Christ came that we might have life, and life to the full. While procreation certainly involves brining children into the world, God’s creative, live-giving powers goes beyond this.
As such, both marrieds and singles can participate in Christ mission to bring more life into the world; they both can be part of the spiritual mandate to be fruitful and multiply.
(We’ve often limited this spiritual mandate to salvation and have still missed the rich abundance God has for us. Consequently, without a rich foretaste now, many fail to live by faith as they wait with hope and eager anticipation for want is to come.)
Truly, singles have the opportunity to live the Word out in their lives, and as they incarnate the Word they are able to bring life to others as their Master works through them. Participating in this life-giving and life-affirming work can stir sexual desires, as our sexuality is a life-giving/affirming force within us.
Masturbation can be a means of celebrating life and thanking God for allowing us to participate with Him in brining life to others. It can be a celebration of its own pleasure and power and all the good things the God of love and life has made available to us.
As with sex with those who are married (see Andrew Greeley’s Love and Play), masturbation can be a celebration of the fact that one is alive, that they can eat and drink, sleep and wake, have family and friends, enjoy the sunrise and full moon, the rain and blue skies; one can use masturbation to celebrate the good times of life and surviving the bad times, the lessons learned and growth experienced, and the joy, delight, and pleasure in a fearfully and wonderfully made body; with masturbation one may celebrate the goodness of being a man or a woman, a palpable experience of their strength and beauty.
Masturbation, when connected with God, can be a legitimate pathway to worship. Many have divorced it from God and have brought on themselves misery and pain. In reaction to this, the church often teaches us to avoid it. With Gerald May, we should seek the light more than we fear the darkness. We don’t have to fear masturbation and the many distortions it can take when we are ever seeking to be in the Light of God’s presence. When we can see it as a gift from God and an opportunity to celebrate; while still present, the temptation to pervert it lessens.
While celebration is best when it can be shared with another (expansive), singles still have the privilege to enjoy a celebration of life in the presence of God. And as they celebrate their life-force they are then able to embrace and bring life to others.