Now here’s a powder keg topic! I’m diving in. Just know that this is mostly my opinion and you are completely welcome to disagree with me.
The LDS Christian perspective on masturbation is different from other mainstream Christian religions’ perspectives. Instead of saying “The Bible is silent on this issue so it is okay,” we listen to our modern prophets’ counsel about the subject, which is that it is a practice to be avoided. Some would argue that our leaders have backed off of this subject and are minimizing it. I don’t know about that one way or another, I’ve only heard that around the world wide web. That could be. I don’t know.
From the dictionary:
- 1.) The stimulation or manipulation of one’s own genitals, especially to orgasm; sexual self-gratification.
- 2.) The stimulation, by manual or other means exclusive of coitus, of another’s genitals, especially to orgasm.
What does the church say about it?
President Spencer W. Kimball has written: “The early apostles and prophets mention numerous sins. … They included all sexual relations outside marriage—petting, sex perversion,masturbation, and preoccupation with sex in one’s thoughts and talking.
From For the Strength of Youth: (what is a sex perversion?) The Lord specifically forbids certain behaviors, including all sexual relations before marriage, petting, sex perversion (such as homosexuality, rape, and incest), masturbation…
(all quotes found on lds.org, bolds mine)
I have only recently read about this topic, and how men feel about it. I really had no idea it was such a difficult thing to refrain from. Also, I just never really thought about it that much. Anyway, I am not a man and I can’t really say much about solo masturbation, for the most part, except that while I have learned it’s a huge struggle, it is still wrong outside of marriage. All the references I could find on lds.org were referring to outside and before marriage. That seems pretty clear to me. So I’m going to talk about masturbation INSIDE marriage.
Can I just say right now that I cannot stand that word! Especially since apparently some people get so hung up on the word “masturbation” that they can’t get past it to allow their partner to touch them. Or to touch themselves. It’s touch. Sexual touching. Our leaders refer to mutual masturbation as “petting”. I prefer stroking (remember Billy Squire?) and touching over petting. You pet the cat, for goodness sakes! (Guys, do NOT go there.)
Some of the best parts about sex are all the stroking and touching going on. If there was no stroking going on a whole lot of women would be very unsatisfied in bed. That’s called mutual masturbation. Thank goodness for mutual masturbation! Woo hoo! The best thing ever! Well, okay, maybe not for some. But for me, YOWZA. Along the same lines is mutual self and partner touch. A guy only has two hands–three or four are even better.
How about simultaneous masturbation? Simultaneous self touching? I admit, I’ve never had the desire to watch Conan do such a thing, but I recently learned, over at TheMarriageBed.com, that a whole heck of a lot of women think that’s really HOT. I do know that for Conan, watching me masturbate for him is incredibly hot.
Solo masturbation after marriage. Here is an area where things get tricky. I am not going to say whether it is or isn’t okay, because I could find nothing about it on lds.org specifically. It is my own PERSONAL OPINION that it should be avoided if possible. But Zookie, you say, what about this or that study that promotes solo masturbation for this or that reason? I would say, there are also numerous studies out there that say coffee and red wine are healthy and without drinking a cup of coffee or a glass of wine a day you are putting yourself at greater risk of heart disease, etc. Just because there’s a study that says so does not give us the green light. If you want to do it that is not up to me. If someone asked me for advice on the subject, I would advise against it. There are some definite lines, in my opinion. I would certainly say that if one spouse masturbates and then sexually denies his/her spouse, that would be completely wrong. If a married person masturbated secretly, hiding it from his/her spouse, I would say that’ s wrong. If a married person masturbated every time the urge hit him/her, I believe that would be wrong.
Now, I firmly believe there are some times when it IS good to masturbate solo. Man or woman.
Let’s start briefly with men. I won’t say much about men, because I am not a man and I can’t truly relate. I have only had one experience of walking around in a state of arousal (see my “I Felt Like a Man” post) and that didn’t last very long. But here is my limited opinion. If a man has PE (premature ejaculation) there are things he can do about it. Some of those things involve solo exercises. So if a guy wants to be a better lover and follows the steps to increase his staying power, he is not just “scratching an itch” so to speak, he is working on improving his sex life. Then there’s the man that for whatever reason is having a dry season sexually. Guys get pretty physically uncomfortable when they haven’t had an orgasm with ejaculation for a long time, and it seems to affect their mental outlook, as well. Maybe he’s away from his wife for a long period of time. Or she is physically unable to give him pleasure in any way. Or she is unwilling to give him pleasure in any way for long periods, which I strongly feel is just plain wrong. Especially in those circumstances a man should be able to get the physical release he needs.
Women. A woman has to know her body to have a good sexual experience. Contrary to the bodice ripper novels, a guy can’t just touch you a few times, enter you, and after a period of time you explode in ecstasy at the exact moment that he does. Things just don’t work that way. Well, they might for some people, but not for me, boo hoo! There are some blessed few women in this world who can orgasm through intercourse alone. No other technique required. But for the rest of us peasants, we need some kind of direct stimulation to the clitoris. If you don’t know how to touch your clitoris, if you don’t know what it responds to, how is your husband going to know? And sometimes for us peasant women orgasms just do not happen easily. We have to learn how to have an orgasm. We can learn to do that by experimenting and masturbating. A woman could always do that in front of her husband, but I think it would be uncomfortable and almost impossible for a woman who is just learning about her own sexuality to relax enough to do this with him there. So solo is the way to go. Another thing about women is that we need have frequent orgasms so that they will be easier to get. The less you have, the harder it is to get one. The more you have, the easier it becomes. If you find you need to give yourself orgasms for awhile until you become accustomed to having them with your husband, then do what you need to do to improve your sex life with your husband.
Another reason for a woman to masturbate is to start the arousal process. If you have a hard time getting aroused, you can masturbate first. I call that getting a head start! When you are getting ready for bed, do that for awhile and when you come to bed or your husband comes to bed you’re got things going, you’re feeling pleasantly warm and nice down there, and it might be easier to get that elusive orgasm. If you have trouble with wanting to have sex because you’re not aroused first, this is one way to get aroused.
If you are a woman and you aren’t having orgasms, I would encourage you to do some research on how to do this. There are a lot of books and information to help you. I haven’t read the famous Laura Brotherson book “And They Were Not Ashamed “, but I’m pretty sure there is a section in that book that guides you through this process. Find a time and experiment. You will be glad you did, and your husband will be even more glad you did!
So I would say that the end goal with masturbation should be to improve your sex life with your spouse, not just give yourself pleasure for its own sake. I really think that’s what it all comes down to: having a mutually satisfying, healthy sex life in your marriage.