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Exploring the benefits of sexual self-love

By Gabby Katz

Section: Arts

February 4, 2011

What is safe, pleasurable, healthy and done by most people around the world? Masturbation, of course! Discussing masturbation openly can be awkward. Brandeis can be awkward, too. According to the transitive property, then, I think Brandeisians can handle awkwardness in the name of self-pleasure.

Loosely defined, masturbation refers to the self-stimulation of genitals in order to achieve sexual arousal, usually to the point of orgasm. That seems pretty straight forward—so why is this something to discuss in a health column? As it turns out, masturbation not only delivers a pleasurable sensation but, according to Student Sexuality Information Services (SSIS) members John Fonte ’12 and Sami Grosser ’12, can also provide a multitude of other health and life benefits; these include improvements in your overall health, sex life and relationships, as well as the better ability to love oneself and bring the world more positive energy. To put things simply, in the words of my good friend Danielle Pulton ’12, “Self-love is everybody-love.”

So where do we begin? Here are some short and sweet bullet points at which you can glance without anyone knowing what you’re reading:

Improving Your Health

» Helps you sleep better by releasing the tension. It’s a great bedtime ritual.

» Releases endorphins that can make you happier and support your immune system.

» Helps you focus better.

» Great procrastination, study break or boredom reliever, an alternative to more harmful activities like smoking, excess eating or watching too much television.

» Not masturbating versus incessantly masturbating is more likely to lead to psychological problems.

Improving Your Sex Life

» Teaches you the pattern of your own sexual response and allows you to recognize what you like and don’t like (you can then inform your partner about this).

» Allows you to build up control over when you orgasm, which is especially great for people with premature crashing issues.

» Can help jumpstart a jaded sex drive.

» For women out there with trouble reaching orgasm during sex, masturbating—and consequently learning how to climax—can increase chances of an orgasm during sex

Improving Your Relationships

» Partner not in the mood? Pleasure yourself and avoid fights within your relationship.

» Mutual masturbation can be a great alternative to sex to keep things spicy without worry of pregnancy or STIs.

Learning to Love Yourself

» Helps you put your pleasure first and allows you to do something nice for yourself.

» You’re cheaper and easier than any date you’ll ever go on.

One way to explore yourself intimately is to masturbate in front of a mirror and learn what your body looks like and how to love and pleasure it. In bed, you can ride a pillow and imagine whomever you’d like. SSIS resources suggest experimenting with muscle tension, states of undress, quickies, new locations, aquatics and perishables (just make sure to wash and put a condom on that cucumber).

You can also take a workshop, watch an instructional video or visit the SSIS office to ask about more techniques. All of these things will make you want to take your physiology studying home from the library.

Let’s get gender specific. Males can stimulate areas aside from the penis, including under and around the scrotum or the nipples. For adventurous types, Fonte suggests making it a personal goal to never employ the same masturbation technique twice; he also advises being creative by doing things like masturbating while doing a handstand or varying one’s grip by “trying between two hands to two fingers to handle the snake.” Incorporating toys like a sleeve or an anal toy (always with a flange!) can also facilitate wondrous wanking.

Ladies can also stimulate their nipples and breasts or try inner and outer vaginal stimulation. Stimulation of the clitoris can range in methods from stroking up and down, rolling between your fingers, rubbing in a circular motion, making figure-eights with your fingers up and around the clitoris, rubbing the clitoris with one finger while two others hold open the labia or vertically stroke the sides of the clitoris up and down. Also, you can make a homemade toy by filling a regular water balloon with warm water, applying lubricant and then rubbing it against your clitoris. A fun morning adventure could include simply stimulating your vagina with the shower head while getting ready in the morning. Grosser suggests you “have fun and enjoy your body.”

Of course, it’s your body and you can choose to treat it the way you want. I’m simply providing information with which you can live a potentially healthier and more pleasurable life. As always, tune in for more health tips and send me an e-mail at gkatz10@brandeis.edu with any health-related questions you may have.

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