In fifth grade, the most scandalous word I knew was “penis.” In high school, it was “vagina.” In college, however, I hear the words “penis” and “vagina” thrown around about as much as I hear the words “pizza” and “WaWa.” Don’t get me wrong, I am all about Penis Power and Vagina Victory. I probably say the words “penis” and “vagina” more than I say “pizza” or “WaWa.” What I really want to talk about is the word that people don’t say: “masturbation.” Even at college, people still hesitate to bring it up.
My question is simple: why? I have no hesitations when it comes to talking about masturbation and I openly admit to being a proud masturbator. In general, I find that people on campus have embraced talking about sex without embarrassment, but it seems most people still have not gotten past the awkwardness of a little self-love. That’s all masturbation is, really. Self-love.
Honestly, I think everyone needs to spend a little time focusing on themselves, especially sexually. Masturbation allows you to really be in touch with yourself — pun intended. By spending a little more time figuring out what really makes you feel good, you can vastly improve your sex life. Seriously. In order to experience the most pleasurable sex, you have to relax. Masturbation helps you become more confident and therefore allows you to be more comfortable when engaging in sex with a partner. You know what it feels like to have a mind-blowing orgasm because you’ve spent some time figuring it out for yourself. When you are with a sexual partner, you can help guide them on your way to orgasm because you have a more intimate understanding of your body — and exactly what they can do to get you to your climax.
Not to mention, it just feels good. I am in a committed relationship and I still spend plenty of time getting down with myself. In fact, masturbation offers me much of the same benefits as sex with my partner does. It is pretty universally accepted that sex is a great stress reducer and is awesome for improving your mood. Masturbation has the same effect, which means you can give yourself some excellent stress relief without depending on another person. Let me tell you, it is pretty satisfying to be able to satisfy yourself.
Oh, and, in case you were wondering, masturbation is a perfectly normal behavior for both women and men. While it is true that fewer women masturbate than men, it is not true that women do not masturbate or that it is less acceptable for women to masturbate. In fact, there is a whole selection of toys out there that are designed to make masturbating easier and more pleasurable for women.
While I am, quite clearly, an avid proponent of masturbation, I am by no means trying to say that everyone masturbates. Choosing not to is just as normal as choosing to masturbate. I do not think anyone should be ashamed of masturbation, whether they choose to engage in it or not. My main message is this: masturbating is a great deal of fun and is a perfectly normal behavior. If it doesn’t float your boat, that’s okay, too. Also, I think it is important to be able to talk about masturbation without erupting into a fit of giggles. As we learned from Harry Potter, “fear of the name only increases fear of the thing itself.” So, let’s start talking about masturbating as much as we talk about swemming. Okay, maybe not that much. Half as much would do the trick.
Katelyn R. is a Behind Closed Doors columnist who is perfectly capable of entertaining herself.