Pursuing the Divine Spark of God: Redeeming the Practice of Self-Love

Final paper for RSCE-2480—Sexuality, Ethics, Culture, and Faith
Pacific School of Religion
December 16, 2015

[But first, this cartoon from a fellow seminarian:


Table of Contents


Pursing the Divine Spark of God

Onanism: The Great Lie. Orgasm: The Great Truth

The Joys of Self-Love




As I experienced each of the spiritual practices as recommended by the professors in my Spiritual Formation for Leadership class I am also taking this semester, I sensed that the practices were focused mostly on the cultivation of my spirit—and occasionally my mind or at least mindfulness. As I expanded the notion of what actually constitutes a spiritual practice, I began to think about practices that could engage different parts of my being—body, mind, and spirit—particularly those practices that could engage more than one of them simultaneously. One day, for example, I considered how the daily process of applying lotion to my body could become a purposeful acknowledgement and celebration of my body. Passing over each part deliberately, I purposefully engaged my spirit with my body in gratitude.

It would not be long before I would play with the idea of whether masturbation could be a spiritual practice. As someone in a long-distance relationship and unable to engage in mutual sex as frequently as I was accustomed, the practice of masturbation in the place of—versus filling in the gaps between—sex had certainly become familiar.

So one morning, I framed my pursuit of orgasm in terms of the spiritual. I mouthed some awkward prayer and went for it. I remember as a teenager pretending I could hide the sin of my masturbation from God. Throughout my adult years, God never entered my mind during the act. So needless to say, bringing the Holy into the experience was certainly queer, to say the least. Using my body awareness practice with the lotion as a point of reference, I concentrated on the sensation of my erogenous zones and meditated on those sensory locations to engage my spirit. Experiencing arousal, I focused on my increased breathing as in meditation, allowing myself to escape into the feelings my spirit was engaging with. And as with meditation, I just let myself go, eventually losing track of time. As I approached orgasm, I consciously remember muttering something like “thank you God” and afterward just lay there—similar to how one might lay alongside a lover after a passionate encounter. I took stock of my breathing, the lingering traces of ecstasy that fade all too quickly, and the sense of peace I felt.

Of course, I told no one about this and only wrote briefly about it in my spiritual practices journal hoping it would not be noticed by the individual whose job it was to check to see that I had been writing in it. I would tuck away this experience but I can say it definitely impacted each subsequent instance of autoeroticism from that day forward.

It would be weeks later that, in a “what did she say” moment, one of the panelists on the polyamory panel would say that she prayed before she masturbated. Imagine my surprise, then, when in preparing for this paper, I would run across this passage in Scott Haldeman’s essay:

“Orgasm is an experience of unification of self (mind, body, spirit) and of unification of self (or ‘transcendence’) of self with world/cosmos/god. [Quoting Betty Dodson]: ‘Meditative sex [is] using sexual energy to bring my body, mind, and spirit into perfect alignment with orgasm—a cosmic moment of joy’.”[1]
You might as well hit me over the head with the book I was reading. Masturbation as a form of meditation? Apparently this was actually a thing!

It is the pursuit of this “cosmic moment of joy,” specifically through masturbation, that I will discuss in this paper. Having experienced some transformation around a practice I have considerable first-hand experience with, I will show how masturbation—often still considered among society and religions as a detestable sin of self-abuse[2]—is not only not an abomination but rather is actually a gift from the Creator. By analyzing some of the benefits masturbation can bring to the body, mind, and spirit, along with a brief look at some of the risks of too much of a good thing, I have discovered that the practice of self-love can provide access to the spark of the Divine located within each of us—any time we want it.

Pursuing the Divine Spark of God:
Redeeming the Practice of Self-Love

True, God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time—but he’s left us in the dark, so we can never know what God is up to, whether he’s coming or going. I’ve decided that there’s nothing better to do than go ahead and have a good time and get the most we can out of life. That’s it—eat, drink, and make the most of your job. It’s God’s gift.

(Eccl 3:9-13, The Message)[3]

Our bodies are beautiful—wonderfully made indeed! Created in Gods’ images, the blueprint for humankind provides allots for an infinite expression of bodily and neural sensations. These bodies we are given by the Creators possess incredible capacities to give and receive pleasure. Incredible networks of sensory nerves allow us to feel; divinely complex brain chemicals allow us to transcend our bodies and tap into the place of spirit inside us. In touching, are able to perceive in tactile manners the Divine energy within the body we touch—whether it is our body or another. By being touched, we can sense connection with the Divine. Consider the energy released from

a stroke on the back of the neck…
the warmth of breath around the ear…
the intertwining of fingers…
a tousle through locks of hair…
a gentle caress…
the deepness of an embrace…
a lingering kiss…

To feel through touch and receiving touch are gifts, built into our very bodies for the expression and receipt of the Divine who created us—a conduit of body to spirit and spirit through body.

