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My name is Salman Ahmad; 21 years old. I know there is no physical harm of masturbation. But I think it has some psychological effects. I feel guilty, I criticize myself. I cannot control this, so I feel helpless. I am masturbating twice a day since last eight years. Please help me how can I stop masturbation and how can I control sexual thoughts and urge.



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Hello, Salman, and may peace be upon you too--

I understand your suffering, but it is not masturbation that causes the psychological pain from which you suffer, but rather the mistaken and nasty attitudes toward sex and the human body taught to you as part of the Muslim religious indoctrination which (I assume) you received as a child. According to Abdul Kasem, "The Islamic concept of sex is based on Bedouin Arab culture that is barbaric and uncivilized, to say the least, when compared to today’s world. This is because sex is so 'dirty' a word and is so severely restricted in Islam . . . ." This sad form of ignorance, passed down through the generations, disguised as something holy, and even seen as worth defending by every imaginable form of violence from the routine sexual mutilation of female Muslim children to the murder of so-called infidels, teaches that masturbation, in reality an instinctual and almost universal human activity, is a sin against "Allah." By the way, I called those abused little girls "Muslim children," but there are no "Muslim children." Children are children, and don't become Muslims until they are indoctrinated with the "barbaric and uncivilized" beliefs of their elders, to use Kasem's language.

In other words, I assume that you were taught that autoeroticism (self-administered sexual stimulation) would keep you from enjoying an eternity in paradise, and could doom you instead to endless suffering in hell. That nonsense, I feel certain, is the source of your guilt feelings, not masturbation itself, which for many humans is a harmless and often pleasant way to enjoy ones own body and sexuality. In any  case, despite the ignorant claims of the imams, masturbation is neither physically harmful nor emotionally harmful
. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said for religious brainwashing which, as I see it, is a major source of both physical suffering and emotional suffering all over the world.

In my opinion, teaching this kind of groundless, superstitious drivel to young human beings who are not experienced enough to judge its absurdity for themselves is nothing short of  psychological child abuse. This is one of the reasons, among many, why I am so opposed to religious indoctrination of any kind: Muslim, Christian, Jewish, or whatever. To put this even more plainly: to teach a child that some book or cleric can tell him or her what "God" wants or does not want, or to teach a child that there is an afterlife with rewards and punishments is simply to abuse that child.

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And the worst of it is that many of those children end up as conflicted and frightened adults, worried about the future and needlessly guilty about their own normal sexual desires, just like you. I hope you will awaken from this Allah fantasy before you have children of your own, and find yourself foisting upon them the same ignorance and the same suffering that was unloaded upon you.

Salman, if you enjoy the physical release of masturbation--many people do--I would not advise that you handle your emotional pain by trying to stop masturbating, but instead that you seek some personalized, non-doctrinal help in dealing with your misplaced guilt. To be clear: your guilt, imposed upon you by liars, is the source of your pain, not masturbation. I recommend consulting a psychotherapist who is not religious, if you can find one.

Further, I advise anyone who suffers from guilt and shame to stay away from all mosques which seem to be endless sources not just of sexual guilt, shame, and misinformation, but also of division among people, outrageous abuses of human rights--especially abuses of the human rights of women and children--and, as we see in many parts of the world, of beatings, murders, mutilations, and all manner of horrible violence. Yes, all of that is justified in the name of the "prophet," but what does that mean? What does that mean?

The problems of this world are many:
How will we be able to halt the destruction of our planetary home, increasingly threatened by global warming, and by over-exploitation, misuse, and pollution of finite resources, including the very air and water that we require to survive? How we will get food, water, shelter, and medicine to everyone who needs it? How can we free the millions of women on this planet presently victimized by misogyny and sexual slavery?

But as long as the human race is broken into fragments, all arguing about which god to worship and how, all disputing over who is saved, and who is an infidel, and all bickering about who is going to heaven and who to hell--chattering endlessly and foolishly about preposterous nonsense as if it really meant something--our real problems will never find room on center stage, never receive the full attention they require.

