Masturbation and Catholicism
We’ve all heard the jokes about masturbation. Some say it will make you blind. Others say it will make you deaf. What if someone told you it would lead to eternal damnation? Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch, but some do view masturbation as a sin.
The Catholic Church has adopted a very firm position on the issue of masturbation. They strongly believe that the act of masturbation is a sin. The Church teaches that sex is a sacred act between a husband and a wife. The purpose of sex is to create life. Any act that is merely an act of pleasure and does not lead to the creation of life is an abuse of the purpose of sex. Therefore, since masturbation is not an act between a husband and wife nor does it lead to the creation of life, it is viewed as a sin. Not all practicing Catholics agree with this position. The Church does warn, however, that even though some may view masturbation as an acceptable act it is contrary to the Church’s official teachings. What does one do if they have engaged in such an act? Will one spend an eternity in limbo? Does one receive a one way ticket to hell? Fortunately, all one needs to do is confess the sin at confession before taking part in Holy Communion.
What other beliefs does the Catholic Church hold in regards to sex? The Church teaches that sex has two purposes, to bring a husband and wife closer together and to create life. While the Bible doesn’t specifically state certain sex acts are morally wrong, it does encourage other behaviors such as saving sex for marriage. The official term for engaging in sex outside of marriage is fornication. Fornication is viewed as a sin. Oral sex is also an act that the Church has taken a stance on. When followed by intercourse, oral sex is an acceptable form of foreplay. Oral sex simply used for personal gratification, however, is considered a sin.
Just because one is married doesn’t mean that he or she is in the clear. Due to the fact that sex should lead to the creation of life, artificial contraceptives should not be used. If a married couple is using condoms, the pill, or any other form of artificial contraceptives, they are going against the wishes of the church. The Church does approve of natural family planning, but contraceptive use is frowned upon.
One may think that in today’s day and age the Catholic Church’s views on sex are outdated. What is wrong with two consenting adults in a committed relationship engaging in sexual intercourse? What harm is there in married couple using artificial contraceptives to prevent the untimely birth of a child? Is any one person really impacted by an individual’s choice to masturbate? Shouldn’t condom use be encouraged to limit the spread of sexually transmitted diseases?
At some point in our lives, we all will have to make choices in regards to sex. Will you choose to engage in premarital sex? Will you choose to use oral sex or masturbation as a sexual outlet? Will you use artificial contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancies or the spread of sexually transmitted diseases? These are all very personal choices. The Catholic Church has its belief system. What is yours?