More on Masturbation

The Mormon Therapist has put out a very good post about masturbation, here.  She really presents her case well.  I have not had the opportunity to read all the comments that followed, but I did skim some of them and they are mostly positive.  The most bizarre comment I’ve seen (so far) is that masturbation leads to pornography and homosexuality.  Huh.  Where’d they get THAT idea?  Possibly some over-zealous leader or parent, I don’t know.  But that one made me laugh out loud!  On second thought, that’s a scary opinion, and quite possibly dangerous, too.  It’s also a good example of how people are mis-taught as youth.  That person teaches that to his/her children and so on.  YIKES!

The sad comments are from men who were kept from advancement in the Priesthood as boys because of it, who attempted suicide because they could not squelch their sexuality, because they could not completely stop something so hardwired into our bodies.

Over the years I’ve had lots of different thoughts about it.  When I was young I did masturbate.  Of course, I learned that it was wrong like we all did, and I stopped doing it.  I learned that one of my brother’s was having a challenge with masturbation and was having to work to overcome it or something.  At the time I thought to myself, what utter nonsense.  Masturbation is something so serious it has to be overcome???  But it was my dad who was talking to me about it, and he firmly, truly believes masturbation is a sin.  So I went with what my dad taught and believed.  I trust him and his counsel for everything.  Why not that, too?  I always did wonder how that could be right, though.

So I made a kind of compromise, where masturbation wasn’t ALL bad, but you shouldn’t do it just because, and you should try not to do it when you are single.  See the bishop over it?  Not in my opinion.  Anyway, I personally stayed away from it.  Now I’ve read a lot of people’s stories about it and done a lot of thinking about it over the last year or so, and I made up my own mind and came to the same conclusion as Natalie (The Mormon Therapist).

Then I really, really broke out of my comfort zone and started actually doing it.  *GASP*  Turns out it is really nice ;-).  And I have had some very positive results (besides the obvious, of course).

I do have real life friends who read this blog, and so I don’t want to get too explicit, but what the heck, I’ve revealed a lot in some of my other posts *blush*, so…

Through masturbating, I’ve learned that I can orgasm multiple, multiple times.  I have not reached a “limit”, yet, as in, nope, no more are happening.  I’ve just ran out of time.  So the sky is the limit, I do believe haha!   Also, I’ve learned that I can have female ejaculation.  (That’s a great subject for another post, because I get all kinds of hits on my blog from people wanting to know about that.)  I think the best side benefit, though, is how easily and quickly it can happen for me now.  No mental effort involved anymore.  Compare that to how difficult it once was for me, and how I could only get one, and it had to be a certain way, etc.  Nice!

If you are searching for answers about this masturbation question you will get good ones from Natalie’s post.  I highly recommend her.  Thank you, Natalie!

 

34 thoughts on “More on Masturbation

  1. Great post Zookie! I found myself nodding as I read it, I have the same view as you and believe it or not I did not start masturbating until I was married and encouraged to do it by my loving husband. In a way I’m glad I didn’t discover it in college while single as it may have made other things easier to do with boyfriends.

    Thanks again for the blog!

  2. Natalie’s post has prompted some discussion in our family. For starters it led me to clarify with my 16 year old son that it is not a sin, in my opinion. I told him that it’s part of the process of development, that it’s a part of the process of learning to bridle our passions ie learning to enjoy them constructively and creatively, and that should he feel it’s a problem to him we are the people to talk to.That we have no agenda around controlling his sexual expression, that he is free to choose, but ask him to consider what his parents religious beliefs are relating to the expression of sexuality primarily within marriage and to consider how that has worked for us.My aim was to keep it open to him to choose and feel he is in control of his sexual expression,not us as his parents or the church.
    We’ll see how that works. Should anyone raise this with him, I’ve suggested he come to us or invite us into the conversation should he wish. Again, we want him to feel free to choose. Above all, it seems to me, this needs to be shame free. No-one grows through shame.

    And for myself, I’m starting on a path which I hope will free up our own sexual relationship, by making me less dependant on my husband for orgasm. I think that’s a very personal choice, for some that’s maybe not such a good idea. But I need to learn to tune into my own orgasm in order to enrich our sexuality, and to train myself to relax into it.

