January 09, 2023

Article at Ashleigh on Authory

Masturbation: Debunking the Lies and Answering Your Questions

Y’all it’s one of my favorite months of the year...National Masturbation Month!! (My birthday month will always be #1) As a sex and relationship therapist who wants to see Black folk living their best (sex) life - I’m constantly talking about the importance of a little self love. But, when May comes around I dedicate my blog posts, social media, and EVERYTHING I’m doing, to not only encourage, but educate anyone who wants to learn about masturbation!

Between my clients, friends, and followers I’ve realized that there are a lot of folk out there who don’t know much about masturbation or are still carrying the terrorizing lies they heard from way back when. But hey, it’s okay to admit you don’t know a whole lot about it or that you have some questions. What better time to answer them than National Masturbation Month?!

COMMON QUESTIONS

DOES MASTURBATION REALLY HELP WITH YOUR HEALTH (MENTAL, EMOTIONAL, & PHYSICAL)? 

Yes, yes, and yes! I’m sure that when you think of masturbation the main benefit that comes to mind is self-pleasure and orgasms. While that is a big benefit, masturbation does help with your health in other ways.

Physically - We hear all the time that masturbation can help relieve you of cramps when you’re on your period, improve your sleep, and help increase your sexual pleasure. BUT, what is a little less common is that masturbation can actually lower that blood pressure! Who doesn’t need that when Rona is running around getting our blood all up?

Emotionally - It can help you learn to love yourself and increase your self-esteem. It can also help you release toxic people from your life that you were holding onto because the sex was good. No need to keep them around when you know how to pleasure yourself.

Mentally - From a mental perspective, masturbating can help reduce your anxiety and stress because it releases feel good hormones like dopamine. It can also boost your mood when you’re feeling down.

Bonus: Mastubation also counts as meditation because it gives you something to focus on, which is also great for your mental health! So you get a twofer--Masturbation Month and Mental Health Awareness Month rolled into one sexy activity!

IS THERE SOMETHING WRONG IF I DON’T ORGASM WHEN I MASTURBATE?

I wouldn’t say that something is wrong. Mastubation, like sex, is about a whole lot more than orgasms. My question for you is, do you feel fulfilled with what you’re doing? Does it bring pleasure? If not, then maybe whatever you’re doing isn’t really pleasuring you. Masturbating is a learning process, so don’t be afraid to switch it up. Whether that’s when you do it, where you do it, or how you do it.  

WHAT ARE STEPS TO LEARN HOW TO MASTURBATE?

To truly enjoy masturbating you must learn your body, and that can only be done by exploring it. One of my favorite resources is Afrosexology’s Solo Sex Workbook, which helps you “explore, affirm, and deepen your connection to your erotic self, erotic voice, and erotic power.” When you first start, I encourage you to take your time in figuring out what you like and don’t like. What areas of your body do you enjoy being touched? What type of touch? You don’t have to jump the gun and start with your vulva, penis, or anus. Take the time just to touch and feel your body.

As you figure out the answers to these questions, your knowledge base will grow and your experiences will continue to get better. 

MYTHBUSTERS!

MYTH: VIBRATORS CAN RUIN SEX 

This is complete BS! If anything a vibrator can help enhance and improve sex. Just like your fingers, a vibrator is just another tool to help you explore your body and figure what you do and don’t like. I mean, it’s kind of hard to have bomb sex if you don’t know what you like. There’s a whole lot of things you could be missing out on, just saying!

So I encourage you to embrace vibrators. Some of my favorites are vibrators that have various settings that affect the type of vibration you feel and the speed. So by the end of the night you might realize that you’re a fan of slow strokes or that you enjoy fast and frequent. 

Despite what you may have heard, you are not going to break your vagina, harm your clitoris, or mess up your sex drive by using vibrators too much. Just be sure that you know how to use one, load up on the lube, and be careful as you experiment with new toys or try one for the first time.

Remember that vibrators are also fun to use during partnered sex.

MYTH: YOU SHOULDN'T MASTURBATE IF YOU'RE IN A RELATIONSHIP

It’s so weird how often this comes up, so much so that I just talked about it in my IGTV series If Therapy Walls Could Talk. I personally believe that you have the right to masturbate whether you’re in a relationship with you alone or boo’d up. Masturbation is about YOU, and wanting to please yourself, so why should it matter if you’re in a relationship or not?

Now, if you and your partner decide to set some boundaries around masturbation, that’s completely up to you. I just want you to remember that it is your body and no one can tell you what to do with it. If masturbating is important to you and your health, then make sure you find a partner who respects and accepts that.

Masturbation Suggestion: While I consider masturbation a great form of “me time,” I recommend you try a little mutual masturbation. Invite your partner to watch you masturbate (and vice versa) so they can see how you respond to different things. Trust me, they’ll be taking mental notes! 

MYTH: YOU CAN MASTURBATE TOO MUCH

Nope! The same way you can’t damage your vagina or anus by using sex toys (if you’re careful), there’s no such thing as masturbating too much. You can masturbate as often as you like. Now, I will say this, you might--could have a problem if you can’t seem to stop for work, or other activities. But, if that’s not the case, then get it in as much as you like!

I’m known for encouraging daily masturbation - especially during the month of May.

I hope you found this helpful! If I didn’t cover your question, feel free to drop them in the comments below. Also, I want to know what’s the craziest thing you were told about masturbating?