Sex Education star Aimee Lou Wood has said that speaking about masturbation as a teenager was “a complete taboo” and that her sexual desires had made her feel like a “weirdo”.
first series was praised by viewers for its frank depiction of sex and teenage emotion, and featured Wood’s character experimenting with masturbation.
“And then you go into school and you pretend that you’ve never experienced masturbation. Girls pretended like they didn’t even know what it was.”
Wood said she remembered “having really frank conversations” about other topics with her friends but that masturbation had remained “a complete taboo“.
Masturbation, sex tech and porn
Conversation around porn, sex toys and masturbation is conventionally seen as taboo, but an inadvertent consequence of the pandemic is that masturbation is not only being more freely discussed, but might be considered an important part of our wellbeing – even life saving.
We are also forced into awareness of our capacity to be kind and put others first: a cornerstone of navigating good sex. The Bachelor’s Abbie Chatfield has revealed she taught her female co-stars about masturbation and anal sex while filming the show last year.
Free advice! The Bachelor’s Abbie Chatfield has revealed she taught her female co-stars about masturbation and anal sex while filming the show last year
Somehow, somewhere, someone has decided that May is “Masturbation Month,” and if you think about it, there’s never been a better time to explore a little self-stimulation, now that we’re self-isolating.
According to MasturbationMonth.com, this now-annual celebration of personal touch started in 1995 to rally around then-U.S.
Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders, who was forced to resign after promoting masturbation as an alternative to risky sexual behaviors in a speech before the UN.
Masturbation Month is now a chance for both brands and wellness experts to increase awareness around self-pleasure, both in terms of products to use, and the benefits of masturbating.
According to them, the taboos of touching yourself are no longer valid, with both new research and anecdotal evidence suggesting that regular masturbation can actually help ease stress, boost energy levels and increase feelings of self-worth and self-confidence.
Here, four sexual wellness experts tell Rolling Stone about the benefits of masturbation, the best ways to do it and why being quarantined is the best time to lend yourself a helping hand.
Why do you think people still feel so taboo talking about masturbation?
Daniel Saynt, Founder and “Chief Conspirator” of The New Society for Wellness , a private members Open Love club for the adventurous: A lot of it is just left over shame from our upbringing. If you grew up religiously, there was probably very little talk about masturbation as a healthy, life-benefiting activity. For myself, I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness, so masturbation, as well as just having impure thoughts, were big no-nos.
In relationships, masturbation can cause rifts with one partner feeling they may not be satisfying another enough. There’s fear of someone losing interest because they don’t need you for pleasure. Or there may be judgements on the type of pornography you watch to get off, which brings more shame and judgement. Honestly, it’s taboo because so many have been conditioned to think it’s wrong, when in truth, it is a very important part of your sexual wellness routine.
Courtney Kocak, Co-founder and Co-Host of Private Parts Unknown, a podcast exploring love and sexuality around the world: I honestly don’t know what makes masturbation taboo. Doesn’t everything come back to religion in America? You learn when you’re young that it’s wrong and sometimes learning that lesson scars you until you can undo that programming. I distinctly remember being scolded for rubbing my vagina against my desk in fifth grade — by a teacher who went to my church, coincidentally — and fair enough, I shouldn’t have been doing that in class, but the shame of being reprimanded for that stayed with me for a long time. And I didn’t masturbate as much as I would have liked to in my teens and 20s partly because of that moment. Thank god I eventually became horny enough to undo that trauma.
Sofiya Alexandra, Co-founder and Co-Host of Private Parts Unknown: Masturbation is one of the very first truly private sexual experiences we have, and our society has a history of shaming people for being “caught” masturbating.
This type of shame is insidious and, even when “taboos” are no longer taboos, the shame can linger.
The childhood experiences we have, paired with the fact that we have a long history of little to no sex education in our schools , with the addition a lot of religious dogma about sex impacting multiple-generations of people and how we relate to this topic. . you can see why talking about masturbation can still be a hotpot of discomfort for people.
