065: Recommendations from two Mormon Sex Therapists

Jen-110523773_10204203479583411_6021023098012711089_nNatasha Helfer Parker, LCMFT and Dr. Jennifer Finlayson-Fife, PhD have a joint discussion where they share their recommendations to bishops, parents and members from the perspective of their clinical experience and training in sex therapy.  They start by discussing their position on masturbation being problematically perceived and treated in our current Mormon culture and recommendations on healthier framings that integrate and support the law of chastity. They also discuss suggestions as to how worthiness interviews could be shifted from current traditional approaches to those that would have less potential for harmful power differentials, cultural shaming, unnecessary discipline approaches and in worst case scenarios, ecclesiastical abuse.
Both Natasha and Jennifer have come to their positions through their training in their respective fields, human development, and human sexuality as well as through working with a primarily Mormon clientele for almost 20 years each. They have counseled with hundreds if not thousands of members, and take seriously the often unintended harm that comes from teaching and implementing correct principles in incorrect ways. This podcast might be found useful by individuals wanting to work through personal sexual issues, those wanting to develop healthy boundaries and parameters within church protocols, parents wanting suggestions on how to manage, protect and normalize adolescent sexuality within a healthy gospel construct, and ecclesiastical leaders who are looking for a professional’s perspective as to the implications some of our current rhetoric and traditions can have on members in any given congregation.

Natasha and Jennifer have been involved in providing therapy services and educational forums both in and outside of church settings, as well as presenting at national trainings and conferences in regards to relational and sexual topics, with Natasha being awarded the Schiller Prize for her presentation on Mormon Sexuality at the 2013 AASECT Conference (co-presenter Adam Fisher). Jennifer’s dissertation work focused on studying Mormon women and their responses to an LDS upbringing and framework from a sexual perspective. They currently serve on the board of the Mormon Mental Health Association which they both played roles in founding just last year – due to the variety of mental health needs they see within the Mormon population and their desire to have an increase of respectful, evidence-based, cultural competency in those who participate in the treatment of an LDS clientele. Both Natasha and Jennifer received their undergraduate degrees in Psychology from Brigham Young University. Jennifer went on to get her PhD from Boston College and Natasha her masters in Marriage and Family Therapy from Friends University.

My Official Stance on Masturbation

LDS Female Sexuality with Jennifer Finlayson-Fife

Many thanks to The Lower Lights for the beautiful bumper music and to Brian Dillman for audio production of this podcast.  Natasha Helfer Parker runs a private practice in Wichita, KS and writes at The Mormon Therapist for Patheos: Hosting the Conversation of Faith.

Donations to Mormon Mental Health are tax deductible and go directly to support the costs of producing the podcast.  If and when donations exceed these costs, they will go to support trainings, research, materials development, projects of the Mormon Mental Health Association and financial support for those who need help affording appropriate therapy services.

26 comments for “065: Recommendations from two Mormon Sex Therapists

  1. Polly
    May 8, 2015 at 10:49 pm

    Thank you for doing a podcast on this topic! I am no longer a member of the church (well, on paper I am but that’s it.) Part of why I left was the way the church taught, managed, and “dealt” with sexual health. Again, just part of the reason but an important part. I have seen time and time again how so many of my friends have really struggled with this, and how what they have been taught has been extremely damaging.

  2. A Happy Hubby
    May 9, 2015 at 9:57 am

    Natasha and Jennifer, thanks for taking the time for this episode. I just wish this was sent to each and every Bishop and Stake president in the church. It could really help ease some inadvertent pain. I am NOT a leader basher. I agree with a few comments the 2 of you made that almost all bishops and stake presidents are wonderful people trying to be Christ-like, and not to mention they spend a TON of hours. But that does not counteract when they inadvertently say and do things that hurt people.

  3. Charla
    May 15, 2015 at 2:05 pm

    Thank you for this episode. The shaming really needs to stop. Years ago in a church court at BYU, as a still-teenage young woman, I was asked a series of probing, detailed questions about my sexual behavior, including masturbation, for the benefit of a conference room full of serious looking men in suits (only one of whom I had ever even met before). I was the only girl in the room, the only young person, the only unmarried person … This remains by far the creepiest experience I’ve ever been through. It cemented my belief that the church’s stance on sexuality is damaging for individuals and relationships, and that there really must NOT be a place for me within Mormonism, since I disagreed so strongly with such a basic teaching. Looking back, I’m glad I had the self-awareness to not take it personally. I never had a problem with the chewed gum; chewing and enjoying is what gum is for. The approach you recommend seems healthy, loving, human, and connecting – rather than judging, shaming, alienating. I hope it catches on.

