ON MASTURBATION: RELIGIOUS PURITY AND INSTITUTIONAL HEGEMONY IN ABRAHAMIC RELIGIONS AND BUDDHISM
This paper analyzes the attitudes to masturbation in the Abrahamic religions and Buddhism. Textual interpretation has been used to scrutinize the primary sources within religious texts, while Weber’s ideas on legitimacy and domination have been employed to elucidate the effect of religious injunctions against masturbation. The findings reveal that the primary sources used to condemn masturbation in Abrahamic religion is not clear, and so it should not be considered dogmatically. The interpretations of those sources draw connection between masturbation and such ideas as lust and impurity, which are measured with reference to a spiritual elite. Buddhism sees sexual desire in relation to suffering that must be able to overcome for those who desire enlightenment. Though its theological background is different the Buddhist examples help clarify the Abrahamic worldviews on masturbation. Moreover, the holy status of Catholic priests and Buddhist monks, who are viewed as a spiritual elite, is achieved by abstaining from sex and masturbation, and this hierarchy serves to designate as sinful and impure the practice of masturbation.
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