Masturbation compared to nutionless food, smoking, etc

Dear friends :),

Let's be plain about this: I am sorely tempted to masturbate. I want to do it, and yet my conscience says "no"; now, is my conscience only making me feel guilty by association with Western puritanism, or is this really grave matter?* Why* does the Church define this act of private pleasure as a sin? Logically, I see no sense to it. The only reason I can see the West so vigorously condemning masturbation is out of an Augustinian hatred for the world, the body, and material (dualism). Someone told me that Eastern Christian morality tends to discourage masturbation, but does not condemn it as a sin.

I've read the Catechism paragraph, so please don't cite that. Give me reasons.

Now, how can we compare masturbation to anything else by allegory? I compare it to eating nutrition-less foods, or smoking. We consider a bit of absolutely-unhealthy chocolate now-and-again to be acceptable, or even a pack of cigarettes on a Sunday. These are not considered grave sins, only disordered pleasures! Nutrition, however is the very point of the digestive faculty, and proper-breathing is the very foundation of the lungs. By comparison, masturbation is an abuse of the sexual faculty; so, all faculties in a human body being equal, masturbation can only be a disordered attachment, not a grave sin. The parallel is complete.

If you can eat a big chocolate cake once a year, why can't you masturbate once a year? Smoking? Red wine? Fatty foods? How far can this stretch? We cannot deny everything to our bodies, like gnostics. This is very frustrating because I see no problem whatever, yet my conscience has been formed entirely around avoiding masturbation. :(

[quote="GloriousOrder, post:1, topic:242695"]
Dear friends :),

Let's be plain about this: I am sorely tempted to masturbate. I want to do it, and yet my conscience says "no"; now, is my conscience only making me feel guilty by association with Western puritanism, or is this really grave matter?* Why* does the Church define this act of private pleasure as a sin? Logically, I see no sense to it. The only reason I can see the West so vigorously condemning masturbation is out of an Augustinian hatred for the world, the body, and material (dualism). Someone told me that Eastern Christian morality tends to discourage masturbation, but does not condemn it as a sin.

I've read the Catechism paragraph, so please don't cite that. Give me reasons.

Now, how can we compare masturbation to anything else by allegory? I compare it to eating nutrition-less foods, or smoking. We consider a bit of absolutely-unhealthy chocolate now-and-again to be acceptable, or even a pack of cigarettes on a Sunday. These are not considered grave sins, only disordered pleasures! Nutrition, however is the very point of the digestive faculty, and proper-breathing is the very foundation of the lungs. By comparison, masturbation is an abuse of the sexual faculty; so, all faculties in a human body being equal, masturbation can only be a disordered attachment, not a grave sin. The parallel is complete.

If you can eat a big chocolate cake once a year, why can't you masturbate once a year? Smoking? Red wine? Fatty foods? How far can this stretch? We cannot deny everything to our bodies, like gnostics. This is very frustrating because I see no problem whatever, yet my conscience has been formed entirely around avoiding masturbation. :(

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The sexual act is between one man and women so as to unite them and create humans. Masturbation is only for yourself. So when you do it, you are being extremely selfish for you don't create babies and have no unity.

[quote="Inquiringperson, post:2, topic:242695"]
The sexual act is between one man and women so as to unite them and create humans. Masturbation is only for yourself. So when you do it, you are being extremely selfish for you don't create babies and have no unity.

[/quote]

Equally, what stops me from saying that eating is only a communal act, and that enjoying food alone is extremely selfish? :( Selfishness is a disordered attachment to the self, but selfish acts do not make a man go to Hell?

[quote="Inquiringperson, post:2, topic:242695"]
The sexual act is between one man and women so as to unite them and create humans. Masturbation is only for yourself. So when you do it, you are being extremely selfish for you don't create babies and have no unity.

[/quote]

Why is masturbation selfish? It's aim is one's own pleasure, that is true, and in that sense one can call it self-centered at least in the sense of centered on the self. But does that make it self-centered in the sense of selfish, having disregard for others? Eating a chocolate is self-centered in the former sense, but do we consider it selfish in the latter sense?

Why is using the sexual organs outside of their purpose wrong, when it would seem that using our lungs and our stomachs for other reasons is not?

The sexual act must be unitive - masturbation is not. The sexual act must be open to life - masturbation is not. The sexual act must be between a man and a woman - masturbation is not.

MilesVitae said:

Why is using the sexual organs outside of their purpose wrong, when it would seem that using our lungs and our stomachs for other reasons is not?

... how is it possible to use our lungs or stomachs for reasons other than that for which they were designed?

The comparison between masturbation and junk food is a bad one, this is because, though junk food is very unhealthy, it gives some minimal nutrients and fulfills one's hunger - it fulfills in a minimal way the requirement for food. It is unwise and should not be used in excess because of its unhealthiness, but it does fulfill the basic requirements for food. Masturbation does not fulfill any requirement for the sexual act. It is, in and of itself, barren, useless, and a total perversion of the sexual act which it mimics but does not fulfill.

