An uncommon cure for midterm stress

Mid-term exams are upon us and the stress is building up.

We’ve heard the standard ways of relaxing. They include physical exercise, getting plenty of sleep, a balanced diet and other tactics.

Don’t panic. I am not about to be so irresponsible as to tell you all to go out and have sex with people to relax.

On the contrary, I think you should stay in and have sex with yourself to relax.

Before you giggle too hard, think about the very real benefits involved.

One of my colleagues, Brent Daggett, senior, said more stress may be involved if you search out a partner for your sexual satisfaction.

“You’re not only practicing safe sex, but you’re preventing a situation that might be beyond your control,” Daggett said.

Masturbating alone means no concern over STI’s and no worries about an unplanned pregnancy, but this doesn’t only benefit the person masturbating.

One myth about masturbation according to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois is that engaging in “masturbation ruins a person for partner sex.”

Heather Riedel, senior, disagrees.

“You can find out what you enjoy and pass the information on to your partner to better please you,” said Riedel.

However, relieving stress and finding stimulation you enjoy doesn’t have to involve self-pleasure if you’re not comfortable with it.

The preparation involved for a true stress releasing masturbation ritual can be enough to rejuvenate you for the studying you need to finish.

Feel free to adapt this as you need to so you can get the ultimate relaxation for your effort.

I believe true self-pleasure can only be gained by showing gratitude for the wonder of your physical form. Regardless of what faith you believe in, the human body is a gift and should be treated as such by indulging all five senses.

Find some music that soothes you or energizes you, depending on what feels best, and play it for a few moments to satisfy the sense of sound.

Dim the lights or, if not against the rules of your residence, light some candles. The sense of sight is usually satisfied by what you see when you close your eyes in this instance, but the lighting options couldn’t hurt.

If you have candles and can’t light them, invest in a candle warmer. Find your favorite scents and fill your space with them. A bubble bath or shower with scented soap works just as well. Again, it all depends on personal taste.

Taste is a fun sense to play around with. Anything from chocolates to strawberries to your favorite pizza is acceptable. Tailor each piece of this ritual to what you like and what you need.

Finally, the sense of touch needs to be explored. There are so many ways to do this, but my favorite is masturbation.

After you’ve pampered yourself with every other sensory stimulation, it’s time to enjoy pleasuring yourself and loving the body you were born with.

Exploring the human body should be done with reverence, and you’ll be surprised what you find out about how you like to be touched and where. It’s a learning experience and one that should be embraced.

I will admit I don’t masturbate much anymore.

I have a husband, and sex with someone you love is amazing and an orgasm with your partner will always top one you get by yourself, but remember having a lover doesn’t mean you can’t please yourself once in awhile. That’s like saying if you have a stove you shouldn’t get fast food. I’m pretty sure critics don’t follow that line of thought.

And what about criticisms of masturbation?

The only reason I had such a hard time finding people to talk to me openly about this subject was because it has been made out to be shameful.

It’s not. It’s natural and beautiful, and I’m wondering if the many species of animals who engage in the act care about what people say who think it’s wrong.

I found three possibilities for criticism while talking to Daggett and Riedel.

“The whole idea of whether you think masturbation is wrong comes down to religious morality,” Daggett said.

I agree this is a very popular idea, but I’m still trying to figure out why.

There is not one passage in the Bible that says masturbation is wrong. Yes, there are interpretations of text, but nothing concrete.

The scripture talked about the most is in Genesis involving a man named Onan who “spilled [his seed] on the ground.”

But Onan wasn’t masturbating. He was having sex with his brother’s widow because they were commanded to marry and have children.

I would think the concern would fall to the poor woman who was forced to marry and have sex right after her husband died, not the man who was grieving and withdrew.

However, I don’t plan on telling people who don’t believe in masturbating that they have to, and I don’t plan on listening to people tell me because they don’t do it, I can’t either.

The second criticism I’ve heard is that there’s no privacy.

Talk to your roommates. Maybe they want time to have some fun as well. Set up times the room is off limits if you have to. Don’t be shy. Most of you masturbate. I’m still not sure why none of you want to admit it.

The third and final criticism is that the practice is just not appealing.

That’s true in a sense. Men usually have clean up duties and women sometimes want to take another shower. A quick fix for that is to take care of your business while you’re in the shower or bubble bath.

When dealing with people who want you to believe the act is dirty, my approach is that you should only do the things you’re comfortable with as long as it doesn’t infringe upon the rights of others and always listen to the criticisms, even if you don’t agree with them.

Or as Riedel said, “As for the people who put a negative light on it, who are they to judge? If it’s getting in the way of things like your social life, homework, school or work then it could be a problem, but don’t knock it until you try it.”

Send comments, questions or ideas to Chandra Niklewski at [email protected]