recall, or those you feel are most significant. Really get "in touch" with yourself. If you can, be even more gracious, more loving. There's nothing in the book that says you have to be serious. Enjoy yourself in the process of exploring your bodymind, your sensitivities. Learn what kinds of touches turn you on, delight you or arouse the fireball in you. Discover what kinds of touches (and environments) bring out the soft and gentle you, or the wildcat you, or the playful you. You may surprise yourself that you really can enjoy auto-eroticism.
While I can't argue the potential awesome wonders of two-someness, I will state emphatically that most of us have only barely begun to discover how to self-pleasure. And in a real sense, even with someone else, your actual experience is produced by you as an act of self-pleasuring. Furthermore, the deeper your self-pleasuring, the less desperate or needy you are apt to feel and the better your chances will be to experience ecstasy with another. So take your auto-erotic moments to heart and they will become a way of thinking and a way of life.
You might begin with a Heartbreath. I teach this to all my students who wish to experience fuller sexual/sensual presence and "energies." Just get into a position that allows you to breathe easily and comfortably. Focus on your "love spot"----the heart----and feel your love for yourself expanding with each inbreath, deepening with each outbreath (or vice-versa, if that fits you better). Relax even more profoundly. Feel anything and everything. Trust where feeling takes you. My experience is that a hundred percent commitment to each moment of reality/feeling will carry you into ecstasy.
Now imagine yourself connecting your heartbreath to your genitals. Love yourself in this way, and feel everything and anything that comes to you. Allow healing to take its natural course. Often this simple movement will arouse and pleasure you. This is the time, if you wish, to begin to touch your body. Begin anywhere, any way you like. As you do, notice any thought pictures that form or pass through your mind, as well as any inner "voices" that sound. You will develop a keen awareness of how your mind, body, emotions and sexual energies interrelate.
Author and sex therapist Bryce Britton, in The Love Muscle: Every Woman's Guide to Intensifying Sexual Pleasure, suggests that masturbatory self-pleasuring is essential to mature sexual response. She says masturbation teaches you the basics about your own genital orgasm. Her suggestion to set up a date with yourself for an autoerotic encounter works for men as well as women. Take the phone off the hook, find a spot where you won't be disturbed and give yourself time to enjoy and discover. Be kind to all your senses: flowers or incense to delight the olfactory, a tasty beverage for gustatory awakening; a favorite piece of music to enhance auditory participation. Visuals are important, whether internal fantasy images, or enjoying your roomspace or even looking at your own body in a mirror. And, most importantly, your tactile senses. You may begin by lying down on something that feels terrific to your bare skin, or wearing something loose, comfortable and sensuous. I call this "Getting into the Mood."
The second step is to "Relax." How nice that all these preparatory gestures may already have greatly relaxed you, as your senses take in all these delights. Feel the sense of your mind, body, and feelings to be in accord, all here in spacetime. Now you may relax even more deeply by allowing your mind to drift, detaching from thinking, just noticing thoughtforms as they arise or pass by. You may elect a third step, "Imagination," and begin to envision a specific lovemaking scene or scenario. It may be a special outdoors spot, and alone with a lover. If the weather is warm enough, and you have an open door or window, allow the breeze to silken your body as you dream. (You may even produce orgasmic waves this way!)
Now, as a next step, begin your heartbreathing. Experience this venture as a truly loving act. Notice, too, how heartbreathing relaxes your bodymind even more deeply. Later, after you've been exploring your body with self-touches, you may try varying your breathing as a way of producing different bodily sensations, of degrees and types of electric waves and currents of erotic energies. Try slow, regular breaths, and fast, fiery ones. Breathe through your nose as well as your mouth. You'll be amazed at what you'll learn about yourself.
The last step is the practice of touching yourself all over, every nook and delicious cranny. Try different kinds of touches, such as caresses, tickles, scratches, tiny pats, pinches, slaps, with differing durations and pacing. Use your fingertips, nails, palms. There are no rules! The only limits are with your imagination. Treat yourself as you would wish to be treated by the best lover you could imagine. BE that best lover to yourself. You may find that it will change your inter-personal relationships for the better. Like will attract like in this case. As you touch yourself, deeply feel the pleasure that is your Divine birthright, inherent in your makeup. Remember that touch is ultimately a communication. It is information. What do your self-touches say about you? Your mood? Your mind? Your heart? The kind of past experiences you've had about touching? In these new touching, auto-erotic, self-pleasuring adventures, you can recreate your history, dissolving past hurts, ills, defeats. Learn to touch only with love. Be touched by the love that is in creation all around you.
