Male masturbation is often sidelined as either the butt of a joke or portrayed as a problem in a relationship. To be honest, I think the impact of masturbation in a relationship isn't as drastic with the younger generation though. I know very few women who have a problem with their boyfriend masturbating — mostly because every woman I know masturbates just as much (if not more). In any couple, it can be frustrating if your sex life is dwindling and one partner is interested in masturbation, but not sex. Yet that can come from either partner and either gender.
But that doesn't mean there aren't some differences — and it doesn't mean that women know what it's like for men to masturbate. "Girls' bodies are more subtle than boys', relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "When a boy goes through puberty it's very obvious what he needs to do to make himself feel good. Girls have to figure things out a bit more. They also aren't really raised with the idea that their bodies are for their own pleasure (rather than for male's pleasure). We need to do a better job getting girls and women more comfortable exploring their own bodies and valuing their own pleasure." I think this explains some of the mystification there is between the sexes when it comes to sexuality and masturbation. Especially for girls, who are taught to ignore their own sexuality and be wary of men's.
So here are seven things you might not know about male masturbation, because some of the myths are true, but some of them aren't:
1. There Are Multiple Techniques
If you're a woman who's given a hand job, it can probably feel like the whole thing is a horribly mechanical process. I've never been a fan (and neither is anyone who's had a hand cramp and had to persevere). But for men jerking themselves off, it's a much more nuanced activity. Different grips, switching hands, and 'edging' — getting yourself to the edge of climaxing and then backing off— are just a few of the techniques men use.
2. They've Got Toys, Too
It's not just us, ladies. The Fleshlight might be an obvious and somewhat hilarious one, but there are plenty of male masturbators — not to mention cock toys and anal beads.
3. They Talk About It With Their Friends
I have a lot of guy friends and they joke about masturbating a lot, but they also talk about it in a (slightly) more serious way, very openly. I do the same thing with my friends, but was surprised guys were so open. And it's not just my friends, a poll from We Vibe found that people are talking about masturbation more than ever, especially Millennials. Here's to being open.
4. The Sock Thing Is Real
I thought it was just a myth until I asked around, but indeed some guys do use the socks. It makes me dread laundry day even more than I already do.
5. There Can Be Anal Play
There's this misconception that anal play is just for gay men. It's not true, and a lot of straight men have tried it. Even if it's not with an actual toy, some digital exploring down there can be a great way to up a lackluster masturbation session. According to an infographic from LELO, prostate orgasms are 33 percent bigger than penile orgasms. I just wish more of guys would admit to it. They've got prostates, may as well use 'em.
Images: Andrew Zaeh for Bustle; Giphy (7)