Masturbation is a controversial subject often discussed in hashed tones. One school of thought considers it as evil while another hails it as a normal, healthy way for people to explore their bodies. Joseph Masiga Mbindah, 40, a single parent of two children practiced it for over 20 years and is categorical that it is an addictive evil that ruins one’s life unless there is divine intervention. Mbindah shared his experience with MWAURA MUIGANA
“As a young boy approaching adolescence, I suffered from low self-esteem. My father was physically challenged and so I naturally assumed that people looked down upon me for being the son of a physically challenged man. Dad was then the only cobbler in Kakamega town and it was my duty to push him around town in his wheelchair so that he could get to his workstation.
I often felt shy and embarrassed especially when my peers and classmates happened to meet me pushing my dad. In such instances I avoided eye contact but all the same felt the full weight of the embarrassment. I became withdrawn and had difficulties interacting with others, especially girls, for fear of rejection. This probably explains why when I joined form one at Chavakali Boys in 1987 I became easy prey to bullying by older students, most of who came from Nairobi, who often introduced other students to anti-social activities.
Since they appeared to be ‘know-it-alls’, it was very easy for naive students like me to join them. They were quick to pick my low self-esteem especially when I told them of my dad’s condition. A member of the group who was addicted to sniffing glue recruited me into the habit after convincing me that it would give me immeasurable confidence. I didn’t have to spend a cent to acquire it since dad stocked it for his trade. When I first sniffed glue, it worked miracles! That day, I pushed dad on his wheelchair around town without fear or a care in the world. Glue became my daily comforter in every task including violating school rules with impunity.
Soon enough, I started smoking cigarettes just to conform. And whenever I was going out of school for a basketball match, my newfound friends would encourage me to smoke bhang to get a shot of daredevil boldness to help win the game. I got addicted to glue sniffing and couldn’t do most activities without a sniff. How was I to know there were long-term effects? All I knew at the time was that it helped me overcome my shyness and low self-esteem, at least temporarily.
Introduction to masturbation…
I remember one of the boys in the bullying group one day telling me about his secret night pleasure, which he wanted to introduce me to as the perfect panacea for my shyness with girls. He explained to me at length how I should sexually stimulate myself to obtain an orgasm. I was too naive at the time to even grasp fully what he was talking about, but nonetheless I was willing to try anything that could take away my lack of confidence and give me pressure. However, though the graphic details of what this boy told me stuck in my mind, I didn’t have the guts to try it as it sounded deviant and unnatural.
This position changed one day during the school holidays when I was at home alone and bored. I decided to experiment with what the boy at school had told me in the privacy of my home. I had begun to notice many adolescence body changes including frequent erections and it was, therefore, time for me to explore my body. And so one morning while having a shower I followed the instructions given to me by my school friend, which were still clearly embedded in my mind, and like Adam and Eve I discovered the forbidden fruit. It was like nothing I had experienced before. I recall walking out of the shower triumphant. Within an hour I was at it again. The pleasure was irresistible.
What started out of curiosity became a demonic marriage with the devil. I became a slave to it. I couldn’t stop when I wanted to, nor share this taboo subject with anyone despite feeling abnormal, perverted and dirty. This was the beginning of a 20-year journey with the enslaving masturbation addiction. My education foundation was messed up because I just scraped through secondary education exams. I kissed goodbye further education or meaningful career training because my grades were very low.
Soon after completing secondary education in 1991, one of my uncles gave me a job as an attendant in his furniture business in Nairobi. I started having sexual relationships with girls hoping this would help me come out of masturbation. To my surprise, soon after having sex with a girl I would have an irresistible urge to masturbate and would have no peace of mind until I did it.
Not even having sex with several girls could rescue me out of masturbation, leave alone the dirty, unworthy feeling I felt after the activity. I was simply obsessed with masturbation. I never had any financial breakthrough and often felt that the sinful use of my hands as sexual instruments was responsible for it. Despite all the good arguments going on in my mind to stop the habit, they came to naught when the urge hit. I would rush to the bathroom or any private corner to satisfy the urge.
Seeking a way out…
I moved in with my girlfriend in 1995 and we started living as a married couple. We had two children – a daughter and a son – who are currently high school students. I learnt that masturbation is no respecter of marriage when it began to interfere with my sexual relationship with my wife. It felt like I was married to two people both of who demanded an equal, if not more, share of sex from me. My wife never got wind of my obsession, as it was a well-guarded secret.
