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The “sin” of masturbation (in Western culture)

(TW for graphic language)

Look up “sin of masturbation” on Google and you will find all sorts of Christian, Jewish and Muslim warnings. The “sin” of masturbation is attributed to the Biblical story of Onan, leading to its other name, onanism. In the story Onan, son of Judah, was bound by law to impregnante his brother Er’s widow, Tamar, and raise the offspring in his brother’s name. Onan however “spilled seed on the ground” when he went in to her. The name means both “ejaculation outside the vagina” and “masturbation” as an avoidance of procreation. Even today in our Western culture (which is still pretty natalist), procreation is considered the inevitable consequence of women having sex with men and men having proof of their seed.

For females, masturbation is a “sin” as well. Since their role is to procreate, obviously masturbation would decrease their desire for sex. Notwithstanding the fact that many women do not orgasm from PIV, it is either way a situation of dangling the carrot in front of the horse – women are forever hoping for their own pleasure.

Phallocentrism is a mainstay in Western thought. Works that influence later ones are said to be “seminal” as a sort of compliment. Female sexual fluid is referred to as “seminal.” Women are but vessels for men’s seed, whether for bearing children or inspiration. Since they were not taken seriously in writing, during the Victorian era it was common for female writers to take on male pen-names.

Onanism was a big deal with professionals involved in early psychology. They couldn’t allow it either. If you were a child caught playing with yourself, off you go to get put into a straightjacket or (for male children) a form of a chastity belt. Female children were considered “nymphomaniacs” and females were often forcefully brought to orgasm by doctors or put into ice baths. The cereal known as Corn Flakes some of us love today, was invented as a solution for masturbation – the idea being that bland food would lower the libido. As you may know, Freud came along and male sexologists were said to have discovered the so-called g-spot; Freud claimed that women who could not orgasm from PIV sex alone were dysfunctional, even frigid.

When the “sexual revolution” came about, the revolution – or so it seemed – was that people were having sex for pleasure and not for procreation. This warrants a correction: Men were having sex for pleasure. Liberal, secular men supported abortion and birth control, not because they actually cared about women or their health. Pornography became more and more hardcore. Phrases like “tear that pussy up” “destroy that pussy” “rape that asshole” “giving her what she deserves” sprang up in mainstream porn.

Even though porn was used primarily for masturbation by men, it was a way for men to desensitize themselves to treating women like human beings. Women into romance novels get made fun of for enjoying something that focuses on their pleasure, if only in fantasy. With porn, women are competing against each other, getting plastic surgery, and treated as conquests – preferably of all 3 orifices. Men use porn to groom their victims – females and children – before sexually assaulting them, they use porn and then enact their fantasies onto females and children, and to seek out the most vulnerable, the prostituted. And as can be seen in news articles, men will fuck pretty much any object or animal – the term “sex object” is not a coincidence and has far more implications than “object of desire.”

Yet porn is a resort for men to get back at women – in fact, all porn is revenge porn since “it is an expression of men’s hatred against women.” When boyfriends or husbands aren’t getting any, they resort to porn, nevermind the upset of their partners. When they are single, they resort to porn, too – they need it, they say. Self-proclaimed “beta male” losers can fantasize that they can have any woman they want, too lazy to go through the trouble of getting mutual sexual attraction. In this fantasy they are of the same standing as the “alpha male assholes” they have invented in order to avoid examining their own behaviors towards women; and in the sex industry, their money is as green as other men’s. Their conditioning is: “The meek (or geeks) shall inherit the earth.”

The use of pornography shows that it is not simply masturbation. There are real women and acts of eroticized violence being done upon their bodies, so somebody is always paying for it. Men are masturbating to the degradation of women. Porn is hate speech. As I have encountered with pro-sex industry men, they really hate being told to masturbate. That ruins their insistence that they are being prevented from “seeking pleasure.” You mean nobody is preventing them from jerking off and using their own imagination? You bet your ass.

In fact, the very “sin” behind masturbation is being brought to orgasm by oneself. The discouragement is meant to guilt-trip women into putting out for men and for men to believe they need to have PIV sex with women. If you are single and masturbate, you’re a loser. If you are partnered and masturbate, you’re a sucker who’s not getting his due at home. As much as men pretend they are looked down on by other men for using prostituted women, doing so is still more socially acceptable to them than masturbating. And it is a “waste” to be a woman with a body that is not colonized by men, especially a lesbian.

It hardly matters whether it is conservative or liberal men we are talking about, masturbation is highly discouraged. Both see women’s job as taking men’s seed whether for procreation or purely sexual reasons; both see women as temptresses as as the gatekeepers of sex, even sexual initiation. Men seek their pleasure in women and women have no pleasure; or, their pleasure is only to please men, which is the red flag of an abusive relationship. Once we get over the belief that we need to be with someone for sex, women can pursue meaningful activities and men must quit lying to women to get into their pants and actually work on bettering themselves to treat women as human. Leaving women alone and not sexually harassing them is a good start.


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