SF State’s Education and Referral Organization for Sexuality, EROS, hosted an event that discussed the stigmas and health benefits that surrounded the subject of masturbation.
The act of mastubation for some individuals is an uneasy topic to wrap their head around. The solo act is still a taboo subject that most people are too embarrassed or scared to talk or hear others talk about, because of the negative connotations that are affiliated with the practice.
The event housed a handful of people which made the discussion a lot more intimate for anyone that was feeling awkward.
One out of many stigmatizations that surround the act of masturbation is the idea that an individual is plagued by self-doubt or shamed by their peers if they are unable to have sex.
English education major Nick Allan at SF State said, “I’ve always masturbated once per day, but now it’s like two or three times a day. Especially since I came out of a long-term relationship a few months ago, sometimes I feel like I’m not good enough.”
While many individuals are reluctant to talk about masturbation in public, the practice in itself is a common phenomenon that many experience at some point in time while exploring their bodies at earlier age, yet some people do not masturbate.
According to Statistics Brain Research Institute, 22 percent of women reported that they masturbate daily, while 40 percent of men did. On a weekly average, 48 percent of women reported to masturbating and 55 percent of men weekly.
When self pleasuring, it’s common to use different techniques and toys while exploring the female or male anatomy. A typical toy while masturbating is a vibrator, which is a device normally used by women and sometimes men.
Vibrators are commonly used while self pleasuring and according to Statistics Brain Research Institute, 53 percent of women reported that they use vibrators while masturbating compared to 17 percent of men.
As the practice of masturbating holds multiple stigmas and myths that are driven by societal norms, society has deemed the practice of masturbating as a unfavorable discussion topic to most. However, the act of masturbation, according to Planned Parenthood, has several health perks such as relieving sexual tension and reducing stress.
The event mostly consisted of Assistant Director of EROS, Lucya Alvarado showing a series of videos that centered around the topic of masturbation. The first of many videos depicted adults talking to children about the act of masturbation.
As each video concluded, Alvarado and co-host Elizabeth Estabrooks, office assistant at EROS, asked students to weigh in on the conversation by sharing their own personal experiences or knowledge.
A leader for the Queer Alliance organization Scarlett-Arreola Reyes said, “I believe talking about masturbation as well as other sexual related topics, is not only important for those who are sexually active but those who wish to discover their sexuality as a form of self expression and also a form to be able to express who they are.”
While some students were shy about sharing their experiences to the class, a select few, however, were not afraid to lay everything out on the table and talk about the various reasons why masturbation is important to them.
“I think it’s [masturbating] really helped me just because sex is such a taboo thing, especially as a Latina, the media over sexualizes us, but it’s kind of my own form of resistance, being able to be like hey, I’m sexual not because you make me sexual but because I want to be and have that power,” Arreola-Reyes said, Whether people masturbate
or not, the stigmas and myths that orbit around the topic can exacerbate those rumors, ultimately altering people’s perspectives about a practice that many consider natural.
“Everyone does it, it’s more normal than what we think, we just don’t talk about it. If you wanted to feel less shameful about it I would recommend to read about it and look it up and try it,” Estabrooks said. “I would encourage [you]w to
explore what feels good to yourself and if you’re feeling pressured it isn’t going to work.”