Self-injury is a very serious matter; masturbation doesn’t have to be

Warning, you may consider this to be a controversial article. That said, it’s likely that you will continue reading anyway, so let’s be frank and just go over what you’re about to read, and how you are responsible for what you view online.

The article is going to discuss masturbation, and consider how it offers release and relief from tension, strain and stress, and a distraction from anxiety and upset. A person who relies on self-injury, a very serious and physically damaging coping mechanism, might find that masturbation helps them move away from self-injury by releasing their tension in a way that doesn’t cause physical damage.

We respect that not everyone agrees with masturbation for various reasons. However, we must all agree that it is up to each individual to decide what is right for their own mind and body, and we must allow people to make these choices freely.

Here in the UK, LifeSIGNS offers the following article so that individuals can consider alternatives to self-injury, and we believe that while it’s a difficult subject to talk about, masturbation does not carry any shame. You may not agree that masturbation could be a valuable alternative to self-injury, and you might feel that talking about masturbation is wrong – but at LifeSIGNS we believe that talking is a healthy form of self-expression, and we believe in the right to self-express.

If you are unsure about masturbation, do not agree that it could be a valuable alternative to self-injury or are worried about the subject in any way, please don’t click any further, but instead return to our home page and seek other articles to read.

Click on the link below to read the article about masturbation, or go home.

Masturbation as a distraction technique

Considering alternatives to self-injury

Talking about personal matters, intimate matters, can be really difficult, but if the NHS and Cosmo, G3 and More magazine can talk about sex, sexuality and masturbation, then it’s time LifeSIGNS addressed the issue.

We live in a generally liberal society, where sexual conduct and sexuality of every flavour can be discussed in newspapers and on the television at any time of the day. Talk shows discuss cheating, teen pregnancy and sexual matters throughout the day and night, and popular dramas like Skins, Hollyoaks and Torchwood have characters who are exploring their sexuality and enjoying their sex lives.

With the media using sex to sell us everything from new dramas to spray-on deodorants, it’s surprising how hard it still feels to talk about wanking.

 

Lads n lasses

Masturbation, wanking, self-pleasuring – whatever you call it, it boils down to the same thing; we’re all happy to enjoy it from time to time, but it’s not so easy to talk about. That seems fine, there’s not so many reasons for talking about it, it is a private and personal matter after all.

It’s funny how lads of a certain age are very happy to talk about it though! Even in front of girls and girlfriends, some lads can’t stop themselves from blurting out their wanking prowess with pride.

Bathtub in a bathroomIt may well be different for girls, it might not be the sort of thing that gets talked about, but let’s face something obvious and important – Ann Summers isn’t selling a million vibrators a month to those teenage lads!

“The media uses sex and sexuality to hold our interest in whatever product or drama they want us to notice; so surely we can decide for ourselves if having a wank is OK?”

Magazines like Cosmo and of course More are happy to review vibrators, and talk about the power of self-pleasure. It’s got nothing to do with sex, boyfriends, husbands or gay stuff; self-pleasuring is all about taking some time to yourself and letting yourself get to know, and enjoy, your body. Your body, your choice – no one else’s morals come into it; at least that’s what I’ve learned from reading over the shoulders of my female friends!

I recently saw Skins on Channel 4, and there was one of their female characters, enjoying herself on someone else’s bed – if you know what I mean…

In case you’re wondering, I don’t think we need statistics to prove that ‘all guys do it’. If you know a teenage lad, then it’s a fair assumption that he masturbates from time to time. I watched a documentary on television recently where two lads gave up masturbation for a month, and kept intimate video diaries of their thoughts. I think one of them actually managed the whole month…

So, in this ‘equality’ driven society of ours, why do some people consider boys’ habits to be OK, but girls must act differently when it comes to their bodies? Just seems like double standards to me and plain old sexism.

Release and relief

It's just an alternative ideaSo let’s get right down to it. Masturbation can relieve tension and stress, and gives a person a warm contented feeling for a time. When you’re urging to hurt yourself, aren’t you looking for a release, and some relief from the emotional distress you’re having trouble coping with?

We’re not saying that we all have to start talking about masturbation, and that we all have to try it; all we’re saying here at LifeSIGNS is that each one of us has choices, and each one of us has rights of our own bodies. We’re saying that we consider self-injury to be a serious matter, and that it can be really hard to believe you could do anything else at all except hurt yourself. We’re saying that it’s a tragedy that people can feel there’s no other way to calm their thoughts and dampen their feelings, and we’re just reminding you that you can make new choices, that you can make other decisions, and you might want to try masturbation as a distraction technique.

  • The NHS talks frankly about masturbation, about how normal it is.“Until quite recently, masturbation was treated as taboo, when in fact it’s always been perfectly normal and more common than you might think.” (NHS reference)
  • About.com have a great list: 10 things you oughta know…“Masturbation alleviates stress and releases endorphens (the pleasure hormones) in to your system making you more relaxed.”

“Self-injury is a serious matter, and if people are looking for something else to do when they’re feeling tense and triggered, then we need to be open-minded.”

It’s not an idea that everyone will want to think about, and there are a lot of people ‘out there’ who may want to spend their time denouncing and shouting about masturbation. We don’t think that’s a great use of time, we think we need to start shouting about self-injury, and getting people of all ages more aware of the crippling emotional difficulties that can drive a person to hurt themselves.

There are lots of things you can try instead of resorting to self-injury, and we’ve got a website packed with inspiring ideas and real-life stories from our members. We’re just saying that a little bit of self-love can go a long way, and that it’s OK to care for yourself in whatever ways work for you.

There’s not a qualified secular counsellor in the country who would argue that masturbation doesn’t release tension and provide a moments relief, and there’s not an Agony Aunt in the popular press who would tell you ‘not to’ . Yes, it’s a private matter, and not the sort of thing everyone can be comfortable talking about, but everyone should be comfortable with their own bodies don’t you think?

The debate

Some people like to shout down at people about what’s right and wrong, and they might use strong language and heavy, long-winded arguments about why they know what’s best for other people. It’s important to respect and recognise one’s own culture, and to act in a manner that earns respect from one’s peers, but it’s also important to have options aside from self-injury, and to take pride in one’s own body. It’s also important to make up your own mind about these personal and private matters.

 

Things to bear in mind

Everyone doesSome people get very self-involved when it comes to masturbation, and one should take care not to neglect one’s partner – if you’re involved in a sexual relationship then take care not to shut your partner out, emotionally or physically.

If you’re in a relationship which does not yet involve sex, then recognise that masturbating does not mean you’re ready for sex! It’s not evidence that you want sex or are ready for such intimacy, so don’t feel any pressure to move towards sexual play.

Masturbation isn’t talked about much, so don’t expect everyone around you to be talking about wanking – yes, most people masturbate during the week, but no, it’s not the usual topic of conversation. If you need further guidance on what masturbation might mean for you, do some discrete web searches, at Wikipedia or the NHS, but don’t just use Google as your computer will be flooded with porn!

Vagina and penis factsheetsMasturbation doesn’t cause any physical problems or diseases, it’s normal, natural, and doesn’t hurt anyone or sink ships or poke holes in the ozone layer – there are a lot of serious things in the world, like self-injury, but having a wank isn’t a big deal.

Learn more about your body and sexuality with this easy-to-read and concise online magazine: AP Sex Ed

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