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Practiced by almost all men and more and more women, solo pleasure is still taboo.
Even today, it still floats around masturbation with the scent of guilt. "It's a difficult word. In sexology consultations, I never ask the question "Do you masturbate?" because many people are still shocked. To play it down, I ask them when they started masturbating," says Dr. Mireille Bonierbale, president of the Aius (Interdisciplinary Post-Graduate Association of Sexology).
For religions, it is a sin. As for the medical profession, it has largely contributed to making masturbation a taboo. Its condemnation was clearly affirmed and spread in the 18th century by a doctor, Dr Tissot, who wrote "L'onanisme: dissertations on the diseases produced by masturbation". Later, if for Sigmund Freud, masturbation was not a disease, it was nevertheless a sign of an immature sexuality to be discouraged because it causes neuroses!
In the 21st century, it is still difficult to address the subject, even in the secrecy of sexologists' offices. "Let's put masturbation back in its rightful place," pleads Dr Bonierbale. That is to say that of a sexual activity in solo which simply allows to give oneself pleasure.
The new generation is talking about it a little more easily, but especially on the men's side. For the majority of teenagers, sexuality begins with masturbation, which is not yet the case for teenage girls. Between the ages of 14 and 17, 74% of boys, but only 48% of girls, say they masturbate, according to a study published in 2011 on theArchives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine website.
"At this age, in addition to seeking pleasure, there is also an exploration of the body and how it works. Especially in girls. When we know each other well, it is then easier to guide the other towards their sexuality," says Muriel Baccigalupo, a sexologist in Montpellier.
It's time for parents to lose the habit, if they had it, of entering their teenagers' bedrooms without knocking. "And if a parent surprises their teenager, the best attitude to have is to apologize and give them their privacy. That's how the teenager will understand that masturbation is not forbidden," says Dr. Mireille Bonierbale, who still hears too many misconceptions on the subject. "It's not uncommon to still have young people wondering whether it makes them sterile or prevents them from menstruating," says Bonierbale, who still hears too many misconceptions on the subject.
As an adult, masturbation still has its place in sexuality. Whether you are single or in a couple, whether you masturbate alone or with your partner. Except in the case of disagreement, it does not compete with the couple's other sexual practices. "Pleasing yourself without listening to the other person is simply a moment to yourself," says Muriel Baccigalupo.
However, the woman who surprises her companion often feels betrayed, she sees a lack of desire towards her. "But that's not the point. Men can tell the difference. It's important to play down the drama, to allow them these moments alone, and let women hear how to differentiate between excitement alone and the desire for pleasure shared by two," insists Dr. Bonierbale.
The way women look at it is probably changing as more and more women are masturbating themselves. According to an Ifop survey conducted last February for Elle magazine, 76% of women have already experienced masturbation (90% of men).