The Birds and The Bees
Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas do it – Let’s do it, let’s have a waannnnkkkk!
Masturbation is a perfectly healthy, natural activity – mammals, birds and amphibians have all been observed engaging in a little bit of self-pleasuring…yep, that’s right the monkey really does do some spanking.
And just for your viewing pleasure – here’s some Australian native wildlife getting busy – a koala banging one off…
…and a kangaroo
Yay for Skippy!
Masturbation has been observed in deer, monkeys and walruses – even squirrels like to find their nuts. And we ladies and gents are just another mammal.
So Just Who is Wanking?
The Great British public are profuse wankers – with 73% of men and nearly 37% of women reporting having a ham shank in the last four weeks (Gerressu, Mercer, Graham, Wellings and Johnson, 2006). And what’s even cooler – those with higher levels of education, more frequent intercourse and a greater repertoire of sexual activities are more likely to knock one off. And those of the US of A can be attributed with being tossers too, with 38% of women and 61% of men reporting masturbation over the preceding year, which often complemented an active and pleasurable sex life (Das, 2007). Here in Australia 67% of men and 36% of women have engaged in masturbation within the last 12 months.
Ahhh – great nations of those who like to rub one out…it makes the heart fairly glow.
Even when we are very young we will naturally touch our genitals once we have learnt that by stimulating this area it feels good. And this is normal.
On an aside: it’s interesting to note that infantile masturbation or gratification behaviour – or what some clinicians refer to as gratification disorder (what’s that all about?!)- and its accompanying grunting, rocking and sweating is sometimes a cause of concern for some parents who might rush their kids off for checks and investigations with the worry that they’re suffering from some form of epilepsy or movement disorder. Which would be kinda quirky if I wasn’t talking about clinical studies that have actually been written…But hey ho, live and learn right?
Kids like to get their rocks off too – and that’s perfectly OK and normal and doesn’t mean that they actually want to hump or get involved in sexual activities. And one for those parents out there who’s noticed Scout likes to play with her foo-foo – Having a positive attitude and communication with little girls (and boys) about masturbation and sexual self-exploration can have long-term beneficial effects upon their view of their sexual self and their subsequent sexual activity in later life (Hogarth & Ingham, 2009). So go easy on the kids and let them know that pleasure is awesome for its very own sake – it will be good for them in the long run.
Oiling the Cogs
Yes of course the post-orgasmic satiation following partnered penis-in-vagina (PIV) intercourse (if you swing that way) can often be physiologically greater than what we may achieve with masturbation (Brody & Kruger, 2006). Yet masturbation can be effective in treating orgasmic dysfunction or premature ejaculation, familiarise ourselves with our bodies and sexual responses and fulfil our sexual needs. Additionally, we are most definitely oiling our cogs: the functionality of the circulatory, neural and muscular systems of the genitalia is maintained by arousal and orgasm (Levin, 2007). Lubing up means better sexual functioning, which in turn will mean a greater ability to feel sexual pleasure or orgasm more easily – sheeeezzzam.
Masturbation: Self-Cultivating and Self-Loving or Learning to Make Your Flower Grow
Flicking the bean also has many cultivating properties – that’s right tickling your fancy has nurturing benefits. Not only does it strengthen our relationship with ourselves when we get to know, love and nurture ourselves – but by hanging out with who we know best we can improve sexual confidence and grow through self-awareness.
Masturbation can strengthen our relationship with others. By getting to know how to tame our own little beast we are learning how to identify, recognise, articulate and experience what brings us pleasure, which is an extremely powerful step in our self-development. By jilling off we can meet our own needs and then by sharing these experiences with others we can deepen our communication skills, openness and sexual honesty. That makes a little game of ‘Ring-a-ring-a roses’, a mind-blowing tool in our relationship and sexual arsenal.
And here’s some other Health Benefits of Masturbation while we’re at it:
- Eases abdominal cramps during menstruation
- Improves pre-menstrual symptoms
- Relieves migraine headaches
- Suppresses pain
- Eases the symptoms of restless leg syndrome
- Relieves feelings of frustration and stress
- Helps relaxation by interfering with ruminations (going over and over an argument or previous social interaction again and again)
- Lifts your spirits
- by releasing mood-boosting hormones
So why aren’t we wanking?
It was really only quite recently in the seventeenth century that masturbation became viewed as a self-polluting vice. Then in the eighteenth and nineteenth century the medical profession got involved with the belief that the good old wank, or onanism, was both injurious and morally degenerative (Lacquer, 2003). It was claimed that masturbation would lead to blindness, insanity and impotence. Times have, thankfully, moved on since then and we now know that no amount of spanking the monkey is going to make your palms hairy…science and research is well behind us on this one ladies – wanking is officially GOOD FOR YOU!
Brody, S. & Kruger, T. (2006). The post-orgasmic prolactin increase following intercourse is greater than following masturbation and suggests greater satiety. Biological Psychology, 71, 3, 312- 315.
Das, A. (2007). Masturbation in the United States. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy, 33, 4, 301- 317.
Gerressu, M., Mercer, C.H., Graham, C.A., Wellings, K. & Johnson, A.M. (2008). Prevalence of masturbation and associated factors in a British national survey. Archives of Sexual Behaviour, 37, 266-278.
Hogarth, H. & Ingham, R. (2009). Masturbation among young women and associations with sexual health: An exploratory study. The Journal of Sex Research, 46, 6, 558-567.
Laquer, T. W. (2003). Solitary sex: A cultural history of masturbation. Brooklyn, N. Y., U.S.A: Zone Books
Levin, R. J. (2007). Sexual activity, health and well-being – the beneficial roles of coitus and masturbation. Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 22,1, 135-148.
Nechay, A., Ross, L.M, Stephenson, J.B.P. & O’Regan (2004). Gratification disorder (‘infantile masturbation’): a review. Archives of Disease in Childhood, 89, 225-226.
Queensland Goverment (2003). Sex in Queensland : A companion report to The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, 2003, Volume 27, Number 2. Queensland : Queensland Government.
Yang, M. L., Fullwooe, E, Goldstein, J. & Mink, J. W. (2005). Masturbation in infancy and early childhood presenting as a movement disorder: 12 cases and a review of literature. Paediatrics, 116, 6, 1427-1432.
Photo credit: bibacomua