Yet somewhere along the way, our bodies—deemed lower and less worthy of attention and focus—became separated from our spirits. This separation was exacerbated by the concept of “platonized Christianity,” introduced by Augustine, which Kelly Brown Douglas explains as—“only two ways in which to engage sexual activity, one not inherently sinful and the other intolerable, sin.” The idea of only one approved expression of sex—married male-female procreation—“fixed a certain reading of Paul for generations of later readers”[4] eventually becoming a part of Western theology and further expanding the gap between body and spirit. Religion thusly interfered with the very Divine alignment of body and spirit the Creator intended all along.

Humankind continues to pursue this alignment, particularly through the expression of sex—with others and also with one’s own self. Scott Haldeman wrote, “Sexual pleasure nurtures the reunion of the self with the self.”[5] Of the many types of sexual pleasure, self-gratification—masturbation—“remains the most solid taboo of our western sexual morality”[6] even though the Bible itself is silent on the topic.[7] Philippe Brenot points out, “Masturbation is the most widespread sexual practice, alone or in pairs; for the majority it has been the first sexual experience.”[8] Most studies show that most men and women practice the solitary form of self-love.[9] Why is it, then, that we are not free to have that ecclesiastical “good time” with our bodies? The answer lies with a quack peddling a fake cure for a made-up disease.


Onanism: The Great Lie. Orgasm: The Great Truth

Masturbation: a word we whisper, an act we hide from our partners, a habit we pretend we don’t do. Society—duped by a concoction of part bad science, part flawed theology, and part exploitative capitalism—dispossessed the practice of masturbation by associating it with great personal sin—the sin of abusing one’s own self. The origin of this fallacy is simple:

“In or around 1712, the then anonymous author of a short tract with a long title not only named but actually invited a new disease and a new highly specific, thoroughly modern, and nearly universal engine for generating guilt, shame, and anxiety.”[10]
And there you have it—the invention of Onania. The title of the tract is as amusing as it is long:

The Heinous Sin of Self Pollution, and all its Frightful Consequences, in both SEXES Considered, with Spiritual and Physical Advice to those who have already injured themselves by this abominable practice. And seasonable Admonition to the Youth of the nation of Both SEXES.


Based on a complete misinterpretation of the account of Onan in recorded in Genesis 38, the scheme’s author, believed to be John Marten,[11] a “surgeon and quack prosecuted for obscenity in 1708,”[12] succeeded in profiting off peoples’ gullibility and in the process started a revolution against autoeroticism out of nowhere. Half a century later, a prominent, prolific, and well known physician Samuel August Tissot would—with his publication of L’Onanisme, essai sur les maladies produites par la masturbation,[13] or Onanism, testing on diseases produced by masturbation—elevate masturbation from the “quack-medicine market”[14] to “ideas shared by all physicians.”[15]

Institutional religion caught on quickly, embracing Onanism as an opportunity to exert control and foster shame over finding pleasure with one’s own body with one’s own hand. That religion has once again upheld false doctrine[16] is revolting: the sin that condemned Onan—spilling his seed—was not the result of masturbation. “The story of Onan and Tamar,” says van Driel quoting from Eewout van der Linden, “is not about masturbation, but about coitus interruptus. Ejaculation outside the vagina is meant to prevent Tamar from becoming pregnant.”[17] Though science would eventually disprove virtually all of the ludicrous, completely unscientific side-effects and outcomes of masturbation, a modern pope–Pope John Paul II—spoke out in 1985 against the “grievous sin” of masturbation by saying those who masturbate “lose God’s love”—even though he pointed out it could not be proven by scripture.[18] Masturbation remains largely repudiated by the three Semitic religions.[19], [20]

So here we are, three centuries post-Onania, steeped in shame (or supposed to be) when we touch ourselves for sexual pleasure due to embedded religious disapproval of and societal judgment over a malady fabricated by a quack, given validity through enlightenment, and assigned legitimacy through religion. “In spite of Kinsey, in spite of the statistics, in spite of the opinion of specialists, masturbation still often provokes a feeling of discomfort, even of repulsion, which results in an attempt to hide it.”[21] To this day, American author Morton Hunt’s anecdote still rings true: “It is far easier to admit that one does not believe in God, or was once a Communist, or was born illegitimately, than that one sometimes fondles a part of his own body.”[22]

Thank you, John Marten and Samuel August Tissot.

