What! Masturbation is normal? Says who? Lots of people.
For instance, Medical News Today, in a recent edition, unequivocally declared, “masturbation is a normal and healthy sexual activity with few side effects.”
As we might imagine, that statement doesn’t cum, excuse us, come as a surprise to most earthlings. For instance, Web MD reports that “95% of males and 89% of females” report that they masturbate.
Studies focused on young people age 14-17 report that a majority pleasure themselves as well.
No matter what the demographic, no one reports that any of the following resulted:
- Mental illness
- Stunted growth
- Warts or hair on their hands
- The end of ‘normal sex’
- Running out of sperm
The only reported problem is skin irritation, the result of excessive petting the cat or spanking the monkey.
Yet the Catholic Church still says “any deliberate activation of the sexual function outside the proper state of marriage…if done voluntarily and knowingly, it is sinful.”
The only exception is if masturbation occurs as preparation for a marital fucking, which some studies say, a little self-stimulation can enhance.
History of Masturbation
Masturbation faced both condemnation and reverence throughout history and throughout the world. People, and most mammals, have been playing with themselves forever. Even he earliest human records, prehistoric cave paintings, contain images of male masturbation.
In the creation of myth of Ancient Egypt, the god, Atum, made the world by “wanking” into the Nile River. It became an annual religious rite.
“One of the Pharaohs’ most onerous ceremonial duties in Egypt was to bring fertility to the Nile by masturbating annually into its waters.” Author Jonathan Margolis writes in his history of sexuality “O: The Intimate History of the Orgasm.”
Men were not alone enjoying a little self-gratification. Legend has it that Cleopatra preferred a hollow gourd filled with buzzing bees nestled between her royal thighs to get off. Rumor has it she had a thing for snakes, as well.
Masturbation Is Normal
If you read our blogs then you are familiar with Tantra. (https://findingerotica.com/youre-in-bed-with-your-lover/)
Turns out that not only was Tantra influential in India but the 6,000 year old practice shaped sexual attitudes throughout Asia. As a result, Margolis writes “most forms of sexuality were accepted, or even venerated by one religious sect or another — masturbation included.”
As Tantric missionaries spread their sexual word throughout Asia, their knowledge blended into Taoism. The Han Dyansty (200 BC to 220 CE) became the first Asian culture to create a sex manual for common consumption. Despite a very open attitude towards sexual practices, though, masturbation was frowned up. The spilling of male seed outside of woman’s body was a loss of “vital essence.”
Tantra’s focus on maximizing the female lovemaking experience meant that men should refrain from ejaculation lest they fall short of satisfying their female partner. Eventually, male masturbation became a forbidden act requiring atonement—even if it resulted from a wet dream.
Sexually frustrated men received the following advice:
“If he is in great erotic straits, then let him put himself in water. If he is overwhelmed in sleep, then let him whisper in his soul thrice the prayer that cleanses sin away.” (Johann Jakob Meyer’s book, “Sexual Life in Ancient India.”)
The Kamasutra and Zhou Fang
The Kamasutra, a handbook for life in and out of bed, written in 200 CE for India’s upper caste, encouraged most everything. It depicts rough sex, slapping and biting, and other ‘taboo’ erotic pursuits.
Similar to the Kamasutra, Chinese painter Zhou Fang displayed a full array of sex acts in a set of scrolls. Later, in the 1800’s, Japanese woodblock artists created pornographic art that was widely consumed. One creation depicted a woman being pleasure by an octopus.
One of Japan’s best gifts to the world of female masturbation were Ben Wa balls. Placed inside the vagina, Japanese women could enjoy discrete pleasure by taking a simple walk. Ahh, the hidden joys of a stroll in the park.
Forbidden Pleasure in the West
In the Old Testament book, Genesis, God commanded Onan, the son of Judah to marry his deceased brother’s widow. “Raise up seed to they brother.” Instead, Onan “wasted his seed on the ground.” Whether or not Onan’s action was the result of masturbation or due to Onan pulling out of his brother’s wife too early didn’t matter to God. He killed Onan and, thereafter, society forbade masturbation or, Onanism.
Christianity spent much of its early existence putting the screws to what most of the rest of the world enjoyed. Its fear of masturbation climaxed in Victorian England. As a result, men wore chastity belts and spiked penis rings—with the spikes facing inward—to fight temptation. And, no, they were not early conscious practitioners of BDSM.
Ironically, Western Civilization’s precursors, the Greeks and Romans, had very different takes on self-pleasure.
Margolis writes that “the Ancient Greeks thought male masturbation was a natural remedy for when women were unavailable.” Many vases and wall paintings featured male masturbation. To make a point about the freedom of celebrating palm fun day, the philosopher Diogenes masturbated in front of a live audience.
Greek women did not enjoy similar freedoms. Nonetheless, privileged women took spa days where they indulged in a now familiar toy, an olisbos, an elaborate penis shaped dildo. They did so, though, behind closed doors.
Roman men, indulgent sex hounds that the upper class was, embraced their penises with gusto. Clearly, Pompeii left quite a vault of artistic evidence. (https://findingerotica.com/what-is-erotica/)
Women, Orgasms and Hippocrates
Sex starved women were diagnosed with “hysteria”. Hippocrates, the father of medicine in the Western world, offered a cure.
“The midwife shall anoint the head of the womb with a mixture of herbs and warm oil. She will begin rubbing in a circular motion, first slowly, then with greater speed. As the patient nears the cure, her body may stiffen, and she may cry and grimace in pain. At once she may have convulsions of the lower trunk, and then sink to a calm, signifying the hysteria has been cured.”
