Masturbation is a taboo subject
“Do you ever… erm… flick the bean?” a friend was asking another on the next table, at this little coffee shop I write at every day. I was in the middle of taking a glorious sip of my favourite cold coffee when I overheard this. I spit out some of my coffee, thankfully no one noticed, but it was just such a hilarious way of talking about masturbation that I couldn’t help it. The other friend had no clue what that meant, but I did.
In the hilarious, albeit sexist comedy ‘The Ugly Truth’ this term ‘flick the bean’ is used by the lead character. It was such an obscure reference and yet such a valid question! The other friend replied with an exasperated, ‘Ew! No! Isn’t that unhealthy?’ and I had to sigh. Masturbation, the act aimed at pleasure gets such a bad reputation that I feel sad.
We know why of course! It’s taboo to even talk about sex in our country. We sure seem to be doing a lot of it, since we are one of the most (over)populated countries in the world. It’s ironic, but also really alarming, how unhealthy our general understanding of sex is. And masturbation is just that! As the comedian Woody Allen once said, ‘It’s sex with someone I love!’ Pleasuring yourself is natural, most of us do it but we don’t talk about it much.
This lack of talking has led to a lot of misconceptions about ‘flicking the bean’, let’s look at some facts that help us demystify the act.
It’s good for you
Contrary to popular belief, masturbation is not unhealthy. It might actually be good for you. Studies have connected masturbation to stress relief and release of sexual tension. Masturbation can also help you sleep better. It doesn’t make your body hair grow or get you addicted, those are myths. It’s even been found that men who masturbate after the age of fifty have a lower chance of getting prostate cancer.
Bye, bye cramps
Ladies listen up. If you’re someone who suffers from menstrual cramps, this one’s for you. Studies have found that masturbating can help relieve menstrual cramps. Apparently pleasuring yourself until you reach orgasm can provide relief. This takes the idea of self-healing to a whole new level but it is certainly better than the painkillers that usually don’t work.
Age no bar
You probably don’t want to hear this, but yes, there’s no age for masturbation. It’s just that young people are more open to admitting it, which is a good thing. It means that people are in touch with their sexuality, quite literally and will be experiencing the health benefits of masturbation at every age.
Prevalent even in the animal kingdom
Well, this isn’t really relevant with humans helping themselves get-off, but if you thought we were the odd ones out in the animal kingdom, think again. Apes, horses and even certain species of birds pleasure themselves. See? It is a natural act, and not just for humans.
Your relationship status has nothing to do with it
Almost seventy per cent of people masturbate, even after marriage. We must remember that masturbation isn’t a replacement for sexual intercourse with a partner. It is an act in itself that can be equally pleasurable for some people. As the famous quote about self-pleasure goes, ‘Nobody does me like me!’ A little blunt, but true nonetheless.
There’s no ‘normal’ amount of masturbation
Look, self-pleasing is for the self, it depends on the self, and not the society or the religion. It’s something that is highly subjective. Some people do it daily, some weekly, some seldom, and some never. All of it is normal. As long as you are doing it in private, and if it’s not getting between your work and your other responsibilities, you are fine.
It’s the safest sex out there
Masturbating is probably the safest form of reaching orgasm because there are no chances of getting pregnant or getting an STI. Yes, having another person might be fun when you’re trying to get off, but masturbation is fool-proof in terms of safety.
Even asexual people masturbate
This is not only a must-know fact about masturbation but also about asexual people. (Google it!) For asexual people, however, masturbation doesn’t always work the way it does for most other people. They engage in something called non-direct masturbation. Here, an erotic fantasy doesn’t occupy the act of pleasuring oneself.
‘Flicking the bean’ then is more common and more misunderstood than we all think. For an act as private, as deeply personal and as common as this, we must keep facts like these in mind, so we don’t fall for myths which are a dime a dozen.