Skeptophilia (skep-to-fil-i-a) (n.) - the love of logical thought, skepticism, and thinking critically. Being an exploration of the applications of skeptical thinking to the world at large, with periodic excursions into linguistics, music, politics, cryptozoology, and why people keep seeing the face of Jesus on grilled cheese sandwiches.

Saturday, July 23, 2022

Different strokes

So once again, a member of the extreme evangelical fringe of Christianity has launched a campaign against our taking pleasure in something which we are biologically hard-wired to find pleasant.

Yesterday a loyal reader of Skeptophilia alerted me to the fact that Mack Major, a Christian writer from Philadelphia, has written a book called Sex Magic: Flirting With the Demonic in which he claims we shouldn't masturbate because masturbation can "summon a sex demon."

Here's a direct quote, in case you think I am making this up:
There are such things are sex demons.  And the danger in masturbating is that one could inadvertently summon a sex demon to attach itself to you through the act of masturbating.  And once that demon attaches, it is difficult to get it to leave.  It will drive you to masturbate, even when you don’t want to.  You’ll be hit with urges to play with yourself so powerful that only an orgasm will allow you some temporary relief.
Notwithstanding the fact that if this were true, the millions of teenage boys worldwide would be keeping the sex demons busy 24/7, Major seems convinced that by engaging in what my dad referred to as "shaking hands with the unemployed" you are writing yourself a one-way express ticket to hell.

Presumably with the other hand.

Major is also vehemently against any use of gadgets for increasing your enjoyment, even if those are used with a partner.  Erotic toys provide yet another means of ingress for those pesky sex demons:
Many of you who are reading this have sex toys in your possession right now.  And whether you want to accept it as fact or not: those sex toys are an open portal between the demonic realm and your own life.  As long as you have those sex toys in your home, you have a doorway that can allow demons to not only access your life at will, but also to torment you, hinder and destroy certain parts of your life as it relates to sex and your relationships.
Which highlights yet again my disagreement with the devoutly religious over the definition of the word "fact."

Besides the scary sex demons, it turns out that pleasuring yourself can also cause volcanic eruptions, and he's not using that in its justifiable metaphorical sense.  He means literal volcanic eruptions.  He tells us all about the pornographic scenes found on the walls of Pompeii, many of which involved the god Priapus, who was depicted as a naked dude with an enormous hard-on.  And he links that directly to what happened:
He [Priapus] was really popular in the ancient city of Pompeii…  The walls of many of the homes and palaces were painted with detailed frescos of very graphic pornographic sexual scenes…  Keep in mind that Pompeii was suddenly destroyed and thousands of lives were wiped out in an instant.
So yeah, that was a really unhappy ending.  Be that as it may, it's hard to see the pyroclastic flow from Vesuvius as having anything to do with jacking off, or there'd be a major explosion underneath every adult theater in the United States every single night.  And the headquarters of PornHub would right now simply be a giant smoking crater.

My main reaction to all this is that I feel cheated.  I have never once been visited by a sex demon.  I mean, what the hell, sex demons?  What's the problem, here?  Am I not good enough?  I'm giving it my all, over here.  It's enough to make a guy feel a little inadequate.

The exasperating thing about all this is that masturbation is 100% normal, nearly everyone does it, it relieves stress, helps you sleep, and (for men) decreases the risk of prostate cancer.  What we have here is simply another way for the extremely religious to make everyone feel guilty, uptight, and anxious over something entirely harmless, and to maintain their control by convincing their followers that they're hellbound if they don't follow the leader's advice to the letter.

Major ends with one last cautionary note:
When we imagine having sex with another via masturbation, we are actually summoning the power of the spirit realm to manifest the thing we are imagining.
Don't I wish.  Manifest away, spirit realm.  Hey, I'm bi, so there's twice the manifestations I'd be perfectly happy with.  Either Jenna Coleman or Liam Hemsworth, for example, would do just fine.

So anyway.  My advice is: in the privacy of your own home, do what comes naturally, enjoy it, and find something else to fret about.  I'm guessing that even if there is a supreme deity, he/she/it has much better things to do in Universe Management than keeping track of what you do in your "Alone Time."


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