Thursday Review: Winston Smith on masturbation

A review of Winston T. Smith, It’s All About Me: The Problem with Masturbation, New Growth Press, 2009.

Available here from amazon.com. Also available as a five pack from amazon.com.

It’s All About Me is the latest in CCEF’s excellent series of pastoral booklets. It’s 20 pages long and, like the other booklets in the series, clearly designed to be used as part of a pastoral process.

Smith addresses the issue of the morality of masturbation by outlining the harmful effects it typically has on relationships. He invites the reader think about what is happening in their fantasies. “In most cases people are fawning over you. You are the centre of attention in a world where no one cares about anything but you.” We’re only three pages, but already the idolatrous nature of masturbation is being exposed. The Bible warns against making neat distinction between what happens in our minds and what happens in our lives. This selfish attitude will affect your real life relationships.

But there is hope. “Jesus didn’t come just to police our sexual lust, but to free us from it … You may not believe it, but the truth is that Jesus’ love is far sweeter than any world of self-indulgence you can create.” Smith highlights a helpful truth for any process of sanctification: “what feels like death bring life and joy”. Saying no to temptation isn’t easy. It feels like loss. But it brings life and gain.

The second half of the booklet focuses on practical strategies for change. These includes confession, community and “learning to love real people in the real in the real world”. “Instead of focusing on your fantasies and sexual satisfaction, look around at all the real people God has put into your life for you to love and serve.”

This is a great little booklet. Smith’s writing is compact and at the same accessible. Above all it’s gospel-centred. The disciplines of confession and community are highlighted, but it is clear that Jesus is the answer to the problem.

For more on overcoming pomography and masturbation see my book, Captured By A Better Vision: Living Porn-Free, IVP, 2010. It’s available here from amazon.com and amazon.co.uk.

It’s All About Me is not available in the UK. But don’t despair: I’ve written a similar kind of booklet on pomography which will be published by The Good Book Company.

3 thoughts on “Thursday Review: Winston Smith on masturbation

  1. Pingback: brett’s morning blend (22jun10), pornography edition « aliens and strangers

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