Pornication’s Dirty Little Secret: Addendum

In college, for a class called English 370: Advanced Literature, I wrote a paper called Spiritual Ramifications and Explanations for Pornography. In the class, we had four different topics of discussion, and we had to read various forms of literature and then write essays about the topics using the assigned readings (plus other sources).

I re-read that paper (written in 2009) and it reminded me of an earlier Votive Soul blog I had written called Pornication’s Dirty Little Secret. So, after re-reading my college essay, I went back and read the blog post. In re-reading the blog post, I felt inspired to write an addendum. So here it is.

Be forewarned. I am going to delve into a highly uncomfortable topic that most people would never want to talk about openly. So, if you want to continue reading, do the following:

  • Take a deep breath
  • Prepare yourself to be mature about this addendum
  • Pray if you need to
  • Read on

Specifically, in this addendum, I am going to address the sin (yes, I wrote SIN) of masturbation. Uncomfortable yet? Well, don’t be. I won’t be overly graphic or inconsiderate (but I will be direct and honest). Nevertheless, some things need to be said. First, a definition.

Let us define masturbation as: auto-erotic manipulation of the genitalia culminating in sexual gratification (ostensibly an orgasm).

The key to the definition above is the prefix “auto”. Don’t think cars. Rather, think the Greek word for “self”. In this way, an automobile is a “self-moving” vehicle, or, to say it another way, it is not dependent upon an external force to cause it’s motion.

The same with masturbation. It is done by the self to the self for the self. But is it a sin? Yes, as I will show.

Matthew 5:27-28,

Ye have heard that it was said by them of old time, Thou shalt not commit adultery: But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.

Let us first realize the principle of the matter. Christ was not saying that women are allowed to look upon a man with lust, or that someone of one gender is allowed to look upon another person of the same gender with lust. It is a universal principle. Looking on another person in any way, if that person is not your Biblical and legal spouse, is a sin. Thou shalt not do it!

And, in case it wasn’t obvious, many, perhaps even most acts of masturbation involve a visual stimulant to arouse the perpetrator. Either an actual item like a video, a DVD, or a magazine is used, or a mental image in the mind is generated, either of a real person or a fake ideal. All are visual, meaning, something, whether external (pornographic materials) or internal (personal fantasies) are being “looked upon” to stir up lustful thoughts in order to capitalize upon them in the act.

1 Corinthians 7:1-5,

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman. Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband. Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband. The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife. Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

Read this passage carefully. Look for the little details. Notice the context, that is, what it’s about. First, it’s about two people not “touching” each other (verse 1), where “to touch” is the Greek verb haptesthai, meaning to fasten one’s self to another. Haptesthai is in the middle voice (i.e. the action of the verb both redounds unto the actor, i.e. the self, while at the same time, is directed at the the one being touched) of the verb haptomai, meaning “to modify or change by touching/touching that influences” or touching someone in such a way as to influence or bring about change in another person, what HELPS Word-Studies describes as “impact touching[1].

So what’s Paul getting at? Clearly the idea Paul is trying to get across is a form of sensual touching that arouses the body and the genitalia and influences the person toward sexual desire, culminating, of course, in the act itself.[2] So that’s first. People in the church shouldn’t be touching each other in such sensual ways. Only Biblically and legally married people should experience this kind of touching.

The second context was already mentioned: to avoid fornication. We know fornication, or rather, pornication[3], is a sin worthy of God’s judgment in the second death (See for example, Romans 1:29-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9, Galatians 5:19-21, Hebrews 13:4, Revelation 21:8 and Revelation 22:15). Interestingly, the word “avoid” is the Greek preposition dia, and it means the channel of the act, i.e. the means whereby something is accomplished, best translated as “through“.[4]

So, what Paul means in 7:2 is that it’s important that two people, obviously a man and woman only, who love each other and want to express that love through marriage—yes, even physically—must in fact, get married, or else fall into sin and lose their salvation “through fornication“. Said another way, Biblical marriage is the means whereby fornication can be by-passed so that the husband and wife can experience sanctified consummation.

Here’s where masturbation comes in. We know the topic is marriage and avoiding fornication through improper touch (even of self, as I am attempting to show). Now note verse 3. The long phrase “render unto the wife due benevolence” basically means, give to the wife her rights to sexual intercourse, i.e. conjugal rights. And likewise the wife to the husband.

But notice what it does not say to do in order to avoid fornication! It does not say “to avoid fornication (i.e. all Biblically illicit sexual activity), sexually gratify yourself through auto-erotic acts of masturbation“. See, some people think that as long as they aren’t actually engaging in coitus with another person, they aren’t committing fornication. That’s simply not true. The only permissible sex acts in the Bible are those that are experienced BETWEEN TWO PEOPLE, one husband, one wife, as they render unto each other “due benevolence “, in purity, not perversity.

