Masturbation 101

The Theory

I have a theory.  It has yet to be tested extensively, but I stand strongly behind the idea that if every woman masturbated, world peace would be established.  Just a thought.

While obviously my conclusion is a bit of an exaggeration, I do believe that more female masturbation would have positive effects on our society.  Just another example of the sexist world we live in is the increased acceptance and assumption of men masturbating as normal.  Yet, stigma and negative attitudes surround the topic of masturbation and causes 50% of individuals, both men and women, who masturbate to feel guilty about it.  Meanwhile, approximately 70% of men and 50% of women report masturbating.

The Myths

Rumors and myths run rampant regarding the consequences of masturbation for both men and women.  These falsehoods are depicted in the media, passed through families, and reinforced by peers.  However, masturbation does not cause hair growth of the palms of the hands, will not make you blind, won’t change the shape, color or texture of sex organs, won’t stunt your growth, cause injury, infertility, mental illness or make someone gay.  In fact, masturbation does not have any risks other than possible skin irritation, which is what lubrication is for.

The Benefits

While the derogatory myths are false, the benefits of masturbation are vast.  Emotionally, masturbation decreases stress and sexual tension, and increases self-esteem, body image, and sense of well-being. Sexually, those who masturbate report enhanced sexual activity, greater sexual and relationship satisfaction with their partners, and increased ability to achieve orgasm.  Individuals learn about their bodies, their sexuality, and how they can be sexually stimulated.  Physically, masturbation can improve sleep, relieve muscular tension and menstrual cramps, strengthen muscle tone of the pelvic area to prevent urinary leakage and uterine prolapse in women and treat sexual dysfunction.  Masturbation is a great option for those without sexual partners or those choosing to practice abstinence.  There is no risk of STIs or pregnancy if performed solo!

More men masturbate than women, and while still surrounded by stigma, masturbation appears to be much more acceptable and discussed for men than for women.  Those who masturbate learn about their sexuality, their bodies, how to achieve orgasm, what feels good and what does not.  They have better body image and higher self-esteem and can direct their partners during sexual activity.  If more women masturbated, what would be the effect on women’s self esteem? On their self confidence, both in and out of the bedroom? How would it affect their sexuality?  Their role within relationships? Their body image? Would it change rates of teenage pregnancy? The occurrence of assault and violence toward women? What would happen to the misogynistic porn industry and the media that reflects it, which focuses on and dictates what is supposed to be pleasurable and teaching women and men what is “sexy” and what is SUPPOSED to turn them on?

So, y’all know what your homework is 😉

References

Cullins, V. Planned Parenthood Federation of America Inc., (2011). Masturbation. Retrieved from website: http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/sex-101/masturbation-23901.htm

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