Why We Need Masturbation Month

In case you haven't heard, it is International Masturbation Month. This is the time that we focus on the benefits, joys, and many wonders of self-pleasure. Why, you might ask, do we need to have an entire month dedicated to this?

This is why. I've been talking about masturbation a lot lately. I mean A LOT! I've delivered a bunch of workshops and sessions over the past two months and I've written a metric fuck-ton about masturbation. Every time - every single time - I start talking about masturbation, the first thing I'm asked is something of this nature. 'Yes, but how much is too much?' 'When does masturbating become unhealthy?' 'Is it possible to get addicted to masturbating?'

Why are we so hung up on this? Why is it that as soon as we start talking about loving our own bodies and having fun, we wonder if it's really okay?

Yes, I have no doubt that there are some people who masturbate too much. There are always a few people that do anything too much, so there are going to be some people who masturbate too much. Some people are compulsive, or have a rough life and have a hard time coping, and so they will find something that helps them feel better and will ease their anxieties - and yes, they very well might become dependent, in a way, on that thing. Masturbation could become one of those things.

But seriously, how many people is that really? We have no idea because we don't have any reliable research on this. I stress 'reliable' here. There is a lot of 'research' which consists either of anecdotes or case studies of single people, and theories of how the brain becomes 'rewired' due to the influx of chemicals that happen during pleasure and orgasm. What we don't have is large-scale studies that assess how many people in Canada, or North America might actually be masturbating so much that it's unhealthy. If there were significant number of people who jerked off so much that they couldn't maintain relationships and couldn't keep a job, wouldn't we be seeing a lot of evidence of this? The fact that I've never once - not one single time - in my entire 15 years of working with sexual health, met or worked with someone who would define themselves as having a problem with masturbation really leads me to believe that this is not an epidemic. I have no doubt that it happens - I just don't believe that it's terribly common.

So, if this is actually something that just happens because there are a few people who have trouble coping and masturbation is what they turn to - why in the hell are we so obsessed with it? Why is our first question about this wonderful thing centered on whether it will get out of control?

I truly believe that it is because we cannot reconcile ourselves with the idea of pleasure for pleasure's sake. There is some deeply ingrained in us that says that it is not okay to simply enjoy sexual pleasure just because it's fun and it feels good I would go so far as to say that we have this problem with any kind of pleasure, but I think it runs particularly deep when it comes to sexual pleasure.

Even when I talk about masturbation, I often talk about the health benefits in an effort to convince people that there is a reason we should do it. We shouldn't need a reason. Masturbation hurts no one. It is entirely safe and harmless sex. So there should be no hesitation and no need to have a reason to do it. The reason should be 'because I like it'.

We need to get over this. We need to look at those few people who have an unhealthy or dangerous reliance on masturbation as people with a coping problem - and help them accordingly. Help them deal with the real issues in their life that are causing them to need a compulsive outlet. Then stop warning everybody else about the dangers of doing something that is probably going to be incredible healthy, adaptive, beautiful, and FUN for them. When we talk about masturbation, the worry about compulsivity and addiction should be one of the last things we discuss, not the first.