Five Ways Masturbation is Healthy

When you’re in middle school, and boys start masturbating, they tell you. They tell you all the time. They tell you mid-laugh like “guess what I did this morning?” or “I know what I’m doing when I get home” or they tell you by comparing every even-kinda-white substance to semen. Lol mayonaise! Lol aioli! Lol sunblock!

Everything is about dicks and I’m not entirely thrown by this because being a pubescent boy must be a lot like having an xbox in your pants your entire life and one day it just turns on in the middle of the night. The sheets aglow, jingling a little tune, diddly-diddly-diddly.

Girls don’t learn about masturbation through any kind of middle-of-the-night hologram experience. Okay, usually. It tends to happen more by accident. In fact, I vaguely recall thinking that masturbation was gendered and it was just something men did. Enough time on the internet will cure any such misconception. Ah yes, women come standard with an xbox in their pants too. Except the controller has more buttons and built in special moves. Suck it.

Montage your way forward almost two decades later. (Finally) we’re prioritizing women’s pleasure and girls are able to read about masturbation in popular magazines like it’s n.b.d. 

Whoopie!

So, why is masturbating healthy?

  1. Body Image – Sometimes you literally need to love yourself. Like my body can do that? Repeat until the love begins to boil and turn down heat to let simmer.
  2. Understanding of your body/anatomy – Look at your genitals with a mirror, touch them and get a feel for what they feel like, look around for moles, make note of size and shape, touch and inspect and grow comfortable with yourself. Not feeling squeamish about my body came in handy when it came to using a menstrual cup for the first time.
  3. Relief of stress, anxiety, or depression – I’ll say it again. Sometimes you literally need to love yourself.
  4. Relief of pain and cramping – Reduces pain and cramping for free! Repeat until desired effect takes place. Or until you fall asleep.
  5. Understanding what feels good to you – The better you know your body, the better you can explain what feels good to your partner/s. That means an easier go for them, and a more enjoyable experience for you! Learn what you can on your own, and discover the rest as a team!

Do you have a question about sex or love? Submit now and I’ll answer it on the blog!

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What is Sex for One? (And can I order out?)

Hello internet world, tap tap. Microphone on.

In the reality, the physical, the living and breathing, I host a book club. This month (not every month, I assure you) the topic is sexuality. As head book slut, or whatever you’d call me, I choose a selection of readings every month. This month, one of the books was Sex for One by Betty Dodson.

This book was written a long time ago. Yet still with a sickeningly sweet disappointment best known to a sex blogger who expects these kinds of things, the issues remain current. Super current. Perhaps even more current than the time this book was written.

Masturbation still isn’t talked about. Sex ed is still abysmal. Bodies are still shamed. Yadda. Yadda.

This book is not revolutionary. It tells us things that the common person might know already. Goodreads interviews say the same. Eh, I mean, people know how to masturbate. So, I mean, maybe give this to your Christian friends who don’t know about “down there.”

But this book is revolutionary in the fact that we can read it so many decades later and still be surprised by it. People don’t know these things. No one talks about these things. And even if you think you know about these things… you might not know all there is to know.

Dodson pulls the reader in. She say it is okay. She erases the comfort zone and creates a new one. Masturbate in a circle. Talk about masturbation. Use masturbation in these new ways. Create a relationship with masturbation.

Mas-tur-ba-tion.

I’ve been writing and reading about sexuality and the body and gender since 2007, academically, and before then on my own. And I’ll tell you, this book was like a hammer to the cranium banging in get-over-it.

And don’t do it in the way you always do it. Do it like you genuinely want to get to know yourself. Do it like your body is a partner you really desperately want to please. Look at your genitals in a mirror and memorize every fucking bend and curve in your skin until you could walk through it like a blind man in a labyrinth.

(Have you ever seen the skin on a pair of testicles? Crunching. Twisting. Pulling. Grinding. Heating. Flexing.)

The book remains relevant because we remain ignorant. Not about the bodies of our significant others, which we so greedily absorb into our own. But about our bodies. The skin we wear but hardly get to know.

Lesson! Checking in! Homework assignment.

Read this book (or!) read yourself. A good hour per day for a week. And report back with what you learned. In APA format, sil vous plait.

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Happy Maysterbation!

