Masturbation Is The Safest Sex

But it has a such a terrible reputation.

Growing up, my mother was terrified about the day I would learn about sex. She coached me to pretend to be sick and go to the nurse’s office in grade school just so I would miss Magic Johnson’s sex ed video. When I was as young as eight, she’d tuck me into bed with the warning “be good!”

My mom was afraid that I’d started masturbating long before I even knew what she was talking about. As far as she was concerned, I didn’t need to know anything about sex. In high school, she refused to let me get nutritional counseling because she was so sure it was just some ruse to get birth control against her wishes.

I got older and mom warned me that only evil people “played with themselves.” Masturbation was a form of sexual deviance, and then the church echoed that idea.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, purity culture was a very big deal. The ministry internship (ahem, cult) I entered after high school also taught that masturbation was a sin, because lust was a sin.

During my internship year, Ron Luce (cult leader) gave an infamous sex talk where he outlined what was and wasn’t okay when it came to sex within a “godly” marriage. Masturbation was off the menu and he relayed a story about how “a very famous preacher” once told Ron he was grateful for masturbation whenever he was on the road and separated from his wife.

Ron bragged about setting the preacher straight. There was no room for discussion. Masturbation was sinful. Lust was sinful. The marriage bed was beautiful as long as the husband and wife faced each other during intercourse, the wife never said no, and the couple refused to engage in oral sex or masturbation.

But masturbation doesn’t just get a bad wrap in certain Christian circles. It’s not uncommon to hear secular folks take jabs at people by mocking masturbation. Chronic masturbater is just one insult. Culturally, we make jokes that people who masturbate have too much time on their hands. Or can’t find a partner.

Sex with benefits

Those who advocate for abstinence do so in part because they believe the safest sex is zero sex. But masturbation is legitimately the safest sex around. I have to laugh because people even use the bible to push early marriages, saying it’s better to get married than to burn with lust.

Sigh. Seriously? It’s either abstinence or marriage? Let’s not pretend that idea isn’t terrible because guess what--that’s a horrible message.

Most sex ed gives no credence to the benefits of masturbation, and that’s too bad. Sexual beings shouldn’t be shamed for being sexual beings. People don’t need to feel guilty about behaving naturally — nor do they need to be kept in the dark about the benefits of solo sex.

Unlike sex with a partner, masturbation won’t put a person at risk for an STI or pregnancy. Yet, masturbation is still sex. When your body experiences an orgasm, you reap the benefits of stress reduction, lowered blood pressure, greater immunity, and even pain relief.

Masturbation is also a natural and positive way to get to know your own body, and discover what you need to reach orgasm. You get to indulge in your own fantasies, if that’s your thing. You get to experiment and even be selfish. Allowing yourself to masturbate is a positive thing akin to exercise or giving yourself a break as needed.

People aren’t any more prone to abusing masturbation or becoming addicted than any other habit. It’s only a problem for you if it interferes with the rest of your life — like practically anything else.

Women, in particular, can benefit from masturbation because it teaches them to take their pleasure into their own hands. Literally. That’s a plus since so many women would ordinarily hesitate to become more than a bystander in their own sexual encounters with a partner.

But men can benefit from masturbation — especially when it comes to learning how to possess greater control over their orgasms. They also enjoy a reduced risk of prostate cancer with more orgasms. So masturbate away, guys.

To be fair, masturbation isn’t only for single people. Couples can enjoy masturbation together or apart to help keep things interesting. (I’m wincing as I type this out — but how else can I say it?)

Masturbation is a basic sexual activity that some couples refuse to even talk about, like watching porn or feeling attraction for other people. Except that masturbation is much more harmless than other hot-button couples’ issues.

The drawback of solo sex

Typically, humans crave some amount of intimacy and connection with other humans. Sex isn’t always (just) about feeling good. It’s also about making someone else feel good. Often, it’s about some sort of relationship.

That’s really the only place where masturbation might not fit the bill. If you’re needing the connection of a partner. Even so, solo sex deserves much more respect than we currently give it.

There are times when we have sexual needs, but getting it on with someone else may not make sense. The act can help take the edge off when needed and keep us more in tune with our bodies.

Masturbation is a healthy way to scratch a much-needed itch without the complications of having another party involved if that’s not what you need.

And I don’t know about you, but I’m not interested in repeating the sex ed lessons of my youth which said young people were to not only abstain from partnered sex and birth control, but even masturbation.

Contrary to what you might have heard, masturbation isn’t gross or limited to losers. You’re not a deviant if you do it and you’re certainly not a sinner. It doesn’t cause blindness.

If you happen to masturbate, congratulations — you’re human.