A patented device designed to prevent masturbation by inflicting electric shocks upon the perpetrator, by ringing an alarm bell, and through spikes at the inner edge of the tube into which the penis is inserted. (2)
Yup, you read it right: Sunday Onanisim!
I just had to steal this from a great blog written by a great friend. C2C, you know who you are!
Anybody here know what Onanism means? Raise your hands!
Yes, you little Johnny, in the back of the class ... Well yes, Onanism does means masturbation. That's the usual definition. Let's learn more!
It's time for for our friend, Mr. Wikipedia. I want you to type in Onanism (this will open in a new tab or window). What do you see?
Masturbation, 1911, copper engraving by Mihály Zichy.
Self-portrait of Egon Schiele 1911,
depicting masturbation. (4)
depicting masturbation. (4)
prints, such as this piece by Kunisada. (6)
Gustav Klimt's "A Young Woman Masturbating" (1916)
Well, it is artistic—wait, what's this?
- Female: 7 h, 6 min (Ms. Kitty Kat, San Francisco, 2008)
- Male: 9 h, 58 min (Masanobu Sato, visiting from Tokyo, Japan and representing the Tenga company; San Francisco, 2009)
- Male: 31 (Michael Hariprem in 2008)
- Female: 94 (Pernille from Copenhagen, Denmark in 2008)
Sally, stop crying!
All right, turn off your laptops right now!
We're all adults here, right? At least old enough to read Wikipedia. So let's talk. First, a show of hands. Anybody here not guilty of committing the sin of Onan? Raise your hands. Both hands! Not you, Miss Sally? Nor you, Mr John? And how old are you now? Sixty? You're sure you have never masturbated, not once in your whole life? That's not a sin, but it is a shame. I mean, it's nice to be a virgin when you are sixteen, but when you're sixty?
All right let's try this one more time. Back to Wikipedia. Now take the jism - make that ism - out of Onanism. This time Search Wikipedia for Onan. See? That's the one we're looking for.
A lot of you already knew about the Genesis 38 story of (disambiguated) Onan, son of Judah, younger brother to Er, elder brother of Shelah. Onan was a middle child. So Judah finds a wife marries off his firstborn son, Er, to Tamar. So far so good, but it doesn't work out for Er and Tamar because Er "was wicked in the sight of the Lord, and the Lord Killed him." Dang! Judah needs and heir, because in Genesis, it's being fruitful and multiplying. If you don't do a lot of begetting and begatting, in Genesis you just won't make the cut. Sorry, but that's the law, and not too bad a law when you think of it, especially given the name of the book. Come on, it's about genesis, not genius! So Judah sends in his back-up son, and says to Onan. “Go in to your brother’s wife and marry her, and raise up an heir to your brother.”
This doesn't sit well with Onan. Why? Well, Genesis may be all about begetting, but having heirs means having more than just you name on the Big List of begetters. Marriage also means combining the wealth of two families, having land and power. So to have an heir is to have an asset - free labor till he or she is married off, a valuable trading opportunity when it's time for marriage, and after marriage, children and grandchildren to look after you, the patriarch or you, the matriarch. Okay, so the Mom's deal is more about derived power, and from the time of Genesis, it is through the mother that one's lineage is traced. Why? Simple. Because there is no doubt about who one's mother is, Nature takes care of that. But one's father? Before DNA testing, who knew? So that's still the way it is today in Judaism (hey look, Judah gets to have his name associated with a major world religion!).
But wait, there's a problem. Here's what Genesis tells us: "Onan knew that the heir would not be his; and it came to pass, when he went in to his brother’s wife, that he emitted on the ground, lest he should give an heir to his brother. And the thing which he did displeased the LORD; therefore He killed him also." Dang! Exit Onan. He emitted, the Lord omitted. Bang, zoom, gone! But Onan left us with one thing, which we all still practice today. All? Pretty much. Even him? Even her? Yup. You too. Remember, both hands!
An aside - so what happened next? Any writer would see this coming. I mean, why bring up Shelah, the third brother, and leave him waiting in the wings if he isn't going to get in on the action? And so it was. But Tamar has to wait, since Shelah's only a child. And anyway, Judah wasn't so hot about sending in his final son to this hottie Tamar, a proven man-killer, “Lest he also die like his brothers.” So Tamar has to "live like a widow," the Bible reports. Lots of drama, about goats and pledges and mistaken identities, harlots, Tamar almost getting burned alive, but it all ends up with Tamar having sex with old Judah - and twin sons, Zarah who got to be the eldest only because he stuck out his hand before being born and had a scarlet thread tied around his wrist by the midwife, and Pharez or Perez, who became King David, an ancestor of Jesus Christ.
Tamar is a healthy young woman, and then, like now, healthy young women are not supposed to be interested in sex. They have to be chaste and virginal and all that. Wars have been launched over the matter of virginity and progeny. Male apes will bust any other male ape who messes with his womenfolk. Same goes for us, it seems. Whether it's Helen or Mary or Draupadi or Sita, you just don't mess with another man's wife (except in the curious case of Mary, who gets to have a lover named God, and also gets to stay a virgin - we're serious about this. Really serious! No mocking, Mister). So what if Joseph is made a cuckold by God himself. Tough, man. Good enough for Zeus, good enough for our Father in Heaven, hallowed art thou! (Watch it, Mister. This is getting close to blasphemy. We may have to do the Lord's work on you, and you don't want that, do you, not after reading Genesis.)
