Recently, it came to me attention that http://www.masturbationfreedom.com had posted a link to this website. I find this especially interesting because I had tried to get help from pastors but to no avail (in my case).
Let me be very plain about this from the start, my primary motive for ridding myself of porn and masturbation is not religious guilt. Towards the end of this post you will find my take on the matter. As in all my posts, my opinions are mine alone and shared for whatever worth they have to you.
Porn is undoubtedly addictive and can cause compulsive behaviors in and of itself. Controlling porn is almost impossible once a person is in the grip of the addiction. Still, I have never seen porn as my primary problem. By refusing to masturbate I have gained control of my life for the first time in ever. Porn is superfluous at this point. Perhaps the combination of porn and masturbation is catalytic. I doubt that there are many habitual porn users that don’t masturbate. In a sense, I think that masturbation itself is an element of what gives porn its power. If I were exposed to porn right now I would be completely absent the motive of self gratification. I would see it from a quite different point of view. Instead of being under its power I would see it from a critical point of view. I assume that this is how law enforcement officials could view porn (such as when they were investigating Deep Throat) without becoming aroused.
I find it telling that the positive health effects of ejaculation seem to come within the context of male/female intercourse and not from masturbation. My take on this is that intercourse between loving partners is more gentle and allows release at a natural level of pressure while masturbation operates at higher pressure.
I skimmed the info one that Masturbation Freedom and think that they are fairly free of hysteria. After decades of bible study I can state that in my opinion there is no biblical proscription directly against masturbation. I wouldn’t rate it as a “sin” such as lying, stealing, murdering, etc. I see it more as a practical issue than as a moral issue. Masturbation is, however, detrimental to marriage; there’s no doubt in my mind about that. I see it as cheating, in the sense that a masturbator is spending their sexual energy outside of their marriage. When a married person watches the sexual activity of others, by means of porn, it amounts to emotional adultery, IMO. I guess that my current viewpoint, no big surprise here, is that porn is useless without masturbation. It would be like buying a carton of cigarettes when you have no access to fire. Cigarettes are poison, but this poison is inert until the cigarettes are lit. For me, the link between porn and masturbation is every bit as strong as the link between cigarettes and fire. Now that I refuse to light the “cigarettes” I have lost the motive to buy “cigarettes”.
Anyhow, I find it interesting and heartening that a faith-based site would link to YBOP. Shrill warnings of perdition upon masturbators have been sounded from countless pulpits from time immemorial. This approach, in my opinion, is essentially useless. Frightening people usually does little to help them. On the other hand, good solid knowledge of how porn affects the brain does wonders. It made all of the difference for me and ended a struggle that had lasted over 43 years. No guilt, no shame, just a simple understanding of how the human brain responds to porn. If pastoral counselors use this information to teach those that are seeking help with porn use and/or masturbation they might find that their success rate improves along with the morale of those they counsel.
I will leave with a few thoughts regarding pastoral counseling for persons trying to break free from porn and/or masturbation. If you do choose to confide in a pastor make plain from the outset your expectations regarding confidentiality. The matter is to remain between the two of you only and not to be shared with anyone else in the church, other pastors included, if that is what you wish. If the counselor is taken aback by this request I would suggest that you think twice before revealing something you may want to keep confidential. I learned this the hard way, when I found out that a pastor I had confided in decided to air my problem in front of other parishioners. Some of you may not mind such publicity, but I did, and my life was negatively impacted by this breach of ecclesiatical confidentiality. You might wish to check you local laws regarding these matters in order to know your rights in this matter.
I would suggest requesting that the pastor you speak to serve as an accountability partner, calling you occasionally to ask how you are doing and being willing to take the occasional call from you during times of struggle. If this is agreed to, resolve to use that privilege wisely. The first few weeks are the toughest, you might have to call for help more often during that time frame than afterward. I would also suggest sharing with the counselor the information found here at YBOP regarding the mechanisms and causes of porn addiction. Much like alcoholics, porn addicts are not simply persons of weak character, they are persons with a very real problem that has its roots in our biology. A pastor that simply tells you not to masturbate for moral reasons probably isn’t going to do you much good. It takes an understanding of the problem on the part of the counselor in order to be able to give good advice. The key is to break the addiction, understand why porn and masturbation are so compelling and to fight from that standpoint. Knowledge is power!