Happy Masturbation Day! Do you know these facts about self love?

We debunk some misconceptions about self-gratification

We debunk some misconceptions about self-gratification

(Getty Images/iStockphoto)

For those of you unaware, May is Masturbation Month and May 28th is International Masturbation Day! This self-gratification commemoration was created in 1995 by a San Francisco sex shop (Good Vibrations), in response to President Bill Clinton firing the then-Surgeon General, after she suggested that masturbation be taught as a part of sex education. Since then, the day has spread worldwide, focused on creating awareness, conversation and acceptance of the often-maligned act. If your beliefs are not in cohesion with this maneuver, totally cool with us, whatever you do (or don't do) to your body is entirely up to you. But if you're a burgeoning 'bater who has some reservations, there's no need to be ashamed. Here's what you need to know.

Is it healthy?

Lest you fear having to shave your palms or get your eyes checked, know that masturbation is not bad for your body. In fact, it can be kind of good. Masturbation can release adrenaline, oxytocin, endorphins and serotonin - helping you regulate stress and boost your overall mood. The release of endorphins can also help you lower your blood pressure and act as a sleeping aid. A 2016 study linked men aged 40-49 who were frequent "users" (21 or more ejaculations a month) with a better body mass index and a lower risk of prostate cancer. In females, the muscular attention to the area has also been known to relieve menstrual cramps. However, before we give ourselves a hand; studies have shown that the overall health benefits of sex with another person are even more intense than by yourself.

Is it bad for your relationship?

With that in mind, you'd assume that masturbation while in a relationship would get in the way, but it can actually enhance your partnership. Firstly, regular masturbation can keep oneself sexually and physically confident - it's hard to tell someone what you like if you don't know yourself. As for your sexual health, it seems the older you get, the more you should do it (use it or lose it) as it works towards maintaining and improving blood flow and virility. For those men that are perhaps a little more premature than others; regular masturbation can help the tolerance of stimulation and act as a stamina aid. When it comes to baby making, there's a common belief that frequent masturbation has an effect on sperm, which is partially true. While masturbation has no effect on sperm quality (though age and lifestyle certainly do), it takes about 74 days for sperm to reach optimal maturity. Though men can re-ejactulate semen (the fluid which carries the sperm) in as little as a few minutes (known as the refractory period), there will be less and less actual sperm in the semen each time. So frequent masturbation can make a man less fertile, but in no way causes infertility; the testicles continue to produce sperm as long as they're able.


Is it just me?

Is your dirty little secret really a secret if almost everybody else has the same one? In 2009, Indiana University's National Survey Of Sexual Health And Behavior (one of the largest of its kind in the world), found that 84% of men aged 25-29 have enjoyed themselves in the past year (compared to 72% of women). Of course, as we age, the number steadily decreases, though 46% of men and 33% of women aged 70 and over still performed solo. In regards to frequency, most females enjoyed their own company between a few-times-a-year to a monthly basis, while most of their male counterparts scheduled between a few-times-a-month to weekly sessions.  No matter how you slice it, the numbers are clear; men seem to be quite the aficionados in this department. Just so you don't feel alone on this earth, we're not the only species that masturbates (and it's not just dogs either); elephants, penguins, walruses, rhinos, turtles and bats are among the more unexpected animal actors, though countless other creatures have been observed turning intimately inward as well.

So uh, what now?

If the biological benefits and statistical support have convinced you to renew your own love affair, where should you begin? If you don't want to be ashamed of the act, then act like it; put it at the tail end of an entire evening of self-love. Set a date, make your favourite dinner, watch your favourite show, light some candles and give yourself a hand; you deserve it.

RJ Skinner is an actor, writer and pro wrestler, so he rants and raves in various states of undress. Follow him on IG @rjcity and if you're feeling crafty, behold The Cynical Crafter.