Feelin’ myself: What you need to know about masturbation

Feelin’ myself: What you need to know about masturbation

It can be hard (hehe) to discern between the facts and falsehoods that surround masturbation. Allow us to clear a few things up.

Art by Ina Jacobe

Masturbation is such a universal act we have dozens of nicknames for. For dudes: bopping the baloney, Jackin’ the beanstalk, makin’ the bald man cry. For ladies: diddling the skittle, flickin’ the bean, beating around the bush. For both: singing in the shower, hand-to-gland combat. And if none of these terms really jive with the way you do it, well, you’re free to invent your own.

Because that’s just it — what makes touching yourself so great is that it can be done for you and by you. Masturbation is the kind of thing most people sort of learn on their own, and then, through that, explore more about their bodies and their sexuality in a context and environment within their control. Moreover, it reduces stress, relieves tension, and allows people to become more intimately familiar with their desires, fantasies, and expectations. There are many, many, many sources that can assure you.

So when people feel weird about masturbation, it isn’t because of the act itself, but because of all the stigma attached to it. For various reasons, we’re made to feel guilty when we first experience sexual desire and try to discover it in a safe and intimate way, and what makes it worse are the myths attached to it. Masturbation doesn’t cause blindness or make your hands hairy. Those concerned about the morality of masturbation because of their religion or faith may want to look into the work of feminist theologian Sister Margaret Fowley. But honestly, as long you’re exploring what makes you and your body unique in a safe manner, no one has the right to get all up in your business.

And look, if you’re not really into jacking or jilling off, that’s perfectly fine. As fine and normal as people who prefer to either get their hands on their privates or gyrate against a pillow. And if up till you’ve held any doubts about what’s right or wrong with masturbation, well, we hope tonight you’ll be sleeping a little easier.


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