You see, far from sinful, I believe the pursuit of orgasm—whether in the company of others and in particular alone—to be borne of an innate desire for the Divine spark of God, this “cosmic moment of joy.” Mary Pellaur describes orgasm in terms of ecstasy:

“At the moment/eternity of orgasm itself, I melt into existence and it melts into me. I am most fully embodied in this explosion of nerves and also broken open into the cosmos. I am rent open/I am cleaved/joined not only to my partner, but to everything, everything-as-my-beloved (or vise versa), who has also become me.”[23]

While the human body was equipped to be able to reproduce, why would the Creators imbue the process with such ecstasy and pleasure if not so we could fully realize the sexual component of our selves? Surely it was not solely to inspire the human creation to procreate—although that aspect of the process does not hurt. Certainly these amazing bodies capable of such feeling and emotion are not meant to have withheld from them the experience of orgasm only for the act of procreation or only in the company of others. The practice of self-stimulation—self-love, I will call it—also provides access to this holy place, this joy, this spark of the Divine, the pursuit of which can yield the coveted alignment of body, mind, and spirit.

God is fully present in orgasm—that spark was placed inside of humanity so as to bring us closer to our selves, to others, and to God. But by making us feel bad about masturbation, the false science and doctrine of Onanism creates a space for shame to take root in our bodies when we try to self-evoke orgasm. Onanism “denies that our desire for pleasure, for touch, for connection with human skin is as important as connection to an invisible god.”[24] This marriage of bad science and bad religion represses sexuality by assigning stigmatization, shame, and guilt to an experience that should otherwise and can benefit us in many ways.


The Joys of Self-Love

Haldeman writes, “masturbation can be a ritual of self-pleasure that can lead to a renewed awareness of one’s sacred embodiment, one’s inter-dependence with others and one’s commitment to the betterment of all life.”[25] It is from this premise that I maintain the practice of masturbation actually yields many benefits.

One of the more common benefits of masturbation is its tension-relieving capacity. “Masturbation is relaxing for both men and women,” van Driel maintains, “and acts as an excellent soporific, without side effects.”[26], [27] Brenot references benefits observed by Guillaume Fabert: it “relaxes, comforts, animates body and soul, heals sexual failure as well as momentary blues, ‘It is to sex was aspirin is to medicine: panacea’.”[28] Tension from an unfulfilling sex-life—or from, say, the absent sex life of a seminarian in a different time zone from his partner—as well as “the loneliness of old age” can be assuaged by the practice of self-love.[29]

Beyond benefits available people regardless where they fall on the gender spectrum, some benefits manifest differently for women and men. Women, who have historically found themselves oppressed by the dominant male culture, have experienced the disapproval of masturbation “connected with the suppression of female sexuality.”[30] “For many women,” say Breanne Fahs and Elena Frank, “masturbation allowed [the women studied] to express positive feelings toward their bodies, and it served as a nurturing and affirming mode of self-acceptance.[31] “Masturbating is empowering,” Njeng suggests in her review of Audre Lorde’s writing on the topic, “as it makes her both giver and receiver of gifts of the human body.”[32]

“Men,” Haldeman contends, “are alienated from their bodies” and suggests that masturbation can help re-associate a man with his body.[33] This is exactly the goal of EroSpirit Research Institute founder Joe Kramer’s work. Described by Robert Goss as a “masturbation virtuoso,”[34] Kramer has spent over two decades teaching men how to “enhance and prolong orgasm, to get in touch with their bodies, and to integrate sexuality and spirituality”[35] as a way of helping them heal from erotophobia or “guilt and alienation from their bodies.”[36] And not just erotophobia but Christian erotophobia which Kramer says carries with it the “politics of sexual shame and guilt.”[37] Goss quotes Kramer in what I perceive to be the core of Kramer’s work:

‘[Wilhelm] Reich believed that masturbation was a perversion because there was no love object. I thought, no love object? Wait a minute. Masturbation involves the most important love object of all’. Masturbation can become an act of self-love, in the best sense of the word.[38] Haldeman even posits masturbation “may even help us participate in creative social change” by what Dodson calls, “‘reversing sexual repression’.”[39] The result is that instead of “a lust for dominance” men in particular can engage in “more just relations with all.”[40]

