Happy Masturbation May everybody! I hope you have all been celebrating accordingly. This month has been taken over by sex positivity influencers to discuss and celebrate all things self-pleasure, and it has been great! Throughout this month, YouTubers, bloggers, and sex influencers have been explaining the importance and beauty of masturbation, as well as providing advice, tips, reassurance, and even recommendations, all in the name of helping us all kick back and relax in the most pleasurable way possible.
Almost everybody masturbates. From the onset of adolescence, as we become more aware of our genitals and our body begins to stimulate our sexual instincts, people of all genders practice self pleasure. I have always been a firm advocate of masturbation, especially in this critical moment of life. In adolescence, both socially and physically our awareness of sexual pleasure is extremely heightened, and vitally, it is the moment at which we have our first sexual experiences. I remember conversations with friends, who said that they didn’t masturbate – for reasons having to do with female masturbatory shame – and imploring them that it is the perfect way to begin to understand what to expect from sex. By masturbating, in whichever way makes us feel comfortable, we can figure out what feels good for our own bodies, and, when the time is right, we can apply this personal understanding to sex with a partner. If we don’t know what sexual pleasure should feel like, we won’t know that painful or uncomfortable sex isn’t right. Masturbating is the perfect way for all of us, especially prior to our first sexual experiences, to figure out our own bodies and sexual preferences.
Aside from discovering your own sense of sexual pleasure, masturbation can be introduced to the bedroom and spice up your sex life with a partner as well as without! Masturbatory sex is a great alternative to penetrative sex, whoever your chosen sexual partner. It enables you to focus on individual rather than combined pleasure, which can be a more effective way for you and a partner to both obtain the most pleasure. Furthermore, by asking a partner to focus solely on your own pleasure, whilst you focus on theirs, is a great way to direct each other in what you want. Masturbatory sex can help you understand what feels good on someone else, in the same way that masturbation helps you understand what feels good for yourself, and it can therefore drastically improve your sexual pleasure as a couple.
Masturbation can really open the door to self-understanding around sexual pleasure, but it does so much more. Masturbating is a surefire way to reduce stress, improve your mood, alleviate menstrual cramps (for people with vulvas), enhance your sleep quality (which of us hasn’t had a quick wank when we’re struggling to sleep? It does wonders!), not to mention that it can improve sex! However often and whichever way you masturbate, it comes with incredible health and mental wellbeing benefits. In this vein, it is important that everybody knows that there is no wrong way to masturbate! Whether you use your hands, sex toys, lube, pornography, erotic literature, or your imagination (or even an Obama speech), as long as you are not breeching any consent, coercion, or comfort regulations, you are masturbating right. Whatever feels right for you is the best way to masturbate – use this time to really get to know yourself and explore your sexual pleasure! Similarly, there is no magic number for how often you should masturbate. Sex drive fluctuates constantly, which will inherently influence whether you fancy masturbating. Listen to your body, and go with the flow – masturbate when it feels like the right time, and you won’t be doing it too often or too rarely.
There can be a huge stigma around masturbation, which is something that the sex positive community – including us here at UNISEX – is fighting to change. Curiosity about your sexuality is natural, and masturbation is a healthy way to alleviate and indulge this curiosity, as it develops your understanding of your sexual self. In formal sex education, you will hear no mention of masturbation, which can create a cloud of shame around it. Masturbation is natural and healthy, and can be a vital part of sexual self-discover; if only we were told about it when we learn the birds and the bees, we may not feel such shame and secrecy about masturbation. Only through open discussion of masturbation can this stigma be changed, and Masturbation May has proven to be a brilliant way of opening up this conversation! Happy Masturbation May, everyone! May you celebrate with a wank!