Is Masturbation Bad? (Taoism vs Christianity vs Western Philosophy)

The greatest lessons we can learn are rooted in a careful study of cultures across history and with that being said, I’ve noticed an alarming trend within the self-improvement space that seems to be more true with every passing year. 

There is such an overwhelming amount of information and content being created, millions of new books published every year, over 34 million episodes of podcasts, YouTube alone has over 500 hours of video uploaded to it every single minute and so with so much modern content, there’s a tendency to simply “forget” the past. 

So what the heck does this have to do with masturbation? 

Well, for as much debate as there is regarding the positive and negative aspects of NOFAP, It seems that very few people are curious to understand what different cultures across history thought about the sacred act of “spilling our seed” as it turns out, there are some extremely interesting interpretations and observations that are worth taking a closer look at. 

And after poring through thousands of pages of material, I think the most interesting views on masturbation are encapsulated within the beliefs of 3 very distinct cultures, Christianity, Taoism and the European Age of Enlightenment.So what did these cultures believe about how masturbation was linked to our energy, our motivation, or more broadly speaking our ability to simply “be” the better person that anyone who chose to click onto this video is “trying” to be?

Well, let’s dive in and find out. 

#1. The Christian belief that masturbation is a sin

Here in the western part of the world, Christianity is and has been the predominant religion for centuries and so as a society, many of our traditions, beliefs, and opinions, are either directly or indirectly influenced by Chrisitan doctrine.

Now say what you want about religion itself, but the Bible is in my opinion, the greatest and most important book in existence, over 10,000 years of the most profound human observations, condensed into a single book, that’s incredible. Now because the Bible is a book of “stories”, stories are always subject to the interpretation of the person reading them and so the Christian debate as to whether or not masturbation is seen as a sin and thus an unhealthy act, is mostly rooted in the Story of Onan

As the story goes, Onan, upon his brother’s death, was commanded by his father to bear a child with his brother’s widow, Tamar, when Onan had sex with Tamar, at the last second he pulled out and “spilled his seed onto the ground”, God saw what happened as an evil act, and for that, he killed Onan. 

Now here’s where all the debate begins, there are many christian’s who believe that the “spilling of one’s seed”, whether it be through masturbation or pulling out during sex is a sin which they refer to as “Onanism”. 

They believe that sex should only be for the purpose of having children, these christians generally see the male sperm as human life and the “wasting” of such life as a sin, however many argue that Onan’s true sin was not in the spilling of his seed, but rather in defying his father’s command to impregnate his brother’s widow. 

To support this, many point to the fact that men will often have “wet dreams” if they don’t masturbate… That can’t possibly be a sin, can it? 

While the Bible doesn’t specifically say whether or not masturbation is good or bad, Thessalonians 3, verse 3-4, gives what I believe is the strongest position:

“It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;  that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable.”

In this sense, in this passage, I think the question becomes less about whether or not masturbation is good or bad, and more about how it is used. 

I believe that as humans, should learn to control our own bodies in a way that is honorable and so when we are slaves to our impulses, addicted to porn and masturbation, when see women not as people, but instead as sexual objects, we are not acting honorably and while these impulses may help us to “feel”  good temporarily, look closely at the people who live their lives in pursuit of instantaneous gratification and you will will find that they are always empty inside. 

When we learn to control our impulses and desires, we can act honorably and in a way that allows us to develop deep connections with others and this is why I’m such a huge fan of NOFAP as a means by which we can learn to control our sexual instinct. 

#2. The Taoist belief that too-frequent masturbation is unhealthy

For those of you guys who follow this channel, especially if you follow me on instagram, you know that I’m a huge fan of Eastern philosophy, whose simplistic doctrines I find to be the perfect to what I see as the  “disease” of chronic overthinking here in the west. 

Now within eastern philosophy, opinions on male masturbation and ejaculation are generally seen through the context of “energy”, now, if we’re interpreting the Taoist view of masturbation through the fundamental texts of Taoism such as the Tao te Ching, there is no specific position. 

What these texts would probably say is that, if we feel the urge to masturbate and it feels like the right thing to do, then we should do it, however if we feel that we need to control our urge to mastrubate through something like NoFap, then we should probably do that. 

Within Taoism, Yin and Yang are essentially the two essential, mutually dependent energies of all of life, Yang energy, the male energy, is generally characterized as hot energy, creative, individualistic, strength, offense, while Yin Energy, the female energy, is generally characterized as cold energy, receptive, groups, elegance, defense. Now I have to stress here, men and women have both yin and yang energy.

Taoism is not about dualities like “light” and “dark”, but rather non-duality,  mutual-arising, in nature, everything is simply as it is, nothing is “good” or “bad” things simply “are”. 

Yang energy, the male energy, is considered a “finite” energy, of which masturbation could play a role in depleting. Many Taoists see semen as “vital life force” and believe that to waste such a life force could result in premature aging, disease, and fatigue. 