So long as we humans continue to accept the anodyne fairy tale that a "better place" awaits, we will never live fully in the present, never fully comprehend that actions really matter--not as credentials for admission to "heaven" at some future time, but right now. This Earth, our bodies, and the bodies of our fellow beings are all we know, and all we really have. The rest--heaven, hell, god, devil, the whole overblown fantasy--is only words. And those words are not enough: not enough to feed the hungry, not enough to spare the innocent, not enough to end the interminable wars, not enough to stop the destruction of our planet.

That is why I say that we human beings must now awaken from the delusion that we will be rewarded or punished after death for our conduct in this life--rewarded or punished by a "God" who requires our belief, demands obedience to "His" rules (no masturbation), and obliges us to pray, and pray properly, or be damned. Rewards and punishments, Salman, do not happen later in heaven and hell. The people starving to death in Sudan are living in hell right now. Meanwhile, as I write this, in that same benighted region completely dominated by Islamic superstition, zealots march in the streets waving knives, demanding death for a visiting teacher who innocently and unwittingly committed the "crime" of allowing her seven year old students to name their teddy bear "Mohammed," thereby "soiling" the sacred name of their "prophet." Words! Moment by moment, we make this life what it is, not "God," and it is time we stopped worrying about the afterlife, and began to concentrate on taking better care of ourselves, our fellow-beings, and our beautiful home.

In particular, we must awaken from the pernicious, hypnotic belief that we will be rewarded in paradise for our very success in self-deception, for our very ability, that is, to bamboozle ourselves, to hoodwink ourselves, to convince ourselves that the fairy tale, which we really know is not true, is true, and that we will be assured of living forever with "God" as soon as we banish all skepticism, and simply believe what we are told to believe, and do what we are told to do.

"God" was the explanation, devised by stone-age people, completely ignorant of science and without the perspective to imagine any other explanation, for the presence of life on Earth. How can we still take that idea seriously, and imagine that "God" is sitting in judgment on our lives? Or, even if we do not imagine such a "God," how can we claim to "respect" the faith of those who do when no other such far-fetched idea gets that kind of respect? Do we really want to continue living in a world dominated by such superstition and ignorance, or is it time to stand up and say, "Enough!" Even today, when the mechanism of the evolution of life is well-understood and, among knowlegeable people, so well demonstrated as to be tantamount to fact, the religious people prefer their supernatural explanations, and so simply turn deaf ears to reason. This is not "faith," it is stupidity. The entire religious enterprise, in my view, is like a virus that spreads from brain to brain, rendering each brain it infects incapable of seeing things as they are, and making of each brain it infects a new source of infection of the brains of the subsequent generation.

No one--no imam, no ayatollah, no priest, no reverend, no rabbi--can possibly know anything about "God," about heaven, or about ultimate matters of any kind. Yet many claim to know, and millions seem determined to believe them. How can so many human beings continue to deceive themselves in this tragic abandonment of human intelligence? And why do the rest of us, in the name of religious tolerance or so-called "respect" for the "faith" (credulity) of others, keep pretending to ourselves and our children that these religious dogmas are harmless? They are not harmless: ask the women who are beaten and stoned because they committed the "crime" of having been raped if Islam is harmless! Dare we not stand up and say that the emperor has no clothes? As a race, are we really this hypnotized, this unquestioning, this fearful?

Often forbidding something produces powerful compulsions to do that very thing, to violate that taboo. Most likely your feeling that masturbation is out of control in your life, along with your need to masturbate so frequently and with such regularity, is due in part to the "forbidden" label which has been put on that practice by your cultural conditioning. As soon as you are able to realize that masturbation is normal, natural, and extremely common among humans, and furthermore that no one (no god, no prophet) is watching you when you masturbate (you have total privacy), I imagine that you might both enjoy masturbation more, or at least less guiltily, and also find yourself doing it less compulsively and less frequently.


Be well,


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