Masturbation


Throughout certain periods of history, masturbation was deemed a sinful perversion. Although it is a common sexual activity, myth ridden and misconceived ideas that were backed up by medical fallacies caused the masturbation topic to remain quite taboo for many years.

Luckily, masturbation is currently no longer something considered to be "ugly" and has started to become discussed in a more natural manner as a part of human evolution. But even in modern times, some still find it difficult to accept as a normal part of the human sexual development process.

Some phobias regarding masturbation can be resilient in adult life. Even if these fears are only subconscious, they may generate a certain degree of anxiety sufficient to handicap life and cause detriment to sexual performance.

Normally, masturbation begins in infancy (at or around 4 years of age) during a period described as the "phallic phase" by Sigmund Freud in the late 19th century. It's in this phase that a child discovers, by natural curiosity, that manipulation of his/her genitals can yield a great deal of sexual pleasure. This phase denotes special attention, since any reprimand or rebuke by parents might give the impression of something dirty or naughty. This can set up a long term basis for sexual impairments later in the life of the individual.

Women, for the most part, are bound to experience guilt with regard to masturbation. The vast majority of girls, during infancy, get told by their parents not to touch their genitals. This can be as serious as punishment in a violent manner, in the way of physical slapping or hitting. This kind of punishment induces a feeling of something wrong in the child, and instills fears that if it is done again, it may involve even worse punishments. This type of parental action by itself, even if done only once, can be enough to bring out some sort of psychosexual deterrent in the adult-phase.

Moreover, it's in adolescence that masturbation begins to reveal its full potential in a very powerful way. Typically, as a prime source of sexual activity for both boys and girls, masturbation causes the young adult to begin to discover sexual capacity and sexual pleasure though orgasms in a very conscious and intentional manner.

Although girls don't rely on masturbation as much as boys for a relief mechanism of sexual tension, whoever engages in masturbation acquires a profound knowledge, with respect to which bodily sensations will be more touch and caress prone. This allows the individual to learn how to get the best results from general sexual pleasure in the long run. Therefore, masturbation becomes particularly important as foreplay for adults, as it is apt to enable a sex-partner to touch and stroke the most sexually excitable spots.

During masturbation, an imagination with vibrant fantasies is almost always commonplace. Therein, everything is allowed in a sense of providing the most excitement, given that the degree of excitement depends on the extension of guilt feelings imposed upon it and linked to it.

The physical relaxation of sexual tension from masturbation is somewhat similar to the feeling of sexual intercourse with another individual. Having said that, it is seemingly important for me to again highlight that masturbation should be considered a normal act, which does not cause detrimental physical effects. In fact, most studies regarding moderate masturbation show that it perhaps turns out to be beneficial. Masturbation can really only be labeled as abnormal when, in adulthood, it profoundly takes on an obsessive preference that prevents normal sexual intercourse with a partner. In these rare cases, it may call for psychiatric treatment.

Darci L. D. Janarelli
Sexologist and Gynaecologist

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