This is how messed up my understanding of faith and sexuality was as a believer in Jesus. In order to show myself worthy and approved, in order to make sure I can present myself pure before God, self-love was not an option for a believer because it was seen as a sin against God.
Masturbation means I see something (or someone) to cause my loins to stir and thus touch myself; this means I violated the “fornication” code of having sex outside of marriage and violating God’s plan for me.
The message against masturbation
I can’t remember if I became a believer first, masturbated first, or both, but I think after reading some Christian books and hearing teachers from the pulpit come heavy against sexual issues I got the message very clear. If you are to a believer of honor, then you are to keep yourself sexually pure till marriage.
I tried not to touch myself down there. Not to masturbate or think of pleasing myself because it’s evil, of course. My will power (unfortunately) was like one Cosmo Kramer who was the first to loose “the Contest” against Jerry, Elaine, and George on the Seinfield series.
Then again, that could be a good thing.
But is It really wrong?
You see after many tears, many times mentally and spiritually beating myself up, I soon realized maybe masturbation is not a bad thing after all. My human sexuality teacher recommended Betty Dodson’s book “Sex for One.”
Man! Talk about an eye opening theory about the practice; she even had pictures and the whole nine yards.
But the thing that won me over to the “Touch Myself” club was a letter from a Pentecostal woman from Cincinnati, Ohio. She wrote how she felt guilty for years due to the church world she lives in, but because of the book it opened her eyes and mind. Now she knows God won’t shoot her down for touching herself.
“Well if she can do it and find inner peace, why not me?” I thought.
The truth about loving yourself
I realized a few things along the way to enjoy masturbation and keep things in perspective:
Many believers look at Onan as the reason why masturbation shouldn’t be part of a believer or non-believers life. If the passage in Genesis is looked at closely you can see it wasn’t masturbation in the sense of giving pleasure to ones self. God struck down Er because of his wickedness. After that happened, God asked Onan to fulfill the duty of his brother and continue the gene line by lying with his widow Tamar.
In what could be dubbed “the costliest money shot of all time” Onan “spilled his seed” so Er’s family line wouldn’t have an offspring. So Onan lost his life over the betrayal.
Tradition and retribution
Somehow tradition–or the fear of God’s retribution–latched on to this story as a way to keep many men (or women) from masturbation. So please, for the love of truth, stop blaming Onan as the one who messed up masturbation. Blame it all on tradition and for a wrong-headed approach to understanding to what self-love is all about.
The real truth
All the myths about masturbation–blindness, hairy palms, madness, neurotic disorder, etc.—are not true. Next!
We all masturbate throughout our lives. From the time we are babies till we are old and gray, masturbation is one of those things that makes us human. To deny it is both comical and tragic at the same time.
Frequency of self-love ranges from several times a day to every other day to a few weeks to none at all (unless one suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder). But normally, you are fine if that’s all you do with yourself.
God will not condemn you for having a sexual thought let alone if you are touching yourself over a sexual thought. You might have problems if you are thinking about possessing someone you know doesn’t belong to you.
But if a person turns you on, or an image, or a sexual thought and you just have to express your normal desires you are feeling then enjoy the time with yourself.
Masturbation is good for you!
The health benefits are huge! You can find out what turns you on and causes orgasm to releasing some sexual tension by masturbation. Also, it helps with sexual dysfunction due to the inability to orgasm, prostate health for men, relieves menstrual cramps, eases headaches, causes one to sleep, and promotes well being with the chemicals released during orgasm. Hmm, the benefits outweigh the myths. Did I mention it’s the safest sexual practice of them all?
The last thing about masturbation we need to touch on as Christians is the guilt factor. Again, if you feel you have the freedom to enjoy this practice without any guilt whatsoever weighing on your mind then enjoy.
Too many times believe everything our preachers and teachers say instead of studying for ourselves–with scientific fact and research–whether a practice is beneficial or not.
The information we have today is very accurate as opposed to the myths we discussed earlier. I have come to realize I have more issues about dealing with the things coming from my heart than self-love. Let all the ravers and ranters from the pulpit scream all they want. Masturbation is as good of a time as one person can with themselves.
Not that there’s anything wrong with it.
(Note: Thanks to Betty Dodson for their info and pick up a copy of her landmark book Sex for One: the Joy of Self-Loving)