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Masturbating has a number of health benefits for women too, so why aren’t we talking about them?

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May is National Masturbation Month

By Erika Lust

The idea that women enjoy sex still hasn’t quite reached societal acceptance. There is no purer example of this than the taboo which surrounds a woman enjoying the pleasure of masturbating.

Masturbation is widely accepted as an essential part of health and hygiene – for men.

Women’s reproductive health is a politicised and much-discussed topic, with conversation ranging from the accessibility of birth control to the necessity of abortion clinics. The discussions focus mainly on preventing pregnancy, rather than a woman’s own sexual well-being and pleasure.

By ignoring the health benefits of masturbation for women – reduced stress, sleep induction, endorphin production, increased resistance to infection, decreased anxiety levels – and focusing mainly on protection, the stigma around female masturbation strengthens and consequently so does the idea that women receive sex, as opposed to enjoy it.

Even referring to the act as “female masturbation” implies it is something separate and not normal – there’s masturbation, and there’s “female masturbation”.

The stereotype of the women who masturbates

Society has long decreed women should only exhibit passive feelings towards sex. The same double standard that exists for dating and having sex with multiple people exists for masturbation. This stereotype of what type of woman masturbates is not only incredibly false but another toxic form of slut-shaming.

Men are encouraged to masturbate, which allows them to explore their bodies and find out what makes them feel good. When women are afraid to masturbate they are robbed of this experience, they don’t know how to make themselves orgasm and they don’t feel as comfortable telling their partner what they like.

Many women have their first sexual experience with another person, but most men have theirs with themselves. So from the very beginning, women learn about sex and pleasure in relation to another person, rather than something they can do for themselves.

End the control of women’s bodies

If women learn how to pleasure themselves without a man, it threatens to undo the patriarchal structure of our society. Our patriarchal society which attaches so much fear and fascination to female sexuality. What is more threatening to the male ego than a woman who can please herself?

It’s time to throw away the shame surrounding masturbation. The stigma isn’t going to end until women speak openly about it. So if you watch an amazing porn film or have fun with a new sex toy, share your discovery with your friends.

By talking about it we can break the misogynistic control and repression of the female body. And if we can bring masturbation into the broader discourse around women’s health, maybe we can bring a larger change in society’s views of women.

Complete Article HERE!

 

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This Is How Masturbating Can Transform Your Sex Life

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A relationship expert explains what it means to own your pleasure.

By Wendy Strgar

For many of us, taking responsibility for our pleasure begins with healing our relationship with our body. We may think that we can experience true pleasure only when we look a certain way. When I lose ten more pounds, I’ll deserve a little pleasure. If my tan gets a little deeper, then I’ll really be able to feel good. <

Actually, the reverse is true: Opening yourself up to more sexual pleasure will make you recognize the beauty in your body as it is, and inspire you to treat it better. And here’s the thing: If you sacrifice your access to pleasure to the false belief that sexual satisfaction will find you when you are fitter or more beautiful, you will miss out on your own life. Make a decision now to stop comparing yourself to the myriad Photoshopped images of models that even models don’t look like. Instead, dedicate yourself now to finding ways to live more deeply in your body.

Sex is something you do with your body, so how you feel about and treat your body is a direct reflection of the respect you hold for your sex life. Resolve to treat your body with a little more attention and loving kindness, and it will reward you by revealing its capacity for pleasure—sexual and otherwise.

If your body needs coaxing, there is something very simple you can do to deepen your relationship with it and explore your pleasure response: masturbate. Even with all the benefits masturbation can bring to a couple’s sex life, it is still a behavior that many people are not comfortable sharing with their partners or even talking about.

In addi­tion to the religious condemnation that has long been associated with self-pleasure, the practice was not long ago considered an affliction that medical doctors used the cruelest of instruments and techniques to control. So it’s not surprising that self-reporting of this behavior still hovers at 30% to 70% depending on gender and age.

