Roundup: Masturbation as Natural as Breathing….Let’s Ban That, Too

Shades of Jocelyn Elders: Far right has its knickers in a twist on masturbation as part of sex ed curriculum

The far right continues to use the "sex boogeyman" as a scare tactic to undermine comprehensive sex ed, here and abroad. 

Agence-France Press reports that guidelines originally drafted by the UN cultural organisation Unesco will promote…..(gasp!)….masturbation.

First of all, as a mother of two, I can tell you that children begin touching their bodies, including their genitalia, when they are infants.  It is natural and there is nothing wrong with it.  The thing that is wrong is the horrified reaction of adults to this natural behavior.  Second, if we want teens to delay sexual activity as long as possible, then masturbation is a good tool to promote that.  Finally, making masturbation dirty makes a natural act dirty, and can lead to lifelong sexual hangups.  No matter whether you are "abstinent until marriage" or not, there is nothing wrong with masturbation.

Tell that to the far right.  (I know none of these folks masturbates……).

The draft guidelines now under review, the International Guidelines on Sexual Education, are intended to improve the sexual education of the world’s
children by creating a platform that can be adapted by national governments in creating curricula and guiding policy discussions.  Shockingly, these guidelines are based on evidence, human rights, and best practices. 

But they have come under attack from parts of the American right, which
has accused UNESCO of "promoting masturbation" and, of course, no surprise….abortion.

The AFP story states:

Last week, the UN cultural organisation Unesco released the draft International Guidelines on Sexual Education intended for discussion among experts in the coming months before a final version is sent to national authorities.

guidelines are meant as a "global template" of ideas to help young
people make safe and responsible sexual choices, avoid sexually
transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy and escape prostitution or
other abuses.

But one section of the draft in particular appears
to have caught the eye of American headline writers. "UN report
advocates teaching masturbation to five-year-olds," ran one story on
the Fox News website.

AFP at least gets it right by noting that the Fox report and "many more like it from
mainly right-wing US media and internet outlets," focused on the Unesco
report’s suggested syllabus for school children aged between five and
eight years old.

What do the guidelines say on this issue?

"It is natural to explore and touch
parts of one’s own body. Bodies can feel good when touched. Touching
and rubbing one’s genitals is called masturbating. Some people
masturbate and some do not.

"Masturbation is not harmful, but should be done in private," it adds.

It’s kind of like saying "it is natural to breathe."  But if that was "pleasurable," or otherwise political, the far right would also be after banning breathing (except for themselves, of course).

Liliana Segura of Alternet, citing Tampa Bay Online, writes about efforts to pass an "egg-as-person" law in Florida:

"Yes, the state that brought you Bush v. Gore, the sex offender colony under the bridge, and the shoot-first-ask-questions-later legislation known as the "Stand Your Ground Law" has another idea up its sleeve. And this one’s for the ladies."

Tampa Bay Online reports:

TALLAHASSEE – Anti-abortion conservatives are proposing a
new constitutional amendment that critics claim would make it a crime
to take birth control pills in Florida.

"Personhood Amendment" that conservative activists are filing today in
Tallahassee would add language to the state constitution that defines
someone as a "person," regardless of age or health status, "from the
beginning of the biological development of that human being."

Segura continues:

"This, of course, is just another twist on the conventional argument
by anti-choice groups that birth control pills are basically murder

The pill will irritate the lining of the uterus so that the
newly formed human being cannot attach to his/her mother’s womb and
dies," reads an explanation on the website of the American Life League, which is supporting similar efforts in other states. "This is called a chemical abortion.

This is the same group that runs, a site that "focuses on blood clots and other health risks that birth control pills pose to women."


Even if these people manage to collect the 676,811 signatures
they need to get by Feb. 1 in order for this idea to be considered by
Florida residents, even anti-choice politicians seem to be a bit
ambivalent about the idea of criminalizing birth control.


Other news:


Tri-State News: Arizona abortion law faces court challenges

Catholic Exchange: Spanish Doctors Will Choose Jail over Committing Abortion

Chicago Tribune: Illinois gets funding for increasing adoptions

WaPo: Voices of Power: Secretary of Health and Human Services, Kathleen Sebelius

National Post: Incivility hurts the pro-life cause

WaPo: When It Comes to Pollution, Less (Kids) May Be More

ABC News Australia: Ethiopian children exploited by US adoption agencies

News 24: UN ‘promoting masturbation’


AlterNet: Anti-Choice Floridians Peddling Constitutional Amendment to Criminalize Birth Control Pill

Niagara Gazette: CONFER: Health care reform and abortions

HuffPo: When Planning a Pregnancy Can Save a Woman’s Life

Chicago Daily Observer: A Clear Statement on Healthcare Bill: Abortion Will Not Be Funded

Star Beacon: Brown aide: Health reforms won’t pay abortions costs

The Lariat Online: Mike Huckabee to visit Waco, speak on life

NYTimes: New Objections to Baucus Health Care Proposal

State News: Bill calls for insurance-backed birth control

Naples News: VIDEOS/PHOTOS: Protesters remain peaceful on first day of abortions at Planned Parenthood

Dominican Today: Amnesty International joins Dominican abortion fray

Catholic News Agency: Murder of Michigan pro-lifer a ‘non-story’ for Obama Catholics

LifeNews: Arizona Planned Parenthood Sues to Overturn New Pro-Life Laws Limiting Abortions

Baptist Press: Slain pro-life activist is martyr, some say

San Antonio Business Journal: Texas receives $5 million in incentive money for increasing adoptions

Opposing Views: Using Abortion to Choose Baby’s Gender-Is it Right?

