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The Masturbation Gap
# 1 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 13:40
The Masturbation Gap The pained history of self pleasure

"Don't knock masturbation," Woody Allen famously quipped. "It's sex with someone I love." But masturbation has of course been knocked around some, historically. According to Thomas W. Laqueur, a professor of history at the University of California at Berkeley (and the author of "Solitary Sex: A Cultural History of Masturbation") masturbation was not a topic of great interest to the powers that be until 1712, when a con man named John Marten anonymously published a book spectacularly entitled: Onania; or, The Heinous Sin of Self Pollution and all its Frightful Consequences, in both SEXES Considered, with Spiritual and Physical Advice to those who have already injured themselves by this abominable practice. And seasonable Admonition to the Youth of the nation of Both SEXES.

In this book, he first introduced the idea that the biblical Onan's sin was masturbation, even though most close readers of the biblical text know Onan's actual sin was a failure to impregnate his dead brother's wife (as mandated by Jewish law)--specifically, coitus interruptus. The book became a hit, and Marten, now fancying himself a "surgeon," quickly capitalized on his luck by selling remedies for the ills of masturbation. Con men are, above all, great capitalists, as we have all re-learned recently in the U.S.
The effects of masturbation The book, it appears, had hit a nerve by tapping into the zeitgeist of a cultural shift, where concerns about privacy were becoming paramount. Masturbation, along with reading printed books--a new technology at the time--had become a symbol for the uncontrolled, uncensored private lives of individuals, including women. Such private power was felt to threaten the social order. The social keepers of the order--the politicians, aristocrats, and professional classes--hence hurried to proclaim the potential dangers embodied in this newly shamed and shameful act.
Anti-masturbation gear It wasn't long before physicians began decrying masturbation as the root cause of disease, dysfunction and poor character. Children were threatened with the most horrible fates if they were to engage in it. Freud himself had his qualms about continued masturbation into adolescence, but at least he recognized that early masturbation, and the feelings and events surrounding it, was a person's introduction into sexuality. Guilt and shame around masturbation could color a person's adult sexuality. Freud famously concluded a 1912 symposium on masturbation for the Psychoanalytical Society in Vienna by saying, "I think the time has come to break off. For we are all agreed on one thing--that the subject of masturbation is quite inexhaustible."
Through the 19th century, the assault on "self-abuse" continued: Reverend Sylvester Graham invented the Graham crackers to curb sexual impulses. In the 1830s, Benjamin Rush, renowned physician and signer of the declaration of Independence, argued that masturbation caused tuberculosis, memory loss, and epilepsy. JH Kellogg, turn of the century medical writer and creator of breakfast cereal, believed signs of masturbation included acne, weak back, and convulsions. Noted 19th century physician and early sex research pioneer Richard von Krafft Ebing linked masturbation to homosexuality and other types of what he considered deviance and illnesses.
Old Fashioned Vibrator
Advanced treatment for hysteria
Interestingly, masturbation was not considered proper or safe for women even during those times when some were given masturbation treatments by their doctors. Yes, in the late 19th century, doctors occasionally masturbated women who were suffering from ‘hysteria.' It was a nifty Victorian trick: Suppress and deny female sexual knowledge and expression, and when the resulting misery erupts through general manifestations of bodily and emotional discomfort, diagnose the women as ill and have them get sexual release through the desexualized digital (and later mechanical) manipulations of male physicians. All in a day's work!

Masters (and Johnson) of their domain
By the 60s and 70s the tide had began to turn. The publication of Kinsey's and Masters and Johnson's research revealed that masturbation was both common and harmless. Many studies have since confirmed this basic truth, revealing in addition that masturbation is neither a substitute for "real" sex nor a facilitator of risky sex. Masturbation may promote comfort with one's genitalia, enhancing both orgasmic capacity and condom use. Educated people, it turns out, masturbate more, and have better sex lives. A recent study even reported that masturbation may protect men against prostate cancer. (But you're unlikely to see a government-sponsored public relations campaign promoting this particular preventative strategy.) Given these data, you'd think the controversies would be put to rest. But you'd be wrong.

