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Jordan Lopez
Jordan Lopez

Masturbation As A Means Of Achieving Sexual Health

Finally—a thorough and unbiased examination of the psychological and sociological aspects of masturbation This book shows that masturbation is a critical component in the development of sexual health, explores the power—both negative and positive—of the act, and outlines viable ideas for future research. It also presents a concise historical overview of societal attitudes toward masturbation and reports on changes in masturbatory behavior in the twentieth century, including the trend toward an earlier age when women begin to masturbate and the increased recognition of masturbation as a source of sexual pleasure irrespective of relationship status or other sexual activity. The book will also familiarize you with some surprising information about the relationship between masturbation and HIV risk among samples of women attending college and low-income African-American women. Finally, Masturbation as a Means of Achieving Sexual Health examines the connections between masturbation and other sexual activity, sexual fantasy, and desire. Written with a minimum of jargon, Masturbation as a Means of Achieving Sexual Health examines: societal attitudes toward masturbation—from pre-biblical Egyptian and Babylonian civilizations to biblical times, the Christian era, Hindu civilization, ancient China, and more generational perspectives on masturbation the relationship between masturbation habits and sexual health in low income African-American women the factors associated with masturbation as practiced by college students the complex interrelationship of sexual fantasy, desire, and masturbation ways that masturbation can be utilized as a therapeutic tool in sex therapy

Masturbation as a Means of Achieving Sexual Health

These differences by age in inclusion of oral sex in sexual activities could result from cohort differences in patterns of sexual behavior established at younger ages and carried over into old age. The youngest NSHAP respondents are part of the Baby Boom and experienced the sexual revolution. The oldest respondents were teenagers during the 1940s, a period of more conservative sexual mores (Joyner & Laumann, 2001). The age differences we observe could also result from changes in sexual repertories that occur with age, perhaps as a result of changes in health and functioning.

Female masturbation has many other proven benefits. People assigned female at birth (AFAB) who masturbate are more likely to have an orgasm during sexual relationships with their partners. Female masturbation can also help provide relief for menstrual cramps. In older people, masturbation may lead to less vaginal dryness and decreased pain during sexual intercourse.

Sometimes masturbation can become compulsive (repetitive behaviors that are hard to resist) or excessive. Some people call this sex addiction or hypersexuality. If you find yourself missing work, canceling plans or forgetting responsibilities, you may be spending too much time masturbating. Too much masturbation may also affect your romantic relationships.

Higher levels of education may be associated with masturbation through better access to information, health literacy, and sex education, which possibly diminish negative assumptions and fears related to masturbation (Gerressu et al., 2008; Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2003; Richters et al., 2014). For instance, Kontula and Haavio-Mannila (2003) found that Finns with higher levels of education felt less guilt about masturbation, perceived masturbation less often as unhealthy, and masturbated more often than those with lower levels of education. In addition to the level of education, it may be important in which decade and cultural context older adults received their schooling. Cross-European differences in sex education and country-specific political and religious forces are likely to also influence masturbation habits (Francoeur & Noona, 2004; Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2003).

The few studies assessing the relationship between health factors and masturbation have yielded inconclusive and sometimes contradictory findings (Das, 2007; Gerressu et al., 2008; Lee et al., 2016; Lindau et al., 2007; Schick et al., 2010). In a US nationally representative sample of men aged 50 to 107 years, men with poorer health were more likely to report masturbation compared to men with good self-perceived health (Schick et al., 2010). Other studies, however, have reported no significant association between self-reported health and masturbation and only inconsistent findings between masturbation and specific health conditions (e.g., diabetes, high blood pressure; see Lee et al., 2016; Lindau et al., 2007). Studies among older women have suggested either a lower likelihood of masturbation among those with poorer health (Lindau et al., 2007), or nonsignificant associations between self-reported health and masturbation (Lee et al., 2016; Schick et al., 2010).

