Masturbation. Also colloquially known as wanking, fapping, jerking off, playing with yourself, petting the cat (if you’ve got lady bits), and jerkin’ the gherkin (if you’ve got dangly bits). Whatever you call it, a rose by any other name still…well it’s still pleasurable.
Definition + Etymology
Loosely defined as “the deliberate, erotic act of self-stimulation”, masturbation is the clinical, scientific term for the sexual stimulation of one’s own genitals for sexual pleasure and arousal, usually with the goal of achieving orgasm. It’s been scientifically documented that the act of masturbation is a common pastime among both male and female mammals of the animal kingdom. While humans may use their hands, everyday objects, and sex toys like onaholes and vibrators to get off, our animal counterparts may use their paws, flippers and tails, or rub up against objects such as pebbles, leaves and sticks. Hey, whatever gets the engines revving, am I right?
The term, “masturbation” made its official debut in the English language around 1711 and came by way of the French, “mastupration”, which reared its pretty little head sometime in the 1620s. This word, as with many words in the French language, can be traced back to Latin; and in this case, etymologists trace “mastupration” back to the Latin, “masturbari”.
The root origins of “masturbari” remain contentious as written records don’t go back far enough but historians and etymologists theorize that the word can be further broken down and connected to tubare, which means “to disturb” and manstuprare, where “manu” means hands and “stuprare” means to stupefy/make stupid. Thus, if we use the Latin root words to define masturbation, it would be described as “to make one stupid by hand” or “to stupefy by hand”. Pretty on the nose if you ask me.
How Masturbation is Defined in the Japanese Language
Japanese has two words for masturbation, depending on whether the person is a male or female. If you’re sporting spaghetti and meatballs between your thighs, the Japanese term for male masturbation is “senzuri”, which translates to “a thousand rubs”. However, if it’s Taco Tuesday (or any day, really. Masturbating once a day keeps the doctor away after all), the Japanese term for female masturbation is “manzuri”, which translates to “ten thousand rubs”. They’re really rubbing it in on how quick it is for guys to rub one out aren’t they?
History of Masturbation
The earliest evidence that show that humans like touching themselves down there go back to prehistoric rock paintings and though, unsurprisingly, male masturbation has been documented more than female masturbation in the history pages, on the island of Malta, a clay figurine of a masturbating woman was found. Carbon dating of this figurine puts it at around 4BCE; so yeah. Humans have been getting themselves off since the dawn of time it seems.
Before monotheistic religions came to dominate most of the known world, attitudes towards masturbation, especially during ancient times were more relaxed, free, and even encouraged:
Ancient Sumerians – in what is now known as Southern Iraq, people of Sumer encouraged masturbation, either alone or with their sexual partners, as they believed it enhanced sexual prowess and fertility in both men and women. In Sumerian creation mythology, masturbation was documented to be an act of creation as it was believed that Enki, the God of Water, wanked the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers into existence by ejaculating into the empty riverbeds.
Ancient Egypt – masturbation, especially male masturbation was seen as a creative or magical act, especially if it was performed by a god. Similar to the ancient Sumerians, the ancient Egyptians believed that their God of Creation, Atum, created the universe by spilling his seed all over the place.
Ancient Greece – the ancient Greeks had a sex-positive outlook on masturbation where they viewed it as a normal and healthy aspect of sexual health and pleasure. Masturbation was often a huge theme in the creative arts and often depicted in comedies and pottery.
Material for your Spank Bank
Before the Dawn of the Internet, people had to resort to using their imaginations to reach their peak but now with the world literally at your fingertips, people are spoiled for choice when it comes to refueling their spank bank. From Playboy magazines to free porn on PornHub to erotic fan-fiction about your favorite anime character, there is almost no excuse why you can’t indulge in some alone time when you’ve got access to such titillating material.
If you’d like to go the somewhat unconventional route, studies and surveys have also found that people masturbate to music, gifs, memes, comics, celebrities, everyday objects and even buildings (if you have Objectophilla, which refers to people who develop romantic and sexual attraction to objects and structures).
In sum, it’s probably safe to say that masturbation is a normal, healthy, and routine part of everyday life. If you’re feeling a little frisky but lacking a partner or just wishing to indulge in some alone time with you, yourself, and you, may I suggest ecchiTOKYO? If u + ur hand aren’t doing the trick, ecchiTOKYO’s website has a plethora of sex toys and lube to jog your creativity and spice up your masturbation.