May is Masturbation Month!

This month I’ll be spending some time reading the book Sex for One: The Joy of Selfloving by Betty Dobson. I have not read this book yet, but given what I study, I’ve heard about it over and over again. The summary indicates that Dobson works to take the shame out of masturbation. She also views masturbation as a kind of sex. If any of you have read this book, let me know what you thought of it. If you haven’t read it, join me by picking up your own copy!

While masturbation might be the safest sex, it is also the foundation for other forms of sex that might come later.

Masturbation:

  1. Encourages you to learn your own anatomy.
  2. Helps kids/teens develop healthy ideas of pleasure.
  3. Allows you to navigate your own system of arousal.
  4. Helps you have stronger and more powerful orgasms.
  5. Is a way to relieve stress and tension from the day.
  6. Can be an easy way to ‘treat yoself’ .
  7. Is not exercise, per say, but does get the blood flowing.
  8. Can be done alone, but also with a partner for intimacy building.
  9. Is a part of partnered sex for added stimulation
  10. Feels good. Which is, for most people, enough.

I think for me what is most important about masturbation is the focus on sex as something that can be fun and harmless. There is little attention given to this idea in sex ed courses, which I believe to be very dangerous. If we taught young people how to protect themselves but also how to enjoy themselves, we would destigmatize a lot of sexuality. Those who grow up with a fear or inherent shame about their bodies end up really struggling with their sexuality later in life. This is heavily weighed towards women.

I will get questions from male partners and questions from women themselves asking “What do I do? My female partner can’t orgasm. She doesn’t masturbate. I don’t think she has ever orgasmed.” That shame is pointed towards women and the sanctity of the female body. To touch oneself is to ruin oneself. Why don’t people view pleasing the self as a form of respect for the self? Why does it have to be so… wrong?

There are men who get tossed into the mix, too. There are a large number of online support groups for men who can’t stop masturbating. This is at times tied to viewing pornography and the general wrongness these men feel after they are done masturbating. That wrongness is also tied to a sense of shame that they developed as they themselves developed.

So this month do something positive for yourself. Whatever that means to you. Reclaim yourself and your pleasure and learn more about your bodies.

Thanks to Jade for the title of this blog. 

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Poll: When do you masturbate?

I’m a firm believer in the sex-positivity of masturbation.

It can:

– Help you figure out the different parts of your body. Do you know where all your bits and pieces are, and what they’re called? That’s important.

– Help you recognize what is normal, and what isn’t normal. Was that spot always there? What about that bump or lump? Is that discharge normal? That smell? That color? Should that hurt? Does it normally?

– Help you feel comfortable with your body. It can help you feel comfortable touching yourself. It can help you feel “at home” with your body. You know what is what and you know that what you have is what you have.

– Help you know what turns you on. Not all people like to be touched in the same way. Some men like aggressive touching, some men like soft touching. Some women like having their clit touched, some women prefer the clit hood. Some people like fingering, some people don’t.

– Be more than a genital-based experience. It can be a whole body experience. I’ve advocated “taking yourself out” before. Get in a tub and light candles and explore all the different parts of yourself. Where are you most sensitive? Do you know?

– Allow you to have more powerful orgasms, or any orgasm. People who know what gets them off are more likely to be able to communicate those tips and tricks to their partners. Don’t expect your partner to be able to navigate your body without some help. Everyone is different.

Even if you are with a partner, masturbation can be a completely separate and still enjoyable experience. I think you should still have a sexual relationship with yourself even if you have a sexual relationship with your partner. Masturbation doesn’t mean you aren’t satisfied with your partner or your sex life. It can be a problem in some relationships if masturbation is taking the place of physical intimacy or if you are choosing masturbation over your partner. Masturbation can be an issue if you are wearing yourself out to the point that you can no longer have the energy for sex with your partner. There is of course a thing as masturbating too much – if you can’t make it to work, or if you cannot stop, and it begins to hurt.

When do you find time to masturbate when you are in a relationship, particularly if you live with your partner? (Married or Unmarried.) Do you actively seek out time to masturbate or is it something you do when your partner isn’t there and it happens to come to mind? Do you feel antsy if you don’t have that time to yourself to masturbate or is masturbation a secondary activity that you do, mostly, when you have no other form of sexual release?

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