By Jessica Stumper
"Masturbation ... is not approved of the Lord nor this church, regardless of what may be said by those whose 'norms' are lower", President Kimball of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (1981)
"Every sperm is sacred. Every sperm is great. If a sperm is wasted, God gets quite irate." Monty Python's The Meaning of Life.
A quote often used by various churches in an effort to contain illicit acts amongst its people. Every sermon on masturbation would quote it, atleast all the sermons I have heard. Under the circumstances, is it difficult to imagine masturbation as one of the biggest taboos in our society? Even today? Scientific education has done a little to change it. Does that mean men and women don't masturbate? Certainly not. 99% of men and 70% of women masturbate according to various studies. The problem lies in the acceptance of the fact that you masturbate. Let me tell you a story... a story about you.
One night you were sitting alone in your appartment eating pizza. You decided to check out some new sites on the net while you eat. So you log on to your ISP and start surfing. Inadverantely, you come across some piece of pornography(yes, the net is quite full of it!) Looking at those erotic (and often downright nasty photos) you feel a tingling between your legs. One thing leads to another and you end up spoiling your underpants. Now let me tell you another story.
One night you were sitting alone in a bar drinking beer. And then a most gorgeous person enters the bar. The person that causes tingling between your legs just looking at him or her. You decide that you can't let go of this oppurtunity to get to know this wonderful creation of god. So you move towards this person and start small talk. One thing leads to another and you end up in your appartment.
Whether you are a woman or a man, the next morning you wouldn't be jumping with joy in the first case. When you go out in the evening to meet your friends, you would not tell them about the hot site you found and how you jerked off to it. Nevertheless, in the second case, you would be telling anyone who cared to listen how you had the most wonderful experience of your life last night. Why? Well, maybe because self pleasure is, well, nothing special. You can do it anytime you want. Ofcourse seducing the person of your dreams is quite an accomplishment. No wonder you need an audience. But what if you have a friend like me. A friend who is crazy enough to ask you did you wank off yesterday night? Was it good? What would you do then? Would you tell your friend about the hot site and your experience? Would you simply say, "Yeah! It was great! What about you?" Or would you pretend nothing had happened and lie... something like you were somewhere else yesterday night, or maybe lead your friend to believe you got lucky with someone?
I am guessing you would do the latter. Most certainly you won't acknowledge the act of masturbation. Rather you would evade the question and change the topic. And when your friend tells you about a hot conquest the same night, you would wish you had a bowl of water in which you could drown. Shame and guilt would come over you and you would change the topic in double quick time. Are you crazy? Noway! You are just one of the majority. And quite a majority at that! Way more majority that what George Bush had in the last elections! The reason - social conditioning!
You are just like the boy who ran out of the cinema hall that was screening an adult film (mind you, he had no business of being there in the first place! But all the cinemas care about is the sale of their tickets!)
Later in the day, the friend who had been at the movies with him, caught up with him and asked, "Why in the hell's name did you run out?" The boy answered, "My mom said that if I watched a woman getting naked I would turn to stone. And damn you Harry, a part of me was already turning into stone!"
Unluckily, the social conditioning is wrong. It is as wrong as the social condition in 18-19th century India, where widows were forced to burn alive with their husbands. As wrong as the church was in burning Galileo for implying the Earth was not the centre of the universe. Lily Tomlin put it best, "We have reasons to believe that man first walked upright to free his hands for masturbation!" If god didn't want us to masturbate, maybe we would still be walking like dogs and horses!
The social conditioning is a result of numerous myths, lies and scams perperated by numerous individuals for personal benefit. Unfortunately, this conditioning is like a hard nut, very tough to crack. However, with effort and chanelising your energies, you can break it. Remember, the nuts that crack the hardest, are often the ones that taste the best! You must be wondering, how the hell does it matter if you feel guilty about masturbation. Why should you spend time breaking this casing?
Certain psychologists believe that guilt conscious, whether sexual guilt or in any other form, is the most destructive element for your mental health. Others believe it is one of the most destructive. But the greatest effect of guilt conscious in my experience has been a lack of confidence in self. Now you are an intelligent reader. I don't need to explain you the importance of self confidence. Be it your career, relationships or any other aspect of life, lack of confidence can bring your downfall. Now I am not implying that should you start to feel more comfortable about masturbation, you would succeed in all aspects of life. But it would be a nice step to take. An useless guilt that should, and can be eradicated from your mind. Remember, an ocean is made of small droplets of water. Get rid of a drop at a time and in due time, the ocean would be empty! Ofcourse it would take several millenia! Luckily, you don't have an ocean full of guily! Just some naggings here and there!
The first step towards eradication of this guilt is knowledge. There are thousands of myths around masturbation. Most of them perperated by religion, unfortunately. But some perperated by scam runners. Lets take a look at the most important ones.