Be love in the making. Be ecstatic. Be well. Pass it on to others.
[Copyright 1992 by Ecstasy magazine. Electronically reproduced by permission of the author and the magazine.]
Marcia Singer, M.S.W., C.Ht., directs the Foundation For Intimacy in Southern California. Focusing on the soulful reintegrating of body, heart, mind and spirt, Marcia's creative genius encompasses a rainbow of "love arts," e.g. her "Organic Tantric Bodywork," RELATIONshops (SM), P.L.A.Y.shops, authoring numerous books and articles, and making/teaching artforms as a means of releasing unconscious/spiritual wisdom. A former professional entertainer, Marcia maintains guild memberships in SAG and AFATRA and is a popular and dynamic media guest.
Her 1989 article in Massage Magazine, "Sexual Turn-ons During Massage," created a national brouhaha in the industry with her suggestion that masturbation can be an intelligent and compassionate addition to the professional practice of massage.
Following is a discourse about masturbation from various Net sources. The first section attempts to correct traditional Christian attitudes toward masturbation while other portions are history and a recap of positive pronouncements about masturbation.
Since there are no direct verses other than misunderstood Gen 38 dealing with masturbation [it is] hard to address. Knowing the history however can be helpful:
How masturbation got its bad rap: First came the misunderstanding of the biblical passage related to Onan whose sin, was not masturbation but not impregnating his dead brothers wife. Genesis 38:6-9. This passage describes how Tamar's first husband Er was killed by God because he was wicked. Under ancient Jewish law, Er's brother Onan was required to have sexual intercourse with Tamar. Their first son would be attributed to Er. Because any offspring would not be considered his child, Onan decided to use a common and relatively ineffective contraceptive technique to prevent any conception. He employed "coitus interruptus". That is, he disengaged from Tamar just before he ejaculated, and "spilled his semen on the ground." (NIV) God was displeased at this action and killed Onan as well.
Then came the twisted Christian tradition that sex was only proper for procreation, not just enjoyment. The stigma was later compounded by the 18th century Swiss physician Tissot who believed that while bood-flow changes during any kind of sex would cause nerve damage and insanity, masturbation was especially hazardous.
Tissot's teachings were picked up by American physician Benjamin Rush. Besides signing the Declaration of Independence, Rush wrote several influential articles on masturbation that helped make it one of the most feared activities in the new United States. Antimasturbatory devices became available, including a tube lined with metal spikes that fit over the penis. Until this century, young men were sometimes put to bed in straitjackets or with their hands tied to bedposts to make sure they didn't do it. Kellogg, of cornflakes fame, was a virulent crusader against masturbation and invented the cereal as one element of a diet he thought would quench the sex drive. (Mr. Graham came up with the Graham cracker for the same purpose.) For those masturbators whom snacks could not cure, Kellogg suggested circumcision without anesthesia.
Finally, around the turn of the century, physicians started to realize that masturbation was not the evil earlier generations thought it was. Still, it was not until 1940 that a respected textbook, "Diseases of Infancy and Childhood," removed its discussion of masturbation from the chapter titled "Functional and Nervous Disorders."
More Detail on the story of Onan---In the Jewish Hebrew culture a man achieved immortality through his offspring. For example, Onan practiced coitus interruptus to prevent his deceased brother's wife from conceiving, so the LORD KILLED HIM! The sin was not having sex with dead brothers wife (that was required by law) but the "murderous act" that murdered the dead brothers soul no longer immortal with no children. Since immortality is passed through the generations, it's clear why the sins for sexual deviation were so savagely condemned. Under those beliefs, homosexual acts, would have been murderous to all of one's forefathers since they did not pass on children to the next generation and jeopardize forefather's afterlife. Adultery was just as bad since it mixed blood lines. Singles sex was seldom an issue since everyone was married (often to many wives) at a young age.
One's state in the afterlife, according to other contemporary documents of the time, was determined by the number of living descendants one had. The more children one had, the more wonderful one's position in the afterlife would be. Hence, it was important to have many children. This may have been why men of wealth had so many wives and concubines. The sin of Onan had nothing to do with masturbation being wrong. Only the sexually repressive Church tried to teach that as one of the many lies about biblical sexuality. Fortunately most Christians have become more informed and even the traditional church has given up on the Onan lie!