  4. Anna
    January 18, 2016 at 6:24 pm

    I understand that masturbation is a normal thing, but that doesn’t erase the fact that we’re commanded not to do it. It says so right in the “For The Strength of Youth.” So while I understand that this is a normal thing and that we shouldn’t shame people for it, I don’t understand how you can say it’s okay for an active member of the church to do it.

    • Ruby
      February 1, 2018 at 6:08 am

      I agree. I dont understand a lot of these podcasts, especially when they are from Mormons. WE are told no pornography and no masturbation in or outside marriage right? Am I wrong? If we do then you are unable to get a temple recommend right? So why would you suggest this?

    • KC
      December 24, 2018 at 10:13 am

      I have not listened yet as I do not want that to impact perspectives on the topic. I recently dealt with this with two children, one of each gender. My wife takes my daughter to the addiction recovery program. The man is loving and kind and explains feelings and spiritual matters and has never shamed or condemned.

      But the experience with kids has made me think a lot about the issue, including as it pertains to adults. In 20 years of marriage I have never masturbated and neither has my wife. But I see a lot of shaming and what I feel are assumptions and exaggerations supporting a perceived no masturbation for anyone ever rule, which I assumed until looking into it. When I was in the bishopric doing interviews if someone raised that I would have simply referred them to the bishop. I never felt the need to look into the issue and operated by assumption.

      First, if you masturbate you are not bad or a lesser person. With a range of experience in my family, friends and others I realize how deeply people can ache inside for various reasons. If you are lonely, feel ashamed, feel abondoned, feel unloved, feel inadequate or feel great tension I am sorry. I truly am. I am not a counselor but have a wife, children and friends and have had friends commit suicide, suffer with depression, make destructive choices, or go through life feeling terrible.

      Second, let’s deal with whether it is in fact a commandment. For youth the strength of youth pamphlet is fairly clear to me that not trying to create arousal in onself prohibits masturbation. I think it’s simplistic though to assume it will not happen. I think a better job could be done explaining why. I also think we can do a better job treating it just like we would excessive eating, video game addiction, etc.

      For adults it is not so simple. I think we can all agree that the pamphlet does not universally apply to adults—sex in marriage is proper and beneficial. Some statements in talks also focus on youth. There are plenty of opinions. I remember being told any sexual activity outside of marriage was next to murder. I was impressionable and that sounded like anyone who did anything was an awful human. Murder, really?!?! The scriptures do not address any any direct manner. Yes there is a reference to lust. If someone is engaging in masturbation and thinking of someone else that sounds like lust to me. But from what I gather people can engage in the practice and not think of someone else.

      The handbook says masturbation is no cause for a disciplinary council. The temple interview question asks about chastity anything in life that needs to be corrected. Again, that is left to the individual. Similar to keeping the sabbath day holy. Now that’s all over the scriptures and is stated to be the measure of our dedication. But no one is shaming for someone throwing football parties in Sunday, which I personally view as violating the law, and I know many people including those in relatively high positions in salt lake have done. That’s not my business. That is personal. I fail to see a difference.

      The Pharisees could have said the Lord rationalized by not following all the various rules and pronouncements. Those rules were made by men. If there is no clear commandment and it is not wrong, are we not laying burdens on others’ shoulders that are unnecessary? I think about single sisters, some who have been married and some not, who may very well struggle or lack something that may not even be required. And I believe it is important for a woman to be familiar enough with her body to be able to orgasm. For some that takes learning and real effort. As a man I don’t understand that physiologically and mentally but I appreciate it.

      Some raise a parade of horribles that it will turn someone to a homosexual or lead to pornography. On the former I’m not aware of any evidence to support that and the latter I’m not aware of the incidence rate the two are joined and suspect plenty of people do not use pornography. I do believe pornographers is a great trap and has led to much evil and is a curse. I feel bad for any spouse who has had to deal with a spouse addicted to it. No one can live up to porn. Plenty of things can lead to other things but we need to be prudent. I suppose when I began sex with my wife after marriage that could be the start of the road to threesomes, cheating and other sin, but it wasn’t.