Reeves: There is a myth that masturbating with a vibrator, especially for anyone with a vulva, can de-sensitize your clitoris — this is not true. I do recommend using vibes and hands and other tools in combination — that way your body learns to respond to multiple different sensory inputs. Another misconception is that masturbation has to lead to orgasm. I would invite anyone to look at masturbation as an exploration of pleasure as opposed to a goal-oriented experience. Once you start to explore masturbation with curiosity instead of as a goal, a whole new world of pleasure can open up to you.
Kocak: That it will make you go blind! Do people still say that? I hope not, because it certainly isn’t true or I would not be able to see right now. I think oftentimes masturbation has dirty connotations or it means you’re pathetic and lonely or you can’t find anyone to have sex with you, and honestly all of those misconceptions make me sad.
Saynt: Masturbation releases dopamine and oxytocin, two feel-good brain chemicals connected to pleasure, stress release and lowering feelings of depression. Having a regular masturbation schedule can also decrease the possibility of prostate cancer among men. Masturbation has been connected to hormonal balance in women, helping better moderate mood. The most important aspect is that it increases blood flow, helping keep your arteries and heart pumping and healthy.
Reeves: Touching ourselves in a loving and pleasurable way can be incredibly comforting, healing, and enjoyable. Learning what makes your body feel good can help you communicate that better with a partner; it can encourage a more positive relationship with how our bodies look and feel. And on top of it, there are studies measuring the benefits of masturbation and orgasm to support sleep, stress, mood, and a general sense of wellbeing. Masturbation is a free, totally available, non-commodified access point to the wisdom of your body.
What tips do you have for people who want to experience a better masturbation experience?
Saynt: It varies for everyone, so it’s really about finding the moments that are right for you. Right before bed tends to be a winner for most, as the release of hormones helps ease you to sleep. Getting rid of the stresses of your day before bed just helps you have a more peaceful sleep. For accessories, there’s an insane amount of toys on the market. For men, get over the stigma, shame and judgement, and play with your prostate. Stimulating this correctly will bring so much self pleasure. Also, invest in a good masturbation sleeve.
Kocak: There’s a strong masturbation preference that I’ve developed, for better or worse: I love to play with my vibrator on high. It’s made my fingers slightly less alluring, but oh my god, I don’t know how you can compete with a machine on that level. I usually come in a minute, tops. If I’m on a masturbation binge, I’ll eventually run out of juice on my Doc Johnson iVibe, and then I rotate through the rest of my sex toy drawer until I’m totally spent.
Alexandra: You never have to be sexually frustrated if you’ve got yourself; that’s the beauty of masturbation.
Look into some new fantasies, order new toys, see if you can make masturbation as much of a joy as I imagine seeing people again will be.
That means masturbation can literally change your life — that’s a very strong endorsement! My advice to folks is get on the internet, use a lil piece of your stimulus money to buy yourself your dream vibe, or “pocket pussy” for the fellas, and then get to work getting to know what gets you off. You’ll probably learn a thing or two that you can carry on into your next relationship when this pandemic insanity is over.
Alexandra: There’s nothing as powerful as being in charge of your own pleasure, and masturbation is the easiest way to explore what you like, so even if you had a rough go of it as a teenager, you’ve got to try it again.
Reeves: The best tips I have are to follow what makes you feel good and slow down. Try to stay away from habits; we generally continue masturbating the same way our whole lives, which is in the same position at the same speed. So try to re-arrange yourself to start creating new ways of experiencing your body, like trying a new position or place in your house, with a different toy or lube, with visual stimulation and without, and most importantly with different types of touch. Changing our habitual behaviors really sets the stage for expanding our capacity to experience pleasure. Welcome back to V for Vagina with gynaecologist, Dr. Sejal Ajmera. Today, we’re going to take a look at female masturbation. This is not a taboo or something that needs to suppressed. In fact, it is a very healthy expression of female sexuality.
Guess what? Sex toys shouldn’t be taboo either! While it is very important to make sure you’re not sharing your toys, being safe, and hygienic, don’t let anybody tell you that masturbation is ‘wrong’ or ‘immoral’.
