Tuesday, August 26, 2008

#37 Not Masturbating

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Christians are preoccupied with this subject, perhaps to the point of obsession. Christian culture starts them young. Beginning in youth group boys are pulled aside for "one-on-one time" during which the youth pastor tells them that sex is a beautiful gift from God and then urges them to remember God's call for purity. The message seems to be: If your thoughts are pure then you won't want to masturbate, right? Thus begins the shame spiral.

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Sometimes in youth group a guy will stand up and ask for prayer for his chronic masturbation. Accountability partners are assigned so they can keep tabs on how they're not whacking off. The youth group leader approaches guys at church retreats and asks "Do you struggle with masturbating?" The college singles group announces an Every Man's Struggle workbook study. Support groups are formed for the whackmasters to congregate and discuss how hard it is to keep their hands off their junk. No validity is given to the medical assertion that it's the first thing men do when they're coming out of a coma. (Poor guy, fresh out of a coma and already he's lusting.) No one seems to engage the possiblity that giving this subject so much attention could be feeding the obsession, creating a fetish, or becoming idol worship.

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[He's totally checking out her ass.]

A typical excerpt from a Christian book on male masturbation goes like this: "I can still remember the first issue of Playboy I found in the ditch behind my house. The images are etched on my brain. Little did I know this encounter would lead me down a path of desolation and destruction that would dismantle and distort the God-given design and gift of sexuality."

You're not likely to read a Christian culture book that goes "I can still remember the first issue of Playboy I found in the ditch behind my house. Little did I know this encounter would one day lead me down a path of exhaustive married sex that is unspeakably better than wanking."

40 comments:

Simone said...

Back to God's plan, why did he design hard ons to appear before there is a wife ready to receive it? I know...he's testing.

We have this old book called "Confidential Chats With Boys" which suggests a boy tie a sweater around his waist with the knot in the back so he will be discouraged from sleeping on his back, and subsequently avoiding the temptation to touch his wang.

michaelstevensrev said...

Yes! This entire blog has been created for this moment, it brings me such joy that you found your voice:)

Shaw said...

What's the solution? Books by Donald Miller and Rob Bell on a good Christian wank? Lock-in wank-a-thons? The mind boggles.

punkrockchris said...

Your going to tell me that after hanging out with all those prostitutes so much that Jesus didn't once ejaculate to Mary Magdalene. That's ridiculous, if you ask me God invented masturbating to give single guys something to do before they got laid.

Polythene Pam said...

So my friend told me about this blog, and I thought it was quite funny so I posted a little note on my blog telling people to check it out... and then there was a post about masturbating the next day, which is fine, except that a strangely large number of my friends' moms read my blog so... shoot...
But very funny satire none-the-less. Keep up the good work.

Jona said...

HAhhaha! Wankers!

I heard an episode of This American Life where this guy talked about how he struggled with this for 37 years (therapy and the whole Christian mind-wank) and finally told his reverend he didn't think he could handle it. So the reverend was like, "Well, just do it once really quick to get it off your mind."

So now he goes to a new church and jerks it whenever he wants.

Well, within reason.

What a nice bedtime story!

stephy said...

Hi Shaw,
yeah, I don't know what the solution is. I don't think God wants us to find a tidy solution, I think the beauty is in the struggle and not knowing quite what to do but fighting for a relationship anyway.

Magnus said...

No youth pastor up here was ever comfortable enough to talk one on one with us about masturbation, so they would usually speak to the guys - very uncomfortably - as a group.
Was about the girls though? Did they get masturbation talks, or was it just assumed that they would naturally save it for Astroglide... err, marriage?

Robert said...

Here's an idea for topic #38. I'd title it "Cheap Knockoffs" and talk about how main stream things get copied for the worse. A perfect example would be your blog since it is a cheap knockoff of "Stuff Christians Like" which has many more readers than you.

stephy said...

I know, it was here way before mine was. I didn't know until the guy who does it commented at my blog. He was really nice. But I do feel like this is a cheap knockoff because he had the idea way before I did. Everybody should go look at it: stuffchristianslike.blogspot.com. It's super funny.

a different Robert said...

There is nothing new under the Sun, and no reason for bad manners. Now that I know about it, I'll check out the other blog. But there is no need to be rude about it.

Robert said...

I guess I'm confused over the intent of your blog. Is it to mock Jesus or Christians with a "been there, done that, won't do it again" type of attitude? When I read this entry and your profile, that's how I took it. When I scanned your other entries, I'm thinking I was wrong. If that's the case, I do apologize.

stephy said...