      A parade of horribles scan be raised about my masturbating: hurt emotions, hurt marriages, loneliness and many of things leading to broken marriages and mental health issues. In this regard it is interesting to me that some who appear quite vitriolic against masturbation no doubt have used prescription medication and have loved ones who have, including for mental health. If it is ok to use the drug because a health care professional prescribed, I question why mental health professionals address masturbation are rejected. I can see this too would go to far. There are those who advocate open marriages and extol the benefits. That’s clearly a violation of the law of chastity.

      And if someone is married, it is difficult to distinguish. Some say a chemical is released during orgasm, but many chemicals are released for various activities. I have no experience with it but if it is not detracting from the marriage where is the harm? If she felt the need for more frequent orgasm, or I was injured or had a disability, I absolutely want her to still experience in some degree an orgasm. It is natural. I have never seen it addressed that prophets who had multiple wives and it was ok because it was given to them, but for this it is not ok? Seems incongruent.

      In short, Excuse the long post but in reviewing issues related to dealing with my kids I see so many posts where there is great confusion and I think harm is being caused. People are growing up thinking they are terrible inside and no one would approve of them if people really knew what they did. This is terrible. I have no authority to direct policy but I am quite comfortable with studying and going to the Lord to try to understand this.

      Now I can listen to the podcast. I am glad someone is dealing with the issue.

  5. March 17, 2016 at 11:49 pm

    There is no commandment or scriptural reference to masturbation. Church members who believe that masturbation is a sin or is harmful are simply wrong.

    • Griffin
      July 22, 2016 at 10:30 am

      See my other comment

    • Cody
      February 1, 2017 at 8:56 pm

      There actually is scriptures about masterbation

    • Ruby
      February 1, 2018 at 6:09 am

      A prophet’s (latter day) word is scripture. Its stated in some recent talks.

  6. Griffin
    July 22, 2016 at 10:26 am

    Doctrine does not only consist of what can be easily found in the scriptures. The scriptures exist as words of prophets of old and as a history of god’s interactions with man. Not all that is doctrine has to be found in scriptures; the word of wisdom for example, the word of wisdom was changed from advice, as it is written, to a command later on. And mind you that many doctors believed alcohol tobacco etc. was healthy at the time it was written; notice the parallel? What prophets say today is doctrine. They are still the prophet(s) If not so we would be just like any other sect, and very confused at that. It is wrong, but understandably wrong. A bishop who uses shaming tactics is a problem in and of itself. Bishops shouldn’t shame, period. But I know personally that it is harmful. I went from a pseudo masturbating problem to not masturbating at all. It was hard to stop, but so rewarding. When I masturbated I perceived people more carnally, my body told me to lust after them, even though I resisted that perception was just there. Why? Well when you masturbate, you reward your body for being sensual, and so it looks for more opportunities. When I finally was able to stop for a long while those urges dissipated into almost nothing, if not all gone. This was because I payed the urges no mind, therefore my body realized “it’s not happenin” and it let go of them. I was so much happier seeing girls more for their souls and not stressing about carnal urges.it may have just been a 5% change but it didn’t matter, I loved it. If the apostles are clear on their stance, we should be too. Studies today come out biased because they study people who are taught their whole life to satisfy their urges. This has become the norm. But from what I’ve deciphered from most of what I’ve read is that your body will adapt to how you treat it. This is true when measuring a male’s arousal with novel sex partners. If the male keeps getting novel partners his body becomes more aroused when seeing new women. But if a male sticks to one or none, this reaction eventually subsides. I assume the same principle applies to masturbation, as this is exactly what happened to me. I believe God gives us a choice between carnal and spiritual, and spiritual is endlessly more rewarding I promise you so. It may be harder and you may make mistakes. But it’s okay, just get up, pray, and try again, this is the beauty of the gospel.

    • Lolo1992
      February 1, 2019 at 1:56 pm

      Thank you for sharing. Masturbation can definitely lead you to do things that are wrong (molestation, porn use, rape, etc.) because your body wants more and more when you allow those carnal feelings to rule you. Just ask my father who is now serving a prison term. He will tell you masturbation is what caused it for him.

