From Wes Mahan:
Re: Gospel of Matthew linked to bloody trail of self-mutilations (June 13): I have first-hand experience. When I was a student at Multnomah Bible College, my next-door neighbor in the men’ dorm was taken to hospital in an ambulance because he cut off his penis, as a direct result of an inability to stop masturbating, and of taking literally Matthew 5:29-30 and Matthew 18:8.
If we had all been honest with each other (which is nearly impossible in a Bible School environment where “victory over sin” is almost an object of worship), we would have realized that 95% of us guys were masturbating, and very very few were able to stop for any length of time. He might then not have tortured himself quite so much. And of course your minister won’t tell you that those males who masturbate or have sex regularly, seem to have a lower incidence of prostate cancer, as indicted by medical research studies (even while the minister himself masturbates!).
I realize that in the early 70’s the evangelical community regarded masturbation as sexual sin, without equivocation. But even now with more “enlightened” or “progressive” evangelical attitudes, there is still a negative connotation attached to masturbation, even without it being the mortal sin that it used to be. And of course, as a recent ex-christian myself, I regard masturbation as a purely biological function, irrelevant to morality.