Hi Robert,
I don't know what the point of my blog is really but I've always felt that Christian culture doesn't have anything to do with Jesus himself. But people in Christian culture feel that doing many of these cultural things are imperative to relationship with him, and they're not. Also, Christian culture is a way to avoid true relationship and a way to "play house" if you will, little rituals and mandates not decreed by God yet they make us feel like we are closer to God. Anything can be used to avoid relationship of course, we are endlessly creative in finding ways to avoid it, because true relationship is messy and reveals things to us about ourselves that we'd rather not see. Christian culture is a very pervasive thing that isn't clearly addressed and I think it should be. So I'm writing about it.
xo, s

Straight from the Norse's Mouth said...

Hey Steph.. Why can't people just read something and enjoy it rather than tearing it apart looking for a hidden message/meaning? Why can't it just be taken at face value? Or am I missing something? Or is that what we've been trained to do in society.. "there has to be more to it...." mentality.. anywhoo. I think you write fantastically and I also think coming from someone who has experiences in the "culture" is a better person to write about it than one who has only skimmed the edges...

Shaw said...

Interesting, so many posts. So, above, I wrote a smarmy post in the form a rhetorical question, which stephy actually responded to quite thoughtfully, then people write snooty posts criticizing her (quite funny) blog and she responds patiently and kindly? Hm. Taking a stab at a tongue-in-cheek novel covering Christian subculture myself, I can only affirm everything stephy just wrote. kudos.

not any of the roberts above said...

I'm getting tired of all these other frickin' Roberts dirtying my good name. Henceforth, no one shall post with the name Robert except me. Additionally, I reserve all variations of Robert and all combinations with various and sundry surnames for my own use.

Very Truly Yours,
Robert Blackett

Carrie said...

Just had to say thank you for all the laughs this blog is giving me. It's so funny how right on everything is! It has me rolling :)

Benjamin Ady said...

Stephy,

I was reading the post, and thinking "God, this sounds a lot like Stephanie Drury's take on a certain ... group that used to meet at Grace Seattle". This was a couple days ago. Today I came back to the post to read the comments and ... lo and behold--it's you! Hooray! =)

the whole blog is fracking hilarious and brilliant. Thank you for writing. I want to write a guest post for you some time. =)

Rex said...

I love this bolg. It is right on. Keep up the good work. These are all things that need a little light shone on them. Those of us searching out Jesus need to be shaken up evey now and then. We get in ruts and start to worship our methods instead of the one we are seeking. It is human weakness. Thanks for doing this with grace. And by the way Junior year Tomball Bible Church I had the talk. The Big M.

TimP said...

Having read this post on masturbation; I then completely misread the title of the book on this page...

David said...

Heh...when one hears a rude, idiotic question like "Do you struggle with masturbating?" it reminds me of a come-back I heard from a gay friend once.

When said friend was asked by a snarky Christian conservative if he was a "practicing homosexual," he responded that no, he'd been doing it for quite a while, and was pretty good at it now :D

stephy said...

David - that is good. My heart goes out to gay Christians. And even more so to any gay person, Christian or not, living in the bible belt.

stanford said...

"...exhaustive married sex that is unspeakably better than wanking." \

This might be your best line.

onefinemess said...

Skimming through your amusing blog and noticed that most posts get actual discussion & some debate - yet most of the comments on this thread still avoid the issue!

This amuses me greatly.

People still can't talk about masturbation!

I grew up in a lot of this stuff, and the whole 'masturbation accountability' thing was particularly stressing for a young guy.

And pointless I might add. Talk about layering extra guilt upon kids that really don't need anything else to worry about.

I can't come at this from a biblical angle anymore - in my youth we would debate things like this for entirely too long - but these days I'm post-religion so whatever I might say wouldn't be informed in that manner. But you can guess what my opinion on the whole thing is :).

Anonymous said...

Masturbation is a sin and so is reading this blog. But both are fun and sometimes I do them at the same time!

Saul Menowitz

P.S. - be a Jew. No guilt.

stephy said...

Saul, you win for the best comment I've ever gotten! Not that there was a contest.
xoxo

ben parsons said...

this is strange. i sort of feel like maybe i missed this one growing up- our youth pastor always said that masturbating was fine as long as you weren't using a dead hooker's body. anyone?

OJ said...

In my youth group we definately had a "challenge" almost like people in AA get their one day chip and so on... it was like the competition on seinfeld.... I noticed we discussed the occurrence of wet dreams frequently as we went through the competition.

So would the church tell me it is a sin if my unconscious sleeping mind thinks of naughty things and I wake up to wet sheets every weel or so... I would rather rub one out, ask for forgiveness and keep my sheets and boxer shorts relatively clean. Maybe that's just me though.

It was ceertainnly a wonderful exercise in self control and conquering the needs of the body though... I'm pretty sure if you can hold out for a month as a teenager in the midst of the hormone explosion you can will your body to levitation and quite possibly Jedi knight-esque powers.

prettydarnpretty said...