  7. Alyssa
    December 11, 2016 at 2:14 am

    I really want to be respectful and careful in sharing my opinion. I came on here very open-minded but I had some red flags pop up. And so I felt a course correction take place during this discussion. Masturbation has never been okay with Heavenly Father. It’s not about the church or the ecclesiastical leaders putting that standard forward. It is about what the Lord has asked of us to do. Is it difficult? you bet. And the repentance process is there for us when we fall. This podcast was interesting and I really do appreciate the perspectives presented but I feel that the underlying message that could be construed here, is that the leaders of the church don’t know what they are doing. Which is like saying, that because they may be uneducated on how to deal with sexuality issues that arise within the church, that they shouldn’t have the authority to say this is not okay. They DO have the authority and as they have taken their callings seriously by following the Spirit, they DO know what they are doing because the Lord is guiding them along. They don’t need a degree. God has the answers. I’m not sure I agree with what is being said here. This is like a very subtle way of saying, “listen to your body and don’t worry so much about what the church standard is”. Isn’t this the very thing that we have been warned of in the latter days? We as latter-day saints need to be so careful about what we say and what we believe. This type of conversation could be a segway for a lot of members falling into deeper transgressions. There will be many who currently have issues they are working through and suddenly it will seem to them that sexual sins are okay and we shouldn’t feel bad about them. I do not think that there should be shaming involved when it comes to this issue. EVERYONE struggles with knowing what to do with their sexuality, what is okay and what is not okay. It is part of the mortal experience. But God laws are set. Feeling the guilt, shame, and remorse is a vital process of our spiritual learning. Adam and Eve partook of the fruit. They needed to partake in order to understand more of the laws of the universe. Yes a law was broken. But it does not mean that they can mosey to the tree of knowledge of good and evil, chop up a fruit salad and eat it whenever they’re in the mood for a snack. I mean, right? They learned an enormous lesson about the perimeters that were set for them and what happens when they are broken. The Lord has asked us not to stimulate or arouse sexual feelings within ourselves. That will never change and it never has. Yes the body is beautiful. Yes, sexuality is beautiful in so many aspects and it is divinely appointed for us to love our spouses in all the glorious ways of intimacy. But our bodies are not a toy for our own pleasure. Our bodies are sacred instruments and we can do all that is asked of us to bridle our passions and respect Heavenly Father’s laws. Refraining from masturbation is good and it is right. I say this because I have made many errors. As I have come to the Lord with this very issue I have found that He is most pleased when we follow this guideline. Let’s be so careful not to allow ourselves to lower our standards of morality, especially in these latter days. We are much better off following the counsel given to us by our church leaders than not. It is more damaging to explore masturbation than it is to refrain from it. End of speech. I say this with deep respect and love. Thank you for the way you have respectfully and carefully presented this podcast. It is refreshing and liberating to hear members celebrate the sacred nature of sexuality instead of presenting sexuality as dirty or wrong. Sexuality is good and right but only along the pathway that the Lord has set for us.

    • Lolo1992
      February 1, 2019 at 1:59 pm

      Thanks for sharing. I agree.

  8. Z
    January 3, 2017 at 3:04 pm

    I would like to recommend this for those of us who are more readers than listeners. Leave a drop down option to show the transcription of audio in your posts. http://otranscribe.com/

  9. Timothy Birt, MS, LPC, LMFT
    February 6, 2017 at 1:02 pm

    Thank you for this important topic which is long overdue in the Church. As a licensed mental health professional with years of experience dealing with the most serious issues involving youth and sexuality and abuse and as a member of the LDS Church I agree with and support the positions presented here. From my discussions with some local Church leaders questions about masturbation are not encouraged to be asked in interviews. This is a positive change; however, like many previously held stances the change has been quitely rolled out with no officially communicated change in policy, stance or beliefs communicated to members of the Church at large. So so many members and perhaps some leadership my still view masturbation as a sin needing repentance and needing the involvement of a bishop. Millions of members of the Church have grown up with shame based teachings by church leaders about masturbation and normal sexual thoughts and desires. Untold personal, spiritual, and relational trauma have genius in a negative shame based approach to sexuality. Some suicides are also attributed to conflicts over such.

