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Quotations and Overview

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bullet "...Alfred Kinsey...interviewed thousands of men in the 1940's, and concluded that 95 percent masturbated. In 1960's, William Masters and Virginia Johnson raised that figure to 99 percent." - Dr. Harold Litten, "The Joy of Solo Sex."
bullet Masturbation … is not approved of the Lord nor of his church, regardless of what may be said by others whose 'norms' are lower.” President Kimball, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, (1981)
bullet "Every sperm is sacred, Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate." -from the sound track of Monty Python's "The Meaning of Life" satirical movie.
bullet "We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his hands for masturbation." Comedienne Lily Tomlin
bullet "If you misuse them while young you will not be able to use them when you are a man; they will not work then." Lord Baden-Powell, founder of the Boy Scouts, writing in Scouting To-day referring to "private parts."

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Purpose of this section:

You might find this section confusing. That is because this Internet site is unlike almost all other religious web sites. We do not tell you what to do. We don't say what is right or wrong. We do not come to any conclusions. We simply describe the beliefs of various religious groups and the medical profession on masturbation. These beliefs cover a wide range from serious condemnation of masturbation to encouraging frequent masturbation for health reasons. These beliefs seriously conflict with each other. We hope that these essays will help you reach your own decisions.

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What is masturbation?

According to the FAQ at ALT.SEX.MASTURBATION, masturbation  is "sexual activity involving only one person." 1 Other widely used emotionally neutral terms are: "self-stimulation," "auto-eroticism" and "self-pleasuring." Two negative terms which are no longer in wide usage are "self-abuse" and "onanism." There are hundreds of common euphemisms used such as "jacking off" (North American term) and "wanking" (UK term), "beating the bishop," "milking the lizard," "spanking the monkey," "choking the chicken," "jizzing," "spooging," "shooting your wad," etc.

Masturbation usually takes the form of rubbing one's genitals (sexual organs) with fingers, hands, and/or objects (e.g. a pillow, vibrator, etc). The optimum technique varies from person to person. Feelings of excitement build quickly. If continued, they will often produce an orgasm, and (in men) an ejaculation of semen. An orgasm is defined in Webster's New World Dictionary as "a frenzy; great excitement; especially the climax of sexual excitement." To those who have experienced an orgasm, no explanation is needed; to those who have not experienced one, no explanation would be sufficient to describe the intensity of the feelings. How-to instructions are available on-line. (See reference 3 below under "JackinHowTo.")

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Masturbation data:

Jackinworld conducted a survey among their readers. Results indicated that:

bullet The average frequency of masturbation drops from 11 per week at age 11, to 5 per week above age 35.
bullet There are wide fluctuations in frequency from individual to individual.
bullet 84% of respondents had started to masturbate at or before the age of 13.
bullet Afterward masturbation, 89% felt happy and relaxed; 10% felt guilty; 1% felt nervous.
bullet Among the very religious readers who had surfed their site 2 months or less, the percentage who felt guilty was 19%.

Richard Dobbins quotes an unidentified national survey in his book "Teaching your children the truth about sex."

bullet 55% of all American 13 year-olds -- both boys and girls -- masturbate.
bullet Over 80% of all 15 year olds masturbate.
bullet 95% of adult men and 65% of adult women masturbate. 2,3

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As in so many other areas, there is a gap between the beliefs and teachings of conservative and liberal faith groups. When we wrote the first draft of these essays in 1997, positions were fairly predictable:

bullet Many conservative Protestants regarded masturbation as sinful, an potential addiction, a danger to a person's mental, spiritual and emotional health. It also reduces self control and promotes sexual promiscuity.
bullet The Roman Catholic church considers masturbation to be an "intrinsically and seriously disordered act."
bullet Very liberal Christians, secularists, Wiccans, etc. considered masturbation as a positive source of pleasure, morally neutral, an aid to prostate health for males, and a helpful training aid to teach young people about their body's responses. It is a safe sexual activity that is particularly useful when a person is not involved in a committed relationship.

Over the following decade, there has been a rapid change in the beliefs of Protestant conservatives toward the liberal position. The teachings of the Roman Catholic Church have remain unchanged.

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  1.  "President Kimball Speaks Out," Deseret Book Co., (1981), Page 10.
  2. Richard Dobbins, "Teaching your children the truth about sex," Siloam Press, (2006). Read reviews or order this book safely from online book
  3. Richard Dobbins, "Time to talk about the M word," New Man magazine, 2006-May/June, Pages 29 to 32.
  4. Pope Paul VI, "Persona Humana - Declaration on Certain Questions Concerning Sexual Ethics," 1975-DEC-29, at:

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Copyright © 1997 to 2006 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Latest update: 2006-MAY-20
Author: B.A. Robinson

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