I believe it was George Carlin who first put into words what I had believed for so long yet couldn’t quite express. He said it perfectly. Mankind has urges, desires, and wants, and then God sets all of the rules in exact opposition. This is one of the key reasons I believe organized religion to be malarkey. Religion, in its earliest days and to this very day, seeks to keep mankind in order. In an article I came across on DesiringGod.org, the specific area of control is sexual desire. This website purports that the human body is a vessel provided by God that we do not own, but merely cohabitate with our Lord. Since God created our reproductive system for reproduction, anything contrary to that is a dirty sin. The author of this site offers ten words of advice for single people facing sexual desire. I share with you a few of those.
First, do not seek regular sexual gratification through masturbation, that is, the stimulation of your own self to sexual orgasm or climax. Masturbation does not solve sexual pressure for very long, it tends to become habitual, it produces guilt, and it contradicts the God-given design of sexuality. Our bodies and desires were designed for the sexual union of persons, and masturbation contradicts that design. But perhaps worst of all, masturbation is inevitably accompanied and enabled by sexual fantasies in the mind which we would not allow ourselves in reality and so we become like the Pharisees: well scrubbed on the outside, but inside full of perversions.
Pure bullshit right from the start. Masturbation does not create guilt. There’s nothing to be ashamed of unless you create rules that forbid the act. What’s that about fantasies that we would not allow ourselves in reality? Who says I’m not replaying past fantasies or that my fantasies are easily accomplished. Play it up with big words and scare the kids that much more. Deuteronomy 23:10 states: “If there be among you any man that is not clean by reason of uncleanness that chanceth him by night, then shall ge go abroad out of the camp, he shall not come within the camp.” It then explains that once the sun sets he can wash his pubes and return to camp. God doesn’t care about a nocturnal emission that can also be accompanied by fantasies. All you have to do is wash yourself. Why should self pleasure be different?
Second, do not seek sexual satisfaction through touching or being touched by another person, even if you stop short of sexual intercourse. Everyone knows that intimate touching is the prelude and preparation for sexual intercourse, and therefore it belongs where that event belongs, namely, in marriage. Where the permanent commitment that characterizes marriage is missing, caressing becomes depersonalized manipulation; it turns the other’s body into a masturbation device to get a private physical thrill. God made us in such a way that if we try to turn that moment of touching into a personal, spiritual expression of love, we are not able to do it without making promises of faithfulness. Implicit in our hearts at that moment is the statement: You may touch me because you have promised never to leave me nor forsake me. You may have me because you are me. We are so made that we cry out for permanence when giving away our most intimate gifts. They belong in marriage.
This is just some outdated bullshit. This is purely an authoritarian edict that presupposed that one cannot determine for themselves what is truly passionate, spiritual, and permanent. By using loaded words from the beginning like “depersonalized manipulation” you demonize the act without any support.
Third, avoid unnecessary sexual stimulation. It doesn’t take any brains to know that there are enough X-rated movie houses and adult bookstores in this city to keep a person livid 24 hours a day. To visit these crummy places is temptation enough. But the real test is what you do with the more legitimate sources of sexual stimulation. PG movies, Time magazine, the newspaper, television, drugstore magazine racks, rock music lyrics. In our society you cannot escape sexual stimulation, but you can refuse to seek it. And you can avoid it often when you see it coming. This is the great test of whether we are enslaved or free. Can we say no to the slave driver in our bodies who wants us to keep on looking and keep on lusting?
Is this guy asking if I jerk off while reading Time Magazine and watching A Bug’s Life? Though it does bring a new meaning to Avril’s song “My Happy Ending.”
Fourth, when the stimulation comes and the desire starts to rise, perform a very conscious act of transfer onto Christ. I wish I had learned this much earlier in my life. While riding down the road, if some billboard or marquee puts a desire into my mind for some illegitimate sexual pleasure, I take that desire and say, “Jesus, you are my Lord and my God, and my greatest desire is to know and love and obey you, so this desire is really for you. I take it from your competitor, I purge it, and I direct it to you. Thank you for freeing me from the bondage of sin.” It is remarkable what control we can gain over the direction our desires take, if we really long to please Christ.
So when the Casino Le Fantastique billboard makes me itchy, I need to pray? Basically, you are saying that Jesus is a moodkill. Sure, call it “freeing me from the bondage of sin”, but this is no different from Austin Powers yelling “Margaret Thatcher naked on a cold day!” to keep from becoming aroused.
Christians spend so much time worrying about people having sex that they don’t look at the big picture. Does it really matter? Is “lost innocence” even a concern in today’s society? I know some people who somewhat regret their first sexual encounter, but live fulfilling lives nonetheless. Not everyone who has sex before marriage is going to transform into a guilt-stricken, cry-baby that sits in the corner all day wishing things had gone differently. Stop worrying about the bedroom (or kitchen, den, hallway, turnstile, deep freeze, etc.) and worry about yourself. Worry about leading a good life in more important ways such as taking care of those less fortunate and generally spreading goodwill. I’m sure at the end of the day, you’ll feel a lot more accomplished with zero guilt.