Sexuality of Labour and Birth

This topic is rather interesting due to work done by Debra Pascali-Bonaro as detailed in her Orgasmic Birth website and publications. The basis of Pascali-Bonaro’s premise is that all stages of pregnancy, including birth, should be considered sexual acts by the pregnant mother. Her work is based on the natural birth movement but also compels us to consider the inevitability of labour and birth becoming sexual acts with the knowledge that some women do experience sexual pleasure during these activities, whether it is sought out or occurring spontaneously. Particularly in respect to the former, is there a role for sexual pleasure to be introduced into these stages of pregnancy, and this is something that our blog is certainly interested in exploring, as we believe that the entire journey of procreation in a mother’s life is something that is to be  explored and celebrated in the light of the fullness of female sexuality as God created it.

Angela Gallo’s advocacy of masturbation during labour is different, yet related to Pascali-Bonaro’s work. Gallo made use of the practice as part of her own natural birth in her desire to use more natural forms of pain relief.

Whilst Gallo, at least, comes across as a radical new age feminist, some of whose views are likely incompatible with evangelical Christian belief, we feel it’s instinctual for us on this site to open our minds to a more open viewpoint of God’s design of female sexuality through pregnancy and childbirth which doesn’t limit the sexual aspect to the beginning of the procreative journey. This is something we’ll explore a part of more fully in our next post.

Masturbation During Pregnancy

This is a topic we’ve touched on before. We are drawing information from some third party websites as well as offering some insights of our own. It has become a particular focus for us recently in supporting some pregnant women in our community.

Sex in the context of pregnancy isn’t solely limited to the act that began the pregnancy, and there is plenty of support for views that a healthy amount of sex during the pregnancy is quite beneficial. However a key challenge for pregnant mothers is maintaining enough sexual desire for the husband to have regular intercourse throughout pregnancy. It’s not particularly unusual for a pregnant wife to lose the desire for her husband whilst at the same time becoming increasingly horny due to changes in hormones, blood flow and other factors. During third trimester in particular, sexual intercourse can also become physically awkward due to the growing size of the pregnant belly. Some men can also lose physical desire for their wife during pregnancy. Because of these reasons, masturbation may become the preferable option for satisfying sexual desire consistently throughout the pregnancy. Because masturbation has other benefits that are of the type outlined in the MFC101 series, this article focuses primarily on masturbation rather than sexual intercourse.

The key benefits of masturbation during pregnancy are outlined below. It’s useful to remember that what is good for the mother is usually good for her baby as well, therefore masturbation can actually be positive for the baby’s development as well as helping her to overcome the various strains and struggles of those nine months.

  • Helps to reduce stress and increase relaxation after orgasm by releasing oxytocin
  • Increased orgasmic pleasure
  • Natural pain relief from morning sickness etc
  • Helps to make sleep easier due to release of endorphins and lowering blood pressure
  • Helps to strengthen pelvic floor for easier labour
  • Helps restores female sexuality and self image that can be damaged due to physical changes in appearance, size etc. A woman can feel sexy again when she can experience sexual pleasure and orgasm.

Masturbation has the advantage that it can be scheduled at any convenient time and is especially helpful for mothers who need to masturbate throughout the day rather than being limited by husband’s availability and stamina. Masturbation is also beneficial for the reasons outlined in our Masturbation For Christians 101 Series in the particular circumstances where a woman needs to reconnect herself with her own body or to have her own space to focus on her own issues, rather than sharing her body with her husband for the sexual encounter. During the six week post natal recovery period when sexual intercourse is medically proscribed, this is particularly important, as it is also a great opportunity for a woman to restore her personal sexual development after the challenges that have occurred during the pregnancy and birth.

In addition to all of the previously documented benefits, one that does specifically accrue to masturbation for a pregnant woman is the act of rubbing her belly, something that has been proven to specifically increase her sense of physical connection with and love of her unborn child. During masturbation, rubbing her pregnant belly can be very beneficial for increasing her arousal and pleasure, therefore being another situation in which the act of masturbation is actually physically beneficial for the baby.

In totality, everything that a mother does during pregnancy has to be considered for its ability to benefit and support her unborn child, and in terms of a godly mandate to lay down our lives in service of others, it is appropriate in a faith context to consider how the development of the baby can be enhanced by making this a greater priority than the mother’s own needs. Given that there are provable benefits to fetal development from masturbating during pregnancy, it is highly beneficial for a pregnant mother to focus her thoughts and prayers on “servicing her womb” or providing for her baby’s needs during masturbation, and this change of focus can make the act of masturbation that much more fulfilling to her, especially from a faith perspective.

We are considering at the moment whether to add another article or two in exploring this subject further to the MFC101 series, or perhaps a different series on procreation sexuality.