Scientifically speaking, an orgasm is simply a neuronal response to stimulation. Following arousal, the genitals send electrical impulses through the spinal cord in a signal pathway that relays pleasure signals to the brain. Despite this seemingly simple definition, much stigma surrounds the orgasm when it manifests in certain individuals. For women, it is not spoken of, thought of as taboo and occasionally dismissed as fiction. For transgender, nonbinary and gender nonconforming individuals, orgasms are often dismissed or condemned, replaced with cisgender-centric conceptions. Stigma around the orgasm is only one part of the conversation around sexual freedom — and it is one that needs to be had.
For women, is not spoken of, thought of as taboo and occasionally dismissed as fiction.
According to Freud, “proper sex” was only experienced through vaginal intercourse, and any woman who preferred clitoral over vaginal stimulation or indulged in any other means of achieving sexual pleasure — including masturbation — ought to be diagnosed as psychotic.
These sorts of theorizations, for all their inaccuracies, have contributed to a silent suppression of speech around sexual pleasure, sex science, personal health and masturbation.
Campus sophomore Media Sina, who is a performer in “Our Monologues” — an annual student-organized play which seeks to validate conversations surrounding sex — shared her story of discovering herself through masturbation and the stigma she faced because of it. Coming from a Middle Eastern family where sex was simply not discussed, Sina had to reconcile her culture with her own sexual exploration. Like many individuals, Sina discovered masturbation before she knew what it actually was.
“Explore what pleasure you get from the touch, from listening, from flavors. the ways of having pleasure that do not fit into the old heteronormative production of pleasure … within the reproductive mode or new normative relation of masturbation that is still focused around genitalia and still plays into the binary sex division,” said Feijó.
Sexual liberation activists advocate a regaining of power over one’s own body through an act even more historically taboo than the end goal itself — masturbation. While men are historically encouraged from a young age to examine the world of sexual pleasure through self-exploration, this is not a universal experience. Some problematic narratives perpetuate the myth that only the promiscuous and the sexually deviant engage in masturbation.
But it is human nature to enjoy orgasms. Masturbation, redefined as discovering your own body, desires and self, can be the key to that pleasure. As Feijó specifies, bodily exploration does not have to solely encompass the self-touching of genitals in a “normative relation of masturbation.” Self-discovery may include genital stimulation or it may manifest itself through other bodily sensations and pleasures.
Simply put, orgasms stem from an understanding of our own bodies and a broadening of the conversation around sex, breaking down the barriers that make the topic taboo.
A new survey of 2,000 Americans delved into the idea of “taboo” crushes and found that 57 percent of Americans have secretly desired someone they absolutely shouldn’t have some time in their life.
The study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of EdenFantasys, revealed a lot about how Americans feel about taboo crushes and who, specifically, falls under that “off-limits” umbrella.
But act on those taboo feelings at your own peril — 59 percent of those who acted on their feelings for an off-limits person actually regretted it after.
“Taboos are there for a reason,” continued Petrenko.
“When you feel an urge to break a taboo, I suggest masturbation. EdenFantasys is where you can find any masturbation device at any price. Stay safe and be happy!”
What’s the sexual taboo that will define the next generation?
So what’s the next taboo to be broken?
‘Blowjobs, anal sex and pegging have moved, or are still moving, away from being seen as taboo subjects into the realm of “normal” conversation.
‘So what is still a taboo subject that can be broken? Mutual masturbation.
Masturbation ‘will overtake penetration’
Some experts conclude that this will lead to a lack of social skills, which in turn will cause the next generation to become less interested in penetrative sex with a partner and more focused on masturbation.
‘If Gen X’s thing was the blowjob, millennials’ thing was anal, and Gen Z is into pegging, the next generation will likely be the masturbation generation.
Although teen sexuality may less taboo than it used to be, teens have a million sexual outlets today that don’t involve genital contact. ’
If that’s the case, then the sexual taboo of the next generation could be no sex at all.
The text of this article was generated by the Breaking The Silence system that collected 8 news articles posted on the web from January 2019 to September 2020 and clustered for the taboo subject of masturbation