What is the history of Masturbation? (and is it a sin?!)

Frigging, Wanking, Vajubilation, Self Satisfaction, Extacize, Lone Rangering, Tugging, Diddling, Bean flicking, having a Tommy Tank, Giving one’s self a hand, Jerking off, Playing with your pud, Crouching over the flying fist of adolescence – the list is inventive, amusing, and seemingly endless! You may even remember the 80’s subversive hits (popular in the Navy) “Frigging in the rigging” and “I’m a wanker!”

The ancient Egyptians may have had a more open attitude, as one main creation myth saw the god Atum arising from the infinite waters, masturbating, and throwing his seed into the heavens to commence the creation process. It’s a fair bet that he’d be swiftly nicked for an act of public nuisance if he tried it today! The Sumerians had a similar creation story, and the ancient Greeks saw no harm – though they frowned upon public displays.

A few centuries later, the writers of the Bible told the tale of a chap called Onan (no, not Arnold’s barbarian character). His brother Er had died, leaving a widow called Tamar. The elders told Onan to make a child with his sister-in-law Tamar – but he didn’t want to. Instead, he pulled out of the deal (literally) and ‘spilled his seed on the ground’; God was distinctly unamused and slew him. Now you know why a failure to perform is always a worry for a chap! All poor Onan wanted was to keep any inheritance for himself instead of it being passed to Tamar’s child!

Of course, it seems blindingly obvious that, as with any tribe or culture, the main aim is to procreate – and by creating, to grow the tribe (or the faith). There is strength in numbers, after all.

Wastage of seed is not allowed!

And so the ‘heinous sin of Onanism’ (the term first comes into use in Europe in the early 18th century) was created, as successive religious scholars decided that any wastage of seed was definitely not allowed; it was solely to be produced per vaginum for the purpose of baby-making.

Masturbation was now shuffled away into the shadows of our existence, where it lurked in denial for a few centuries, shrouded in a host of diabolical threats. Your seed would be polluted, your palm would grow hairy, and you’d never get to Heaven.

Hard to imagine though that any male throughout human history never once ‘did it’ with himself! Never noticed that we evolved to have our hands fall into exactly the right place and position….? Evolution tends to be for a reason!

But what of the female experience?

It has been the way of most cultures to push women away from positions of power, of rule-setting – and of importance outside the realm of home and children. After all, females don’t ‘produce’ anything as males do, so the ‘wasted seed’ angle didn’t apply. Which therefore only left pleasure – and that allowed female masturbation to be viewed in a rather more arty and stimulating way.

Good self-satisfaction takes many forms, and what works well for one person may well be less satisfying for another. A circumcised guy is unlikely to like firm un-lubricated tugging at his manhood – it would hurt! And not every girl will be turned on by having her clitoris rubbed into oblivion! And it’s the additional stimulation that adds the gin to the tonic and gives your sex-on-the-beach cocktail it’s real zing and takes you to where you want to go.

That takes us to ‘The Erogenous Zones’ – of which we all have more than we might realise, though they aren’t all as we’ve been brought up to believe! Nor should we ever stop exploring; there are new ones to be found!

Porn, Fantasy, Role Play, and the contents of your personal wank-bank are all vital ingredients to the mix too. And as for toys…

The great thing about masturbation is of course that it can be a solo effort or a great piece of teamwork. We’ve all seen ourselves off to the land of nod after a visit to the land of orgasm, but many will also have experimented and enjoyed times and locations that feel naughtier and satisfy a spontaneous need.

Many couples enjoy playing with themselves while their partner does the same – there’s a real kick in sharing the fun; and of course the opportunities to rub, finger and tongue a friend to an ass-shaking climax is one of the greatest joys that sex can give.

Masturbation relieves stress, keeps couples close, avoids pregnancy and limits the dangers of infection; indeed, the healthcare organisations of some nations and states recommend it as a good thing! What a turnaround from hundreds of years of suppression, concealment and fear.

Brazen will take you further along the threads of all these themes, but meanwhile here’s to Onan!