ETHICS OF MASTURBATION

Recent Researches in Psychology Supports Church’s Traditional Contempt
healthy-life
One of the problems of the growing generations is licentiousness allowing everything as normal, if majority take it as acceptable. The subject under discussion – ‘masturbation’ – becomes a good example. An American website from its analysis of this phenomenon among Americans note:
95%  of men admit to masturbating compared to 89% of women. For the married individuals the rate is 70% for both men and women.
Few married Christian men (60%) admit to masturbating.  Only 13% consider the practice ‘normal’.
More than 40% of male and 22 % of male admit to masturbating daily. 55% of men and 48% of women masturbate atleast once a week.
Math for final figure: number of masturbatory aged people in US: 240,052,886; average session: 12 minutes; average frequency: 62.5 percent masturbate daily; therefore 153,053,044 masturbate a day; equals 7.5 minutes of everyone’s day (or 450 seconds a day); therefore, 797,151 Americans are masturbating right now.[1]
We find, therefore gradually people saying that ‘there is nothing wrong with masturbation’, ‘there is nothing like too much of masturbation’, ‘it does not affect your sex life’ and some even promote it as a tool for a healthy living. As everything has market value. Morality is no exception. It has become tainted and goes to support the people’s likes and dislikes without objectively analyzing the issue. Amidst the storms of such ‘take it easy’ trends, Church had always remained stubborn in its severe condemnation of the any willful act of masturbation. So much so that people had accused it to have created guilt and shame about a normal physical act. But today, the recent researches show how dangerous masturbation can turn out to be for a mental and physical health accompanied by the pornography, Marnia Robinson psychologist states,
Masturbation itself is not wrong, but too shallow an understanding of how it can affect the brain may prove to be no small oversight. This error was understandable when we knew very little about how we wire our brains, when we believed shame was the only means of making masturbation a self-defeating obsession, and when supranormal sexual stimulation was not as ubiquitous—and therefore over-stimulation less commonplace (pre-Internet). Today, however, “Masturbation is normal, so don’t feel ashamed” may simply not be adequate information for kids seeking answers. Innocently acquired habits can get in the way of forming healthy relationships. Is it time to set aside our codified assumptions and reopen a discussion about masturbation education with an emphasis on the importance of balance?[2]
 In another article, “Rethinking the Wonders of Adult Masturbation” she goes at length to break following famous myths: 1) Frequent masturbation prevents prostate cancer; 2) Frequent masturbation benefits your sex life; 3) Orgasm is orgasm; 4) There’s no such thing as too much masturbation; and 5) You can’t cut back on masturbation without harming yourself.[3] Her views are supported other neuroscientist Gary Wilson.[4] He confirms that masturbation leads to numerous neurological disorders that dysfunction our regular life. In a way, we can state that they approve Church’s extra care about the issue and its rigorous norms that condemns the act. So in this background we shall discuss the issue defining it and present church’s present stand on the issue.
Understanding Masturbation: The Phenomenon
Masturbation is sometimes called self-abuse, or onanism, and in secular textbooks, “self-pleasuring” or “solo-sex”. When the psychic stimulation takes place during sleep, it is known as nocturnal pollution. Some reserve this term for involuntary and growth related stimulations happen with children, during sleep or semi-sleep. Adult masturbation is referred by the term auto-eroticism, who for variety of reasons are driven in on self and find a substitute for real living in this symbolic and intensely frustrating behavior.  The sacred congregation for catholic education in 1974 pointed out that one of the causes of masturbation was sexual imbalance. This is further explained that loneliness is a prime mover, leading the individual into isolation, fantasy and masturbation. Loneliness is usually joined with feelings of deep self-hatred and anger. When the real world is harsh and forbidding, one turns to fantasy, and when one spends much time in a fantasy world, he becomes enslaved with sexual objects. Often the habit is compulsive, that is to say, the person is not able to control masturbatory activity inspite of great efforts to do so.[5]
Church’s Teaching on the Subject
The declaration on certain questions concerning sexual ethics says that the traditional doctrine that masturbation constitutes a grave disorder is often called into doubt or expressly denied today. Throughout Christian tradition every act of masturbation is regarded as gravely and intrinsically evil, and if performed with full knowledge and consent, it is mortal sin.[6] Yet the authours of Human Sexuality say that the widespread practice of masturbation, particularly among males, makes it difficult for moralists to continue to hold the traditional position. It is put in sharp conflict to common sense. Such moralists downplay the issue of the objective gravity of the act. Here I present some arguments of the church to defend its traditional position.
1.      Holy scripture ( Gen 38.8-10; 1 Cor 6.9; Rom 1. 24) does include in its condemnation an irresponsible use of sex, and that would certainly apply to masturbation. Even if scripture does not condemn this sin by name, “the tradition of the Church has rightly understood it to be condemned by the New Testament.
2.      The Catholic Sexual Ethics states that those accept masturbation cannot consistently regard their bodies and sexual activities as integral parts of their own selves, for these acts do not fulfill the basic human goods of mutual self giving and of procreation.
Psychologists today, support the import of the traditional doctrine of the church and are working to bring awareness about the harmful effects masturbation amidst young people.


[1] Jeff Wyasaski, “Inforgraphic: Masturbation Facts and Statistics”, accessed from http://www.pleated-jeans.com/2011/04/18/infographic-masturbation-facts-and-statistics/ on 27.08.2013.
[3] Robinson, “Rethinking the wonders of Adult Masturbation”, accessed from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201209/rethinking-the-wonders-adult-masturbation on 27.08.2013.
[4] Gary Wilson, “Porn, Masturbation and Mojo: A Neuroscience Perspective” accessed from http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/cupids-poisoned-arrow/201209/porn-masturbation-and-mojo-neuroscience-perspective on 27.08.2013.
[5] John F. Harvey, “Pastoral Problem of Masturbation” accessed from ebookbrowsee.net/the-pastoralproblem-of-masturbation-pdf-d25923653‎ on 27.08.2013
[6] In 1975, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a Declaration on Certain Problems of Sexual Ethics, and it is this document that the Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes regarding this issue. “Both the Magisterium of the Church, in the course of a constant tradition, and the moral sense of the faithful have been in no doubt and have firmly maintained that masturbation is an intrinsically and gravely disordered action” (CCC# 2352) Grace Mackinnon, “Masturbation: Mortal Sin”, accessed from http://catholiceducation.org/articles/religion/re0706.html on 27.08.2013. See also New Catholic Encyclopedia http://faculty.plts.edu/gpence/PS2010/html/new_catholic_encyclopedia_masturbation.htm.

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