Flicking the bean, spanking the monkey, jacking off, self-gratification: whatever you want to call masturbation, the truth is we’re all at it (yes, even you in the corner).
Masturbation, which involves sexually arousing yourself by touching your genitals, is so central so a healthy sex life that even the NHS has a page titled ‘Masturbation - Live Well’.
There’s no right or wrong way to masturbate, but as the NHS says: “Men usually do it by rubbing their penis, while women usually touch and stroke their clitoris and the area around the vagina.”
Despite the fact that it is all totally normal, there is still a huge taboo around the subject and many myths that we need to get *ahem* cleaned up.
1. Most people in the UK are masturbating.
So not only is there nothing to be embarrassed about - because basically everyone around you is already at it - but you don’t want to miss out on the fun everyone else is having do you?
2. Masturbating in a relationship isn’t something to worry about.
There has been lots of discussion online in Reddit forums, about whether couples should be worried about their partner seeking out some alone time.
But Times sex columnist Suzi Godson wrote in a blog on HuffPost UK: “Some people feel very threatened by the idea that their partner feels the need to seek solo sexual satisfaction within a relationship. After all, if they can have sex why do they need to masturbate? This argument ignores the obvious truth that sex and masturbation are completely different experiences.”
3. Choosing to masturbate doesn’t mean you’re not getting enough elsewhere.
Just as Godson says there is no reason why having a wank should seem detrimental to your relationships or sex life with other people, scientific studies have found that people who are having sex regularly are more likely to masturbate than people who haven’t had any bedroom action in a while.
So don’t think of it as a replacement for something you’re missing, but just scratching an itch from time-to-time.
4. You aren’t alone if you feel guilty after doing it.
Despite the fact that masturbation is nothing to be ashamed of, there are plenty of personal, religious and cultural reasons why a person might feel a little icky afterwards. And you are not alone if you still feel this way.
In fact half of us are having some post-orgasm doubts, a study found that: “Approximately 50% of women and 50% of men who masturbate feel guilty about it.” So you shouldn’t really feel like the guilt singles you out, or that it is a reason to stop. We’re all in this together.
5. Women who masturbate alone are more likely to be sexually satisfied in relationships.
A study from February 2017, found that women who orgasmed frequently were more likely to receive more oral sex, have longer durations of sex, ask for what they want in bed, praise their partner for something they did in bed, try new positions, incorporate sexy talk and express love during sex.
So it’s probably worth a try isn’t it?
6. It is good for your health.
Not only is it more likely to help you between the sheets, masturbation has been shown to have health benefits for both men and women. Not only can it reduce blood pressure and help you relax, but a study published in European Urology showed that regular ejaculation can reduce prostate cancer risk in men. Researchers tracked 30,000 men for almost 20 years to come up with their results. That’s a lot of masturbation.
7. Masturbation doesn’t bring risks of STIs or unwanted pregnancies.
While sex is fun and there’s definitely a time and a place for an adult sleepover, it is important to remember that it also brings inherent risks, which you should avoid by practicing safe sex with your partner. But if you just fancy scratching that itch alone, at least you know you’re safe from the get go.