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Promoting Intimacy and Other-Centered Sexuality


Masturbation & Sex For Good Health

Masturbation - A universal activity with no biblical issue

I was surprised to find even James Dobson of the very conservative Focus on the Family group, says their is nothing wrong with masturbation explaining to teenagers that its just a natural way of letting off sexual pressure and one should feel no guilt about it. Dr. Dobson says, "Between 95 and 98 percent of all boys engage in this practice—and the rest have been known to lie." Complete article at
"use it or lose it" is scientific
In August 2002, a TV program in Canada on the Discovery Channel (may have also been in U.S.), said that if a man doesn't get erections, with the blood a flowing thru his penis that he can actually lose length in his penis. So "use it or lose it" is scientific ..... cause apparently without the 'power of the blood' and its nutrients and the oxygen the flesh atrophies and becomes smaller.

Matter of fact, they were saying that it is for this reason that the young males get night dreams to make sure all is well and healthy. For even night emissions clear the testicles of a build up of old semen so that new fresh semen can be produced ... and this believe it helps prevent cancer.

Dave adds, and painful prostate blockage as I had as a teenager that believed in sexual repression, didn't know how to masturbate and felt it was wrong when I accidentally learned how good it felt rubbing penis on sheets in bed. But for many years had painful orgasms since I had misused my body by not being sexual.
Masturbation For Good Health
"We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his
hands for masturbation." -- Lily Tomlin

Not only is it physically healthy but As one Christian said:
"Isn't it incredible that one of God's most beautiful gifts, masturbation, is held in such contempt by those who wear their religion on their arm. No one has ever become pregnant, impregnated someone, become diseased, or been physically harmed because of the act. I'd like to meet the person who has passed puberty without ever doing it."

Highlights From "Men's Health" Magazine
You are not insane. You are not blind. You have not grown 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 non-specific prostatitis and , for obvious reasons, "sailor's disease" and "priest's disease."

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, its "use it or lose it."

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.

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.

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 brother's 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."

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."

A 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."

(Note: In light of the material on childhood sexuality in this issue it is appropriate here to encourage parents to not only not inhibit, punish or condemn their children's self-pleasuring, or even ignore it, but to give them positive support for this activity. One Liberated Christian father reported that when his 12-year old son "confessed" that he "jerked off", his response was "Wow, so do I!" Way To Go Dad!)

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 forefathers 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! 

Great website all about Solo sex, masturbation for both men and women at

The Dreaded M word
By M. Joycelyn Elders, M.D. former Surgeon General of the U.S. 
Distributed under Fair use provision of US Copyright laws

Masturbation: it's not a four-letter word, but the president fired me for saying it.

In this so-called "communications age," it remains a sexual taboo of monumental proportions to discuss the safe and universal sexual practice of self-pleasure. No doubt, future generations will be amused at our peculiar taboo, laughing in sociology classes at our backwardness, yet also puzzled by it given our high rates of disease and premature pregnancy. We will look foolish in the light of history. 

Over the months since I left Washington and settled into my home in Little Rock, I have pondered the rage, embarrassment and shock with which the word "masturbation" is met in our culture. What other word, merely voiced, can provide justification to fire a surgeon general -- or anyone? 

What horrible betrayal of our proud race does masturbation conjure in our minds? As a physician, and as the nation's physician, it was important to answer every question posed to me with clear information. 

Informed decisions require knowledge. To insure the health and well-being of a patient, age-appropriate information must be made available. Some call it candor -- I call it common sense and good medicine. On the other hand, coquetries can be more than deceptive: both the refrain from self-gratification and the concealment of it can result in sexual dysfunction.

Yet to study masturbation would be to admit its role in our lives -- one that many of us are not comfortable with. Instead, we discourage the practice in our children, dispensing cautionary tales that read like Steven King novellas. These myths were more understandable before Pasteur enlightened the world to the presence of germs in the 1870s; prior to his discovery, no one really knew where diseases came from. Masturbation was blamed for dreaded conditions like syphilis and gonorrhea, as well as for their ramifications: dementia, blindness and infertility, to name a few. It's remarkable that some of these rumors still circulate despite clear evidence that they are unfounded.

The wall of myth surrounding self-sex is just beginning to crack -- thanks, in part, to President Clinton who put it in the news. For the first time the topic is being broached on popular television shows, and comedians are able to joke about it without alienating their audiences. You can even find a variety of "how-to" books in the "sex and health" section of most bookstores. The overwhelming majority of psychologists and medical professionals seem to believe that sex-for-one is a natural part of living; we all touch our hair, necks, knees and many other spots on our bodies in public to calm ourselves or to scratch itches, and it is no less acceptable, they assure us, to touch other body parts in private.

A friend, a senior citizen, stopped me after church one Sunday and said, "Please tell the children that masturbation won't hurt them. I spent my entire youth in agony waiting to go blind, because my parents told me that's what would happen if I masturbated. I guess I could have stopped, but going blind seemed the better option."

We all want to tell our children the truth about their bodies and sex, but many of us are afraid of the consequences. Parents need to let go of the idea that ignorance maintains innocence and begin teaching age-appropriate facts to children. Informed children know what sexual abuse and harassment are, what normal physical closeness with others is, what should be reported, and to whom. Rather than tell children that touching themselves is forbidden, parents may gently explain that this is best done in private. 

