I’m talking frankly about sensitive issues. This is a continuation of my previous posts. If you are uncomfortable talking about sex or self-pleasure, you’ll wan to read something else. If you’re okay with my subject matter (or are very curious, even if you don’t want to admit it), read on.
I’m taking a lighter tone on this one, because I’m putting an emphasis on the positive aspects of self-gratification. These are by no means exhaustive lists, and I encourage you to check out the links. Also, if you can handle some frank talks, please be sure to check out Laci Green‘s videos. She’s like Dr. Ruth for the new generation, and she’s just so much fun. One quick note: These points are pretty heteronormative. I’m not trying to be exclusionary here, but this is a situation in which I don’t think I can speak from a different perspective. If anyone is interested in discussing this from other points of view, I’m absolutely open to that. This is just to start the conversation.
Here’s some info for the gents, but if you’re a woman reading this, I promise not to tell. If you don’t want to read it, skip to the next section.
1. Guys, you have an evolutionary advantage. Women are born with all the eggs we ever need, and when they’re gone, that’s it. Men start making sperm at puberty and don’t stop. That’s why you have 70-year-old celebrities still fathering children. Clearly, this is awesome news for you. But here’s the thing: you have to keep the plumbing working. Regular ejaculation keeps your swimmers in good shape and helps prevent prostate problems. Why, yes, it does prevent prostate cancer, thanks for asking. At least a few times a week should do it. Hey, I just tell it like it is.
2. Do-it-yourself sex means no unwanted fatherhood, no scary rashes, and no angst over ex-girlfriends. I mean, if we want to promote “safer sex,” you can’t get any safer than getting off in the shower. This works well for religious sorts, too. Take care of it at home, then keep your hands to yourself on a date. Win-win.
3. For younger guys, if you masturbate, you will have less sticky laundry to do. Yep, it’s true—guys who don’t tend to have more wet dreams, which persist longer without regular ejaculation. In my opinion, you might as well at least be awake to enjoy it. Just find somewhere you won’t make a mess. And you’re welcome for reducing chores.
4. Unless it’s interfering with the rest of your social life (“Dude, I can’t go see Maximum Alien Destruction Force 3 tonight, I gotta stay home and jerk off!”), then you’re in good shape. Yeah, I know, there’s that whole guys-think-about-it-24/7 thing. Really? No spare thoughts for, say, homework, or your job? Huh. Still, I think most guys can manage to drag themselves away from their bedrooms long enough to function in society. But if you really can’t, then you have bigger problems and probably should get some professional help.
5. Most guys are doing it anyway. Let’s dispense with the guilt. I know, I know. Just because everyone’s doing it doesn’t make it right. In this case, though, I believe it applies. The vast majority of boys and men masturbate—like, upwards of 95% of them, and that’s the ones that admit to it. Maybe I’m naive, or maybe I just don’t know what it’s like to be a guy, but my guess is that all 95% of the male population doesn’t have some kind of porn addiction or lust problem. I was under the impression that normal, healthy dudes can get off without looking at pictures and videos of giant mutant boobs.
6. That passage in Leviticus I mentioned in a previous post (15:16): Where do you suppose the “emission of semen” comes from, since there are separate laws related to sex? Hmm, let’s think a minute…
7. Even Dr. James Dobson agrees that it’s normal and healthy, so if you like what Dr. Dobson has to say, then there you go. Never thought I’d find something Dr. Dobson and I agree on; I hope that’s not a sign of the apocalypse.
8. Finally, for you married guys, this isn’t just a singles issue. Don’t worry, you’re off the hook too. As long as it’s not interfering with your relationship with your wife, it’s perfectly fine. Not only that, wink, wink, you can make it part of your intimate relationship. In fact, there are books and web sites devoted to the subject, including advice on techniques. Just have open, honest communication. Hiding things leads to shame, guilt, and lack of trust.
Okay, gals, it’s your turn. You can play along, dudes. Admit it, you’re curious.