Okay, let's drop that and get back to Onan. (Watch out, buddy. We mean it.) Okay, let's talk about Onan as a metaphor then. How like Onan, we can shoot our wad (watch it!) -- okay, how we can waste our God-Given Gift, our GGG, whatever it may be, or at least not let them be fruitful and multiply. So we come, to coin a phrase, to this Note, and to my habitual scribbling on sheets or paper or in emails stuff that at one time I used to publish. What am I doing? Hand over heart, I am trying my best. Plus I like to write this way, without any pressure, fear of censorship, money to be made, deadlines to be hit. Just to write, for me to you, from one friend to another. Or if I have no one to write to or no reason to wtie, thne just to write in a journal. Dabbled in blogs, but like emails better, or comments on Facebook, or in certain internet forums. These things are kind of transitory and ephemeral, but I like that part too.
However, lately I have been writing a lot of emails, posting in a lot of blogs, writing Notes and comments hither and yon. And I find I am cutting and pasting from one email to another, or to a blog, or from a blog-post to a Note. As ideas begin to percolate, then cool and condense fro fragments and snippets into complete thoughts, it becomes necessary to put those pieces together into a more finished form, to clear the decks so you can move on.
Take this Note, for instance. It began in an email to a friend, continued as a comment to a Facebook post by Nina Snowden about her first novel, In and Out of Madness, about which Nina added a new comment yesterday on her Facebook profile:
My book, In and Out of Madness, deals with sexual addiction....the same illness that Tiger Woods has. No one has written about it in fiction, only nonfiction. Tiger has put this on the national radar. Not only does my book entertain, but it educates as well. I did a lot of research on the illness before I wrote the book.
There was already a string of comments when I added my own"
Nina, you just made a sale, dammit! When the movie comes out, I wouldn't need to use the Mehod to play both roles - the bipolar woman and the sex-addict she married. In fact, I was just writing about Sex and God: "Remember, the lowest ,chakras and the highest ones are both in overdrive in the devil-saints! Even the great sages and avatars - and yes, even Him, and even our Mother Mary - we puritans have a hard time thinking of them as human men and human women with our human flaws and urges. Hey, maybe to some I am the ishta-deva, but here on earth I am a man! My guru in India whispered to me in private, "Clark, show me a saint who doesn't get an erection, and I'll show you a saint who is worth much!" Sex and God keep little company in the religious mind and our hopeless division of the two. It's a shame - God was no fool when He and/or She made two sexes! Just my opinion. Watch out for lightening bolts!
Then Polly made a comment:
Ummmmmm....I don't think religion makes a natural instinct a sin....I think God makes lack of control of our natural instincts a sin.
What about the elderly who have a natural instinct to void but lose control and need depends....they can't control that natural instinct. There are many instances where natural instincts are hard to impossible to control. So, I guess we can't make a definitive blanket statement about instincts, control, and sin. None of us. Just a thought.
To which Polly replied.
That's not a choice.
And I chimed in again.
Polly, I agree with your point. Both of them: (1) placing a premium on balance and moderation, not being enslaved to one's emotions and drives, and (2) that this premium applies in those cases in which one's will or choice is not impaired, which would cover probably 95-99% of us (note: I am not a statistics person, but you get the idea.) Personally, I am not comfortable with the sentence called "sin" (not the word, the sentence - think on it).
I was a religion major at Vanderbilt and learned Greek so I could read the koine Greek of the New Testament. We also wrestled with a definition (not academic, not etymological, but practical) for "religion." I was, by accident of geography, born and borne into the world as a Christian, albeit a rather bland Methodist. I set out in earnest on my spiritual journey when I was 17, after a high school summer job as a Merchant Marine took me to Vietnam. Won't go into detail here, other than to say that I am still on this journey. Always will be, I suppose.
"Sin" in English carries such stern baggage! It is the way of religion, versus the way or spirituality, perhaps. I lean more toward the less judgmental and guilt-laden notion of the Buddhists, who speak of "mistakes" and "ignorance" rather than "sins." Actually, this is more in line with the New Testament. The koine (common) Greek of the Bible for sin is hamartia (ἁμαρτία) and what we call "sin" in the original means "to miss the mark." Paul was a scholar, he knew this: "for all have fallen short of the glory of theos" he wrote.
As a sentence, the verdict of sin is awfully strong. No arguing with such a sentence. And we all know what the "wages" of "sin" are! Death to you! To Hell with you! Or else: Accept your pardon - your ONLY pardon. Or ELSE! Isn't it? Be honest, is this not the bailiwick of "religion" and the twin weapons of religion: Fear of hell and hope of heaven, delivered in absolutist terms. Such intolerance is nowhere in the original New Testament, and certainly not in John or the Epistles of John, which border on heresy if you read the original! "Heresy," my wise Baptist preacher pointed out, with his usual humor, "is what other people believe!" Best definition ever!
I won't go into the beginnings of body-hatred, given a big boost by Paul, of puritanism, etc. - just think in terms of natural, loving, body-positive, healthy sex - as for me and my house, I say yum yum! (If you know the Vedas, you can say yab-yum, yin-yang). In short, where religion ends, spirituality begins. And the beginning of spirituality? Tolerance.
This is my view; maybe I am wrong. "Maybe I am wrong" is a phrase one seldom hears from a religious person, but I mean this sincerely - after my long long long pilgrimage I know this for sure: No one path, no single person can encompass all truth, all the great mystery, of the mind of God. Big Mind is beyond any concepts of Little Mind, and the variety of pronouncements about Big Mind coming from this little planet must cause Big Laughter.
So far, so good. It's now Sunday at 5:15am, so that's where we'll leave this. Now I can rest. Like God intended.
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