    I applaud your encouraging individuals to have ownership and acceptance of their own sexuality and base their personal commitments to their standards from internalized principles consistent with themselves and what they hope for in relationships.

    My only comment in addition to your suggestions here is that we also need to be careful with out language when discussing sexuality in an LDS context. Terms like “sexual purity” “chastity” “repentance” we use liberally are frought with ability to be interpreted in so many ways when they are not defined more clearly. The most common interpretation in LDS context is from a shaming perspective and can produce extensive trauma especially when applied in sexually abusive contexts. Given that appeoximately one in four girls and one in eight boys are at risk for sexual abuse before age 18, we should learn to be very careful in equating lack of sexual experience to virtue or purity in any form.

  10. Parker
    May 28, 2017 at 7:34 pm

    I’m curious what your thoughts are on the LDS resource A Parents Guide – Chapter 5 Where the following quote is found “One example: masturbation is considered by many in the world to be the harmless expression of an instinctive sex drive. Teach your children that the prophets have condemned it as a sin throughout the ages and that they can choose not to do it. Throughout childhood, boys and girls have touched their own genitals frequently to wash and to dress. This is a behavior that usually has the same meaning as keeping one’s feet warm in the winter, enjoying a swim on a hot day, or scratching an itch. We ought to be friendly to our bodies and appreciate the body’s marvelous range of senses. This innocent touching is not the kind of behavior warned against by prophets through the ages. The sin of masturbation occurs when a person stimulates his or her own sex organs for the purpose of sexual arousal. It is a perversion of the body’s passions. When we pervert these passions and intentionally use them for selfish, immoral purposes, we become carnal.

    Masturbation is not physically necessary. There is already a way by which the male system relieves excessive spermatic fluid quite regularly through the nocturnal emission or wet dream. Monthly menstrual flow expels the female’s egg and cleanses the womb. For both sexes, physical or emotional tensions can be released by vigorous activity. Thus, in a biological sense, masturbation for either gender is not necessary. In a gospel sense, it is a sin: “Masturbation, a rather common indiscretion, is not approved of the Lord nor of His Church regardless of what may have been said by others whose ‘norms’ are lower. Latter-day Saints are urged to avoid this practice” (Spencer W. Kimball, Love Versus Lust, Brigham Young University Speeches of the Year [Provo, 5 Jan. 1965], p. 22).”

    This is official church stance which the shared views seem to contradict.

    • Lea
      September 17, 2017 at 12:20 pm

      “Monthly menstrual flow expels the female’s egg and cleanses the womb.”
      This has absolutely nothing to do with masturbation or a woman’s sexual function. No part of a woman masturbating goes anywhere near the womb, and orgasms do not clean the womb or have anything to do with the womb or egg. Menstruatiom has nothing to do with sexuality.

  11. Ruby
    February 1, 2018 at 6:48 am

    It would be nice if either of the podcast ladies responded

  12. David
    November 2, 2018 at 7:32 am

    If masturbation is a sin, why does the church handbook only discourage sperm donation, instead of prohibit it.

  13. Anonymous
    December 28, 2018 at 10:05 pm

    I was raised in the Church and my parents were great examples to me. When I was a teenager my mother taught me that self-stimulation was a sin. For the Strength of Youth teaches, “Do not do anything else that arouses sexual feelings. Do not arouse those emotions in your own body.” When my husband and I got married we believed “physical intimacy between husband and wife is beautiful and sacred” and “ordained of God for the creation of children and for the expression of love within marriage.” (“Chastity”, Topics, lds.org) We had been taught by our parents that self-stimulation was still a sin unless we were doing it together or for each other as part of our expression of love for one another. My husband and I enjoyed our physical intimacy very much and we were happy to be married and living the law of chastity.

    However, after we started to have children I was stressed and tired a lot more often. This led me to not have the strong desire for physical intimacy I had previously in our marriage. Frequently I would be unenthusiastic and reluctant towards our physical intimacy. This hurt my husband’s feelings and he worried I might have a problem with a low sexual drive. I felt like he was preoccupied with sex and had a problem with a high drive. There was also a big constraint on the amount of time we had to be physically intimate together. The frequency of our intimacy became a major problem in our marriage. These two issues -my lack of enjoyment and the struggle over frequency- went on for 14 years. We shed many tears, had numerous talks about them, and suffered distress and heartache over the problems.