Some Taoists recommended to follow ejaculation formulas as a means by which we could maintain optimal health, Sum Simiao, who was given the title “King of Medicine” during his time as China’s most highly regarded physician during the Tang dynasty, recommended that men under 50 should only ejactulate twice monthly, other Taoists have suggested that ejaculation frequency should be in accordance with the seasons, no more than once every 3 days during the spring, twice a month in summer and fall and then NOFAP during all of winter. 

Mantak Chia, a modern Taoist master whose views have become extremely popular over the last few decades, also believes that we should follow a schedule, at around 20 years old, he believes we should masturbate about once every 4 days and then every 10 years, double that amount, so at 30, once every 8 days, at 40, once every 12 days. 

Mantak also teaches masturbation techniques that can make the penis longer and less sensitive, which makes it easier to control ejaculation, speaking of which, some of his most popular teachings include learning how to orgasm without ejaculation by learning how to close the valve of the prostate gland by using the power of the mind.

I have yet to try these techniques myself, but I  will at some point in the near future. If you’re curious to see how that goes, follow me on instagram  @NelsonQuest.

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#3. The Age of Enlightenment and masturbation as weakness

In 1760, swiss physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot,  wrote “Diseases Caused by Masturbation” whose views became hugely popular during the European Age of Enlightenment. 

Tissot described masturbation as

“A general wasting of the animal machine, a debility of all the bodily senses, and of all the faculties of the mind: the loss of the imagination, and of the memory: imbecility, the shame and the disgrace attendant upon it, all the functions disturbed, suspended, or painful, long, severe, and disgusting diseases”

He believed that masturbation was the cause all of the diseases of old age and believed that

“the too great loss of semen produces weakness, debility, immobility, convulsions, emaciation, dryness, pains in the membranes of the brain, impairs the senses, particularly that of sight, gives rise to dorsal consumption, indolence, and to the several diseases connected with them”

Among his supporters, was one of history’s greatest thinkers, Immanuel Kant, Kant saw masturbation as “an unnatural use (and so misuse) of one’s sexual attribute”,  which he deemed to be a violation of morality to the highest degree, he saw it as man merely using himself to “satisfy an animal impulse”  and even believed it to be worse than suicide! 

“Murdering oneself requires courage, and in this disposition there is still always room for the respect for the humanity in one’s own person. But unnatural lust, which is complete abandonment of oneself to animal inclination, makes man not only an object of enjoyment but, still further, a thing that is contrary to nature, that is, a loathsome object, and so deprives him of all respect for himself.”

Jumping back to Tissot for a second, it’s also worth noting that his theories later gained popularity with American physicians, resulting in anti-masturbation tools that included Graham Crackers and breakfast cereal. No, really!

Sylvester Graham, inventor of Graham Crackers, and John Kellogg, inventor of breakfast cereal flakes, made bland food products that they believed would subdue your sexual excitement. The more you know 😉

Summary

So, to recap.

#1. The Christian belief that masturbation is a sin

Many argue that the story of Onan is proof “wasting one’s seed” is a sin, while other parts of the Bible, while not taking a specific position on masturbation, seem to support the idea that what’s more important is to not masturbate excessively or in ways that are dishonorable.

#2. The Taoist belief that too-frequent masturbation is unhealthy

Taoist practitioners across time see semen as a “vital life force” that ought to be conserved and that wasting this life force could lead to premature aging, disease and fatigue, among other debilitating symptoms, in response to this, many Taoists have developed  “ejaculation formulas” to help find a healthy balance with regard to how frequently we masturbate. 

#3. The Age of Enlightenment and masturbation as weakness

This particular movement was sparked by swiss physician Samuel-Auguste Tissot who prescribed all sorts of frightening diseases to the practice of “Onanism”, the word onanism being derived from the biblical “The story of Onan” that we just talked about in the Christian belief. 

Tissot’s work influenced authorities in the domain of science and philosophy, arguably the most significant being Immanuel Kant, one of history’s greatest thinkers, Kant deemed masturbation to be a violation of morality to the highest degree, so much so that he considered it to be worse than suicide!

So guys – I think if there’s central lesson on masturbation that we can extract from many different cultures across history, It’s that, to live loving, honorable, healthy lives filled with energy, that we ought to learn how to control our sexual impulses, instead of being slaves to them, maybe in another few hundred years, my great great great grandson will make a video talking about how, during the 20th century, with the emergence of the super-stimulus of porn, how the practice of NOFAP was adopted by all cultures across the entire world as an effective means by which to develop control over our sexual impulses. 

Guys, if you want more content like this, if you can manage to stop furiously masturbating for a few seconds, make sure to click subscribe and click the goddamn bell icon to actually get notified when I upload new videos. 

Check out the description below for links to other related videos, including my full playlist on NOFAP and related themes. 

Ciao and cya in the next post!

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