Masturbation is a realistic concept that can expand the effectiveness of sex education. Christin Bowman suggests that by including healthy masturbation—“one of the safest forms of sex in which an individual can engage”—in sex education could help prevent teen pregnancy and occurrence of STIs as well as destigmatize the practice by presenting it as a viable alternative.[41] Illustrative of tangible benefits to not only youth but also adults, Jean Stengers references the 1976 Man’s Body, an encyclopedia that represented one of the positive effects of masturbation to be “…a way of diverting some of the sexual drive that otherwise would result in immature partnership commitments.”[42]

For the gay community, particularly during and more immediately after the AIDS pandemic, “Masturbation in porn theaters is a tradition in gay male communities that provided one model for the self-conscious eroticization of safer sex practices. The theater itself serves as an environment for sexual networks that could be mobilized in response to the current public health crisis.”[43] In other words, at a time in history when sex was equated with death, men could still express—and experience—their sexuality through and access the benefit of masturbation.

In advisement to secondary teachers, van Driel suggests that they also teach masturbation as a way to avoid some of the negative effects of pornography. He says,

The bringing of masturbation out into the open as a subject of discussion could make a positive contribution: it would enable young people to see masturbation as a normal part of a rich sex life instead of an activity that only distracts from sexual intercourse. Or, in other words, it could encourage young men not to make the gratification of their needs the sole responsibility of women or define their ‘masculinity’ solely in terms of how many sexy partners they have had.[44]

“The good news is,” says James B. Nelson, “that self-love is not a deadly sin. Both Hebrew and Christian Scriptures bid us to love our neighbors as ourselves, not instead of ourselves.”[45] When we love our selves—including the love of our own bodies—we are more capable of loving others. This abides for sexual loving as well. When we are in touch with our bodies, when we liberate our own sexuality, we are able to experience that kind of liberation with sexual partners.[46] Further, “masturbation can serve as rehearsal for mature, adult sex play with partners, but it can also provide mature people with pleasure and fulfillment, regardless of age.”[47] In this way, masturbation can facilitate the deepening of sexual relationships with others.[48]

Finally, it is humorous to me that some of the mostly commonly expressed words during the moment of orgasm (so I’ve heard) is the shouting out to God—not outright cursing but out of pleasure and joy. One could even go so far as to call it prayer. In a sense, the action of masturbation itself is a prayer by accessing a God-designed pathway through body and spirit, to reach God in orgasm. For Haldeman, “Masturbation is a spiritual practice for me, a way to express my yearning for love and life, even though my desire is rarely satisfied and even when it is, the satisfaction is temporary, ambiguous, and fragile.”[49]

The adage “there is such a thing as too much of a good thing” certainly applies to masturbation. In fact, my research caused me to realize I could have written a whole paper on this topic alone. But in the context of benefits, however, it is important to acknowledge some of the risks. Stuart Brody’s study of masturbation finds  that “higher masturbation frequency (and even the desire for more masturbation) is associated with depression” and “less happiness.”[50] When masturbation becomes addiction, the practice becomes more akin to self-abuse. Addicted masturbation compromises connection with the Divine, threatens the unification of body, mind, and spirit, and makes difficult connection with sexual partners. Haldeman points out how masturbation can be “relationship-denying, frustrating, self-centered.”[51] When paired with pornography, the practice of masturbation can make the subject disconnected from others as well as exacerbate objectification and misogyny.[52] The consequences of this specific pairing has led to the formation of groups like NoFAP, “a growing online movement among young men who pledge to give up both guilty pleasures for a period of time in hopes of improving their lives.”[53], [54]


“God made everything beautiful in itself and in its time.”

(Eccl 3:11, The Message)

Haldeman asserts our bodies have the power to tell us about God.[55] Exploration of our bodies has the potential to bring us closer to the Divine. Masturbation is neither unnatural or dirty but rather is an important way of connecting with our whole self—body, mind, and spirit. The misuse of Onan’s story as a way to prohibit masturbation—calling it self-abuse and making it something dirty—has actually had the unintended consequence of keeping us away from God. If as children we grow up believing God disapproves of our intimate sexual pleasure, how are we to ever escape the image of this condemning presence regarding sex with others? If, on the other hand, we are taught that God is not only the giver of good things but present with us in the receipt of them, how much more likely are we to have a healthy image of our own sexuality and bodies! While masturbation can be used in unhealthy and unholy ways, a host of benefits is available to those desiring fulfillment and holistic unification with self.

