When masturbation and self-pleasure are mentioned most of the time it’s from a male perspective and not really thought of as something women regularly do. May was designated as National Masturbation Awareness Month.
Masturbation simply means stimulating the self for pleasure and orgasm
This form of sexual pleasure can also be considered self-care. There are many benefits to masturbation and ways to masturbate. Being able to engage in self-pleasure can be a great opportunity to gain experience in how to be exploratory with yourself and also gain insight into how to be exploratory with your partner.
Masturbation has its own stigma attached to it that causes a lot of resistance in people to explore their own bodies and understand how they respond to touch. In 1952, masturbation was considered a mental illness in the DSM. 20 years later it was removed from the manual. There have been other contributing factors as to why masturbation has a stigma. Depending on certain religions and cultural teachings masturbation is guided to have negative consequences which are not true.
“Masturbation is observed in utero, so it’s certainly natural,” says Dr. Deitsch. “The stigma around it comes from manipulation during the 1980s of the religious right in an effort to link certain social ideas and political outcomes. Shame is associated with masturbation due to misinformation and teachings” (Lane, 2018). If you are curious about masturbation but experiencing any guilt or shame, seek a therapist who can help you navigate, and process these feelings surrounding masturbation or seek a sex education class.
Masturbation has more positives than negatives
One positive is the insight gained from understanding parts of your body. Being able to explore through self-touch helps you establish boundaries before you engage in any sexual activity. Masturbation does not strictly mean genital stimulation. It is touching other areas of the body you find pleasurable. This is when people tend to utilize other devices or objects to stimulate different areas.
A negative of using objects is it has to be done with caution because it can have consequences if not done properly. For example, some people are tempted to stick things in their urethra when they play with themselves. This can be extremely dangerous because objects can get lost in your bladder.
If you absolutely must do this for self-pleasure, find a physician or nurse who can show you how to correctly use a catheter and get sterile ones from a medical supply company or mail order from your preferred fetish and kink shop. (Joannides, 2005) Another negative warning is anal play. Some people enjoy sticking things in their anus when they masturbate rather than genital stimulation. However, at times things can go too far and get lodged in the rectum.
Depending on what the object is it can pose a severe risk if not immediately removed. Some objects or food that have a long slender shape like cucumbers, bananas, or even hammers, wine bottles, and aerosol cans can be dangerous. Other things include small animals, live eel, coat hangers, dolls, and anything if you try hard enough to force in or get sucked in. If you would like to engage in anal play to masturbate or while simultaneously masturbating your genitals, then utilizing a butt plug is a great option.
If you find that you would like to explore other ways to masturbate that may seem dangerous or complex based on different levels of kink, then seek out a sex therapist that specializes in kink or a sex-positive therapist to assist in navigating new and different ways to masturbate that may be out of your level of experience. Understanding the risk involved when introducing objects and practicing safe practices to masturbate can bring many benefits to your physical and emotional health.
8 Benefits of Masturbation
- Relieves stress
- Relieves menstrual cramps and muscle tension
- Strengthens the pelvic floor
- Pain-relieving benefits orgasming releases dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin, the body’s feel-good hormones, and neurotransmitters, into the body. (Kassel, 2020)
- Reduce the risk of prostate cancer- Research found that compared to men who ejaculated four to seven times per month across their lifetimes, men who ejaculated 21 or more times a month enjoyed about a 31% lower risk of prostate cancer (Kassel, 2020)
- Safest sex to have
- A healthy way to learn about your body
- Helps increase libido
Different ways to Masturbate
- Using a toy for additional stimulation or primary stimulation
- Changing your position
- Self-stimulating other areas (erogenous zones or anus opening) besides genitals
- Autofellatio – this is oral stimulation of your own penis. So in a nutshell males can perform their own blow job on themselves. This requires a certain level of flexibility.
- Autocunnilingus- This is when a woman performs oral stimulation by mouth on herself. This form of masturbation requires an increased level of flexibility to the level of a contortionist which requires way more experience than a male engaging in autofellatio. This is very uncommon but due to a lack of research, we cannot be certain how common or uncommon it is.
- Devices that mimic oral stimulation
- Sucking your own breast
As you can see masturbation can be very fluid, fun, and exciting when you want complete alone time. You don’t need a partner to develop your experience sexually to pleasure yourself and also build confidence in yourself because of the level of desire you can create on your own time.
Let’s all celebrate every month as masturbation awareness month not just in May!
Joannides, P. (2005). Guide to getting it on! Walport: Goofy Foot Press.
Kassel, G. (2020, May 27). MBG Relationships. Retrieved from: www.mindbodygreen.com
Lane, S. N. (2018, May 15). A sexologist tells us how to break down the stigma around masturbation. Retrieved from Hello Giggles: www.hellogiggles.com