Did I really just make that my blog title? I sure did. Now let’s get to it Ladies and Gents.
Yes! Go ahead and scroll up enough, so the title of the blog isn’t showing on your screen, so those passing by won’t see what you’re reading about. Ha! It’s so uncomfortable for others to see us reading about this, let alone talking about it out loud. Do you hear that? That’s the sound of the feathers I’ve just ruffled with my attempt to open the can of worms on this silent topic. According to Psychology Today, 95% of men and 85% of women have masturbated over their life time… so, I guess it’s safe to say for every 10 people reading this, 8 of you have had “solo sex” — I’ll make that number 7 and slowly raise my hand on this one. Man, this vulnerability thing is hard!
Whew!!! So where do I start? I spent this past weekend in Miami and attended a Ladies Night Out with Dr. Juli Slattery. We talked about sex all night long! According to the host, I was accompanied by almost 700 women. When it was time for Q & A… the host received 490 questions in text messages (we were asked to text in our questions)…. and guess what? More than half of those texts were about masturbation. <insert surprised face emoji here> Oh my! Masturbation? Not the saints! It wasn’t just single women who asked about this, married women did too. Gasp!
If you’re waiting for me to tell you whether or not it’s right or wrong… swipe left… because I don’t have an answer for you… but I will share my journey.
***READER DISCRETION IS ADVISED***
At 2:18pm when the final school bell rang, we would all run to ‘our spot’ under the champion tree on the lawn and give each other the run down of our day. Somewhere in the conversation, it came up that my friend Rita (name changed to protect her privacy) had made a self discovery that she was excited to share with us. Using a very common household object, she had learned to masturbate. She explained to us what to do, and urged us to go home and try it. So I did. I was in high school and this was my introduction to masturbation.
My fascination with it quickly faded and it was no longer something I was interested in. No, I didn’t come across any guilt or shame about it… I just didn’t care for it anymore.
Fast forward to college and the guy I gave my virginity too…there goes that vulnerability thing again— aaahhhh— when we had sex, I just could not bring myself to orgasm. This went on long enough for us to decide that I should go and see a doctor — by the way, as I learned at Ladies Night Out, 99% of women have the ability to orgasm, only 1% have a medical condition that doesn’t allow them too– with that being said, I explained what was happening to my doctor. She very calmly and almost ‘therapist’ like asked me, “Are you able to orgasm on your own?” <insert Scooby Doo face here> Awkwardly smiling, I responded “I don’t understand your question.” She asked me, “Do you masturbate?” Uncomfortably responding, I said “No.” Thinking to myself, If I did, I don’t know if I would want to share that very very very intimate place with you. She handed me a pamphlet — YES!!! A pamphlet and a brochure on masturbation! I didn’t even know they make these! Who puts these things together? Who volunteered themselves for this research? Were women behind a glass with scientist watching them? Oh my, they even have pictures!!! Help me Lord! I stuffed the brochures in my back pack and slowly turned to leave as she encouraged me to let her know how it goes. Let you know how it goes? You want me to go home and masturbate and then come back and tell you how it goes? Uummm to the left. Of course I didn’t go over this with any of my friends. I was embarrassed. I think I was more embarrassed by my doctor’s response than the problem itself. I reported back to my boyfriend the ‘homework’ my doctor gave me, and he was excited for what we would ‘discover.’ What a stroke to his ego that my inability to orgasm had nothing to do with the “size of his ship, or the motion in his ocean.”
After that relationship ended, I spent a couple more months “weening” off of my active sex life with periodic masturbation….and then I gave my life to Christ. This is where the poop hit the fan! I didn’t know how to ask anyone whether or not my “weening off sex” method was ok. Nobody in church was talking about this. They were hardly talking about sex, other than to not do it, don’t watch porn, don’t lust and it’s not clear in the Bible, but you probably shouldn’t be masturbating either. Well alrighty then. Thanks for the memo saints!
So, here I was in my Bishop’s office a few years out of college, practically in tears, head down and limped over, muffling between sniffles how hard of a time my boyfriend and I were having keeping our hands off of each other. In a paraphrase of his words, “it’s better than having sex.” I looked up <surprised face emoji here> He nodded to confirm what I thought I heard. Wait! You’re giving us permission to do ‘this thing’ as long as we’re not having sex? Are there any other saints around to witness this? Hello! Anybody there! My pastor is telling me this is better than having sex… the lesser of two evils! My oh my! I didn’t see that one coming.
Whew… talk about being a vulnerable Naked Writer…in the words of Dr. Juanita Bynum, “now you know all my business!”
Where am I now on this journey? I’ve come to terms that it’s an ‘exercise’ that some days I’m ok with it, and other days I’m not. This is my own personal conviction. Why? A myriad of reasons that I’m not interested in sharing, as I don’t want my thoughts to be a molding ground of how you make your own decisions.
Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Juli’s blog that says it far more eloquently:
“I have great respect for women (married and single) who want to honor God with their sexuality. I believe masturbation is an issue that each woman has to ask the Lord about. When God wanted to be clear about something, He inspired clear teaching in Scripture. The Bible is silent on masturbation. What God did state definitely is that he wants to give us his wisdom. “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking” (James 1:5).
God is the High Priest who understands our questions and struggles. Even in this most intimate (and perhaps embarrassing) issue, don’t be afraid to pour out your heart to him and ask for his specific direction and wisdom.”
Am I throwing holy water on someone who decides to masturbate and casting out demons? Absolutely not. In the words of Dr.Juli, masturbation can be a great exercise for the couple separated for 6 months out of the year because her husband is on active military duty. What about the young lady whose husband got into a motorcycle accident and is paralyzed from the neck down? And now they are unable to have sex, what should she do? Or what about the single lady who is trying to overcome her addiction to sex and needs a place to ‘exert that energy’? Am I shunning her? Not by any means. But masturbation can also be a very bad place for the husband or wife doing it in secret, hiding from one another, the motive is impure, and not to mention it’s dishonest. Or the lady, married and single, whose motive is self sufficiency, trying to prove she doesn’t need a man. Often times, this act is paired with pornography and with lust– and there in lies the problem. That’s another blog!
I can’t give a definitive yes or no on whether or not people should masturbate. I have friends on both sides of this spectrum, and I understand both. My only definitive no is to porn and lust, as those things are psychologically proven to damage our psyche. I, along with 12 million other viewers, watched a great TED Talk on it. 12 million people? Wow! That many people want to know “why they should stop watching porn?” That’s another blog too!
I’ve done what I can… I’ve opened up the conversation, took you on my journey and shared where I presently stand on this ‘exercise.’ I have mastered this bait (pun intended) and, for now folks… my only intentional exercise to release my sexual tension will be at the gym….lol. Anybody need a Fitness Pal?
*Less than 24 hours after posting this, the calls and texts came flooding in… Ladies and Gents, I encourage you to share your honest thoughts on the topic— don’t just commend my vulnerability here—when you comment on the blog, it is completely anonymous… you can make up a name to post with, and I am the only one who sees your email address. I have attempted to create the space where we can talk through this, even if it’s anonymously. There is freedom in seeing your secret thoughts on paper… it releases you in a way I can not explain. After all, 8 of us are doing the same exact thing you are. Just for today, be vulnerable with me!*
The Naked Writer
PS. Thanks for journey-ing through life with me! If you know someone who might enjoy this, share my heart with them and remember to subscribe so we can keep in touch (top right corner)! Oh yeah and comment (top left corner)! You’d be surprised how your comments encourage other readers— because other readers, do read the comments!
See you soon