Throughout history, various religions have tried really, really hard to get people to stop masturbating.
And to do it, they preach and claim that all sorts of hilariously terrible things will happen to you. From threatening blindness and hairy palms, to suggesting it will make you "bashful yet unnaturally bold with fondness for spicy foods," religion's anti-jack-off maneuvers have been as maligned as they are entertaining. Naturally, since female sexuality wasn't acknowledged as an actual thing in many religions during the age that most religious texts were written, most of these terrible masturbation punishments are directed at men … guess this just means vulva-havers can masturbate with reckless abandon until the end of time. Great!
Let's look at some of the awful things religion has told us would happen if we jerk it:
1. You'll go blind
Catholics have historically been ultra-creative when it comes to scaring people away from masturbation. In the '50s, Catholic nuns proliferated a particularly zesty rumour that masturbation caused blindness, creating a cross-generational fright that's just now being dissuaded.
Although the Bible actually makes no direct reference to masturbation, religious zealots have also succeed in striking fear into Christians by telling them jacking off also leads to impotence, inability to orgasm, and best of all, hairy palms.
2. You may be reborn as a domestic turkey
According to Buddism, masturbation is a fine and dandy way to spend a balmy spring day … if you're content to be trapped in a never-ending cycle of reincarnation (samsara) from which you can not escape.
According to Buddhist principles, masturbation means you're solidifying your fate as someone who is randomly assigned a species and soul for each consecutive life cycle you have. Self-pleasure means you could come back as a human, but the chances are much greater you'll reincarnate as something dumb like a turkey or a poinsettia.
However, there's an out: if you'd like to stop this cycle and die already, you've got to lay off the YouPorn. According to the Five Precepts, it's recommended that Buddhist nuns and monks stop masturbating altogether as a way to focus on attaining the highest level of enlightenment and liberation from samsara. Only then will their souls finally be free.
But if you're a "layperson," aka just a regular Joe trying to life live and see what happens, you can still beat that Grade A meat without a shred of guilt. Who knows; you could reincarnate as a dog, after all, and that would be pretty cool. Dogs are fun.
3. You'll have to take a seven-day long shower, then sacrifice some pigeons
Orthodox Judiasm isn't the biggest fan of masturbation per se. Operating based on Leviticus, Chapter 15 from the Law of Moses, it is believed that "any male having a "flow" is ceremonially defiled, and he must cleanse himself with water, and then in the evening begin to count a period of seven days (v. 13), after which he must wash in water again, then bring two pigeons or doves to the priests on the 8th day who will make the sacrifice for him."
This "flow" refers to semen spilled via masturbation or nocturnal emission. But, cruelly, men are still considered unclean and in need of pigeon sacrifice even if they stop themselves from coming at the brink of orgasm; even un-spilled seed is sinful.
If any cum gets on anything that's not a vagina during sex, ceremonial defilement still takes place, although if it happens during sex, you only have to shower for one day instead of seven. How nice.
4. You will not be allowed to practice martial arts for a little bit 🙁
According to Taoist belief, masturbation leads to the loss of Qi, the energy center located in the lower abdomen.
Because of this, it's recommended that if you do beat off and lose your Qi, that you refrain from doing any martial arts for anywhere between 48 hours and six months afterwards so that the Qi can regenerate properly.
Taoists also had a strong argument for women against masturbation, warning that if they "practiced massaging techniques upon themselves" or linked sexual thoughts to feelings of pleasure, that their "labias will open wide and the sexual secretions will flow." If this happened, the woman would lose part of her life force, and this could bring illness and shortened life.
Okay then. No more looking at Bill Murray erotica …
5. You'll be a bashful, yet unnaturally bold person with round shoulders and a fondness for spicy foods
Let's unpack this one.
So, this one's not directly religious; more indirectly so, as it was proliferated by ultra-religious weirdo John Harvey Kellogg. The cereal guy.
He was a harsh pro-abstinence and anti-masturbation crusader, and was so steadfast in his belief that sex was the ultimate abomination that he even remained celibate well into marriage. He hated sexuality to such a degree, that he actually designed Kellogg's cereal products to decrease people's interest in sex.
By doing this, he thought he was saving people from the results of self-pleasure, which he believed to be leprosy, tuberculosis, heart disease, epilepsy, dimness of vision, insanity, idiocy, and death. He also preached that masturbation was a cause of bashfulness in some people, unnatural boldness in others, a fondness for spicy foods, round shoulders, and acne.
Of course, we now know that while there are many foods that increase sex drive, there are none, especially breakfast cereals, that shut it down.
So, what is the answer to all this total carnage? It's pretty simple, just order yourself one of these boss daddies: