Masturbation: Fantasy Rescue By the Parents

[Written around 2004.]

Masturbation is risky for anyone with unhealed psychological wounds – that is, all of us who are not yet fully enlightened. Although our biology plays a part in motivating us to express ourselves sexually, our unresolved emotional issues push us far more strongly. People are emotionally motivated to masturbate by a craving to play out unconscious dynamics of parental rescue in an attempt to bypass the healing process.

Healing is ugly and painful. Masturbation is pleasurable. Healing is protracted and seemingly never-ending and invariably frustrating. Masturbation is time-limited and has a definite end. Healing keeps you up all night in the most unpleasant discomfort.

Masturbation puts you nicely to sleep, lulling your unresolved childhood traumas back into their little repressed caves in the unconscious. But healing ultimately saves your life, whereas masturbation ultimately leads you nowhere – and keeps you stuck in your misery, and keeps you repetitively acting out the worst of your childhood history.

But the answer is not simply to avoid masturbation through burial of the sex drive. Repression is dangerous and contrary to healing, because it deprives you of your feelings, which you need as a roadmap to find the deep truth within you. This, ironically, is why the most backward people advocate repression – and pathologize masturbation. They don’t want you to know. If you knew you might just tell the truth about them.

To be fair, however, there are more dangerous ways to act out sexually than through masturbation. Unless you are fully enlightened it is healthier to masturbate than to engage in sex with a partner. The dynamics of interactional sex are exponentially harder to sort out consciously and heal from, because unlike in masturbation now there are two unhealed psyches at work, both pumping out their own versions of unconscious parental rescue fantasy onto each other…with an expectation of resolution.

Partner sex is a psychic set-up for failure and emotional destruction. Few can do much healing while in a sexual relationship with another, and past a certain point it becomes impossible. The dynamics are simply too intense and too emotionally laden. Most people have sex to avoid healing, which is exactly why society pushes it. Also, interactional sex often makes people into parents, which is the best way to seal their fates as non-healers.

The way to deal with normal sexuality in a healthy way is to keep on healing. To grieve. To feel. To learn your internal stumbling blocks. To know yourself. To devote yourself mind, body, and spirit to resolving your deepest emotional conflicts through unearthing your buried traumas and untangling their hidden webs. To build a strong core of a true self, a connected relationship with the best of you in your inner breast, and then to confront your perpetrators either in person or in your own private psyche. This is to heal. Perhaps this healing process will involve masturbation somewhere along the way, though as it progresses it becomes much less likely. Healthier people do not like to act out. It hurts them.

If you do masturbate, do so as consciously as you can – and recognize this as a still partially troubled step along your path to enlightenment, not unlike being on the nicotine patch. It’s better than smoking, but it’s no healthy ideal. If you masturbate, see if you can’t use it as a stage in the healing process. Study your masturbatory dynamics, learn the patterns of your fantasies and the truth underneath the metaphors, and trace them back to their historical sources in your childhood, where they invariably lie. But proceed with caution. Masturbation is inherently addictive, as are all routes that bypass healing.
If you feel shame from masturbating, search out the historical roots of your shame. Sexuality is not inherently shameful, and need not ultimately be so. Shame is not something you were born with. It is something that was foisted on you, probably by your parents. See if you can discover the roots of your shame.

If you are celibate and do not masturbate and feel much emotional discomfort with this, know that this is healthy. It is torture to change your inner patterns, especially when they were once very sick. Trust it, but be gentle with yourself. It takes true strength to do what you do, and there’s a reason so many cannot. Learn from it. Grow from it. Study the roots of your urges.

If you do not masturbate and feel you are repressing your sex drive in any way, study this too. You can learn much from your patterns of repression. Your inner soul holds the best college curriculum around – one designed purely for your own education, all there for the taking.

10 thoughts on “Masturbation: Fantasy Rescue By the Parents

  1. Hello,

    It’s a very old essay and I don’t know what is your current perspective on the topic. Nevertheless, it seems to me that what you are talking about applies to addiction/escapism in general whether its masturbation, watching Netflix or getting lost in other peoples’ drama.

    Should we stick to eating flavorless food just in case we are using the pleasure of eating to bypass? I have no statistics but I assume that “food addiction” is more prevalent than “masturbation addiction”. On the other hand, not everyone who eats is an addict nor everyone who masturbate is bypassing.

    Maybe substituting joy with pleasure is a hallmark of the true-self vs the false-self. The false-self has no access to joy, wether through food, sex or watching a movie. It can only offer you pleasure to keep you attached to it.