Recap – 2019/03

We feel now the Masturbation 101 series is over and it’s time to focus on more things to do with sex and sexuality in general. To that end, we will just recap on where the blog has been going since we started it six months ago. At that time, masturbation was the primary focus, and it is still very important, because masturbation has been such a grey area in the evangelical Church for a long long time, and significant numbers of Christians masturbate but feel they have to keep their practice secret or hidden away because of the stigmatisation of it in conservative theological circles.  Our approach to masturbation could best be summarised along the following lines:

  • Sex organs are body parts that are primarily intended for sexual stimulation and pleasure. This includes the parts that have dual roles related to procreation, because these uses are secondary.
  • These organs belong to the person whose body they are attached to and no-one else.
  • Since they do belong to the owner of the attached body, that owner can use them for whatever purpose they please. They can choose to share them with a matrimonial partner, or make use of them whilst single or alone.

Obviously all of the above is subject to the overriding consideration that all acts involving sex organs, like all human activities carried out by God’s people, must be carried out as an act of worship (for a godly purpose).

The problem for the Church at large is that much of our thinking on sexuality is derived from very conservative theology that often has a very limited concept of it. For example the ideas exist that sex is solely for the purpose of procreation, or that women do not have sexual desires at all and are solely created to be sexual playthings for their husbands. Singleness was also frowned upon and often stigmatised in churches. Most of these beliefs have no basis in fact within the Bible, and conservative teachers often quote general scriptures relating to sexual immorality without being able to show that they apply to these particular situations.

In this blog so far we have sought to show that masturbation is normal, harmless, healthy and even desirable for godly men and women to partake of in their ordinary daily lives. It will, of course, be a personal conviction of each believer by the Holy Spirit as to how to apply the concepts, particularly those outlined in the Masturbation 101 series, to their own situations. Our desire is to see Christians freed from false guilt and shame regarding their personal use of masturbation. We have particularly focused on ministering through intercessions to those who feel the need to masturbate several times per day (which can itself be healthy as long as there is no sin involved; as a rule of thumb, more than four times could be considered addictive). Obviously, people who are in this type of situation will struggle more than those who are able to get by with a frequency of several times per week, or several times per month.

The change in focus doesn’t mean we no longer see a need to address the issue of masturbation; far from it. But we now want to move on and address other relevant topics of Christian sexuality.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part G)

Sexual Affirmation

Like some of our other posts, this one is more about a specific theme rather than new revelation or content. As such we draw on concepts already explained and covered to some extent in the previous posts of this series, in order to address the particular theme.

Sexual affirmation is a concept that probably applies much more to women than men, primarily because women tend to have more body image problems impacting their sexuality, and because of the pressures our society puts upon them in relation to body image. It takes no time at all to understand these things can have an impact upon a woman’s personal sexuality in terms of self esteem and self image.

The concept for this theme is pretty simple, and that’s that a person’s sexuality can benefit and prosper if that person has a high level of satisfaction with their own body image. We live in a society where for various reasons, we can have a high level of dissatisfaction with the shape of our bodies. There are some improvements we can implement in relation to weight control and fitness, but for some issues we have to accept that the physical appearance of a part of our body is not something that can be easily addressed without cosmetic surgery. Rather than go to such extreme lengths it is certainly beneficial to our general self esteem / self image to accept the way we are made and this acceptance will have positive impacts on our sexuality as well.

Sexual affirmation in a Christian context, then, is affirming that our bodies are beautifully and wonderfully made and that we can therefore accept that this physical beauty translates into sexual beauty in the eyes of God. The affirmation recognises the sexual beauty associated with different body parts and that they are parts that we can actually use to increase our sexual pleasure during a time of masturbation. We may find that some of these areas are erogenous zones that increase our arousal by being touched and caressed, and undeniably these actions when associated with the right words of affirmation, particularly when these words are focused on thanking God for our bodies, sexuality and the gift of sex.

Practising such affirmation at a time of masturbation is therefore a great way of becoming more personally comfortable with and accepting of some of our physical appearance features of our bodies, especially the most visible parts, and enjoying sexual pleasure from touching and caressing these physical features, while affirming this sexual pleasure and the value, worth and esteem that God puts on our physical bodies and that He created and holds in high esteem all of these personal features, is a great way of focusing on what is important in our lives to give us a healthy sexuality that will bless the rest of our lives greatly.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part F)

Sexual Development

In Part D of this series we made some reference to the use of masturbation for sexual development, and in this part we are going to expand on that concept further.

In Part E, the previous post of this series, we discussed at length sexual devotion. Sexual development is somewhat different, but we can see on looking through the discussion of sexual devotion, that it is a form of sexual development. It provides the opportunity for Christians to undertake sexual development in a time of devotion so that they can better serve other people around them with their sexuality.

