In speaking to people about masturbation, one of my favorite
activities topics, I find that many people equate masturbation with failure. They interpret the action of masturbating as a reminder that they do not have a partner, or are not getting satisfied with their partner. Consider, as well, the way that we are taught about masturbation – that it is unnatural, against nature, and a sin – usually by way of religious education. Our public opinion is so averse to masturbation that our government would fire a Surgeon General for not suggesting, but just agreeing with the idea that teaching masturbation to teenagers might reduce the incidence of risky sexual behavior. This, of course, was from President Clinton – who might have done better to engage in a little masturbation, in private, rather than oral sex and outer sex with a woman other than his wife. A little masturbation could have saved taxpayers the $6 or $7 million dollars that were spent investigating him.
By viewing masturbation as a failure, we are refusing to take responsibility of our own sexuality and our own sexual pleasure. The rejection of masturbation as an acceptable activity assumes that we depend on others for sexual satisfaction. By doing this, we imprison ourselves and give away the key. This means that not only does happiness in our sex life rely on having a partner, but also requires that our partner be ready, willing, and able whenever we want. For those of us living in the real world, we know that this is not always the case. In fact, for the majority of women, sexual intercourse alone does not provide enough excitement or stimulation to acheive orgasm. But with lessons learned from masturbating, women can explore with their partner different ways to provide the needed stimulation by teaching their partner to stimulate them, or by stimulating themselves manually during intercourse.
Masturbation can also be a very erotic activity to engage in with your partner. Many couples enjoy watching each other get off, while others like to get their partners off. It can be part of the beginning, middle, or end of an evening of sexual activity. Remember, there is no set format for sex unless you limit yourself to one. The only failure I see here is if a person fails to allow themselves maximal pleasure and variety in their sexual activities.
Some would argue that masturbation is not natural and is an abomination. This is to ignore the fact that masturbation is an activity that we teach ourselves and is found to occur even before birth in the womb. The extreme negative view is more indicative of other people’s insecurities and neuroses rather than the reality of the natural process of masturbation. And especially for women, who have the clitoris which serves no other function than to give pleasure, it is clear that we were built for more than just reproduction.
Perhaps the biggest misconception is that we should not engage in masturbation if we do not have a partner, but instead just let our natural sexual desires shrivel away over time. Some view masturbation so negatively that they would rather completely ignore the entirety of their sexuality than to engage in masturbation. Again, here is the reverberation of the idea that in order to be sexual, you must have a partner. In my opinion, this is to sell yourself short. By doing so, you ignore all of the physical and psychological benefits of having regular sexual arousal and satisfaction. Instead of viewing masturbation as failure, I see it as a proactive, healthy affirmation and reinforcement of our sexual self. It supports healthy physiology for our brains as well as our bodies.