An internet message in reply to above post: --"Quite true. The sad preoccupation with masturbation came from Jansenism, a heresy which said the Human Body is inherently evil. ...As a Catholic Priest, I have sorrowed greatly at the unnecessary neurosis our Catholic Church has fostered regarding masturbation...Glad you have this out there."
Masturbation For Good Health -- You are not insane. You are not blind. Your have not grant hair on your palms. You are a completely competent member of society---despite all the times you've done it. Kinsey and the latest Sex in America report show there's a whole lot of shaking going on. Today's sex researchers have come to grips with the fact that masturbation has important physical and emotional benefits for both men and women.
Getting a Grip -- "Masturbation is a normal, natural activity throughout life," says Robert Pollack, a psychology professor at the University of Georgia. It may even contribute to mental health and not doing it may lead to psychosexual problems. For men, masturbation or regular sex is good for the prostate and can prevent painful prostate blockage. For women it can help reduce cramping and for both men and women has been shown to have a healthy effect on the immune systems as well as reducing overall tension and helping emotions. Besides being healthy for the body, a private grope can help both a man and a woman better understand their own sexuality. If you can learn to lie back and enjoy it and really pay attention to the pleasure it gives your body---no one knows better than you what gives you maximum pleasure---you can share that knowledge with a partner and have more mutually fulfilling sexual pleasure sharing. The self-awareness gained from masturbation makes it a central feature of many sex therapy programs.
Evolution may have even designed us to be masturbators. Notice when you are standing where your hand falls if you hang it in front of you. Apes do it, dogs and cats do it, elephants do it and even porcupines have been observed doing it, probably very carefully. One reason we may be so programmed, paradoxically, is to increase our odds of producing offspring. Older sperm can lose their ability to swim well. A good masturbatory flush guarantees fresh, robust sperm for mating.
Storing seminal fluids for long periods can also cause prostate congestion, which in turn can lead to urinary and ejaculatory pain. Regular ejaculations, either through masturbation or intercourse, can help ward off this condition, also called nonspecific prostatitis and, for obvious reasons, "sailor's disease" and "priest's disease."
Another reason why nature designed us to masturbate is to strengthen PC muscles, much like "Kegel" exercises. This is especially true in females where strong PC muscles are practically the sole factor in whether labor is easy and fast or long and difficult. Females masturbating regularly with multiple orgasms would develop strong PC muscles and should have easier labor.
Masturbation is also an ever-renewable health resource. In fact, the people who start the earliest and do it the most often are the ones who do it longest into old age. So, as with all sexual activity, it's "use it or lose it."
Another potential concern is reliance on masturbation for sexual pleasure to the exclusion of intimacy with another person. But in such cases, masturbation is probably a symptom, not a cause, of larger psychological barriers to intimacy. Most people want relationships. But if you're scared of them, you might stick with masturbation exclusively.
As one women said on the internet: "Sexual release is just as important as any kind of emotional release. Saying that you shouldn't masturbate is like saying that you shouldn't cry when you're upset or hurt, or that you should hold in anger and other emotions. I see no difference between sexual release and emotional release. Not releasing will only result in stress and health problems. And I know that I need no more stress in my life. I figure, if something helps a person relieve stress, clear their mind, and make them feel better (that doesn't hurt others, mind you), then more power to them."
Author: Arby Jay
(Below is the text of some general comments and an offer to help with struggling Chrisitans troubled by the concept of 'masturbation as sin'. Thank you for your site!)
First, let me congratulate you on this wonderful site. While researching a teaching on "so-called" sex-addiction, your site was one of very few PRO masturbation sites. I have read many of the articles on the site, as well as a good number of the articles on other sites you had recommended. I sincerely believe you are doing a fine work -you are to be highly commended! There are so many ANTI sites I had to sift through about 350 of them before I found Solo Touch. I'm glad I did!
I read with great interest, understanding, and compassion your article on "Flipping Off the Pleasure Police." I couldn't agree with you more! Your story is similar to mine in many respects. It has always amazed me that the very people the church claims it should be reaching out to, are the very ones with their emphasis on control they have driven away. I am a married man in my late 50's. I have been actively masturbating since age 12. For many, many years (too many in fact!), I let the shame and guilt that "teachings" of the church placed on masturbation destroy my mental, emotional, and spiritual well being.
