May is International Masturbation Month.
The concept was started in May 1995 by American Sex shop Good Vibrations. The focus was to raise awareness and promote masturbation as a healthy, safe and natural way to express one's sexuality, thereby removing the shame and stigma. The move was in response to the US president at the time, Bill Clinton, firing the then surgeon-general Jocelyn Elders following a speech she gave at the 1994 United Nations World AIDS Day.
Elders was asked by an audience member about masturbation as a way of discouraging risky sexual activity among young people. She responded, "I think it is something that is part of human sexuality and a part of something that perhaps should be taught". As a result, she was forced to resign from her position. ⠀
We like the way Elders thinks.
It has been used as a public health education event and strategy for safer sex and alternative safe methods of sexual expression since then. There was even a Masturbate-a-thon in 1999!!!!!!! This is an event where participants masturbate to raise money for charity and to increase public awareness and dispel the shame and taboos that still existed about self-pleasuring.
Masturbation is the foundation for human sexuality, for both men and women, but it's considered a taboo subject. This is a real pity because it's not generally known how healthy masturbation is and the many benefits it may provide, as explained in this blog.
The reality is that almost everyone self-pleasures. Yes for men it's easier because their genitals are visible from an early age. Young men can use masturbation as a way to learn how to control their ejaculations.
Today there are still girls and women who have never seen their genitals and are not always aware the clitoris needs direct stimulation to achieve an orgasm. As a sexuality educator I tell women of all ages that masturbation is a great way to explore and learn about their bodies. By exploring our own bodies and understanding what brings us pleasure we can show our partner how to bive us pleasure and help us reach orgasm. ⠀⠀
This a topic I spoke on last year on the Pelvic Health podcast called Redefining Masturbation. You can also check out the blog Our 9 best products for Masturbation for some toy inspiration.