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Atheism/Why do christians think masturbation is a sin?


Nathan Kress
Nathan Kress  
In recent times I've gotten somewhat interested in the question as to why both Christians and catholics view masturbation as sinful. I, myself, think that the notion of masturbation being viewed as sinful and something to be ashamed of is not only wrong and misguided but also dangerous to a person's psychological and mental well-being and I think all of us have masturbation hard-wired in our brains for a very good reason which is of course to have an outlet for sexual release when a person doesn't have a special person, boyfriend, girlfriend, gay partner, etc., in their lives and I also view masturbation as a way for young people to help them figure out what their sexual orientation might be and it bothers me that for so many years the major religions, especially Christianity and Catholicism, have been telling people that masturbation is sinful, dirty, and shameful which has caused so many people to feel guilt and shame about masturbation and gives them conflicting feelings about masturbation and sexuality in general. I also think that preaching to people about masturbation being sinful is one of a few ways organized religion uses to control people and I've done enough research to know that for Christians who actually do masturbate, they say they feel a tremendous sense of guilt and shame afterwards. And I also feel sorry for anybody whose grown up in a strict religious home environment where the expression and exploration of one's sexuality is strictly forbidden. However, the question I was wondering about was; What are your views regarding what I just wrote? And, another thing that's been on my mind lately is this young, beautiful, sexy male actor named Nathan Kress because I read somewhere that he stated that his parents are Christians and I sometimes wondered if whether or not if he was even allowed to masturbate. Because of the way Christians teachings are, do you think it's highly likely that Nathan Kress would now be a sexually-repressed young adult? If you don't mind I have a nice picture of him I wanted to share, thanks.

Hi David,

Thanks for your question. Though I am no expert on this particular matter, I will do my best to respond - at least to the first part of your question. I believe some forms of organized religion - to greatly overgeneralize - were formed out of a sense of fear of the unknown. Because they really don't know what happens after we die, they constructed a whole scenario of fixed answers to bring certainty to the essential questions about life. This led to over-focusing on the afterlife and discouraged people from partaking in the pleasures of this life.

Also, out of fear of human nature, some organized religions make up all sorts of rules to keep people's behavior in line. This attitude displays a basic mistrust of our natural human proclivities, and sex tops the list of natural human drives religions see as needing to be controlled. To be sure, many human ills can come from the misuse of one's sexuality, so it is not hard to understand why some religions seek to control people's sexual behavior. Taking sex back to it's most basic biological purpose, you can see how religions come up with the idea that sex without intent to procreate is wrong.

However, now that we know more about psychology, sociology, etc. we can see that sex serves other purposes than just procreation. People can live healthier, more balanced lives when they have a means of sexual outlet. And I would venture to say that masturbation would be preferable to using or abusing a partner just for sexual release in a relationship that does not warrant such contact. It is also probably preferable to complete abstinence if a person does not have a suitable partner.

I consider it unfortunate that some religions are still not willing to promote a more realistic perspective about sexual matters. After puberty most people will engage in some sort of sexual activity. Better to teach people to manage these urges in ways that harm no one than pretend the urges can be controlled by guilt, shame, and fear of punishment.

As for Nathan Kress, I admit he is nice looking. But I would have no idea about his sexuality. Not all Christians are of the hard-line variety. Some forms of Christianity promote more open-minded views, and I would expect that might include more realistic views about sexuality. I do not however feel it is ethical to speculate either privately or online about something so private as a person's sexuality, especially in the case of someone with whom we have no actual relationship.

Al best regards,



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Margaret Placentra Johnston


I am especially interested in helping people who may be in the throes of doubting their present belief stance - whether they are currently religious or atheist. I believe I can also lend perspective to those seeking to understand their own movement away from faith or that of someone close to them.


Despite a Catholic upbringing, I consciously discarded that religion over thirty years ago. However, in the last eighteen years I have been extensively researching the topic of belief versus non-belief and have discovered correlations among the experts that, seen together, lend a very intriguing perspective to this topic. My book related to this topic was published in October, 2012 by Quest Books: Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind.

Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Washington Area Secular Humanists (and many others unrelated to this topic.)

Publications Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind.(Quest Books, October, 2012.)

Researched and wrote a book on this topic: Faith Beyond Belief: Stories of Good People Who Left Their Church Behind.(Quest Books, October, 2012.)

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