Sexual development for most people begins at adolescence and is the time in which the use of masturbation should first be recognised as valuable in the lives of Christians. Although it is commonplace for pre-adolescent children to discover masturbation, they should not be placed in a position to have knowledge of the sexuality aspect of masturbation before reaching puberty. During adolescence, Christian teens  should be informed about the relevance of masturbation to their lives of faith as well as being educated on the need to abstain from other forms of sexual activity and live lives of sexual purity in preparation for a continuous faith journey into adulthood. What we need to ensure is being attended to properly is the overall sex education message that is being taught to Christian youth, whether it comes from the church, parents or a Christian or secular education provider. Dropping purity programmes based on complementarian theology is a big step in the right direction. As our Christian youth grow in their faith and tackle the challenges of sexual development along with everything else that they experience on their transition to adulthood, they will be much better equipped than they have been with purity programmes in understanding their sexual development and how it fits into godliness and the quest for sexual purity.

Sexual development is something all Christians should make use of in their everyday lives. Singles (including adolescents) need it because they need to maintain sexual purity whilst at the same time being prepared to serve others relationally with their sexuality in a way that is appropriate for each situation. The most appropriate example is of course marriage, for those who are able to enter into it, which is the majority. However for those who are in the position of remaining single for an extended period of time, for whatever reason, then their sexual development remains ongoing and relevant to other relationships in their lives. For married couples, sexual development is also important for maintaining healthy relational sexuality for their marriage and also the service of others whether in a shared or individual capacity. We have talked in Parts C and D previously about the need for women and men to practice a regular form of sexual therapy in their lives in order to reclaim their core faith objectives of godly sexuality and sexual purity from the pressures created by our highly sexualised societies. This is a kind of sexual development and would basically involve “repossessing” sexual ownership of the relevant body parts that people feel most pressured or shamed in relation to. We suggest specific steps to be undertaken in such a process would include receiving personal sexual pleasure from touching, stroking or caressing those body parts, simultaneously speaking words of blessing and ownership over the sexual aspects of these parts and the right to possess these parts exclusively for one’s own sexual pleasure, and renouncing body shaming or attempts by other people to possess or misuse the body parts for their own sexual gratification. We would expect this type of sexual development to be undertaken in an individual time of devotion, because godly sexuality first and foremost involves the recognition that each Christian believer owns their sexuality in the same way as they own other aspects of their body and are individually responsible and accountable before God for it, at a higher level than responsibility or accountability to anyone else. This concept was explored more fully in Part E of this series on sexual devotion.

Sexual development for married couples can in addition to times of sexual devotion as individuals, encompass marital relational development in the shared duties of a husband and wife, for example in the maintenance of the marriage itself, parenthood and family life. Both spouses must ensure they have times of private sexual devotion to reflect the state of their sexuality against God’s perfect reality and continue to develop at a personal level in order to be able to bring their best into the marriage and all other relationships around them. Sexual development undertaken prior to marriage is very important for the marriage to go smoothly. There are many examples where people have not been prepared sexually for marriage and do not have the knowledge of how their body functions sexually, who then find it difficult to relate in a healthy and productive way within the marriage. This can include where there has been sexual trauma in their lives prior to marriage. This especially is a problem where the sex instruction given in the single period of a spouse’s life conveys a negative view of sexuality, such as when it is based on purity culture. It can be very difficult for a wife who has received such a teaching with its very negative shaming view of female sexuality to be able to respond appropriately sexually in marriage. However, Linda Kay Klein in her book “Pure” detailed some personal healing journeys undertaken by herself and friends escaping purity movement teachings, and although Klein now worships at a liberal church, we found some of the accounts extremely moving and easy to relate to inasmuch as they described processes of sexual development similar to the ones we have attempted to document in this series. The fact being that those processes were much delayed until such a time as the participants had managed to repudiate the negative teachings they were given, even if they had had to leave the church to do so.

There is one more issue that we will tack in here that is appropriate to sexual development and that is clothing choices. We believe that in the egalitarian spirit, that men and women’s clothing styles should be equivalent. It is inconsistent with the rest of the principles we have stated to insist that women must be buttoned up to the nines and have next to no skin visible when men are able to go out on the beach wearing only briefs. We are not going to use that as an example of how everyone should be able to dress on a beach but we have simply used it to highlight the double standards that traditionally have existed with clothing. Learning about a preference for the type of clothing worn (for example if a woman prefers to wear a skirt or pants, and whether she prefers to wear a bra or not) is something for each Christian believer to determine as part of their own sexual development.

To summarise Part F, it is important for all Christians to focus on sexual development throughout their lives, and find personal private time regularly in sexual devotion to address any development issues. Sexual development for Christians should commence at adolescence and be appropriately addressed in sex education and church teachings to enable all believers to be suitably prepared for the development of significant relationships in their lives and the possible phases of adult life that they will encounter. Sexual development is important as part of preparation for marriage.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part E)

Sexual Devotion

Sexual devotion is something we have talked about and alluded to in the previous parts of this series. It’s essentially bringing the gift of sexuality into a devotional time with God and surrendering our sexuality to Him. It’s a complete different way of looking at what we use our sexuality for. It’s not to say that traditional expressions of sexuality within a Christian context are completely invalid, but it is to say that the theology behind traditional Christian views of sexuality has needed reconsideration, and when that reconsideration has taken place, godly sexuality looks different than it used to.

