Overcoming what?

Overcoming Self-Abuse coverOvercoming Self-Abuse: Step by Step to Success
Haswell and Graham

Submitter: This bound guide was donated to our academic library. It uses the unfortunate term “self-abuse” instead of “self-harm.” Although as we are a Catholic institution, some might see them as the same thing. Important cause, bad choice of terminology.

Holly: I’ve never heard the term “self-abuse.” It doesn’t strike me as particularly unfortunate a term – nicer than “cutting” or “self-mutilation” anyway. This seems to be a manual for a specific Canadian group therapy program called SAFE in Oz. It does not have an obvious religious affiliation. The manual is definitely on the old side. If there are colleges and universities with programs teaching this technique, they should make sure they have the most current version of the manual. There is at least a 4th edition, copyright 2006.

Mary: Self-abuse referred to masturbation. Not that there is anything wrong with that. I doubt anyone wants to “overcome” masturbation. Just sayin.

SAFE in Canada program manual

There must be a reason

Why should I end self-abuse?


  1. Having grown up Catholic in the 1950s and early 1960′, I’ll confirm that “self-abuse” was the favored term for masturbation and was very, very bad.

  2. No, Mary and @Bob Holley, I do think “self-abuse” here means cutting or otherwise inflicting injury on oneself to vent stress (“it has stopped me from learning any better ways of calming or soothing myself”). By 1999 even Catholics would have been more forthright about saying “masturbation” if that was what they meant instead of hiding it behind euphemisms

  3. I never understood why masturbation is supposed to be so wrong and evil. You don’t have to worry about getting pregnant or HIV, and it absolutely will not make you go blind or grow hair in places shouldn’t have hair. Apparently there have been some studies that claim it can damage your vision, but it’s nonsense.

    My mom is Catholic, but my dad is of a different Christian religion that I can’t remember the name of. Before they married a priest wanted my father to convert to Catholic, but my dad refused. They ‘re still married about 45 years later. 🙂

    1. Would it be morally ok (or physically possible?) to prime the pump first and THEN insert tab A into slot B? 🙂

    2. With most Christians they seem to think if you masturbate it’s going to lead to you having pre-marital or extra-martial sex.

      Meanwhile in Judaism I find Rabbis differ. Some think it’s wrong. Others say it’s okay so long as you’re single because it keeps you from having sex outside of marriage, but if you’re married it’s wrong because you’re denying your partner the chance to give you pleasure. Unless, of course, your wife is into watching you do that because a wife’s sexual pleasure is more important than a husband’s. (Heck, they even have rules according to what job a man has how many times a year he’s to sleep with his wife – with her permission. If she says “No” then he’s S.O.L. and he can’t masturbate either.)

      It’s amazing what I’ve picked up by reading random books regarding religion and sex.

    3. I heard it was an ancient taboo about not wasting the potential to go forth and multiply, or something…not originally a Christian religious taboo. Why it haunted us into the 20C and 7 billion people later, I can’t imagine!

  4. “Apparently there have been some studies that claim it can damage your vision, but it’s nonsense.”
    I heard that too, and knowing that was a load of tosh I came up with a scenario where it could possibly damage your eye if you were sloppy but that was deemed NSFW.

    Recycling the term selfabuse may not be a bad thing. It’s silly to use in the context of masturbation, but the word selfabuse can cover a wider range of issues than just selfharm. Having been told for so long you’re worth absolutely nothing that you start believe it, will say the same things about yourself and won’t believe let alone accept anyone thinking you’re fine the way you are, a pattern of talking yourself down and being unable to break from the pattern, is also selfabuse, as damaging as cutting yourself, but not the same.

  5. LOL, When I read the title I immediately thought about being the queen of my castle. I was raised nominally Baptist by agnostic parents and they never mentioned it at all, but I do remember being taught in public school and in church that ‘playing with yourself’ was very bad. In addition, I was a fundamental Christian in a college group and reading a book which taught that masturbation barred you from God’s grace and the inability to fulfilled the role sanctified by virginal marriage, that as submissive wife. Sigh. Thank goodness things have change.

    1. (What I meant to say was, I put the words “fist bump” inside less-than and greater-than signs, but somehow that made my comment invisible. So:) Fist bump!

Comments are closed.