Viewpoint – Month dedicated to self-love right at your fingertips

By Kathryn Kelman/ne news editor

Each year, May brings spring flowers and a month dedicated to self-love. Yes, with finals right around the corner, National Masturbation Month couldn’t fall at a better time.

Going in to finals week, the month draws attention to a free, safe and healthy stress reliever students have at their fingertips.

The month was created by the San Francisco-based sex shop Good Vibrations to fight masturbation’s archaic stigma and promote sex-positive attitudes toward the practice of self-stimulation.

The first National Masturbation Month was held in May 1995 after then-U.S. Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders made a speech at the 1994 United Nations AIDS Conference, where she suggested masturbation should be a part of sex education. Shortly afterward, President Bill Clinton fired her due to the controversy her remarks stirred.

Since then, Good Vibrations has held events every year to increase education and awareness of self-pleasure as a strategy for safer and healthier sex. The company’s events work to get people talking about masturbation, instead of giggling or remaining silent.

Society has come a long way since 1995, but masturbation’s bad reputation continues to persist thanks to a sex-negative culture that focuses on body policing and depicts those who do it as apple pie-screwing losers.

But with so many benefits, it’s time for society to really ditch the stigma and start talking about and celebrating self-love.

Flicking the bean is not shameful, bad or wrong. It’s actually super healthy, and it’s the safest way to get off while avoiding STIs and unwanted pregnancy.

The health benefits of lone-boning abound. Research shows masturbation can help prevent depression, reduce the risk of cervical cancer and prostate cancer, can help one sleep, ease menstrual cramps, strengthen one’s pelvic floor, improve ejaculation control and boost sexual confidence as well as self-esteem.

This month is important. It serves as a reminder that self-satisfaction is a healthy, accessible form of pleasure, engaged in by almost everyone of every gender and relationship status at some point in their lives.

So, in honor of National Masturbation Month, help fight the stigma and shame surrounding self-pleasure. Discuss it, celebrate it and, if you feel the need, take some time to give yourself a little nontraditional TLC.