Anxiety and guilt about sex often relates to masturbation. Common judgements and old wives tales include warnings that your hand will shrivel up and fall off, or you’ll grow hair on the back of your hand or your hair will fall out. Apparently, the earliest Encyclopaedia of Sex advises that masturbation will cause you to go blind! Here’s some more ridiculous negative judgements:

Some people think that masturbation is sexually immature behaviour and that an adult should have grown out of it. Others think that it’s not ‘manly or womanly’ to masturbate. I’ve also heard masturbation rejected on the grounds that ‘it is selfish to indulge in self-pleasure’ because that is not contributing, for example, making a baby’ or ‘to the quality of a relationship’.

Some partners, particularly women, are angry if they find out their man is masturbating. They see it as selfish and a personal slight or rejection. Whereas their man would probably argue that masturbation is simple and non-demanding, especially if he just wants quick relief. He might think he is doing her a favour by not bothering her for a ‘quickie’.

Do all or any of the above judgements about masturbation sound familiar to you? Let me suggest to you that it’s best to ignore them.

To Feel Good About Masturbation, Let’s Change the Name!

Society certainly doesn’t set us up to feel safe to enjoy masturbation. One wag once said: ‘Masturbation: It’s better done than said!’ Even the sound of the name can be a turn off. Try saying it out loud right now. ‘ Masturbation!’ Say it ten times and it still doesn’t sound pleasurable … – it’s a harsh sounding word isn’t it? It sounds a bit like a serious illness. In fact the word is a corruption of a Latin and Greek root that, put together, literally means ‘to defile yourself with your hand’. Let’s call it “solo-sex” - think of it as self-pleasuring and enjoy it as a birth-right.

Solo-sex is the ‘shallow end’ of a good sex life. The major cause of sexual anxiety is that people rush into what I call the ‘deep end’ of sex. That is, they believe that intercourse with a partner is the be-all and end-all best of sex. Actually, intercourse is ‘the deep end’.

That is, it’s the hardest, most complicated and most potentially fearful sexual behaviour to do. You wouldn’t expect a child to jump in the deep end of the pool to learn how to swim, would you? No, you’d start him off in the shallow end with all sorts of props and very gradual exposure to greater depth of the water.

Let’s Laugh About Solo-sex

For something that makes us so anxious, it is a relief to be able to joke about masturbation. We can all have a wry smile at this perennial joke: Mother said:’ Stop doing that Johnny, you’ll go blind.’

Johnny said:’ Oh please Mum, can’t I just do it until I need glasses?’ I love the old joke that goes like this: Remember your first sexual experience? You were probably alone at the time...|

In conclusion, in this wonderful world of personal choice, you can choose to masturbate and enjoy it – or not – it’s up to you. Just don’t make it something negative!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Janet Hall is a psychologist, hypnotherapist, sex therapist, author, professional speaker, trainer, and media consultant. Jan consults regularly with print media and is a frequent guest on talk-back radio and current affairs shows.

Jan was a regular for two years on the Sex Life television program in Australia. Her user-friendly strategies offer practical solutions to sexual and relationship issues so that you can have the love and the sensational sex that you deserve. Jan has a unique ability to encourage people to clarify their situation and solve their own problems with both heart (trusting intuition and feelings) and head (with logical analysis and rational prioritization). She believes that people deserve to feel empowered and allow themselves to be the best they can for the good of all. Jan has a happy knack of making psychology user friendly.

Dr Janet Hall