Sexual Pleasure

Concerning last week’s article on sexual health, I was disappointed to see that Erotique was not included on the list of sexual health resources. Sexual activity and masturbation are both important components of sexual health, and an article on sexual health should focus on more than just the negative components of sexual activity (such as pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections). Articles like this help to further stigmatize sexual activity, leading to more discomfort and dissatisfaction with sexuality.

According to Planned Parenthood, masturbation is good for mental and physical health. Masturbation is an excellent way to explore sexual interests and learn to feel good about your body. Increased comfort with your body will help in being more comfortable with teaching a partner how you experience sexual pleasure, and sexual activity will be more rewarding. Masturbation also helps with tension and stress relief, as well as relieving pain.

Sexual arousal takes priority over pain in the brain. Arousal releases endorphins, which act as natural opiates; vagina owners on their periods can get relief from period pain, and the orgasmic contractions help blood to discharge from the uterus, periodically easing congestion and cramping.

I wrote an article on masturbation for the Center for Sexual Pleasure and Health, in which I discussed the empowering feelings that can be gained from exploring masturbation. In this article, I stated that “being comfortable with your body is essential to decreasing sexual anxiety so that you can focus on increasing sexual satisfaction.” For those abstaining from sex, mutual masturbation an excellent way to enjoy sexual intimacy without chance of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infection.

If we truly wish to better sexual health and the lives of sexually active persons, we should explore the full spectrum of sexual activity and the options therein.

-Amy Gill,

Psychology, Women’s and Gender Studies, Sociology