Growing up, I loved watching romantic comedies with people making out and doing sexual things. I would close my eyes and imagine that I was the woman in the movie, being passionately kissed.
I honestly couldn’t wait to be a ‘grown-up’ so that I could kiss and hump people. ... I had ‘sexy thoughts’ from a pretty young age. Did you? (#horndogalert, #vaginatingles).
I was around 13 years old when I had my first experience masturbating. I become a pro quickly!
For a long time, I kept the fact that I masturbated on the down low. I felt like it was something that shouldn’t be spoken about with others, like it was a taboo topic that made others uncomfortable, but I never understood why.
From my perspective both then, and now, masturbation is a completely healthy and natural expression of sexuality. There is nothing wrong with doing it. Hell, many people are regular masturbators, or have at least tried it. Whether single, partnered, gay, straight, genderqueer, trans, a baby boomer or centennial, white, purple, black, or green, masturbation doesn’t discriminate.
Research consistently shows than approximately 95% of men, and 60-80% of women masturbate. * I struggled to find more inclusive statistics – If you have access to data on masturbation and the LGBTQ+ community, please reach out.
I encourage you to use masturbation as a tool to explore your body, needs, your likes and dislikes, and even to help you learn how to reach climax, all by yourself. Not needing to rely on another person for such intense pleasure is fucking awesome and empowering. (#allbymyself).
In fact, learning what you like on your own can help make sex with a partner that much better, as you can then help direct their actions to achieve maximum pleasure. ... multiple orgasms, anyone?
Self-exploration, discovery, and pleasure are awesome benefits of masturbating, but that’s not all. Masturbating comes with quite a few positives - mental, physical, and spiritual.
Below are some of the benefits of masturbating:
• Reduces pain and menstrual cramps
• Increases immune function
• Increases sex drive
• Improves sleep/ reduces insomnia
• Reduces stress and depression, and provides a sense of calm
• Increases mood
• Balances emotions
• Regulates heart rate, increases blood flow, and helps reverse heart disease
• Improves focus and memory
• Improves self-esteem and body image
Many people experience embarrassment, anxiety, guilt, and shame around masturbation and therefore aren’t comfortable talking about it, even with their closest friends. We have been taught
that masturbating is ‘dirty’, ‘wrong’, and ‘sinful’, and as a result, we are very hush-hush around the topic as a society in general. The negative stigma around masturbation is incredibly limiting to both our knowledge and expression of sexuality. (#bethechange, #proudmasturbator).
I’ve lost count of how many times I have seen parents smack their child’s hand away when they were playing with their genitals, saying, “that’s dirty!”. I can promise that kind of response isn’t going to foster the development of healthy sexuality in anyone. And, NO, it’s not dirty. It’s completely natural and it is important to explain this to children, along with the fact that this activity is usually done in private, or with people you feel safe and trusting of.
There are also some ridiculous myths associated with masturbation that genuinely frighten some people. Ready for these? ...
- will cause cancer - means you’re a pervert - causes your penis to shrink - causes you to go blind - causes acne - makes you sterile
ATTENTION: NONE OF THE ABOVE MYTHS ARE TRUE. There is absolutely no scientific support for these myths.3
I said it above and I’ll say it again: masturbation is completely natural. And healthy. And most of us do it. You are not alone!
You might be wondering, is there such thing as masturbating too much? I am happy to report that physically, there are no negative side effects of excess masturbation.4
However, if your need to masturbate is interfering with your daily life and responsibilities (e.g., if you find yourself grinding up on the side of your chair or needing multiple masturbation- breaks throughout the work day) it wouldn’t hurt to speak to a professional. There’s no shame in asking for help.
I’ll finish by saying that I truly see masturbation as a gift. One that allows us to celebrate ourselves. To be sexually independent. To relax and feel good. To connect to our bodies. And to explore and discover ourselves. Masturbating encourages a deeper connection between partners when we are able to express what we like physically and sexually. This communication also reduces some of the negative influences and stigmas of sex that may have limited us, and our sexual expression throughout history.
Masturbation is not only fun, but it is a powerful tool for self-care.
Practice makes perfect!
Thanks for tuning in,