Masturbation has a long history of stigma, shame, and miseducation. Masturbation was once thought of as a disease that causes blindness and disorders, and during the 19th century, devices were created to stop women from opening their legs. In the 20th century, beliefs around masturbation began to change, masturbation became an integral part of female sexuality and pleasure not prescribed by society.
May 7, 1995 was declared the first Masturbation Day by the Good Vibrations sex shop in San Francisco, CA, as a protest against President Clinton’s firing of Surgeon General, Jocelyn Elders. Elder’s was fired for suggesting masturbation be included in the sex education school curriculum. Masturbation Day has since expanded to include the entire month of May.
During this time, Lil Kim introduced us to a new form of feminism that encouraged women to express their sexuality on their own terms; and shortly after, two of my favorite sex-positive tv characters, Samantha of Sex and the City and Lynn of Girlfriends, showed sex can be positive and healthy in people’s lives.
BUT, even as I sit her in 2023 and write this, as a Certified Sex Therapist and a self-proclaimed sexually healthy woman, when the topic of masturbation comes up, I have the impulse to lean in and whisper quietly to my friends (and giggle).
Let’s get into it…
- Masturbation is the best way to learn your body and figure out what turns you on. It’s one of the first areas of exploration I start with when working with my clients. You must know what turns you on and off, and be able to communicate that to your partner for a healthy intimate and sexual relationship.
- 81% of American women who use vibrators say they wish they had bought one sooner. While vibrators have been coined “a woman’s best friend”, they aren’t only for women (wink wink).
- Masturbation can plant seeds of self-love. Your first relationship is with self, and I always say, “You have to be right with yourself before you can be anything for someone else.” Normalize masturbation and make a date with yourself at least once per week.
- Masturbation releases happy hormones dopamine, oxytocin, endorphins, and serotonin, helping to boost your mood, regulate stress, and help you sleep better. All of which, also helps relieve pain and tension, increase focus, enhance your sex life, and alleviate anxiety and depression symptoms.
So, I’m here to tell you, whether you’re happily partnered or single, masturbation should be a part of your wellness routine.
Connect with Kamisha here to schedule a consultation and to explore more about creating the intimate and sexual relationship that works for you.
Additional Reading and Resources