Our first episode (Ménage à Moi (Part 1)) about masturbation focused on the state of masturbation in the U.S. and we interviewed a sex therapist about the cultural viewpoints on masturbation. In this episode we talk about the history of masturbation and give our personal stories with masturbation.
There is a lot of interesting history on masturbation. One of the most interesting stories we found has to do with Atum and ancient Egypt. You can learn more about the story here.
“There was Atum, the creator God and main deity of the Egyptian pantheon, who existed by himself. He was surrounded by nothingness, so he decided to put an end to his long solitude and created the world and the rest of the Egyptian gods through masturbation. From his ejaculation emerged the first pair of twin gods, Shu (air god) and Tefnut (moisture goddess). Atum’s semen was the origin of the world, and masturbation the act of creation.” This is the myth of creation according to Egyptian cosmogony.
“Ancient Egyptians were strongly convinced that their main source of livelihood had come from Atum’s ejaculation, and it was their duty to keep it alive. Pharaohs would perform a ceremony to thank their main god, which involved masturbating at the riverbank and making sure that the semen followed the flow of the river’s waters. This was seen as a good omen and a sign of the continuing life cycle, fertility, and the universal order, which would also follow their own course.”
This wouldn’t be the last time we would see masturbation come up in history. Unfortunately, the next run in with masturbation would not be as sex-positive. Lina D talks about her findings of how masturbation was perceived by society in the Victorian age. You can read more here.
Based on Judeo-Christian tradition, masturbation was seen as sinful, mostly due to the mandate to “be fruitful and multiply.” Since masturbation does not lead to procreation, it was frowned upon. In fact, Catholic theologian St. Thomas Aquinas believed that masturbation was a worse sin than rape, incest, and adultery, because in these other sins procreation is a possibility.
“During the Victorian age, masturbation was thought to lead to impaired morals, depression, social failure, epilepsy, tuberculosis, blindness, insanity, sterility, and early death.”
“Since masturbation was thought to be so dangerous, many “cures” were developed to eliminate its practice. Men of the time were encouraged to wear straightjacket pajamas or erection alerts to discourage handling of the penis. Some would wear a little suit of armor that would fit over the penis and testicles. Others wore a spermatorrhea ring. Available from the Sears catalogue, these rings fit along the base of the penis with spikes on its inner lining to prevent erection. As a last resort, some chronic masturbators had their foreskin stapled shut, or were castrated. In the nineteenth century, John Kellogg invented cornflakes as one part of a diet that he felt would lessen the sex drive and diminish the practice of masturbation.”
Westley then talks about how things have not necessarily gotten better. He tells us the Pee Wee Herman story. In 1991 he was arrested for allegedly masturbating in an X-rated movie theater. He became the object of numerous jokes, his show was pulled off the air, and his handprints and star were taken off the sidewalk of Hollywood Boulevard. In another modern day masturbation nightmare, Former U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders stated that since masturbation was safe and healthy, it should be mentioned in school health curricula. People misinterpreted her statements to say that she thought students should be taught how to masturbate. Due to public outcry, President Clinton fired her in 1994.
Westley, Brock, and Lina D transition to share their personal experiences with masturbation. They talk about how they came to start masturbating. Experiences are diverse from individual and social interactions with learning more about masturbation. However, all three co-hosts talk about their experience of not being able to turn to anyone in their household to learn more or to get their questions answered. Traditionally, in Caribbean and Latino households, masturbation is not something that is openly discussed.
In talking about her experience exploring masturbation, Lina D finds and discusses an interesting report from the University of Michigan’s Development and Behavior Resources program. It states that kids start discovering their genitals and self-pleasure at a very young age, on the average of 6 years young.
The co-hosts point out some other interesting things about masturbating for men and women. You can read more in these articles: other reasons why women should masturbate and other reasons why men should masturbate.
This is the summary of the reasons the co-hosts discussed:
- Masturbation makes you happier
- Masturbation improves your sex life
- Masturbation prevents postmenopausal sex difficulties
- Some studies even suggest that the frequency of masturbation increases with a person’s frequency of intercourse, especially in women.
- For men, masturbation may improve a man’s fertility, as ejaculation flushes out the old, less motile sperm left behind in the urethra.
- Masturbation may even lower a man’s chance of getting prostate cancer.
Lina D, Brock, and Westley wrap up the episode by sharing their favorite to do’s when masturbating.