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I think it’s an interesting concept to deal with masturbation purely as an activity. But, what do you do with the thought patterns that accompany it 99% of the time? Or, philosophically, with the notion that masturbation produces experiences that weren’t intended to be enjoyed alone (I realize it’s an assumption about sexual pleasure worth being discussed elsewhere.)? It’s always seemed like masturbation has been closer to idolatry than impurity in that it hijacks sexual pleasure for personal gain. Again, to use a Kellerism, it has a tendency to make something good (sexual pleasure) ultimate. Just spit-balling here.
Good reasonable thoughts here, Carson! I have yet to be asked that question myself, but I’m sure it’s just a matter of time, so I’m glad to have the chance for some forethought here.
Another factor that I would add to your “river bank” approach is also in the context of marriage. 1 Cor. 7:4 teaches that a husband’s body belongs to his wife and the wife’s to her husband. In addition to your warning against neglecting one’s marital responsibilities, it strikes me as important to have one’s spouse’s permission, essentially, to masturbate in his/her absence. Since the two are one flesh, this seems like one of those things that husband and wife would need to decide upon together.
(And for the sake of anyone else reading my comment, I’m fully aware of the link Carson posted to Justin’s comment here, particularly noting that fantasy-free masturbation is extremely rare in our highly sexualized culture. Assuming that purity of heart is in place, my comment stands.)
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