Negative Consequences of Masturbation
Masturbation is a reprehensible act in Islam. Islamic traditions and verdicts from Islamic scholars have clearly shown that it is prohibited. For instance, Imam Sadiq (a) was asked about masturbation and he responded by stating that “it is an indecent act.” The following tradition is also recorded from Imam Sadiq in Al-Khisal: “Allah will not speak with three [categories of people] on the Day of Judgment. He will not look at them and will not purify them. They will be inflicted with severe punishment. These three [categories of people are those who]…have sex with themselves…”
Masturbation is defined as self-stimulation of the sexual organ till one achieves emission of semen or orgasm. This applies to both men and women. Statistics show that 95 percent of men admit to masturbating, compared to 89 percent of women. 70 percent of married individuals admit to masturbation. These numbers would be less in Muslim communities, but is still a huge problem that is rarely addressed. 40 percent of men and 22 percent of women admit to masturbating on a daily basis. There is even a statistic that states at this moment, as you are reading this, 797,151 Americans are masturbating – that’s more than the population of Alaska and two times the population of Wollongong (for my friends in Australia).
There are many known negative effects of masturbation that are worth mentioning. Masturbating can sometimes create an individual orgasm effect where we train our bodies to respond to our own familiar touch and have a reduced response to other people’s touch, resulting in a tougher time reaching climax with others. When masturbation increases it can lead to chronic masturbation which affects brain and body chemistry. Sex hormones and neurotransmitters are overproduced which impacts each person differently, and can range from fatigue, pelvic pain, vision changes, lower back pain, testicular pain, or hair loss.
There is a common list of negative side effects of masturbation which is mentioned by numerous doctors, counsellors, and psychologists. Some items on this list are: difficulty in performing sexual intercourse, stress, weak erection, premature ejaculation, reduced orgasm, loss of memory, interest in homosexuality, loss of memory, mood swings, and depression. For further research, one can refer to this list of articles in medical journals.
Shia jurists have also clearly stated the prohibition of masturbation. One such marja’ is Sayyid Sistani. He answers a number of questions regarding this issue on his website. Some of the questions are:
Some companies have produced an item similar to the woman’s vagina that some men would place over their penis at bedtime for carnal desire. Is this classified as masturbation that is forbidden? His answer: It is harãm if he seeks to ejaculate intentionally or ejaculation is normal [in such a circumstance] for him. Rather, based on obligatory precaution, he must refrain from it, even if he is confident of not ejaculating.
When I am unable to do Muta’h (temporary marriage), am I allowed to masturbate? His answer: Masturbation is not permissible under any circumstances.
Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi, in his famous book Marriage and Morals in Islam provides a few steps to stop masturbation. These steps are:
1. Strengthening will-power: This is possible only if one honestly and sincerely wants to get rid of this habit. Pray to Allah to help you overcome this habit, concentrate on religious teachings, and build up the spirit of taqwa, piety.
2. More and more stay in the company of other persons: If in the daytime you feel like masturbating, get up from your bed or chair and get into the presence of other people and talk to them. If it happens at bedtime, sit up in bed, read a book or write a letter. Do something to switch your mind on to other things.
3. Adopt some hobby or sports which will provide you with an outlet for the energies of your body.