One enlightened friend shared with me the story of how she taught her pre-school-aged daughter about her anatomy: The mother told the girl about her vagina as they examined theirs together with mirrors. There was some discussion and admiration. Later that day, friends came to dinner at their home, and at the dinner table the father asked his daughter what she had done during the day. Of course, she told him the most interesting thing that had happened: she and Mommy looked at their vaginas. But hers was prettier than her mommy's -- "Want to see?" The stunned dinner guests were silent as the mother quickly retreated with her daughter to explain privacy. It is never okay to shame children for natural inquisitiveness or behavior: that shame lasts forever.

Masturbation, practiced consciously or unconsciously, cultivates in us a humble elegance -- an awareness that we are part of a larger natural system, the passions and rhythms of which live on in us. Sexuality is part of creation, part of our common inheritance, and it reminds us that we are neither inherently better nor worse than our sisters and brothers. Far from evil, masturbation just may render heavenly contentment in those who dare. 

©1997 M. Joycelyn Elders, M.D. and Nerve Publishing
Included in this article, with credit under the Fair Use Provision of US Copyright law and International Treaties for educational purposes.

On the other side of the issue is the some of the extreme Orthodox Jewish view. Here is a note I received from someone very frustrated sexually:

I am sure that both Orthodox Jewish and Christian morality has put a lot of unnecessary guilt regarding sex into me.

I am thinking that marrying an Orthodox Jewish lady would be very mentally and physically unhealthy for me, because she would not tolerate masturbation for the 12 to 14 days per month I would not be allowed to touch her because she is "unclean". I would have to sneak off somewhere to have my orgasm.

Orgasm helps sleep. I have had trouble sleeping, and sometimes woke up at night to masturbate. Then I slept well.

I was in an Orthodox Jewish Lubavitch Yeshiva in the 1970s. This was a school designed for men who came from secular and non religious backgrounds (a few were gentiles who converted to Judaism). The Rabbi made an announcement that if he found out anyone was masturbating he would throw them out of the school.

Jewish Holy books on masturbation: 
It is considered to be a sin like murder. The seeds spilled are considered to be like living beings. According to the Tanya, written by Rabbi Shneur Zalman of Liadi, the founder of Lubavitch: masturbation, although not mentioned to be a sin in the Bible, is a very bad sin. It is even worse than forbidden intercourse in a certain sense, because the amount of impurity, possibly from spilling more seed than in intercourse, is more. (Chapter 7)

In another chapter the Rebbe says that masturbation is a sin which transcends time, and one must continually repent for past masturbation. The Talmud recommends 84 fasts per each act of masturbation, but current Rabbinical authority says our generation is too weak for that, so learning Torah and giving money for charity is in place of fasting.

The Jewish group most openly against masturbation is the Breslov Chassidim. They were founded by the Holy Rabbi Nachman in around 1800. They say that masturbation is the blemish of Abraham's covenant. There are 10 psalms which are to be said for improving health, financial situation, forgiveness of sins, and penance for masturbation. I am not knocking these groups, because they do have a positive attitude and help people have faith, but they do have these ideas about sex and masturbation.

A young man brought up in such a Chassidic environment would be expected to have no orgasm until marriage. Marriage could take place between the ages of 17 to 23, on the average. These boys must feel tremendous guilt when they do masturbate.

There is a story about the Mittler Rebbe of Lubavitch (son of Rabbi Schneur Zalman), who showed his arm full of sores to a young man, and told him that his masturbation caused the Rebbe's arm to be afflicted like that. It is the concept that the saint suffers from the sins of the sinner.

Orthodox Rabbi Danziger in his famous Jewish Law code (Chayei Adam) book states that although masturbation is a sin like murder, it is permissible to do it (if the man's urge is very strong) as an alternative to going to bed with another man's wife, an impure menstruant, or a prostitute. Then the man can do penance as outlined by the Rabbis. I think an Orthodox Jew can safely rely on this ruling, for the sake of health, although the Chassidic authorities like Breslov and Lubavitch Rabbinates would probably not accept Rabbi Danziger's code book as their authority.

Dave says, wow, even more anti sexual than traditional Christianity, but at least the Jewish positiion acknowledged that "masturbation, although not mentioned to be a sin in the Bible, is a very bad sin." So the sin idea is there's not from the Bible (at least the OT), but there is nothing said about it being wrong in the NT either!
Another view:
I am a licensed sex therapist and have become aware that the word "masturbation" is so tinged with horror that, even those of us who accept it as a legitimate activity, still act in ways that reflect those old taboos about self-satisfaction. In the therapy field we have moved away from using the word "masturbation" and prefer to talk of "pleasuring." Bringing pleasure to the nerve endings is a recognition that the only thing we really own in this transient world is our own bodies. The body of a wife is not ours, nor is the body of a child. But our bodies are ours. Someone may bring up the scripture about our bodies being the temple of the Holy Spirit but that would not change the sense of freedom about self-pleasuring as an acceptable behavior. 

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