    I have adult daughters, and the guilt associated with what was taught through the church has served to alienate them both from the church and the joyful expression of sexuality in their own relationships. It has been instrumental in a process by which they have found it difficult to own their own sexuality. That’s a lose for everyone. We are both converts and it was difficult for us to know what they were being taught or where that would lead, and so we failed to head it off. It’s a disaster,a tragedy.

  3. The list of “things you’re not supposed to do although no one is sure why” grows and shrinks over the years. Masturbation is one of the ones we’re just sure is shameful until we have to explain why with a reason that’s neither a lie or just raw prejudice. The current debate over gay rights brings up some of these questions about how-did-we-get-here too.

    But you think for yourself. Kudos! It sounds so easy and it’s not. And it’s OK to be shy speaking out about it. Hell, your private sexual activity (especially solo!) is no one’s business. Here you’re stepping up (coming out?) because there is a political point to be made. Kudos x2.

    My question is, who comes up with these rules and why? Sometimes the rules are good intentions gone awry (your dad?), sometimes it’s prejudice/ignorance handed down from generation to generation (your dad?), but too often is just people trying to make others, especially women, feel inferior or deviant or whatever—a very intentional grab for power (not your dad, but maybe some priest or bossy type in the past). (Don’t forget, women having orgasms wasn’t “cool” until relatively recently … Freud both invented and set psychology back a hundred years.) Refusing to play along is both self-liberating and an important strike against those who would abuse their authority. (See Kudos #2, above.)

    Men should realize that the female masturbation taboo hurts them too by, as you’ve perceived, discouraging women from understanding their own sexuality; sadly many find the exploration threatening, like it’s going to put them out of a job…. Actually that observation cuts both ways. However liberated, not a whole lot of folks are confident enough to do it in front of their spouse.

    • Jules: It’s wonderful though when you become free and comfortable enough to share it, to masturbate in front of your spouse. They enjoy it and often leads to more fun and exploration.

  4. Jules – I know we all have different experiences, but as an LDS guy in his 40’s it hits me oddly that you comment about the church’s take (or at least what was preached) on masturbation is another way to make women feel inferior or deviant. I am not disagreeing on the issue of if some men think of ways (not God given ways) to put others and often women “in their place.” But masterbation sure seems to me to be one that they beat the young men about 100 time more than the young wowmen. In some other LDS forums many women claim they never heard that they were not supposed to be masterbating – or it was not explained to them. Let me tell you as someone that was a young man in the church in the late 70’s early 80’s – it was THE think that was in EVERY interview and talked about directly and indirectly very often.

  5. @Happy: You’re right. I was thinking from the female perspective of the original post. The idea applies to boys too. Be alert for ulterior motives, usually from self-aggrandizing (often hypocritical) or biased or sanctimonious individuals.

    How do you account for the sexist “100 times more than young women”? The idea that men are more likely corrupted by sexual urges, pornography, etc.? An odd take on homophobia? Than men are moral role models? Women were best left to ignorance?The gender bias is obviously significant.

    • Hi Jules,
      There’s no gender bias or sexism in that comment, I can assure you. No one ever, EVER asked me in any of my bishop’s interviews if I masturbated. I grew up thinking it was a boy problem, that only boys did it and girls never did. I even thought I must be the only girl to have ever done it. Not a single one of my girlfriends would ever have admitted to it, that’s for sure. haha! Then i read “Are You There, God, it’s Me, Margaret”, and I learned that girls did too do it.
      Anyway, I tend to agree with Happy Hubby. The boys really were beat up over it. We girls weren’t.

    • Jules,
      Personally I think that the “gender bias” arose from a typical 1970’s LDS attitude about women and sex: men are interested in sex but women are not. Therefore young women should have no need to masturbate and therefore there is no need to “beat them up” about it.

        • It could also have sprung from a “Let sleeping dogs lie” philosophy in which they foolishly believed they may not know about it so don’t bring it up. It also could have been so uncomfortable of female LDS hierarchy to talk about it that they simply avoided it. I mean, who wants a young girl asking “Did you ever do it?” when they are being admonished not to. Sputter, sputter. Plus, if we talk about it we are acknowledging women DO IT. LDS women included. Too much to stipulate to.

