Sunday, August 31, 2014

Masturbation for Procreation

Whattk asked a question on my post “Procreation” that needs an attempt at an answer: “P.S. I know even masturbation has been (and is) frowned upon. But what is the stance when it comes to masturbation for the purposes of procreation?” 

The official teaching of the Catholic Church, if that is what Big Whack is talking about, is certainly unchanged and it is that masturbation in itself is a grave sin.  Personally I cannot see how this can be true.  But for those who teach that masturbation is a grave sin in itself this means that it can never be permissible for any reason whatever.  I can recall heated discussions when I was in seminary as to whether it was permissible for a guy to go have his sperm tested, because to get the spunk sample the guy had to masturbate and this was a sin.  You might hope that a lot of religionists would have got past such tight and matter-centred automotive thinking, but, I am afraid, many have not.  It gives them security in that they know where they are and are fearfully of any approach that involves interpretation in the face of the precise human circumstances. 

To me a man producing spunk, getting his rocks off, is just a good thing.  Procreation whether a guy achieves it by depositing his spunk in his woman’s vagina directly or by some other means of transfer always raises the issue of responsible parenthood.  That, I think, is where the true morality of sex and procreation lies.  If I sell my semen to a sperm bank, for example, how do I take responsibility for the kids I bring into the world?  The commandment to love one another implies that I do my best for the children I beget and not leave them to be brought up by others by haphazard chance.  Of course, perhaps good quality sperm banks can be relied upon to see that my semen will be made use of by the right type of people in the right ways, then it may be morally acceptable.

But there is still a question in my mind about the natural bond I ought to have with my offspring.  Is it right to bring into the world kids that I know I am not going to be able to build a father-child relationship with?  A guy could have a moral issue with the proper use of his spunk, but not with the act of masturbating, nor with any of the activities of enhanced masculinity right across the board!

Friday, August 29, 2014

In Practice

My faithful correspondent wrote: 

When I began e-mailing comments to you on your postings I never expected you to use many, if any. It is special to me that you can and do use them. It also shows me that you support my rationale concerning masturbation and pornography. I have said this before, it is significant to me to know two priests who support me, you and my friend. It is too bad there are not more like the two of you. I also enjoy reading the comments others make on what I’ve sent you and you have posted.” 
My reply to him was: 

Thanks for your appreciation. Of course I support your masturbation and interest in pornography because they are part of that sexual fulfillment to which we all have a right, in John McNeill's terms.” 

 Of course, saying that, I realize that what bugs me and everybody all along is the formation we have had that actually amounted to a teaching that nobody had a right to sexual fulfillment.  We were taught it, and it still hangs around as an aspect of almost everybody’s view of sexuality.  What a revolution we need!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


 John McNeill again.  He neatly dismisses the idea that sex is about procreation.  Sex is about play.  That’s where every human being’s right to sexual fulfilment comes in.  McNeill sees procreative sex as a type of work, the opposite of play.  So, there, I read him as saying that sex is not about procreation and all those principles of the Catholic Church about no sex except in the context of procreation are sexophobic error.   

What McNeill actually says is: “If human sexual activity is undertaken for the conscious purpose of procreation , it becomes another form of work.”  In fact, to determne what he means by play, McNeill puts sexually activity in perfect parallel with dancing.  Dancing is exuberance in the joy of the present moment, it does not look to the future, it is its own end.  It is outside the tyranny of time, where, work is decidedly within the tyranny of time, creating for the future with the limited time we have to work at it in the present.   

About dancing McNeill says: “What makes human activity play is the fact that platful activity has its meaning totally in the present moment. The perfect example of that is dancing. The activity of dancing takes its meaning totally from what is happening in the present moment with no reference to the future. The result is a joyful liberation from the tyranny of time.”

The problem with the traditional emphasis on sex for procreation is that sex ends up as a thing that we did not ought to have a sort of vibration of the nerve endings that is just coincidental to the act of procreation, which alone makes those vibrations valid.  Never mind about that.  Let’s have a load of guys around that know how to vibrate for the good that it is in itself.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Right to Sexual Fulfillment.

I happened to glance at John McNeill’s blog, something I have not done in quite a while, and I see that his thought has evolved.  I can recall him saying in one of his earlier books that he just happened to think that sex belonged in a committed relationship.   

Now he is writing about his latest book, giving a summary, and saying:  “Every human being has a God-given right to sexual fulfillment.”  That seems to me a very important principle.  It is, in fact, the foundation of all sex-positivism.   

He still maintains that: “Best sex is obviously two humans enjoying mutual sexual pleasure within a committed loving relationship.”  That is also, perhaps, a principle that it is difficult to disagree with outright.  However I would add that you should not take that principle and make it an obligation: that everybody should really be seeking to have sex only in a committed relationship.

McNeill recognizes that this ideal cannot always be achieved by the broken persons that we are.  However, in that context, he makes the staggeringly positive and hope-filled statement: “Psychically wounded humans still have a right to sexual fulfillment to the best of their ability.”

McNeill places whatever sex we might have firmly in the context of the gospel.  It ought to be other centred.  If I use another person simply for my self-centred pleasure then I am not fulfilling the golden rule: not to do what is good for oneself but what is good for another.

When we play sexually, McNeill says, “We are entirely caught up in the pleasure of our partner. Our primary pleasure comes from the pleasure of our partner.”  The growth to human maturity can be mapped out, according to McNeill, along the pattern of developing our sexual behaviour from the self-centred to the other-centred and most of our lives we are all somewhere in between the two poles.

Then really comes what I see as McNeill’s new openness of mind, embracing the sexual experience globally: “If all one is capable of is a solitary act of masturbation, then that masturbatory act, undertaken with gratitude to God for the gift of sexual pleasure, is good sex.  Even better sex occurs when two wounded humans reach out to each other to share mutual sexual pleasure in a 'one night stand'…Even better still is the relation of two "sex buddies" that meet regularly for sexual fulfillment in the context of mutual friendship.”   

Interesting because, in an earlier book, McNeill really condemned one-night stands.  I have to admit that I, personally have had some very fulfilling one-night stands.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Correspondent & Pornography

Same correspondent -  part of a discussion we had between us about pornography. 

He wrote: Like you, I find it difficult to equate all the evils that people claim are directly related to pornography. I guess people look for things to blame when things go wrong and pornography becomes a ready source. These people having been taught that pornography is wrong and evil it is easy for them to say it causes divorce, rape, child molestation, etc. I was also taught pornography like masturbation, was wrong and evil I never view it as such. I found pornography erotic, sexually exciting, an enhancement to masturbation but it never made me think about rape, child molestation, destruction of the family. I agree with you, that fact it is forbidden is the cause not pornography itself.”

I guess that, if you think sex-positively, as I do, then pornography just fits in.  Negative attitudes towards pornography are just an extension of negative attitudes to sex.  If sex is recognized for the healthy human recreation that it is, then pornography is just part of the way of recreation and of celebrating the beauty and vigour of sex.   
Of course, many of the objections you hear about pornography speak of the degradation of women.  But, if your sexual orientation is enhanced masculinity then man on man pornography is just a wonderful celebration of masculinity and those who are enraptured by it.