I have always considered Philippians 4:8 to be a valuable lens through which to discern the goodness of a thought or action. If we apply this lens to the practice of masturbation and, by—“filling [our] minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse” (The Message)[56]—then self-love can lead us to the best kind of orgasm—one that takes us to the place where for a moment we can grasp the spark of the Divine. In this way, we redeem the practice of self-love and in so doing, open ourselves to the “cosmic joy” of God.

Everything means everything, even masturbation.


[1] Scott Haldeman, “Bringing Good News to the Body: Masturbation and Male Identity,” in Men’s Bodies, Men’s Gods: Male Identities in a (Post-) Christian Culture, ed. Björn Krondorfer (New York: NYU Press, 1996), 118.

[2] Every author whose works I consulted on the history of masturbation referenced this name for the practice. In his book In Praise of Masturbation cited later in this paper, author Philippe Brenot includes a glossary of almost 800 words and phrases used for masturbation, the overwhelming majority of them in the line of “self-abuse.”

[3] Though more of a paraphrase of the Bible than a translation and recommended to me by at least one spiritual leader as unsuitable for papers of this nature, I appreciate how Eugene Peterson’s version of the Bible, sans his failure to model inclusive language, makes the texts seem to relate to a more modern context. His liberative interpretation of this passage in particular evokes living with joy in the many good things about creation.

[4] Kelly Brown Douglas, “Contested Marriage/Loving Relationality,” in Sexuality and the Sacred, Second Edition: Sources for Theological Reflection, 2nd ed., ed. Marvin M. Ellison and Kelly Brown Douglas (Louisville Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 386.

[5] Haldeman, 111.

[6] Philippe Brenot, In Praise of Masturbation (London: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd, 2005), 70.

[7] The Bible specifically addresses other issues of sexuality, such as adultery and fornication. Yet the act of sex with other people seems to carry nowhere near the stigma as sex with one’s self does, an act the Bible, including Jesus says nothing about.

[8] Brenot, 70.

[9] Mels van Driel, With the Hand: A Cultural History of Masturbation, Tra ed., trans. Paul Vincent (London: Reaktion Books, 2012), 237.

[10] Thomas W. Laqueur, Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation (New York: Zone Books, 2003), 13.

[11] Ibid, 38.

[12] Ibid, 32.

[13] Ibid, 37.

[14] Ibid, 39.

[15] Jean Stengers and Anne Van Neck, Masturbation: The History of a Great Terror (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001), 81

[16] I find sincere frustration with the propensity of religion to embellish scripture to support its own biases and doctrines that seek to marginalize or control, such as with the scriptures we discussed during week three of this class used, for example, to condemn same-sex relationships. That religion actually did not make this one up yet still folded the sin of self-abuse into its moral dogma illustrates why I continue to struggle with the biblical text itself. But that is another paper.

[17] van Driel, 153.

[18] van Driel, 160.

[19] van Driel, 162.

[20] van Driel notes that masturbation is not expressly forbidden by Islamic scholars. It is allowed if it will prevent a vice such as adultery. (161)

[21] Stengerstures we discussed during week threeth a quack peddling a fake cuStengersS, 174.

[22] Stengers, 174.

[23] Mary Pellauer, “The Moral Significance of Female Orgasm: Toward Sexual Ethics that Celebrates Women’s Sexuality,” in Sexuality and the Sacred, 1st., ed. Marvin M. Ellison and Kelly Brown Douglas (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 156.

[24] Haldeman, 117.

[25] Ibid, 119.

[26] van Driel, 239.

[27] The oft cash-strapped seminarian may chuckle at van Driel’s postscript: “Apart from that, it is free.”

[28] Brenot, 70.

[29] Stengers, 173.

[30] van Driel, 241.

[31] Breanne Fahs and Elena Frank, “Notes from the Back Room: Gender, Power, and (In)Visibility in Women’s Experiences of Masturbation,” Journal of Sex Research 5, no. 3 (2014): 248.

[32] Eric Sipyinyu Njeng “Queering Masturbation in Lorde,” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.3 (2014): 5.

[33] Haldeman 114.

[34] Robert Goss, “Finding God in the Heart-Genital Connection: Joe Kramer’s Erotic Christianity,” Theology and Sexuality 16 (2002): 33

[35] Ibid, 35.

[36] Ibid, 38.

[37] Ibid, 38.

[38] Ibid, 39.

[39] Handeman, 117.

[40] Ibid, 117.

[41] Christin P. Bowman, “Women’s Masturbation: Experiences of Sexual Empowerment in a Primarily Sex-Positive Sample,” Psychology of Woman Quarterly 38, no. 3 (2013): 376.