It also harms us psychologically. Here’s a link that explains it clearly.
theporneffect.com/who-does-it-hurt/men/235-articles

[quote="MilesVitae, post:4, topic:242695"]

Why is using the sexual organs outside of their purpose wrong, when it would seem that using our lungs and our stomachs for other reasons is not?

[/quote]

And furthermore, how do we know that solitary pleasure isn't an intended purpose of the sexual faculty? Not the primary purpose, of course, but maybe a purpose. After all, the body was designed in such a way that it's possible.

An analogy would be our various senses. Clearly sight, smell, hearing, etc. have important functions for human survival. But they can also be used for pure pleasure. Does looking at a beautiful sunset, listening to music or smelling a flower constitute an "abuse" of our sensory abilities?

A request to the moderators: please resist the urge to shut down this thread, as you so often do with discussions on this topic. Stifling questions on moral issues does not promote understanding of Church teachings.

Why Catholics have problem with this activity? I no understand.

Some of the responses provide a sort of legalistic answer. But, let's approach this from a spiritual angle.

God is our creator. He made the heavens and the earth, the plants, animals...

God invites us to participate into His divine creativity through our sexual faculty. In a way we become co-authors with God of another human life, another human, immortal soul. A soul that is known and loved before he or she was conceived.

This gift must be honored and must never be abused or misused. That is why the Church is very careful to spell out the dual purpose of unitivity and procreation of human sexuality.

That is why homosexuality (and by extension gay marriage) is wrong. That is why adultry and lust are wrong. That is why marriage between a man and a woman must be binding until death. The Church takes this matter very seriously, indeed.

Now, as to smoking and chocolates...these are not defined as disordered acts by the Church but masturbation is. At first blush, they may seem allegorical, but in reality they have little in common.

Actually, in order for either of those 2 (cigs and candy) to be seriously sinful, it would have to be gluttonous that is used to excess. MTBN does not

[quote="ZDHayden, post:5, topic:242695"]
..The comparison between masturbation and junk food is a bad one, this is because, though junk food is very unhealthy, it gives some minimal nutrients ...

[/quote]

OK, that was a poor example. But what about smoking? Can someone explain why that is not just as disordered as masturbation? Smoking is purely for one's own pleasure (just like masturbation) and it uses a part of the body in a way that is at odds with its intended purpose (just like masturbation).

[quote="cargau, post:9, topic:242695"]
Some of the responses provide a sort of legalistic answer. But, let's approach this from a spiritual angle.

God is our creator. He made the heavens and the earth, the plants, animals...

God invites us to participate into His divine creativity through our sexual faculty. In a way we become co-authors with God of another human life, another human, immortal soul. A soul that is known and loved before he or she was conceived.

This gift must be honored and must never be abused or misused. That is why the Church is very careful to spell out the dual purpose of unitivity and procreation of human sexuality.

That is why homosexuality (and by extension gay marriage) is wrong. That is why adultry and lust are wrong. That is why marriage between a man and a woman must be binding until death. The Church takes this matter very seriously, indeed.

Now, as to smoking and chocolates...these are not defined as disordered acts by the Church but masturbation is. At first blush, they may seem allegorical, but in reality they have little in common.

Actually, in order for either of those 2 (cigs and candy) to be seriously sinful, it would have to be gluttonous that is used to excess. MTBN does not

[/quote]

So let me get straight. Inhaleing carcinogenic material into lung ok. Eating somthing causing diabetes ok. Touching own skin, not ok? Ok got it. Thank kindly

I can assure you that if you rely on your mind and your own reasoning to come up with a rational as to why this is sinful you will only be left with a desire to engage in this sin. As you said, "yet my conscience says no"! I suggest you pray on this issue and be honest with yourself about this sin.

Masturbation involves the sex organs as much as throwing a fastball involves using an arm. But for each of these actions there is a lot of thought that goes into them. I would challenge you to be honest about where your mind and heart are when wanting to engage in this sin.

I used to be a masturbation addict, so here's my testimony as to why it's wrong:

It made me treat women as objects. I know that sounds cliche, but that is the truth. I used to lust after so many different girls at school and masturbate every day after school. Consider that the first date I ever had in my life didn't come around until about 9 months after I kicked the habit. Consider that I was always shy around girls and afraid to talk to them until I kicked the habit. Consider how you are valuing someone for how much pleasure they give you rather than how much you can love them.

Masturbation crippled my ability to relate to women for so many years. I remember having sick, awful thoughts about them when I would do it. How many potential friendships did I blow? How much love could I have shown them? Whose daughters, sisters, and future wives did I use for my own ends?

