Taboo or Not Taboo. That is the Question.

Masturbation is the action of giving yourself sexual pleasure by rubbing your sex organs. According to an article, Masturbation Effects on Your Health: Side Effects and Benefits, “masturbation is a common activity. It’s a natural and safe way to explore your body, feel pleasure, and release built-up sexual tension.“

In many cultures, masturbation has had varying views. For some it is seen as taboo because of cultural, or religious. Some have expressed feelings of guilt, or shame over what may be viewed as dirty, shameful, or even perverted. Outside of having a psychological addiction where it hinders your social life, or places you in a situation where it's not in your best interest, it is completely normal. A Psychology Today report revealed that it is done by people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientation.

In the African traditional society, masturbation was viewed from different perspectives, depending on the community from which you originate. Some communities view it primarily as a significant source of orgasmic pleasure. Other communities view masturbation as an abomination where those who would be looked upon as sexual deviants, defy local norms, and indulge themselves in secrecy. Many traditional cultures never openly speak about masturbation. They do seem to have ways of talking and teaching about it, while at the same time, practicing customs that regulate sexuality. In Uganda, for example, some do masturbate but it is not allowed to openly talked about.

Traditionally, in many African cultures, girls were not allowed to involve themselves in any sexual activity, and are also expected to be virgins before they marry. However, it is Bugandan and Western Ugandan culture for girls to pull the labia minora (vaginal lips) to stretch them. It is believed that it allows for more foreplay, and increased sexual pleasure for their future husbands.

Have you ever masturbated? Although I have many deeply religious friends, who were instructed to never touch themselves because it was a sin, I did have the opportunity to interview a few people who were open enough to discuss the topic. Their identities are hidden to preserve their individual privacy. Here's what they think about it.

Sarah "Well my husband is always on safari. He is never at home for many days or months, so what I do is masturbate to satisfy myself but I don't tell my husband. He would never allow me do that because it's also seen as an unclean practice."

Rachael "I was studying in a single sexed school. Girls would talk about their boyfriends and how they had sex. They also talked about how it felt to be touched and made love to. Girls would choose a friend they wanted to be with. They would become a couple, and would touch each other's bodies in bed. They were not allowed to sleep in the same bed. If you got caught, you would be expelled from school that very day. So when we broke off for holidays, I had a cousin who was younger ( 4years) than me. We shared the same bed because we had a small house, and had to share a bed. One night I found myself touching her body, and touching mine as well. It was scary because I didn't know how she would react because I had not talked to her about it. However, she showed interest and complied. We did it almost everyday, but in fear because it would be trouble if we were caught." 

Geoffrey "I work very far away from my wife. I only go back home on weekends, so I do masturbate because it's the only way I can satisfy myself when my wife is not around. I do this because I don't want to cheat. I am a married man, and also it's safe from sexually transmitted diseases.

Eve  "I will never do such a thing because I am a Christian and my body is a temple of God. So it's a big sin to masturbate."

Keya "Well I am a single guy, what should I do now? Of course I am going to masturbate. I won't wait to have a girl friend to satisfy myself. I watch porn and then masturbate and I am a happy man. Also I do masturbate because it has health benefits, like it saves me from getting prostate cancer. It is said that a man who ejaculate more than five times a week, they are most likely not to get progressive prostate cancer than those who ejaculate less."

Mary "I am a married woman, why would I masturbate and it is so shameful. I can never do that."

Beka "In my community, in Africa, masturbation was never talked about. It was always discouraged in schools because it was seen as a shameful act, and a sin. I grew up knowing that, and also it was something I didn't think about in a long time. I knew it was there and people were doing it. Well, after I broke up with my boyfriend, I got in touch with a male friend who lives far away from me but we chat on phone. One day I told him how lonely I was. Guess what he told me? MASTURBATE! I couldn't see myself doing that, so I told him how I felt about it ( shameful, and a sin). He was very persuasive and explained that there was nothing wrong with exploring self pleasure. He said that it's good to be have self love. At first I had mixed feelings about doing it. The day I tried it, I looked at myself in the mirror and started touching myself. I couldn't believe that I was the one doing it. I was not sure of what I was feeling about the whole thing, but as time went on, I started loving it."

Now, if you are not in a relationship at the moment, or even if you are, don't let anyone tell you there is something wrong with pleasuring yourself. In fact, make it as an event, a date with yourself! Light candles, pour yourself a glass of wine, and slip into a bubble bath. Turn on some romantic music. Spend a couple of hours of getting to know yourself and pleasing yourself. Make it an experience for two. So in the words of the immortal Shakespeare, in Hamlet's Soliloquy, "taboo, or not taboo, that is the question". Well not exactly, but you get the point. What are your thoughts on masturbation? email me us or leave a comment under this article. Let us know for Part Two: The Toys and Techniques.

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