“Physics is to math what sex is to masturbation!” – Richard P. Feynman, physicist
“… what do you believe about masturbation?”
Sophia, age thirty-five, had clear blue eyes and fair complexion suggesting Scandinavian origins. Her high cheek bones only augmented her beautiful face. She dressed in that style that involves pleasant perfumes, lacy, sexy scarves and soft loose clothing that emphasized her femininity.
But, Sophia was a very confused woman. She had been married to Stanford (Stan) for over fifteen years. They had no children and desired none, being content to dolt over their five nieces and nephews. They had what she considered a normal sex life with regular and satisfying intimacy.
But something had happened just recently between her and Stan that had confused her. Sophia had walked in on Stan as he was masturbating in their bathroom. While Stan was a little embarrassed, Sophia was both confused and hurt. And, as she told what had happened both emotions were again evident on her attractive face.
I asked her,
“Sophia, what do you believe about masturbation?”
“…I don’t want it to jeopardize our relationship.”
Composed herself by straightening up in her chair, she replied,
“I remember the three things I learned as a child growing up: it’s unnatural, it’s unhealthy and it means you have no proper sex outlet!”
“Sophia, I can see why you were so upset by that event. It challenges all your past learning about sex and human sexuality. Are you interested in learning four truths about human sexuality?” I asked, wondering how far her confusion and hurt had pushed her forward in her life.
“Ken, I know Stan loves me! And, I know I love him! But, I don’t even know how to broach what happened with Stan. That’s why I’m here talking to you. I want to understand because I don’t want it to jeopardize our relationship.”
“Does that mean you are ready to learn about human sexuality and human relationships so you can protect your marriage?” I asked.
“Yes, I am, Ken! But, I’m married 15 years and thirty five years old! Surely, I should know by now about sexuality…shouldn’t I?” she said hesitantly.
“What do you mean by ‘the forms’…”
“It is not a function of your age, it’s a function of your experience. Biologically, we each learn what we need for the next second of our life…that’s why there are no mistakes in your life, Sophia.”
“I’m not sure I follow you.” she said.
“Your success being alive today means you have always made the right decisions in the past. Now, you are being challenged to learn new things for your future survival. Shall we begin with the four truths about human sexuality?”
“Yes!” she said , a hint of trepidation in her voice and on her face.
“Truth #1…every person is genetically motivated to reproduce so they can spread their genes. There are no exceptions! The only difference is in the forms of how they spread those genes.” I began.
“What do you mean by ‘the form’, Ken?”
“…everyone spreads their genes in different forms…”
“The word ‘gene’ means ‘give birth to.’ There are seven forms of genes or ways to influence, or give birth, within our species!”
“And, what are they, Ken?”
“They are spiritual genes such as ideas or memes, mental genes like self esteem or self confidence, vocational genes such as creativity, financial genes like self worth, social genes like connections to others, familial genes such as relationships, and physical genes in the forms of sperm and ovum.” I said, wondering if I was giving her too much information, too fast.
Sophia was quiet for a moment before responding with a statement which demonstrated her quick and insightful mind.
“So, Truth #1 is everyone spreads their genes in different forms…it could be sperm and ovum, but it can also be ideas, thoughts, love, affection, modelling and so on?”
“You process stuff fast, Sophia…nice job! We all influence our environment including the people in it. So, 99% of humans masturbate in some form, the rest just deny it!
“OK! So, I masturbate too in some form, right? So, for example, the pride I take in my appearance, how I dress, my grooming are really just my form of masturbation because my friends often are impressed with the care I take with my appearance”
“Masturbation: the primary sexual activity of mankind. In the nineteenth century it was a disease; in the twentieth, it’s a cure.”
— Thomas Szasz, psychiatrist
“… but he is not because he is a different person.”
“Right! Now, truth #2…since we must reproduce or influence in some form, the only choices we have is in the forms we select and most select it unconsciously.” I said next.
“So, that would mean celibate, religious people are spreading their genes as ideas instead physically as sexual intercourse. Am I understanding this accurately?”
“Exactly, but their physical body still needs to be respected, so they will also need to release their physical genes in some way either through ‘wet dreams’ or masturbation. So, it is still natural and normal, just in a form they may not appreciate because of their religious values.” I added.
