Masturbation:

"The Undisciplined indulgence of Sexual desire"

Masturbation: “The undisciplined indulgence of the body’s sexual desire”

“Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” [1 Cor. 6:18]  

Definition

  • It is a self-gratification that carries with it the wish to rebel against God’s authority over our bodies.

  • It consists of in making sexual experience an end to be desired and sought after for its own sake.

  • A man or women becomes a servant to his or her own desire instead of master of them.

  • It becomes habitual and can't be rid of easily rather takes on a monstrous effect in one's life.

  • It is a distortion of love driven by lust and selfishness.

  • It is a sin because it is an abuse of God’s gift of sex. It needs to be forsaken and repentance.

  • It breeds lust and selfishness, which takes one further from God. "But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death. Do not be deceived, my beloved brethren”(James 1:14-16).

God create sex for sexual act as a sacred for bonding and creating a life. Looking at God’s design for sex, as it happen within a marriage, it is a promise at the altar of love that include the love to be free [no coerced or driven by lust], total [hold nothing back including the possibility of creating life], faithful [include the mind, eye, and heart as well as body] and open to life.  Masturbation achieves neither of the above, and instead of communicating life and love, the purpose of sex become the satisfaction of lust. The urge to masturbate needs controlling, there is no reason to pursue or gratify it. It is definitely not beneficial for one's spiritual life. "Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). St Paul orders Christians to control lustful desires saying, “you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable, not in passionate lust like the pagans, who do not know God” [1 Thess. 4:4-5]

World Vs Science Vs the Church on Masturbation

World: encourages people to indulge in masturbation. “Sexual organs are like muscle - if unused for many years, rendered as useless ”. The normalcy of masturbation is reinforced often in health and sex education.

Medical Authorities: agreed on the fact than non-use of sexaul organs can never lead to withering-up or an impairment of the function. Control of the cravings of sex does not do any psychological harm.

General principle: Self control is a moral “desire power”, the right ordering of our desires and emotions toward the good and away from the evil. People who control and discipline themselves will have will-power, become stronger and be more mentally alert. [found in every religion in the world, but not necessarily religious]  

The Church: please read the  definition above. Just as purity teaches you to give, masturbation teaches you to take. love is a gift, but you can not give what you don’t posses. If you don’t have the self control, you can’t give yourself to another. If you can’t conquer your habit of lust, then how will you love a spouse one day. The early book of the Church called the Didache advise all of us saying, “My child, don’t become lustful, for lust is the path leading to illicit sex .. for all these, adulteries are begotten”  

The Challenge

  1. The main challenge is that the culture clearly says, “No big deal. Have it.” and encourage of the habit.

  2. The Church either pretends it doesn’t exist or does not address it appropriately.

  3. When you have any form of sexual release, your brain experiences a release of chemicals called endorphins and enkephalins in the medial preoptic nucleus [MPN]. This surge of chemical you get is the highest rush in the body.  The MPN is the same area that cocaine affects [this is why cocaine is so addictive]. When you engage in masturbation … you are launching strong and powerful chemicals in your body - or starting a process in your brain that actually bond you to fantasy world that is in your mind. Thus it is obvious why you may want to do it again. This is known as a trained response [Pavlov’s dog in psychology class]

 

Effects of Masturbation

  • It does lead to  a sense of guilt, depression, and weakening of will power. When people misuse their sexuality in this way, they may begin to use pleasure to change their mood, release tension, or forget their loneliness and ..ultimately offend G . God’s plan for our sexuality is stamped into our anatomy. Our conscious is always crying when we engage in this activity because it is against  what we are created for. Masturbation goal is a sexual activity that educed to merely receiving pleasure instead of showing love. All sins are sins, in that theses are actions which turn us away from God. Masturbation and Pornography are  sins. The Bible states, “Whoever commits sin is a slave of sin”. Engaging in the act leads to sense of guilt and shame. When it become a habit, it weakens one’s will power to overcome it and leads people to stress and depression- may continue to turn to various forms of lust (porn, masturbation, infidelity, and so on].

  • Ultimately it robs a person of his fellowship with God and his spiritual effectiveness.

  • Harm the ability to bond with real people in the real world. You may lose your ability to bond with one very important person, your future spouse.

  • It may lead to problems after marriage because marriage is not a fulfillment of pornography or masturbation. [For one who hasn’t learned self-control prior to marriage, it is difficult to learn it afterward].

