Do you remember Joycelyn Elders, the first black U.S. surgeon general, who served during the Clinton administration and stepped into a steaming pile of American Victorianism in regards to sexuality and safer sex? She was given the boot resigned after a brief 15 months:

In 1994, she became a lightning rod for criticism after she said schools should consider teaching masturbation to students as a means to prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

..."If I had to do it all over again today, I would do it the same way," she told CNN in a recent interview. "I felt I did it right the first time. I told someone, 'I went to Washington feeling like prime steak, and I left feeling like low-grade hamburger,' " she said.

...As surgeon general, she advocated universal health care and comprehensive health and sex education, but some of her comments -- such as her remarks about masturbation -- enraged conservatives.

"Our country talked about masturbation more in December of 1994 than they ever have in the history of the country, and you know, people would think you'd be embarrassed about that," Elders told CNN in 1996. "I'm not embarrassed about that."

The 72-year-old Elders would receive just as poor a reception in 2009 from the folks at the Passion for Christ Movement which, along with Dr. Ty @, is engaging in a holy war over spanking the monkey, focusing on young people of color.

Yes, I said it, in fact, I'll say it again, MASTURBATION! I figure if a few thousand of the millions here on Myspace can expose their breast, proposition you for sex, have degrading music, and nakedness can have the audacity to request me as a friend , then I can say MASTURBATION and tell the truth about it! And given that many of you are doing it or have, let's talk about it. Since the majority of us have at least a 3rd grade education, I'll begin by defining what it is.

I have heard it said by many, especially by "Christians", that masturbation is not sex and even if you don't have a third grade education, you can clearly see that masturbation is sex. But many like to use that as an excuse to do it so that they can get a little sex without going "all the way". But whether you have sexual intercourse or sexually manipulate your own genitals to achieve an orgasm, you are having sex. The reason why you masturbate is to achieve an orgasm. And an orgasm is the culmination, the climax of any sexual act, whether it's with a partner(s) or sex with yourself. And that's exactly what masturbation is, solo sex.

...Trust me, I've been there, and I'd rather have cold, dry sheets than to fondle my self. Two things I've come to know about masturbation is this:

1. It brings shame, and...

2. It is addictive

Most people who have engaged in masturbation know that the culmination of this sexual act ends in shame. I don't have to share with you the thousands of emails of the admittance of this shame because you know all too well since you have experienced it yourself. Curled up in a fetal position, crying, because your bed is even more empty and you're lonelier than you did before you violated yourself...Because God never created sex so that you could gratify yourself. The dictionary defined masturbation as self abuse...the miss use of yourself. The mistreatment, the manipulation, the exploitation of YOU.

TMI. While this is hysterically bizarre, the sad truth is that, with the unprecedented spread of HIV/AIDS in minority communities, a pious drumbeat to demonize a form of sexual expression that represents safe sex, doesn't involve the possibility of an unintended pregnancy, and no one gives a rip about if done in private is the last thing young POC need to hear.

More below the fold. All I hear in this article's message is that one's body is being defiled, abused and that the act of self-pleasure is a sexual disorder. The article denies that we are sexual beings capable of self-control. One reader called it out.


written by Guapo, February 05, 2009

this article is absurd and bordering on the verge of criminal. When we hit a certain age especially in the male biology the urge for sex is one of the largest driving forces in our brains because of every species need to successfully reproduce thus having our genes pass to an other generation. On a biological level this is basically the ultimate goal of life. Obviously in the world we live in, promiscuous sex is not only frowned upon by many theological cultures but a hazard to ones health in the face of many sexually transmitted diseases. So abstinence until marriage is an easy safety measure to prevent the spread of these fatal diseases.

Masturbation is a tool to suppress these urges and is used to help with a variety of mental illnesses such as depression and anxiety. To not just control this impulse, which like any form of pleasure should be controlled, but to completely subjugate our sexual desires is sheer insanity. This article states that the act of masturbation is completely unnatural and we should be ashamed of engaging in it. This shame is not brought about by our own moral spectrum but by the religious fear of angering some omnipotent being who watches and tallies every single transgression against some law that was prophesied by people who lived thousands of years ago. Please whether we admit it or not we are sexual beings and to ignore this fact until the day of your wedding will be harmful to your own personal development as a human being.

Some of the other comments at are quite revelatory -- you see the gulf and struggle between conservative religious views about sex and reality-based thinking regarding sexual health. If nothing else, this article has stimulated a discussion about a topic that is as much a third rail topic today as it was when Dr. Joycelyn Elders tried to educate the public about the matter. These folks need to get their heads out of the sand. Dr. Elders, you're needed on the intertubes pronto.

H/t, Jesus' General.