In my human sexuality class recently, I asked students to come up with all the known slang terms for male masturbation. They quickly listed at least a dozen. Then I asked them to come up with slang to describe female masturbation. None came instantly to mind. After much effort, they came up with ‘flicking the bean' and ‘Jill off.' That was it.
Really good for back pain
Language describes reality, and also shapes it. What you don't have words for you do not own or understand. This observation is supported by the data. According to the research, over 95% of males have masturbated to orgasm by age 20, compared to around 60% of women (with some studies suggesting an even larger gap).
The discrepancy with regard to masturbation is doubly problematic because masturbation, it turns out, is a particularly important predictor of sexual health and happiness for women, more so then for men. One of the best predictors of whether a woman will be able to achieve orgasm in her sexual relations is a history of masturbation in adolescence.
Why such a gap? One reason may be men's higher sex drive. If you define sex drive as preoccupation with sexual behavior and thoughts, including sex crimes and paraphilias, then men routinely manifest higher levels of it than women. Such elevated interest may lead to higher masturbation rates. Structural differences may also play a role. A penis is highly accessible and regularly handled in the act of urination, which may lead to greater familiarity with its potential uses.
But biology, while being necessary, is never sufficient to explain human behavior. Our behavior is determined by a complex interaction between our biological heritage and cultural context.
Society subverting evolution
Biology, for example, has prepared girls to give birth at 15, but our culture tells them not to, and most obey. Biological evolution works by killing the young before they reproduce. Our culture routinely works to save even the weakest babies. Society, in other words, can shape the impact of any biological tendency or difference. Our society has chosen not to work to minimize the masturbation gap; in fact, it may be contributing to it. Men, after all, are socialized toward self reliance and unabashed search for sexual pleasure. Such qualities in women are still regarded with much ambivalence.
It need not be so. If we can shed the misinformation of the past in so many other areas, surely we can do so here as well. In a way, the gender gap in masturbation resembles the well-known historical gap in salary. Both are useless and unfair remnants of a dated social consciousness. The fair and data-based message for today's young women should be clear: Get to know your sexual body; get to know it and love it so you may, in time, teach your partner to do the same. Save your guilt for real transgressions, like cheating on exams.
The masturbation gap needs to close. Will it? Keep an eye on the slang...

# 2 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 14:54
Very interesting opening post.
# 3 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 15:56
I can remembering having orgasams at about 4 or 5, I didn't quite know what I was doing until I reached my early teens. I can remember other friends having similar sorts of bedtime practises where they would do things like rub a teddy between their legs. I just assumed that most kids did these things, find it odd that only 60% of women have had an orgasam by 20.
# 4 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 16:18
I never realised there was so much I didn't know about masturbation!!
# 5 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 16:21
Onan, what is best in life?
# 6 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 19:19
According to the research, over 95% of males have masturbated to orgasm by age 20, compared to around 60% of women (with some studies suggesting an even larger gap).

I would imagine the real figure for males is closer to 99.9%. Unless a boy has some very unusual condition, I think it's highly unlikely that he'd make it to 20 without playing the one-stringed guitar fairly regularly.

After all, the male of the species is pretty much hard-wired to ejaculate frequently. Even if men decided to go Kellogg and avoid spilling their seed, it would still happen - in their sleep. It's pretty much impossible for a healthy man to wholly prevent himself from having orgasms every now and then. So wanking is just one way of hastening the inevitable.

And the longer a male goes without ejaculating, the hornier he gets. The sexual thoughts can predominate more, the erections are more frequent, and harder and longer-lasting, the horn becomes more sensitive to the touch and, well, hornier . . .

And guys can experience other physical incentives to masturbate - some people experience testicular discomfort or pain if they don't jack off enough, some get headaches or feel down if they don't.

So male masturbation is not, I think, due to what the author of that piece calls the male "preoccupation with sexual behavior" or indeed the "accessibility" of the penis. It's got to do with the basic biological male imperative to ejaculate regularly.

