Christianity and Masturbation | Interview with an Ex-Pastor

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Hi Nikole. We appreciate you joining us. Let’s start by sharing a little bit about your faith background.

Hi! I’m so happy to be here! Yes, my story’s gone viral as the Pastor-turned-stripper, and it’s true. I was raised in church and loved the church. After graduating high school, I became a leader of my megachurch. It was all I knew. I decided to give it all up in 2017 and live a life of pleasure, sexual work, and self expression. And I am so glad. While I don’t identify as Christian anymore, as anyone who was raised in church knows, it is impossible to totally abandon Christianity. It’s still a part of me, whether or not I want it to be.

faith and masturbation

We’ll get right to the popular question: is masturbation forbidden in the Christian faith? Is it morally acceptable or sinful?

Masturbation was discouraged in many churches, and considered sinful by some. As a child, I can recall innocently touching my own body. A family member noticed me and shamed me. I began to only touch myself in secret from that point on. I thought I was doing something wrong. It wasn’t until my mid-thirties that I felt shame-free about my own masturbation.

Is sex a gift from God to married women and men? Is self-stimulation considered to be a corruption of this blessing?

I believe that sex is a gift. Singles, married, or partnered, sex is a gift. It’s a great gift to have sex with someone you love! Also, it’s so cool to experience sex alone! There’s a common misconception that self-stimulation can corrupt coupled-sex, but it’s not actually true. Masturbating allows us to learn about our bodies and communicate with our partners how we want to be treated. Masturbating is also great for reducing stress and improving sleep quality.

Are heterosexual, monogamous couples able to express their sexual desires?

There’s a prevalent and outdated paradigm that says sex or sexual expression is only for monogamous, married, heterosexual couples. It would mean that sex or sexual expression would only be allowed for a very small fraction of the human population. There are many more people who aren’t heterosexual, monogamous or married. We are LGTBQ (polyamorous), asexual, singles, divorced, widowed and many other things. When we try to make sex (and people) more humane, we do sex (and everyone) wrong. Like us humans, sex is fluid and inexpressible. Respecting this about ourselves and sex will make us all better off.

Is sex a means of procreation? Does this mean that any sex, even between monogamous heterosexual couples, without intent to impregnate, is considered a sin?

It’s a puzzle to me that religious institutions still exist and people believe that sex is only for the purpose of procreation. It seems that this belief is being abandoned by a growing number of people. Having consensual sex with someone isn’t sinful. It’s intimacy, power, connection, care, ravishing, and tenderness all mixed together. It’s where we can feel connected or powerful, cared for or dominated, loved or lusted after… depending on what we want! That’s what I love about sex. It’s as diverse and creative as the people partaking in it. It’s something we can all enjoy, by ourselves or with others. And procreation doesn’t have to be a part of it!

Does God give us “erotic energy” or sex drive? How does He want us to use it,

My belief is that we are extensions to the Divine. So, our erotic energy. Our erotic energies are a powerful force that can bring joy, peace, and passion to our lives and those around us. It can also be channeled through masturbation and sex. It can also be channeled to our work, our relationships and our dress, speech, and movement. It’s this beautiful power coursing through our body, and we can utilize it for so much good. Far too many people have been taught to fear this power or to play down this power, when it’s something we can love, appreciate, and celebrate in ourselves and in others.

Is masturbation possible only through lust?

First, I don’t think lust is a bad thing. The definition of lust is “very strong sexual desire.” We can use that very strong sexual desire for good or for bad, but the strong desire in and of itself isn’t a bad thing! In fact, a strong sexual desire can be very beneficial and can help create magical moments and unforgettable memories in the bedroom (or anywhere else you like to have sex). Masturbation can be done for many reasons, including to relieve stress, feel good and go to bed. Some people do it in the dark, others do it with their partners, some might use pictures or videos to help, but just like sex, masturbation – and the motivation behind it – is as varied as the people who do it.

Is masturbation an alternative to premarital sex?

Masturbation is an excellent alternative to other things. It’s great if you want to feel good, feel less stress, sleep better, not get someone pregnant, not have to worry about spreading/contracting STIs, etc. Masturbation is great for your partner who is in recovery from surgery, illness, or traveling. Masturbation can be a great way to relieve tension if your partner is not interested in premarital sex. We have the ability to channel our sexual energy in a way that feels right for us. It’s part of what makes us unique!

Is it considered honorable to abstain from masturbation by the church

My family believed that abstaining masturbation or sex was the right thing to have in the churches where I grew up. Isn’t it interesting how we are sexual beings, but we try to cut that part of ourselves off? My belief is that suppressing our sexual energy can cause more harm than if it’s taught safe and healthy ways to express it. The more we come to accept our sexual nature, the less we’ll fear it and the more ways we can use it for good.