1. Masturbation is against the will of god.
Bullshit. At one point the church considered anyone who was overtly passionate to his wife an adultrater. Follow that teaching and your wife would be committing adultery! Several clergymen have gone on record to say that not only the church's teachings about sexuality were unrelated to the scriptures, but that they caused more harm than good amongst people. Besides, nowhere in the religious teachings of any major religions is masturbation considered wrong.
2. Masturbation will cause impotency.
Most males and even some females seem to think so. Wrong again. Lets tackle the males first. It is understandable that seeing their sperm flow out of their body, they think it may end sometime. Well, it will end one day... maybe when you are 100 years old. But until then don't worry. Your sperm bank is quite unlike Standard Chartered. You have unlimited credit here! Sperm is a completely renewable resource, renewable on an hourly basis! For women, well, there is no basis in the theory. Probably perperated by old ladies who never had an orgasm in their entire life!
3. Masturbation causes acnes, hair loss, skin diseases.
This one is my favorite. Mainly because it is one of the better scams of all times! Your social conditioning would have you believe that masturbation is bad for your health. But bad how? No one would give you a satisfying answer! Now some scam artists saw this as an good oppurtunity to sell their products like hair growth lotions, etc. Since most people start masturbating during their teens, (the times of acne and other skin problems), they would have you believe that this is caused by masturbation! Unluckily for them, this is as untrue as the sun rising from the west! Masturbation has no physical side effects!
4. Masturbating will make you thin and skinny!
Then there would be no need for diet pills and fitness regimes my friend! And most certainly 70% of USA wouldn't be overweight!
5. Only Kids masturbate!
Why would you say that? I wonder! Well quite untrue, most adults masturbate... yup even after marriage!
6. Masturbation is for males.
And it is for 70% of the women too. Thats right, two thirds of all females masturbate!
7. Only losers masturbate!
Another of my favorites. Just goes to show just how much of a taboo is masturbation! First thing, 99% of males and 70% of females have masturbated at least once in their lives. Now that is a hell of a lot of losers don't you think! Nothing more that I can add really... this is really the epitome of insecurity amongst people regarding self pleasure.
8. Masturbation is for homosexuals.
Wow. Where did that one originate! Someone must make a etymology of these myths, would make for an interesting read! Just as untrue as all these myths, masturbation and homosexuality have nothing in common. Some people masturbate to their fantasies of opposite sex, others to their fantasies of same sex. Thats it.
9. Masturbation will make you blind!
Others claim that masturbation is bad for your eyesights. However, their claims are unsupported by facts and medical advice. I suggest you talk to your general physician and he will explain you what a load of bull this is.
10. Masturbation changes the shape of your penis
Well, it does make it rock hard. But believe me, once you orgasm, the hardness is gone! So no. Masturbation has absolutely no effect on how your penis looks.
There are loads more of these myths circulating around the world. If you have a query about masturbation, ask me, I would happily lay your fears to rest.
Now lets move on in an attempt to get rid of your guilt. Clearly, all the reasons that made masturbation such a taboo are baseless. So why should you feel guilty about something that is normal and actually healthy? Healthy? Yes that too! This January, I recieved an email from a woman who had some major problems in her marriage. Due to her career and that of her husband, their sexual life was inexistant. Both held jobs in big MNCs and were frequently out of town. Sometimes, they would see each other once a month! Nevertheless, they were very much in love. Her problem was, that inspite of all their love, they were getting into petty fights with each other. The woman was even experiencing problems during work, getting angry for no apparent reasons, shouting on her team. Her temperament was a creation of the stress caused by extensive work and lack of pleasurable activities. Add to that sexual frustration.
My advice to her was twofold. First, I told her that she would have to slow down, and so should her husband. They must make time for their hobbies, maybe try and get in some physical exercise when they could. Most certainly, they needed to see more of each other. They should onsider talking off a couple of days and just be together. Second, while she was alone, she should consider fantasy therapy. Namely, reading erotic novels, watching erotic movies... exciting herself and eventually masturbating as regularly as she could. Three months later, I recieved a thank you letter from her. Apparently she had put my advice to practice (which is quite rare!) and it had actually helped. (Which is not so rare!)
How did masturbating help her? Because most of her problems arose from stress and lack of physical activities. And masturbation, like sex, is the perfect medicing. When you orgasm, your mind gets cleared of the regular day to day problems. Your body gets excited and the blood flow increases. Sometimes, you even sweat! A complete and perfect exercise for those with lack of time!
The next step in getting rid of your guilt is self belief. Something, no outsider can help you with. Here is what I would counsel. Read as many articles on the internet as you can relating to masturbation. Just so that you know that I am not bullshitting you. Any queries you have, don't be afraid to ask me or another sex advisor on any of the reputed websites. Remember, the first step is knowledge and the second step is belief. And knowledge leads to belief. Good Wanking!
Dr. Jessica Stumper is a columnist for The Pornography Times (http://www.pornographytimes.com/) She writes a sex health and techniques column on the website.
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