Saturday, September 5, 2009

Ex-Masturbators do not represent me as a Christian

Here I am again, feeling that I need to speak up about Christian groups that I feel are not representing Christianity. The group Passion For Christian Ministries is basically telling me that I am not a Christian because I masturbate.

"P4CM" are selling "Ex-Masturbator" shirts on their website. In a video on the site, members state that masturbation leads to other "things" such as viewing pornography and possibly becoming addicted to it.

As an anti-pornography feminist and a Christian woman I can tell you that it is possible to masturbate and avoid pornography.

In several of my posts I have attempted to point out the myth than men are unable to control themselves and cannot stay away from pornography. Well, I believe that it is also a myth that masturbation will lead to pornography.

I think it is insulting to men and women alike to suggest that one can only masturbate if they are filled with degrading thoughts. I do not feel the need to dominate or be dominated in my fantasies.

As a young child I never had anyone to talk to about masturbation. Honestly, however I don't think I would have felt comfortable talking to my parents about it. However, at a time I did attend a youth group and it was never discussed. The only message I have ever received through the church on sexuality is abstinence.

It is my belief that many churches avoid speaking about masturbation because they are so afraid that young men and women will engage in sex. I think it's high time that churches begin speaking about how individuals can learn to feel celebrated in their bodies. I think that this would be quite beneficial as it might assist in negating the myth a person's sexuality is owned by another or can only be experienced when it is related to another individual. Sure it is beautiful when two come together in love and trust but I think it is equally important for a person to learn about their own bodies and to learn to celebrate it.

Also, if a certain individual does choose to remain abstinent I think that masturbation can actually help rather than harm.

However, according to Christian hip-hop website , masturbation...

1. It brings shame, and...
2. It is addictive

Most people who have engaged in masturbation know that the culmination of this sexual act ends in shame. I don't have to share with you the thousands of emails of the admittance of this shame because you know all too well since you have experienced it yourself. Curled up in a fetal position, crying, because your bed is even more empty and you're lonelier than you did before you violated yourself...Because God never created sex so that you could gratify yourself. The dictionary defined masturbation as self abuse...the miss use of yourself. The mistreatment, the manipulation, the exploitation of YOU.

I believe that if an individual does find themselves addicted pornography or addicted to masturbating then there is something going on behind those acts. Masturbation alone will not lead to addiction unless their is some psychological/emotional reason behind it. In that case one might benefit from therapy in order to explore what is going on inside.

Ex-Masturbator Testimony

Let me restate that it IS possible to masturbate without sexist thoughts entering. It may be difficult for some as patriarchy often penetrates (no pun intended) our minds with sexist images. Images that suggest that sex is not sex unless it is exploitive, dominating and occurs without respect.

But what about lust you say?

I'd like to bring attention to a blog post of Hugo Schwyzer. I often visit Schwyzer's blog. He is a feminist, a christian, a gender studies professor, an activist and a husband and father.

Here are two excerpts from Schwyzer's post "LONGER POST ON SEXUALITY, MATURBATION AND HONORING GOD."

What I am arguing is that our sexuality is a gift from God, a gift with more than one purpose: Christians are indeed called to honor God with their bodies, but we are also called to take our own delight in living as embodied creatures. Pleasure is part of God’s gift; to receive and to give pleasure can be honoring to God. All Christians believe this; conservatives believe that pleasure should be limited to heterosexual marriage, while progressives believe in a more liberated and inclusive ethic, but we are united in our conviction that God intends us to have sexual pleasure, and that experiencing and sharing pleasure can be profoundly honoring to our Creator!

Ultimately, when it comes to sexuality, I think far too many people fail to distinguish between what is selfish and what is self-honoring. Selfish sexual expression is anything that robs another person of their dignity, their value, and what is rightfully theirs. Adultery is selfish, and even masturbation can be selfish when and if it deprives one’s partner of one’s entire energy and excitement. But as created beings, whose bodies — like all creation — are fundamentally good, we are right to honor ourselves. On the one hand, self-honor doesn’t mean narcissism; even when we delight in our own bodies, we are giving thanks to the Creator who gave us our flesh. And it’s worth pointing out that self-honor need not always be the same as self-denial! When we eat to satiety, and delight in the taste of rich foods, in a very real sense we honor both our bodies and God’s gift of sustenance. When we explore and enjoy our bodies sexually, we are similarly honoring both the gift which was given and He who gave it.

The topic of masturbation can be a conflicting one and I think certainly for christians. I am not suggesting that anyone should take my opinions and run with it. The purpose of this post is not to proclaim that I am right and that's that!

I am suggest, that many churches (though certainly not all) have historically practiced shame and fear rather than allowing a discourse to really take place. That is MY belief. I think if any of you out there are conflicted, please take some time ruminate, pray, introspect and conversate with others.

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