In staunch defence of masturbation

“The only shame in masturbation is the shame of not doing it well.”

Sigmund Freud

Freud talked a lot of utter bollocks, but this is probably one of the lesser fucked-up things he said. I recognise he said it in a time in which any kind of non-cishet-married-baby-making sex was considered shameful (thanks, religious patriarchy!), which is why I’m not condemning this as *complete* nonsense, since it was probably a shockingly progressive thing to say at the time.

Because here we are in the 21stC, and there’s still a lot of shame and stigma associated with self-pleasure. ‘Wanker’ is an insult, ‘go fuck yourself’ is a hostile dismissal. Which is weird AF, because masturbation is fun, healthy, harmless and educational! In fact ‘go fuck yourself’ should be a benediction, equivalent to ‘have a nice day’, and ‘wanker’ should be repurposed to mean ‘person who has the insight and good sense to enjoy a  harmless, pleasurable pastime’.

There is no shame AT ALL in masturbation – provided that one is not violating anyone’s consent with where/when/how one goes about it. Saying ‘do it properly or you’ve FAILED’ is no less harmful than saying ‘ewww don’t do it at all’. 

So, how does one do masturbation ‘well’? What does that even look like in practice? Entirely different, depending on the person(s) involved, their mood, their physicality, their preferences and the circumstances. There’s so much variability in the human condition that trying to define universal baselines or targets for internal experience is always going to end up being exclusive or discriminatory to someone. Let’s not even try. 

Let’s say instead “do you as you desire, but harm no-one in the process.” Let’s say “wank for pleasure, distraction, procrastination, comfort, lust, self-affirmation or money; whatever motivation you have is fine as long as you enjoy the ride and keep it respectful of others’ consent.” Let’s extol the virtues of self-pleasure and eliminate the outdated (and usually misogynistic) teachings of shame and fear that alienate us from our sexual selves and cause so much unhappiness around the world.

Let’s not gatekeep methods and motives for self-stimulation, or turn it into a competition. Let’s remember that everyone’s body and mind are unique, everyone’s experience is valid, and everyone is free to choose how to tickle their fapping fancy. 

Let’s just enjoy it

week 52

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