May was, once again, Masturbation Month , a whole month of masturbatory glee invented in the 90s by an enviously forward-thinking sex toy store in New York. And yet, despite us having a month of open frivolity (and rampant sex toy marketing), the discussion of masturbation in public is still considered taboo. That’s frustrating for some of us, that masturbation is still considered shameful, because it’s not. It’s a vital and healthy method of necessary sexual expression, and there is a growing segment of the population that consider themselves ‘solosexual’, or preferring sexual activity with themselves rather than with a regular partner.
A lot of the problem lies in language. The majority of people still tend to define sex as consisting of penetration until orgasm, but it’s just not that truth, and the definition of sex needs to be expanded. It’s rarely discussed meaningfully in sex education, except to discourage it, and that breeds in an element of embarrassment from an early age -despite the fact that virtually everyone does, or has done it.
There’s a sense, particularly among mixed, monogamous couples, that masturbating aside from sex with a partner is somehow taking something away from them. As though we have a finite amount of sexuality, and by masturbating alone, we may not have enough sex left for a partner. But that’s not what the research says. In fact, most studies indicate that people who masturbate in relationships have more sex, not less, and the more the more they masturbate, the greater their desire for sex. We are, then, perfectly capable of having sex with ourselves, AND with our partners.
There are times, and reasons, why most of us, at least occasionally, would choose masturbation over partnered sex. That’s normal. Masturbation is quick and easy, whereas sex often needs mutual passion, and negotiation, and time. Of course, it’s important to make time for that, and to talk to your partner about sex and desire, particularly if you and your partner have different levels of sexual energy . But it’s also important not to be ashamed of your desire for masturbation. It is healthy, and it is ok.
There’s no wrong way to masturbate, so long as it doesn’t interfere with other things you or partner want to try sexually, and make sure you’re honest about it. In fact, the act of discussing masturbation and sexual fantasies is itself a sexy thing to do, as is choosing sex toys with each other . And the best part is that, as Bette Dobson said, “you are your safest sex partner.”
And remember, masturbation is sex. Masturbation is ok. Not masturbating is ok. Not having sex is ok. Masturbation with a partner is ok. Masturbation without orgasm is ok. Masturbating with sex toys is ok. Masturbating without them is ok. Masturbating to porn or erotica is ok. Masturbation can be meditative. Masturbation can include fantasies featuring other people. Masturbation can be your sex life. As long as everything’s is shared and there are no secrets, masturbation can absolutely be a healthy and important part of your relationship.
And the best part is that masturbation is safe. It’s something you control, and you own, and it’s yours to protect and to love. No one can take it away from you, and there’s no guilt or shame involved. It’s the perfect, private outlet for sexual creativity and expression, and it’s yours to enjoy however you choose.
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