I don't think there needs to be a point to this blog, other than it's just funny. There's no reason to take it so seriously. We all know that every individual has her own story, beliefs.

Stephy, your stories/interests/thoughts are so similar to mine! I went to christian conventions and mission trips, I had my high school teachers talk to my class about their own struggles with masterbation. It's nuts!

What I wonder is, do Christians know that females also masterbate yet?

Anonymous said...

"I can still remember the first issue of Playboy I found in the ditch behind my house. Little did I know this encounter would one day lead me down a path of exhaustive married sex that is unspeakably better than wanking."

Heck yeah! I'm a Christian girl, in my late 20's (who HAS kissed before marriage, but is waiting for sex) and I totally agree! My boyfriend (who is a youth pastor, by the way - he only fits a few of the cliche's in your other post) talk about this paranoia all the time. Sex is gonna be great - and "unspeakably better than wanking" Oh - and I don't wear crocks, polos, or have VPL's. ;-)

LOVE your observations in this blog. People, especially some Christians, need to loosen up and be able to laugh at themselves more. (Or maybe they're so stiff 'cause they NEVER touch themselves - or each other) ;-)

Richard said...

Be careful not to resist the Grace of God lest a root of Bitterness springs up ruining many.

You have a root of bitterness in you. You point fingers at persons who are trying to figure outhte turht of GOd Yet you mock yourselves more.

Dear God give me grace and help me to extend that grace towards others.

Grace means undeserved favor nd you are resisting it.

You hate Ohters becaseue you hate god adn you hate god becaeu you are full of pride and resentment and that is because you resist the grace God is trying to give you so thast you woudl not be bitter against God. WHo you really hate is your self.

Any one can ask God to teach then the truth and if they sincerely sek that truth God will teach it to them. And God teaches the same truth to everyone not a different truth.

We are all lost ain we all need hekp. God has provided that help to those who humbly ask and recieve it.

The world to day and the way your body functions is not the way god designed it.
It is the result of sin and decay since Adam our first ancestor gave this world and all in it to Satan to own and to destroy.

Stop hating your parents they tried to do rioght and you re trying to do wrong.
You aere trying to accuse others and what you accuse them of being ( hypocrites) you are all the worst of your self.

You were preachers kids and it seems it did you no good.

Now you asere self righteous in a way far worse than what you accuse Christians of being.

It is true many forget the grace of god that saved them. THey soon moev from trusting on that grtace to trustin on their own self righteousness.

You have forsaken God and his righteousness which is a free gift to all who recieve it

What have you done noble or good while you rant and rave about others who you thinkn kyou are more holy than.

Dear God plesae help us all. Amen.

teleboxnary said...

Yes, Please help us all to check our spellingz- God created language, so don't wank it.

stephy said...

It might help to type with both hands also. God help us all. Amen.
Just kidding. Thank you for praying for me.

QuakerOats said...

At the word "whackmasters," I laughed the hardest I have all day.

Then, at "the path of exhaustive married sex that is unspeakably better than wanking," I once again laughed the hardest I have all day.

Thank you, stephy.

rachel said...

something i will be encountering with my boy very soon.( well, actually already, but it doesn't count yet, right?)
thank goodness greg did not grow up in christian culture and is hoping to impart a "no big deal" approach.
but now i'm scared for youth group...

Anonymous said...

LOL!!! OMG!! You guys are killing me. First I read blah, blah, blah...better than wanking, and I almost had a stroke ( read that as having a blood vessel in your brain explode) trying not to laugh so as not to wake up my 6 year old. And then I read these comments and I just can't hold the laughter in.

My two cents on this subject and which I also told my 16 year old...It's best to control your self. Don't stare at the beauties cuz that's just frustrating. And if you do the solo deed don't beat your self up over it. If God said nothing about it in the Bible then it's really not worth going into to much emotion over. And that's what Christian Culture feeds on for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and giant bowl right before bed...emotion.

Will said...

Richard, if your prayer was truly sincere, I wouldn't have just read it. And for someone that is ostensibly opposed to masturbation, you certainly like to gratify yourself on public comment boards.

Beth said...

Growing up with parents in full time ministry, I STILL have no idea what to believe about masturbation. I've heard it said that it's bad because it's usually accompanied by lustful fantasies, and that's about the extent of the discussion.

But...what if masturbation keeps you from getting it on with your bf/gf? Then wouldn't it be a GOOD thing in "Christian culture?"

senormedia said...

"Do you struggle with masturbating?"

No, it comes fairly naturally.

Karla said...

Ye ghads. This post leaves me feeling strangely grateful that the only wanking baggage I toted was 1)masturbation is for losers who can't get laid and 2)masturbation is icky-poo.