A word that sounds like something we should not do, masturbation is the ultimate do-it yourself hobby. I call this behavior jollification, which is holding your own! Jollification is especially appropriate for the holidays– ‘tis the season to be jolly. As Woody Allen observed, at least it is with someone you love!

Self-pleasuring is essential for the total appreciation of orgasms with others. Those who do not get aroused by themselves and/or with others for long periods of time may lose the capacity to be aroused. Sex researchers Masters and Johnson concluded that you either use it or lose it. The genitals must be stimulated, or you lose the capacity to be aroused!

Women need to cherish this wonderful tidbit by learning to jollificate at a young age—and thereafter! A variety of vibrators can also be useful, but I recommend that vibrators not be used all the time. This is because it would make it more difficult to orgasm in less intense ways.

For men, an orgasm with hands, or on a soft T-shirt or with the Fleshlight, a sex toy designed for masturbation, can be fun and relaxing. Orgasms reduce stress for both sexes. Whether it is the joy stick for men or the joy button (clitoris) for women, self-pleasurizing is a compliment to sex with others.

A great majority of both sexes masturbate. More men partake than women (about 95 to 99 percent), but women are catching up (about 80 to 90 percent)! Masturbation is enjoyed by millions, it is safer than bungee jumping, it is less time consuming than golf, it is free and you do not have to look your best!

From my experience as a sex therapist and a couples’ counselor, those who masturbate are more sexual with a lover–which is extremely important! Some have shame or guilt or inhibition about this practice, but I help people shed these negative feelings so they fully celebrate orgasms alone.

Rigid religions guilt people about masturbation, but this makes no sense. Rigid religions are the arch enemy of sexual pleasure. In my practice, I utilize cognitive behavioral therapy to help my clients shed all guilt and shame.

Sexual arousal and orgasms are part of our mental and physical health. General well-being and sleep are positively affected by orgasms. That is why I started National Orgasm Week in 1980 (the first week of Spring.

You can have sex with whomever you desire when you fantasize about lovers you have enjoyed, or someone you want to have sex with (sounds like a meal—I hope gourmet!). Many men and some women use porn to masturbate, which is a lazy way to do it. It is fine to use porn some of the time, but why not imagine your own fantasies and memories? Memories of past sexual encounters inform today’s fantasies! Those with more sexual experience benefit from a smorgasbord of erotic fantasies.

Women enjoy erotic novels and short stories, which encourage masturbation. Women also enjoy porn with a script to make it erotic. Most porn today is like open-heart surgery. People thrust but why? What is the meaning? What are the motives? Masturbation is a euphoric rendition of what we most would love to experience. As such, we can communicate with our lovers what turns us on alone, which can make lovemaking more arousing.

Some are threatened by a lover masturbating—especially with porn. These people are mostly women. Our fantasies are our own. Masturbation is part of our privacy. So is viewing porn. The lowest common denominator is the self—not the couple! In my work I often see women who are insecure about a man masturbating, as if it is a violation of the marital contract—which it is not! I help those with these insecurities. Love is not controlling or possessing another. This is need. Need and love get confused too much.

Finally, it you do not love yourself you are incapable of loving others. Jollification celebrates and enhances self-love!

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