4/20/16
Why Cultural/Religious Conservatives Shouldn’t Feel Bad About Masturbation or Sex Dreams

Dear Em & Lo,

I am a 28 year old man. I am a virgin and want to stay a virgin until I get married. I began masturbating when I was 18, but I’ve been masturbating in my dreams since I was 5 years old. This situation is a real inconvenience. I’m masturbating in my dreams 3 to 4 times a week. I dream I’m having sex once every 2 months. I am concerned that this will disturb my sexual performance when I get married. Plus, I am feeling so sorry after I masturbate in my dreams. Please advise. Thanks in advance.

— Dream Lover

Dear D.L.,

We’re guessing that your cultural and/or religious community does not condone premarital sex, promote sex education, or encourage sexual exploration, even if it’s just solo . . . even if we’re just talking about adults. That’s too bad, because sexual urges are completely normal, natural and nothing to be ashamed of.

And here we’re compelled to quote the sage wisdom of enlightened pop icon George Michael: “Sex is natural, sex is good, not everybody does it, but everybody should.”

Human bodies are designed (by evolution) to feel sexual desire and sensations, even from a young age — it’s what drives reproduction and the survival of our species! Trying to deny their existence or resist against them is like trying to deny or resist gravity — you can do it, but you’re not going to get very far. Which is not to say you should throw caution to the wind and engage in orgies every other night simply because, when it comes down to it, we’re all just sex animals. No, you should do what you’re comfortable with. Problem is: you don’t sound very comfortable right now.

If you’re a young, healthy adult, you’re body is going to have sexual tension that wants — we might go so far as to say needs — to be released. If you’re not having sex or masturbating very often, it’s going to find that release elsewhere, when your cultural/religious defenses are down, i.e. when you’re asleep. Your body is taking over and getting the satisfaction it requires. You shouldn’t feel guilty about this, you should feel grateful — you’re body is letting you off scot-free (or should we say getting you off scot-free?). “Hey, it’s not me actively having sex or masturbating, I’m asleep, it’s outside of my conscious control!”

Not that there’s anything wrong with actively having sex or masturbating regularly. While we doubt we can undo 28 years of anti-sex pedagogy, we can certainly try chipping away at some of it: If you want to wait to have sexual relations with another person until you’re married, then at least allow yourself the pleasure of regular masturbation and inadvertent wet dreams without guilt or shame. As long as it does not become a chronic or compulsive habit that keeps you from being a functioning member of society, then masturbation is a private act that you have every right to engage in for your own physical and mental health. Yes, masturbation is good for you! See 15 reasons why here.

Contrary to once-popular belief, masturbating and having sexual dreams is not harmful, sinful, or detrimental to (future) relationships. In fact, if anything’s going to “disturb your sexual performance” with your future spouse, it’s going to be your shame  about your sexuality, your dearth of sexual knowledge, and your likely lack of sexual endurance. Thinking of sexuality — yours and your future partner’s — as unnatural and shameful does not bode well for a mutually satisfying and supportive sexual relationship in  marriage. Knowing your own body’s anatomy and how it works — and learning about your future partner’s anatomy and how it might work — will only improve your sexual performance with them. And  masturbating can give you (at least a little) sexual stamina for partnered sex (i.e. so you can avoid the “two pump chump” moniker) — something you and your spouse will probably appreciate on your wedding night.

You have nothing to feel sorry about. You’re a normal guy with a healthy sex drive. Try to rewrite the script you’ve been given that says sexual urges are bad. Give yourself the freedom to enjoy the (if you like) God-given pleasures of your earthly vessel, whether you’re married or not.  God wants you to! She told us herself.

Sex-ed missionaries,
Em & Lo

Want even more encouragement?
How to Masturbate with Style (If You’re a Man) 

One Comment

  1. Good points! We don’t always have control over our urges, and that’s okay! You do have control over how you act, and that’s what counts.

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