Masturbation Month: Is Masturbation Your Dirty Secret?
Guilty pleasures. We all have them. Maybe you know The Notebook word for word, or you go totally gooey over Disney movies (“the cold never bothered me anyway!” *pout*) or you enjoy fantasising over Noel Edmonds of an afternoon (wait, who said that?). Although we laugh and joke about our individual ‘guilty pleasures’, should masturbation be viewed as something even more sordid? Is masturbation your dirty secret?
It’s probably not wise to announce your personal techniques to all and sundry, whatever the occasion…
“I like to apply loads of lube and then I quickly rub firm circles over my clitoris…”
“That’s lovely Ms – er, your shopping comes to £37.68 please.”
…some discretion is advised depending on your company. But how do you view masturbation? What are your feelings towards doing it yourself? Do you get it over with as quickly as possible, a quick release you feel guilty about? Or do you luxuriate in the pleasure, relishing the sensations and making sure you give yourself the stimulatory session you deserve – no regrets?
May is Masturbation Month so it’s the perfect time to celebrate a more liberated attitude to self-love. First of all, let’s take a look at why a celebration of masturbation is so important.
Although buying vibrators and rampant rabbits at a home sex toy party is viewed as a bit of a laugh amongst women, it still is limited to an attitude of, ‘omg, only after a few glasses of wine’, ‘I’ll have to hide it from the other half’ towards it. There still seems to be some reticence amongst women to openly embrace masturbation – and by that I mean admitting they do it at all, to anyone, even in the middle of a women-only home party where the focus is on sex toys, masturbation and pleasure.
Masturbation for women has also been looked down on by people who seem to view it as a replacement to sex in a relationship. Something a woman does if her partner can’t satisfy her. The insults fly, both ways, whether she ‘will have to sort herself out as my bloke’s useless in bed’ or ‘there’s a reason your girlfriend’s got so many vibrators, mate!’.
Talking of men, there are various words meaning ‘someone who masturbates’ which are used as insults – especially for men. It would seem then, that male masturbation has been long derided as an activity only the least moral, most debased, dirtiest men would indulge in. Wanker and tosser immediately spring to mind. On top of the fact male masturbation is seen as unattractive in a man, it’s often cited as something only men who ‘can’t get’ sex have to resort to.
‘His best friend’s the palm of his hand.’
‘He’s had loads of girlfriends; shame they were all inflatable.’
For those who identify as different to the typical male and female genders, masturbation must be very difficult to speak about openly. A world which is less insistent on gender binary being the norm might now be within sight, but tolerance needs to move to acceptance, then an open embracement. Where does a discussion of masturbation fit into this process? I would love to hear more thoughts on open discussion of masturbation amongst non-cis/queer/non-binary/trans people; as a cis woman I can’t talk with any authority on this subject. It’s quite telling that after asking for some thoughts on this subject that no-one came forward to speak, even with the tweet shared plenty of times (also shared on Facebook).
Pls RT? Looking for non-cis/queer/non-binary/trans people who wouldn't mind emailing some thoughts on non-typical masturbation discussion?
— Cara Sutra (@TheCaraSutra) April 26, 2016
Update 15 May 2016
A lovely lady called Vanessa got in touch with me after this article was first published, and kindly offered to provide a bit more insight into masturbation for a transperson – a transwoman in particular. I was interested in the main differences, from her point of view, in both feelings towards masturbation and the realities of it. Here’s what Vanessa had to say on the subject:
I can really only speak for myself as a transwoman. Most of the transwomen I know have pretty varied opinions and preferences on things like this, so my viewpoint is simply mine, and should not be taken as any sort of generalisation across the group of us.
I think the biggest difference in masturbation for me as a pre-op transwoman is that how I eventually end up masturbating is frequently dictated by how I am feeling about my body at the time, and that’s something that I feel that cis men don’t really have to deal with. If they’re feeling horny, all they have to do is whip it out and go to town.
While there are trans people that do not have many, or any issues with the genitals that they’ve had since birth, I am not one of those folks. There are days where I don’t want to look at, much less touch my penis. So over time I’ve had to discover ways to get the pleasure I wanted while adhering to these constraints.
At first, it was somewhat difficult, but over time I found other ways to get off. I’m a big fan of anal play and prostate stimulation. Sex toys also play a big role in my habits. While I might not necessarily want to touch my dick, I don’t have nearly as many problems stimulating myself with a vibrator, for example.
While I can’t speak about differences pre and post bottom surgery, I have been going through hormone replacement therapy for several years, and it has definitely changed things for the better. Developing breasts had been a real game changer for me. My nipples became extremely sensitive, and I can frequently cum just from [the stimulation of] them alone. Also, the quality of my orgasms in general have changed. Prior to HRT, my orgasms were frequently centred on my penis, so to speak. Which sounds fairly common from what I’ve heard from others. Since starting HRT, I now feel orgasms throughout my entire body. It’s incredibly hard to explain, but suffice to say, it’s much, much more satisfying.
Masturbation for me always involves some part of my anatomy or another, though not necessarily always the parts that you’d expect. As far as masturbation being a mental sort of thing, I’d say that there have been changes. Prior to HRT, watching porn was almost always a part of my routine, but as my transition has progressed, it’s been taking an increasingly smaller role. While I do still enjoy watching it on occasion, I now prefer reading erotic stories or just getting engrossed in my own fantasies.
I wouldn’t say that masturbation is harder for a trans person than a cis person, per se. After all, a big part of masturbation is discovering what feels good to you, and that can be difficult regardless of whether you’re cis or trans.