    Take care

    • Addressing the “Maybe substituting joy with pleasure is a hallmark of the true-self vs the false-self.” I am not quite sure about your understanding of the terms true-self and false-self, however your basic idea is quite clear. Putting it short, joy is more of a state of mind, rather than a feeling in any of its’ forms.
      About the “Should we stick to eating flavorless food just in case we are using the pleasure of eating to bypass?” part. I believe that you are familiar with such religious practice as fasting (Lent in Christianity, Ramdan in Islam, Tisha B’av, Yom Kippur, Fast of Esther, Tzom Gedalia,the Tenth of Tevet, the Seventeenth of Tamuz in Judaism, etc.), which has the main purpose of “strengtening one’s spirit”. The connection between the two should be rather self-explanatory.

  2. What does it mean when one has no phantasies during masturbation? Let´s say I was convinced I should have phantasies during masturbation, but originally there were none.
    I started to masturbate very late in my life, at the age of 24 (I am 29 now) and I still havent tried partner sex.

  3. I agree with most everything except this:

    “If you are celibate and do not masturbate and feel much emotional discomfort with this, know that this is healthy”

    Sexual expression is normal, it is not healthy to abstain from any type of sexual release. If this wasn’t your intent to communicate it like this I apologize, but if it is it is incredibly harmful to be preaching this. Sex is natural and pretending it isn’t and avoiding it is not healthy.

    • I was thinking the same.

      Being celibate is a form of avoidance in my opinion. Most that I know that are celibate or abstain from any sexual activity are majorly avoidant and intimate- phobic.

      This is a tricky subject. Sex can also be healing, if it is done with the intent of that and with an immense amount of awareness. Sometimes sex can awaken trapped emotions in the body. One should be selective with who they take to bed, because there is an exchange of energy. But then again we attract people on a similar energetic frequency.

      You do make some interesting points and I can link my own behaviour to what you say. Yet I also believe it should not be so black and white. Like don’t have sex until you heal. Healing is a life long process. And people that are avoidant or deeply afraid of intimacy will feel justified in their repression of sexual desire.

      • Hi Leah, I agree with you too.

        I don’t consider masturbation unhealthy concerning myself. Quite the contrary, masturbation really helped me to find out more about some of my traumas through some fantasies I could have, or explore what I was feeling after an orgasm and why.

        I think for some people, and maybe more men than women (not sure about that) masturbation can help to avoid some troubles and become an addiction like alcohol, tobacco, drugs… because that gives pleasure.

        But, actually, I think that masturbation and fantasies can also help us to heal. Especially fantasies. And indicate what sort of trouble we can have and where are our traumas.
        In my opinion, when you have sex with someone, it is also a way to see the person the way she/he really is because people don’t lie at that moment, it is too intimate. They don’t lie about the way they consider you, they don’t lie about what they need.

        And I agree with you, being celibate can be a form of avoidance of intimacy. I mean, it can be so hard to trust someone, especially when you have been harmed before. This kind of experience is also a way to discover more about ourselves, what we feel, etc. And that can be much more painful than being celibate.

        I think there is a time for both. A time to be single and discover about ourselves in a comfortable way because you are alone and nobody is judging you. And there is a time to confront ourselves to the others through friendship, romantic relationship, etc. Because every interaction makes us feel something, and every feeling can help us to know more about ourselves, and to heal when there is something to heal 🙂

  4. What are your thoughts on the idea that sexual energy is like a microcosm of the larger energy of life, and that dysfunction in our sexual energy can be related to and recognized in our bigger problems with joy and pleasure? Sex typically symbolizes pleasure at the lowest level, the first and second chakra. Sex also symbolizes the uniting of the male and female in the dynamic of creation. Your sex can reveal your desire (for instance) to abuse or repress the female aspect. Ultimately we seek a balancing of the male and female, the yang and the yin. This balance we must find within ourselves. To initiate purposeful action (yang) and to carry it through (yin). Sex is such an enormous topic. I’d love to read more about it. I don’t know much about it.

    • hi Bart — interesting points you make. I’m not sure what I think about chakras and such — it’s not my way of looking at things — and, frankly, I don’t know exactly what I think about sexual “energy” as a whole. But I think we all do have sexual energy to some degree…….I guess the question is how much do we all have, is is blocked or distorted, is it other energy being diverted through a sexual lens…….? A worthy topic for more thought, I think!

    • for some it is a way of self-exploration, and for some not masturbating is a way of self-exploration. all depends on where someone is at in their journey…

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