Several times a year, I assist teaching a class in church on compulsion and addiction; also on "sexual addiction". Over the last five or six years I have made a complete reversal, personally, on the concepts of sexual addiction, and of the church calling masturbation a sin. I have recently had an opportunity to "rewrite" the materials used in the sexual addiction teaching. I rewrote a substantial amount of material, especially on the concept of masturbation. Although within a church setting, I didn't come right out and say "go for it guys", I did rewrite, recast, slant, etc. the teaching in such a way that a reasonable reader, reading between the lines easily comes to the conclusion that masturbation is not a sin. At some point in the near future, I will also have the chance to rewrite other course material. When I write material I definitely write it from a RATIONAL viewpoint, NOT repeating some tired and worn out clichés , the results of which the church has proven to be wrong (by the results in peoples lives!) over the centuries.
Prior to teaching this class, I had spent seven years facilitating various men's groups in the church. For the most part, these groups were very popular in that they dealt with the "nitty-gritty" issues of real men's lives, not some hypothetical spiritual experience that most people don't, can't, nor ever will have. From talking with and counseling hundreds of men over the last seven years, sexual issues in and out of marriage were easily the number one problem, and within these sexual issues, masturbation was easily the major issue. I have seen men jump through the burning hoops of hell trying to get some "relief" from the "sin" of masturbation. What really pisses (OOPS!) me off is that so many wives seemed to be the one "holding" masturbation over their husbands heads. In the vast majority of cases, masturbation was not the cause of problems in their marriage, nor was it actually the cause of continuing problems in the marriage. What seemed to be the more prevalent modality was a deadly combination of prissy Victorian attitudes by the wives coupled with men swallowing hook line and sinker the church teaching that "masturbation was sin". What was the poor bastard to do? Here he sat, condemned by his wife, condemning himself, almost sure that god was going to condemn him too! These kind of situations help to force me to really come to grips with my own masturbation. I could see the hell the shame and guilt cause in me. I could easily see the hell the shame and guilt in these other men.
I would encourage the men not to worry about masturbation being a "sin". Instead, I would concentrate on the other aspects of their relationship and marriage that were causing it to fall apart. In the vast, vast majority of cases, objectively, masturbation was not a "cause" of their marriage problems. Instead it was one more "excuse" their wives used to beat them into submission. As I talked with these men I came up with the humorous (at least to most men!) acronym for some wives---here goes: B.I.T.C.H (Which stands for Basic Impulse To Control Husbands). Most men laugh, many agree. There wives in fact are "bitchy" in direct proportion to controlling their husband's lives.
I could go on and on. I have written many scores of pages over the years about healthy human sexuality and Christianity. It is definitely from an pro-sexual viewpoint. I appeal to men's reason, not mysticism. When I have had the chance to talk openly, and freely to some men in the church about some of these issues, these "differing" concepts have generally been well received. The biggest problem for many 'church- going men' is that they don't use the same critical thinking skills when contemplating spiritual issues that they would use when confronting other important issues in life. They just let other's, their parents, friends, associates, wives, girl friends, etc. do their thinking for them.
To affirm what some writers have already intimated---in my case as I have sincerely worked through the issues of HOW I got so shamed about sex, sexuality, and masturbation, WHEN it occurred, I have been able to become free from ALL the guilt and shame about masturbation. Personally, I am very "pro-masturbation". Although my wife is "anti-masturbation", I just don't bring up the subject. I now able to freely enjoy masturbating, which I do frequently with great joy. In fact, I can say that in the last few years as I have been freed from the guilt and shame, my general mental attitude, self-images, self-esteem, ability to connect in meaningful ways with others has improved because I can masturbate free from the self-condemnation and shame so many Christian men put themselves through.
This fall, my wife and I will be getting a new computer. The one at home on which I am writing this e-mail only runs Windows 3.1, thus I am not on the net. I use a computer at our public library for my internet contacts. I would be very interested in answering or receiving questions from "struggling" Christians, who are conflicted between what their bodies clearly are telling them is good, and what the church is telling them is bad.
Thank you so much for your fine work! Thank God there are fine, dedicated people like yourself, and your support staff that will tackle this subject with openness and honesty! Using a line from my lesson plan, "just because we learned about sex in all the wrong places, does not prevent us from finishing the race with honor!". I will looking forward to contacting the site soon. Again, if there are struggling Christians out there, I would be happy to answer any questions they might have!
