Masturbation: is it moral and healthy

Rachel Held Evans has collected 7 different views on the question of “Is Masturbation an acceptable component to healthy sexuality for Christians?” It’s an interesting read and by interesting I mean sometimes interesting and sometimes infuriating.

I am convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that masturbation is immoral and harmful to the human person. It dislocates an aspect of the sexual act from its rightful place as part of the whole marital act. It is not ok for a single person, not ok for a married person, and not ok just because “everyone” does it.

Having said that, when it comes to dealing with the topic, especially with young people, we must do so with charity and a view to explaining God’s love and its proper mode(s) of expression. We must not be “puritanical” in this, just like we should… well, never be puritanical.

It’s not the worst thing someone can do. Murder is worse and we shouldn’t pretend like masturbation is the greatest sin of all time (currently, according to many, that would be homosexuality).

I may respond in more detail later, but for now go over and give it a read. What are your thoughts on the topic?

(By the way, I am grateful that Rachel did this, so the parts that make my angry, don’t make me angry at her for collating the responses).

Be open to life and live like it.

As everyone knows the US is going through two legal battles right now over the definition of marriage. This battle has been fought in Canada already and same-sex marriage is legal across the country. I’m beyond tired of this issue and I’m not really here to talk about it directly. Nor, am I going to tell you my take either way – partly because I’m somewhat unsettled on certain parts of the issue. If you want to know where I somewhat stand, you can find it somewhere in an unrelated article somewhere on this blog.

Right now, I want to speak to those who want to uphold the view that marriage is: a conjugal union of a man and a woman designed to unite husband and wife to each other and to any children who may come from their union.

In other words, at the centre of the argument is the view that procreation is central to marriage. It makes sense, if you don’t believe that marriages should centre around an openness to life, then really, who cares?

Listen up though folks: if you believe in this, let’s call it a “traditional” view of marriage (1), then how open to life are you? No, seriously, how open to life are you? If you’re Catholic you promised in your ceremony to be open to life and to welcome in any children God may give you. As part of this you also inherently promise not to frustrate God’s intentions. Do you use birth control? Either condoms, foam, or the pill? Have you thought through the implications of such action? Have you researched the health implications or investigated other options?

Certainly, not everyone is meant to have a large family, but how much of that is our choice and how much is up to God? Are you open to life at anytime or only when you’ve had 10 years in your career? What’s more important: your ability to travel to far away exotic locations, or to bring children into the world? There are morally licit reasons to space out a family, such as financial and health reasons, but wanting to hold off so you can go on vacation unencumbered by a child, isn’t one of them.

God gave Adam and Eve very few commands (apparently one too many), but one of them was to have children. That’s it. Have a family.

Are you open to life on God’s terms or just your own? If you really, really, believe in the traditional view of marriage, you better be, or you’re just making empty arguments.

Many families struggle for years to either get pregnant or stay pregnant. The average number of miscarriages now is 3. I am the fourth child in the my family, but I’ve never met the others because the middle two were stillborn. My parents tried really hard to have me. They were open to life. Having trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant does not invalidate a marriage in this view, because the central issue is that the couple is open to life.

If you’re a heterosexual couple and you don’t intend to ever have children: should you even get married? The Catholic Church would say no and many same-sex marriage advocates would agree because if procreation is the centre of the argument, if you intend not to have children, then what are you getting married for?

The point is simply this: if you’re going to fight to uphold the “traditional” view of marriage, then really think about what you’re saying about your own marriage, or marriages in general. You’re saying: “I am open to life” and I’m open to it on God’s terms, not mine (though there is obviously some aspect of partnership here), so live that way. Don’t live like the rest of the world does thinking you can choose when to have children without God’s input. The best way you can show support for that view of marriage is to live it out.

(1) Yes, I know, many will argue whether or not this view of marriage is really that traditional, but I believe it is.