    About the tenth year of our marriage we made some big improvements in how we treated each other that increased our emotional intimacy and unity. This helped us a lot in our physical relationship, but we still had the problems of my struggling to enjoy it and him not getting enough of it. My husband did some research to find solutions to our problems. He read something that made us see self-stimulation in marriage in a different light; one that allowed for self-stimulation in marriage (in private or with one’s spouse) on the conditions that it strengthened a couple’s ability to express love to one another through physical intimacy.

    We decided to compromise on the frequency by being intimate less than he wanted and more than I wanted, so that we were both giving. We also decided that he would stimulate himself privately, as needed, in order to lighten the burden I felt of fulfilling him and to help him remain faithful to me. It is hard to express what an enormous relief this was for both of us. I was able to keep my end of the frequency compromise happily even when I didn’t really want to because I wasn’t overburdened by his longing for me.

    We also decided that I would start self-stimulating regularly (privately or with him) to increase my drive and my awareness in my own body. My sexual enjoyment increased in a huge way. I started to look forward to our physical intimacy and to climax more frequently.

    It brings me to tears to think about how much happier our intimate relations are because of self-stimulation. We experienced no loss of self-respect, guilt or shame. For us, it solved huge hurdles in our intimate relationship and helped us have a beautiful physical relationship. We are experiencing the blessings of marital intimacy. We have more unity, love, and happiness. We are able to council together about all aspects of our life better because we are more unified. I have come to see self-stimulation in the same way as physical intimacy, in that, before marriage it is wrong and after marriage it can bring couples closer together in an expression of love.

    My concerns are:
    There is a large movement in the church supporting masturbation. It seems clear that there are issues with current norms among Church members and so the other extreme is being adopted. Because of things my husband and I read online and our recent positive experience with self-stimulation, we believed (for a short time) that the church had no current policy for or against self-stimulation. Thankfully for my children, who will soon be teenagers and need to be taught, I came to learn that the doctrine has not changed.
    Many members of Christ’s Church believe that self-stimulation after marriage is a sin no matter what, even if it might help couples in their marital intimacy.
    Self-Stimulation is often equated with the natural man. Sexual sins are only one symptom of the natural man. The natural man is being led by anything other than the Spirit: passion, appetite, rules, pride, etc. When we do things by the Spirit, “yield to the enticings of the Holy Spirit”, we are overcoming the natural man.
    Many members of the Church equate self-stimulation with physical intimacy outside of marriage. I read about teenagers and singles suffering huge amounts of guilt to the point that they would do extreme things because they felt they were breaking the law of chastity. Self-Stimulation is a sexual sin, but it is not as grave as having sexual relations with another being. Some guilt is in order, but not to the extent that I read about.
    The missionaries in my ward are teaching converts not to self-stimulate before or after marriage, but the lesson they teach from only says, “Determine now that you will not do anything outside of marriage to arouse the powerful emotions that must be expressed only in marriage. Do not arouse those emotions in another person or in yourself.“
    It is not clear to church members (it wasn’t to me and my husband) that in marriage there are no specific rules of things they should or shouldn’t do. They need to know very clearly that they are free to live by the Spirit and make their own choices together about practices and all other aspects physical relationship within the parameters of respect and mutual consent. “tenderness and respect—never selfishness—must be the guiding principles in the intimate relationship between husband and wife.” (“Intimacy in Marriage”, Eternal Marriage Student Manual) The following quote seems to be at odds with that only because it is not clearly taught that no specific practices are prohibited in marriage.
    “If it is unnatural, you just don’t do it. That is all, and all the family life should be kept clean and worthy and on a very high plane. There are some people who have said that behind the bedroom doors anything goes. That is not true and the Lord would not condone it” (Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, 312).
    “We urge, with Peter, ‘… Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul.’ (1 Pet. 2:11.) No indecent exposure or pornography or other aberrations to defile the mind and spirit. No fondling of bodies, one’s own or that of others, and no sex between persons except in proper marriage relationships. This is positively prohibited by our Creator in all places, at all times, and we reaffirm it. Even in marriage there can be some excesses and distortions. No amount of rationalization to the contrary can satisfy a disappointed Father in heaven” (in Conference Report, Apr. 1974, 8–9; or Ensign, May 1974, 7).
    This statement leaves members making up specific rules. The ones my husband and I had in mind caused us a lot of misery.

