Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it.

That’s right, ladies, this article is about the big 'M' word.  What we’ve heard about it, and what’s actually true.  First thing’s first: a definition.

masturbate |ˈmastərˌbāt|
verb—to stimulate one's own genitals for sexual pleasure.

Sound it out.  Not just under your breath, but say it.  Now scream it at the top of your lungs!

Okay, you probably didn’t do that last one - hey that’s cool.  Now can we giggle a little and continue?  After so much progress in the sexual education realm, how is this big word still shrouded in a shameful shadow?  I’m here to debunk some of the myths and relay some of the facts, and then maybe we can all look at our own personal sexual life with a fresh, open gaze.

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Myth: Guys have to masturbate, but girls shouldn’t.

Alright…this myth is perpetuated by some very flawed logic that we almost believe when we first hear it.  The fact is, boys have wet dreams, and the result at the finish line is out of their control.  Now, to control this guilt, boys are told that wet dreams and orgasm are healthy and natural.  Since something ejaculates at the end, the logic is that it’s unhealthy to keep it blocked and unreleased.

Fact: Both girls and boys masturbate, and it’s natural for both.

Not all boys are told that masturbation is okay —and there are definitely some guilt-speeches given to both boys and girls —but the numbers show that about 95-99% of adult men masturbate, while the rate of adult female masturbation is around 40-60%. Ladies: it’s okay to feel pleasure.

 

Myth: If a young child masturbates, there is something wrong with them.

Fact: Sexual development in young children is as relevent to normal and healthy growth as playing, eating nutritiously, and learning a language.

No one has to teach a child to explore his or her own genitals, just as they’re exploring the other parts of their bodies, like fingers and toes.  If it provides a pleasurable response, the child is likely to repeat it, and it happens fairly regularly in both boys and girls by the age of 5 or 6.

 

Myth: You’ll go blind!

Okay, no.  Other variations of this fear are that masturbation will cause acne or baldness.  In our grandparents’ generation, and even more recently, young adults have been told that if you masturbate, your hands will grow hair.  If you reach an orgasm that makes you see stars, go you!  But that vision isn’t permanent, and there's no harmful repercussion in masturbating.

Fact: Masturbation can ease pain.

Orgasms are a natural painkiller.  They can ease things like backaches and headaches while on your period, so whenever you’re feeling the excruciating effects of PMS, give this natural antidote a try!

 

Myth: You’ll go to hell if you masturbate.

I spoke to a friend who used to believe this after some religious indoctrination where she was told if she masturbated, she would be sent straight to purgatory.  While I recognize that masturbation is against some religious beliefes (I have the utmost respect for all religious beliefs and freedoms) I felt the need to expose this myth.  As my friend said, 'I've never died before, but I'm assuming everyone who has is not hanging in purgatory talking about how masturbation got them there.' 

Fact: Masturbation can keep you healthy.

Not only does masturbation in general release stress, but in women, the act builds up a resistance to yeast infections.  Studies have also shown that orgasms help to prevent endometriosis, a disease in the uterine lining that can lead to infertility.

 

Myth: Masturbation is a form of cheating.

Masturbating is just another way of exploring your body, and it is entirely individual.  If personal urges are cheating, wouldn’t people be cheating on their loved ones every day?

Fact: Single people probably masturbate less than people in relationships.

Studies show that people who have sex regularly, masturbate more than those who do not (generally single people).  Masturbation makes you more open to having sex!  Many couples also find that watching their partner masturbating is a very arousing act.

 

Myth: Masturbation makes it more difficult to achieve orgasm in sex.

Masturbation and sexual intercourse are two different subjects under the umbrella that is our sexual body.  Masturbation doesn’t necessarily make sex better, nor does it make it worse.  There isn't a sexual quota we will overfill if we masturbate too much and have sex too infrequently.

Fact: Masturbation allows the exploration of your personal desires and preferences.  Many people masturbate without achieving orgasm.  It isn’t about reaching a goal —it’s about feeling good.  Once you know what you like, you have an intimate knowledge of yourself, and you can share that with whomever you so choose during your most intimate times.

bSmart Note: The only time masturbation is unhealthy is if it interferes in your life —such as not going out and being social because you’d rather masturbate.  You’re more than welcome to do it on the daily, as long as there’s a balance, just like everything else!

If this entire article has made you cross-eyed because…well…you’ve just never done it before?  Have no fear.  Here are some online links to get you started if you’re more curious!

How do I masturbate?

What is an orgasm, and how to I know if I’ve had one? 

Happy humping!

 

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