  6. I’m googling … 🙂 One reason for gender bias may be reflected in this energetic condemnation of the practice. It may be concern about reducing reproductive success by “spilling the seed.”
    http://affirmation.org/rhetoric_on_homosexuality/steps_in_overcoming_masturbation.shtml

    For girls, masturbation might be seen as benign, so ignore it, especially if you don’t see your role as positive sexual education (or you’re simply ignorant or embarrassed yourself). To be blunt, it’s not required for reproductive success. (To be totally thorough, it has been suggested female orgasm improves the chances of insemination.) Maybe there is also an idea that men are more … distractable? This would make them become lousy spouses? (Maybe that’s partly true? Some spouses would feel inadequate if their partners did this.) I’m speculating!

  7. Natasha’s blog is great, and I have been a part of those conversations.

    I, too, don’t know where Jules is coming from. The teachings of masturbation were really mostly directed to the men in the Church. I don’t think that most men even realized that women masturbated, so it was likely something that they never asked the women about.

    The Church’s teachings on masturbation really surfaced when Spencer W. Kimball first started teaching it was a sin, or “a rather common indescretion”, in his book Miracle of Forgiveness. Most of the quotes about masturbation since then have been quoting SWK. He was not the Prophet at the time. He also mentioned that masturbation “could” lead to homosexuality. I believe that he was speaking from his experiences as a GA, where he was required to deal with some of the stickier issues in the Church. One of which was the occassional dealings with two missionaries who probably had a strong habit of masturbation, and likely started talking about it, then doing it together, then….

    I think that this is what he was referring to, hence, his later statement that no young man could serve a mission unless he was free from the “habit”. I reason that he thought that if a missionary was not “fettered by the habit” then he was less likely to talk about it and experiment sexually with a companion. Masturbation does not cause homosexuality, but when done together with another member of the same sex, it may lead to other “same sex” activities.

    And, Jules, “who comes up with these rules”? The Prophet and Quroum of the Twelve Apostles establish doctrine and policies. I don’t know if masturbation has ever been considered part of doctrine, since it is not found in the scriptures, nor in any of the official proclamations or declarations, where are found the Church doctrine. It is also not found in the General Handbook of Instruction. Church doctrine is also taught consistently in the Church manuals. Homosexuality as a sin has been, and IMO will always be, considered a sin by the Church – because it has been taught to be a moral sin in the scriptures and by Prophets, past and present. Someone who has experimented with same sex acts is likely disqualified from serving a mission. Someone who has masturbated, unless it is a severe habit, is not likely (today) to be held back from serving a mission – heck, 90+% of boys/men have masturbated!

    • @Chet: It’s my fault for thinking out loud & I’ve been partly misunderstood. The only real Q you don’t precisely address is the radically different treatment of men and women. Is male homosexuality the decisive thing? As for “comes up with these rules,” I was really thinking of individual vice, the choices people make in choosing which rules to preach with special vigor, sometimes rules they are themselves breaking. Is that better…?

  8. Growing up as a boy in the church trying so hard to be good and do what’s right, this was a huge private, silent struggle. I was taught at home and in church that this was a terrible sin. So I continuously felt unnecessarily guilty–and that negatively affected my confidence and opportunities for progress.

    Now, with much more life experience and many years of marriage, I’m generally with Natasha, and I’m glad you pointed me to her post. I’m convinced the harms of teaching that masturbation is bad–especially very bad–far outweigh the harms of the actual practice–if there are any.

    It is not mentioned at all in any of the scriptures or official statements of the 12. Think of all the other things that ARE mentioned and how far we fall short of those things!

    I also agree that the lack of consistency among ecclesiastical leaders is a problem that I have encountered firsthand.

    I’ve written about this quite a bit on my blog, but have generally concluded it was a sin, just not nearly as big as many make it out to be. The current YM manual (quoting Pres. Kimball) and Elder Scott’s conference talk suggest this.

    I’m not quite ready to take an official position, but I’m considering it.

    Way too personal question: As a woman, how does masturbation while married affect your desire for your husband?

