Despite centuries of demonization through shame and accusations of mental infirmity (as well as some fairly inventive purported outcomes, from hairy palms to blindness), we now accept that men masturbate and that not only is it normal, it’s actually healthy for you.
And while sex educators are helping break down the stigma around self-pleasure, there are many of us who were given no such instruction about why we masturbate, or even how to masturbate. Thus, we decided to try our hand (pun intended) at explaining male masturbation and clearing up some misconceptions.
Why Do Men Masturbate?
Many young men discovered self-pleasure before they could even articulate why and what they were doing, supported by the widespread but erroneous characterization of men as sex-obsessed auto-erotic automatons.
So what’s the purpose of masturbation? Well, we know it must serve some purpose, because we’re not the only creatures to do it. Most mammals masturbate in one way or another: for bonobos masturbation is social. And when you see a dog grinding on a pillow, that’s a form of masturbation. The dog knows the pillow is not another dog.
We have a biological compulsion to share our DNA, it’s in all of us. The purpose of masturbation, then, is not only a response to the urge to procreate. But also to familiarize ourselves with our own reproductive processes should the opportunity arise to pass on our DNA. That’s the biological purpose, but that’s slightly different from the reasons for masturbation.
We could describe the reason for masturbating as simply for the immediate enjoyment of sensual touch and immediate release (which is a completely valid reason for both men and women to masturbate). But there are several other reasons for why male masturbation can be such a good thing.
The Benefits of Male Masturbation
- It can help with premature ejaculation. By learning your body’s responses and cues during solo play, it can help you become more aware of them (and thus able to exert control over them) during partnered play.
- You can reduce the chances of developing prostate cancer. When you masturbate often, the seminal fluid that is stored in the prostate is released. Storage of stagnant semen for too long can cause problems such as prostatitis (which can ultimately develop into prostate cancer if left unchecked), genital pain, symptoms of erectile dysfunction and frequent nighttime urination.
- If you suffer from insomnia, masturbation is a healthy and infinitely more effective than any pill remedy.
- Additionally, masturbation is an easy (and enjoyable) way to decrease stress or tension, whether it be caused by an important presentation at work, a sporting event or a special date. Your orgasms release of endorphins that will generate a pleasant state of tranquility.
A Sight to Be Held
While the idea that it’s only men and not also women that enjoy erotic visual stimulation is patently untrue, it does not mean that most men don’t still primarily rely on visual media for their erotic content.
Whether watching porn or reading erotica, it’s important to contextualize this fantasy-fulfillment as simply that: indulging in a fantasy. Images or stories that arouse us can often do simply because they represent a taboo. They may or may not indicate a fetish or desire that the person actually wants to act out. In short, you’re not defined by your masturbatory source material, so don’t judge yourself too harshly if you (or your partners) are aroused by unusual visual stimuli. Enjoy yourself.
The Basics of Male Masturbation
Generally, male masturbation involves using one’s dominant hand around the penis to exert pressure in a swift up-and-down motion. However, just because that’s the typical way doesn’t mean it’s the only way.
For example, many men tried the ‘penis between the mattress and box spring trick’ in their youth before discovering they could exert more pressure through their palm and fingers. Many also then settled into a default ‘death grip’ mode of masturbation. Unfortunately, that habit can make you less sensitive to other stimulation if employed every time.
Experimenting with different speeds and different pressure variations by shifting the hold of your fingers, or even using your non-dominant had lets you explore ‘different’ ways to orgasm, but do require some conscious effort on your part when you’re used to the quick and dirty orgasm.
During masturbation you can also use the unused hand to give yourself a few caresses on the body: abdomen, inner thighs, neck, shoulders, etc. While not strictly involved with causing the orgasm, thrilling your secondary erogenous zones at the same time can help you focus on the pleasure of the act.
To train yourself to prolong pleasure and manage its ejaculations, you can practice edging. This means stopping just before you feel that that you’re about to ejaculate. A good technique to be tested alone and reproduce during partnered sex!
Personal moisturizers make just about every sexual situation better. Fact. During masturbation they facilitate skin-on-skin rubbing without uncomfortable friction. And they are specifically meant for your sensitive areas, making them infinitely more practical than hand lotion.
If you’re not yet sure if you like the sensation of vibrations incorporated into your masturbation routine, you can always try a vibrating ring such as TOR™ 2 or PINO™, which are some of the most popular sex toy designed for men.
While designed for use during partnered sex, cock rings can also serve a solo purpose. Try wearing the ring with the vibrating portion turned upside down under your penis and against your testicles. Or use it as a finger vibe in your other hand on any other erogenous zone that strikes your fancy.
Of course, the penis is not the only pleasure-packed part of the male anatomy. Just as women can enjoy the sensations surrounding anal sex and play, many men enjoy stimulation of the opening or just within, with a finger, or a vibrator. But, it’s a few inches higher where intense orgasm can be made through prostate massage.
Some men claim that their orgasm is up to 33% more intense when they massage their prostate, and if you use a massager such as LOKI™ Wave (which uses WaveMotion™ to curl back and forth against your prostate to mimic manual massage) you may be able to achieve a hands-free orgasm!
However you choose to go about it, it pays to remember the wise words of Woody Allen:
“Masturbation is having sex with someone you really love.”
Masturbation truly is self-love if you take the time to learn your body and your desires. This will ultimately lead to more enjoyment as well as more confidence in your sexuality when you’re with a partner. Once you know exactly what you want, you can help show your partner how you want to be touched!