Interesting—eh? If not for the title, you probably wouldn’t be drawn to read the article. Indeed, this sexual practice, in its ‘popularity’, has drawn itself into much controversy. Its subtleness as a ritual (since it is usually done in secret) has much been a premise for its seeming subtleness as to morality. That is, most see it as neutral.
However, if we look into masturbation more closely (well, at least not literally), we may find thought-provoking information that would hopefully alter how we would perceive the subject. Is masturbation right or wrong? Or is it really neutral? How does it affect us as social beings?
Disclaimer: You read on at your own risk. The following paragraphs may contain terms that may gross you out or discussions that television programs say are “not suitable for very young audiences: Parental Guidance is recommended”. However, the article tackles matters about the practice without being graphic. Anyhow, it is beneficial for one to read it. After all, ignorance…excuses no one.
For the people in Facebook, this is a note made in FB per se but a post in my blog. So, if you mind to not mind, I wouldn’t mind.
What is it—really?
By definition, masturbation is any activity leading to sexual arousal that you do yourself. It is also called ‘self-stimulation’. Most often, it leads to orgasm; some don’t. Masturbation is usually employed for sexual gratification, less the partner.
Students in campus call it names. The most popular is ‘jacky’ (from ‘ejaculation’ and its variant ‘jackol’) and such evolved once more to weird terms like ‘jackstone’, ‘jackfruit’, and even famous brands and names like “Jockey”, “Jockey Star”, “Jockey.Com”, “Jackie Chan”, “Jackie Lou Blanco”, and…what else (Whew!)? So the next time you hear such words outside its original context, you know what it means! I believe these names are used because the term ‘masturbation’ sounds so blunt and candid! It should be.
Masturbation is not only practiced by men but by women as well. Research shows that 90% of male teenagers and 40% of female teenagers in America have had masturbated at least once in their lifetime. Because it can be done without having to include a partner, it has become one of the most popular means of sexual release that humans employ.
Is it healthy?
The point of masturbation is simply to sexually gratify oneself. With such premise, it makes itself as appealing as sexual intercourse. Many see it as an instant means to be ‘happy’. Impulsive as they are, some even go the nearest comfort room to do his/her ‘thing’. Have you ever heard a classmate say, “Taysa, mouli sa ko sa dorm, ha. Mag-jackstone ‘sa ko”? Tsk tsk tsk.
Many believe that there are health benefits to masturbation. For example, they say it can improve the circulation of the blood, or for men, lengthen the genitals. Some also claim that it has adverse effects instead. Much debate has poured into this. However, no matter how beneficial or adverse the effects are, masturbation has not promoted a radical change for the betterment of human welfare that science has yet proven to this day. If there were any, many would promote masturbation out of genuine concern, not out of plain conceit. However, why do people still masturbate?
I believe the answer is in the natural order of humans. We humans are sexual beings. We have natural desires and drives that we would like to satisfy. God gave us these, even our sexual desires or sex drives, for us to enjoy life. Who would want to live life like robots that cannot feel any emotion, satisfaction or in this case, sexual gratification?
So does this mean that masturbation is okay? We live in a fallen world. The state of being natural doesn’t guarantee its being neutral or amoral. If masturbation has no ‘proven therapeutic claims’ or clear-cut health benefits, I believe there are still psychological, social, moral and ethical effects it entails.
Socio-psychologically, it pushes sex to a corner. Excluding everyone else, one would develop the mentality that sexual gratification can be attained without having to be related to somebody else. Well-acclaimed author Joshua Harris has a good point when he said, “The joy of intimacy is the reward of commitment.” Masturbation appears so appealing as it becomes a shortcut to sexual intimacy without having to be committed. That relationship principle has been the reason why God gave married couples the exclusive privilege of having sex. It is the same reason why premarital sex is a sin. Masturbation, therefore, is selfish and can be deemed illicit.
Moreover, people who masturbate technically lust. I have come across a blog where one commented, “It is better to masturbate than to lust.” I believe he missed the point. Lust is loosely defined as to desire what is forbidden. Interviews from people who masturbate say that they always think of someone or the ‘real thing’ when masturbating. For example, a friend says that, when he masturbates, he imagines as if he is having sex with his girlfriend. Another friend of mine says that he thinks of a random female friend—naked—depending on his mood. Yuck! They desire what is forbidden (sex outside of marriage). If that isn’t lusting, I don’t know what to call it.
Not only that, even Jesus Christ condemns lusting. He says, “When a man lusts after a woman, he has committed adultery in his heart.”
Especially when formed as a habit, masturbation makes one a smug. A good mentor of mine put it well when he said, “A lifestyle of masturbation could lead to a lifestyle of premarital sex or in the future, adultery.” The consequences, if you would agree with me, are deeply unethical (remember, the family is the basic unit of society; if the family is broken, the society is in a precarious position).
If sexual gratification is the point, I believe we should wait for marriage. Well, it’s a form of agony, you know, knowing that one has to wait (we are dubbed as the ‘Microwave’ generation—everything in an instant). Nevertheless, if we would think about the moral, ethical and even psychological disadvantages of masturbation, we would better want to keep our hands off.
“Character is what you are in the dark.”
— Dwight L. Moody