Masturbation: The first, most important, skip-it-and-you're-doomed step to becoming a sexpert
Human beings are funny creatures. We'll chortle over whether to swallow or not swallow and turn that disastrous attempt at a new intercourse position into dinner party fodder, but when it comes to the most innocent, basic sexual act of all, we're about as likely to 'fess up as the guy in the corner suffering silently from an attack of hemorrhoids. We might well be the most sexually uninhibited generation so far, but masturbation--particularly female masturbation--still has a dirty name.
Even my friends, used to me blurting out all sorts of bizarre sex statistics, aren't comfortable with it.
"What do you do to break the boredom of sitting behind a computer for hours on end?" a girlfriend asked me recently, during lunch with a group of friends.
"Drink coffee mostly," I answered. "Oh--and I masturbate. It's a little treat that breaks up the day and perks me up to no end."
There was a deathly silence. Knives and forks paused midair; someone choked on a mouthful of wine. "Excuse me?" my friend sputtered, redder than the beets on her plate.
"I said I take masturbation breaks," I repeated lamely. And even I started to feel a tad embarrassed.
The fact is, although everybody does it (and if they don't, they should), few admit it and no one discusses it freely. Masturbation remains one of the few sex subjects that can make the most liberated person blush. The same girl who'll cheerfully masturbate when she's between partners feels guilty if she continues when she's getting regular sex. Lots of people still viewmasturbation as something you do when "you can't get any," fearing that if they're "reduced" to masturbating, they're not sexually desirable enough to score "the real thing."
In reality, the more sexually active you are, the more likely you are to masturbate, regardless of whether you do or don't have a partner. Kinsey, the world's best known sex expert, found that women who have a history of masturbating are more likely to easily experience orgasm later in life with a partner. They also tend to have fewer sexual problems than women who don't indulge.
This is one area where men are ahead. Most women masturbate about once a week, often not doing it regularly until their late teens. Most men masturbate at least twice as often, and started doing so around twelve or thirteen years of age. Of the women who have discovered its joys, virtually all can masturbate to orgasm--95 percent of us, in fact (and some researchers put that figure even higher). On the opposite side, if you're a female who has never masturbated, statistics indicate it's quite likely you've never had an orgasm in your life. Pretty strong support for solo sex!
The truth is good girls do do it and if you never have and won't try, give up now on ever having a fulfilling sex life. Masturbation is a sure way (often the only way) to discover what turns you on sexually, and unless you know how to excite yourself, you've got zero chance of telling your partner how to. Few of us are lucky enough to start our sexual lives with a lover who's so patient and skilled he can teach us about our own body. Besides, masturbating is good for you. It releases tension, frees inhibitions, is gloriously liberating--and beats the hell out of counting sheep if you're having trouble dropping off!
Convinced but have no idea how it's done? It takes a brave person (and a few million drinks) to ask even your closest friend to tell you stroke-by-stroke how to do it. Luckily, you don't need to. In this chapter, you'll find no-nonsense, no-holds-barred, practical information on everything you ever wanted and needed to know about solo sex.
"The first time I masturbated, I was riddled with guilt. I'd heard horrible things about it: it was socially unacceptable, something you shouldn't do, it was dirty and messy. The general impression was only dirty old men do it. I now consider masturbating extremely healthy but while no one now denies doing it, no one really admits it either. My fantasies usually revolve around the person I'm with. I'll deliberately watch her face and her movements while we're making love, then replay them as I masturbate. I relive the sensations and try to copy the same technique she used on me to add reality. I love going down on her and most of my fantasies revolve around giving her oral sex. Sometimes, I'll catch myself moving my tongue as I'm masturbating, I'm so far into the fantasy."
--Tim, 32, sales representative