Every effort I made to come out of this habit was in vain. It was tormenting me but I didn’t have a way out. I entertained the thought of going to church to seek divine intervention but felt too dirty to step in God’s sacred shelter. When I lost my job in 2003 and my wife left me I went to borrow money from my younger brother to feed my children who were left with me. Since he was a born-again-Christian, I walked into a fellowship in his house but couldn’t walk away without the money and so I sat in throughout the fellowship.
The brethren at his house prayed for me to get another job and also urged me to get saved. I heeded their call and declared my salvation but my main objective was so that God could give me a job. Though from this day I started proclaiming my new status as a born-again-Christian, I remained spiritually dry and very active in the dark secret of my life. When a job was not forthcoming, I started hopping from church to church, hoping I would find God, who would listen to my cry for a job, in one of them.
My efforts were not worthless because the more I went to church, the more I started feeling a spiritual seed being planted in my heart. I also learnt to pray and on top of my prayer requests were a job and help to stop masturbating. My prayers were slowly being answered because the urge to masturbate subsided for some months.
And just as I was making very good progress I stopped going to church and praying. It was like an evil force was pulling me in a different direction. This was the time I joined facebook and found online friends who suffered from similar addictions. I felt I was not alone and this gave me the courage to continue with my habit without any regrets. It also set me on the deadly path of on-line sex.
My first on-line friend was a girl who lived in Mombasa. Since we could not meet face to face, we started sending each other our nude photos depicting ourselves in different masturbation poses. This was a new level of pleasure for me. I now had a masturbating partner and the experience was thrilling. Another couple joined our network and soon we had many people exchanging nude photos and discussing sex and fornication. I became bold as the group of friends grew and often posted nude pictures and obscene updates on my wall for all to see.
Since my facebook updates were mainly about sex, the administrators of a secret facebook pornography group assumed that I was one of them and enlisted me to the group. Whatever we chatted about and posted on this site was only seen by those presumed to be members. They came from various backgrounds – singles, married, church members, young, elderly, and professionals. After severally exchanging nude pictures, chatting about sex and eventually masturbating, we would then plan to meet face to face to have sex.
The realisation that I wasn’t really alone in this dark world consoled and gave me confidence. However, at the back of my mind I hoped God would forgive me for sinning. I broke up with my wife in 2003 after loosing my job and when she later returned seeking reconciliation, I turned her down feeling that since I had my facebook sex friends, I didn’t need her.
The turning point…
I remember returning home one Sunday evening, after engaging in sex with one of my facebook friends, and tuning on to a local Christian FM radio station. The uninterrupted gospel music was reflective. I thoroughly enjoyed the music and would often tune on to this station and leave the radio on at night. The more I listened to the gospel music the more it re-kindled in me the fear of God. Bit by bit, my chat and facebook updates toned down and once a while I commented on a Christian-related subject.
I recall meeting a facebook friend sometime in 2011 for sex. For some reason I was so haphazard that I couldn’t perform, however much I tried to. Not amused, she walked out on me in distaste and I went home feeling the urge for sexual release. But when I got home, instead of rushing straight to masturbate, I found myself praying and seeking God’s forgiveness. I shared the incident with another facebook friend and confessed that I contemplated quitting the habit. I felt relieved.
For over a week after this incident I dreamed about salvation and deliverance. The gospel music from the Christian station helped to sooth my soul and my urge to masturbate dissipated gradually. With time, my facebook updates changed to only Christian-related issues. My friends posted back warning me against joking with the name of God but I soldiered on. I bought a bible and started spending time reading it. The message I received from the bible reading was so powerful that it convicted me to give my life to God. I eventually got saved and earnestly prayed to God to help me overcome this addiction, which had totally ruined my life.
I went without masturbation for a day, two, a week and then gradually stopped. It has now been two years since I stopped masturbating and I have not looked back. I use my facebook wall as a platform to share God’s love for all, as well as inform others how masturbation ruined my life.
Some of my facebook friends doubted my salvation and continued to send me their nude pictures, as well as invite me for sex dates in a bid to lure me back, but through God’s intervention I have resisted all temptation. I respond to my facebook friends with God’s words and I hope the message can touch their hearts to find a way to escape from this bondage.
Since going public, my facebook account is often full of messages from many people, from both genders, young and old, seeking help to overcome masturbation. I hope by going public about my past, someone suffering like I did for over 20 years will get the help they need to turn their life around. While I got mine through salvation, I realise that masturbation is such a big problem especially among the youth and therapy and counseling may be the only way out.”
Published in June 2013