Satisfied women may have disputed that they were grimacing in pain. Return visits were common, especially when the experienced midwife could promise a happy ending for chronic hysteria cases.
For the next two millennia, hysteria was diagnosed and treated using Hippocrates’ methods. It became such a common practice that by the 1800’s, 75% of doctor’s income came from treatment of female hysteria.
Modern Medicine and Hysteria
A handbill from the late 1700’s advertised the work of a Dr. Swift who specialized in house calls. His calling card was, “the treatment, which cures the patient in the privacy of her own home, without the knowledge of anyone. It is curing the hopeless and those pronounced incurable.”
Due to the belief that women could not orgasm, the clitoris was ignored as a sexual organ and source of pleasure. Hence, most men had no problem with the Dr. Swifts of the world, as long as the doctor touched the outside parts of his wife and daughter’s vaginas.
Remarkably, many doctors began to complain of the drudgery of masturbating their female patients. In 1702, one doctor lamented that, “all patients require different techniques, with different motion and speed and force. You may find your fingers and hands cramped and numb, before you can induce a cure. It is a physically demanding treatment that can take over two hours with certain patients.”
Do we think some doctors were getting played with two hour sessions, or is that a fair suspicion?
Enter the Vibrator
Eventually, medical devices, early examples of vibrators, stepped in to help the doctor work his magic. In 1869, one entrepreneurial wizard, Dr. George Taylor created a steam powered vibrator and called it “The Manipulator.” It was the size of dining room table with an opening in the middle where a mechanical dildo did its thing. The steam engine was housed in a separate room. Rumor has it that Taylor also preferred black leather and whips. Soon after, an entire industry of self-pleasuring devices developed.
For instance, a London company introduced the “Hercules Horse Action Saddle.” It was perfect for the home. After all, the Princess of Wales owned one. The Horse Action Saddle was guaranteed to “quicken the circulation and is a certain cure for hysteria.”
Apparently, a common answer to a child’s inquiry as to Mommy’s whereabouts was, “Oh, she’s upstairs exercising on her new “Hercules Horse Action Saddle.”
“Why is she moaning Daddy?”
“Nothing like a home horse ride to get those juices flowing little Suzy.”
The Electric Vibrator
With the invention of electricity came the electric vibrator. The first home electrical inventions were lights, the electric iron and the toaster. The electric vibrator was next in line. As early as 1918 ads for electric powered vibrators were found in most every popular newspaper and magazine.
For example, in 1919, Popular Mechanics magazine, hardly a publication associated with sex toys, ran advertisements for the Premier Vibrator. It “gives both pounding and rotary strokes. A beautifully smooth running, durable, inexpensive vibrator for facial, scalp and body massage. If you ‘don’t care for such things’ buy one for your wife or sister. Maybe she’ll get a chance to use it when you’re not home.”
It came with its own carrying case and sold for $15.00.
Not to be outdone, the conservative Syracuse New York Journal advertised “The La Vida Electric Vibrator.” The ad hailed it as the device “every woman needs.” Potential customers were counseled to “make La Vida part of your home, your own health, pleasure and satisfaction—for the good of your family.”
Perpetual bliss was only a mere $7.50 and a short walk to Powers Drugstore away.
The Kinsey Reports
The work of the Kinsey Institute uncovered startling sexual realities to an insulated American public. Described as a “watershed moment”, the Kinsey reports found that 92 percent of men and 62 percent of women masturbated. The findings about women’s sexuality, in particular, challenged long held Victorian notions. Without a doubt, women could orgasm and a majority did via self-stimulation.
By the sexual revolution of the ‘60’s and ‘70’s, much of the taboo surrounding masturbation lifted.
Not only was it “a natural function much like eating, sleeping, and elimination,” but according to researchers, masturbation was “good for you.”
Dr. Lauren Streicher of Northwestern University says that “masturbation can benefit your health by helping you sleep, relieving stress and simply being more comfortable with your body.”
She also says that softening the peach has “absolutely zero negative effects. And, nothing bad can happen from doing it — you can’t catch anything, you can’t get pregnant, you’re not going to get sick. It’s the best thing out there as far as a feel-good vice that isn’t going to have any negative repercussions.”
And, if done right “It feels f*&^%$! amazing.”
We’ve come a long way from the days of the steam powered “Manipulator.” Dr. Streicher reminds us that “there are tons of cool gadgets to help you masturbate. From hands-free vibrators to buzzing faux lip stick bottles, there’s a vibrator for every lady.”
And, might we add, every man.
In addition, a library of information is available about masturbation and enhancing the experience.
The first step of lending yourself a hand is accepting that it’s not just OK to do, but it’s a normal, good thing. So, if you’re going to click the home page, do so without guilt—unless, or course, you’re into guilt. Do so without feeling you’re doing something perverted or wrong—again, unless those feelings help you get off. And don’t just do it, but instead, masturbate with focus, flair and a caring touch.
Don’t be like the person in front of you at the stop light who is too busy texting to miss the green light. If you’re going to drive, then drive. If you’re going to masturbate, then masturbate.
Again, to quote Dr. Streicher, it can feel “so f*&^%$! Amazing!”
Remember, you’re not a loser for beating off. You’re actually adding to your quality of life. Honest, researchers and millions of satisfied practitioners can testify to that fact and have been for centuries.
Resources available upon request