    • I’m glad CM answered that question, because I don’t think I’m in a position to answer it right now.
      I will say this: Just like CM, the more orgasms I have, the more I want. How’s that? 🙂

  9. Strongman: For me, I have found it increases my desire for him and these are the reasons why – 1. I am more comfortable with my body and have learned through private, non-rushed, self-focused exploration what feels good and what works. I am then able to relax and be comfortable with him in allowing him to do the same exploration while sharing what I have learned works. It has lessened my self consciousness. You need to understand – that I was unable to get to this point during the almost 30 years when I was not masturbating. And during those years are sex life sucked big time. (mostly my fault)
    2. I have found the more I orgasm, the more I want more orgasms. That translates into more sex for us together and we are both happy.
    3. I almost always share with him my solo experiences which has created a deep emotional intimate closeness with him. If you think about it – I am sharing with him some of my deepest secrets thoughts and physical feelings (ones I share with no-one else) . That creates in and of itself a deep bond of trust and intimacy. It also usually leads into more physical intimacy as he gets very turned on (and so do I) when I tell him about it. .He does the same with me when he has solo sessions.

    The thing is in our marriage we don’t view them as solo – we view them more of just a different form or extension of together sessions.

    But having said that all – I still have not reconcile it with supposed church doctrine. The Spencer W. Kimball quote in Miracle of Forgiveness left a huge mark in my mind. One I would like to erase forever. But I will tell you this – I will NOT go back to how we were before.

  10. CM, I am beginning on the process that you have described after thirty years myself. Your beautifully articulated comment has increased my confidence and encouraged me. I really needed to hear another woman’s experience. Thankyou for letting me know I can do this, it’s so scary after all these years of repression.

    • Handle with care – Good for you! You are going to have the time of your life – and so is your husband. Don’t be surprised when he asks “Who are you and what did you do with my wife?” and then add -“but please please – do stay!!!” lol.

      Sex is such a gift! I have a feeling you are going to have the same regrets that I have – that is – why in the world did I not open this gift sooner!!! 🙂 Feel free to email me if you want to chat further. You can ask Zookie for my email address and I give her permission to give it to you! Have fun!!!

  11. CM, Zookie, whoever else:

    My stake president and bishop are very hard nosed on this one. The Bishop recently called all the young men for a special combined meeting and spent an hour discussing porn and masturbation and reading the strength of youth pamphlet. Mentioned masturbation in the very next sentence after the quote about sexual sins are “next to murder” in seriousness. Said if they’ve done either of those things they should talk to the bishop and he’ll help them.

    How would you handle this if your bishop spoke to your sons this way, but you are committed to the Church, believe it’s true and prophets are generally inspired?

    I’ve done a fair amount of reading on this working on a post for my blog–but I’m very interest in other perspectives. I do think it affects men and women differently.

    • That would be difficult! I wouldn’t want to feel like some kind of an apostate! But anyway, short answer: With my oldest son I let Conan handle talking to him about that sort of thing…until I walked in on him once. Then I just told him I understood his feelings and that I just didn’t want to know about it! I know–cop out! This was several years ago, before my blog or anything. I’ve already told my daughter that she might hear from people, in the church or otherwise, that it is wrong, but it really isn’t. (*gasp* heretic!) I haven’t broached the subject with my youngest, yet. He’s still so innocent. When he starts taking 30 minute showers we’ll be having some talks about it, haha! And I’ll tell him the same thing. You may hear that it’s wrong, but it’s not. Just don’t go crazy with it.

    • Strongman, this is one of the frustrating things about the church for me. You can have a Bishop or SP spout the hardline for the years they serve, then the next one called doesn’t think its a big deal and teaches moderation and self control and concentrates on porn as the real evil. So what do we do? i have already ruined my children in this area – but here are my thoughts on it now.

      First and foremost – I think parents have to learn to be comfortable with sex and sexuality themselves and understand how bodies work and that sex is a Gift from God, not a tempatation given from Satan. The misuse of it is the temptation from Satan. In all my research efforts trying to overcome my years of sexual repression and the good girl syndrome, I have learned that parents who are comfortable with themselves sexually and are open, honest, and not ashamed of talking about sex (all of it – the good and the bad) with their children on a regular basis (not just THE TALK)(and age appropriate) raise kids with healthy attitudes about sex.