The traditional view of male and female sexuality in the Church has been guided by patriarchy. This has been well known in society and society has influenced the Church. The predominating theology in the church for centuries, amid much controversy relating to specific interpretations and counter-interpretations of particular Bible verses, is something we know today as “complementarianism”. This essentially says that there are specific gender-based roles for male and female Christians, and in particular, leadership roles all over the church and in the family home are predominantly reserved for males. Complementarianism also teaches a sexuality that essentially implies that the primary purpose of a female is to meet a male’s sexual needs. Males are considered to be out of control and unable to moderate their sex drives, and women are made wholly responsible for men’s sexual actions, so women are the ones who are the most pressured to remain sexually pure and are even told they are not supposed to have sexual desires or drives. This has driven the development of extreme sexual purity culture that is primarily targeted at women, with little attention given to applying the same standards to men.

Christian Egalitarianism begins, on the other hand, with core assumptions that men and women are more or less equal both in gender roles and in church leadership. From that comes a more equal view of what sexuality is about. Even if we stick with the assumption that males are still going to be primarily interested in meeting and establishing sexually intimate relationships with women, it does open up possibilities for women being able to sit in roles where they can have a sexuality that is not focused exclusively on marriage. Women are a lot better than us guys at living devoted single lives. One of the key assumptions that has come across from complementarianism is that every young person is going to marry. Those who don’t are made to feel like outcasts, and few churches have developed effective programs to support single adults.

Now just as it is possible for women to lead devoted lives of singleness, it is equally possible for Christian men to do so as well. So put the focus on singleness together and where does that leave sexuality? Well, like other aspects of a single person’s life, their sexuality can also be refocused into their relationship with God. That means we have to allow that there are means that single people can surrender and devote the gift of sexuality back to God, and to that end, there has to be an effective means of expressing genital sexuality for singles. The basic premise of this entire blog is that such a means exists, and that the purposes of the different body parts which respond to sexual arousal can be considered to be, first and foremost, for the development of healthy personal sexuality, which is of greater and higher importance than sexuality expressed in a sexually intimate relationship (i.e. marriage). This dovetails very neatly with our relational priorities in our faith. We put God at No.1 position in our lives, if we have a spouse they come in at No.2, and then other priorities such as work, ministry, friends etc come below that. This hierarchy in relation to our faith is very important to allow us to ensure we are effectively equipped to serve and minister to the people in the No.2 and lower positions, by calling on the God who is No.1 in our lives to give us what we need to make everything else work.

So in the same way as in other aspects of our faith life, we are equipped in our sexuality by submitting it to God who is the most important in our lives, the one we can go to in order to be able to serve people lower in the hierarchy. And we believe herein that God’s people can be fully equipped in all aspects of their sexuality by spending time in what we are referring to here as sexual devotion. This starts from the assumption just mentioned above, in relation to body parts that produce sexual arousal when stimulated. For example, in both male and female, bare skin is one of our biggest sexually erogenous zones, and apart from the genitals themselves, other areas of male and female bodies such as lips, breasts, nipples, buttocks and thighs are more sensitive to physical contact and generate increased levels of sexual excitement when stimulated. The concept of sexual devotion, the title of this post, essentially comes from the idea that spending time experiencing sexual pleasure and focusing it on building one’s personal relationship with God provides the basic for development of a healthy God-focused sexuality that then can, as in other aspects of relationship in the lives of believers, be used in a more healthy and selfless way to serve others.

We wrote previously that masturbation is often prescribed as a sex therapy solution and that it can have application at a personal level for Christians, not just because they may have experienced sexual trauma that requires to be healed, but because they are constantly under pressure in society (especially women) in relation to physical aspects of their sexuality such as appearance and performance, and therefore applying the principles of sexual therapy is an important priority for both male and female Christians in order to maintain personal sexual purity and integrity. The new ideas expressed in this post take that concept further, and postulate that Christians need to focus on personal sexual devotion as a proactive strategy. In other words, we aren’t using these techniques as a reaction to what is happening around us in society. Instead, we make personal sexual devotion in our relationship with God a part of the No.1 priority in our lives, and then refocus every other aspect of our physical sexuality accordingly. This is how we focus other aspects of our daily lives of faith as God’s people.