Yes, we have very powerful hormones when we are young. That's good and normal. But that is because in the past, people grew up much faster than they do today. Couples would marry and start families in their teens. If you were not married by the time you were roughly 25, you were an old maid. Today, we have 30-year-old guys still living in their parents' basements, playing video games at 1 in the morning.

[quote="8upmunchkin, post:11, topic:242695"]
So let me get straight. Inhaleing carcinogenic material into lung ok. Eating somthing causing diabetes ok. Touching own skin, not ok? Ok got it. Thank kindly

[/quote]

I never said they were "OK". I only said that as a point of fact the use of these do not compare in a spiritual sense in terms of moral gravity with MTBN.

To the best of my knowledge, no one ever got cancer smoking one cigarette and no one ever contracted diabetes eating one bon bon. So it is the repeated, often gluttonous use of these that ultimately can become harmful.

I understand that you think that "touching skin" is no big deal, but we are talking about more than that. Kinda like the pregnant teenage girl who claimed she conceived while swimming in the lake...

[quote="ZDHayden, post:5, topic:242695"]
The comparison between masturbation and junk food is a bad one, this is because, though junk food is very unhealthy, it gives some minimal nutrients and fulfills one's hunger - it fulfills in a minimal way the requirement for food. It is unwise and should not be used in excess because of its unhealthiness, but it does fulfill the basic requirements for food. Masturbation does not fulfill any requirement for the sexual act. It is, in and of itself, barren, useless, and a total perversion of the sexual act which it mimics but does not fulfill.

[/quote]

Exactly. So if the OP wants a better analogy, how about eating a bunch of food and then purposely vomiting it up precisely so that you don't gain any nutrition from it. Now that's disordered.

[quote="JackVk, post:13, topic:242695"]

Masturbation crippled my ability to relate to women for so many years. I remember having sick, awful thoughts about them when I would do it.

[/quote]

I totally relate. For me it didn't stop with masturbation either. I got to the point where I was ready to leave the Church "as a necessary sacrifice" just to barely survive.

[quote="cargau, post:14, topic:242695"]
I never said they were "OK". I only said that as a point of fact the use of these do not compare in a spiritual sense in terms of moral gravity with MTBN.

To the best of my knowledge, no one ever got cancer smoking one cigarette and no one ever contracted diabetes eating one bon bon. So it is the repeated, often gluttonous use of these that ultimately can become harmful.

I understand that you think that "touching skin" is no big deal, but we are talking about more than that. Kinda like the pregnant teenage girl who claimed she conceived while swimming in the lake...

[/quote]

So smoker only smoke one cigarette? Is this real? Most smoker I know, smoke pack a day. Body take this ok? This spritually healthy?

[quote="LeafByNiggle, post:10, topic:242695"]
OK, that was a poor example. But what about smoking? Can someone explain why that is not just as disordered as masturbation? Smoking is purely for one's own pleasure (just like masturbation) and it uses a part of the body in a way that is at odds with its intended purpose (just like masturbation).

[/quote]

I see the point. Smoking and having unhealthy vices is not what we should do as we are told in scripture that our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit & at Eucharist we are joined with Christ. I don't think the Church condones these vices either.
I also see in the other post the rationals for why masturbation is wrong. I just wanted to say I can see that the comparison makes sense. We should treat or bodies as Christ intended. The closer we grow to him the further we will be from these desires.
Our culture is saturated with objectification of sex & selling us the lie that the only way to have fun is drink beer with bikini clad women, etc.,etc, :shrug:

[quote="cargau, post:9, topic:242695"]
Some of the responses provide a sort of legalistic answer. But, let's approach this from a spiritual angle.

God is our creator. He made the heavens and the earth, the plants, animals...

God invites us to participate into His divine creativity through our sexual faculty. In a way we become co-authors with God of another human life, another human, immortal soul. A soul that is known and loved before he or she was conceived.

This gift must be honored and must never be abused or misused. That is why the Church is very careful to spell out the dual purpose of unitivity and procreation of human sexuality.

That is why homosexuality (and by extension gay marriage) is wrong. That is why adultry and lust are wrong. That is why marriage between a man and a woman must be binding until death. The Church takes this matter very seriously, indeed.

Now, as to smoking and chocolates...these are not defined as disordered acts by the Church but masturbation is. At first blush, they may seem allegorical, but in reality they have little in common.

Actually, in order for either of those 2 (cigs and candy) to be seriously sinful, it would have to be gluttonous that is used to excess. MTBN does not

[/quote]

You criticize other responses as being legalistic. But your own reply essentially comes down to "because the Church says so". And you never address why you believe masturbation to be so universally harmful that it is declared "gravely disordered".

[quote="GloriousOrder, post:3, topic:242695"]
Equally, what stops me from saying that eating is only a communal act, and that enjoying food alone is extremely selfish? :( Selfishness is a disordered attachment to the self, but selfish acts do not make a man go to Hell?

[/quote]

Notice that I said sex is also for unity. Does food serve the purpose of uniting?

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