What were you taught about masturbation?

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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby BBoy » Tue Jan 13, 2015 1:15 pm

These last two stories are truly sad. It's great that both of you have remained active. What is sad that you were burdened with so much guilt growing up, thinking you were somehow unworthy. My guess is that generations of young men have felt similar needless discouragement.

I for one will not perpetuate this injustice. I promise here and now that whatever church position the Lord sees fit to allow me to hold, I will use it to, where and when appropriate, free young men of the Church from Masturbation Guilt.
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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby be64 » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:06 am

A friend of mine sent me this from a Christian website. I thought it was an interesting answer.

Hey Rev,

Is it a sin to masturbate? I’m a man with needs but I don’t want to sin. I’m doing my best to repent and looking to be truly a soldier of Jesus Christ with all my heart.

- Anthony



Dear Anthony,

Is masturbation a sin?

A sin is an act of selfishness, it’s an act of destructiveness. A sin is something that fractures your relationship with your neighbor, that makes you smaller and more angry and more afraid, that turns you away from the big love that the Christian tradition calls God. Unless your masturbation is pathological in nature — unless, Anthony, you are masturbating instead of going to work or washing the dishes or paying the bills — it doesn’t do any of those things.

Research and anecdotal experience alike tell us that masturbation is a healthy, normal, and just about universal way that people express their sexuality. And the Gospel witness is that, while Jesus spends a lot of time talking about how you and I treat poor people and sick people and prisoners and immigrants and strangers, he is entirely uninterested in the question of whether or not his disciples masturbate.

As more than one wise person has taught us (and as my friend Lauren reminded me – the next couple of paragraphs are more or less plagiarized from an email that Lauren sent me), if you want to make the world kinder, a pretty good way to begin is to be happy. Happiness includes giving yourself pleasure, it includes treating yourself kindly and lovingly. It includes self-pleasure of the sexual kind.

When we befriend our bodies and, in particular, when we befriend our sexual longings, we become more compassionate towards ourselves and towards others. When we touch ourselves with genuine pleasure rather than that horrible mixture of guilt, self-loathing, and compulsion that poisons so many of our experiences with sex, we are committing a radical act of love that is desperately needed in this broken world. When we touch ourselves with that genuine pleasure, we remember that God celebrates the body in the incarnation. Ron Rolheiser puts it this way: “in becoming flesh, God legitimizes skin, praises skin, enters it, honors it, caresses it, and kisses it.”

All that is to say, Anthony, that it’s time for you to stop worrying. Your masturbation isn’t troubling God. It doesn’t need to trouble you either.
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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby JustGettingBy » Wed Jan 14, 2015 8:24 am

I had a college philosophy teacher (nowhere near Utah) tell us just before spring break about several studies showing a strong correlation between countries that have lots of sex don't start wars. He bid us farewell with the salutations to "feel peaceful".
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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby BBoy » Wed Jan 14, 2015 12:23 pm

be64 wrote:"Your masturbation isn’t troubling God. It doesn’t need to trouble you either."


Amen and amen!
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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby zos » Thu Jan 15, 2015 8:34 pm

Momgyver wrote:Ha, I posted on the orgasm thread, before I read this one.

I will reiterate it here and elaborate a little.

"I masturbated from a very, very young age, simply because it felt good. I can't remember ever not doing it. I didn't know what orgasm was, but I touched myself enough to learn what felt best. I experimented a lot. A LOT! I don't remember anyone ever telling me that it was wrong, but I was always careful to keep it private.

I did not grow up in the church, and was baptized at 18, so I never heard any of the lessons aimed at the youth. When I got married, DH confessed to me that he sometimes masturbated and I think he expected me to be upset, but I thought it was no big deal. I did it often, myself, after all. I wondered why he felt the way he did (ashamed and embarrassed) and was SHOCKED to find out that "most" people (Mormons) considered it a "sin". Wow! What that told me was that I'd better keep those proclivities to myself. And I did. For years. And years. And I repressed the urges too.

Secrecy and repression are not good for either the sex drive or the marriage.

Thank God, I'm over that! No more secrets, no more repression. Ever again."

My parents never really taught me anything about masturbation or sex, directly, but they did not make sexuality seem wrong or dirty, in ANY way. They were always very affectionate with each other. Till the day my dad died. Touching. Kissing. Holding hands. I was very lucky to grow up in such a loving, extremely functional, family. We were very poor, but very happy.