That all said, I've no doubt that the idea of the healthiness or appropriateness of female masturbation is not adequately promoted

It's not so long ago since the idea was current that masturbation was really something gross that boys do.
# 7 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 19:31
oh my wheelie bin...thats quite a post you've got there!


are there actually some women who dont masturbate?
why not?
when do they usually start anyway?
# 8 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 19:33
Someone said :
oh my wheelie bin...thats quite a post you've got there!


are there actually some women who dont masturbate?
why not?
when do they usually start anyway?

Im sure there are, maybe some people just don't get anything from it. I doubt there is a usual time, could be at any time of their life.
# 9 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 19:34
It's interesting that the anti-masturbation campaign began in earnest after the industrial revolution. A society that depends on comsumption can't be having people gaining pleasure from something that doesn't require any purchases or effort at all.
# 10 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 19:37
You Won't Go Blind Great excuses for your nightly date with Pamela Handerson

It's something people don't talk about, but almost everyone does it: masturbation. In one national study, 95 percent of men and 89 percent of women said they had masturbated.

"We are programmed, as best we know, to need orgasms," says Gloria Brame, Ph.D., a clinical sexologist in Athens, Ga. "It's a fundamental aspect of men's health, right up there with brushing your teeth." And the more you know about what satisfies you solo, the more pleasure you get from sex.

You likely know that a little wanking won't make you go blind or cause your penis to fall off. (Let's face it, you'd know by now.) In fact, a little time alone is perfectly healthy for you.

"It relieves stress and keeps everything about your body—your heart rate, blood pressure, reproductive system, brain chemistry—in very good shape," Brame says.

A 2003 Australian study found that men who ejaculated more than five times a week were a third less likely to develop prostate cancer. Regularly flushing your system, so to speak, keeps your semen healthy and prevents the build up of cancer-causing chemicals.

"Men are doing themselves a favor with regular ejaculation," Brame says. "It cleans out the plumbing."

The researchers say sexual intercourse doesn't provide the same benefit because it puts you at risk of contracting a sexually transmitted infection.

Masturbation also helps combat premature ejaculation. If you can train yourself to last longer solo, you'll last longer with her.
Her Pleasure = Your Pleasure
Just because your wife or girlfriend owns a Rabbit doesn't means she's not getting enough satisfaction from you. And rest assured, if she knows you're getting busy with your hand (and she either knows or suspects it), she's wondering if she's doing enough to please you.

Having a woman who masturbates is great. First, she's more likely to orgasm during intercourse and oral sex.

And, if she lets you watch, "you can learn a ton about what makes her feel good and what's comfortable for her," says Brian Zamboni, Ph.D., a sex therapist in Minneapolis.

Even better, see if she's up for a duo hand job. Stimulating each other at the same time is intimate, turns her on, and allows both of you to learn more about what the other likes. Which translates to hotter sex.

But sometimes you or she isn't in the mood for sex. Maybe she's pregnant or has gained weight and feels self-conscious about her body. Maybe your libido dropped because of medication or work has you stressed.

"Masturbating together and doing each other will see you through thick and thin," Brame says. "It'll see you into old age. It's something you can always do."

Especially if you don't have time for a long, intimate night, but you're hornier than a preteen watching a well-endowed woman jog. Masturbating each other is a great quickie; and the more you do it, the better you become at learning which buttons to push to make her come faster. etc ...
# 11 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 19:40
If you google " benefits of masturbation "
you get 2,550,000 results (0.14 seconds)

enough said.
# 12 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 19:42
Drawbacks of masturbation gives you 144,000 results.
# 13 : Tuesday 12-10-2010 @ 19:45
one being foreskin?
# 14 : Wednesday 13-10-2010 @ 01:08
I seriously doubt women masturbate as much as men. Honestly, we really have better things to be doing, such as cleaning, ironing, cooking....
# 15 : Wednesday 13-10-2010 @ 01:10
Someone said :
I seriously doubt women masturbate as much as men. Honestly, we really have better things to be doing, such as cleaning, ironing, cooking....

Too right bitch!
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