Recently, there has been some chatter amongst my friends during a group BBM chat about masturbation. I was appalled, to realise that the subject was still tabooed in 2014! So as a health professional I decided to put my views in writing-because that’s what I do best.
Masturbation can be defined as self-stimulation or “self-molestation” to cause sexual sensations. The use of the word masturbation usually suggests that the person is manipulating his or her genitals to the point of intense pleasure or orgasm. (Orgasm refers to a period of intense excitement in which genital muscles enter in to a series of highly pleasurable contractions or movements.) While masturbation can involve another person, most of us think of it as a very private act.
According to some health care providers masturbation allows a healthy way to express and explore your sexuality and to release sexual tension without all the associated risks of sexual intercourse. Health professionals generally agree that this private touching is a natural, normal mode of self-exploration and sexual expression. Unfortunately, after the excitement of the moment has passed, many people find themselves filled with guilt and or shame, especially if they are caught.
Most surveys suggest that approximately 94% of teenage males “admitted” that they masturbated and about 70% of teen females “admitted” to this also. It’s always hard to establish absolute truth in any survey on sexuality and sexual behavior, since they are influenced so much by what people think is “normal”. It is important to note the word “admitted” in the results of these surveys; doesn’t that word imply something shameful about the act of masturbating?
Let’s look at some of the myths and truths about masturbation.
“Masturbation isn’t ‘real sex'” and “Only losers masturbate”
Just not true. According to some sexuality experts people who masturbate tend to function better sexually when with a partner since they know their own body and have fulfilled sexual expression. Masturbation has also proven to help individuals have better control of their orgasms, which can avert premature ejaculations and nocturnal emission (wet dreams). It also reduces embarrassing spontaneous erections for teen males. Besides, what’s “real sex” anyway?
“If you masturbate you will go blind or bald or get acne or hair on your hands…”
None of these have any basis in truth. In fact, the ejaculation of a healthy person can be nutritionally beneficial to the human body, both topically and if ingested. Each teaspoon of ejaculate has about 5 – 7 calories and some 200 – 500 million sperms. Since sperms make up only about 1 percent of semen, what accounts for the other 99 percent is protein, monosaccharide (sugar), deoxyribonucleic acid, citric acid and ascorbic acid (vitamin c), calcium, cholesterol(synthetic), zinc and a number of catalysts including enzymes. Which means (scientifically speaking) sounds like a really damn good facial to me-for skin care! Just saying…
“Masturbation wears the body out and makes you tired”
Also not true. Masturbation helps for insomnia (i.e. when a person is having trouble falling asleep). And as for warring the body out, masturbation done in moderation is said by medical practitioners to prevent prostate cancer and stimulate the immune system to help build up resistance to common infections. It also releases mood elevating hormones and relieves menstrual cramps.
“People in relationships or married don’t masturbate”
Wrong again. (Many couples masturbate mutually). Not to mention, it could be more exciting than you think to do voyeurism on your partner while they touch themselves sexually. Two adults in a consenting relationship masturbating for each other can be quite a turn on. Not to mention save many long distance relationships.
“Masturbation will stunt your growth”
Nice try, but wrong again. In fact, masturbation is proven to stimulate growth hormones and helps an individual with their growth maturity (growing chest and pubic hair, height, penis size etc.)
“If you masturbate you’ll never be able to have children”
I get this question as an e-mail often, this is just not true, who started this myth? If that was true none of us would be on this planet.
None of these myths are true. And while there will always be those who make religious or moral arguments against masturbation. If you are Christian you may have been taught that it is “sinful to spill seed” or masturbation is “seed wasted”. So, that is something you will have to decide for yourself.
When done in moderation, masturbation seems to be a common, “normal”, healthy way to get sexual satisfaction. It is one that is safe and does NOT run the risks of pregnancy, STDs or incompatible sexual preferences. But, use good sense while masturbating. If you are sore from spending TOO much time with yourself – stop and let your body heal. Getting irritated skin is not uncommon, so don’t panic and use plenty of water soluble lubrication next time. If irritation persists see your health care provider. Remember, lubrication! Especially you guys (or gals using a vibrator) *shrugs*.
And if you are spending a lot of your time masturbating and it is interfering with your school work, your job, or the rest of your life, then you might want to stop and think about why you are doing it so much. Pepsi isn’t the only addiction someone can have these days.