Sexual devotion is easy enough to understand and practice. It means that we should be setting aside regular time in our daily or weekly schedule to submit our physical sexuality directly to God and allow us to express our feelings about our sexuality to Him as an act of worship, allowing us time to listen for His response to us in these times, just as we do at other devotional times in our walk of faith. These times will prove to be invaluable for all believers in developing a healthy understanding of their physical sexuality from a faith based perspective and the relevance of it to other aspects of their day to day lives and ability to serve those around them. The primary act of service would usually be to the No.2 person in their lives (a husband or wife) both in terms of sexual intimacy and in being considerate and respectful of each other’s sexual needs. Below that, the main relevant area of service is generally in being considerate and respectful of others by expressing appropriate attitudes such as maintaining healthy physical boundaries when working with others. This may also extend into ministry where so involved. There will of course be those who are single who do not have a husband or wife in their lives, and therefore their sexual devotion times are the only opportunity they have for sexual expression in their lives. For these people, they may obviously choose to spend more time in sexual devotion than for married people who have to give adequate time and consideration to their spouse.

We summarise this post therefore by postulating that the most important role of our physical sexuality is to devote it in worship to God in times of sexual devotion to Him and that this aspect of physical sexuality is more important than being in sexual relationship in marriage. Good healthy marriage sexual relationship and respectful sexual attitudes to others are naturally rooted in healthy sexuality which in turn is established in sexual devotion by using our physical body parts first and foremost in the times of sexual devotion in worship and surrender to God.

Masturbation For Christians: Insights

There wasn’t going to be a Part D, but there was. There wasn’t going to be a Part E, but now there is going to be. Because we keep getting new insight. The insight is coming because adopting an egalitarian theology brings a whole new aspect to Christian sexuality. The focus for it can be changed from being a male seeks female kind of focus, to one where sexuality is not just about relationships between men and women. Sexuality can actually be about relationships between individual believers and their Creator. For too long the church has lived in the shadow of Complementarianist theology which is basically the old patriarchy of society that most of the church followed for most of its history. Bring an Egalitarian eye onto the Christian worldview, and suddenly we can see a different understanding because we see godly women as more than just sexual playthings for men, and that shifts the whole nature of godly sexuality for both men and women.

So Part E is about to be written, and it will be on the topic of sexual devotion. That theme has been reflected upon throughout the series to date. It comes out of a conviction that sexuality is a gift from God and that there are ways of giving the gift back to Him, as worship. Married people obviously are doing this when they are sexually intimate together, but the single person can do this too. So that is what Part E is about.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part D)

Christian Application and Practice of Masturbation

In Part C of this series we focused on the specific reasons for Christians to partake of masturbation in their daily spiritual walk. As we saw, masturbation can be prescribed as a type of sexual therapy in secular contexts and we believe that Christians can apply the same principles in their daily lives because, in essence, Christians have a great need of spiritually focused sexual therapy in order to maintain sexual purity as an essential component of godly character, whether male or female, single or married, due to the highly sexualised nature of most Western societies in which they live.

This part is going to focus on how to apply and practise masturbation for this purpose. Firstly we are going to touch upon sexual development for adolescents. In the Church it is generally believed that it is very important for adolescents to understand and be instructed in the need for sexual purity, notwithstanding that many Christian adolescents are subject to the same sexual pressures as the rest of society and in a lot of cases fall into sexual sin. The teaching of sexual purity for adolescents should focus on encouraging them to masturbate as an important aspect of their sexual development (some studies suggest that the frequency of masturbation amongst this age group is greater than for any other age group) and as a means of maintaining sexual purity as singles until such a time as they are able to consider marriage. Some adolescents will not be able to marry (whether by choice or circumstance) and then need to be considered in the wider context of Christian singles. This is particularly addressed below for all singles, we just want to talk in this paragraph in the especial context of adolescents, who need to be instructed in the sexual development aspect specifically, and because of the expectation or requirement for an appropriate level of sex education to be provided for them. Sexual development of Christian adolescents is as equally important is it is for everyone and is particularly relevant in gaining the knowledge and experience of sexual stimulation and pleasure in their own bodies in preparation for adulthood, which in the majority of cases will be relevant to marriage.

The big picture for all Christian singles is that we consider masturbation is a valid and godly means of providing a sexual release for all such persons, male and female, and that this is the only sexual release possible for a single Christian person, and only in a private setting. It is further qualified by the essential requirement to avoid any kind of sexual sin during its practice, which of course applies to all people of godly faith. This means that pornography cannot be used in conjunction with masturbation for Christian believers. We believe that masturbation when practised in accordance with these guidelines can enable believers to overcome the pressures of living in a society which is saturated with pornography, and that it can also be an effective form of sexual therapy for believers who are recovering from a pornographic addiction or from exposure to pornography. Whilst all believers are subject to the pressures from pornography, singles are especially vulnerable due to not having a husband or wife with whom they can undertake sexual activity and therefore masturbation is a very valuable tool for single Christians to use in pursuit of maintaining sexual purity.

