It seems that every month we’re celebrating some cause or raising awareness about another, be it black history, AIDS or gay pride. But arguably the most fun month of them all is the month of May, a time to get acquainted with what gets you offâ€¦ that’s right, happy National Masturbation Month everybody!
While masturbation has been unable to shake all of the social stigmas that plagued it in the past, at least it’s acknowledged and generally accepted by the majority of mainstream society. After all, it’s an everyday practice for 40% of American males and 22% of females, and for the curious first-timers or those looking to learn new skills, there’s a wealth of resources on the subject, both in print and online. Personally, I’m quite glad we’ve gotten past the notion that it causes moral defects and results in hairy palms and blindness.
As historian Thomas Laqueur remarked in Solitary Sex: A Culture History Of Masturbation:
“For the first time in history, masturbation was embraced as a mode of liberation, a claim to autonomy, to pleasure for its own sake, an escape from the socially prescribed path toward normal adulthood. It went from being the deviant sexuality of the wrong kind of social order to being the foundational sexuality of new sorts of imagined communities.”
But just under two decades ago, US Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders was fired for merely suggesting that teaching masturbation in schools could prevent young people from engaging in intercourse or other riskier forms of sexual expression.
This prompted the owners of one of the originators of the woman-owned, sex positive brand of shops, San Francisco’s Good Vibrations, to launch a month-long awareness campaign about the benefits of masturbation, and how it is just another component of a healthy and happy sex life. After all, isn’t it easy for your lover to pleasure you when you know exactly what you like, how you like to be touched and where? Plus, it’s a safe and fun way to relieve tension and could have other health benefits like reducing the risk prostate cancer in men and cervical infections for women.
To be honest, I was planning on masturbating every day just to celebrate, but I’ve fallen a little behind as of late. I mean, I could try to catch up, but with a full time job and a part time party habit, I can’t really squeeze in missing twelve-or-so sessions let alone one or two. Maybe if I were Ana Catarian Bezerra, a 36-year old Brazilian woman who is legally allowed to masturbate and watch porn at work.
The woman suffers from a chemical imbalance in her brain that causes a bad case of hyper-sexuality and severe anxiety, best relieved by compulsively getting herself off. At its worst, she would masturbate up to 47 times a day. Now on what was described as a cocktail of tranquilizers, she’s down to a mere 18 times a day. If we could all be so lucky…
Even with all the information out there, I think it’s as important as ever that we stop and take a moment (or an entire month) to recognize the positive effects of masturbation. Creating a dialogue about the subject helps to further debunk its taboos. This is especially important for women, who historically and culturally speaking have a more complicated relationship with the act of self-love. While you’d be pretty hard pressed to find a man out there who wasn’t intimately familiar with his own penis, women aren’t really as encouraged to explore themselves in such a manner. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that women experience their sexual peak later in life, perhaps it was because I’ve learned a few tricks from my lovers, and perhaps it was the magnificent vibrator I wisely invested inâ€¦ all I know is, I get better and better at pleasing myself with each passing year.
Here are some fun statistics compiled by Pleated Jeans about masturbation for you to ponder. Then, I advise you to get off the computer and get yourself off!