Thursday, May 19, 2016

Masturbation Month

May is masturbation month.  The need for such a month says something about our society and its history.  The professed aim of those who established the annual event is to promote masturbation, get rid of the taboo and guilt attached to it and promote discussion of the practice as healthy and normal.  Excellent aims in my opinion. 
My inner musings arose in the form of two questions: “Why should anyone not want to masturbate?” and “Why should anyone want to prevent other people from masturbating?”  The traditional approach of the Christian churches is enshrined in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which states that masturbation has always been condemned by the Church and indicates that it is a practice to be overcome as far as anybody can.
True that represents a certain amount of liberalizing progress, because the Catholic approach used to be just simply that masturbation was a mortal sin.  Typically nobody ever tried to explain why.
What you have to remember is that the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not the inspired Word of God.  It comes down to human beings telling human beings what to do.  Hence my question: “Why should anyone want to prevent other people from masturbating?”
The people who do not want to masturbate, of course, do so out of a sense of asceticism.  But, as with food and drink, perhaps it would be better to settle for “nothing to excess”, because not masturbating at all is a type of human contortion that causes many people a lot of damage on the emotional and psychological level.
People talk about the health value of masturbation because it relaxes. But I think that the first value of masturbation is that it enables us to experience and be at home with our sexual masculine being.  There is also the fact that, with a bit of tantra, you can develop masturbation as a profoundly spiritual experience.

Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Catechism again.

I have been travelling and had another bout of illness.  That explains why it is three weeks since my last post.

I recently replied to an email from a guy who felt pressurized to conform to the teaching in the Catechism of the Catholic Church on homosexuality.

Below is the substance of my reply.

Briefly I understand the Catechism as saying that the homosexual orientation is not a disorder, but a little understood phenomenon.  Nevertheless the Catechism insists that homosexual acts are gravely disordered and can in no way be approved of.  

This I find difficult to swallow.  Medical and psychological sciences have stated that homosexuality is not an illness.  So the Catechism at least goes along with that.  But, if there is no disorder in the appetite or inclination then that inclination must be well ordered.  It seems to be built into people rather than being a disordered development.  The logic of saying that a man has a good appetite that he can never use, rather defeats my understanding.   It is difficult to see that the acts that correspond to the inclination do any harm in a mutually consensual situation.  Therefore it is difficult to see where the disorder in those acts actually comes from. 

I feel that there is an underlying principle that is part of a lot of people's mentality and that says that sex in itself is evil.  This is never formulated explicitly because it is just not Catholic.  This unspoken attitude has been most crudely applied in the case of masturbation.  There is nothing wrong with masturbation, in fact, except that it is sex.  The attitude that many have and do not even articulate to themselves amounts to: "We should not have sex except, reluctantly, for the sake of procreation."  That approach used to be terribly common among religious-minded people, even non-Catholic.  I feel we need a truly sex-positive approach and a lot of the energy put into avoiding sex could be used to develop love.