Advertisement

Pastoral Psychology

, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 249–272 | Cite as

From Masturbation to Homosexuality: A Case of Displaced Moral Disapproval

  • Donald Capps
Article

Abstract

I argue that the decline in moral disapproval of masturbation in the American religious culture over the last half-century is directly responsible for increased moral disapproval of homosexuality. Moral disapproval previously directed toward masturbators is being redirected instead toward homosexuals. Since masturbation has been practiced by the overwhelming majority of individuals who self-identify with the American religious culture, while homosexual acts have been engaged in by a significantly smaller number of individuals who self-identify with this culture, the displacement of moral disapproval from masturbatory behavior to homosexual behavior leads to the stigmatization of those who engage in homosexual behavior, and an attitude of moral superiority and personal condescension inevitably follows. Nineteenth and twentieth century writings on the perils and evils of masturbation are cited in support of this argument.

homosexuality masturbation mental illness moral disapproval reproduction 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bakan, D. (1966). The duality of human existence. Chicago: Rand McNally & Company.Google Scholar
  2. Bigham, T. J. (1960). Pastoral and ethical notes on problems of masturbation. Pastoral Psychology, 11(105), 19–23.Google Scholar
  3. Freud, S. (1960). Group psychology and the analysis of the ego. (J. Strachey, Trans.). New York: Bantam Books.Google Scholar
  4. Freud, S. (1966). Introductory lectures on psycho-analysis, (J. Strachey, Ed. and Trans.). New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  5. Graham, W. (1999). Henry James's thwarted love. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Haynes, T., M.D. (1883). Surgical treatment of hopeless cases of masturbation and nocturnal emissions. The Boston Medical and Surgical Journal 109, July-December issue.Google Scholar
  7. Hood, R. (1998). When the spirit mains and kills: Social psychological considerations of the history of SHS and the narrative of handlers. International Journal for the Psychology of Religion 8, 71–96.Google Scholar
  8. James, W. (1982). The varieties of religious experience. New York: Penguin Books.Google Scholar
  9. Kant, I. (1963). Lectures on ethics. (L. Infield, Trans.). New York: Harper & Row.Google Scholar
  10. Menninger, K. (1977). Whatever became of sin? New York: Hawthorn Books.Google Scholar
  11. Rosenzweig, S. (1994). The historic expedition to America (1909): Freud, Jung, and Hall the king-maker. St. Louis: Rana House.Google Scholar
  12. Saraglou, V., and J-M. Jaspard (2001). Does religion affect humour creation? An experimental study. Mental Health, Religion and Culture 4, 33–46.Google Scholar
  13. Simon, L. (1998). Genuine reality: A life of William James. New York: Harcourt Brace & Company.Google Scholar
  14. Szasz, T. (1984). The therapeutic state: Psychiatry in the mirror of current events. Buffalo: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  15. Szasz, T. (2000). Remembering masturbatory insanity. Ideas on Liberty 50, no. 5.Google Scholar
  16. Townsend, K. (1996). Manhood at Harvard: William James and others. New York: W. W. Norton.Google Scholar
  17. Weatherhead, L. D. (1947). The mastery of sex through psychology and religion. New York: The Macmillan Company.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Human Sciences Press, Inc. 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Donald Capps
    • 1
  1. 1.Princeton Theological SeminaryPrinceton

Personalised recommendations