As if anyone needed an excuse, May is National Masturbation Month. Make sure to keep some time for yourself!
Masturbation is the foundation for human sexuality, for both men and women, but only a few of us admit doing it or even discuss it because it’s considered a taboo subject. This is a real pity because masturbation may:
- Promote the release of endorphins, the neurotransmitters associated with happy feelings that can improve overall mood and fight off depression.
- Produce a chemical called oxytocin, which works as a natural pain reliever.
- Help reduce headaches and muscle aches.
- Relieve stress and tension and aid relaxation after a stressful day.
- Provide a sexual outlet for people who are on their own, by choice or circumstance.
- Help to induce sleep, or conversely, help to start the day with more energy.
- Improve the immune system and contribute to overall health.
- Strengthen muscle tone in the genital and pelvic floor area, which can lead to better sex.
- Keep you free from sexual transmitted infections as it’s the safest kind of sex.
- Help people who suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS), a neurological disorder causing leg pain, cramps, tingling and itching, (published in the medical journal Sleep Medicine). Several doctors in the US have had confirmation from their patients that it helps.
- Translate into better sex as stimulating each other at the same time is intimate and rewarding. People often masturbate into old age.
Possible health benefits for women:
- Combats pre-menstrual tension and other physical conditions associated with the menstrual cycle, such as cramps.
- Relieves painful menstruation by increasing blood flow to the pelvic region; which will also reduce pelvic cramping and related backaches.
- Builds resistance to yeast infections.
- Allows women to explore and understand their bodies better, so they will know what they like when they have sex with a partner.
Possible health benefits for men:
- May help combat premature ejaculation by training to last longer; it’s easier to practise control when on your own.
- Regular flushing of the system keeps semen healthy.
- Frequent masturbation helps in preventing the development of prostate cancer. Cancer-causing chemicals can build up in the prostate if men do not ejaculate regularly.
Almost everyone self-pleasures, but for men it’s easier because their genitals are visible from an early age. Young men can use masturbation as a way to learn how to control their ejaculations.
Today there are still girls and women who have never seen their genitals and are not always aware the clitoris needs direct stimulation to achieve an orgasm. I keep telling my clients that masturbation is a great way to explore and learn about their bodies. When you know your likes and sexual responses, you can show your partner how to give you an orgasm.
There are also some interesting misunderstandings. Some people believe that when you are in a relationship you don’t need to masturbate anymore – others see it as cheating, but nothing is further from the truth.
Given the negative messages children often receive about touching themselves while growing up; it’s understandable they may retain elements of shame and embarrassment which can affect their sexuality for the rest of their lives.
Since the sexual revolution in the mid-1970s attitudes to masturbation have changed, but the stigma is still persistent. Just Google the word and one of the first results it returns is “masturbation is a sin”.
In 1992 Seinfeld aired the controversial episode The Contest. George had been caught “in the act” by his mother, and his friends Jerry, Elaine and Kramer discuss the incident over lunch. They decide to have a contest about who can last the longest without – as George puts it – “you know”! The word masturbation was not mentioned at all, but the episode was one of the most popular ever.
Things have changed slowly, but these days society is very comfortable with women’s bodies being sexualised, but not with women being shown to be sexual.
In Delhi, young women were interviewed about their attitudes to masturbation. Finding the women wasn’t easy as many were too shy and considered it taboo. But the women who did were very open-minded and spoke freely about the topic.
The concept behind this video was to persuade the public to change their attitudes about masturbation, which is not considered a sin in Indian culture and therefore nothing to be ashamed of. In any case, India is the country where the Kama Sutra originated, the most ancient book on the pleasures of sensual living.
To celebrate National Masturbation Month, I (in conjunction with Lovehoney Australia) am giving away one Lovehoney Desire Luxury USB Rechargeable Remote Control Love Egg Vibrator (valued at $109.95) and one Lovehoney Sqweel XT for Men USB Rechargeable Oral Sex Simulator (values at $99.95).