Beating the meat, waxing the giraffe, petting the kitty, paddling the pink canoe. It goes by many names.
Although most people will admit to masturbating, it’s not something we talk about candidly very often. In popular media, masturbation is most often relegated to the realm of humour, so we don’t hear as much about the positive effects. Despite the cultural taboo, masturbation has many benefits for our physical, mental and sexual health.
Masturbation is one of the most accessible ways that we can learn about our bodies and our sexuality. It’s a direct feedback loop that teaches us what we like. Knowing how to give ourselves pleasure empowers us in our relationships and our lives. For partnered folks, sex is enhanced by being in touch with one’s own sexuality, leading to greater comfort, pleasure and intimacy. For those who are single, or who prefer not to engage in sex with others, masturbation offers an easy way to enjoy sexual pleasure.
Whether you are single or in a relationship, other benefits of masturbation include:
- Relieving stress;
- Enhancing ability to achieve orgasm;
- Relieving menstrual cramps and muscle tension;
- Releasing sexual tension;
- Increasing feelings of wellbeing and self-esteem; and
- Easing insomnia through hormonal and tension release.
Many people begin masturbating as children—I have one friend who says she’s pretty sure she’s been masturbating her whole life. Others enter adulthood without ever diddling their own fiddle. So, if you’ve never done it, you may be thinking, “Where do I start?”
First you’ll want to make sure you have a comfortable and private place where you can relax. Some folks are fine in a locked bedroom; others need to have the house or apartment to themselves. Next, take your time and don’t rush to the finish line. Don’t be afraid to set a sexy mood; think of it as seducing yourself. Nice music and candles don’t have to be just for when you’re getting roman- tic with another person—you’re worth it all on your own!
If you’re curious about sex toys or porn, go for it! Experiment until you figure out what you like and keep experimenting after that. If you feel too shy to go into a sex shop, then online shopping can provide endless variety as well as anonymity.
A good vibrator is a great staple to have as it can be used both internally and externally. Of porn, it’s often said that if you can think of it, someone’s made it. So, follow your curiosity and find what turns you on. One of the best things about pleasuring yourself is that there are no set rules and it’s all about you.
We spend so much time in life with our attention focused outwards—giving of ourselves to our partners, school and work commitments, family, friends and communities. Self- pleasure is a great way to take a little time for you, to practice self-love, and feel good for the sake of feeling good.
Bick Facey is a sex-positive lover of words, and singer of sassy, silly and sad songs.