Masturbation can be broadly defined as sexually pleasuring one’s self. Masturbation can include but is not limited to stimulation of body parts, fantasizing, watching pornography, reading erotica, using sex toys, and experiencing pain, pleasure, and orgasm for the purposes of sexual pleasure.
Experiencing masturbation can be very empowering, giving a sense of independence because you rely on yourself for pleasure, and don’t have to worry about feeling shamed for your turn ons and fantasies. It can help you get to know and appreciate your body as well as associate positive feelings with it. Being comfortable with your body is essential to decreasing sexual anxiety so that you can focus on increasing sexual satisfaction.
There is no right way to masturbate. You can be submissive or dominant in masturbation, dirty talk to yourself, touch yourself, daydream, feel your body’s reactions to your thoughts. You can use sex toys to help you get off or imagine yourself in certain role-playing situations. Always remember that your brain is your biggest sex organ; you don’t even have to touch yourself to experience sexual pleasure. You can masturbate with a partner, teach them how you each like to be touched or turned on while building your confidence and easing performance anxiety. Masturbation also provides a sexual outlet when your partner(s) are unwilling to participate or unavailable for sexual activity.
Masturbation has been linked to increased physical and mental health through pleasure, building self esteem, and helping with tension and stress release. It allows for relaxation, can help with falling asleep, and even plays a part in pain reduction. Sexual arousal takes priority in the brain over pain, with the release of endorphins acting as natural opiates by reducing pain. This is part of the reason why sex and masturbation are highly recommended for vagina owners who are on their period; not only can period pain be relieved through masturbation, but orgasmic contractions allow blood to discharge from the uterus, which periodically eases congestion and cramping.
Positive sexual attitudes as well as orgasmic capacity have been linked to masturbation. The only downside to masturbation is the guilt and shame associated with it from disapproving members of society. However, positive portrayals of masturbation can be found in various media, including television shows and movies. In Pleasantville, people are living their lives in a black and white tv world. As the people begin to challenge their normality, they become technicolor. A main character pleasures herself through masturbation, and changes from a black and white television character to a technicolor person, who sees the complexity of life. In Sex and the City, Samantha doesn’t allow others to shame her for her sexuality. When her favorite vibrator quits, she sets out to get it replaced, and in so doing, meets other customers shopping for vibrators. She gives her opinion on each of the toys, allowing the other customers to make more informed decisions for their sexual benefit.
If you a ready to get in touch with yourself, check out our reviews for more information on different toys…and if you see something you like, consider supporting The CSPH by making a purchase from The CSPH Store. How often do you get the opportunity to support sexuality education and advocacy by masturbating?