Masturbation: The most fun you can have alone. Watch any youth romp style movie with a Jay and Silent Bob type of character in it and you know that masturbation goes with male adolescents like hand goes with… Well, you know what hand goes with.
Yet when you do a scholarly search on masturbation, you will find the words ‘sex guilt’ right next to it. Masturbation in men is one of the most joked about, guilt-ridden, double-edged acts of the sexual spectrum. Let’s look at the typical sitcom generated belief system revolving around male masturbation. If the door is closed to your adolescent son’s bedroom, the obvious possibility is that he is spanking the monkey.
For guys, culture has decided that masturbation is normal but disgusting, kind of like pooping. Everyone poops but it is still gross. Like women, historically male masturbation was considered unhealthy. Unlike women, men had the issue of spontaneous erections and nocturnal emission. Now a days, we know that both of these are normal and healthy. As a matter of fact, the lack of spontaneous erections are a sign of male impotency.
From the Victorian Era through the early 1900’s, they had readily available devices to stop a man from masturbating or achieving an erection without it being for the purpose of baby making. Some of these devices included a ring with sharp teeth that would bite into the tip of the penis if it became engorged, the process of becoming erect. After the advent of electricity in the home, they created a machine that delivered an electric shock if the penis became erect.
It is a common tune in the history of our culture that women have control over sex and if they cannot control themselves then a man needs to intervene, whereas a man has no control over his sex parts and will put his penis anywhere that he can if given the slightest opportunity. Neither of these is true but the underlying theme still permeates our beliefs about sex, especially masturbation.
There was an interesting study that came out recently that looked at our beliefs around sex and masturbation. It was a meta-analysis of sex beliefs over the last 15 years. It showed that men and women’s ideas about sex are basically the same. This surprised us. Men and women have the same basic beliefs about sex, how often, what is good or bad sex, and what is sexy. The place where they differ is in their beliefs on masturbation. There are a larger percentage of women that think that masturbation is bad and, by bad, we mean anything from sinful to hedonistic to yucky.
This is where men have it all over women (yes, the pun was intended). Men think that it is yucky also but that it is necessary. Everyone knows that an adolescent boy is going to whack off. Yes, we even have a hundred or so names for the act. Thanks to this, we know about our sexual response. We know what we like. We know the sensitivity, or lack of sensitivity, on every square millimeter of that flesh. Unlike women, who are trying to engage their brains and find the sweet spot, men are using this knowledge to disengage the brain and just stimulate enough to keep things going without climaxing.
So let’s recap. Masturbation has bad PR. Masturbation is good for women to understand their body’s so that they can achieve orgasm. Masturbation is good for men to understand how not to achieve orgasm too quickly. And most importantly, masturbation feels good.
Remember what they say about idle hands. Give your hands something to do.