Yet there are many benefits to a healthy dose of solo sex. First and foremost, it teaches us about our own sexual response, and personal experience is an invaluable aid when communicating with our part­ner about what feels good and what doesn’t. The practice of solo sex is helpful for men who have issues with premature ejaculation, as it familiarizes them with the moment of inevitability so that they can better master their sense of control. Masturbation can also be a great balancer for couples with a disparity in their sex drive, and solo orgasm can serve as a stress reliever and sleep aid just as well as partnered plea­sure can.

A 2007 study in Sexual and Relationship Therapy reported that male masturbation might also improve immune system function­ing and the health of the prostate. For women, it builds pelvic floor muscles and sensitivity and has been associated with reduced back pain and cramping around menses, as it increases blood flow and stimulates relaxation of the area after orgasm.

The one caveat is that masturbation, like anything else, serves us well in moderation. Becoming too obsessed with solo sex play, often enhanced by visual or digital aids, has been known to backfire and lead to loss of interest in the complexity and intensity of partner sex. There are also some forms of masturbation that can make partner sex seem less appealing because the form of self-stimulation is so different from what happens in the paired experience. If you are experiencing less desire or ability to respond to your partner, ask yourself what you can do to make your solo experience more compatible with your partner’s ability to stimulate you.

Complete Article HERE!

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Mutual masturbation could help end orgasm inequality

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May is National Masturbation Month, so we’re celebrating by exploring the many facets of self-love.

So, your sexual partner just came and you didn’t. It’s infuriating, it’s frustrating, and it’s — rather dismally — all too common during heterosexual sex.

I’m talking about the orgasm gap — the inequality in men and women’s sexual pleasure, which affects an alarming number of women. A whopping 95 percent of straight men always come during sex, but a mere 65 percent of heterosexual women can say the same, per a study by Chapman University.

But, save living in a state of perpetual sexual frustration and faking your orgasms for the rest of your days, what exactly can be done about it? Well, these two words could bring us closer to closing the orgasm gap: Mutual masturbation (a.k.a. masturbating with your sexual partner).

Dan Savage, sex advice columnist and host of the Savage Lovecast, told Mashable he’s long been “an advocate for mutual masturbation” in heterosexual relationships and for “straight people broadening their definition of what qualifies as sex.” And, given that a recent study by Indiana University found that heterosexual women experience the fewest orgasms, it appears something is definitely amiss in the realm of straight sex.

Savage believes that straight couples should take a leaf out of gay people’s books when it comes to bringing mutual masturbation into the bedroom: “A lot of the sex that gay people have is mutual masturbation, which a lot of straight people — guys in particular — don’t think counts as sex, or is some sort of tragic consolation prize.” Savage says we need to reframe the way we view the concept of mutual masturbation, and see it as “the main event” rather than “a pity-not-fuck.” “If straight people approach mutual masturbation as a rich and rewarding form of sexual expression it would improve their sex lives so much,” says Savage.

Researchers believe that sex education that fails to teach sexual pleasure, in addition to a lack of communication between sexual partners are reasons for the gap. While it’ll take a long time to remedy these causes at their root, mutual masturbation combines non-verbal communication with a learning experience about a partner’s individual needs.

Savage says if guys watch their girlfriends masturbate, they’ll see “what it looks like when she makes herself come,” and what is takes to get there. For 75 percent of women, it takes more than vaginal penetration alone to get there. “That’s not gonna get them there, you need additional, direct, focused stimulation that a vibrator, a finger, a tongue can provide,” Savage says.

“It really helps for men to learn a woman’s particular needs when it comes to stimulation, and what she needs on a plateau before orgasm, and what it looks like when she reaches the point of orgasmic inevitability, so that he can be a better partner to her,” says Savage. “The only way for him to see that is through masturbating together.”

Watch and learn

How exactly should sexual partners go about incorporating mutual masturbation into their sex lives? Heather Corinna founder of Scarleteen, an inclusive sex and relationships education site for young people—says women need to make sure mutual masturbation is “really about what feels good to them.” That might sound obvious, but this is to ensure that women masturbating in front of male partners isn’t “just another way to give a partner a sexual performance for *their* benefit.” Corinna says men should observe their partners masturbating, and “take notes.”

For many people, the very idea of masturbating in front of another human being is daunting. Corinna says that’s because “there’s still so much cultural shame with masturbation,” but it’s important to keep in mind that this shame comes largely from the “same places that don’t support sex as being about pleasure for anyone, especially women.”

