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celebrating may - international masturbation month

In May 1995, Good Vibrations sex shop declared Masturbation Month in response to the forced resignation of US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders after she publicly declared, “As per your specific question in regard to masturbation, I think that it is something that is a part of human sexuality and it's a part of something that perhaps should be taught.”

If I were a more political beast, I’d tell you that’s why I self-pleasure with fervor all year round. I mean, if the surgeon general is saying that it’s good for us, who am I to argue?

But the truth is, I just like it.

There’s a story floating around that says ‘self-service’ is not as good as real, proper, i.e. partnered sex, and indeed those who indulge are weak, unattractive or somehow inadequate.

But studies in the US show that masturbation is more prevalent in the highly educated and that those who are most sexually satisfied regularly imbibe. A quick Google Search will net you dozens of scientifically-supported reasons why self-pleasuring is healthy for you. It’s cheap, easily accessible and is the safest sex you could ever have.

And while I take my health seriously enough to eat my greens and exercise, I must admit that it's not the prevailing factor that informs my self-pleasuring practice.

It just feels good.

When I masturbate, it’s all about me. Whether I’m indulging in a quickie before work, or spending a luxurious hour making love to myself, it’s all about me. I don’t have to worry about taking too long, or taking turns. I don’t have to worry if I’m making too much noise or if my bush is neatly trimmed or remember to hold my stomach in. I can dance or rock; I can laugh or moan or cry, or do it all at the same time. I can spend 15 minutes slowly stroking the same spot, discovering and savouring each subtle sensation, or I can fire up my vibrator and see if I can beat my 90-second climax record.

My self-pleasuring is about being me. Exploring who I am and allowing myself to simply be in the moment- no masks, no pretense, and no self-judgement. There’s a delicious freedom in letting go and giving in to whatever wants to happen. Sometimes it’s glorious, sometimes surprising, sometimes joyful. Other times sadness or anger arise. And there’s nothing I have to do about any of it but be there in my body, riding the waves and opening to pleasure.

I could tell you that I maintain my regular self-pleasuring practice because it makes me more creative and less cranky, that afterwards I feel more grounded and centered and calm. That it makes me a better partner, practitioner and friend. I could tell you that masturbation makes me more in tune with pleasure in my whole body and that it makes my partner sex more enjoyable and- that’s all true.

But mostly, it feels good, and it makes me happy, and I like feeling good and I like feeling happy.

The ‘Century of Sensational Self-Pleasuring’ has a nice ring to it, don’t you think?

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