Project Heavy Petting
Welcome! First I want to start by asking a question. When you hear HIV/STD/STI Prevention what safer sex options come to mind? ....... Condoms, Dental Dams, Insertive Condoms, Abstinence. Those are the ones that come to my mind. But what about a very, very important option that isn't talked about as much as I believe it should be: Masturbation!
All the years that I've worked in the HIV Prevention field I can't recall when masturbation was talked about as being a safer sex option. It's usually Condoms then Abstinence. But what about that void between condoms and abstinence? Masturbation, go ahead say it, Masturbation! I'll wait a few seconds for you to get all your giggles and laughs out... :-) Ok now on to what I'm calling Project Heavy Petting....
First off what exactly is masturbation? I asked a few of my friends what they thought masturbation was. And it's funny because out of the 5 friends I asked, not one of us came up with the same definition. We spent 3 whole days debating about it LOL. Imagine 5 people sitting at your local coffee shop talking about masturbation. Pretty funny thought huh. Unfortunately none of them would let me use their thoughts on the subject matter, and I respect that but let me tell you they had some pretty gnarly ideas and thoughts about masturbation. Masturbation is the self-stimulation of the genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation may involve hands, fingers, everyday objects, sex toys or a combination. Oh and by the way this definition I got from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. So after a lot of researching and thinking and conversing, here is what I came up with as to how and why masturbation is ALSO a safer sex option that just doesn't get enough credit....
Non-Contact Mutual Masturbation: This is in my opinion the 100% safest sex behavior. Non-Contact Mutual Masturbation allows couples to enjoy each other and obtain sexual release as often as they need but without the inconveniences and risks associated with sex. By watching your partner masturbate you will find out the methods he or she uses to please her/him self, allowing each partner to learn exactly how each other likes to be touched (this definition also came from Wikipedia) a sexual act of masturbation in the presence of each other but NOT touching or assisting.
Contact Mutual Masturbation: A sexual act of one person touching another person to masturbate or assist and vice versa. Contact Mutual Masturbation allows you to practice what you've learned about your partner from Non-Contact Masturbation. This also allows the couple to develop a more satisfying sexual relationship and added intimacy and harmony.
So if these acts of masturbation are obviously healthy and overall very safe ways of engaging in sexual activity, why are they not talked about as much as they should be?
Terminology/Slangs: Here are a few names that masturbation is called. Ya'll get ready to laugh... Jerking Off/Jacking Off, Choking The Chicken, Spanking The Monkey, Wanking, Beating Your Meat, Pleasuring Yourself and Visiting Rosey Palm and her 5 Sisters...
Masturbation is a wonderful and beautiful thing that also has several added health benefits.
• Sex and masturbation can lower blood pressure.
• Climax from masturbation can make one feel relaxed and pleasant.
• Masturbation can relieve depression and lead to higher self-esteem.
• Masturbation leads to self-discovery.
• Masturbation can help one sleep better.
• Masturbation can provide pain relief.
• Masturbation changes conditions in the vagina, cervix and uterus, which can increase the likelihood of conception with sex.
• Masturbation can provide some protection from cervical infections by increasing the acidity of the cervical mucus, and helping to move debris out of the cervix.
• Masturbation may increase fertility during intercourse.
• Masturbation flushes out old sperm with low motility (ability to move actively) from the genital tract, the next ejaculation will contain more fresh sperm which has a higher chance of conception during intercourse.
• Ejaculation can help relieve swollen blood vessels in the nose, which can in turn help free the airway for better breathing.
• Masturbation and ejaculation both are important for sperm health and motility.
Philosophical arguments, religious views, and stigma in general are primarily the reason masturbation is not glorified as a safe sex behavior in today's generation. From the time I was a child till I was a teenager, my religious parents absolutely frowned upon masturbation. Stating that it was an abomination to god and that "god would rather you plant your seed in the belly of a whore rather than spill it upon the ground" this was the primary reason why I didn't start masturbating till well into my teenage years. But believe you me, masturbation in my opinion is the Cindy Birdsong of The Supremes, while Condoms are the Mary Wilson and Abstinence is the Diana Ross of The Supremes. Probably not a good choice of people to paint a mental picture for you but I hope you get the point. In my opinion Cindy Birdsong didn't get as much credit as she deserved, while Diana and Mary hogged the limelight. In all due respect, the Supremes are the top selling female group of all time and Condoms, Masturbation and Abstinence are the top selling tools to HIV Prevention of all time!!
DID YOU KNOW? A Bit of Useless Information...
• May is Masturbation Month
• Masturbate-a-Thon are global events that provide supportive, and encouraging environment where masturbation can be performed openly among young and old without embarrassment. Masturbate-a-Thons are often charity events that are "intended to encourage people to explore safe sex, talk about masturbation and lift the taboos that still surround the subject.
• A Study done by Readers Digest Magazine showed that 95% of men and 71% of women masturbated at some point in thier lives. 73% of men and 37% of women reported masturbating in the 4 weeks before the study, while 53% of men and 81% of women reported masturbating in the previous seven days...
• Supreme Court of Alabama upheld a state law criminalizing the distribution of sex toys.
• In the city of Charlotte, North Carolina masturbating in public is a class 3 misdemeanor.
Useful Masturbation Support Groups:
Rain City Jacks: http://www.raincityjacks.org/
Center for Sex Positive Culture: http://thecspc.org/