For Christians who are married, they may also make use of masturbation with each others’ full knowledge and consent. Another statistic we referenced during the writing of this series was one that suggested that 71% of women continue to masturbate whilst in a relationship such as marriage. Masturbation within a Christian marriage can be used in such circumstances as when husband and wife are temporarily separated (e.g. one partner travelling), sickness (including chronic conditions that cause pain during intercourse such as endometriosis), pregnancy, differing level of sex drive and other disruptive circumstances and it can also be used as an alternative form of sexual intimacy that is shared by husband and wife. It is important for a Christian husband and wife to recognise the importance of non-intimacy or low-intimacy sexual intercourse opportunities because either partner may choose to use such an opportunity for the purposes of sex therapy. Low intimacy sexual intercourse can be a mutual masturbation time or it can be penetrative intercourse using positions where the husband is behind the wife for example, enabling her to have her own space during intercourse with minimal physical contact with her husband, and husbands should take an initiative in focusing all of their attention on their wife’s specific needs first and foremost during such a session. Low or no intimacy sexual activity between a husband and wife as sex therapy is also very important when either husband or wife is dealing with intimacy challenges such as often occurs where either husband or wife has experienced sexual trauma or abuse prior to becoming married in which case sexual therapy is something they can both participate in for an appropriate period of time as needed.

For all Christians whether single or married, masturbation as a form of sexual therapy is especially applicable to women because of the pressure they come under from men in relation to their physical appearance and this can come down to specific body parts. For most women, a suggested form of sex-therapy masturbation to be undertaken whenever they feel violated by male attention and especially where there has been unwanted physical contact, is to give themself permission to receive physical pleasure while caressing the specific bodily parts during a masturbation session. This essentially could be characterised as “reclaiming” that body part and the pleasure it is capable of producing, to be owned by them.

There are also other specific situations such as pregnancy where masturbation can be very beneficial as sexual therapy, not only in dealing with the sensitivities related to changes in physical appearance, but also in the general pains and strains of being pregnant. It is important that pregnant women consider using masturbation regularly in order to help them to remember that they are still women and that their bodies are still sexually capable during that time. It is of course also beneficial to masturbate during pregnancy if increased sexual desire is experienced because of hormonal changes, and when the physical challenges associated with increased abdominal size, or other issues , make normal sex with the husband too challenging. An important aspect of pregnancy sex therapy is post partum, when a mother is normally given a period of some weeks to abstain from sex to allow her body to recover physically from the birth. This time can also be very valuable for the mother in reclaiming her body in a similar sort of way as mentioned in the previous paragraph, from the birth and any other physical trauma associated with the pregnancy. Masturbation is also useful for the husband at any stage of the pregnancy and post partum period.

We have commented on the use of masturbation as a form of sex therapy for men who are recovering from pornographic addiction (which could also equally apply to women).  To date we only have experience of dealing with single people in this situation, where they only have to rebuild their relationship with God. We do not have experience of whether such forms of sex therapy could be effective in recovering from sexual betrayal between a husband and wife, and will leave that question unanswered for now.

One final consideration is recovering from theological and other Christian condemnation of masturbation and other expressions of sexuality by godly believers. Apart from the fact that many church leaders still attempt (without Biblical justification) to equate masturbation with adultery and other ungodly acts

In all situations where Christians are partaking of masturbation, the general gotchas listed in Part B must apply. Masturbation is like any other sexual activity to be undertaken by Christians in that it must be a holy act undertaken in reverence to and in worship of God. When this expectation is followed, it transforms the physical act of masturbation and the pleasure experienced into a whole new dimension where it becomes a part of a believer’s daily life of worship and where it is entirely possible to experience a greater sense of fulfilment, pleasure and the presence of God. Nothing makes a believer’s sex life come alive more than when they know that this part of their life enjoys the favour and blessing of God, and when they are ready to surrender it back to Him. This is especially an issue for singles for whome masturbation is their sole sexual outlet.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part C)

Blessings of Masturbation : Sex Therapy For Christians

There are a number of physical benefits of masturbation which will be lightly touched upon here (see some of the earlier blog posts referencing various articles in mainstream media for example) because the main purpose of this post is to focus on the blessings for Christians who enjoy masturbating. And we do believe that blessing is an appropriate word. We believe like other Christian commentators, and we write from a perspective of very strong, committed and Godly personal faith, that the key reason that the Bible treats masturbation very leniently (it is not the sin of Onan) is that God’s people are given a choice whether and when they choose to exercise it and it is on the same level as other physical body unctions that work in much the same way.

The physiological aspects of masturbation are very similar to those of food hunger, appetite and eating in that there can be an arousal phase, a consumption phase and a satiation phase. We are not psychologists so we are not sure if that is the correct terminology, but the four phase sexual response cycle (an actual psychological term) could be almost equated with the hunger response cycle (again we are not sure if there is such a thing, or if maybe it has a different name). The obvious question is what the key benefit of masturbation that can be equated with the physical benefit of eating is, and the appropriate response to this is, we believe, that whereas food nourishes the physical body, masturbation (as with all sexual activity of the Godly nature) nourishes the believer’s spirit. To achieve that spiritual nourishment (or refreshing), however, Christians must be assured that they are following the same type of faith principles that apply to other forms of bodily pleasure that are given to us by God as a blessing to our lives and which are most appropriately considered when in the context of being offered back to God as acts of worship. We have articulated those ideas since we first began this blog and at the moment it seems we are the most affirmative of this view out of all the different pro-masturbation perspectives that we can find on the Internet.