Look closely at the text. See the following indicators:

  • To avoid fornication, people should not touch each other, or themselves, inappropriately (i.e. in any way that arouses lust)
  • To avoid fornication, men and women need to marry
  • To avoid fornication, the man needs to meets his wife’s sexual needs
  • To avoid fornication, the woman needs to meet her husband’s sexual needs
  • To avoid fornication, the wife must realize that she doesn’t have any rights to her own body
  • To avoid fornication, the husband must realize that he doesn’t have any rights to his own body
  • To avoid fornication, the husband and wife must not “defraud” each other (i.e. must not deprive each other)[5]
  • To avoid fornication, the husband and the wife may mutually agree for spiritual reasons, to not engage in sexual activity with each other (for example, to fast)

Where does masturbation fit into any of that? Since masturbation is an act of the self to the self for the self, marriage doesn’t fit into the equation. So, in order for a person to masturbate, they automatically have to commit fornication with their self in order to accomplish the act.

Second, spouses are supposed to meet each other’s needs, not meet their own needs by themselves.

Third, spouses have to recognize that they have no sexual autonomy over their own bodies, meaning that they have no right to perform upon themselves any sexual activity in which the spouse is not involved. Therefore, even masturbation within marriage is a sin, even if there is not an accompanying fantasy or image, or if the fantasy or image is of the spouse.

Fourth, spouses aren’t allowed to deprive each other of their sexual needs, meaning neither a husband or a wife is allowed to have a sexual experience apart from the spouse.

And last of all, if a married couple agrees to abstain from having sex with each other for a time for spiritual reasons, no where is it allowed that they can have a sexual experience with themselves through masturbation until the duration of the agreement comes to a close.

But some will argue that the marriage bed is undefiled, meaning anything goes between the husband and wife, as long as it’s agreed upon. Not so. Look again at Hebrews 13:4.

Hebrew 13:4,

Marriage is honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

An unmarried person, even if a member of a church, who masturbates, is a whoremonger, that is, they are committing an act of self-pornication. A married person, even if a member of a church, who masturbates, is an adulterer, that is, they are committing an act of self-adultery. They are depriving their spouse of the conjugal duty, meeting their own sexual needs apart from and without the spouse, and are asserting their right over their own body against the rights of the spouse, in order to sexually gratify themselves. This isn’t being done for spiritual reasons; rather it’s being done out of lust, i.e. a desire to selfishly experience a physical climax of the stimulated sex organ without the spouse.

Now, if you’ve been reading to this point, you might be wondering why I would take the time to single out masturbation as a sin and write a polemic against it. That’s a valid question with a valid answer.

Remember that this is an addendum to a previously written blog, one that directly engages and condemns the use of pornography in all its forms. So ask yourself, what is the one thing, more than any other thing, a person does when they view pornography?

They masturbate. Granted, some couples, married or otherwise, use pornographic materials together, but for the most part, the use of pornography and the sin of masturbation that accompanies the use is done privately by one’s self.

And as a final proof that masturbation is a sin, just think of the public’s view. If it was an acceptable sexual experience, people would talk about it openly. Masturbation wouldn’t just be the punch-line in a joke or a running gag in some raucous, raunchy comedy. It would be an acceptable norm. But it’s not.

Most adults in the world today can talk about their sex lives (at least adults in the world). But almost no one but perverts will talk about, let alone boast about, their self-sex lives.

Same with pornography. Yes, it’s out there, just like masturbation, and millions upon millions of people engage in both on a daily basis. But the following conversation never happens at the office:

“Hey, Bob. What did you do over the weekend?”

“I downloaded a few porno’s and masturbated. How about you?”

“Well, I didn’t download any movies, but I masturbated once or twice in the shower. The wife was away at her sister’s for a visit, so, you know, I had to get my fix one way or another.”

“I hear you. Well, if you ever want to download a pornographic movie, I have several I’d be happy to recommend.”

“Thanks, Bob. I appreciate that. You know, my wife is going away over the holidays, so I might check in with you then about what ones you recommend.”

“Sounds good. Just give me a call and I’ll bring them over.”

As ridiculous as the above scenario may seem, it makes the point because it’s so ridiculous. People everywhere know, even those who engage in pornography and masturbation, that it’s wrong, that it must be kept hidden from the public and that no one must know about it, or else terrible shame, disappointment, and/or ridicule will result.[6]

And that’s the very definition of what it means for something to be dirty, i.e. unclean or sexually perverse. Pornography and the secret pornication that pornography causes, up to and especially including masturbation, is dirty, and it is sin.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

[1] See: http://biblehub.com/greek/680.htm.

[2] The impact upon a person’s body when they are consensually touched by a lover literally modifies or changes the state of the body, that is, for example, the brain sends signals to the heart which causes blood to flow into the genitalia and prepares the person for sexual engagement. Other changes occur as well: quickened pulse, heightened tactile sensitivity, involuntary vocal sounds, and etc.

[3] For an explanation of why I change the “f” in fornication to a “p” see: https://votivesoul.wordpress.com/2014/01/18/pornications-dirty-little-secret

[4] See: https://www.blueletterbible.org/lang/lexicon/lexicon.cfm?strongs=g1223

[5] For “deprive” in place of “default”, see: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+Corinthians+7%3A5&version=ESV

[6] This is of course a bell curve scenario. There are those who care not for public opinion and readily engage in both and are open about it. But the majority of people who engage in both, one way or another, will never openly discuss their engagement due to the shame, hurt, and embarrassment it would cause.

~ by votivesoul on 11/13/2017.

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