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Why We Should All Be Celebrating Masturbation May

5 Min Read
Health

As we are all stuck indoors for the time being with the chaos of the world weighing heavily on our minds, I can't help but feel painfully… not horny. Clearly I love sex, I own a sex toy store! It's masturbation month! But I've gotta say that my masturbation has become more to-the-point than ever. As a sex educator who frequently preaches about sexual pleasure not being goal-oriented or orgasm-focused, I've actually been doing just that — masturbating briefly with my reliable sex tools and porn as to reach the blissful stress-relief of orgasm as efficiently as possible.

While my utilitarian solo sessions are uninspiring on the outside, I am simply thankful to be able to orgasm given that I had partnered sex for years before I ever masturbated. I wouldn't have ever figured out my own orgasm at the rate I was going with partners while neglecting to explore my own body. Sure it took plenty of trial and error, and I still rely on a few tried and true formulas to orgasm, but that's perfectly okay with me. My masturbation is serving the purpose I need it to serve right now.

It's uncanny how often I hear masturbation characterized as a substitute for partnered sex at it's best, and "cheating" on a partner (or... god) at it's worst.

I know for a fact that my personal "blah" attitude towards sexual stimulation is not representative of the way everyone else is feeling right now. I sext with people who subscribe to my paid fan sites, and that is a direct window into some people's world-of-horny. I'm having people tell me all about their countless solo sessions, begging me to set limitations on their self-pleasure because their desire is so uncontrollable. If there is an undetermined period of time until we can actually fuck other people again, then they want to experiment and try out every last thing their brain can think of to create new experiences with solo play, and I applaud that.

It's uncanny how often I hear masturbation characterized as a substitute for partnered sex at it's best, and "cheating" on a partner (or… god) at it's worst. With all this talk of "me time," we think about hydrating face masks and baths, but not the type of "me time" that involves you fucking yourself. Whether you masturbate for tension relief, entertainment, meditation, eroticism, exhibitionism, you name it, it is GOOD for you.

It's hard to get the entire lay of the land without a hand mirror, especially for people with vulvas.

Masturbating not only helps us connect with our inner selves and our outer bodies, it makes partnered sex a lot better as well. While I'm sure the opposite is true for some, and partnered sex enhances masturbation, it's pretty hard to communicate what you want from partnered sex if you have no idea what pleasures your body seeks during alone time. One barrier to entry for mastubation is simply being acquainted with your own anatomy. It's hard to get the entire lay of the land without a hand mirror, especially for people with vulvas. While it can also be sweet to do some anatomical exploration with a partner, the alone time with your parts without any added eyeballs present really helps you get acquainted and comfortable.

There isn't any right or wrong way to masturbate. I remember how limited I felt when I thought I was supposed to just use my own hands, I felt like something must be wrong with me for not achieving orgasm from just rubbing and fingering myself. If only I had known that vibrators were the tools that could get me there, with or without added fingers/dildos/penetration, I could have saved a lot of heartache beating myself up over nothing.

When we talk about shame around masturbation, we typically think of religious shame. That's a huge component of sexual shame, but even if religion had no impact on you, masturbation shame still exists in our sex-negative society. I speak with a lot of people who feel ashamed of their desire to use a vibrator, feeling that it either is "unnatural" and could potentially harm their bodies (which isn't possible) or that it will emasculate a partner. Some are too embarrassed to even broach the subject. I totally get where those feelings come from too — even as a vibrator salesperson I used to shy away from hauling out my Magic Wand in front of a hook up partner, and I have definitely felt ashamed that I needed a vibrator to get off when my friends spoke of manual stimulation or orgasms from penetrative sex alone.

Why are some of us ashamed of the tools we use to get off (especially in solitude) when we would never feel ashamed of using a power drill to help us construct something?

But hey! There isn't a single aspect of life that isn't enhanced by tools. Sure we don't need tools to eat, but every single one of us uses tools to enjoy a meal: plates, forks, chopsticks, and so on. Tools like this date back to the dawn of humanity. Why are some of us ashamed of the tools we use to get off (especially in solitude) when we would never feel ashamed of using a power drill to help us construct something?

Masturbation is also limited by the types of strokes we have been taught are appropriate for our assigned gender. Vibration, as well as rubbing, humping, and penetration are considered to be "feminine" while jacking, stroking, and thrusting are "masculine" in our society. Any genital configuration can enjoy these types of stimulation, so why limit yourself? At the end of the day, our genitals are made of the same tissues. Those expectations of what masturbation should be like based on gender limit all of us in our ways to experience pleasure.

So maybe you're overwhelmed by your horniness or maybe you're rolling your eyes at the thought of masturbating in the midst of a pandemic. Wherever you're at, it's all good. While I always encourage people to masturbate for the sheer sake of endorphins and the physical benefits of pleasure, I'm sure a lot of us also need a bit of inspiration or maybe just an ice breaker.

This month, I am excited to be sharing masturbation themed content, including weekly Touch Yourself Tuesdays with some very special guests! Our first guest is Spectrum team member and Journal writer Carly S. who will be joining yours truly for a conversation on all things solo sex — I think we have some very fun and funny takes on masturbation that you'll enjoy.

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Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Email armchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get the advice you need!

Help! My Friend Is a No Show

Dear Armchair Psychologist,

I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.

-Sadsies

Dear Sadsies,

I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.



I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!



- The Armchair Psychologist

Need more armchair psychologist in your life? Check out the last installment or emailarmchairpsychologist@swaaymedia.com to get some advice of your own!