Ex-Masturbators? Or Just Plain Old Liars?

by Tommi Avicolli-Mecca on February 9, 2009

Who doesn’t like masturbation? It’s private, it’s fun, it’s hassle-free. No need for pickup lines, or endless worries about how messy the apartment is. And you only have to make breakfast for yourself the next morning.

It’s the perfect, complication-free sex. Unless you’re a member of the “Passion for Christ” movement, which finds masturbation sinful, shameful and who knows what else. The movement has brand new t-shirts to promote its anti-sex agenda: “Ex-masturbator,” they proclaim for all the world to see. They come in bright red with white lettering. Doesn’t Ecclesiastes 9:8 say, “Let thy garments be always white?” Guess they haven’t read that chapter and verse yet.

The fundamentalists behind “Passion for Christ” believe that sex is intended by their God only for two married people of opposite genitals. Forget the fact that marriage was originally a human institution created to protect property, not a sacrament from any deity.

In fact, throughout history, a large number of marriages have been arranged for economic reasons. It was Medieval troubadours who apparently invented our notion of romantic love. Not the God of the Old or New Testament.

As for masturbation, the religious zealots may take heart in their belief that they have the big prude in the sky on their side, but they certainly wouldn’t get an A in sex education 101 at any reputable university. Masturbation is generally believed to be a healthy practice for people of all ages. Just ask my favorite doctor, Jocelyn Elders.

Readers may remember Dr. Elders from the 90s (that time before the religious right ruled the White House). President Bill Clinton (who, the bible thumpers may be happy to know, didn’t masturbate with Monica Lewinsky) appointed Dr. Elders as the first African American U.S. Surgeon General.

In 1994, the controversial Elders, who backed exploring the legalization of drugs and giving out condoms in schools, made fundamentalists go ballistic by suggesting at an AIDS conference that kids be taught masturbation as a way of reducing STDs. It was as if she had called for the mass murder of pregnant women. In the end, she was fired by the man who got blow jobs from an intern.

Elders recently told CNN that she doesn’t have any regrets about what she said back then: “If I had to do it all over again today, I would do it the same way.” Right on.

When all is said and done, I’m not worried about an ex-masturbators movement catching on anytime soon. Judging by the lack of success of the “ex-gay” and the abstinence movements, the effort to stop masturbation should be a huge bust.

After all, how do you really prove you’re an “ex-masturbator?”

Tommi Avicolli Mecca is co-editor of Avanti Popolo: Italians Sailing Beyond Columbus, and editor of Smash the Church, Smash the State: The Early Years of Gay Liberation, which will be published June 1 by City Lights Books. His website: www.avicollimecca.com

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