By: Angelica Cheyenne and Patricia Franklin
Disclaimer: Please remember that the staff at The Bulletin ARE NOT Sex Experts and ARE NOT Sexual Therapist, Psychologists, or anyone who is educated in that field. We offer researched responses and educated opinions regarding the topic of sex from the perspective of a peer. If you have advanced questions that require an expert’s opinion, please visit the Women’s Resource Center in the Small College Complex room 148. However, if you want to solicit advice, email us at TheBulletinSexperts@gmail.com.
If you have ever watched the teen comedy “American Pie,” then you probably remember the awkward weird scene where Jim’s father caught him humping a pie. Although the pie scene may have been implemented simply for comedic value, it also explored the taboo topic of masturbation.
Masturbation is an archaic practice, as well as a natural occurrence during the psychosexual development stages, according to Freudian psychology. Despite the various discussions and debates centered on the morality of masturbation, one common agreeance is that many people do it. Over 78 percent of Americans ages 14 and older engage in masturbation, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior.
Although the average age for masturbation begins in adolescence, it can happen at any age.
“When I was 11 years old I had a crush on my best friend’s mom,” said C.L. “I used to sleep over often and she was always so nice to me. One night, while sleeping over, I woke up in the middle of the night to pleasure myself to her photo.”
Masturbation myths are always prevalent and can induce fear when masturbation is rumored to cause mental health problems. Luckily, many of these myths have been debunked thanks to psychologists, whose research also indicated the practice to have health benefits.
According to Planned Parenthood, masturbation can actually be great for your mental and physical health. While it may be good for your health, it can also be deemed taboo depending on someone’s cultural background.
“As a young girl I was always told that masturbating was for whores and porn stars,” said E.M. “So, when my mom caught me pleasuring myself with a sex toy she nearly had a heart attack and kicked me out the house for a few days.”
As if being caught by a parent in the midst of solo sex isn’t awkward enough, imagine having to explain why you need to stay with a friend for a few days. Now everyone’s solo sex experience may not include being caught by a parent, however, some may be able to recall their last solo session easier than others.
When it comes to men and masturbation, it is possible men indulge more. According to Women’s Health Magazine, “Regarding the highest-frequency masturbators, 5 percent of women ages 25 to 29 engage in solo sessions more than 4 times a week, while 20.1 percent of men do. The gap closes in for those who reported masturbating multiple times a month, with 21.5 percent of women ages 25 to 29 and 25.4 percent of men in that same age group.”
This difference may be correlated with increased sex drive in men. According to the article “Masturbation Gap” by Dr. Noam Shpancer, “If you define sex drive as preoccupation with sexual behavior and thoughts, including sex crimes and paraphilias, then men routinely manifest higher levels of it than women. Such elevated interest may lead to higher masturbation rates.”
Views on women and masturbation may stem from historical societal views.
“Masturbation was not considered proper or safe for women even during those times [19th century] when some were given masturbation treatments by their doctors,” Dr. Shpancer wrote.
Whatever your stance is regarding masturbation, it is solely your choice. It is not abnormal nor shameful, and as long as you enjoy it in private, have fun.