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How Masturbation Is Viewed By Different Religions

Do all religions regard the act of self-pleasuring as sinful?

Masturbation is greatly frowned upon in the society but is seen by many as a substitute for sexual intercourse and therefore it is beginning to gain ‘little acceptance’ by some people who think there i nothing absolutely wrong with indulging once in a while as long as it does not turn into an addiction.

According to Kingsey Confidential different religions have different teachings on how acceptable masturbation and when it is regarded as a sin by each religion.

Surprisingly, religious traditions and teachings vary widely concerning masturbation.

This is how it is viewed according to 5 different religions:

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Reason: The Talmud forbids masturbation, citing the flood in the Noah story as punishing the world with liquid, a response to men who had sinned by wasting semen: “Anyone who holds his penis when he urinates is as though he brought the flood upon the world…” Another text in the Talmud compares masturbation to murder, saying that a man who masturbates “kills his own, and he spills very much blood.” Orthodox Judaism is relatively less condemning but continues to frown upon masturbation, describing it as a “heinous crime of the highest order, a moral waste of an opportunity to share and instead using that opportunity selfishly.” Conservative and Reform Judaism, however, view masturbation as acceptable as long as it is used as “a form of release, of sexual pleasure, and of learning about the body,” but note that it should not be done obsessively or as a substitute for a heterosexual relationship. The Talmud also allows for masturbation if it leads to married heterosexual intercourse.

Reason: In Catholicsm, the church teaches that “the deliberate use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essential contrary to its purpose. For here sexual pleasure is sought outside of the sexual relationship which is demanded by the moral order and in which the total meaning of self-giving and human procreation in the context of true love is achieved.” However, if a woman cannot bring herself to orgasm during intercourse masturbation may be permissible.

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Reason: Masturbation is not specifically mentioned in the the Quran but has caused debates among Islamic scholars regarding whether masturbation is simply discouraged, or forbidden. The act is seen as the “least of evils” by some, which one might result to in emergency situations where one might be tempted to commit adultery. Some other Islamic scholars have considered masturbation to be a minor issue.

Reason: Kingsey Confidential puts it like this “Similar to other religions, masturbation has been discouraged in Buddhism, even though it was not mentioned by the Buddha. Buddhist teachings on masturbation range from prohibition, to acceptance for those who are not monks and are seeking temporary satisfaction. A key teaching of Buddhism is that suffering is caused by desire, which can inhibit spiritual growth. Thus, masturbation may be seen as not “sinful” per se in Buddhism, but an act that will ultimately result in continued suffering. Buddhism, like many other religious categories, includes many different traditions, resulting in myriad views. One author notes that “early Buddhist were determined and creative masturbators…” and in countries such as Japan, “wildly masturbating Buddhist nuns and monks frequently appear in Japanese erotic art.”

Reason: Hinduism prohibits sex outside of marriage, but masturbation is a matter of interpretation. According to Hindu teachings “intensely personal matters of sex” are “left to the judgment of those involved… the only rigid rule is wisdom, guided by tradition and virtue…”

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