U.S. News & World Report: Abortion Debate Could Make or Break Healthcare Reform

ABC News: Low-Dose Birth Control Pills May Weaken Bones

Catholic Exchange: Pro-Abortion Groups Silent in Wake of Pro-Life Activist’s Slaying

U.S. News & World Report: The Liberal, Pro-Life Case Against Healthcare Reform’s Foes

Phoenix Business Journal: Planned Parenthood sues over new abortion restrictions

Atlantic: Beware Of Decoys In The Abortion Wars

LifeNews: Obama Won’t Meet With Pro-Life Democrat to Discuss Abortion, Health Care

LifeNews: Catholic Bishops Differ From Pro-Life Response to Obama Abortion Funding Claim

LifeNews: White House Will Meet With Skeptical Pro-Life Leader on Abortion, Health Care

Washington Times: Pro-lifers pray for Obama’s conversion Abortion Double Standard

Palm Beach Post: (Letter) Rhetoric neglects to take stand on abortion issue

Denver Post: Health care’s hot topic: funding for abortions

Boston Herald: Pro-choice group supports Martha Coakley


NewsBusters: ABC Thinks ObamaCare MIGHT Cover Abortions


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  • feminazi

    It’s Joycelyn Elders, not Jacqueline.

  • progo35

    Joycelyn Elders is a jerk. I don’t know why people keep holding her up as an example to women. In the early 1990s she said that abortion was a good thing because it lead to less people with down syndrome being born, one of the most prejudiced comments I have ever heard, yet Bill Clinton still kept her on as his Surgeon General until the whole stupid masturbation fiasco. Talk about messd up priorities and hypocrisy from the left-it’s totally okay to say that abortion based on handicap is a good thing, even as an administration is trying to hold itself up as and sensitive to diversity."Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Moreover, I don’t see why it would be necessary for schools to talk about something like masturbation. Contraception, yes, but not something as private as masturbation: what are kids going to gain from that? I support comprehensive sex ed but I think that there is a line and that some things are better addressed at home, especially at a young age. Moreover, nothing in Jodi’s write up indicated that anyone on the right said that masturbation is a “crime,” just something that shouldn’t be discussed with five to eight year olds in our public schools. Saying “I don’t want my child’s teacher to discuss masturbation with him or her, because that’s personal and I want to do that myself,” is NOT the same as saying, “masturbation is evil/unnatural.”

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • progo35

    Moreover, nothing in Jodi’s write up indicated that anyone on the right said that masturbation is a “crime,” just something that shouldn’t be discussed with five to eight year olds in our public schools. Saying “I don’t want my child’s teacher to discuss masturbation with him or her, because that’s personal and I want to do that myself,” is NOT the same as saying, “masturbation is evil/unnatural.”

    "Well behaved women seldom make history."-Laurel Thatcher Ulrich

  • jodi-jacobson

    you are right….my bad!!!


    writing too early without enough coffee!


    thanks for pointing it out, i will fix.



  • ack

    If we’re talking about comprehensive sex education, why should masturbation be excluded? It’s a safe and normal sexual behavior. If the classes cover sex between people but avoid talking about masturbation, that could unintentionally result in students thinking that it must not be ok. A lot of parents won’t feel comfortable talking about this with their kids, so in their interest, it should be included.

  • feminazi

    What are kids going to gain from that? A lot, actually. They’ll gain a sense of confidence instead of the shame and loneliness that most kids associate with masturbation, because they think it’s something that only they do and that they shouldn’t do. They’ll learn that they can take control of their own bodies and know what feels good for them so that they can, at a later time, communicate that to a partner so that we, God willing, will never again have perfectly sexually healthy women who go for YEARS without ever experiencing an orgasm. They’ll learn that they can have orgasms without putting themselves and others at risk for the transmission of STIs.


    Parents are perfectly able and feel free to exercise the right to pull their kids out of comprehensive sex ed, when it is actually an option. It’s unfortunate that these are probably the same parents who prefer not to talk to their kids about sex at all. They don’t want anyone else doing it, but they sure as hell aren’t going to do it themselves. When they bumble through their sexual awakening and end up pregnant or with an STI before they graduate from high school, who can you blame?

  • feminazi

    Am I going to get busted on 180 or so counts of improperly disposing of a corpse, according to this proposed law in Florida? I started my period roughly 15 years ago, and I have, each time, callously and coldly simply used tampons or pads and either flushed them (for the former) or threw them in the trash (for that latter). I’m waiting for the police to knock on my door.