      Children should be taught from the early years masturbation – or the exploration of body parts that God designed to feel good is a normal and natural and probably healthy part of growing up. Almost all do it at some point and probably many on a regular basis. It feels good – God designed it that way. So as parents – we teach – just as we do with everything else – in the context of our beliefs about the gospel and HF’s plan for us here on earth.

      Whether a parent believes in no masturbation or some in moderation, they should teach their children their personal beliefs and values from early on and throughout in a loving, open, honest, comfortable way. It always should be taught in the light that it is not the Gift that is bad, its the mis-use that is the problem, and the reasons why it is a problem. And of course the atonement should always be included in these discussions.

      As far as handling the various approaches with well meaning leaders in the church – I like Handle with Cares approach (written above) with her son. Part of our job in rearing children is teaching them how to be discerning in forming their own beliefs and values. So we teach them to search the scriptures and listen to the prophets and then seek their own revelation on what is right and wrong in their own lives. We have to teach them in a respectful way that even in the church – and even with local leaders, there are philosophies of man being taught – mingled with scriptures. As parents we help them navigate these situations through their own study and prayer seeking answers pertaining to their life from the only perfect sourse – which of course is God.

      • The situation with the Bishop actually opened a discussion door for you to have with your children. At an opportune time, you could discuss how the child feels about what the Bishop said. You could inform him of your views (even if you tell him you are not sure of your views right now), how others in the church view it & debate it, what professionals say, how the world views it. Then you can say lets explore what the scriptures and the prophets say. And together you take a learning journey, which of course includes prayer – and allows him to form his own opinion of whether it is right or wrong for him. You could teach him how to ask the Bishop in a respectful way why the Bishop believes what he does and then to research it and pray about it and see if he feels the same way. You can show him that is how you find your answers for your life. kind of along the lines of – give a man a fish and he eats a meal – teach him to fish and he eats a lifetime. Sometimes I think we as parents think we have to give our kids and enforce all the dos and don’ts instead of teaching them how to find out some of them for themselves. I am not advocating no rules parenting, as rules are important and there are definitely absolutes in the gospel. But on the not so clear things – which i happen to think masturbation is one – I think each individual has to find his or her answers. And the answers will vary from individual to individual. I think it is our job as parents in these situations to help them know the correct sources to look for those answers.

        I think back to when I was a scared young teen -age girl, already thinking I am a freak, sitting in my Bishop’s office confessing something I have done since I was a little child. The devastating response I got was “Really? I didn’t know girls did that!!” I can’t even tell you what he said after that – something to the effect I should repent and stop doing it. blah blah!!!
        How different would my sexual life have been as a young wife if at that particular moment the Bishop loving and compassionately looked into my eyes and said. “You know what CM, you are absolutely normal. What you have been doing is discovering a very precious gift God gave you. Lets explore with some study and prayer what that gift is, why God gave it to you, and how you should use it and not mis-use it.” And then with guidance he taught me with the scriptures, and the prophets words, and prayer – leading me and guiding me to find for myself God’s view on sex and my own sexuality!

  12. Strongman,

    I think that the major concern for your SP and Bishop is the pornography use, which usually facilitates the masturbation. You get a healthy young man all amped up with porn and he will likely look for the release.

    I would talk with your bishop and let him know that you are concerned that the SP might be going over board on the masturbation issue. Tell him that you are familiar with SWK’s teachings, but let him know that Church doctrine is consistently taught by the Church leaders and is found in the scriptures and the Church manuals. Seeing that there is no mention of masturbation in the scriptures, or by Joseph Smith or Brigham Young, and that there is no mention in the General Handbook, and that the MTC has been told not to ask the missionaries about it…. where does the SP get his instructions from?

    • Chet,

      I agree with your take on what may be the impetus for their stance on masturbation. I have a 16-year-old son that has been struggling mightily with masturbation. I partially blame myself for not being more proactive in explaining the normal urges a young man will have as he matures. What was the major cause for became a multi-times a day habit was an addiction to pornography. Yes, masturbation may be a normal urge in a young man’s life, but what stimulates that urge is what I believe turns the act from something benign and natural to something spiritually damaging.

