In honor of this national month of self-love, here’s a few reasons why masturbation is so #relevant (with a nod to some of our favorite sex toys). By Karley Sciortino
This article was created in partnership with TENGA.
Breaking News: May is National Masturbation Month. If, unlike me, you don’t exclusively follow feminist bloggers and people who make vagina-based art, then you feed may not have informed you of this important fact. Sure, it’s kind of random—I mean, isn’t every month masturbation month?—but let’s just go with it. Honestly, I’m down for any excuse to fuck myself (especially when it’s patriotic).
I remember the first time I touched myself with the intent to get off. This wasn’t the kind of squirmy relish you get from climbing a rope in elementary school (anyone?), or vaguely rummaging around with a finger or two, or crossing your legs in your first pair of tight jeans – this was pure, unadulterated masturbatory experimentation, and it felt like I had finally seen the light. Although it probably would have felt even better if I hadn’t felt like I was doing something shameful. The concept of pleasuring yourself is a gaping hole in North American sex education and socialization (for females in particular), and unlike other sex-related endeavors, this isn’t the sexy kind of taboo.
Me casually talking on a vibrator nbd. All Tenga products shot by Aria Eastwood.
Despite knowing that the boys I knew were supposedly masturbating 24/7, leaving a trail of sticky tissues in their wake, I didn’t realize it was normal for girls to jerk-off until a lot later in my life. In general, we’re not ever explicitly told when we’re young that self-pleasure is “a thing,” that everyone does it, that it’s important, and that it’s healthy (research shows masturbation can elevate mood, boost immunity and flush toxins from your body). And we’re definitely not told that the men we sleep with will be mostly useless (especially when we’re young), so if we don’t figure out how get ourselves off. there’s no hope for us. (Kidding, but not really?)
Basically, mastering the skill of masturbation makes you better at fucking. This is true for several reasons. Masturbating solo is great, but it can also be really hot when you’re with someone else. It’s sexy to know what you want, and if you’re into it, it can be very sexy (and safe!) for both parties to touch themselves in front of a partner. Learning about your own body – its complexities and clitoral neuroses, for example – also makes you more attuned to others’ sexual needs. Being good in bed is one part enjoying yourself and the rest is basically just being sensitive to what your partner does and doesn’t like, after all. You’d be surprised (or maybe not) by how fucking hard that is for some people. Tuning in to your own desires is good practice.
Let’s be honest, the current political situation isn’t doing wonders for anyone’s sex drive. But luckily for us, the good folks of the sex toy manufacturing variety (hi TENGA) are looking to help us Make America Wet Again. So, in the spirit of #selfcare, take yourself out for dinner (oysters, for example, if you’re feeling obvious) put on a titillating movie, and whip out your Tenga Iroha vibrator and celebrate (the Iroha is my personal fave—it’s just so soft, discreet, and elegant; we’re basically dating). You’ll feel better afterward, I promise.
I once encountered a boy who told me he was “quitting masturbating” for a month because he were doing it too much. This is like the opposite of that. TENGA wants you to get yourself off as much as possible this month, and also tell everyone about it. When participants sign up via social media or at doitinmay.com TENGA will donate $1 (for every person who takes the pledge) and $2 (for every use of the hashtag #DoItInMay) to Sexuality Information and Education Council of the United States (SIECUS), an organization that advocates for the right of all people to accurate information, comprehensive education about sexuality, and the full spectrum of sexual and reproductive health services.
Now go fuck yourselves.