Thanks for sharing these very personal insights with us Vanessa, it’s very much appreciated.
Guilt & Masturbation
With all these negative and damaging views in society regarding masturbation, it’s unsurprising that many people feel guilty about pleasuring themselves – whether they’re single or in a relationship. I wrote an article answering the question ‘is using sex toys in a relationship cheating?’ and it’s been a very popular post. Although a few people in my circles commented to me that they didn’t feel this post needed to be written, because it should be obvious that using sex toys isn’t the same as cheating, the amount of times this article has been found by people online tells me different. Plus several related search terms leading people to this site to get the answer. Yes, there are people out there who do genuinely believe that using sex toys might be a way in which they’re cheating on their partner. There are people who believe that if their partner masturbates/uses sex toys in masturbation, this is a betrayal in their relationship.
Other people struggle after a religious upbringing which told them that masturbation is dirty in the eyes of some divine being, is sinful and morally wrong, and leads to their eternal punishment. This type of conditioning which usually occurs from a very young age, when we’re in our formative years, remains extremely deep in the psyche and is excruciatingly difficult to overcome. Sadly, I speak from experience on this matter. It’s hard to feel 100% liberated about masturbation when some small part of me is also doing it in a rebellious sort of way. To rebel against something/someone/a belief, you first have to acknowledge that that being or belief is valid. It’s exceptionally frustrating. Why is that belief still in any way valid? Because religion is such a deeply engrained conditioning. I know I am not the only person who has been through this experience. I enjoy masturbation frequently as a sex toy tester (and just for my own pleasure) as you’ll all know from reading this blog and my social media. I also enjoy a healthy sex life. However, my religious conditioning still niggles at my conscience – although I laugh in its face immediately.
How many other people struggle with the same thoughts? How many people live in guilt and regret, rather than celebrating masturbation as a healthy way to find sexual release, as they should?
Feeling that masturbation is cheating or that it’s sinful are just two reasons people might struggle with guilt about self-pleasuring. I don’t believe it’s seen as more of a dirty secret for one gender above others, either; guilt can affect a person no matter how they identify.
Outside of specific cases where relationships or religion hold unhealthy attitudes towards masturbation, I believe the general attitude towards masturbation is becoming a more open one. Instead of having to wait for a home sex toys party that you’re just going along to ‘for the Lambrini and a bit of lingerie shopping, honest’, or slipping into a back alley private shop and coming out with a bulging brown paper bag under your coat, you now have easy and quick access to plenty of information about masturbation thanks to the internet. Hell, you can buy sex toys along with your groceries in Tesco and with your sun tan lotion in Boots. If that’s not a sign of a more liberated attitude towards masturbation, I don’t know what is.
The sex toy industry is booming, and not just from one well-known high street sex toys shop. Thanks to the internet there has been exponential growth in the sales of sex toys and masturbation aids on the web, with more online sex shops than you can shake a fisting dildo at. If people want a sex toy they can buy it online. If people want to learn how to use the sex toy, they can read the associated blog, or look up other sex blogs online (like the one you’re reading now).
Adult Sex Ed
If you want to learn about manual masturbation, either by yourself or mutual masturbation as part of couples’ fun/foreplay (masturbation does not necessarily require sex toys after all), there’s a lot of advice on the internet.
With the increase of adult sexual education, helped massively by the widespread availability of the internet, masturbation is slowly becoming seen as a more acceptable practice for people of all genders. Next month, for instance, is Adult Sex Ed Month* – another celebration of a more liberated attitude towards every facet of sexuality and focusing on the importance of safe, correct and freely available information for everyone.
Fun ways to celebrate Masturbation Month
Looking for fun ways to celebrate Masturbation Month (aside from the obvious)? I’ve had a few ideas.
- Pledge to masturbate every day through the month – no matter what. Will your sex drive increase or will you wear yourself out?
- Masturbate an increasing number of times through the month and see how long you can keep up (once on the 1st, twice on the 2nd, three times on the 3rd, etc). I dare you to make it past the 15th.
- If you struggle with bedroom confidence and you have a partner, challenge yourself to masturbate while they watch you on at least one occasion this month.
- Feeling a little more confident? If you know your way around your body – masturbation-wise- write down 5 tips which are sure-fire ways of getting you off. Ask your partner to do the same, then swap notes. Try them out next time you’re in bed together.
- Get your sex toy collection together and masturbate with a different sex toy every single day – no using a sex toy more than once during the month (may require some sex toys shopping first)
- Find your way back to a manual orgasm – I did this one year – by giving up sex toys for the month. Rely on your fingers alone to bring yourself off. How long will it take you?
- If you’re into chastity fetish how about using Masturbation Month as a cruel and unusual tease and denial element? During the masturbation celebration you can remain chaste – either with a chastity cage or through willpower alone. Up to the challenge?
Do you have any other fun ideas for ways to celebrate Masturbation Month? I’d love to hear yours in the comments below.
Masturbation Month is coming… are you?
This post contains affiliate links
*Adult Sex Ed Month is a yearly event in the month of June. This excellent project was started by the wonderful Bobbie Morgan of A Good Woman’s Dirty Mind. Sadly, Bobbie passed away suddenly towards the end of last year, which shook the sexual education community. She is sadly missed.
Adult Sex Ed Month will be carrying on, as I (and others I’ve spoken to) believe Bobbie would want. It’s such an important, valuable and informative project that it would be sad to see it lapse. I believe Kinkly hope to share sex ed articles and guides throughout the month and I will be writing about the topic too. Stay tuned for more information.