Sunday, August 30, 2009


I have always thought of incontinence as the inability to control one's bladder. This is the only manner in which I've heard the word used. But it has come to my attention through the King James Version of the Bible and subsequent research that the definition covers other realms of behavior as well.

1 Corinthians 7:5
    Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency. ~KJV

    Do not deprive each other except by mutual consent and for a time, so that you may devote yourselves to prayer. Then come together again so that Satan will not tempt you because of your lack of self-control. ~NIV

The same word or words are translated "incontinency" and "lack of self-control".
The definitions I find for incontinent include:

    in⋅con⋅ti⋅nent  [in-kon-tn-uhnt]
    1. unable to restrain natural discharges or evacuations of urine or feces.
    2. unable to contain or retain (usually fol. by of): incontinent of temper.
    3. lacking in moderation or self-control, esp. of sexual desire.
    4. unceasing or unrestrained: an incontinent flow of talk.

And the following from a medical dictionary:

    Main Entry: in·con·ti·nence
    Function: noun
    1 : inability or failureto restrain sexual appetite
    2 : inability of the body to control the evacuative functions

Also very interesting are the related words that are given:

    Related Words for : incontinence
    incontinency, dissoluteness, self-gratification

Clearly, there is an aspect of incontinence that relates to sexual desire and the inability, or unwillingness, to control that desire.
Now, you have encountered puppies that urinate on themselves (or on you) because they get so excited. We could consider those puppies to be incontinent. Don't forget that they will also hump your leg with no provocation.

Given these things to consider, it seems entirely reasonable for us to conclude that temptations to lust or sloth or gluttony or any other activity of over-indulgent self-gratification are temptations to behave like pitiful little puppies who can't help peeing on ourselves.

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