April was both Sexual Assault Awareness Month and STD Awareness Month -- both very important issues, but also somber ones.
This month, we've got something a lot more fun. May is National Masturbation Month! What’s not to like about that?
National Masturbation Month was started in 1995 by the adult store Good Vibrations, in protest to the firing of Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders – who lost her job simply because she said that masturbation should be taught as a part of safer sex education.
Elders was right! Masturbation is the safest sex around, and it’s a perfectly normal part of human sexuality. Almost all people masturbate or have masturbated, whether single or in a relationship, gay or straight, young or old and male or female. And why shouldn’t they? Self-pleasure is healthy, and there are no STDs or pregnancy to worry about. As teenwire points out, masturbation relieves stress, can act as a painkiller, boosts your immune system and can even reduce the risk of depression. Who knew? Most people just do it because it feels good!
Of course, there’s nothing wrong with that, either. There are a lot of myths about masturbation -- that it's dirty, immoral, you shouldn't do it when you have a partner, or even that it will cause hairy palms or blindness. Girls and women especially are taught that masturbation is something that they just shouldn't do.
But there’s nothing wrong with touching your own body or wanting to feel physical pleasure. In fact, one study showed that women who masturbate have higher self-esteem. They just might have better sex with partners, too: masturbating allows people to learn what feels good, how to have orgasms, and gives them the confidence they need to point their partner(s) in the right direction. People who masturbate might even be able to learn how to speed up or slow down their orgasms!
Isn't it about time that we talk about masturbation the same way that we talk about partnered sex: as something fun and normal?
PPRSR is also running a fundraising campaign around National Masturbation Month. Click on the button below to donate, or head over to our MySpace profile for the code you'll need to post but badge on your own page or blog.
If you want to know more, Scarleteen has a great article on the basics. For the ladies, I can recommend my favorite book about sex: I Love Female Orgasm. It’ll teach you just about anything you know about going solo – and might teach you a thing or two about partnered sex, as well.
You can also just check out our MySpace blog, where we'll be writing about masturbation all month. Stay tuned, because this week we'll be talking about sex toys!