My question is about masturbation as i find is my weakest link, specially regarding the argument that masturbating thinking in women or with images of women is degrading to them by converting them into a sex object. Argument to  which i hypocritically agree. My questions are, is this argument reasonable? are there other ways to approach that action? Is there a proper rebuttal besides the slippery-slope of "If it is not with woman, guys will start looking for pictures of animals or ..."?

Tags: Argument, Christianity, Religion, Sex, question

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The voice of experience. ;)

First of all, there is absolutely nothing wrong with masturbation.  Masturbation, itself, does not objectify women.  Fantasizing about having sex with a person does not objectify them.  Sex is an important and perfectly natural part of life.  It's fun too.

If you consider sexuality to be more than it is, you might make a big deal of it.  As a former Catholic, I initially had a lot of guilt about sex and what it meant.  It was built up far too much that it became more like fetishism.  It sounds to me like this is what you are going through.  Sex is normal, natural and perfectly acceptable.

The argument that masturbation objectifies women is not a Biblical one.  This argument is simply a modern way to try to justify old 'laws' that don't make sense.  I was taught lust was wrong because it was a weakness of character and if you're thinking about sex you're not thinking about God.  Regardless, these are all poor arguments that are not based on anything.

Speaking of arguments not based on anything.  I'd pretend your 'slippery slope' argument never happened.

Oh, I assume by 'religious' you mean Christian or related to the Abrahamic religions. 

If you look in the Bible, it says a fair bit about sexual 'morality.'  Masturbation is a sin.  Sex for pleasure is a sin.  Sex before or outside of marriage is a sin.  Having multiple wives was normal at first but then became a sin.  Homosexuality is a sin.  Etc, etc, etc.

But why? 

It helps to understand the Bible in an historical and cultural context.  The best interpretation of the context seems to be that of agriculture and that the Bible is essentially a cultural diary of the early civilization builders.  The story of the Fall of Adam and Eve is rather obviously about the Agricultural Revolution.  Read this for a bit of an overview.  Agriculture allows for a food surplus which will result in a growing population.  The time after the neolithic revolution was a time of rapid population expansion and no doubt neighbouring tribes competed with each other for dominance.  As populations grew, tribes no doubt came into direct contact with each other (Cain and Abel.)   Think of it like an arms race, but the most powerful weapon at the time was people.

To summarize the Bible's take on sexual morality, if you are horny, get married and make babies.  In other words, it was merely an aggressive population growth program on the part of the cultural ancestors of the Hebrews.  It is hard to fault them for this.  After all, the only reason we have their stories is that they succeeded and survived and they may not have done so without such a totalitarian approach to sexuality.  Of course, it is also easy to see how these rules do not apply to us at all as our issues are far different from theirs.  We are overpopulated by about 6 billion and living in a period of mass extinction at a rate not seen since the fall of the dinosaurs and we're the ones causing it.  We don't need more people.

And that's why those rules do not (and should not) apply to us today. 

Oh, in case you think these rules are moral and their effect on population growth is secondary, consider that the punishment for a man who rapes a woman is that he must pay her father some silver and then marry her! (!!!) (Deuteronomy 22:28-29)  Morally reprehensible, to be sure.

So go ahead and masturbate all you want.  Doing so won't open some dimensional vortex and destroy the universe.  You're not that good at it. :P 

VERY well said, sir! 

The feminists are almost as good as the religions when it comes to guilt-trip us regarding sex.

Look, all sexual activity and thought involves a subject and an object. The object can be a person, a thought, or an image (and perhaps a few other things I'm not thinking of at the moment).

What is the difference between an image on a screen or magazine page or the same sort of image in the mind? If I imagine Scarlett Johansson while masturbating, of course she is the object of my attention, and yes for those moments her only purpose in my mind is to facilitate reaching orgasm. It's the same if it's my girlfriend, a girl who sits near me in class, or a girl I saw on the street.

I really can't imagine what the churches or feminists think should be the alternative, unless of course they believe masturbation is wrong, which is a medieval view.

I've never met a feminist who has articulated anything even remotely like the attitude you have described.

Look into the controversy that lead to the first "Slut Walk" a couple years ago.  Hopefully the difference between feminism and what you think feminism is will be made more clear.  

That just shows how little you know about mainstream feminism. The feminists you're referring to aren't the mainstream. They are fringe, and of course I like them.