But, in order for the orgasm gap to be completely fixed, Corinna says we also need “some changes in how women’s sexual desire is treated, including by partners.” Mutual masturbation isn’t a performance, it’s an opportunity for women to show men what they need in bed.

Blindfold your partner

How do we move past any shame and nervousness we might feel? Savage has some advice that he’s given to women before, which has worked. First, he recommends closing the door when masturbating while their partner is at home, so there’s someone in the same house who’s aware of them masturbating. Next time, “bring them in the room with you but blindfold them so they can’t look at you, and you can’t look in their eyes and read their expressions and how they’re perceiving you,” says Savage. After half a dozen times of doing this, take the blindfold off. By this point, Savage says you’ll have “acclimated” to having another person with you when you masturbate.

“The first couple times they don’t touch you, or maybe you lay on opposite sides of the bed and you’re just aware of their presence,” says Savage. He suggests sitting on your partner when you masturbate, and getting them to touch your breasts while you touch yourself. “You will get to a point where you will want them to see,” says Savage.

Try phone sex

Still feeling vulnerable? Corinna recommends letting a partner know if you need “some extra TLC or support” or even “a wild cheering section.” “If you feel extra nervous, trying a half-step like phone sex where you are masturbating but not sharing the visual experience might help you build some trust and comfort,” they say.

Watch gay porn

Savage says he tells callers to his show to watch gay porn. “I say this to straight guys all the time: you want your girlfriend to come during intercourse? Watch gay porn and look what the guy getting fucked is doing. He’s jacking himself off,” he says.

Not only that, gay porn can also provide a valuable lesson in the art of being unselfconscious when masturbating in front of a partner. “What you always see in gay porn is guys rolling around with each other, stroking each other, touching themselves, incorporating self-touch into the touch from the other person that they’re getting,” he says. The “completely unselfconscious” mutual masturbation in gay porn shows “it doesn’t mean your partner isn’t attractive or pleasing to you.”

“In fact, you’re kind of masturbating about them while they’re right there,” says Savage.

Whichever way you look at it, mutual masturbation gives you the power to take this pleasure disparity into your own hands. The tools are quite literally at your fingertips.

Complete Article HERE!

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Men who masturbate often have better sex lives

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May is National Masturbation Month

By

There’s no shame in masturbating.

It’s a stress reliever, it’s the only form of entirely safe sex, and, as new research notes, it might actually make you better at sex with another person.

Sex toy brand Tenga have revealed that men who masturbate weekly are 10% more confident in their own sexual performance than those who masturbate less often.

Men who masturbate weekly or more often are also 12% more satisfied with the quality of their orgasm, and 6% more confident in their own body.

Tenga surveyed 2,000 UK men for the results, asking them about their solo sex habits and their experiences with other people.

They found that 96% of British men masturbate, and that the average person discovers masturbation at age 15.

The top three reasons why we masturbate are to achieve pleasure, to relieve sexual tensions, and to de-stress. Other popular reasons include to aid sleep, to deal with boredom, their partner isn’t up for sex, and to help improve sexual performance.

Of course, this study only shows a positive correlation between masturbation and improved sexual satisfaction and confidence in your own body. What’s not clear is a cause and effect relationship.

It’s possible that men who are more sexually confident are more comfortable masturbating more, or that men who are comfortable in their bodies tend to be more open to exploring themselves sexually, rather than the other way round.

But what we do know is the many, many benefits of masturbation for all genders – stress relief, the ability to learn what gets you off, and the empowerment of being able to give yourself pleasure.

Alix Fox, sex and relationships educator and ambassador for Tenga, commented: ‘It doesn’t surprise me at all that male masturbation goes – ahem – hand in hand with being a better lover!

‘Guys who regularly take time to pleasure themselves and appreciate their bodies are more likely to feel comfortable and confident in their own skins.

‘This in turn means they’re more likely to be relaxed when playing with a partner.

‘It’s a lot easier to pay attention to the sensual signals someone’s giving off; to be fully immersed and present in a shared moment; to be switched on to your lover’s needs and turned on yourself if you’re not distracted by getting hung up on your own hang ups.