Are you able to live a more promiscuous existence by masturbating?

No. Masturbation doesn’t lead to a more promiscuous life. It does lead to a lot more pleasure though, and that’s a good thing! Pleasure isn’t something to be afraid of. It is safe to feel good. It is possible to feel good. You are entitled to feel good. Let yourself feel good.

According to a lot of religious literature, masturbation is more dangerous if it’s triggered by fantasies and imaginations than by real objects. Can you explain why this is?

There’s this belief that if we think sexual thoughts or have sexual fantasies, we are objectifying or harming someone. When the truth is, imagination and fantasies are just that – thoughts in our head! There is no one being hurt. This is religion trying suppress human desires and being afraid of them. It is often a mistake to suppress something. It is possible to enjoy your desire in healthy ways if we don’t fear it and if we accept it.

According to some religious literature, masturbation may not be a sin but a natural behavior because God didn’t design the body for such a function. Is that true if many people “learn” to masturbate, or get the natural urge to do so, without ever being taught it?

I like to joke that if God didn’t want us to masturbate, then why did God give us hands? On a more serious note, the fact that the clitoris’ sole existence is for sexual pleasure shows us that pleasure IS natural. We’ve just learned to fear it. It’s common for little kids to touch themselves, explore their body parts, and even self soothe by touching their genitals. It’s not until someone (usually a parent or caregiver) shames them for touching themselves that children/teenagers learn to masturbate in secret, feeling shame over it and being afraid of possibly being caught. This shame and fear often carries over into adulthood and can even cause problems in romantic relationships. This is why it is so important to have more conversations and normalize masturbation. It’s one of the reasons why I’m excited you and I are having this conversation right now!

Do you think there are any benefits to media’s normalization of sex and sexuality? Are you concerned about the potential dangers?

The society I see displays the extremes in sex and homosexuality. We’ve got the religious side that tends to shame and punish sexuality and sexual behavior. Then we’ve got the media’s side that tends to hypersexualize women and overfocus on certain sexual acts (i.e.: penetration). As a mother of 3 and working in adult work, I’ve experienced this firsthand. Some people think it’s inappropriate for me to do adult work because I’m a mom. Which is funny because sex is the very thing that brought my kiddos into the world, but apparently, I’m not allowed to be sexual after having kids. Because I’m a mom and I do sex work, I bridge two worlds that society (and religion) try to keep separate.

Society also hypersexualizes women and it’s considered normal, but when a woman owns her sexuality, she’s seen as abnormal, unhealthy, rebellious, shallow, slutty, etc. There’s a double standard and women like me refuse to pick one or the other. I get to be sexy and be taken seriously, I get to be risqué and be respected, I get to be a model and a mother. It’s a both/and life for me.

Do you believe our society has a focus on the human body too?

Yes. I think we are obsessed with bodies, especially with the ones that our society has deemed “beautiful” and “worthy” and “sexy”, which tend to be young, skinny, white, hairless, able bodies (in the U.S. specifically). I am seeing positive changes. As an Instagram model and creator of Only Fans, I see more bodies represented. People love the diversity of our bodies, ethnicities and orientations. There’s a burgeoning love for thicker bodies, older women (the MILF market is huge!Natural hair, no makeup and many more. While society focuses on a limited and unattainable body type, there are many people who love their bodies and are proud to be part of the larger community. We all are beautiful, deserving and sexy. Period.

Would you like to share your advice with someone who struggles to resist the urge masturbating?

As a life coach, it’s more important to me that we examine why they want to avoid masturbating. If we can uncover the root cause of that urge, we might find that it’s rooted in a parent shaming us, for example, when they caught us masturbating as a kid. Or we might find that it’s because a previous partner took our masturbation as a sign that they weren’t good enough at sexually satisfying us (note: you can be sexually satisfied by your partner and still masturbate! They don’t have to be mutually exclusive. We can heal when we identify the root problem and then release any that are no longer serving us. Maybe we realize that just because our parent shamed us for masturbating, it doesn’t mean masturbating is bad or wrong. So then we can release our parent’s reaction and choose a different belief about masturbating.

My main thing is I don’t want anyone doing anything out of shame and fear, even if it appears as a “good” thing, like not masturbating. Shame and fear are a factor in our decisions. They lower our vibration, suppress our immune system, isolate us, and make us more secretive. We feel more open when we let go of shame and fear. This allows us to feel more connected with others and feels more loved. It also gives us a renewed sense and energy. This is what I want for everyone. Fear and shame are less. More love and peace. You will also find a lot more pleasure.

We are happy to speak with religious leaders if you, or someone you care about, would be willing to do these interviews. We aim to provide as much information as we can so that our readers are able to make informed decisions about their bodies and autonomy.

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