At one point or another, pretty much all of us stumble upon the topic of masturbation. So what is it?
According to WebMD, masturbation is “the sexual stimulation of one’s own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm.” In reality though, masturbation can mean a whole host of things, from thinking your way to feeling sort of fuzzy and nice to using a sex toy to make yourself orgasm. Masturbation rocks, because it’s all about making yourself feel good. And it has loads of health benefits, too.
With so much conflicting information out there, though, it can be difficult to figure out what is and isn’t true about masturbation. Some people are really afraid of it while others are just nervous about how exactly to go about it.
Masturbation Myth #1: It’s bad for you.
Back in the day, people used to say that masturbation could cause any number of problems, like growing hair on your palms or ruining yourself for a future partner. Fortunately, with more sex-positive sex education, we’ve come to learn and admit that there is nothing wrong with masturbation. Again, masturbation is just about making yourself feel good. Your hands will not get any hairier than they already are, and you will not be ruined for a future partner. Masturbation is a way to get to know your body, it’s pregnancy- and STD-free, and it even helps with cramps. Who could hate on an all-natural cramp cure?
Masturbation Myth #2: It’s only for boys.
The idea that masturbation is a gendered act is pretty much nonsense. Yes, there is research that shows that there are differences between who masturbates more when it comes to boys/men versus girls/women, but the entire idea that masturbation is okay for men but not for women relies on the notion that men enjoy and benefit from sex more than women do, which is clearly nonsense.
If masturbation is about pleasure, and everyone deserves pleasure, then regardless of your gender, you have the right to masturbate – and to not feel guilty about it.
Masturbation Myth #3: It’s weird to masturbate.
The thing about masturbation is that it’s personal. Whether you do it or not is 100% your call. You can masturbate as much as you want to and no one ever needs to know about it. You don’t need societal permission to give yourself pleasure. Besides, there will always be people out there with problematic ideas about masturbation. Even though it’s 2015, some will still say that only boys should masturbate, that masturbation is bad, and that masturbation is bad for your health. This is why, at the end of the day, the decision to masturbate is your own.
Masturbation Myth #4: It’s weird not to masturbate.
There’s not anything wrong with never masturbating, or never having an orgasm! Remember: your body is your body, and you are the only person who gets to decide what it does or doesn’t do. If you never want to masturbate, or decide you don’t want to masturbate until you’re older, that’s okay, too!
Masturbation Myth #5: There’s only one way to masturbate.
Did you know that there is no right or wrong way to masturbate? Masturbation is awesome because it’s all about you having sex with yourself, so it’s the time where you can let your own fantasies come into play without having to stress about if someone else will think you’re weird or not. There is such a huge variety of ways to masturbate.
Not everyone masturbates for the same reason, either. Some people masturbate to help themselves fall asleep while other people masturbate because their partner(s) is too tired for sex. As long as no one else is negatively impacted by your masturbation, feel free to go for it and chase the feeling!
Masturbation Myth #6: It’s not for virgins.
Masturbating is not going to take away your virginity. Only you can assign and define your virginity. Regardless, though, masturbating is for anyone who wants to do it! You don’t have to have had your sexual debut in order to enjoy giving yourself pleasure. Ignore any nonsense about how masturbating is going to give you a “loose” vagina or damage your ability to feel pleasure from a partner. Vaginas are naturally elastic, and it’s not as if your pleasure receptors are going to get totally turned off to someone else just because they like you more.
Masturbation Myth #7: It’ll ruin sex.
Masturbation is not going to ruin your sex life unless it turns into an addiction or your sexual partner(s) has a problem with you masturbating (which should probably be discussed with said partner). Masturbation is a healthy act that teaches you about your body and what your body does and doesn’t like. If anything, masturbation can improve your sex life because you’ll be able to nudge your partner in the right direction.
The Truth About Masturbation
Masturbation is a way of bringing yourself pleasure. It’s a sleep aid, it’s fun, and it gets your heart pumping. Masturbation teaches you about your body and your desires, and why shouldn’t you have the inside scoop on what your body does and doesn’t enjoy? Instead of waiting for a partner to teach you how to feel pleasure (unless, of course, that’s what you want!), you can learn on your own. That is totally empowering and awesome.
There are tons of different ways to masturbate, so be careful and be cautious before you start looking up porn and going for the most intense vibrator you can find. Do your research before you act. If you’re going to watch porn, remember that what you’re seeing is rarely a realistic depiction of sex acts and that the industry itself is really problematic. Be careful, too, of stumbling into something that may be difficult to un-see!
In terms of sex toys, do your research there as well! There are lots of sex toys out there for masturbation beginners, and guides that seek to help out people trying to learn how to bring pleasure to their own bodies.
At the end of the day, whether or not you masturbate, and how you masturbate, is completely up to you. Do what makes you feel good, what makes you feel empowered, and you may just learn something totally new and exciting about yourself.
Cover image courtesy of Shutterstock.