But, as an adult convert, even though I never heard any of the talks aimed at the youth, I was still a victim of them. DH made it clear to me (albeit indirectly) that good Mormons did not masturbate. It was forbidden. It didn't matter that I tried to convince him that it was really an okay thing for him to do. Even though I thought it was perfectly normal, kept telling him that it was perfectly normal... it was NOT okay. He still felt it was wrong, sinful. If he knew it was wrong, who was I to contradict him? I really knew nothing about the gospel and struggled to believe this was sin.

I failed.

What I succeeded at was driving my behavior further into secrecy. It was the secrecy that caused me to feel guilty. The guilt caused me to repress.

I have finally succeeded in helping him know that it is a normal, natural, healthy behavior. We are both, at last, freed from the secrecy. I have no guilt. I'm not sure if his guilt is gone though.


Momgyver, did you continue to masturbate without your husband knowing?
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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby mariabronn » Thu Jan 15, 2015 9:11 pm

Guilt free MASTURBATION. what a load of shame and negativity off one's shoulders!!!
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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby Momgyver » Thu Jan 15, 2015 10:18 pm

zos wrote:Momgyver, did you continue to masturbate without your husband knowing?
I did. I kept it very secret for all those years. It is such a relief to be free from the secrecy. I'm sure DH did it too, but he was ashamed and felt bad, because he had been taught it was wrong. Now he is open and feels free to indulge. I think he still feels some residual guilt, but at least he knows that I think it is perfectly normal. We are now able to discuss anything sexual. ANYTHING! It is great!
“Love cannot live where there is no trust.” Edith Hamilton
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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby zos » Fri Jan 16, 2015 2:14 am

Momgyver wrote:
zos wrote:Momgyver, did you continue to masturbate without your husband knowing?
I did. I kept it very secret for all those years. It is such a relief to be free from the secrecy. I'm sure DH did it too, but he was ashamed and felt bad, because he had been taught it was wrong. Now he is open and feels free to indulge. I think he still feels some residual guilt, but at least he knows that I think it is perfectly normal. We are now able to discuss anything sexual. ANYTHING! It is great!


So, if you hid your masturbation from him, how did you two ever get on the same page? Did you try to convince him it was OK? Was nothing said at all? Did you ever flat out lie about it?
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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby BBoy » Fri Jan 16, 2015 3:55 pm

Way to go, Momgyver! I'm so happy for you and your healthy marriage.

I'm thinking we need to have a fifth Sunday lesson on this....
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Re: What were you taught about masturbation?

Postby Momgyver » Fri Jan 16, 2015 9:42 pm

zos wrote:
Momgyver wrote:
zos wrote:Momgyver, did you continue to masturbate without your husband knowing?
I did. I kept it very secret for all those years. It is such a relief to be free from the secrecy. I'm sure DH did it too, but he was ashamed and felt bad, because he had been taught it was wrong. Now he is open and feels free to indulge. I think he still feels some residual guilt, but at least he knows that I think it is perfectly normal. We are now able to discuss anything sexual. ANYTHING! It is great!


So, if you hid your masturbation from him, how did you two ever get on the same page? Did you try to convince him it was OK? Was nothing said at all? Did you ever flat out lie about it?

Well, I never had to lie, because he never asked.

As far as how we got to where we are today, it is a long story and I've told a lot of it scattered here and there throughout the forum. The bottom line was, that over the years, I became a cold fish. I never refused sex, but it was very, very clear I never wanted it either. Events brought our marriage to the breaking point. DH gave me an ultimatum. Change. Show him some affection. Actually participate in the sex we were having. OR He was going to divorce me. I had to decide. I thought long and hard. I prayed. Ultimately, I chose to give change a try and in the process God changed my heart. Profoundly. Permanently. As part of that change, I will not compromise my sexuality. I give freely and unconditionally, but I am also not afraid to ask for what I need. I will never be that repressed person again, that hid and denied my sexual self. He is so happy that I actually love him again, and am demonstrating that love, that he has been willing to give back to me on so many levels. My change was instantaneous. His has been gradual. He is beginning to trust that my change is permanent.

Gods ways are mysterious and amazing.

Here is one place where I tell part of my story: viewtopic.php?f=24&t=1032&start=20#p19040
“Love cannot live where there is no trust.” Edith Hamilton
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