  13. I see this great post as a balance issue, or about prudenc. Whether it’s Masturbation or anything else, prudence in all things is a pretty wise rule to follow. Anything can be extreme, even something as pleasurable as masturbating.

  14. CM–thanks for your thoughts! Very well considered. That’s basically where I’m at. On Sunday afternoon–I briefly visited with my two sons who were at the Bishop’s talk, shared my thoughts that it’s not mentioned at all in the scriptures, that it’s not even in the same ballpark as actual sex with a real girl. Shared my personal feelings, said I’m struggling with it doctrinally, but that I do not think it’s remotely close to “next to murder.” If it were, it would be in the scriptures. Repeatedly. Invited them to share questions–but they had none. Surprise!

    Previously, I’ve studied Alma 39 carefully with them to explore together the origins of the “next to murder” idea. Hint: It’s NOT primarily about sex. Read it again sometime.

    Chet–A raging young man with overwhelming hormones may not need porn to get aroused. I didn’t. It just happens. Seemingly tiny things or even nothing at all can trigger arousal.

    Masturbation is condemned in the Strength of Youth and in the current Young Men Manuals–the language is “do not arouse the emotions in your own body.” I’m officially a heretic. But I think I’m right. The current doctrine stems from Richard G. Scott in 1994 and he references Elder, NOT president, Kimball.

    I do fear, though, that my sons will now wonder if I’m a heretic. Oh well!

    I’ve also posed this question on my blog and invited comments.

  15. Strongman,

    I am sure that I am in the minority with my opinion here, but when you read the whole context of the FSOY under Sexual Purity, the whole context is not doing anything sexually with someone who is not your spouse. They warn against those things that will stimulate the sexual desire and can lead to fornication. By not doing anything (while you are with another person) that will arouse those emotions in your own body, or the person you are with, it will protect you from letting things get out of control. So, I don’t see that quote as referring to masturbation.

    To show some consistency, I would refer you to the following definition of Chastity on the Church’s website:

    http://www.lds.org/topics/chastity?lang=eng&query=chastity

    No mention of masturbation, or any mention of “don’t arouse those feelings in yourself”.

  16. Chet- thank you. I’ve read and studied that lds.org page. And the topics “masturbation” or “self stimulation” are nowhere to be found–except in manuals printed more than a decade ago but still in use. I would agree with your interpretation generally, but I feel quite confident that young men struggling with a flood of hormones hearing anything about “arouse feelings in your own body” are thinking about self-stimulation–especially now in my stake.

    I worry that even in the context of relationships with others, this “feelings in your own body” concern is misplaced. Many young men at church dances feel feelings of arousal very innocently looking at or touching and dancing with a girl in public with full church standards in place. Isn’t that a good thing? I don’t want my sons feeling like sinners and guilty about that. I’ve been quite clear with them that feeling good when looking at and being with girls is GREAT! God wants that–it’s how HE designed things!

    Without those almost overwhelming feelings of arousal, girls at dances would be VERY lonely. It is WAY scary for a young boy to ask a girl to dance. He needs a pretty strong motivation.

    After Zookie pointed out Natasha’s post, I’ve written a couple of posts on this topic, and a very interesting discussion has been happening, with a number of insightful comments from different bishops. You might check it out here:

    http://goodstrongmen.blogspot.com/2012/09/masturbation-bishop-guest-post.html
    http://goodstrongmen.blogspot.com/2012/09/masturbation-bishops-remarks.html

    In short–no one commenting is supporting a hard-line approach on masturbation.

  17. You know… (speaking on the stance outside marriage) .. Everyone struggles with sexuality, but reading that article just feels so wrong! It’s a justification for something we’ve been told to TRY to overcome. Maybe we’re not guilty for having some feelings, but I know from personal experience that through the Atonement, it’s absolutely possible to overcome these feelings, or put them off until marriage. For the strength of Youth clearly states “do not do anything to arouse these feelings in yourself.” And here it is from a PROPHET, Spencer W. Kimball:

    “The early apostles and prophets mention numerous sins that were reprehensible to them. Many of them were sexual sins—adultery, being without natural affection, lustfulness, infidelity, incontinence, filthy communications, impurity, inordinate affection, fornication. They included all sexual relations outside marriage—petting, sex perversion, *masturbation*, and preoccupation with sex in one’s thoughts and talking.”

