I didn't learn a whole lot in my sexual education course in high school.
Abstinence is good. Porn is bad. Exclusive relationships are good. Having multiple partners at one time is bad. Condoms are good.
Nobody ever talked about masturbation. I remember watching an episode of "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," and hearing about masturbation for the first time. But I didn't understand what was going on. I just saw a bunch of happy teenagers. Nobody explained what "having sex with yourself" actually was.
I didn't know to whom I could talk about masturbation. I had to learn from Urban Dictionary and YouTube. The topic seemed so hush-hush, I didn't feel comfortable talking to anybody about it. And nobody felt comfortable talking to me about it.
But I became very torn. I didn't understand a lot of things. What is masturbating? Why does my body get aroused? How do I masturbate? What gets me aroused? Why is sex so taboo?
I was 14 at the time. I had some understanding, but not much. I knew about kissing. I knew about marriage. I knew I had a vagina and other people have a penis.
But wait...there's more?!?!
Being a teenager really sucks. It's so confusing. There are so many questions, yet not many people will answer them because you are "too young" at that point in time to really understand what's going on. We are left to figure out things all by ourselves. At that age, we're just kids. We don't need to be concerned with "adult things."
I spent a lot of time looking at naked people on the internet. A lot of time watching "erotic" material. I wasn't a sex addict. I wasn't a pervert. I was interested. It was no different than a curious student reading Shakespeare or watching an excessive amount of National Geographic. I was merely curious and trying to answer my own questions.
Masturbation is freeing—it is sexually liberating. Every session is a journey. Masturbation allows people to discover themselves in a safe and judgment-free environment. When you are by yourself, you get to take the time to understand who you are. You get to explore your body. See and feel just how beautiful you are. Understand how to treat your body right. It is a safe and private way to explore.
This is a safe ritual for people. You can't get pregnant, can't contract any infections or STDs, can't be exploited or hurt... You are in full control. You decide when to start. Where to do it. For how long you'll go. It's ALL up to you. You get an opportunity to please yourself.
You don't need someone else to satisfy your needs.
We live in a sex-heavy society. People use sex to sell alcohol, movies, underwear, and even something as simple as shampoo. We constantly joke about sex. We grin a little when someone says penis or vagina. We ask for all the details when our friend comes back from a date.
We know sex exists. Many of us have very sexual personalities. And that's okay. Sex is a part of life! Men sleep with women. Women sleep with women and men sleep with men. An 80-year-old can have sex with a 20-year-old. Some people are kinky and others are vanilla. People die without ever having sex, while others have sex every week with someone new. But the best part? All of this is okay. Sex is everywhere, so what's the point in hiding its existence?
Take the time to learn yourself. Your interests, your wants. Passions, deal breakers, fears, and worries. Whether you use your hands or your imagination, you can work to define who you are as a person. Without shame, judgment, or fear, because the journey is your own.