The Encyclopedia Of Smut: M Is For Masturbation

MasturbationForever1

For real, masturbation is an inexhaustible topic; you simply cannot say enough good things about it! Well, more precisely, we can’t say enough good things about it. And since it’s  National Masturbation Month when we happen to be on the M entry of our encyclopedia, this is the perfect chance to spend some quality time on the topic of autoerotic pleasure.
We figure that you probably know what masturbation is and how it’s done, so we’re going to focus on public perceptions of wanking and how the truest expression of self-love works as a performative act.

 

Masturbation: Healthier Than Salad

We’re not trying to talk smack about salad–you should always make sure to eat  healthy and supply yourself with fiber–we’re just trying to sell you on this blood pressure reducing, immune system boosting, heart helping, sinus clearing sleep aid known as Touching Yourself. Many of the studies that link masturbation to health benefits base their findings on correlation, not causation, but the fact remains that there are a bunch of positive physical effects associated with the act. Even Fox News says so.
And let’s not forget the mental and social effects! Masturbation is the safest form of sex around, it can relieve depression and boost self-esteem, and whether you’re doing it alone or with a loved one, it teaches you about  sexual pleasure and expression better than anything else. Clearly, there are a lot of positive reasons to be a fan of this business, and we’re not saying it can’t be funny at times–Jason Biggs putting his penis in a pie will always amuse us–but it shouldn’t be shameful, taboo, or kept away from people.

 

How This Plays Out in Porn

Generally, masturbation is considered one of the least hardcore acts in porn. It’s assumed that if a performer is willing to show their genitals, then they’re willing to touch them as well. Even glamorous softcore photos will depict the act, perhaps with a model suggestively putting their hands in their undies. (In fact, masturbation–both explicit and implied–has been shown in art throughout history; prehistoric rock paintings show it, marble statues of saints constructed in the Renaissance show it, and we bet you probably saw an advertisement at a bus stop today that suggested it.) As far as the mainstream porn-to-consumer dialogue goes, masturbation is cast as less satisfying and exciting than acts that involve stimulation with the help of others. There are exceptions though.
For example, we know a certain popular lady pornstar (who shall remain nameless) who has filmed herself doing all sorts of hardcore acts in her career and refuses to masturbate in front of a camera. Why? Because it’s one thing to have sex with another person and have that be filmed so that other people can see it, but it’s entirely different for her to have sex with herself–something that no one needs to see, not even her–and then have others watch. Her privacy has nothing to do with embarrassment; it’s simply based on the intimacy and sanctity of her relationship with herself.
And for every person who feels as this pornstar does, there are just as many who want to be watched, even if all they show is a tiny portion of their bodies. Even though masturbation might not be the most popular element of professional porn, it’s extremely popular in amateur porn videos and on webcam shows. If amateur tube sites weren’t flooded with pirated material, we bet that the majority of videos would be solo shows.

 

Why We Like to Watch

Well, there’s voyeurism; you could use this reason to explain why watching any type of porn is fun, but it’s still an important aspect watching solo work. Plus, as we mentioned in the previous section, watching someone touch themselves means you’re looking at a very, very private moment. Even if the masturbator is clearly performing for the camera, that person is still touching themselves in a specific way that only they can.
Empathy also comes into play. We believe that engaging with all porn involves some identification with and projection onto the subject or subjects, but it’s slightly different when you’re looking at a single person. Everybody can (and hopefully does) jack off, so you can readily relate your personal experiences with the masturbating person on screen in a way that you might not be able to with a person participating in a double penetration scene.
And let’s not forget that it’s plain ol’ arousing as hell to watch someone get off with their homegrown favorite techniques. No matter how good your partner is in bed, nobody does you like you.
Ugh, no.
Ok, we’ll be adult about this. No scientific study has ever linked masturbation to negative physical or mental effects. Compulsive masturbation is not a disease, but is merely a symptom of a larger psychological issue. There’s definitely a risk of injuring yourself with overzealous hand motions or by using foreign objects, but that’s not masturbation’s fault; you could poke yourself in the eye with your fork, but no one’s going to say dinner is dangerous.
Gone are the days when people say that pleasuring yourself will give you hairy palms and strike you blind, but there are still certain purveyors of folk wisdom who warn against masturbating too much. AskMen has an article called “Negative Side Effects of Masturbation”   in which they warn that jerking it too often can make it difficult to reach climax, especially with others. They also mention something about how the post-orgasm come down can dredge up guilt and other dark feelings, but again, that’s not masturbation’s fault.

 

It’s worth noting that we were unable to find a single article about the negative effects of female masturbation. Keep at it, ladies!

 

The Masturbate-a-Thon is Coming!

We’re sure all this talk about wanking has made you tired of reading, and we respect that, but we just wanted to mention that the Masturbate-a-Thon (at least one, probably more) is happening this month! If you’re going to be in San Francisco on May 27th, you should consider heading on down to the Center for Sex & Culture and participating in this phenomenal event. With a small entry fee and/or pledges from others, you touch yourself for as long as you want/can in a safe and friendly environment, and the money you earn helps support the non-profit CSC and all of the sex positive work they do. Even though they don’t think it should be a competitive event, they still give awards to whoever produces the most orgasms and spends the longest time masturbating.
Masturbate-a-Thons usually take place in other cities around the world, but we currently haven’t heard about any yet. But don’t fret, if you can’t make it to California for the sake of self-fornication, you can still play along at home with CSC’s live blogging and Twitter updates. They’ve even hinted at a possible voyeur room at their Masturbate-a-Thon. Save the date, folks!

Ottimo Massimo

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