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Masturbation (1)


I found the article (http://ldolphin.org/Mast.shtml) stimulating and 
thought-provoking, as well as unusually and thoroughly researched for 
a Christian treatment of this controversial subject.  Much as I 
examine this subject, I cannot see it as a major sin issue, though I
am a Christian conservative.  In fact, I find myself pulled on the
liberal side of the controversy.  Most Christian authors who dwell on
the subject of sexuality tend to assume that most persons are married,
whether troubled or untroubled.  I am thinking of those authors of the
day, such as Ed Young, Gene Getz, Bruce Wilkinson, and Dr. James
Dobson as well as others.  To those who are single, the authors tend
to identify us as, almost always, single by choice or
partnered-single, which is boldly unobservant.  Therefore, sexuality,
in a Christian context, is almost entirely presented to those who must
refrain from intimacy, as a temptation-resistance, outside of marriage
with a willing partner.  This "version of the pastoral" enables the
author effectively to dodge the whole issue of masturbation, except as
an element in, usually the man's, neglect of his wife by its
indulgence, often fueled by pornography.  The conditions are not that
simple; would that they were.

Currently the conservative church is receiving a huge growth from
spouse-abandoned parents and quite a few childless separated[s} as
well.  These are individuals who are not necessarily sought-after as
marriage partners, especially from within the church.  They [men as well
as women] are often destitute, hurting, and very time-compromised from
the responsibilities of multiple jobs and child-care.  Many churches
distance these souls, though this is strenuously denied, as losers and
burdens [they do not tithe, serve, or attend regularly enough nor do
they set the example that is desirable].  We often hear prayer as the
quick-reflexive response to any candor about our condition.  We are
boxed in since, as Christians, we obviously cannot condemn or obstruct
prayer, but we are yet left with a massive unmet need, nonetheless.  One
is tempted to ask: how would these "have[s]" respond to one who was
chronically unemployed, homeless, or hungry?

2 For if there come unto your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly
apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment;
3 And ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say
unto him, Sit thou here in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand
thou there, or sit here under my footstool:
4 Are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil
thoughts?  James, Chapter 2

This circumstance that I have created as a strawman leads me to pose a
question:  How are these poor souls to be prevented from wailing their
fate to the exasperation of others, or from meandering into unwanted,
though entirely legitimate, advances to others, without the natural and
safe palliative of masturbation?  Christians already gossip, grumble,
disdain, and wrap themselves up in the idolatry of business and sports
matters, along with real estate and stock investment idolatry, not to
mention grossly overeating to the point of bulging gluttony.  Often some
of the aforementioned are set up as actual ministries, defensively
endorsed by pastors.  Larger sins committed freely, I realize, do
pre-empt the smaller ones when they are committed in secret.  I still
contend, though, that sedately masturbating singles are often holy
singles.  I mean holy in the context of all of us being as filthy rags!

Since most churches disdain match-making except among the beautiful and
wholesomely successful; they don't want awkward or unattractive singles
to be pests or partner-seekers from within; and they don't want to deal
with the issues much in any context of "marrying up" the singles, which
is the solution, why not endorse masturbation?  If President Clinton had
heeded the endorsement of his formal surgeon-general, instead of firing
her for her statement of endorsement, he would probably now be an
esteemed leader, looking forward to a very restful berth in history.  By
acting on the lusts that masturbation would have relieved, he has
disgraced his office, his marriage, and many innocent and easily tempted

All of the above said, it would seem to me that masturbation is an
acceptable palliative, provided by God, to soothe the curse of those
left involuntarily and indefinitely single.


I thought I'd offer a few comments in response to the letter regarding
masturbation. I'm unclear as to whether the author was looking for
input from the group, so I'm not sending my comments directly to

In response to an article about masturbation, the author says he finds
himself "pulled on the liberal side of the controversy." He is dismayed
over the fact that churches won't help certain single people find mates,
and proposes masturbation as a solution to the singles' resultant
frustrations and temptations: 

"All of the above said, it would seem to me that masturbation is an
 acceptable palliative, provided by God, to soothe the curse of those
 left involuntarily and indefinitely single."

I can relate to a small degree to the author's concerns (I myself am single,
though at 24 I imagine I have a better shot at marriage than a lot of older
singles). However, he neglects to provide Scriptural support for his
assumption that masturbation is, as he says in his letter, a "natural and
safe palliative." 

As the aforementioned article contends, "God did not design sex
to be a solitary experience. It is supposed to be shared with another, and
only in marriage." It appears to me that the Bible only offers two
justifications for sexual behavior: procreation (Gen 1:28, 9:1), and/or
unity between a man and his wife (Gen 2:24). All other manifestations of
sexual behavior that appear in the Bible are condemned. While masturbation
does not appear in the Bible, it seems to me that it is condemned
implicitly, since it does not fulfil either of God's purposes for sex. 

On top of that, if we condone masturbation, what else should be allowed?
Sex with animals and dead bodies is explicitly prohibited in the Bible, but
what about sex with trees? Sex with machines? Sex with dolls? Sex with
objects of any sort? These mockeries of marriage are all practices which
people engage in, and they are all the qualitative equivalents of

And if indeed masturbation were an acceptable palliative for desire, one
wonders why it's never encouraged in the Bible as a means to avoid
temptation. In 1 Cor. 7:9, Paul tells the unmarrieds who "burn with
passion" that it's better for them to marry. This, after stating in the
previous verse that "it is good for them to stay unmarried." Since Paul
viewed marriage as a source of great inconveniance (see also v. 32-33), it
would have made more sense for him to cite masturbation as an alternative
to either marriage or lust. But he does not. The only alternatives to lust
that Paul offers are marriage (which is admittedly only an option for some)
and reliance on God's empowerment (which is clearly an option for all). If
masturbation were a healthy third alternative, the Holy Spirit should be
ashamed for neglecting to endorse it!  

More could be said. But I think the bottom line is that one must provide
greater justification for masturbation than the mere fact that it satisfies
sexual desire. All sexual behaviors satisfy sexual desire, but the Bible
clearly places strict limits as to which are justifiable. Sex for the
purpose of mere "release" oversimplifies God's complex plan for our