As a former masturbator, I'm already prepared for the responses from some people on this because what I have realized is that when you want to do something *bad enough* (even when it's not the best thing for you), one, you will get defensive about it and two, you will find any reason to keep on doing it. I have alcoholics in my family who do those two things as it relates to their habit. I have substance abusers in my family who do those two things as it relates to theirs as well. And while I never really thought that sexual sin (in any form) was "right", in times past, I could definitely come up with a couple of rationales that would at least prevent me from feeling super-convicted so that I would be able to do the act again...and again...and again.
And while you may think I'm going to get into the spiritual aspects of why masturbation is not God's design for sexual pleasure, I've learned that the Bible is pretty thorough on what it supports and what it doesn't. A "no comment" in Scripture on masturbation (although it has *plenty* to say on lust and I don't know any woman who can masturbate without thinking up some pretty crazy stuff---I John 2:16) doesn't really make me feel like, "Well since it's not explicitly mentioned, it must be OK." If anything, I feel the opposite (now). Things that don't have God's blessing on it are usually things that we should avoid. The Word lets us know that he's a huge supporter of the marriage bed and any scenario outside of a husband and wife engaging (Genesis 2:24-25, I Corinthians 7:1-9, Hebrews 13:4), well, I haven't seen where he's happy about those. Indeed, when in doubt...*just don't*.
Yet since it's been reported that 95% of all men and 89% of all women have masturbated at some point in their lives, we can't act like it's not something that should be addressed and explored from various angles. And so, this piece is actually about some health things that I discovered about masturbation that I would love to hear your take on.
1) One study reports that women with a higher level of testosterone are the ones who masturbate the most and they directly connect the use (or abuse) of it to high levels of stress and anxiety. Masturbation is a "stress fix".
2) Another article mentioned that masturbation can lead to sexual dysfunction and may put men at a greater risk for prostate cancer. The first issue is because oftentimes what people tend to do during the act alone is not realistic when they are involved with another person (um, kind of like *porn*). The cancer connection is still being studied, but it is "odd" that only masturbation and *not* sexual intercourse potentially puts men at risk.
3) Boy, and this one tripped even me out. Still, another article stated that over-stimulation (and honestly, I don't know people who "casually masturbate"; they either do it a lot or not at all), can throw off our hormone levels leading to issues like a lack of concentration and memory (“being over drained of acetylcholine”) male pattern baldness (?!?) and low self-esteem.
4) If there are people reading this who actually watch porn and don't masturbate, I would love to hear from you as well, because I don't really know those people (unless they watch it to get aroused for/with their partner and that's another blog matter entirely). This article addresses the fact that when masturbation (via the use of porn) is used as a *replacement* for having sex with a person, it is problematic (and doesn't that apply to the majority of people who masturbate, one way or another?).
5) And finally, there is no article link for this one. It's just something that I wanted to share that has come up in *a lot* of the counseling sessions that I have with wives. Even the women who are not as offended by the fact that their husbands have watched/do watch porn, they are still really uncomfortable with/bored of/not impressed by the sexual experience that they are having with their husbands because they are having sex with their wives *as if they are having sex alone*. As a result, the women end up masturbating too because they feel that they are better at pleasing themselves than their husbands are at pleasing them. This causes their sexual engaging with their husbands to drop significantly because they would rather masturbate than be "humped on" (that's how many of them put it) by their husbands as if they are a pet rather than their partner.
All of this said, yes, I also get that a lot of articles share the "benefits" of masturbation---*of having sex with yourself*---but as I often tell people, on this side of knowing what sex and masturbation is like and it being many years since I've had sex (less since I've been freed of masturbation), the two do not compare. It's like eating a cracker over having a full-course meal and shoot, I haven't even had *married sex* yet. So to me, masturbation is a lot like settling...for less and then defending the right to settle when you should get a whole lot more out of sex than just a physical release. The fact that people are getting further and further away from *the emotional and spiritual connection* that they are *deserving of* is what I think is the saddest part.
Anyway...I'm curious to hear you thoughts on all of this and your PG reasons re: why you masturbate and if you have any convictions about it.
If so, why? If not, why not?