The blessings of masturbation, therefore,  in this blog are not going to focus on the physical benefits, although undoubtedly these are also blessings. What we are unfolding in the rest of this article are a mixture of the benefits for single Christians from having the ability otherwise unavailable to them to partake of sexual release in their daily lives, and married husbands or wives in enhancing their marital relationship and other aspects of their daily lives. For all Christians whether single or married, one of the most important considerations is that secular psychology recognises that masturbation is beneficial in the area of sex therapy. We believe this is also an important aspect that Christians can draw upon in the use of masturbation, and at a fuller level than mere psychological recognition. The reason for this is that sexual purity is an important spiritual goal for committed Christians to be able to uphold in their daily lives. Whilst all sin is a problem, sexual sin is one of the biggest issues for committed Jesus followers and obtaining and/or maintaining abstinence from it is one of the greatest challenges that believers face in our sex-saturated societies. And it is simply time for us as committed people of strong faith to stop blaming the world for creating these challenges for us and using every weapon at our disposal to maintain sexual purity every day.

So the best use of masturbation for Christians is to uphold sexual purity in their lives and we believe it is of proven benefit for that purpose. It can also be used for the reasons of more secular sex therapy in overcoming, for example, the effects of sexual trauma or repression, and we have prayed for people in situations such as these. However the sexual purity objective is the key one we are going to focus on here, and the important issue is that Christians have the means to deal with the pressures they find themselves under. This differs for men and women because of the nature of our western societies and the different sexual physiology of males and females. Women are most placed under sexual pressure from men and on the level of their bodily appearance which includes the aspects of the size and shape of key body parts. This pressure is quite excessive in many respects as seen by the high levels of reported sexual harassment in our societies and the sexualised use of female body image in many aspects of everyday life.

There has also been the problems of sexual repression of women in times past (misogyny) and which is still prevalent in areas in the Church, which in our evangelical context is most commonly expressed in the theology of complementarianism, teaching women that they are sexually inferior to males and are solely responsible for the sexualised behaviour of males around them. This unreasonably makes women responsible for many of the social ills related to the sexual harassment of females and justifies a status of inferiority. As we have stated before in this blog we believe in and apply Christian egalitarianism as our starting point for the way in which women should be treated and valued in the Church and in society, and note with considerable joy that since the sexual revolution of the 1960s there has been considerable enlightment and progression in the Church in recognising and valuing female sexuality. Studies of the prevalence of masturbation in the Western world show that women are catching up to men, with one statistic that we saw showing that at the age of 19 years, 85% of female respondents had masturbated. This is a positive correlation as Christian women need to be able to masturbate for the same reasons as men and without prejudice against them from conservative elements in the Church. Women can also be subject to sexual pressure from within their own bodies (such as hormonal responses during the ovulation phase of their monthly cycle) which is also valid grounds for masturbating. Another issue is the growing use of pornography by Christian women with some some statistics suggesting a prevalence of up to 20%.

The reasons for Christian men to masturbate are somewhat different and are driven by a greater level of testosterone and physical pressures in their bodies are more important than for women. A key aspect of this is the design of the male reproductive system in which sperm-containing semen is manufactured and stored for release at ejaculation. The filling up of the storage vessels in a man’s body takes about two days to complete and creates a physical pressure and desire for release that is greater than in the hours immediately following an ejaculation. The main pressure overall that comes upon men is from society’s perceptions of what manhood should be about and one of the biggest challenges for any godly male is the expectations created by the widespread use and ready availability of pornography. The biggest concern for any Christian ministry is not only the massive uptake and use of pornography in society as a whole, but also the increasing prevalence of use of it within the Church, by both male and female believers. Since it is almost impossible nowadays with widespread availability and use of the Internet  across society and including in our Christian homes to avoid accidental exposure to pornography at ever-younger ages, the Church needs to become more proactive in countering these negative influences by teaching a healthy view of sexuality to members of all ages.

This was going to be a three part article originally but there is going to be a fourth part focusing specifically on the practice of masturbation for Christians so that will be coming up next.

Masturbation For Christians 101 (Part B)

Masturbation Gotchas

We could choose to write a blog that lists pros and cons of masturbation. There are many possible pros, but we would limit our discussion to the really important ones for people of Godly character, and then further on in this series. For this part. we are going to focus on some of the more widespread opposition that has been expressed to masturbation over the course of history, and discuss some gotchas, or valid reasons why one shouldn’t masturbate, or limit one’s use of masturbation.

