A few months back I wrote Sex & Sexuality: A Boy’s Primer and recently decided to explore the topics I mentioned in it a bit more. This is the first in a series about boys, men and a healthy sexuality. READER ADVISORY: what follows contains a frank discussion about masturbation.
There are some out there who like to claim that masturbation is bad and wrong and immoral but I can’t wrap my brain around that idea. I mean, how can something that feels good and hurts no one be considered bad? While there many things out there that can make you feel amazeballs that are really, really bad for you, touching yourself does not fall under that category. So why would anyone try telling you not to do it? Turns out, it’s a prude thing.
BENEFITS OF PERSONAL TIME
Religious-type folk – especially of the uber variety – don’t like it when people embrace, celebrate and enjoy their sexuality. Those people are miserable and wish to spread that misery. At least, that’s my theory. After all, orgasms release endorphins that do things to improve your mood, health and attitude. For the sake of those around you, give into the urges to touch yourself.
It’s a scientific fact that masturbation has certain positive effects on a boy; it helps prevents prostate cancer, helps keep your erection firm (which can become a concern with age), can help you last longer when you have sex (or when you decide to have sex if you’re a virgin, which is totes cool), strengthen your immune system and it can improve your mood. Even if you’re not sexually active yet, you still get some important benefits when you take some special time for yourself.
PUSH AWAY THE SHAME
Some boys feel like it’s wrong to take their body for a joyride and that’s not good. Sexuality is something to be enjoyed, safely, and to have any sort of stigma placed on it can lead to issues down the line. While it’s not a good idea to whip it out at the dinner table, it’s perfectly alright to lay down and go to town when there’s no one around. It’s not a shame thing; it’s more a respect thing. Nobody wants to see their kid doing something so personal during mealtime. Just saying.
Don’t ever let anyone make you feel wrong or dirty for acting on your feelings; it’s your body and only you can decide whether or not you’re going to give into those urges. If someone tells you it’s unhealthy or a sin or claims some horrible things will happen to you if you jerk off, know they are lying. Ignore the “spilled seed” argument; it’s not like your body has a finite amount of sperm and there’ll be plenty there when you reach the age where you’re ready to make babies.
You won’t go blind. You won’t grow hair on your palms. You won’t run out of spunk. You will age with a firmer hard on, a longer sex time, better health, lower chances of cancer and just an overall improved feeling about you. Of course, there are a few things to watch out for…
DON’T OVER DO IT
Though masturbation in and of itself isn’t harmful it is possible to hurt yourself, and not just by whacking it so enthusiastically you fall off the bed and break your stroking arm (don’t laugh; I know a dude it happened to).
Doing yourself too often can lead to swelling, chaffing and other misery-making things. It’s not something to keep you awake at night but if you notice your junk not looking quite right or if something down south feels off, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor. Don’t be ashamed to mention any penis-related issues to them, even ones about masturbation, as doctors have seen it all and won’t judge you for doing what comes natural.
BOYS DO IT IN CIRCLES
No matter what part of the Kinsey Scale you fall on, there’s a very good chance you check out other boys; don’t worry. It’s normal and something done well into manhood. It’s also normal and okay to jerk off with other boys. It’s not a sign of your sexuality to do it buddy system-like so don’t go worrying about that (not that anyone should worry ‘cause, really, it’s such a non-ish). Don’t do it with someone if it doesn’t feel right; just as with sexual intercourse, you are allowed to say no. Don’t feel pressured to do something you don’t want to do. Now, if you’re curious and at that wondering-what-it’d-be-like stage, follow your hormones as far as you want. You wouldn’t be the first and won’t be the last to experiment with his best friend. Just remember to be safe, no matter what you do. Safe and smart, always.
Speaking of experimentation, more than some side-by-side stroking may occur. This is also okay. Sexuality is wide open and exciting and not something to be shy of; it should be embraced fully and every inch explored. So if something feels right or it’s just a strange urge to try something new, know it’s completely normal to question what society tells you to like and dislike. Learn who you are, not who anyone else wants you to be.
LET’S TALK ABOUT SEX TOYS
Sometimes, one wishes to try things beside their hands and if that happens, one’ll soon find that there’s an entire industry built around it. From fleshlights to love dolls, there are many things designed for penile placement. There’s also things made to go inside, if you’ve a bent towards that, which is completely normal, even for the staunchly heterosexuals out there. Remember, the body is made for enjoyment and all avenues should be explored, so long as one wants to.
If you’re looking for a “how to” manual, this isn’t it. Mostly ‘cause it’s pretty self-explanatory. I mean, you just know how to pleasure your respective parts (though if there’s a desire for such a post, tell me below and I’ll consider it). Instead, I want to discuss safety.
Unlike those toy cars you used (or maybe still do) race around the floor, sexual toys need to be properly cleaned and maintained in order for you to not end up hurt or sick. The upkeep is easy; many toys will come with directions explaining how to clean and store them between playtimes. Also important is always use protection with your toys. I know, you can’t end up with STDs or babies taking you rubber lover to town but it’s still very important you don’t insert you into, or anything into you, without that thin piece of rubber in between. Oh, and don't use anything you find lying around; only put things places their meant to do. Very bad things can occur when household items are misused.
And remember, there’s no reason you should ever feel shame or guilt for doing something that makes you feel good. You’re not hurting anyone, despite what some prudish fools claim. It’s totally cool, really.
LEARN WHAT YOU LIKE AND Love IT
Sexuality, like everything else about being human, it something discovered piece by piece. Sometimes it might be scary or weird or tummy-flipping but each new piece allows you a glimpse of who you are and who you’re becoming. If you ever wonder if something is wrong, ask someone you trust and who knows about what you’re going through – a doctor or counselor or another person you trust to be understanding. You can also seek answers online, where there are numerous sites out there with answers to questions you’ve not even thought to ask – just be sure the site you choose is legit and not some creepy scam or religious (trust me, y’all). Hell, you can ask me anything and I’ll do my best to answer as fully as I can.
And keep something in mind as you open yourself to new, maybe strange experiences; what you’re doing is not wrong or dirty or sinful. Others may say it isn’t normal or right but unless you’re hurting yourself or someone else, you’re allowed to do what makes you happy, no matter how many strange looks you’d get if you took your show public. If you ever feel the pressure to be exactly like everyone else claims, remember the words of the immortal Morticia Addams and know you’re in excellent company.
Until next time, keep learning, keep exploring, keep being and doing you