The Present & Future of Solo Sex
And so we come to today. And look toward tomorrow.
Over the past hundred years giant strides have been made in liberating people from the old unfounded fears concerning masturbation. In the last couple of decades of the 20th century and beginning of the 21st positive mention of masturbation has found its way into books, movies, theatre, and television. Gone are the antiquated notions of the 18th and 19th centuries. It is widely acknowledged that “having a wank” is normal, healthy, good for you, and “everyone does it.” It seems the only holdout in western culture is some parts of the church.
Current Religious Attitudes
Among the “traditional churches” the Roman Catholic Church is solidly against solo sex. After publishing strong anti-masturbation texts in the 1970’s, the revised Catechism of the Catholic Church (1992) restated their opposition. “By masturbation is to be understood the deliberate stimulation of the genital organs in order to derive sexual pleasure. 'Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action.' 'The deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.' For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of 'the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of mutual self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.”
However to their credit they seemed to moderate its stand marginally by adding that it is necessary to "take into account emotional immaturity, force of habit, a state of anguish, or other mental or social factors which lessen, indeed even extenuate, the individual's moral guilt." How that works out at the parish level I do not know. I suspect it varies from church to church, and priest to priest.
And the Orthodox are even stronger. Among their writings I read such statements as “Scripture and the Church’s Canons consider self-abuse a serious sin.” (Self-abuse?) And for me the most shocking statement was that “Sexuality is part of our fallen nature.” The Word of God presents sexuality as part of God’s original creation, not a result of the fall. I am sure Adam liked what he saw when he first laid eyes on Eve, and their first act of lovemaking happened before they ate the forbidden fruit.
As for more “liberal” Christianity, well, when “churches” are ordaining practicing homosexuals, and turning a blind eye to couples living in open fornication, they are certainly not going to take a negative view of solo sexuality.
Most, but not all, Evangelical Christians also take a negative, traditional view of the subject. To his credit Dr. James Dobson, formerly of Focus on the Family, has taken a kind, moderate stand, and expressed the view that “It is my opinion that masturbation is not much of an issue with God." (Preparing for Adolescence, Dr. James Dobson, p.83) In some circles his stand has been lauded. Among others he has been strongly condemned as a compromiser.
“Spirit-filled” (Pentecostals and Charismatics) writers take a stand similar to their Evangelical brothers. New Man Magazine, published by Strang Communications, reflects the opinions of this movement. Most of their articles on masturbation refer to it negatively, or with extreme caution. Only one that I found spoke of it in a positive light.
However, as you peruse the Internet it becomes clear that there is an ongoing debate. With the Internet being what it is, anyone can write anything and publish their opinions (as I am doing now.) The good thing is that in this pervasive and influential environment the pros and cons of solo sex are being talked about more and more, with at least some degree of admittedly slightly embarrassed openness. In fact, to some extent it has become one of those “cutting edge” topics. If you want to show how open and bold you are, taking about masturbation is one sure way to go about it.
Those For and Against
And there are certain characteristics to the two “camps.” The anti-masturbation preachers usually hope to stir people to a radical self-sacrificing form of Christianity. Their laudable aim is to get people to stop doing anything that could in any way hinder their walk with God. The pro people speak of freedom in Christ, the need for clear Biblical understanding, and compassion for the realities of life. Interestingly, both usually admit that nowhere in the Word of God is solo sex directly referred to as sin, or forbidden in any way.
I am, of course, solidly in the pro camp, and I believe that the more Christians look at what the Bible says objectively (in as much as that is humanly possible) the more clear it will become that solo sex is a legitimate pleasure. I also believe that as the number of pro-masturbation pages and sites are developed it cannot help but have a positive effect. In this, as in all areas of life, the truth will set us free.
In the past much of the church followed the lead of society in condemning masturbation. John Wesley even condensed and published (albeit anonymously) the main anti-masturbation tome of his day. So I think that as society continues to embrace the goodness of private pleasures, it will have an effect on thinking church people. Mind you, it is sad that the church is not leading the way in this.
Re-examining the Issues
As the debate concerning solo sexuality continues I am convinced that there are some issues Christians need to re-examine in the light of the pure Word of God.
- Of course the idea that masturbation is always wrong needs continual ongoing discussion. If we can get past old notions and prejudices, we can come into the liberty for which Christ has redeemed us.
- What about depictions of simple nudity, and even arousing depictions of sexuality? Is the enjoyment of nudity really a sinful thing, even if the reaction it provokes is not just admiration, and the appreciation of divinely designed beauty, but sexual arousal as well? I think that the traditional knee-jerk reaction to those images that are sexually stimulating is less than helpful. Everything is lumped together and immediately condemned as “porn.” But this is a complex issue that requires more mature reflection. I think we need to make a more clear delineation between porn and erotica, and examine if erotica can be used as an aid to solo sex.
And let’s face it; in the 21st century the Internet itself has been a big boon to masturbation. Both porn and erotica are readily available at the click of a mouse. No matter what is said or done by religious “authorities” people are going to access the stuff, so we may as well develop a more mature and Biblical understanding of the difference between nudity, erotica, and porn, as well as between lust and arousal. We can bury our heads in the sand and tell people to stay away from all material that is sexually stimulating, but that is simply not going to work. And perhaps it shouldn’t work. Sure, I think that porn is horrible, disgusting stuff, but maybe the discrete use of erotica is a far different matter.
The Technology of Solo Sex
More and more scientist and inventors are applying their imagination and skills to develop “toys for boys. . . and girls.” Masturbatory aids can be such a blessing in making solo sex easier, and more enjoyable. We have come a long way from the few awkward and generally unsatisfying implements once sold by mail order or in specialty shops, quite often in dingy back rooms.
For example, today we have the marvelous Fleshlight, for which there are very brisk sales, and many sites singing its praises. If you have ever used one you would understand why. It has revolutionized the solo sex life of thousands of men. More recently the Tenga Flip-Hole has gained popularity. And there are many other strokers made of “real skin” or some other gel based material. In developing my collection of solo sex toys I have made ready use of the Internet and found a few that were crap, but a satisfactory number that help my “solo sex research” very nicely, thank you.
As time goes by more and more toys are going to come on the market. What these toys will look like I can only imagine, but there will be radical improvements. I do know that among sex toy enthusiasts there is a market for things that feel “real,” and which promote more pleasurable sensation. Some users also express a strong desire for “hands free” masturbation, and toys that make that possible. They want to become stimulated, and be able to lay back and have the “work” done for them. Thus far the sexual toys that do this are few and far between, and most are relatively expensive.
An unusual form of masturbation developed in recent years involves prostate stimulation. I cannot speak from experience but users of the Aneros Prostate Stimulator, and other similar toys, say that once they learned to use it they experienced some of the most powerful orgasms of their lives.
Some men enjoy the use of inflatable “sex dolls,” and emphatically state that they are not “making love” to the doll, but that it is merely a masturbatory aid. (At which I have no comment.) And what will happen in the years to come as the science of robotics continues to grow, I can only imagine.
Nothing – no sex toy be it a stroker, doll, or robot - will ever replace the tenderness and warmth of spousal sex. But for sure the years ahead should show great improvement in the science of solo sexuality.
For those who are interested in further exploring the delight and great benefit that sexual toys can add to a person's private life, I would encourage you to visit the Toys section of this website. I share my ongoing experiences and explorations.