Those willing to think for themselves are transforming attitudes toward masturbation.
By Bruce McFarland
[JackinWorld assistant editor Bruce McFarland has practiced Taoist erotic techniques for years and continues to study the intricacies of human sexuality. Though involved in a relationship, he enjoys masturbating now more than ever.]
Some widespread misconceptions are actually rather trivial, while others have major consequences in the lives of millions of people. By now I'm sure you've heard that the new millennium officially began on January 1, 2001 rather than a year earlier. Similarly, many people have long suffered misguided attitudes toward masturbation – but fortunately, this seems to be changing. In fact, the truth about masturbation is it's the most common, most widely available, and safest form of sexual pleasure in existence. Increasing numbers of people are beginning to appreciate masturbation as more than just an alternative to "real sex" or a release of tension. Masturbation can be enjoyed as a worthy and cherished form of erotic pleasure for its own sake. It can also be pursued as a healthy form of self-empowerment, enhanced awareness, and even a spiritual practice, despite what many religions have often taught on the subject. In the past, certain authorities have probably discouraged masturbation partly because it encourages autonomy and independent thinking. But this may a good a reason to explore the possibilities – as good as the simple fact that it feels great.
Growing access to the Internet is having a real impact upon masturbation attitudes, and also on how masturbation is practiced. One aspect of our increasing interconnectedness (in what is sometimes called the "Global Village") is the unforeseen connection between computers and masturbation. Obviously the connection is partly informational and educational, allowing almost anyone discreet and virtually unlimited access to information and opinions of others. This helps spread more accurate and unbiased information in a world still plagued by superstitious and prejudiced attitudes. There is also the enormous marketplace of erotica and pornography, which transcends any attempts by moralists to control it. Further, from reading the Question of the Week responses on JackinWorld and from other sources, I have learned that a great many people now associate masturbation with their computers. Many people are masturbating at their computers while reading or viewing stimulating materials, and also while communicating with fellow masturbators. We still have a long way to go in learning to savor and fully enjoy pleasurable sensations without guilt or fear, so this particular aspect of the Internet can benefit humanity as a whole. Masturbating while online will never replace anything else, but when kept in perspective with a range of other activities, it can enhance the rest of your life.
One intriguing aspect of these current developments is to consider them in the evolutionary sense. An element of evolutionary theory that's often misunderstood is that of "natural selection." This doesn't mean that some mysterious force of Nature chooses those organisms best suited to survival, or that we consciously select how we will evolve. It actually means that the quality of the environment itself – your context – encourages you to flourish in whatever ways you are suited to that environment. In other words, wherever you are, the conditions nurture those qualities in you best adapted to such conditions. In this case "natural" refers to something inevitable and self-regulating. It means that the environment itself selects for those forms and behaviors best suited to its nature. It seems that as an environment the Internet selects for improvement of attitudes toward masturbation, as well as facilitates new forms of practice. In exploring these possibilities we also discover how universal the experience is, regardless of age, sex, orientation, location, or cultural background. It's truly a global phenomenon.
This can also impact your personal life beyond cyberspace in the reality mediated by DNA information instead of digital data. At this point in history the two realms are truly intertwined, though it's good to remember that biology remains infinitely more sophisticated than technology. Your body is an intricate universe of complexity and subtlety far beyond any kind of hardware or software. And the rewards of remembering this are emotional as well as psychological. Enjoying masturbation to the maximum extent – giving yourself prolonged and intense pleasure – is a great way to be honest with yourself. Having as much erotic ecstasy as you want is something you can have if you take the responsibility for giving it to yourself. That's also a great start on having the best relations you can with everyone else in your life. Those who are willing to question authority and think for themselves are transforming attitudes toward masturbation. The implications become broader and more exciting when you consider this: If your culture has been so wrong about masturbation, you might want to question many other aspects of your conditioning.
Whoever or wherever you are, the full and free enjoyment of masturbation can enhance your quality of life. Masturbation may be your primary form of erotic pleasure, or it may serve as a pleasure source that supplements other sexual outlets. It can enhance your sexual relations with others, but it can also provide a fully satisfying and rewarding experience without depending on anyone else. If you can depend on yourself, others may discover they can count on you as well. Regardless, if you can give yourself a very special gift – every bit as much erotic pleasure as you want – you are likely to be a much happier and healthier person than you would be otherwise.
No matter how experienced or skillful you consider yourself, by keeping yourself open to new possibilities, you can continue adding to the scope of your pleasure indefinitely. Many of our worst problems and most destructive tendencies as a species seem to be rooted deeply in sexual frustration. So your practice of masturbating happily and freely may benefit far more than just yourself. Consider this: On a planet inhabited by around 6 billion humans, at any particular moment, millions are engaged in masturbation. Many thousands of them are probably doing so right now in front of computers, and quite a few of those are also communicating with fellow masturbators. So whenever you're doing it and wherever you're doing it, in this sense, you are far from alone. It must be something evolutionary, or we wouldn't be doing it so much and putting all of this effort into forever improving the experience. With the millennium, masturbation is coming into its own.