    Those are the words of a prophet! You can’t get around that–it’s doctrine. We should feel guilt if we participate in any of these things–not the kind of guilt that drives us away from God, but the kind that will motivate us to change for the better. It is possible to be empowered by the Atonement to learn SELF CONTROL… I can only speak about my personal experience; and I felt real shame that motivated me to change, and I felt so at peace and right after I had repented. I know that sexuality is a natural part of our lives, and it feels good and satisfying, but we have to practice self-control in this life, or we will not be as strong in the next. It’s something wonderful to be enjoyed, but only at the right time.

  18. I guess I get to speak for the minority, sigh.

    The fact that masturbation feels good doesn’t make it right. Nor does the whole ‘learning about your body’ thing which is better done together with your spouse instead.

    Our sexual powers are the most god-like powers we have been given, and our sexuality is something sacred. When something is sacred your treat it special, you set it apart from everything else, and our sexuality should be set apart for our spouse. Our sexual pleasure should come from the person we are married to and not from ourselves or anybody or anything else. Masturbation is an abuse of sacred powers, just as homosexuality, adultery, fornication, pornography etc.etc are.

    Now you can write all that off as just being my personal opinion if you want, but that doesn’t change the fact that the leaders of the church have repeated and very clearly stated that masturbation is a sin.

    from https://www.lds.org/manual/a-parents-guide/chapter-5-teaching-adolescents-from-twelve-to-eighteen-years?lang=eng

    “One example: masturbation is considered by many in the world to be the harmless expression of an instinctive sex drive. Teach your children that the prophets have condemned it as a sin throughout the ages and that they can choose not to do it. Throughout childhood, boys and girls have touched their own genitals frequently to wash and to dress. This is a behavior that usually has the same meaning as keeping one’s feet warm in the winter, enjoying a swim on a hot day, or scratching an itch. We ought to be friendly to our bodies and appreciate the body’s marvelous range of senses. This innocent touching is not the kind of behavior warned against by prophets through the ages. The sin of masturbation occurs when a person stimulates his or her own sex organs for the purpose of sexual arousal. It is a perversion of the body’s passions. When we pervert these passions and intentionally use them for selfish, immoral purposes, we become carnal.”

    President Kimball said:
    “Masturbation, a rather common indiscretion, is not approved of the Lord nor of his church, regardless of what may have been said by others whose “norms” are lower. Latter-day Saints are urged to avoid this practice. Anyone fettered by this weakness should abandon the habit before he goes on a mission or receives the holy priesthood or goes in the temple for his blessings. ” (Oct 1980 General Conference)

    We are supposed to follow the prophet, and if we don`t happen to understand or agree with his direction that doesn`t give us an exemption, we are to follow his council and sustain his leadership through obedience anyway.

  19. LDM–I appreciate your blog. Interesting story. I’d be curious how much your personal reluctance to share your sexual needs with your wife over a 15+ year sexual drought had to do with a history of shame about the worthiness of your God-given sexual desires.

    If so, you would be in a very common and tragic situation among religious men.

    This sentence from the above quote: “prophets have condemned it as a sin throughout the ages,” simply has no backing behind it. What ancient or even latter-day scriptural reference can back that up? I’ve searched and studied carefully and I’m confident you will find none.

    Prophets throughout the ages have been human and have made mistakes. Remember Jonah, Lehi, Peter, and countless others. Could this incident be one of them?

    I’m not looking for excuses to not follow the prophet, I’m suggesting we avoid the harms of shame and misplaced guilt that too often cripples young men and damages marriages.

    We can actively destroy people’s lives and our priorities are way out of place if we imagine or teach it’s even close to a severe, serious sin, like murder, as it’s too often taught.

    • Good comment, Strong Man. I might add that, by restricting a member from using the Priesthood, or using their temple recommend, as a probationary punishment is essentially teaching them that masturbation is a serious sin.

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