Webmaster's note: I wrote to Mr. Jay, thanking him for his contribution above, which I think is excellent. I also asked him why he stuck with the church when he so openly realizes it is on the wrong track entirely. His thoughtful response follows:
Just a quick note re: your gracious and thoughtful reply to my e-mail.
I guess there are a couple of reasons I "stay in the church":
1. My spirituality and relationship with "GOD" does not depend upon the church.
2. I am a rational being capable of thinking for myself.
3. Since I was so "deluded" by blindly accepting as "truth" what eventually were proven to be lies, I get mighty indignant with the teachings of the church.
4. Over the years, I have been able to be in a position of influence. From an experiential point of view, I have been more effective, I believe, staying in the church, and working to change individual men.
Your comment about "self-inflicted" wounds was very apropos! God, how I have seen men beat them selves up over minor, minor stuff. For a couple of years, when I still was facilitating a men's support group, I had a "whip of knotted cords" in the center of the table. (I made it from some leather strips and a wooden handle). I'd begin the meeting with the observation that "you're welcome to pick up the whip of knotted cords and beat yourself if you think it will make you feel better!") That was an attention getter. Most men snapped out of the pity-party, self-immolation state they were in, and with the aid of that "externalizing" device, the whip, would ask themselves, "yeah, just what am I beating myself up for?" That usually broke the ice, then we could get down to the real issues.
Most of the time, men were suffering from "problems with living"---problems that occur to humankind in general, but are greatly magnified by an overscrupulous conscience. Essentially, an overscrupulous conscience is where men would "rattle around inside their heads trying to find something good to say about themselves!" I stick with the program of working inside the church, I think, because I do see some good results. Several factors have lead to this metamorphosis on my part. You mentioned, I believe, in "flipping off the pleasure police" that you had a "disconnect" with the concept of the Parousia. And well you should have! I have been preaching (to a limited audience unfortunately!) the inherent errors and personal problems a person pulls upon themselves due to misunderstanding of the Parousia. A little over ten years ago, a brother gave me a copy of a book called "The Parousia"---by J. Stuart Russell. Written in the 1880's it was and is and exceptionally fine analysis of why the common "belief in the second coming" for today is totally erroneous and leads people down a pathway of destruction. Thank goodness on the net, there are "Preterist" web sites advocating this position.
I believe that the pleasure police have such a strong strangle hold on Christians is because they are inadvertently doing something for which they condemn Islam. In Islam, it is considered the most righteous and holy act to die for Allah. In fact, "paradise" is very much a physically and sensual state of being. Christian theologians have constructed a convoluted concept of a "Parousia-to-come" that essentially "dangles like a carrot" all the "pleasures of life" to the "faithful" that endure suffering and privation to the "end". I ask myself the logical question 10 years ago---"what if there is no end?" As I cogitated on that, and ran the logical assumptions backward, the idea of a "Parousia" to come seemed totally ridiculous.
Similar to your experiences, I have also read and investigated a lot of history, textual criticism, about the bible and the church. The church would call me a heretic but I do not, can not, nor will I every swallow biblical concepts 'just cause' someone else says they are so! God gave me a brain to think with in a rational manner. So, I use it to think. If my conclusions happen to disagree with someone else, including "commonly accepted understandings of the Bible", then so be it. I am entitled to my beliefs and will not change for any man.
I am truthfully happy for you that you have in fact been able to make peace with yourself. I do understand about peace and JOY! Certainly, the subject of the website is masturbation. Make no mistake, masturbation is not my ONLY joy! I have joy in a lot of other things in life. It just happens that I do have a tremendous amount of masturbating, an unashamedly participate in it. Thanks for your kind words about remaining in "the system". I know that Bishop Spong, and myself (I am in a decidedly more "conservative" church---not "right wing" just more conservative than the Episcopal church) are not the only men that think this way. Until someone says "the fight is over" I will keep on fighting on the inside to change the church. I keep seeing signs that help me to believe there is hope. For example, sex, sex addiction, masturbation, impotence etc. weren't even discussed in the church 20 years ago. Today, there is a lot more open and frank discussion on these subjects. Yes, much of it is from a moralistic view. However, Bishop Spong and others like myself stay in there, punching' away at the false premises of the churches view on sex and sexuality. I believe, or at least I've convinced myself to believe that over time, both time and circumstances will alter the church's view radically. As more and more people are discovering sex, sexuality, solo-sex in a positive light in their own experience, they are put at odds with the "official position". I believe that eventually, the church will be faced with a tremendous credibility gap. They will be forced to "meet the real needs of real people" and stop trying to force an outmoded form of morality upon their parishioners. The church will come to the conclusion that it must change and become relevant or people will leave! If people leave, the church will collapse. Like most other human institutions, the church needs its parishioner's. I believe the church will eventually change rather than kill itself!
