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What's the Deal with Masturbation?

By Nina Jacinto
 
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Everyone masturbates, or so the story goes. We're flooded by myths of masturbation - it will make you go blind, you might lose your hair - but perhaps the most unchallenged myth is how many Americans actually partake in the deed. A study published last year showed that only 61 percent of men had masturbated during the year. Only 38 percent of women said the same. Is it really as common as we make it out to be - and if it isn't, then why is that?

Research into masturbation shows that most men masturbate from their early teens to middle age. Last year's study showed the rate fell off later on in life, even after 50. Apparently women have always begun to masturbate many years later, in their 20s and 30s.

So why aren't we enjoying self love more? After all, when we put the myths aside, there are many benefits to masturbating - increased education, more sexual relationships, experimentation before puberty. Having an understanding of how your body feels allows for more communication in relationships and better sexual satisfaction.

I suppose it has something to do with how our cultures view masturbation. The anxiety and taboo around the act affects most individuals. Race and ethnicity and religion and culture complicate and shape these attitudes even more. There isn't an open atmosphere to talk about sex, let alone exploring sexuality. There's something forbidden and some would say even disgusting about exploring your own body. And women seem to face this even more - with little or no conversation about sexual pleasure and satisfaction for women in communities, what's a girl to do?

Overcoming the anxieties, guilt, and stigma around masturbation is a lifelong task, and one that can be helped by more open conversations, better sexual health programs, and a better grasp on sexual health and safe sexual pleasure.

So what can we do? Take it slow. Exploring one's own sexuality can be a complicated process and it isn't as simple as buying a vibrator and curling up under the covers.

Add a Comment1 Comments

EmpowHER Guest
Anonymous

I always masturbate even i'm still married..

September 25, 2012 - 3:52pm
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