  14. Alex
    January 14, 2019 at 12:26 am

    I imagine that many of the people who venture to this site are people, who like myself now in 2019, are just trying to find some honest answers. So if it is possible, I would like to share what I’ve found so far on this discussion about masturbation after having spent many hours researching this topic.

    1. My first question: Is masturbation a sin, and has there been any modern day revelation on this subject?
    – Short Answer: Yes.
    The Prophet Spencer W. Kimball gave a talk in 1980 that explains this in more detail.

    2. My second question: Why does the topic of masturbation feel so hidden and controversial within our current society and understanding?
    – Short Answer: Mens cunning craftiness in perversion to doctrine, lack of teaching correct principles and how to handle masturbation, and overall confusion.
    Elder Dallin H. Oaks Of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles explains this better than I can in the talk below given in 1996.

    3. What does the Bible or other scriptures say about masturbation?
    – Short Answer: Any sexual relationship outside or away from marriage is a sin.
    Mark Ballenger does a great job in my opinion of connecting the dots to answer questions “3-5”, more research is welcomed.

    4. Is masturbation okay in marriage?
    – Short Answer: No, not if it’s by yourself. It’s “only” okay if your spouse participates, and it promotes expressing love one for another etc… (probably it wouldn’t even be called masturbation at this point, but teamwork and communication seem to be key, I also wanted to add since I saw this come up while searching around, but for those that are separated by distance, military etc… I would assume your spouses participation via phone / laptop / w/e as long as he/she participates can be included).
    Mark Ballenger / True to the Faith (2004), pg26.

    5. Is masturbation okay if I’m single?
    – Short Answer: No, but not all hope is lost if you are unable to marry or are divorced or have never had the opportunity etc… and are facing the same problems of masturbation or immorality I am admittedly.
    Here is one example I found that helped me from Cynthia Doxey.

    6. Extra… If you’re feeling guilt or want to give up and end it all through suicide or leaving the church or are feeling extremely terrible from loneliness or even worse the feeling of not existing, don’t give up! Know that the Lord loves you and understands the desires and intents of your heart. He understands your circumstances and want you to be happy and have joy. Don’t beat yourself up, keep trying to do your best, and give yourself and the Lord some time to help heal you from the suffering and make your stronger. Repentance isn’t easy, but it will aid you to feel better quicker every time you do repent until hopefully one day you’re no longer plagued with these problems or pain and brokenness. No one can feel the pain you do except Christ. He suffered so that he can help you. I hope His love will be your strength, Keep trying.

  15. Andrew
    February 12, 2019 at 1:02 am

    I think masterbashion is a sin I have let it shame me also i didn’t tell any one about it i even lied to my bishop about it. It wasent until I finily talked to my bishop and was able to unload that shame and rilize that satan wants us to fill shamed but rilly we should only fill guilt and realise that we can receive help with this.
    Shame comes from satan. Guilt comes from God to give us hope.
    Shame is I screwed up o well I’m going to hell anyway what’s the point in stopping now.
    Guilt is o I screwed up I need help. That is how the atonement works. Christ is never shaming us he is always there with open arms with his grace his enabling power is there to help us help ourselves.
    I think it come down to understanding what sham is and where it comes from and understanding guilt and how it enables us to free ourselves.
    Food or desert is not even close to an orgasm to compare it to that is ridiculous. An orgasm triggers all 5 pleasure centers of the brain and harrowin triggers 3. So yes to save that pleasure for marriage would be a great expirance

  16. Lindsay Bringhurst
    October 16, 2020 at 11:33 am

    Can’t we all see that we are human beings, loved by God. Created by God. Our sexuality is divine. It is pure. It is for good. Let’s encourage more divine use of our sexuality, and eliminate the shame which drives us to use our sexuality in unhealthy ways. No ones adult sexual expression should be judged, controlled or condemned. It is quite literally inhumane!! Especially in marriage. I am single. LDS. Celibate. Temple recommend holder. I fear that in a future marriage that I have prepared for so faithfully that others would judge our sexual expression or sexuality. NO ONE HAD THAT RIGHT. I honestly see it as a greater sin to hold yourself as a judge.

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