From the time we hit puberty, we, especially boys, hear all kinds of derogatory messages about masturbation. We get the message that masturbation is for guys who can’t get a girl. Some of the worst insults is to call a boy (or a man) a jerk-off, a jack-off or a wanker. As kids, many of us have been told by parents and grandparents that masturbation is wrong, will make you go blind, or grow hair on your palms. As kids, how many people have ever been told that masturbation is a good and healthy form of sexual expression?
On the other hand, girls, especially when I was growing up in a conservative, upper-middle class community in the mid-‘70’s to early ‘80’s, were taught that “good girls don’t” about anything pertaining to sex. I got that message loud and clear from my parents, the way I heard other adults talked, and from my peers.
And God help those kids (and adults) that are influenced by extreme religious beliefs and interpretations.
This past February, Brigham Young University-Idaho released a video as a weapon against porn and masturbation to its students. The photography, music and the narration by BYU-Idaho President Kim B. Clark is quite a slick piece of propaganda. He uses loaded words like “lonely”, “confused” and “spiritually wounded”. Worse yet, he urges students to reach out to rescue fellow students left wounded by the enemy on the battlefield. He makes it sound as if prying into people’s private business and ratting them out is some kind of heroic deed.
It’s not just a Mormon thing. I’ve heard and read the same kinds masturbation demonizing from Catholics, Orthodox Jews, fundamentalist Christians and Muslims.
Being exposed to messages like this before kids are ready to be sexually active explains why so many adults turn out to be sexually clueless and inhibited. There’s no need for this kind of shame.
As adults there are two things we can do to get over our hang ups about masturbation – 1. realize that almost everybody does it, and 2. employ some critical thinking when it comes to making judgments about masturbation.
The human mind and body were designed to enjoy sex. Masturbation is a form of sex. Even if we have a sex partner, we don’t have 24/7 on-demand access to sex. Sometimes masturbation isn’t purely sexual. It’s a great mental and physical de-streser. It makes us happier, more productive, mentally sharp, and makes us sleep better.
And what shame and guilt is there in feeling good? Masturbation is one of many things we can do for ourselves that make us happy like watch a movie, listen to music, run, golf or climb mountains.
Masturbation also helps us be better lovers. How are we supposed to tell our lovers what we like if we don’t experiment with ourselves?
I’d love if it was okay to talk about masturbation and sex in positive and judgment-free ways. We’d learn so much from each other if we could openly talk about which techniques, sex toys or lubes to use the same way we talk about the best way to make macaroni and cheese or which car wax works best.
As far as what makes the best macaroni and cheese, you gotta use a bit of Gruyere for flavor and a good melt. I’m clueless about car wax, but I’m sure someone else can make a recommendation.
Article by Bobbie Morgan on A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind