Sexuality is about enjoying the responsiveness of our own body through masturbation. Our mind’s ability to respond to erotic scenarios (both real and imagined) causes us to investigate our body’s responses. Orgasm is a response of the brain. Our minds respond to erotic stimuli regardless of our relationship status and the availability of a partner. A basic characteristic of responsiveness is that we may be able to achieve orgasm by ourselves. Using the hands (or more accurately the fingers) to massage the aroused sex organ, allows us to enjoy the pleasure of arousal and orgasm when we are alone. Humans have used their hands for masturbation since time immemorial.
Frequency of masturbation is an indication of responsiveness. Male masturbation is much more common than female masturbation. Masturbation is most common among men who become adolescent first. Around 99% of such men masturbate compared with 93% of men who reach adolescence later than the average (13 years old). Not every man masturbates but on average men masturbate much more frequently than women (once in three weeks). Some men masturbate many times a day, every day for years.
Regardless of gender, sexual activity that is aimed at achieving orgasm involves continuous rhythmic movements of the whole body focused on the pelvis. Masturbation, for both men and women, simulates the male role in intercourse. Men and women tighten the buttock muscles in a similar way to pressure the sex organ from within the body. Both sexes may also point the toes. Some men stand on tip toe. These subconscious reflexes are a result of the mammalian thrusting instinct. They cannot be used to cause orgasm.
Adults do not tell children how to masturbate. Children and teenagers discover masturbation by themselves if they have the capability. Stimulation is highly likely to lead to orgasm for boys because they are easily aroused. Girls are not automatically aroused (by hormones) as boys are. Even if girls try masturbation, they do not typically achieve orgasm due to lack of mental arousal. Responsiveness involves the brain responding to erotic stimuli. Once aroused the right kind of clitoral stimulation is instinctively applied.
Today because of visual media and a more liberal society there must be few boys who are unaware of how a man masturbates to orgasm. Male masturbation techniques tend to be manual and consistent. But years ago, men still discovered masturbation even without this knowledge from others. Women today are presented with an array of different suggestions for how women are believed to masturbate to orgasm. There is no consistency. The circumstances, the position and even the anatomy varies. A responsive woman learns to masturbate by instinct, just as men did years ago. But when a responsive woman discovers orgasm, she assumes that other women must achieve orgasm in different ways to how she achieves it. She lacks confidence in her own experience because of the conflicting portrayals in the society around her. This so-called knowledge is not a true portrayal of how women achieve orgasm alone. It is sexual ignorance based on what arouses men.
The function of sexual activity alone is the pleasure of the individual. Male masturbation is much more common than female because men are easily and regularly aroused. This constant arousal causes a build-up of sexual frustration that many men like to release through masturbation. A woman is not aroused hormonally, by the visual stimulus of a lover’s body or in anticipation of sexual activity. So a woman does not have the same need to masturbate. She never experiences pent-up sex drive as young men do.
Masturbation clearly fulfils quite different functions for men and women. For men, masturbation is usually a poor substitute for sexual activity with a lover. But women only ever orgasm through masturbation. For a responsive woman, orgasm is a simple pleasure but it is not essential to female sexuality.
Responsive women masturbate much less frequently than most men do (once every 3 weeks on average). Few women have the mental response to eroticism that makes orgasm possible. This is natural because female orgasm has no purpose. Orgasm is a male characteristic that is redundant in women. Orgasm represents a relatively minor and occasional pleasure for a woman who is responsive. But she has to make a considerable effort to achieve it.
If a young boy was marooned on a dessert island, he would quite likely experience hormonal erections. But it is unlikely that he would ever masturbate because he would not have the stimulus of another person’s body to use as a fantasy. If a young girl was marooned on a dessert island, she would never discover orgasm. She would never be an object of male desire and so a girl would never develop the erotic fantasies she needs for orgasm.
Adults masturbate over the longer term because they can generate fantasies that reliably lead to orgasm. The incidence and frequency of masturbation is related to our responsiveness and to the creativeness of our imagination. The more creative and inventive we are about imagining scenarios, the more likely we are to enjoy solitary sexual activity that relies on our imagination.
A man experiences fantasy as a reflection of the real-world. He imagines a real partner in realistic and achievable situations. But a woman’s fantasies are based on unrealistic scenarios quite unrelated to real life. We could try different approaches to achieving arousal and orgasm. But we tend to use the mechanism that works. The techniques of masturbation are limited.
Masturbation may or may not be pursued to the point of orgasm, and it may or may not have orgasm as its objective. (Alfred Kinsey)
Excerpt from Learn About Sexuality (ISBN 978-0956-894748)