1. Sad but true: 40% of women aren’t having orgasms. That’s depressing! Surely we can do better? Part of the problem is that we’ve been coached to attach our sexuality to men. We’re taught that sex is great, sex is awesome. But nobody teaches us what our bodies can do or how to make them do it. FYI: The vagina isn’t analogous to the penis; the clitoris is. Make of that what you will.
2. Let’s face facts, some guys just want to get right to the main event. For that reason alone many women may have no idea that sex of the “tab A into slot B” variety isn’t necessarily the best way to enjoy our partners and our bodies. Did you know that it takes 20 minutes of gentle stimulation for a woman to climax? Me, neither, til I read it in a book written by a female specialist during my research. (Yeah, sad that I had to research this subject. See what I mean about knowing our bodies?) Self-pleasure is the best way to find out what you like. Try it out yourself, then show your partner what you need.
3. For unpartnered women, the same principle applies as with the men. Imagine ten years’ worth of sexual frustration. Yuck. Do me a favor, don’t starve yourself. That idea never works anyway. Think about how you feel when you “save yourself” for Thanksgiving dinner. You get so hungry you feel like crap and even the napkins look good. Then you binge and feel like crap because you overate. If sex were really better after a decade-long starvation, married couples ought to intentionally deny each other sex for ten years so it would feel that much better. Um, no thanks.
3. You can reduce menstrual cramps and prepare for childbirth. It’s true–regular orgasms strengthen pelvic floor and uterine muscles. Bonus! Start now, and by the time you’re ready for babies (if you want them), you’ll have the strongest uterus in three counties.
4. Exploring your own body can help you prepare for intercourse. You know how everyone says sex hurts the first time? Well, it doesn’t have to. See, there’s this nice, stretchy membrane just inside your vagina called the hymen. It doesn’t go “pop” when you put something in there, it stretches. But the stretching can be uncomfy the first few times. Before you have insertive sex with a partner, stretch it out yourself. You can do this with your fingers or with a (clean!) object. Go slow, use lube.
5. You won’t get pregnant, catch a disease, or have to deal with an over-eager boyfriend (read: quick). Again, the same “safer sex” strategy applies to women. Seriously, I don’t get how people can learn how to put a condom on a banana, but not that getting yourself off is safe, clean, and convenient. And extra points for not having to remember the dang pill every day.
6. Lots of girls experiment with their bodies, but not all figure things out, and they give up. Don’t do that. Give yourself time, privacy, and a guilt-free atmosphere. We need to stop being ashamed of our bodies and what they can do. Our bodies function exactly as they were meant to. This is a beautiful, wonderful thing, not something to be embarrassed by or to feel guilty about.
7. There are whole web sites devoted to this kind of thing. The vast majority of Google results for “Christians” and “masturbation” turn up sites that are supposed to help men stop doing it, or conflate self-gratification with porn addiction. Guess what? The sites for women are a lot cooler, but they’re harder to find. I guess no one worries about our eternal sexual souls. Here’s an article to get you started if you’ve never ventured into the waters. Browse the rest of the site for some great tips on how to make your married life more exciting, too. If you’re not married or with a partner yet, read up now. Imagine how awesome it will be when you are in a relationship and can show your partner a thing or two.
8. I have no idea whether men would benefit from talking about their solo efforts with each other (in a positive context, not a “man, you need some help with your lust” context). I do know that women would. People are relational creatures and we need each other. Why not open the dialogue with one another? In the right environment, we can give each other advice, listen to each others’ stories, and offer support.
So there you have it, folks. I hope that I’ve been able to give you some things to think about over the last few days as well as a place to start when it comes to creating a sex-positive atmosphere. Too many of us have been conditioned to have a shame-based view of human sexuality. I hope that eventually we can reach a point where we eliminate the fear and stress that can be associated with intimacy and pleasure and instead develop a climate of healthy respect and trust.