El Museo del Prado has a famous Correggio called “Noli me tangere,” (Don’t touch me). Apparently this is something Jesus said to Mary. I never heard about that when I was a kid. I grew up hearing that Jesus told us not to touch ourselves.
At some point, I have no idea how, masturbation came up. It must have been some third party that brought it up because we never used words like penis or vagina or sex… I asked what it was. I must have been 8. My mom paused a while, and then said, “It’s touching yourself in a way that’s wrong.” That about sums it up. For the next 20 years I went on believing that God was willing to send me to eternal torture for touching myself.
As soon as my mom said this, I knew what she was talking about. I had been doing it every night since I was seven. Had no idea what it was, really. I hadn’t reached puberty yet, of course. I hadn’t even connected it to sex yet. I felt really bad all of the sudden, as if I was making up for all the guilt I should have been feeling all along.
Every teenage boy is exploding with hormones, yet we’re told to wait until we’re “adults,” and the religious ones among us are told to not even relieve the pressure on our own. I still feel residual guilt from all this. What a mindfuck!