The "M" word is rarely spoken in public. Yet it represents an issue that most every man, and a high percentage of women find vexing. I am talking about masturbation. What is the Biblical perspective on this subject that has been so vexing and confusing to so many? Following are excerpts from a book written by Dr. James Dobson of Focus on the Family, about raising boys.+ The principles apply to adults as well. I think most of us will find this material both enlightening and liberating.
"First, lets consider masturbation from a medical perspective
. We can say without fear of contradiction that there is no scientific evidence to indicate that this act is harmful to the body. Despite terrifying warnings given to young people historically, it does not cause blindness, weakness, mental retardation, or any other physical problem. If it did, the entire male population and about half of females would be blind, weak, simpleminded and sick. Between 95 and 98 percent of all boys engage in this practice and the rest have been known to lie. It is as close to being a universal behavior as is likely to occur. A lesser but still significant percentage of girls also engage in what was once called self-gratification, or worse, self-abuse.
As for the emotional consequences of masturbation, only four circumstances should give us cause for concern
"The first is when it is associated with oppressive guilt from which the individual cant escape. That guilt has the potential to do considerable psychological and spiritual damage. Boys and girls who labor under divine condemnation can gradually become convinced that even God couldnt love them. They promise a thousand times with great sincerity never again to commit this despicable act. Then a week or two passes, or perhaps several months. Eventually, the hormonal pressure accumulates until nearly every waking moment reverberates with sexual desire. Finally, in a moment (and I do mean a moment) of weakness, it happens again. What then, dear friend? Tell me what a young person says to God after he or she has just broken the one thousandth solemn promise to Him? I am convinced that some teenagers have thrown over their faith because of their inability to please God on this point.
"The second circumstance in which masturbation might have harmful implications is when it becomes extremely obsessive. That is more likely to occur when it has been understood by the individual to be forbidden fruit."Cold showers, lots of exercise, many activitiesare ineffective. Attempting to suppress this act is one campaign that is destined to fail-so why wage it??
This discussion will be continued in next weeks "Facts of the Matter".
+Bringing up Boys, Dr. James Dobson, Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, IL Pages 78-80 (selected)