In the course of our study and research we discovered something called “the great masturbation panic”, a discourse by Alan Hunt in the Journal of the History of Sexuality published 1998. Hunt (in a very short online preview of his scholarly work) and Psychology Today in several online articles characterise this by telling us there was no substantive historical concern about masturbation until the early 18th century when certain publications labelled masturbation as “onanism” were produced; this despite the fact that most theologians of that era outside the Roman Catholic Church would have been as dismissive of equating the Genesis story of Onan with masturbation as they are today. A wide range of medical problems were then alleged to be caused by masturbation, and it wasn’t that long before this became a key charge of the medical establishment of the day. PT suggests this was because the power brokers of that era saw masturbation as symbolic of individuals’ ability to have private expressions of sexuality, which was a threat to the established social order.

Masturbation was also alleged to cause mental illness and it became a reason for incarceration in lunatic asylums. The masturbation panic was even cited as a key reason to oppose allowing women to ride bicycles or horses. Almost laughable are the attempts to invent foods to suppress libido: Graham crackers and Kellogg cornflakes being among them, whilst potassium nitrate, potassium bromide and liquorice were thought to have anaphrodisiacal properties. What however is much more serious is the actual physical punishments advocated for people who masturbated. The Puritans prescribed capital punishment for masturbators in the colony of New Haven, Connecticut. Medical literature and leading campaigners such as Kellogg advocated for and described physical means of genital mutilation or modification, which was almost considered to be mainstream in the era (a century ago).

Whilst there undoubtedly was a masturbation panic, we do not agree with a writer in the Daily Telegraph (UK) who equated this historical treatment of masturbation with the widespread concern over the use of pornography today. Whilst masturbation is healthy for Christians to undertake under the right circumstances, pornography is not healthy as it can be considered adulterous in nature and is clearly addressed in the Bible.

So here we now turn to a list of actual cons of masturbation. These have nothing to do with any of the falsehoods mentioned above. They are simply physical considerations that Christians should undertake before partaking of masturbation, in order to obtain the most benefit from a session (physical and spiritual). Here we are:

  • Masturbation is to be a holy act undertaken in reverence of and worship to God.
  • Masturbation must, therefore, not involve any sin. The most common type of sin used in conjunction with masturbation being sexual lust, such as when pornography is involved. It is also sexually sinful to share a masturbation session with anyone who is not your marriage partner. Masturbation is to be undertaken only in private or with your husband/wife.
  • We do not recommend masturbating if you are experiencing any pain in the pelvic area. For example if you suffer from haemorrhoids, or have chafed skin between your legs, or have a heat or sweat rash on the skin in your crotch, then this can make masturbation uncomfortable and much less pleasurable.
  • We totally and unequivocally proscribe any sexual activity that involves anal contact of any type. We believe that the anus is not designed or intended for sexual activity of any form.
  • Masturbation should only involve a gentle touch or action. This is especially important for males who are prone to injure their penis through excessively vigorous hand thrusting or gripping. For neither male or female should activity be undertaken that produces excessive friction and causes chafing or inflammation.
  • Masturbation should not be undertaken at any time as a substitute for any type of intimate relationship, especially with a husband or wife.
  • If masturbation is being undertaken by a marriage partner, it should not have a detrimental impact on normal marital sexual relations. We recommend full communication between husband and wife over the use of masturbation within the marital relationship.
  • Guys should be careful about inserting their penis into anything (including any male sex toy) and girls about any type of sex toy they may wish to insert into their vagina. We believe only women should use sex toys and then only the passive type and of an appropriate size. Insert gently to avoid to avoid any risk of injury and ensure any toys are clean before use. Use lube if needed with any toy.
  • Masturbation can be more difficult and/or less enjoyable if you are tired, or if you need to go to the toilet. Just sleep if you are tired, and take a toilet break before starting a session.
  • Masturbation for Christians must not be an addictive behaviour. Whilst the Bible doesn’t specifically mention addiction, as a psychological disorder it can be harmful to one’s overall spiritual wellbeing. Generally an addictive behaviour is characterised by a lust for physical pleasure. Lust is mentioned in the Bible as a sinful behaviour, and is often misused as a substitute for spiritual intimacy, with the substitution being part of the sinfulness. If there is likely to be an addictive component to masturbation then we encourage believers to seek God in a personal way for solutions to the problem, which may involve application of spiritual disciplines such as prayer and fasting, and counsel from experienced ministry leaders.
  • Frequency of masturbation is mainly an issue if it is an addictive behaviour or if excessive masturbation is causing friction injuries or the like. For some people masturbation is an occasional behaviour; for others it is more regular. The matter of the appropriate frequency for each Christian believer is a matter of conscience between them and God. We are familiar with situations where people are masturbating regularly several times per day and this seems to be satisfactory as long as there is no sin involved.