Masturbation is liberation. In light of the fact that God appears to be hidden and silent, what could be the (non-question begging) foundations for proscribing sexual behavior?
Sex seeks to hijack the mind and body to a very particular agenda (reproduction), and patriarchal religious institutions seek to hijack the mind and body to a very particular agenda as well (the perpetuation of the power structures of the patriarchal religion itself).
So when somebody masturbates, or uses the pill or a condom, or engages in same sex acts, the hijacking of the body and mind by reproduction and religion gets subverted. It is no longer reproduction or religion that are in the driver’s seat, but the mind. It governs its own body, hijacking sex and religion to purposes of its own.
This is healthy; it is in accordance with natural law (Walt Whitman’s, not Thomas Aquinas’s). Sexual liberation is mental liberation; it makes all things new.
Dance. The powers that be hate that. There’s a reason that rock music, psychedelics, dancing, and nudity accompanied the 1960s counter-culture. To shake off the shackles of the conformist mind, it is a good strategy to shake the body; to break out of the mental box of external agendas like reproduction and religious prohibition (Blake’s “mind-forged manacles”).
Imagination precedes essence. This is obviously not what theologians mean by following “natural law,” but behold, it is good. If there ever was a natural law, this is it: imagination precedes essence. Evolution has placed in humans a desire for self-determination and subversion of the given through imagination. It’s our evolutionary superpower; our eagle’s wings and claws. It’s how we’ve come to dominate the planet. We don’t do what our oppressors (natural or human) tell us to do. Our imaginations precede essence.
Sex and politics. The independent mind combined with sex can be a politically powerful tool for subverting the agendas of centralized power (think Aristophanes’ Lysistrata–women who act up are dangerous). Thus two lesbians are not just indulging in a “disordered” and private lust when they make love, but a political act–an act against patriarchy; against a historic injustice that has, for millennia, restrained the flourishing of women. They are saying no to the chains that men have placed on them.
There’s a reason, in Orwell’s 1984, that Winston Smith seeks to subvert his oppressors, not just by keeping a diary, but by pursuing a sexual affair.
And so Blake says, “One law for the lion and ox is oppression,” and, “As the caterpillar chooses the fairest leaves to lay her eggs, so the priest lays his curse on the fairest joys.”
Sexual liberation is among the fairest of joys, and the foundation for the highest natural law–the law of the free human mind and body. What is ethical and decent is to free mind and body; to leave these to the individual’s conscience, not generic religious or Thomistic “natural law” proscription.