Pic of the day: "No! A gentleman like me, looking at a maiden's beautiful white thing..." Even in Japan, where Christianity is just an exotic sect, people realize that if you look at a woman to desire her, the enemy has already won! Or something like that. Seems there are several levels of today's topic:
I'm sitting with two browser windows open, both of them in the top five if you google for "celibacy". (Sadly no, I'm not in the top five, although I seem to have more experience with it than these guys. At least if realism is any sign of experience.) The first is from Liberated Christians, and boy are they liberated. Or liberal, evidently this sounds similar to some.
"Celibacy is physically unnatural and can result in physical problems, especially in men unless they masturbate so the body is used as it was intended. Prostate blockage and painful wet dreams are often the bodies reaction to the unnatural act of celibacy. This is what I experienced as a teen and young adult, believing the lies of the fundamentalists that totally twisted the bible to make me feel sex was somehow wrong before marriage."
I'm sorry to hear that. Although, truth to tell, I actually also spent my teen years without sex and without masturbating, and my wet dreams ranged from comical over disappointing to wonderful. Painful, though? Never. I think this guy should have talked with a doctor about his prostate problem. It is not a natural effect of abstaining from sex. If you constantly go around arousing yourself but never climax, you may get "blue balls" eventually. But this is a lingering discomfort and not a searing pain, unless you have some serious bad plumbing. Men are socialized to exaggerate this discomfort or minor pain. In reality, women have a similar discomfort if they masturbate for too long, but you don't hear them whining. Women know how actual pain feels in the reproductive apparatus.
As for why the Bible doesn't talk about sex before marriage: According to Hebrew law, coitus was one of the ways you could begin a marriage (the other being the wedding ritual). Thus sex before marriage is not possible, with the notable exception of professional prostitutes. The Bible is surprisingly tolerant of prostitution, despite the public health hazard. The apostle Paul warns against it, but then again he warns against a lot of things, especially regarding sex. He is also to the best of my knowledge the only source in the Bible that condemns masturbation, although this is somewhat unclear. I believe his adding "impurity" to a list of mostly sexual transgressions refers to the law of Moses in which a man would be unclean for the duration of a day if he ejaculated on his own. At the time of Moses this was listed among the medical quarantine regulations rather than the lists of sins, but St Paul seems to have elevated the problem to a moral status. This is not surprising, since Christians were supposed to be held to higher standards. Not least himself. From what he implies in one of his letter, Paul was the only single apostle.
For myself, When I was a teen, I reasonably assumed that sexual fantasies were OK as long as you did not actually look at real women to desire them, and as long as you did not actually ejaculate. From simply reading the Bible this seems safe enough. Putting the "fun" back in fundamentalism. Strangely enough, I never exploded either. I'm not sure it is something to recommend though. I was pretty stupid when I was young, as most young people are. Intelligent but stupid.
Not as stupid as our next contestant, though. Now from one side of the road we veer entirely over to the other side and into the bushes. Eternal life here and now through virginity, the Ambrosian! way. While this site promotes a lot of great things, like physical exercise and the acquisition of knowledge, it goes way too far in promising immortality.
Actually there is doubt as to whether sexual abstinence even prolongs the life. Logically it is likely to do that within certain limits, because the body exists to carry on the genes. Therefore the body's function is not fulfilled until the genes is passed on, and a higher degree of self-preservation is likely in the meantime. However, there are certainly limits to this. Also, the experience from insects and fish may not be representative for humans. In simple organisms, the body is discarded quickly after procreation. But humans are exceptional in that we take care of our children for a very long time, and in fact even grandchildren, which is almost unique. (Elephants do it too.) In this case, having children or grandchildren may actually be keeping people alive as it is the natural function of elders to protect their children and teach their grandchildren. Humans are not flies, although some come closer than others.
The prosaic truth is that celibacy is the world's most secure and most boring contraceptive. You won't have kids, and you won't get infected with STDs. That's pretty much it. I can tell you from years of practical experience that you will not get superpowers or other godlike qualities. On the other hand, you will not explode, or suffer unspeakable pain in body or soul.
It isn't just me either. You will notice that many cardinals live to a ripe old age. Now many non-Catholics probably think that these guys are about as celibate as football players. But the Catholic Church has changed quite a bit since the middle ages; there is no reason to doubt that these guys are honest (and indeed a bit fanatical). I am sure they are quite pure except for the occasional fall that may happen to almost anyone. And it doesn't seem to hurt them a bit. On the other hand, most of them never develop superpowers (the occasional saint aside) and they all eventually die in the end.
The short of it is, if you don't marry anyway, sex isn't a big deal either way. There are certainly things I miss more about being all alone. Like singing together. Or laughing. Yes, I can sing alone, I guess that is kinda like masturbation but without the angry God. But laughing is another matter. I can't remember the last time I did that. And I wonder if I will ever do it again. In comparison, celibacy is forgettable.
Visit the ChaosNode.net for the older diaries I've put out to pasture.