[OPINION] In defense of Jim Paredes
Disclaimer: I myself have not seen the viral video of Jim Paredes masturbating, and I don’t intend to. All know is what I’ve read: that such a video exists (and Jim Paredes stuck out his tongue at one point) and that this video is now being used to try and make Jim Paredes look irresponsible and uncaring. In addition, this video is also being used to discredit his political involvement thus far and discourage any further political work on his part. That would be a great pity, as he has done many fine things indeed.
First, some facts about masturbation.
Countless research has confirmed that masturbating is not harmful physically, emotionally and/or psychologically.
Among the results of a 2018 study that included data from more than 13,000 respondents aged 18 to 74 across 18 countries are the following:
- On a global level, the survey found that 78% of adults in the world masturbate. More specifically, 96% of males in South Korea, Japan, and the UK masturbate; 92% in the US; and 80% in China.
- Thirty percent of adults have lied about masturbation.
- Fifty-seven percent of younger millennials (18 to 24) masturbate weekly.
In a 2013, Spring Chenoa Cooper and Anthony Santella, both lecturers at the University of Sydney, wrote the article “Happy news! Masturbation actually has health benefits.”
Among its many benefits, masturbation is one of the safest sexual behaviors. There’s no risk of pregnancy or transmission of sexually transmitted infections; there’s no risk of disappointing a partner or of performance anxiety; and there’s no emotional baggage.
In my own clinical experience, I have come across admirable people who take the higher road: They masturbate instead of inconveniencing, or sometimes even hurting, their partners. Example: If all you want is sexual release as soon as possible, masturbating instead of interrupting your partner’s sleep or work is a very thoughtful act. Another example: If you work far away and miss sex, masturbating instead of having an affair with someone is making a choice to protect and honor your relationship with your partner.
Given all the above, why should Jim Paredes need to apologize for masturbating and for making a video of it? These were private acts, not meant for public dissemination.
Why should Jim Paredes be labeled “bastos, manyak, malaswa (vulgar, maniac, lewd)” simply for recording something that is definitely not “bastos, manyak, malaswa”? Also something so many of us have enjoyed ourselves? (And, if particularly blessed, will enjoy for many years to come.)
Why should he be called a hypocrite? To date, I have not come across any evidence that Jim Paredes claimed to abhor masturbation and claimed he had never “self pleasured.” That is the only way this video would show him as a hypocrite.
How can anyone compare people who masturbate to priests who rape little boys? It is a ludicrous comparison – the former is done on one’s own, harming no one else. The latter immeasurably harms someone else.
Finally, how can Jim Paredes be accused of lacking in discretion or respect for sex when he had nothing to do with uploading this video in the first place?
In fact, if I had a chance to talk to Jim Paredes, these would be some of the things I might say to him:
Thank you, Mr Paredes, for all the joy and inspiration you have brought into my life (and those of many others) with your music, your writing, and your inimitable way of presenting yourself to the world.
Thank you for showing us that it is not enough to sit on the sidelines if you feel your country is going to pot. One should go out and do one’s bit. Do it because, especially in this day and age, the personal is political and the political, personal.
Please stay the course and continue to fight with us? It is only because you are one of the more credible and thus effective supporters of the opposition that “the other side” bothered to look for, upload, and comment on this video. It is a mere distraction.
Finally, you have always been and one of my idols. You still are, btw. If anything, I look up to you even more after all this brouhaha.
You did not have to state as quickly and as unequivocally that it was you who was in the video. Not everyone would. I hope there will come a time when masturbating for a video is not something one should apologize for or even need to “admit” to. But your doing so will help us reach that time more quickly and less painfully. It will also help lift the stigma of something that need not have been a stigma in the first place.
Mabuhay po kayo, Mr Paredes. May more Filipinos be as courageous and honest, with as keen a sense of duty, music, and magic as you. – Rappler.com