Releasing Sexual Tension - Part 2
Question: So, if premarital sex and heavy petting are out for singles, what about masturbation? .
Answer: Last week I introduced my four types or stages of masturbation. The first stage is the discovery stage, which some may not call masturbation. This stage involves little boys discovering their body parts. The second stage is the pressure release stage when one is fully aware of body functions and may attain sexual gratification from masturbation. This is also the stage or type of masturbation used for therapeutic or medical reason that may be considered healthy. At this stage it is not a habit. However, this is the risk stage when the habit is formed. Stage 3 is the exploitive stage. It is definitely a habit and sexual fantasy is involved. Stage 4 is the compulsive stage when the individual is compulsively addictive. He/she is trapped with the mental and physical addictions of masturbation and finds him/herself in a cycle of repeating a behavior that seems impossible to break.
Dr. Patrick Carnes talks about the narcotic element of sex in his book Sexual Addiction. He gives the phases of sexual addiction as: preoccupation, always thinking about sex; realization, serving the habit regularly through masturbation, sex, etc; compulsion, the losing-control stage, the must-indulge phases. The last phase is despair or guilt -- lots of if -- relieved only by re-entering the cycle at the starting point. This describes what many people experience who engage in habitual masturbation.
Before you decide that masturbation is alright as long as it is not associated with lustful thought, I want to remind you of some basic Biblical principals concerning sexual integrity. First, God intended for all sexual pleasure to be enjoyed only in the marital context (Genesis 1:28; 2:21-25). Sex outside of marriage is sinful (1 Corinthians 6:9-20). Second, although sexual desires are natural and healthy for everyone, including the single Christian, how we use or channel these desires makes a big difference in our emotional and spiritual development (Romans 13:14). Third, human beings are basically sinful in nature. The devil is constantly trying to enter the minds of those professing to be Christís and who are gaining victory over sinful inclinations. Since the devil cannot read out minds, he uses the senses to gain entrance into our minds (feelings, seeing, smelling, hearing, tasting). There is a battle going on for the MIND (Romans 12:1,2, 2 Corinthians 10:5). Fourth, we are instructed to avoid the very appearance of evil, and to think only of those things that are pure (Philippians 4:8). Fifth and final Biblical point, one does not have to physically touch another in a sensual or sexual manner to commit adultery. He/she can do so in his/her mind (Matthew 5:28). Hence many Bahamian commit adultery without touching another person sexually.
I have been emphasizing the role lustful thoughts play in masturbation. I want to remind you that these lustful thoughts are wrong whether or not they are accompanied by masturbation. A goal of this article is to point you to the importance of having pure, healthy thoughts.
When sexual tension, a natural God-given drive, is not it not fueled by erotic literature, movies, mesmerizing and hypnotic rock music, or other sensual environments, the ability and power to cope, channel, or use this energy in other non-sexual activities is easier. Perhaps our greatest concern should not be on the act of masturbation itself rather on the driving force behind it. Therefore here are some questions we should seriously ponder. What behaviors propel the natural sexual desire into a controlling force? Can these behaviors be avoided? How do I value myself as a person? Does my family or personal background makes me more at risk to such activities? Do I constantly feel frustrated, lonely, incomplete, deeply in search of intimacy? What about my life style? Is it conducive to wholesome Christian living? Is it a balanced lifestyle? Do I give fair amount of time to nurture and mature in all areas of my life: the physical, social, mental and spiritual? If you are off balanced then you are at an even greater risk to the devilís cunning devices.
For many, these sexual aberrations do not start as a conscious decision. Rather it "grows on them" through compromises and "little sins" until they are trapped. Then the sexual pressure holds them hostage, pushing them to make a decision.
Often young Christians ask the question about masturbation as if it can be an alternative to premarital sex. NEVER should we practice or consider masturbation as an option or alternative to premarital or marital sex. I agree with Dr. William Kraft, professor of psychology at Carlow College when he says: "Normatively, masturbation should neither be condone or recommended." Why not? Because masturbation puts us in an unreal world of make-believe. It cultivates the desire for something we want to preserve for and enjoy only in marriage. Masturbation itself can produce irrational desires and feelings which again cause more masturbation. And the vicious cycle continues.
Dr. Kraft continues in his book Whole, Holy and Sexuality : "Masturbation is particularly seductive because it is an easy and accessible way to reduce tension and to explore genital feelings and fantasies without interpersonal vulnerability, responsibility, and accountability. It seems we have a license to masturbate almost whenever we feel like it. We need not worry about other people or social consequences; it can be kept to oneself. Part of masturbationís lure is the safe secrecy of fantasy; one does not have to risk rejection, embarrassment or failure. . . . Instead of engaging in mature relationships, the individual can create a world of make-believe, where anything is possible and there are not limits . . . Masturbation can numb the discomfort of emptiness and incompleteness and promises some semblance of being one with self and other. But these rewards are short lived. Masturbation involves a yearning for intimacy and completeness."
Bahamian parents need to make sure that the home environment is loving and warm and the expression of feelings and emotions are free to be exposed to reduce the risk of sons and daughters developing the habit of masturbation. In addition the discussion of moral and social development needs to be permitted to help prevent the transition of "healthy discover" into a deliberate act of self-gratification.
Since more than 95 percent of all males and about 70 percent of females masturbate, isnít it a natural thing to do? Note carefully that Christians do not make choices based on statistical reviews, traditions, or social norms but solely on Biblical principles and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. As a result of the concepts and principles presented in this article on masturbation (its transitory nature, addictive potential, etc) I feel that it would be ideal for single Christian adults to refrain from masturbating as a method for an occasional release of sexual tension. Sexual purity is a gift from God given to all who ask for it. Seek Christ first "and all these things will be added unto you."