“That tells me then that I must be getting enough physical release of my genes, my ovum though our sex life, but he is not because he is a different person. Is that what’s going on?”
“Makes sense to me, but it’s probably a discussion you need to have with Stan, eh?”
“Yes, I agree! OK! Truth #3…?” she said, getting deeper into her learning.
“…he only loves me so he can love himself…”
“Truth # 3…The primary sex organ in humans is the brain, not the genitals. So, all interpersonal sex is primarily sex with yourself. The other person is an add on, not necessarily required.”
“Are you saying Stan is really having sex with himself, when we make love?”
“In a way, yes! Because he loves you, he is sharing his love of himself with his love of you. This is for pleasure or procreation, or both!”
“Does that mean when he loves me by engaging in sex with me, he is actually loving himself first and me second?” Sophia asked surprised by her own insight.
“Yes, it does! And, that is normal and natural, Sophia!”
“So, he only loves me so he can love himself…is that what’s going on in our relationship?” she said, an annoyance to her voice.
“In your relationship and every relationship!” I replied.
“…every human being must manage their sexuality carefully…”
“I hesitate to say this Ken, but it kind of makes sense because I have always known I was giving myself to him physically and emotionally so I could be me, protect me, and grow my own future…I have not been naive about that!”
“That’s also normal and natural, Sophia! Welcome to the human race, to the biological commands of our species. This is the truth of our humanity.”
“So, how does what happened, Stan masturbating, fit into all this?” she asked next.
“So, that’s truth # 4…every human being must manage their sexuality carefully…their sex drive in combination with their values…their sex drive with their other commitments. For people in committed relationships that means managing the challenge of their need for sexual release with the commitments they have made to their spouse and family.”
“Are you saying, while he may want sex, he has to negotiate with me about when and how. And, if I am unavailable or uninterested, he still has to take care of himself, first…correct?”
“Masturbation is a democratic pleasure, practiced by rich and poor, young and old, married and single.”
– Mason Cooley, educator
“…everybody is expressing their sexuality in some way, they just don’t realize it…”
“You got it exactly! It is not about you at all, it is about Stan and his need to manage his sex drive. Every person has lots of ways to manage it, lots of other ways to express it. But, express it they must to keep their own sense of themselves, their own identity and their own well being.”
“Actually, that really makes sense!”
“Sophia, that’s why research shows that people in committed, long term relationships, are more likely to masturbate. Those who are not in committed sexual relationships are more likely to use another form, to display their sexuality…such as in their spirituality, in their learning, in their work, in how they manage their money, in their friendships, in their pets, in their family relationships and so on.”
“So, you are suggesting to me everybody is expressing their sexuality in some way, they just don’t realize it?”
“…Stan’s behaviour is natural and normal and reflects his commitment to himself and to you…
“For sure! I bet you know people who focus on other things instead of their sexuality such as their religion, their mind, their job, their debts, their friends or community, their kids, siblings or parents or perhaps their health.”
“So, that would mean anyone who does this is just using that form of their sexuality to protect themselves and their future…am I getting this, Ken?”
“You are indeed! Are you starting to understand, Stan’s behaviour is natural and normal and reflects his commitment to himself and to you… and to your relationship with him?” I asked.
“I think I need to sit down with him to discuss this, eh? Maybe our sex is not as OK with him as I think. I really don’t know, but I need him to know, now that I understand what’s going on, that it’s OK for him to be Stan!”
“Sophia, that could be a very wise discussion to have with Stan. Keep me posted and if I can serve you further, let me know!”
“Thanks Ken. This has been very helpful. It adds a new dimension to our relationship I think, one I certainly need. And, I bet it will for Stan as well!” she said with a air of optimism.
“No mistakes, only learning opportunities!” I replied smiling.
“Masturbation is a meditation on self-love. So many of us are afflicted with self-loathing, bad body images, shame about our body functions, and confusion about sex and pleasure, I recommend an intense love affair with yourself!”
– Betty Dodson, educator
Until Next time…
Now you know, every person masturbates in some form because every person strives to influence the environment around them in some way. So, masturbation is natural and normal. Physical masturbation is when a person takes control of their body’s needs for spreading their gene pool and influencing our species. Notice your other forms of masturbation besides the physical form, write them down so you can start honouring all your various forms that make you who you are and impact your own environment. Then you can replace un-informed guilt with informed self-appreciation.
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