There are many so-called “sexual health experts” out there, including family members, religious leaders, and burnt out health class teachers. And unfortunately, much of the information that we get from these “experts” is laced with shame. In this blog, we’d like to reintroduce you to our gorgeous friend, masturbation, with a body-positive and research-based outlook. Later, we’ll touch on a couple of trending topics related to male masturbation, including the NoFap movement and semen retention.

Let’s just call it what it is. 

Spanking the monkey, beating your meat, battling the purple-headed yogurt slinger, shaking hands with the milkman, tugging the slug, making the bald man cry…we’ve all heard countless euphemisms for male masturbation. And however funny and clever these may be, let’s not forget that a euphemism is normally substituted for what society considers too harsh, direct, or embarrassing. So let’s make one thing clear: there’s nothing wrong with masturbating. Allow us to repeat that…There is absolutely nothing wrong with masturbating.

Just like brushing your teeth or eating breakfast, masturbation is an essential part of your self-care routine. Studies have shown over and over again that ejaculation reduces stress, boosts mood, improves sleep quality, and even lowers the risk of prostate cancer. It’s a routine way of experiencing pleasure, clearing thoughts, or drifting peacefully off to sleep. In fact, sex therapists say that it’s a cause for concern if someone stops masturbating, since it can indicate increased anxiety or other health problems. 

No matter what you were told as a child, remember that masturbating is natural and we all deserve to feel the satisfying pleasure of ritual, sexy, self-care.

There’s no “normal.”

Try not to get hung up over how often you masturbate. There’s no right or wrong, it just comes down to how much masturbation you want to fit comfortably into your lifestyle. If you masturbate multiple times per day, and feel healthy and balanced, then good on you! 

On the other hand, if you masturbate multiple times a day, and you’re missing work meetings or neglecting sex with your partner, then it could be a sign your masturbation routine is slightly off balance. Compulsive masturbation is just like any other behavior that can be taken too far and cause disruptions in your life (i.e. playing poker). The behavior itself is not the problem, it’s the compulsion. And if masturbation is interfering with other areas of your life, it could help to consult a sex therapist for guidance.

Interesting Masturbation Trends – The NoFap Movement

In 2012, a Pittsburgh-based web developer came across a Chinese study that found retaining semen for 1 week led to a 147% spike in testosterone. He was curious to share the finding with others, so he created an online forum on Reddit titled, r/NoFap. He got the term “Fap” (a bit of an onomatopoeia, no?) from early 2010’s meme culture, when a Japanese comic used “Fap!” to indicate a character masturbating. He chose the antithesis “No Fap” as the forum name, and watched it grow into a support system for those who want to combat their porn addiction and compulsive masturbation.

NoFappers (aka Fapstronauts) post in the forums asking for support when they feel the urge to watch porn or masturbate. The group often shares motivational quotes and keeps each other updated with their “clean streaks” – which range from 7 days to a calendar year. NoFap members claim that they feel more spiritual, more confident, and less stressed. They even report better sleep and sperm quality. 

Still, there is no strong scientific evidence that abstaining from masturbation increases testosterone levels. Some speculate that the placebo effect is at play, and people report such positive change due to group camaraderie and their sense of moral superiority from the dark world of porn (as they frame it). It begs the question…is the NoFap movement a community of (mostly) men who are focusing on a balanced, progressive, and healthy lifestyle, or are they succumbing to puritanical values? 

Interesting Masturbation Trends – Semen Retention

Did you know you can have an orgasm without blowing your load? Yes, it’s possible to “dry orgasm” with very precise muscle control (flexing your pelvic muscles just before cumming). Semen retention is a tantric practice that has its roots in ancient esoteric belief systems. For example, according to Ayurveda, Shukra (semen) is the most powerful source of strength and vitality. Apparently, the more Shukra that a man wastes, the weaker he becomes. However, if a man preserves Shukra, it is said to be reabsorbed into his system, enriching his blood and strengthening his intellect.

Besides the alleged spiritual benefits, some men like how semen retention extends sexy time with their partners and helps them achieve multiple orgasms. Are you curious to try it? You can practice semen retention on your own or with a partner, and there are specific kegel exercises and other methods like the scrotal tug technique, pictured below, that can help you master it.

Now we can laugh it off, right?

Most of us have some cringy early memories of masturbation – whether a parent walked in on us with our lotion and tissues, or a teacher claimed it was a deep, dark sin. We all learned some pretty ridiculous stuff from the so-called “sexperts” sulking around us. Hopefully now, we can laugh at these memories, knowing that masturbation is completely natural and essential to our health. We hold the power to give our bodies tremendous pleasure. So why not claim that power and put it to good use? And at the end of the day, there’s a reason why our arms are long enough to reach down there.