[42] Stengers, 172.

[43] Earl Jackson, Jr., “Coming in Handy: The J/O Spectacle and the Gay Male Subject in Almodovar,” in Solitary Pleasures: The Historical, Literary, and Artistic Discourses of Autoeroticism, eds. Paula Bennett and Vernon Rosario (New York: Routledge, 1995), 251.

[44] van Driel, 238.

[45] James B. Nelson, “Where Are We?” in Sexuality and the Sacred, Second Edition: Sources for Theological Reflection, 2nd ed., ed. Marvin M. Ellison and Kelly Brown Douglas (Louisville Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010), 99.

[46] Haldeman 123.

[47] Planned Parenthood Federation, “Masturbation: From Myth to Sexual Health,” Contemporary Sexuality 37, no. 3 (March 2003): vi.

[48] Haldeman, 122.

[49] Ibid, 112.

[50] Stuart Brody, “The Relative Health Benefits of Different Sexual Activities,” Journal of Sexual Medicine7 (2010): 1340.

[51] Haldeman 118.

[52] Ibid, 120-121.

[53] Tamsin McMahon, “Masters of Their Domain,” Maclean’s 127, no. 3 (January 27, 2014): 52.

[54] “Fapping” is Internet slang for masturbation. McMahon, 52.

[55] Haldeman, 117.

[56] While I highly doubt the writer of the letter to the church in Philippi was specifically addressing masturbation, I do believe these parameters can help us make good judgments about a wide range of actions and behaviors, including masturbation.




Bowman, Christin P. “Women’s Masturbation: Experiences of Sexual Empowerment in a Primarily Sex-Positive Sample.” Psychology of Woman Quarterly 38, no. 3 (2013): 363-378.

Brenot, Philippe. In Praise of Masturbation. London: Marion Boyars Publishers Ltd, 2005.

Brody, Stuart. “The Relative Health Benefits of Different Sexual Activities.” Journal of Sexual Medicine 7 (2010): 1336-1361.

Douglas, Kelly Brown. “Contested Marriage/Loving Relationality.” In Sexuality and the Sacred, Second Edition: Sources for Theological Reflection. 2nd ed., edited by Marvin M. Ellison and Kelly Brown Douglas, 380-389. Louisville Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.

Driel, Mels van. With the Hand: a Cultural History of Masturbation. Tra ed. Translated by Paul Vincent. London: Reaktion Books, 2012.

Goss, Robert. “Finding God in the Heart-Genital Connection: Joe Kramer’s Erotic Christianity.”Theology and Sexuality 16 (2002): 33-44.

Haldeman, Scott. “Bringing Good News to the Body: Masturbation and Male Identity.” In Men’s Bodies, Men’s Gods: Male Identities in a (Post-) Christian Culture, edited by Björn Krondorfer, 118. New York: NYU Press, 1996.

Jackson, Jr., Earl, “Coming in Handy: The J/O Spectacle and the Gay Male Subject in Almodovar.” In Solitary Pleasures: The Historical, Literary, and Artistic Discourses of Autoeroticism, edited by Paula Bennett and Vernon Rosario, 251-75. New York: Routledge, 1995.

Laqueur, Thomas W. Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation. New York: Zone Books, 2003.

Nelson, James B. “Where Are We?” In Sexuality and the Sacred, Second Edition: Sources for Theological Reflection. 2nd ed., edited by Marvin M. Ellison and Kelly Brown Douglas, 95-104. Louisville Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010.

Njeng, Eric Sipyinyu. “Queering Masturbation in Lorde,” CLCWeb: Comparative Literature and Culture 16.3 (2014): 1-9.

Pellauer, Mary. “The Moral Significance of Female Orgasm: Toward Sexual Ethics that Celebrates Women’s Sexuality.” In Sexuality and the. 1st, edited by Marvin M. Ellison and Kelly Brown Douglas, 149-168. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1994.

Planned Parenthood Federation. “Masturbation: From Myth to Sexual Health.” Contemporary Sexuality 37, no. 3 (March 2003): i-vi.

Stengers, Jean, and Anne Van Neck. Masturbation: The History of a Great Terror. New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2001.

One thought on “Pursuing the Divine Spark of God: Redeeming the Practice of Self-Love

  1. Wow! I read that aloud to Michael tonight and we both applaud your honesty and enlightenment.  We want to see you soon. Please let me/us know when we can get together while you are in Texas. Mark

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