Feb 08, 2023
The Power of Pleasure: Debunking the Myths About Teen Masturbation
It is a time when individuals discover and embrace their own sexuality, and this includes the act of masturbation. Masturbation is still shrouded in stigma and taboos, especially among teenagers.
The stage of adolescence marks a transformative period of physical, cognitive, and emotional growth, from puberty to adulthood. It is a time when individuals discover and embrace their own sexuality, and this includes the act of masturbation. Despite being a common and normal part of human sexuality, masturbation is still shrouded in stigma and taboos, especially among teenagers.
Society's negative attitudes towards masturbation are rooted in historical misconceptions of it being morally and physically harmful. These misconceptions were based on superstition and flawed science, but still hold a lasting influence today. Cultural and religious beliefs also play a role, with some strict moral codes prohibiting or discouraging sexual behaviour outside of heterosexual marriage. This further perpetuates the idea that masturbation is a sinful or immoral act.
The lack of open conversation about masturbation also affects the psychological well-being of teenagers. They may rely on inaccurate information from friends or media, leading to misunderstandings and negative attitudes towards the act. The associated shame, guilt, and anxiety can prevent them from seeking information or support, negatively impacting their sexual health and well-being.
However, the truth is that masturbation is a private and personal behaviour, with frequency and methods differing among individuals. It is a natural outlet for sexual tension and stress and can even improve sleep and mood. Although excessive or compulsive masturbation can indicate an underlying psychological issue, it is typically safe and healthy if it does not interfere with daily life and relationships.Adolescents may encounter increased sexual feelings and curiosity, and masturbation can become a part of their sexual exploration. It is crucial for them to have access to accurate information about sexuality and sexual health, so that they can make informed decisions about their behaviour and health. Everyone's experiences with sexuality and masturbation are unique, and a non-judgmental attitude is essential. If a teenager has any concerns or questions, they should feel comfortable talking to a trusted adult, healthcare provider, or sexual health expert.
Cultural Taboos: Masturbation and Prevailing Social Attitudes
Despite its prevalence and normalcy, masturbation remains a widely stigmatized topic in many societies, even among the supposedly "civilized" and "educated". The shame and social disapproval associated with the act have resulted in a lack of open and honest conversations about it, leaving individuals feeling embarrassed or ashamed of their own sexual behaviour.
One of the root causes of the negative societal views on masturbation is the historical belief that it was a morally and physically dangerous act. During the 18th and 19th centuries, medical and religious authorities of Europe warned against the dangers of masturbation, claiming that it led to insanity, impotence, and death. These beliefs, rooted in flawed science and superstition, persisted, and had a lasting impact on societal attitudes.
Moreover, cultural, and religious attitudes also play a role in perpetuating the stigma. Many religions impose strict moral codes prohibiting or discouraging sexual behaviour outside of heterosexual marriage, including self-stimulation, leading to the belief that masturbation is a sinful or immoral act, further exacerbating the shame and taboo surrounding it.
The lack of open discussion about the topic has also fuelled misunderstandings and negative attitudes, with many individuals' understanding of masturbation limited to what they hear from friends or see in the media, which is often exaggerated, inaccurate, or rooted in cultural stereotypes.
However, it's important to remember that masturbation is a natural and normal sexual behaviour, experienced by people of all genders and ages. It is a safe and healthy way to explore one's own body, sexual desires, and pleasure. Masturbation is not harmful to physical or mental health, and does not cause insanity, impotence, or death. In fact, studies have shown that sexual activity, including masturbation, can have numerous physical and mental health benefits, such as reducing stress, improving sleep, and boosting mood.
The shame and taboo surrounding masturbation can have broader societal implications, such as preventing individuals from seeking information or support, negatively affecting their sexual health and well-being, and contributing to feelings of isolation and low self-esteem.
Jagadish Vasudev, also known as Sadguru, is a contemporary self proclaimed guru and is considered as a knowledgeable figure famous for incorporating modern scientific jargons into his speeches. He recently spoke to the academia of Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), which is composed of brilliant young scholars and distinguished professors of our country. And addressing them he made the following statement:
"Semen is of an extraordinary level of potency you are using it to spill it on the JNU bedsheets. Okay (laughs) it's how you are using it, well, that is your compulsion. (laughs). We have a biology we cannot put it under the carpet. it is there."
It is noteworthy to observe that the speaker only discusses male masturbation and the discharge of semen, neglecting to mention female masturbation and the absence of ovum secretion. At the podium, there were two female students and one male student. The male-to-female ratio at JNU is 1:1.09. This is just one example that highlights the biases and disparities present in today's society.
The Physical and Psychological Advantages of Solo Sexual Exploration: A Scientific Review:
Numerous studies indicate that it could bring about both physiological and psychological benefits. Below are some of the discoveries made:
Tension Release: By producing endorphins, the natural chemicals responsible for enhancing mood, masturbation can reduce stress levels.
Better Sleep: The physical discharge of endorphins, resulting from sexual activities including masturbation, can enhance sleep quality.
Improved Cardiovascular Health: Frequent sexual activities, including self-stimulation, have a correlation with better cardiovascular health - lower blood pressure and reduced heart disease risk
Enhanced Body Confidence: Masturbation helps individuals familiarize and feel more at ease with their bodies, leading to improved body confidence.
Uplifted Mood: By increasing endorphins and other mood-enhancing chemicals, masturbation can enhance overall mood and reduce depression and anxiety symptoms.
Eased Sexual Tension: Masturbation helps relieve sexual tension, reducing stress and anxiety.
It's crucial to remember that while masturbation has numerous benefits, excessive or compulsive behaviour could hinder daily life and social interactions, potentially being a manifestation of underlying psychological issues. Individuals with concerns about their masturbation habits affecting daily life or relationships may seek professional assistance.
Studies and controlled trials exploring the effects of masturbation on various health outcomes include:
Sexual Function: A Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy study found that masturbation was linked to improved sexual function in both men and women, leading to increased sexual desire, reduced sexual distress, and overall sexual satisfaction. (Santosa & Putra, 2017)
Mental Health: A study published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour discovered that regular masturbation was connected to lower levels of anxiety, depression, and stress and enhanced mental health in a sample of college students. (Brauer & Fehr, 2017)
Cardiovascular Health: A research in the American Journal of Cardiology revealed that regular masturbation was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart attack and stroke in men. (Koysurubu, Narita & Kojima, 2001)
Sleep Quality: A study in the Journal of Sex Research indicated that masturbation improved sleep quality in women, reducing sleep disturbances and enhancing overall sleep health. (Levine & Risen, 2016)
The taboo surrounding self-pleasure, also known as masturbation, can have detrimental effects on both the sexual and mental health of adolescents. To break these negative stigmas and foster a more accepting and beneficial atmosphere, it is imperative that we engage in open and honest conversations about the subject.
By educating young individuals on the factual and advantageous aspects of this behaviour, we can challenge these societal restrictions and promote a healthier environment. Masturbation has been scientifically and psychologically proven to bring about various positive outcomes such as reducing stress levels, enhancing sleep quality, and promoting cardiovascular health, in addition to boosting self-confidence, elevating moods, and alleviating sexual tension.
Therefore, it is crucial that teenagers have access to accurate information to support their overall well-being. By confronting the social taboos and encouraging open discussions about masturbation, we can work towards creating a more supportive and accepting society for all.