[Note: Every Friday we post a new rant from one of our writers, edited only for typos and spelling. This new series is not for those easily offended or for those who only like to play nice. So read this before you start posting your comments.]
Yes, you will. You’ll also die if you do.
Alright, I don’t think that’s what you mean when you ask this question.
There are two main themes that come up when people ask questions about masturbation.
Is it a sin and is it possible to survive without it?
If someone asks me about whether masturbation is a sin I usually answer like this: Why does it matter if it is or not? If it is, are you going to be able to stop doing it? If it’s not, then what’s the problem?
Saying that masturbation is a sin does no good in getting you to break free. You’re going to do it one way or another.
Usually when we get past the legality or morality of masturbating we can get to the crux of the matter.
People don’t usually care about whether masturbation is a sin, they just want someone to tell them whether they can do it or not.
Go for it I say. If it’s the shame you’re afraid of then let go of it. Just don’t feel it. Loosen your grip. How useful has shame been in breaking free? I bet it hasn’t helped at all. Is it the physical act of masturbating that you feel so bad about or is it the fact that you think you’re not meant to do it?
Believe me, if you make a decision to just say no I’m not going to feel like crap about this anymore or I’m not going to mentally beat myself up, you’ll feel much more peace. You’ll be able to simply dismiss triggers without believing you have any choice.
But you won’t die. Either way.
That response though can usually get an angry response. Even from the people asking it.
Listen, I’m not suggesting that it’s good one way or another but you don’t need to keep asking the question. Do you feel free? Does it help you be more present? Are you more attuned to God, your community, and yourself? If it makes you feel like garbage, then that’s what you really need to know. Not whether it’s technically a sin. Also, before anyone goes there, I’m not saying the opposite is true either. That anything that we do that feels good, must therefore be healthy.
So what’s the alternative?
Maybe it’s actually realizing that there are bigger issues at hand and we need to get over ourselves a little. I’m not belittling porn and masturbation addiction. It is a huge problem. Especially in the church. I spent more than my fair share of late-night porn and masturbation binges contributing to the statistics. I also help guys work through the reasons they feel they need it everyday.
But the reason it is a massive problem in the church is not because it is “right” or “wrong.” It’s because we place so much shame on it as if it’s the worst thing you could ever do.
That’s why it’s a problem.
That’s why marriages fall apart. There is no openness about this stuff. We’ve been told that if we look at porn and masturbate we are evil or committing adultery or promoting trafficking.
Geez. No wonder no one wants to own up to it. Why would you?
Porn and masturbation are not the problem. You are. Or rather the pain that you are carrying in which you think porn and masturbation will successfully medicate is. If we can learn to quit calling it simply a sin and really deal with our wounds in a healthy and honest way, then porn and masturbation will gradually start to lose their strength.
You don’t really want to know whether you will die without masturbation! You want permission to do it.
So go ahead. Or don’t masturbate … your choice.
Also, quit asking if masturbation is a sin. It doesn’t matter.
Guilt does not work. Courage and curiosity to seek out why we desire it will.
Let’s start asking those questions.
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