That’s Just Silly!
Every once in a while I come across reasons to prohibit masturbation that provoke me to say, “That’s Just Silly!” I mean, are these people really serious? And it is not always some back water hack standing on a soapbox with an axe to grind. Those people I can understand. But when a well known preacher, even someone I respect, comes out with one of these nonsense statements it can be a bit hard take.
Want an example? How about this one; the very eminent John Piper, advocate of “Christians Hedonism” - living a life where you take great pleasure and delight in God (sounds like a wonderful idea to me) - openly takes a stand against masturbation because it keeps people from active Christian service, and stops them from going to the mission field.
Masturbation and World Missions
Well, where do I start? First, I agree with him that issues regarding masturbation have kept people from engaging in full time work for God, including the mission field. But the problem is not the masturbation. The real problem is the unnecessary guilt. Men and women who engage in Solo Sex sometimes feel that they have failed; they have been overcome with this “weakness” and are no longer “walking in victory.” But, where did these ideas come from? Since self stimulation is not prohibited in the Word of God, it is a good bet that they are not feeling real conviction of the Holy Spirit. No, what they are feeling is religious conditioning that has produced false guilt. Since the church, including leaders like John Piper, have been saying that it is wrong to masturbate well meaning souls feel condemned for doing so. If these leaders really want to release more laborers to the harvest field they could simply give young men and women assurance that unless God specifically tells them it is wrong for them Solo Sex is a normal, healthy, private activity. And, if God really requires abstinence of an individual, He will give them the grace to refrain. When real grace is present people do not live in continual “failure.”
Masturbation is Homosexuality (?)
Imagine saying that
the young man
alone in his room
with a boner
is engaging in
a homosexual act!
Moving on from the silly another well known minister has said that masturbation is a homosexual act. Sheech! Where do they come up with these things? The ironic thing is that this minister has stirred up a whole hornet’s nest of controversy with his other teachings on sexual matters. He has openly and boldly talked about marriage being a celebration of sensuality, of the legitimacy of oral stimulation and oral sex, and how the Song of Solomon is the Bible’s sex manual for married couples. Being a person who has always felt that the church needs to find some way to promote sexual liberty within marriage, I am delighted by what he is doing. Now if only he would get it right about masturbation.
Imagine saying that the young man alone in his room who wakes up with a boner and masturbates is engaging in a homosexual act! That is the same as saying his act of solo sex is no different that if he gave his best male friend a hand job, blow job, or had anal intercourse with him. Come on man that goes beyond silly. That’s just stupid.
Masturbation Leads to Prostitution
One more. I recently read in an article on Christwire that masturbation leads young women into prostitution (I kid you not.) At least that is what was implied. Prostitution of all things!
(Now, some internet commentators say that Christwire is a satire site. I wrote to Christwire itself and they adamantly denied that they were, even sounding insulted by the idea. The person who responded to my inquiry may have been telling the truth. Or he could have been merely perpetuating the joke.)
Here’s the story. A woman found a vibrator in her daughter’s underwear drawer. She wrote asking for advice. What she was told was almost incredulous.
“You need to immediately take that sinful device from your daughter. Masturbation is another form of pornography that will infest your daughter’s mind and serve as a gateway to far worse sexual activities. Studies show that 87% of the women who become prostitutes did so because of unbridled masturbation as a teenager, and over 90% of girls who become pregnant as teenagers did so because of masturbation loosened their morals and made them more apt to engage in unprotected fornication.”
Oh my; I guess that means in advocating masturbation I am in danger of causing young women to offer sex for sale. And just where did she get that statistic: 87%?
I will concede one thing. Many young women who became prostitutes just may have been masturbators. It may even be a greater percentage than the rest of the population. But the reason is not the masturbation. The reason is the extremely high percentage of hookers who experienced sexual abuse while young. And girls who were sexualized at an early age do become sexually aware sooner and probably more of them masturbate than the rest of the population. But the masturbation certainly was not a gateway to prostitution or unwed pregnancies. In fact, had the unwed girls masturbated rather than commit fornication, they would not have gotten pregnant at all.
A Better Approach
Rather than resort to arguments that are silly, stupid, or just plain sad how much better it would be for church leaders to get rid of their preconceptions, take a fresh look at the Word of God, and let it and it alone be the basis for our theology of sexuality, including that sex we have when alone.