  • “Every sin that a man does is outside the body, but he who commits sexual immorality sins against his own body” [1 Cor. 6:18]

 

More on the Topic

Some people agree that mastrubation is wrong, but they have trouble in understanding it as a grave disorder. This is primarily because of the loss of respect for the sanctity of God’s sexual gift. Acts of masturbation are neither unitive or procreative. They reduce the sexual gift to a source of solitary pleasure, and they embody the vices of uncleanness and unchastity that are condemned in the letter of St Paul [Gal 5:20; Eph 5:3]. Some would also argue it should be understood not only as a sin but also a sign of emotional emptiness and desperation.  However, at what cost are we indulging in this sin. Remember our Lord's teaching, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” [Mk 16:26] The love of God is needed to fill the heart of those who seek release through errotic self-stimulation. This love is God’s grace, which heals and elevate the human person from wretchedness and brokenness to wholesome and peace. The fact people engage in masturbation because they are lonely/single doesn’t justify the sin. Singleness is a gift, and should be a time where we develop a friendship with others and God.  Moreover, the act of masturbation will lead to other sexual sin such as pornography and impure thoughts. It may even pull one toward the use of prostitutes or the sexual exploitation of others which can manifest in a myriad of ways. It could also lead to objectifying one another as objects of pleasure and not in the image of Christ even when you do enter a relationship.

Practical advice on battling Masturbation.”Work out your salvation with fear and trembling”

[Phil. 2:12]

“Did you commit sin? Enter the Church and repent for your sin, for here is the physician, not a judge, here one is not investigated, one receives remission of sin” St. John Chrysostom.

  • Passive (defensive) approach

    • Guard your sense and your thought (Heb 5:14, prove 12:15, Isa 55:8).

 

Never let any thought to separate you from God.

“Temptation is not a Sin, but playing with temptation invites sin”

You can overcome the temptation of masturbation. This act begins in the mind before it is acted out physically. Thus, you begin by keeping an active mind occupied in work, studies, services, and other means to stay busy. When these thoughts occur, engage in productive physical activities to release the energy and distract your thoughts. By now you know where and how this act begins and what motivates you to masturbate. Any change in the environment that you have hedged in order to be able to satisfy this need, will help deter this action from manifestation. Sexual stimulating images can present themselves to the imagination through advertisement, modes of dress, and suggestive music. We should be mindful of the reality of the Evil one, who can use these natural stimulation as an opening to tempt us into sin.  We should seek to practice the presence of the Lord at all  times - be conscious of the fact that the Lord is always with us and watching us. The bottom line here is that if you want to overcome the temptation, “fix your mind on things which are holy and right and pure and beautiful and good” [Phil. 4:8].

  • Active [offensive] approach

    • It can be overcome with spiritual maturity. Seek God with your whole heart and listen to wisdom (Ps 119:9, Pro 1:11) by Continue to pray and reading spiritual material.

If we want to truly overcome or avoid the temptation, we need to be an active participant in overcoming the sin with constant pray and reading the bible. Prayer is essential for those who want to persevere in purity.  Prayer is powerful competing responses that can defeat the lust that used to overpower us.  Beside the regular prayer that you do in morning and night, train yourselves to pray short prayer repeatedly. Some examples are: "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me a sinner", “Hasten, O God, to save me; come quickly, Lord, to help me[Ps. 70:1]. By repeating a prayer, it makes it register in your subconscious so it will be in your thoughts automatically and may stay with you even in your sleep. Along with that, it is advisable to add fasting when it gets hard even though you tried so much,   as the Lord stated that some sin couldn’t be overcome without fasting and prayer [Mt 17:21].We must fill our minds daily with the Word of God -for saturating our minds thus thus with God’s word is one of the surest safeguards against evil thinking. Reading God's commandment in your heart. For this reason, King David said, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you” [Ps. 119:11].

"There is no need at all to make long discourses; it is enough to stretch out one's hand and say, Lord, as you will, and as you know, have mercy. And if the conflict grows fiercer say, Lord help!

God knows very well what we need and He shows us His mercy." Abba Macarius

    • Union with our God through Confession, repentance and taking holy Communion.

You need to talk to your confessional father and get counseling, direction and to ask him to pray for you and take the Holy Communion [medicine] Purity doesn’t come overnight. It requires perseverance along with the help of God.  Purity is not a matter of wrestling our lust to the ground and putting it into a submission hold. To fight this sin, we need to follow what God has already revealed in the Bible. We can’t battle this by ourselves [apart from the help of God] and need to admit it. God has given a power/authority to the priest “to drive out impure spirits [thought, lust] and to heal every disease and sickness” [Mt 10:1] and to absolve and make us free from all sin [Mt 18:18]. Ultimately when we confess we are allowing God to transform our heart through sacraments [Confession and Holy Communion] of the church offer. Participating in the Holy communion erases sin and often gives you the power to overcome the problem. If God is within us through Communion, who can defeat us?! Holy communion is like a medicine that will help us to heal our selfish desire to lust.  However, confessing and taking Holy communion don’t remove our sexual desire or the causes of temptation. We have to do also the following

    • Deepen your devotion and relation with Saints.

Pick a saint [i.e.St Mary, Archangel Michael, Abune Teklehaymanot] and deepen your devotion. Ask their intercession and help.  God has favored the saints for the sake of me and you. We have seen God’s working through his saints. Our Church and our lives are a living testimony to the effectiveness of Saint’s intercession/help.

Glory to God

May the Intercession of St Mary be with us all.

Dn Fresenbet