Tuesday 16 April 2013

Masturbation is ‘self-abuse’ and ‘unnatural’, according to SPUC

SPUC (Society for the Protection of Unborn Children) is an anti-abortion organisation which speaks to young people in schools across the country on topics like abortion and euthanasia.

We’ve written before about our concerns with the misinformation that SPUC provides on contraception and abortion, and about the stigmatisation of abortion, as well as non-heterosexual lifestyles. However, a recent blog quoting SPUC’s communications manager Anthony Ozimic exposes another aspect of SPUC’s policies which may not be fitting for schools wishing to deliver relevant and accessible sex education to their pupils.

In addressing the Telegraph’s recent obituary of ‘IVF pioneer’ Robert Edwards, SPUC outlines its problem with masturbation (as well as other aspects of IVF technology). Ozimic states:
“The sperm used to fertilise the eggs in IVF is almost always obtained by masturbation, assisted by the provision of pornography. Masturbation instrumentalises and thus debases the sexual faculty, which is proper to marital union, not laboratory experiments. The sexual organs are structured for depositing sperm into the vagina, not into a jar. A masturbator - even one motivated by a desire to fertilise eggs, even his wife's - is 'making love' to his hand, which is unnatural and a form of self-abuse. Masturbation for any purpose - including providing sperm samples for medical purposes - is intrinsically unethical.”
Remember that SPUC claims to be a secular organisation. When SPUC speakers talk about sex and relationships in schools, they do not do so from an officially Catholic position. Ozimic notes that “Catholics in particular should note that it is forbidden” but implies that masturbation is debasing and unnatural for all.

We know that in fact, a majority of people have engaged in some kind of masturbation. It is safe and can be a good way for people to get to know their bodies without risk of sexually transmitted infections or unwanted pregnancy. It’s sad to think that a new generation of young people is being fed these same stigmatising messages about masturbation which can create guilt and shame around what is a natural and common act.


  1. What about using condoms in IVF? Aha! instead of using them to prevent pregnancy they could be used to capture the semen to be used in these 'experiments' so masturbation can be avoided. What would the non-religious yet somewhat catholic take on that be? (If God wants a couple to be barren then IVF's a sin, right?)
    If God didn't want us to masturbate he wouldn't have put our funnest bits right between our hands.

  2. Good to see a hight standard of ethical debate here. Something can be wrong even of a majority of people have engaged in it (lying for example). The Catholc Church might hold something wrong on grounds on philosophical grounds as well as theological (atheists/deists have held masturbation to be wrong DH Lawrence, Kant etc.). Still, I can see while abortionists and masturbators would quite like people to keep quiet about behaviour which degrades society. Guilt might just be a sign that not everything is ok when it comes to our actual situation.