In case you didn’t know, May is International Masturbation Month. And although it’s now over, we encourage you to think of every month as masturbation month!
If you’re not entirely sure what all the fuss is about, or if you just like getting a little nerdy about sex, here are some great reasons why masturbation is one of life’s ultimate pleasures…
1. It’s free!
Whether or not you agree that the best things in life are free, we live in a society in which many sources of pleasure have a price tag, and many products are sold on the promise of pleasure. Masturbation doesn’t have to set you back one cent; what an enjoyable “up yours” to capitalism!
2. It helps you learn what you like… and teach other people!
If you’re unsure about what your body enjoys, have never had an orgasm and would like to change that, or have a niggling feeling that maybe there’s more to sexual pleasure than you’ve experienced so far, then masturbation is a fantastic next step. Solo sex is your playground, your research lab, your artist’s studio: a place for you to experiment, learn and create with absolute freedom and safety.
…And if you know how you like to be touched, you’re in a position to tell other people. Communicating this verbally is a valuable skill, but there is nothing wrong (and plenty right!) with a direct “watch and learn”. Many people find seeing their lovers masturbate super hot and exceptionally intimate. Putting masturbation on the partner-sex menu can also alleviate pressure on one party to “make” the other one come.
3. It teaches you sexual autonomy
Sexual pleasure and orgasm feel pretty awesome, and knowing that you can enjoy those things without having to rely on anyone else is an empowering high each time you do it. Like the feeling when you fix your own bike, rather than taking it to the shop… times 1,000,000.
4. It can help to counter stress, distraction and insomnia
Over-active mind? Agitated body? The rush of endorphins and feeling of release associated with orgasm can provide much-needed respite from our busy lives and restore a feeling of calm, perspective and wellbeing. Some orgasms give energy and a feeling of razor-sharp focus, while others trigger a cosy, sleepy haze. The more you experiment, the better you’ll get to know your own!
5. It’s the safest sex there is!
When you’re all alone, you can relax about STIs, pregnancy and safer sex supplies.
Of course, if other people (and their bodily fluids) are part of the picture, some precautions might be in order. If you’re enjoying a toy recently used by someone else, for example, just cover it with a fresh condom and play on!
6. It’s all about you.
No matter how much we like/love/fancy/enjoy our lovers, sometimes the presence of another human being, with needs and desires all of their own, can be a distraction from our own pleasure. With no-one else to consider, masturbation is the ultimate me-time. You can even leave your socks on.
7. It’s totally normal…
Many of us have been taught that masturbation is wrong, weird, or only acceptable under certain circumstances (e.g. for some genders and not others, for single people but not those in relationships, etc.). In reality, the desire to touch oneself in ways that feel good is a 100% natural human instinct. Not only do infants commonly stimulate themselves, even fetuses in utero have been observed at it! So next time you masturbate, take the opportunity to revel in your humanness.
8. … but it can be utterly extraordinary
Sometimes masturbation is about taking the tried-and-tested, most direct path to orgasm – and that’s a-okay. But, if we want it to be, our solo playtime can be a space to expand our sexual horizons. Want to learn how to orgasm from breathing alone? Want to spend hours gradually building pleasure, without coming? Want to see how many orgasms you can have before you get bored and want to do something else? Go for it!
9. It facilitates sexual empathy
If you can experience first-hand how super hot your own aroused genitals feel when you touch them, you’ll be more attuned to what your lovers are experiencing when they touch you. The kind of erotic empathy this generates can enhance arousal and the feeling of connection. It’s also a great antidote to any squicky feelings about your genitals that our sex-negative culture may have taught you.
10. It’s an act of self-love
Self-love is a truly radical thing: in the immortal words of the fabulous Femme Shark Manifesto, “loving ourselves in a racist/sexist/homo/transphobic /ablist/classist system is an everyday act of war against that system”. You have a right to pleasure, and loving touch, and the full, unadulterated enjoyment of your sexuality. Be the lover you deserve.