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My first shot at masturbation wasn't planned, it was a cry for help.

Shower, soap, you can picture the rest.

I was a twenty-something-year-old in a sexually unfulfilling relationship who just wanted to get off. And I did.

Now, before my soapy initiation, I was a firm believer in the distastefulness of being responsible for my own orgasm. Blame religion, upbringing, whatever, but that was my thinking on the matter.

The same with pornography.

I was turned off by the extreme objectification and unrealistic expectations of the typical 'blue film'.

It seemed like caveman behaviour - thoughtless and savage.

(Like sex must always be refined: clothes taken off and folded with military precision, lovesounds kept respectably muted, that sort of refinement. LOL.)

Fast-forward to the present and I still have never been on Pornhub (am I missing anything?) but my perspective on porn has shifted slightly, just enough for me to not judge myself harshly for being turned on by a full-on nude or a merely suggestive photo. I've even allowed myself fan the flames of a certain fetish (more on this in the future).

The question, though, is why?

See, people have needs, naturally, so it's not strange for us to take comfort wherever we find it - trivial pursuits, work, drugs, sex, hobbies, religion, even other people.

Whatever keeps us sane is usually welcome and denying this is as dangerous as being sexually repressed.

But what happens we get a reprieve wrong?

That's the subject of this weekend's conversation, so let's get right to it.

Welcome back to relea:se.
In Good Hands

Masturbation hasn't always been mainstream. In fact, it was once widely considered a scourge that polluted the self and ruined lives.

So much drama about nothing.

Contrast that with the current public praise of self-pleasure and you'll agree that we've come a long way from the age of sexual darkness, even though that darkness persists in the form of the reluctance to speak plainly about sexual behaviour because of the perceived political incorrectness of frank sex talk (or shopping for sex toys, for that matter).

Yet, while the extremist negative views of masturbation held in the past are definitely nonsense, the virtues of taking charge of our own sexual pleasure can disappear when we go about it the wrong way.

Enter mindful masturbation.

"Please, it's not that deep. Isn't it just about having an orgasm?"

Well, it's not just about that.

See, sexual pleasure isn't just about getting off, touching the penis, the vagina and breasts or even, ahem, anal play. Take this from someone with a vibrant foot fetish. (Stop looking at me funny and google that shit.)

The truth is, the entire human body is sexual and how we masturbate can define the way we see ourselves sexually as well as how we treat our sexual partners. So if you're doing it wrong, you're setting yourself up.

Rubbed Out

Masturbating to sleep, how we get addicted to porn and the perks of getting off.

Other People's Sex

I may have my misgivings about pornography but they're mine to hold, not to project on anyone. That said, it has been established that the world has a porn problem and it's not pretty.

The psychological deal with watching porn is clear: it rewires the brain, gradually changing perceptions on what sex should be like, how women should behave during sex and what is okay to do to a sexual partner.

In a study, men's brains were scanned while they watched porn and the scans showed that the men saw women as objects, not people. Just great.

It's not shocking then that the consumption of (hardcore) porn is connected to sexual violence, the degradation of women and, wait for it, the acceptance of rape myths.

Porn's portrayal of extreme sex and its spread of the misinformation that women enjoy sexual aggression are enough reasons to stay away, but it gets worse: beyond its contributions to rape culture, porn culture also has a hand in lower sexual satisfaction, lower sexual desire, negative body image (in both sexes) and erectile dysfunction. All shades of bad.

But who am I to tell you what to do with your internet data?

Have a lovely (long) weekend.


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