From Wikipedia:

"The concept of sexual objectification and, in particular, the objectification of women, is an important idea in feminist theory and psychological theories derived from feminism."

The objectification dogma goes back to the origins of contemporary feminism in the 1960's and has pervaded the mainstream of feminism since.

Actually that just shows how little you know of what objectification means.  The objectification of women is an important issue in feminism (and indeed 'mainstream culture' in general, especially for a male ally like me.)  

Simply thinking about Scarlett Johansson while masturbating is not, itself, objectifying her. 

It would be objectifying her if you denigrated her 'personhood' because you think about her while masturbating.  It is an easy thing to do even if you think what you are saying, doing or thinking is innocent enough and that is probably where your confusion lies.  

There are certainly feminists who are anti-sex in the manner you describe just as there are atheists who want to destroy religion.  Feminism is not an opinion about sexuality.  It just so happens the vast majority of feminists I've met (in different contexts too) have been sex-positive.  

We don't seem to disagree about as much as you think we do. I've been listening to feminists and reading about them and have known them personally since modern feminism began in the 1960's. Most of the feminists I know are sex-positive and even pro-porn. Some of them even pose for porn.

But you can't know some sex-positive feminists and think you understand feminism. It's bigger than that and the bigger part is just that: bigger.

As for

Simply thinking about Scarlett Johansson while masturbating is not, itself, objectifying her. 

It would be objectifying her if you denigrated her 'personhood' because you think about her while masturbating.  It is an easy thing to do even if you think what you are saying, doing or thinking is innocent enough and that is probably where your confusion lies. 

I don't even know how to parse it. If I can't understand it, I can't comment on it. When I close my eyes and consider the words "denigrating personhood" I'm coming up short of anything to think about.

"That just shows how little you know about mainstream feminism. The feminists you're referring to aren't the mainstream. They are fringe, and of course I like them."

Got any numbers and stats on that? Any links to support your claim that we are the 'fringe' feminists? I'm just wondering where you're getting your ratios from. Thanks in advance. 

 

"The concept of sexual objectification and, in particular, the objectification of women, is an important idea in feminist theory and psychological theories derived from feminism."

Huh. Wow. Since when did 'Important Idea'  translate into 'hysterical backlash against any form of sexuality.'

I'm failing to understand how that could be as 'bad as religion.' Especially based on your wikilink there. It says 'Important theory.' That's it. Not 'strict hatred of' or 'total disgust by.'  Care to defend your argument, then?

I'm a feminist. 

Do I care if you close your eyes, imagine me and have a wank? No. Your time. Your brain. That's not objectifying. Now having some creepy little bastard come up to me on the street and telling me what they've imagined or what they will be imaging is a whole different story. That's why it is an important theory. 

Hearing someone compliment my body is just that - A compliment. 

Hearing someone compliment my body during a business meeting is objectifying and not a compliment. 

That's why it's an important idea in feminist theory, one that merits discussion like this. Calling it an important idea does not mean "Kill all the male swine!" 

 

 

Overreact much?

You put words in my mouth ("'hysterical backlash against any form of sexuality") and thoughts in my mind ("strict hatred of' or total disgust by").

The Slutwalk kind of feminist isn't mainstream. The mainstream feminists follow the Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf line of dogma. The more enlightened pro-sex, pro-porn Slutwalk-style feminists are, by not being mainstream, fringe. That's just the way our language works. Not mainstream, then fringe.

Do I care if you close your eyes, imagine me and have a wank? No. Your time. Your brain. That's not objectifying. Now having some creepy little bastard come up to me on the street and telling me what they've imagined or what they will be imaging is a whole different story. That's why it is an important theory. 

You seem to think that when I quoted it, I was holding it up as a false theory. Rather I was explaining that it was part of feminist theory to a guy, Kyle, whose total experience of feminism seemed to be based on feminists he met at or knew through Slutwalk.

I do hear the concept of objectification bandied about as though it's always bad by the mainstreamers, whereas any sex or sexual thought is going to involve objectification of some sort. As in the examples you yourself have given, it's all about context.

Hearing someone compliment my body during a business meeting is objectifying and not a compliment.

No, that's not objectification, that's disrespect.

That's why it's an important idea in feminist theory, one that merits discussion like this. Calling it an important idea does not mean "Kill all the male swine!"

One word: Andrea Dworkin

Still waiting for those numbers of who is fringe and who is mainstream. Got any?

You'll have to trust me. If you don't where are your numbers?

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