Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Touch Yourself

Here's my blush-and-giggle post. I've been asked by AAG Blogger to participate in a Sexual Education blog carnival for Scarlateen (a great sex-positive queer-friendly sex education website geared towards teens.)

So, which topic among many did I pick? Did I choose to write about the failure ratings of abstinence-only sex miseducation, or maybe abortion and how accurate information should be given about what an abortion does, how it may feel, and how Post Abortion Syndrome isn't a real, medical condition?

Nope. I picked masturbation! Maybe because I hadn't done it that day, so it was on my mind.

I think masturbation can be beautiful, and I think it can be important. In my ideal universe, sex ed classes would talk about masturbation as one part of an individual's sex life.

If you grew up Christian, chances are, you grew up being taught to stuff your sexual feelings. "Masturbation is wrong" you probably heard. (If you heard it was unnatural, a simple day trip to the monkey habitat of your local zoo should disabuse you of that notion.) But why is masturbation wrong, exactly? Here are the two Christian justifications I heard. Maybe you heard the same ones.

1) Onan. "God struck Onan down for masturbating."- Random Fictional Christian

Funny thing about that - Onan didn't masturbate. He pulled out. I really don't think the two can be compared. One invovles being (presumably) alone and touching yourself to bring sexual gratification. The other involves sleeping with *someone else*. Whatever Onan was "guilty" of, it wasn't hiding in his tent with a stack of Playboys.

The true "crime" of Onan was that he disobeyed God. God told him to knock up his dead brother's widow, and Onan didn't want to. He had sex with her, but pulled out (a primitive form of birth control with a much lower success rate than hormonal and barrier methods.)

2) Lust. "But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart." - Matthew 5:28 (KJV)

Ah lust, the good ole imagination. This isn't a reason to avoid masturbation - it's a reason to avoid Christianity. Thoughts are not actions. I thought about smothering my ex-husband in his sleep while he snored drunkenly beside me. However, seeing as I didn't do it, I'm not guilty of murder. Mudering him in my heart? Meh, maybe. But the thing about fantasies, whether murderous or sexual or filled with material wealth, is that they aren't real. They are constructions of our minds.

Unlike Christine O'Donnell (in every other respect as well), I don't think male masturbation renders women unnecessary in heterosexual relationships. I know there is more to me than my vagina, and I know that not every day is a day I want to have sex. Sometimes I have some of that old chronic pain flaring up, and my joints or spine or knees just aren't up for fornication. Some days the depression and anxiety I suffer from numb my sexual urges down to nill, and I can't imagine wanting to be touched much less penetrated.

A man (or woman) who watches porn for a visual aid to masturbation is not cheating on his or her future or actual partner. Likewise, a man or woman who fantasizes through imagination only is not being unfaithful. Fantasizing about killing someone is not the same as killing them, and fantasizing about sleeping with someone is not the same as sleeping with them. Masturbation and sexual fantasy allow my lover to be sexually gratified, even when I have a headache. Mutual masturbation (masturbating simultaneously with a partner) can be fun, too while still not introducing the risks of vaginal or anal intercourse.

Sex is natural. Sex can be quite fun. Sex with a partner also carries certain risks. Masturbation is safe, fun, and personal. You can masturbate with or without aids, while thinking of the one you love or a stranger in a magazine or just how much you like to be touched. It's also a great way to learn what you like, information which you can then pass on to your partner (whether you have one now or in the future.)

Whether you're just exploring your first sexual feelings, or you're not sexually fulfilled by the one you love, or you're waiting till marriage for intercourse, masturbation is a great way to get the endorphin rush and stress relief benefits of sex. Women achieve orgasm in wildly different ways and different levels of pressure, speed, intensity, etc. in touching a woman's body can produce different levels of sexual fulfillment.

Masturbation can be anything from quickly rubbing one out to release stress (or reduce an erection) to a night with yourself. Light some candles, run a bath, find a juicy book or movie. Touch yourself the way you want to be touched. Don't let the shame of your childhood teachings intrude into your bedroom. Sexual repression never made anyone happy (except perhaps the asexual.)

Love yourself. Then you can teach someone else the way you want to be loved, or you can go the distance alone but well sated.

Divinyls - I Touch Myself - Watch more Funny Videos

p.s. I'm fine in the general sense realizing that I probably have fans out there who think of me when masturbating, but I really would prefer you not TELL me about it. Sure I'm sex-positive, but I'm still a prude! :D