‘A regular masturbator is more likely to have been experimental in their solo sessions, too. They may well have discovered a broader range of erogenous zones and stimulation techniques that make them tick. They may even have tried some toys.

‘This greater self-awareness and open-minded attitude – honed via testing new things out alone – makes for more exciting, creative partnered sex.

‘The more men discover how their own bodies can feel wonderful in myriad ways, the more they are likely to try to bring that same liberated sense of adventure and those same fresh thrills to their lovers.’

Complete Article HERE!

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Masturbation—Get Down With Yourself!

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May is National Masturbation Month.

By Molly Lloyd

Alrighty folks, it’s about time we talk about masturbation. I’ve been thinking about sex a lot recently (thank you, women’s, gender and sexuality studies and educational studies for allowing me to do both my capstones on sex education). But before we can really talk about sex – and I mean really talk about sex – we have to be able to talk about masturbation first, right? Right.

This is a topic of conversation that makes most people uncomfortable. Masturbation, among many other sexual things, is not really something we talk about. Our culture tends to avoid conversations surrounding positive sexual experiences, because we have a deeply ingrained fear of sexuality. For the most part, people’s experiences talking about masturbation have been limited to preteen and teenage boys making jokes about their taste in porn and making obscene gestures towards one another. It’s never something that’s talked about seriously and I’m almost positive that most sex education classes avoid the topic. Conversations surrounding pleasure and desire are usually absent from sex education classes because adults and educators worry that discussing these topics will encourage young people to have sex.

Back in the 19th century, masturbation of any sort by any kind of person has been seen as impure and people would go to great lengths to keep children and teens from exploring themselves. It was rumored that masturbating would cause hair to grow all over your palms and that losing one drop of semen was the equivalent to losing ten drops of blood. It was common practice to make young boys wear belts with spikes surrounding the penis, to “discourage” them from developing erections. Women, on the other hand, had to be treated for “hysteria” (a made up disease, from the Greek word “hysterika”, meaning “womb”) because they orgasmed so infrequently and their husbands only cared about their personal pleasure.

Even in this day and age in the United States, many people are taught that their sexual desire and want to masturbate are wrong, dirty or something to be ashamed of—this is especially something that happens to girls and women. People will go an incredibly long time in their life without ever having explored themselves or orgasmed because they’re scared or they feel ashamed. Since coming to Macalester, I have met plenty of cis women who are scared of and disgusted by their vaginas and don’t feel comfortable exploring themselves. Let’s destigmatize masturbation and pleasure!

Knowing what you prefer and what works for you can allow you and your partner(s) to have sex where it is easier for you to orgasm (assuming that that is a thing you want!). On top of having better sex and more orgasms, there are – according to Planned Parenthood – some added health benefits to masturbation, including: -Releasing sexual tension -Reducing stress -Helping you sleep better -Improving your self-esteem and body image -Helping treat sexual problems -Relieving menstrual cramps and muscle tension -Strengthening muscle tone in your pelvic and anal areas Some people even claim that masturbating until orgasm can help with headaches and migraines—something to consider, for sure. So there you have it! An invitation to go for it; touch yourself!

I would encourage everyone – seriously! everyone – to take some time this weekend and get to know themselves; figure out what you like and don’t like, what gets you going! Knowing how your body works is an essential first step to taking ownership of your body and sexuality. Personal empowerment comes from personal knowledge, and masturbating can be a way of gaining that personal knowledge.

To end this piece, I will leave you with a quote from Audre Lorde – a prominent feminist writer from the second wave and a self-described “black, lesbian, mother, warrior, poet” – about her ideas surrounding the erotic and ask you to think about how masturbation could improve your (sex) life.

“The very word erotic comes from the Greek word eros, the personification of love in all its aspects – born of Chaos, and personifying creative power and harmony. When I speak of the erotic, then, I speak of it as an assertion of the lifeforce of women; of that creative energy empowered, the knowledge and use of which we are now reclaiming in our language, our history, our dancing, our loving, our work, our lives.”

Complete Article HERE!

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