Masturbation has been misunderstood and debated seemingly forever. Tons of people seem confused whether it’s beneficial, dangerous or somewhere in between.
The truth is: It’s as natural as sex with another person, sleeping, or eating, and many of the myths that surround it are the result of leftover sex-sensitive oppressive and stigmatized worldviews.
Sexuality is a biological and physiological need much the same as eating and sleeping. If you don’t eat or sleep, your body will put itself to sleep at some point and your body will do whatever it has to in order to feed. Sexual expression is similar — if you never masturbate or have sex, it will nocturnally emit in your sleep. It will find it’s own way to release.
There are a few major masturbation myths that I feel the need to debunk. It’s not a complete list, but these are some of the most common ones you might encounter. And if you have questions about other fears or myths, I’d be more than happy to answer them first-hand.
Myth #1: Masturbation causes erectile dysfunction
Masturbation is as natural as shared intercourse — in fact it is a physiological need. Does regular sex cause erectile dysfunction?
Not to my knowledge.
What people might be experiencing is the effect of becoming accustomed to certain stimuli. Going through the same motions repeatedly can cause that sensation to feel normal, and perhaps less arousing. That’s why it’s so important to switch things up now and then!
If you don’t use toys when you masturbate, try it sometime. If you always use toys, try going without (and yes, toys are for males as well). If you always do it in the same place or at the same time, switch that up too.
The same goes for your masturbation “material” if you have any. Watching porn gets your brain used to seeing certain things, and seeing them constantly can desensitize you to them. If your porn use is escalating, try using different material, like your imagination. Reliving past sexual encounters can be extremely erotic, and keep your brain’s expectations down to earth.
Myth #2: Masturbation will make you go blind
This is one of those leftover myths influenced by years of sexual stigma and oppression within our society. There is no link between masturbation and blindness whatsoever. This discouraging idea (like so many others) comes from an attempt to keep people from engaging in “sinful behavior” – but there’s no evidence behind the claim.
Masturbation won’t cause you to go blind, sprout hair on your palms, go insane or die – despite naysayers best efforts to scare you. It’s actually a very healthy and important part of growing up. Teaching children that exploring their body is wrong is harmful to their mental and emotional well-being — it results in shame and guilt, and could lead to oppression of natural physiological instincts.
Even children who haven’t reached sexual maturity explore and identify their body, and there is nothing dirty or depraved about it. It’s a very important part of growing up with a healthy sense of self. And continued exploration during and after puberty is equally important.
Myth #3: You shouldn’t masturbate if you’re in a relationship
Some people feel that masturbating instead of having sex with your partner is a sign that you’re not sexually satisfied with them, or are afraid that it kills your sex drive. This can be true in extreme situations but it is quite unlikely. We all have busy lives and as a result of this, we aren’t available for sex 24/7. Sometimes schedules are different, and so are sex drives.
Masturbation is healthy in more ways than I can list here, but most importantly, the time you spend getting to know yourself better matters tremendously. As humans, we not only need intimacy and sexual experiences with others, we also need it with ourselves. In fact it should start there! If you aren’t able to be intimate with yourself or know your own body adequately, chances are your sex life could suffer from that.
A partner that wants your happiness (and understands the importance of masturbation) won’t forbid you to take care of yourself when they’re not able. After all, it’s a much better alternative to seeking it elsewhere!
Myth #4: It’s a guy thing
Masturbation is absolutely not just a guy thing. In fact it’s not even necessarily accurate to say that guys always do it more than girls. Girls masturbate, watch porn and have sex dreams way more than standard thinking would have you believe.
Since it can be more difficult for some women to achieve the big-O, masturbation can actually be an extremely helpful tool in learning what works for you and getting to know your body! The more a woman knows about what works for her, the more she can share with her partner, making things more enjoyable for everyone. Each person is responsible for his or her own pleasure! Another can assist and help, but in the end, you are in charge. If something isn’t working properly, it could well be your own fault due to lack of communication or not knowing what you like.
Myth #5: Masturbating too much can make you addicted
How much is too much? Every person you ask will give you a different answer. But since everyone has a different sex drive, there really isn’t such thing as too much. Unless masturbating is keeping you from getting things done in your life, or starting to hurt, you shouldn’t worry (see Myth #2).
Some people masturbate a few times per week, some every night, some multiple times a day. Some people never masturbate at all which I find to be a much larger issue than doing it too frequently. But as long as the reason isn’t shame or fear and it doesn’t interfere with your daily life, there’s no problem with that either! The amount depends completely on personal sex drive.
Like my mother always says, “everything in moderation, even moderation in moderation.”
Myth #6: You should only masturbate alone
Don’t get me wrong — masturbating in public is never a good idea and also very illegal. You certainly shouldn’t be masturbating around people who haven’t consented to participating. But masturbating in sexual situations can be a huge turn-on (it can also be a great way to show your partner how you like it done).
Mutual masturbation is actually quite popular — not to mention great birth control. It’s fine to want masturbation to be time for yourself, as long as your partner isn’t making you feel guilty about it. It’s not something to feel ashamed of, and like many things, can be more fun when shared.
There are tons of benefits to regular masturbation. Keep an eye out for future blogs on the subject, and as always – contact me with questions! I can help sort out any masturbation or sex problems you’re currently having, and prevent future ones from ever occurring.
Help is just a click away.