The Real Problem with Female Masturbation is That Evangelicals Are Too Sex-Negative To Talk About It Honestly

The evangelical Christian take on masturbation is usually pretty simple: Don’t do it. Don’t touch yourself. Don’t even think about touching yourself. There’s something wrong with you if you do it. Pastor Mark Driscoll even went so far as to say it basically amounted to homosexuality (*gasp*) because it was a sexual act that didn’t involve a woman and did involve you touching a penis.

But that’s all referring to male masturbation. They typically don’t even want to acknowledge that women may want to touch themselves, too.

So I was pleasantly surprised to see Jordan Monge‘s article in Christianity Today in which she discusses female masturbation. Finally, a sensible take on the matter, right?

Not even close.

While she deserves some credit for admitting that women have sexual desires just like men, Monge paints masturbation as simply a “struggle with lust” rather than as a natural, normal, useful thing to do.

We must treat lust like other sins — not a way we act out as a consequence of other problems in our lives — but as a sin requiring us to learn the discipline of self-control that we must master if we ever hope to be the women God made us to be.

Because every time a woman touches herself, Baby Jesus cries.

The worst part may be when she invokes the “wisdom” of Pastor John Piper to make her readers “more Christ-centered, self-controlled” people:

A — Avoid tempting situations as much as possible.

N — Say no to lustful thoughts in five seconds.

T — Turn the mind toward Christ as a superior satisfaction.

H — Hold the promise and pleasure of Jesus in your mind to drive other thoughts out.

E — Enjoy a superior satisfaction in Christ.

M — Move into a useful activity away from idleness and other vulnerable situations.

Did you catch all that?

Avoid anything that’ll make you think about sex. Which, in our society, is everything.

Don’t allow yourself to have any thoughts about sex. Think of Jesus instead!

Jesus will make you feel better than an orgasm.

Think of Jesus so you stop thinking about other men.

Jesus will make you feel amazing.

Do something that’ll make you stop thinking about sex. Like worshiping Jesus.

Dammit! None of that works! (Really, though, if you want to kill your libido, thinking about John Piper might just do the trick…)

Anyway, I came up with an alternative, sex-positive mnemonic:

A — Allow yourself to fantasize freely.

N — Never let anyone tell you that your sexual thoughts are shameful.

T — Thought crimes are not crimes.

H — Have fun!

E — Experiment with your body and find out what makes you happy.

M — Monge’s advice should be tossed aside like a used Kleenex.

(I was going to shuffle up that order and make it say “Hemant” but, again, didn’t want to kill your libido.)

It’s just awful advice with the intention of shaming women for doing something that’s completely natural and doesn’t hurt anybody. It’s in part because of this kind of sex-negativity that young Christians are leaving the church — they know the sex advice that people like Monge and Piper offer is pure bullshit.

Here’s evangelical thinking about sex in a nutshell: You shouldn’t have pre-marital sex because it’s sinful. You shouldn’t masturbate because it’s sinful. You shouldn’t have sexual thoughts because it’s sinful. And while we’re at it, let’s just teach abstinence-only sex education, because educating Christians about what sex is and how it works and how to have it as safely as possible would only give them ideas… and we can’t have them thinking now, can we?

This is also the sort of thinking that makes evangelicals more homophobic than the rest of society. When they think of LGBT people, all they think about is sex. Not love, not family, not community, just sex. And sex is bad. Always bad. Unless you’re married, but gay people shouldn’t be allowed get married, because that might lead to gay sex, and, as stated earlier, that’s bad.

Look, there may be problems connected to masturbation, but none of them are mentioned in Monge’s piece.

Everything she’s worried about is so completely unrealistic and unhealthy and unreasonable. She paints sexual desire as part of the problem when she’d be far better off focusing on positive ways to channel that desire. And as far as those options are concerned, masturbation ought to be at the top of the list.

The only time Jesus even needs to be mentioned is near the very end of the act.

(Image via Shutterstock)

About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the editor of Friendly Atheist, appears on the Atheist Voice channel on YouTube, and co-hosts the uniquely-named Friendly Atheist Podcast. You can read much more about him here.


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