Although in recent years attitudes toward masturbation have become more liberalized, masturbation still seems stigmatized and tabooed (Baćak & Štulhofer, 2011; Carvalheira & Leal, 2013; Coleman, 2003; Dekker & Schmidt, 2003; Francoeur & Noonan, 2004). This may be especially true among older populations that were socialized in different generations and sociocultural environments. It would be expected that differences in gender roles and deep-rooted traditional sociocultural pressures in regulating sexuality may have created different patterns of autoerotic behavior across Europe (Baćak & Štulhofer, 2011; Francoeur & Noona, 2004; Katz-Wise & Hyde, 2014). Portugal, along with other South European countries (e.g., Italy and Spain), are essentially Latin communities, with similar views on sexuality and gender norms (Francoeur & Noona, 2004). The southern European countries share the social influence of the Catholic Church that condemns autoerotic behavior and maintains prevailing sexual double standards (Bajos & Marquet, 2000; Bozon & Kontula, 1998; Francoeur & Noona, 2004). Even though a recent modernization of Portuguese society has led to changes in views on gender roles and sexuality, the traditional and religious beliefs may still remain an influence on the older population (Francoeur & Noona, 2004). The northern European countries, in contrast, are viewed as being more sexually open-minded and permissive (Francoeur & Noonan, 2004; Træen & Kvalem, 1996; Træen & Lewin, 2008). For example, Denmark was the first country in the world to legalize written pornography in 1967 and pornographic pictures in 1969 (Hald, 2007).

Table 3 presents the findings from multiple linear regression analyses among men in the four countries on reported masturbation frequency during the past month, broken down by sociodemographic characteristics, health factors, sexual behavior, satisfaction, and attitudes toward sexuality.

Similar to previous findings, the association between intercourse and masturbation frequency was not unequivocal (Regnerus et al., 2017; Rowland et al., 2020). As with Gerressu et al. (2008), we found a gender-specific pattern where, among Norwegian and Belgian women, more frequent intercourse increased the likelihood of frequent masturbation (reflecting the complementary model), while the opposite relationship was found among Danish men (in line with the compensatory model). In contrast to this pattern was the finding in Portuguese men, where more intercourse activity was related to higher levels of masturbation. Although this finding may represent a difference in sexual culture in southern Europe, it is more likely that it reflects a sample selection bias, given a less reliable sampling method, a high refusal rate, and a much lower response rate for the Portuguese sample than for the samples in Norway, Denmark, and Belgium.

In addition to self-rated general health, we assessed the relationship between negative mood and solitary sexual activity. Interestingly, our findings demonstrated a significant association between depression and masturbation among Norwegian and Belgian men; the higher the level of depression, the more likely the reported masturbation. Although this finding seems counterintuitive, it is consistent with previous research (Cyranowski et al., 2004; Frohlich & Meston, 2002; Rowland et al., 2020). One assumption has been that when feeling depressed increased masturbation might reflect a self-soothing strategy, where solo sex functions as a reliable way to make oneself feel better (Frohlich & Meston, 2002). Although self-stimulation when feeling depressed may be self-soothing in the short term, it does not necessarily enhance mood as masturbation also seems to reinforce feelings of loneliness and isolation (Bancroft et al., 2003).

Finally, regarding relationship status, we found that women in Norway and Portugal were less likely to report frequent masturbation if they were in a current relationship. This finding seems to corroborate results from previous studies among varied age groups (DeLamater & Moorman, 2007; Regnerus et al., 2017; Rowland et al., 2020; Schick et al., 2010). It seems probable that since partnered adults may anticipate the opportunity of having sex with their committed partner, they wish to channel their sexual desire into their sexual relationship and/or do not feel the need for masturbation (Regnerus et al., 2017).

Previous research on solitary sexual activity highlighted the links between cultural-dependent sexual socialization processes and masturbation and how these change across different generations (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2003). The present findings seem to support the validity of the compensatory model in contemporary older adults (Štulhofer et al., 2018); aging women and men appear to be less likely to report masturbating if they are content with their level of sexual activity and if they disapprove of sex without love. Our findings highlight the importance of positive sexual attitudes and education for enhancing sexual self-gratification in later life. As masturbation is a free, safe, and independent way to experience sexual pleasure, it has substantial potential for sexual health promotion in the aging population (Kontula & Haavio-Mannila, 2003). 041b061a72


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