Alan Grieco, Ph.D.
• A mental illness, according to the First Edition of DSM 1 (1952), The Official Diagnostic Manual of the American Psychiatric Association.
• Forbidden, discouraged, and punished during most of Western culture’s history, until we learned from Alfred Kinsey’s research that it is normative behavior – most people do it. Suggestion: Read more about it, to make a fully informed decision for yourself.
• Explicitly forbidden by many traditional religious doctrines as sinful. Suggestion: If your religious values are relevant, an open discussion with your clergy is encouraged.
• Children, toddlers, even infants may spontaneously touch themselves in a similar fashion and feel pleasure but this activity generally does not become orgasm-oriented until near puberty. Suggestion: Cultivate an accepting attitude.
• Most sex therapists (e.g., aasect.org) today believe that by the teenage years, masturbation to orgasm is healthy, normal behavior, perhaps even necessary; for example, among women who have never had an orgasm, 90% have not masturbated.
• The most emotionally fulfilling orgasms are shared, whereas the most physically intense orgasms are often through private masturbation, according to research by Masters and Johnson.
• The self-knowledge gained from masturbation allows lovers to better guide their partner’s attentions. For most couples, sharing how you masturbate is extremely intimate and instructive, and it may be quite arousing. Mutual masturbation will also likely be enhanced.
• If you are in a committed relationship, it may be desirable to discuss your intentions and expectations for each other regarding masturbation. Most adults, married or not, masturbate at least occasionally. Suggestion: If your partner chooses to disclose their habits, cultivate an accepting attitude. It is okay to say how you feel, if neglected, insecure, etc.
• Why do people masturbate? To self-pleasure, self-soothe, de-stress, facilitate sleep or relaxation, to feel in control, to enjoy fantasy, to lift one’s spirits, or reward one’s self are common reasons.
• Compulsive or excessive masturbation, like overeating, may develop in some individuals, such as when shared intimacy is neglected or when other clear negative consequences occur. This condition is treatable.
• Individuals have differing habits and attitudes. Couples who address the issue openly must decide how/whether their habits as individuals change, as a consequence of being in an intimate relationship. What are your expectations for yourself and your partner? Therapists generally recommend honesty and acceptance when you feel safe expressing yourself.
For more information on Sex Therapy please contact Psychological Affiliates at 407-740-6838 or this form.
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