Amen on your comments on addiction. Even though the "official title" on my teaching last week was on "sexual addiction", I had thrown in so much material that called into serious question the concept of addiction, that I believe a reasonable person would come away concluding that except for certain sociopaths or people with truly psychotic problems, there just isn't any way you can call "sexual" activities "sex addiction".
Thanks again for your comments. Please be encouraged! Just finding your site several days ago has greatly encouraged me in ways you may never know! Your efforts are all worth it! Hopefully with people like you on the outside and others of us on the inside, we can all "push" on the ends to FORCE are sane and reasonable compromise somewhere in the middle, whatever that may be.
Best wishes to you for taking time to respond to my e-mail.
Author: Martha Irvine, Associated Press Writer
CHICAGO (AP)---For millions of Americans, sex ain't so hot.
A comprehensive survey found that sexual dysfunction afflicts 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men, with problems including a lack of interest in sex and the inability to have an orgasm.
"I think it gives us a base for explaining why we had this enormous response to Viagra," said Edward Laumann, a University of Chicago sociologist and lead author of the study published in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.
As grim as the survey's findings are, the results could offer hope to millions, many of whom think they're the only ones having trouble in bed, said Laumann, who has been a paid consultant to the company that makes Viagra.
"Often they don't even admit it to their partners. It's the old 'I've got a headache' instead of 'I don't feel like having sex,"' he said.
Laumann and his co-author, Raymond Rosen, had been paid by Pfizer Inc. to review clinical trial data on Viagra before the impotency drug was submitted for U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval.
That association was not mentioned by the journal, but Dr. Phil Fontanarosa, a JAMA editor, said today the omission was an oversight and would be noted in a subsequent issue. Laumann said he had told JAMA editors about the relationship before the study was published.
The researchers said problems with sex are often coupled with everything from emotional and health problems to lack of time, job pressures and money trouble. But they said they aren't sure which comes first---stress or problems with sex.
The researchers based the findings on the 1992 National Health and Social Life Survey, a compilation of interviews with 1,749 women and 1,410 men.
The participants, ages 18 to 59, were asked if they had experienced sexual dysfunction over several months in the previous year. Sexual dysfunction was defined as a regular lack of interest in or pain during sex or persistent problems achieving lubrication, an erection or orgasm.
Lack of interest was the most common problem for women, with about a third saying they regularly didn't want sex. Twenty-six percent said they regularly didn't have orgasms and 23 percent said sex wasn't pleasurable.
About a third of men said they had persistent problems with climaxing too early, while 14 percent said they had no interest in sex and 8 percent said they consistently derived no pleasure from sex.
Overall, 43 percent of women and 31 percent of men said they had one or more persistent problems with sex. Researchers had expected the overall numbers to be closer to maybe 20 percent for each sex.
Researchers said those in the survey who experienced sexual dysfunction often were more likely to be unhappy and more likely to describe their satisfaction with the partnership as unsatisfactory, Laumann said.
Dr. Domeena Renshaw, a Chicago-area sex therapist, said the results are not surprising, considering the long list of couples waiting to get into the sexual dysfunction clinic she has run at the Loyola University Medical Center since 1972.
In that time, she has treated nearly 140 couples who had never consummated their marriages, including a couple who had been wed for 23 years.
Rosen, co-director of the Center for Sexual and Marital Health at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Brunswick, N.J., said the survey provides much-needed information about women, who have often been excluded from studies about sexual performance.
He said the findings are the most comprehensive on sex since Dr. Alfred Kinsey did his landmark studies in 1948. Kinsey got similar results regarding impotence and failure to achieve orgasm but didn't ask about lack of sexual desire.
Too often, Rosen said, Americans have gotten their information about sex from magazines bought at the grocery-store checkout.
"As a scientist, it makes my hair stand on end," Rosen said. "It's terrible."
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