Tuesday, June 06, 2006


It would be nice to have a clear understanding about the magic of sexuality--how development occurs, how it can be variously a life-saver and life-destroyer, what goes on in the heart and mind... but I'm a bit skeptical that anyone can ever have much understanding in this area. There are plenty of well meaning and successful researchers chipping away at questions in the field, but ultimately I believe sex is a black box that no scientific reasoning or probing can get into. The subjective nature of it--the fantasies, the deep visceral desires and needs that are being offered and taken--make it impossible to measure without disrupting the process. "How does that feel? What are you thinking RIGHT NOW!?" All the probes and sensors, equipment, and measurements in the world won't really nail it down.

Which supports the plausibility of the view that God's take on the subject is of value.

My conjecture is that masturbation and pornography are obstacles to achieving the best sex possible. I wonder if one who successfully avoids masturbation altogether and whose first sexual experience is with a committed life-long partner is blessed with a powerful aid in psychological fidelity as well as a supernal sexual satisfaction that can only be achieved when comparison to outside sexual experiences is avoided altogether.

This seems consistent with the distracted and even bored appearing demeanor of models in amateur porn videos. The pros put on a better show, but I suspect they hide the same mental gymnastics I see attempted by those boys who actually have to WATCH porn in the background to get excited enough to MAKE porn. It's like an admission that everything they do is disappointingly average. They may be in their physical prime, alarmingly attractive, and virile to the gills, but when the climax comes it's an empty thrill. A moment of pleasure here and then gone leaving them only to lust for the next possibility for an equally fun but ultimately meaningless expression of physical pleasure... like ice cream.

If sex can be something more transcendental, as I believe and hope it can, it's not going to be achieved by sowing wild oats. I think it would be achieved through fidelity and discipline--avoiding porn and masturbation as well as any form of what Christ called committing adultery in the heart.

That masturbation was thought to cause "a perceptible reduction of strength, of memory and even of reason; blurred vision, all the nervous disorders, all types of gout and rheumatism, weakening of the organs of generation, blood in the urine, disturbance of the appetite, headaches and a great number of other disorders" but is currently understood in medicine to be a healthy and normal practice is commonly cited as evidence of the ridiculous nature of religious sexual purity. But for reasons based on my thinking here, I can imagine how masturbation could have ill effects, and apparently God has some ideas as well.

I know homoemotional feelings develop before puberty. I've heard reports that homosexual feelings can too, but I wonder if that's an artifact of our society's sexual preoccupations, as I think few sexual feelings of any kind should develop before puberty. But once puberty hits, I imagine sexual desires search for an anthropological structure on which to drape themselves. If that skeleton involves pornography and/or masturbating to fantasies of the same gender, I can see how that would lead to a developmental chain that after years would have established an inexorable intuition that one's sexual feelings are innate and unchangeable. But, it would be a mistake.


Another Other said...

On this, L, we diverge. Though I think the logic of your last paragraph is sound, I have trouble believing that my sexuality was forged through masturbation and fantasy. For one thing, I distinctly remember having sexualized fantasies about men before kindergarten. For another, even though I have regular heterosexual sex, my attractions to men don't diminish. I think sexuality is more permanent. However, I think that you were right on with the "black box" concept... I don't think we'll ever know how or why we are the way we are. It's like studying light molecules that change when being observed... it's not approachable.

Dave Walter said...

I agree with Another Other (wow).

I masturbated as a child in spite of the shame and guilt I felt immediately afterward, every time. Until I came out, I refused to entertain the notion that I could be gay. Intuition about being gay didn't have a chance of surfacing in my consiousness; my fear of being gay was overpowering.

Samantha said...

Interesting musings, and I agree with much of it. However, I know of several people, male and female, who were masturbating between the ages of 5 and 7, definitely a manifestation of sexual feelings before puberty. I, myself, had those feelings, and was masturbating by the age of 9, but that could be an extension of early, inappropriate exposure to sexual situations.

My husband would agree that "masturbation and pornography are obstacles to achieving the best sex possible." Having never been a slave to those things, and entering into his first and only sexual experience when we married, he would further agree that he "is blessed with a powerful aid in psychological fidelity as well as a supernal sexual satisfaction that can only be achieved when comparison to outside sexual experiences is avoided altogether."

I, on the other hand, wouldn't know.

-L- said...

Well, the fact that the three of you disagree with me seems to be a pretty humbling indicator. If Another Other and DW can agree on something, who am I to hold out? :)

Truth is, I originally included a message at the end of this post saying I was just musing and that I didn't even necessarily believe all of it. But then I thought, why destroy my initial credibility like that? I'll just let the chips fall. And they have.

The fact that Sam's husband managed to achieve that "supernal sexual satisfaction" pleases me. I wish I had. I wish we all had.

Samantha said...

Considering the rocky start to our sex-life, I just have to add this: Ignorance is bliss. :)

-L- said...

Too funny that just yesterday (maybe this morning... I lose track!) I said to a friend, "Ignorance is NEVER bliss." :-)

Samantha said...

It would be difficult to know for sure, unless you were truly ignorant--in which case, how would you know?