Many are those that have insisted that masturbating lead to a hairy palm and blindness. And yes, these myths from the dark ages are still used in common-day talk without really being a popular belief anymore. Nevertheless, it goes without saying, that these kinds of legends stick with us because of religious conditioning and pseudo-scientific knowledge. Sexual intercourse has also been put into the spotlight throughout the ages and has for a great part of human history been seen as a necessary act to reproduce the species and up until there! To have sex just for pleasure was something looked down upon, discouraged and even punished in harsh ways. But are sex and masturbation sins and damaging to us? Should we avoid touching our partners and our genitals for the sake of mental and physical health? That doesn’t seem to be the mainstream idea anymore in western cultures.

STAYING HEALTHY

We now have the opportunity to use the extra time we have been granted through the use of technology in various ways but as Stephen R. Covey, author of “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People” said, “the key is not spending time but investing it”. The fact that chores are done automatically for us and we can therefore just kick back and not do a thing, doesn’t mean that we should do it that way.

With that in mind, keeping ourselves active so that we may enjoy better health is something we should all be aware of. Regular exercise and good eating habits can and do go a long way. We should devote time to walking which has been proven to strengthen the heart and lungs as well as reduce risks of heart disease and stroke among other benefits it provides.

However, many times we tend to not think of the importance of exercising our sexuality. By that, I am referring to our penis and vagina as well as our libido. Having sex on a regular basis is a very important health factor that allows for positive thinking and the deterrence of erectile dysfunction in men and vaginal atrophy in women, common during menopause.

couple kissingTo begin with, let’s begin with examining what can happen to your body if you don’t have sex. Sex is a load of fun in all the ways you may enjoy it. So, the first thing that comes to mind is the obvious: you’re missing out! If you don’t enjoy sex, you may not be contemplating it comprehensively or you may be asexual which is perfectly fine, of course as long as you exercise your body in other ways and keep your mind sharp.

It is commonly believed that to have sex, two are needed. While this may be the ideal case, it doesn’t mean that we cannot have sex alone. It’s called masturbation and for people that for one reason or another don’t have a partner to enjoy sex with, it is the perfect substitute, if it can even be considered a substitute and not a form of sex all of its own.

Masturbation, like sex is great for your libido. It boosts your self-esteem and the image you hold of yourself. There are differences between the two like the fact that masturbation is an act of self fulfillment that is fueled by thoughts about sex while during copulation one has to care and tend to the other however, both stimulate hormones that are responsible for anything from reducing headaches, improving cholesterol levels and reducing stress levels to benefiting the reproductive organs, skin and hair in women.

ADDICTIONS

There are limitations to how far hormones will raise your self-esteem, of course. The abuse of masturbation, depending on one’s personality and character, may cause sexual isolation, where one doesn’t mingle with others for the purpose of socializing, including having sex. You masturbate and feel instantly satisfied. The next time that you need this satisfaction, you find it easier to manually satisfy yourself than to actually look for a partner. This may happen to both genders and of any age but is more common in people who are sexually less active due to a variety of reasons, age being the most usual one as we tend to doubt our bodies more, approaching or entering the “golden years”.

girl in bathtub

Porn is another addiction that may result in sexual isolation as it is infinitely easier to watch than touch. In recent years, the onset of 3D pornography is managing to create a new sexual virtual reality that makes actors jump out of the screen and into your bed, making filmed sex even more attractive. Japan has actually been experiencing a population decline due to sex dolls and even robots, resulting in people interacting with inanimate objects that nevertheless, serve the purpose of masturbation but in a more vivid, realistic way.

The same can definitely happen with too much sex. A sex addict may have issues with his/her marriage, have financial problems and miss work often, jeopardizing or losing their job. He may ruin friendships and acquire health problems, among other things. Too much of a good thing is almost always unhealthy.

THE BALANCING ACT

Ancient Greeks stressed the importance of a healthy body and mind, leaving a legacy to the western world. Looking at Chinese and Indian cultures, the eastern world didn’t deviate too much on that either. Sex was practiced with imagination in ancient Greece and Rome and was considered a very important aspect of harmony, which greatly contributes to human health.

Sexuality is inferred differently depending on gender. Social stereotyping and expectations are key factors but there is also an understanding and adherence to social rules between members involved in a relationship. According to what is classically considered the social norm, men are more sexually active and more open to masturbation while women tend to be more diverse in regard to sexual orientation and more hesitant toward self-satisfaction. Nevertheless, studies do not necessarily support this gender standardization and deviations are commonly found.

extasyWhen it comes to relationships, things can get tricky. To begin with, we are not all the same, having different needs and levels of satisfaction and satiation. Having sex twice a week may be more than sufficient for one while the other member could perceive it as a sample. The type of sex one wants may not be something the other is willing to provide.

When you are involved with other people, one of the most important things to have in common is the ability to communicate with each other. All sexual expectations and “no-nos” should be talked about, clarified and agreed upon. Failure to do this usually leads to misconceptions that have emotional cost and are sometimes fatal to the relationship. Needless to say, the more members in a relationship (and there can be a few), the more difficult the balancing act gets.

Another very important side to sexual health within relationships is the obvious, which many times turns out to not be so obvious: sexually transmitted diseases. There is a tendency, moreover in younger sexually active ages where members are less experienced, to avoid the use of condoms or to not use them properly, using lubricants that can corrode them, resulting in their breakage. Condom use resistance, a phrase used to describe the refusal to use condoms as a means of protection, although more popularly practiced by men, is also seen in women, both stating that condoms do not allow them to enjoy sex as much as they would without their use. Alcohol is a big factor with aggression, many times interwoven. The main argument from both sides is that they are “clean” while women may lie about being on the pill and men may remove the condom before entering, without the knowledge of their partner. Unprotected sex is a big menace when it comes to having multiple partners, especially if they are not aware of the existence of one another, which is the case most of the times. Protection doesn’t stop with condoms but should be complemented with dental dams for oral sex, also.

condoms and dental dams

In masturbation, this problem is almost completely null with the exception of hygiene related issues that are especially related to vibrator usage and other toys that have not been properly cleaned. However, while sexually transmitted diseases are not a menace in solitary sex, addiction and isolation can be a problem, as was mentioned before.

USE IT TO NOT LOSE IT

We all know that in order for something to work correctly, it has to be put to use every so and then. If you have a car that you do not use so often, you make it a habit to start it up and run its engine for a period of time at least once a week. Sex is not the exception. Our sex organs need to be used to keep healthy and thinking about sex is not a sin or a perversion but a way to keep a healthy state of mind.

Sex is exercise. It has been calculated that a tumble in the hey is equivalent to burning 85 calories with an average of 3.5 per minute of sexual activity! As all exercises, it should not be abused and should be practiced with safety for best results. Sex and masturbation is a way to enjoy a healthy lifestyle and feel good about yourself, mind and body. Being sexually healthy helps us enjoy our every day life in its various aspects, ranging from play to work. Practicing sex is a blessing, not a sin.

If you have advice to give, please leave it in the comment area. If you have an argument to state, do the same. You will be answered to and notified as well as being highly appreciated.

 

*Cover image by Gare DeSad [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons