I'm so glad this thread kind of took off the way it did. I know a lot of people have issues with this topic, and there have been some outstanding points made. In particular, I'd like to elaborate on a couple of things that River has stated.
What I have learned is the issue is really not about sex or masturbation... that is only how it is manifested.
This is really the case with most psychological (compulsive) addictions.
As far as I know, there are really two types of addictions. There are physical addictions, and these are characterized by a physical dependency as well as the development of a tolerance. Some substances I have developed a physical addiction towards include meth, opium, alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine.
The other kind of addiction is the compulsive type, and some people are simply more prone to compulsiveness. In my life, I have done a lot of compulsive things. From collecting baseball cards and CD's to being in contorl of a poker table to over-indulging in substances like marijuana (which I don't believe is physically addictive), food, and pornography. The compulsive addictions can be extremely difficult because someone who has a problem with being compulsive will oftentimes replace one compulsive activity with another without even realizing it. Furthermore, the physical addictions I described above are usually accompanied by some degree of compulsiveness.
Masturbation definitely fits into one of those activities that would be considered compulsive, and it is very difficult to differentiate between doing it in a healthy way and doing it in a compulsive way. When it comes down to it, though, the compulsive nature of these "isms" are all almost exactly alike in their nature. In the alanon meetings I have attended in the past, virtually no differentiation is made between the different "isms" when it comes to the members of the people who attend these meetings. Alanon is a support group for people who have friends or family who are addicts.
I have also found that in conquering my own addictions, the process I go through to get there is almost identical in most cases. There is always something that triggers the compulsiveness, and understanding what those triggers are is the key to overcoming the compulsiveness. Of course, when in the deepest and darkest throes of an addictions, sometimes the compulsiveness itself is what triggers the addiction, but the chain reaction always starts somewhere.
A previous post complained about the recovery groups requiring total abstinence (predominantly a 12-step group called Sexaholics Anonymous). I personally have NOT found SA and the Christian groups helpful because of this issue, but that is my stuff.
I have found, in AA and NA meetings, that total sobriety is not necessarily a prerequisite for recovery. I don't attend any support groups anymore, mostly because there isn't a support group for what I really need (another topic entirely), but welcoming people back who had fallen off the wagon were a regular part of these meetings.
As far as the Christian groups go, my disdain for organized religion is an entirely different topic altogether. A person like me, who does not believe in any kind of "higher power", tends to get stuck on step 2 of any 12 step program, and that is just something I refuse to compromise on.