Does masturbation have to include orgasm - a debate with myself

I'm halfway through writing another post right now, and I got into a rabbit hole that I think is kinda complicated and I want to skim it in that post, but don't want to get too deep, so I'm writing a discussion about it here to reference in future articles.

Is it fair to use the word masturbation for self-sensual endeavors that do not at some level have orgasm and/or ejaculation as the intention - even if you're not trying to 'chase' the orgasm and/or ejaculation?

I ask this because it kinda gets at me that there is such an emphasis in female masturbation advice about it not being 'about' the orgasm. I know why that emphasis is there, and I kinda get it and can get behind it, but also if females had a sensible sexual culture where lady-gasm was correctly understood and depicted realistically in our media, and if normal, everyday sex acts made ample room for lady-gasm the way it does for dude-gasms, would we really need to keep assuring females that masturbation doesn't have to include orgasm? And does playing down the importance of orgasm during masturbation also play down the importance of fixing a sexual culture that doesn't give females enough room for their orgasm?

I'm going to play both sides just to have the argument down, because, hey dude, it's complicated and both answers seem a little right and a little wrong to me.

YES - It is fair. Masturbation does not and should not necessarily have the intention of orgasm behind it.

Sexual interaction has a lot of different facets, and orgasm is merely one of them. Things like sensual appreciation, emotion, connection, sexual arousal, fantasy, relaxation, and bodily pleasure can all be focuses. Masturbation is no different. It can be a time to bring one's body a variety of physical pleasures, explore one's fantasies, brew up sexual arousal, connect emotionally with yourself, to relax. A focus on orgasm specifically can overshadow all these other lovely things.

There is also the matter of the large quantity of adult women that have yet to explore their body through masturbation. A sexual relationship with one's self is maybe the most important sexual relationship a person has. However, because of our shit sexual culture, a lot of females have not felt like masturbation was an option for them - especially as teenagers when many males began, and thus lots of females have engaged in partner sex without ever exploring their own bodies and learning what they like sexually, which also means they likely have never orgasmsed. I'd also argue that because a lot of females have had lots of sexual encounters without having also orgasmed, their level of physical and mental arousal associated with sexual stimuli has lowered over time in a way that males or others that can largely, through experience, equate sexual stimuli with the possibility of orgasm, have not.

That all means that sexual arousal in many (if not most) females can become a tricky business - needing more or different stimuli than one might expect. After a number of non-orgasmic sexual interactions or certain cultural stiflings of sexuality, it must, in some ways, be learned or relearned what does (as opposed to what's supposed to but doesn't actually) make them hot. Thus it makes sense that masturbation advice, in a very practical sense, best be put forth to many females as more an investigative journey of the body and mind - something that must be slowly used to find or re-find arousal and bodily sensation. This means the orgasm, quite literally, might be hard to come by until that ability to arouse oneself is gained/regained because orgasm is the release of that physical sexual arousal (release of the pelvic blood congestion and muscle tension built up in physical arousal).

Pushing the idea that masturbation is not complete without orgasm could do way more harm than good because it may seem daunting - particularly for someone that is struggling with arousal, and if orgasm was tried for but not attained, it may feel incredibly frustrating and that frustration and worry could be carried into the next try. It's a truth that being worried about your ability to orgasm while trying to orgasm is a great way to lose arousal and a terrible way to get to an orgasm - for anyone. It's a way of being distracted from the actual genital sensations, of being outside of the moment. An orgasm just sort of happens when one reaches a certain amount of arousal and stimulation, but it can be easily blocked.

So, encouraging masturbation that is more about the journey, is a way to make room for all the people out there (particularly many females) that need low pressure, accepting entry-points into masturbation that allows for self discovery and trial and error. This type of encouragement can also help those females and males that do masturbate for orgasm fairly easily. For these people, they can be encouraged to take time to focus on other pleasures of their mind and body and expand their ability to appreciate sensuality that doesn't lead to orgasm. In particular this may be useful to (probably mostly male) partners of (probably mostly female) people that don't often or ever get to orgasm during sexual encounters. It may allow the orgasming partner to focus on other pleasurable elements that also feel good to their partner and to stop focusing too much on their own drive to orgasm. It could help slow the sex act down and open space for the non-orgasming partner to use their masturbatory work to find their arousal or pleasure and maybe eventually find their own orgasm in the sex.

NO- it is not really fair. I think embedded in the idea of masturbation is at some level an attempt towards orgasm, and the only reason that is challenged is because we have a shit sexual culture where too many women do not orgasm and instead of blatantly calling how bullshit that is, we shove it under the rug by building up the idea that orgasm isn't important (for females).

So, I'm not saying that any masturbation act is not masturbation if there is no orgasm and/or ejaculation at the end, but I think there is a difference and maybe there should be a discernible word for a sensual touching of one's own body that in no way has anything to do with having or learning to or working toward a possibility of an orgasm. I'm not saying you have to chase the orgasm either. I'm just saying that if one is working to cause sexual arousal to arise in the body, there's something a little off about just stopping randomly within that arousal for no other reason than 'orgasm isn't that important.' I mean, maybe you were interrupted or didn't have enough time. Maybe you are taking it slow as a way to learn and stopping in the arousal will help you either control your orgasm better or understand your arousal better to help attain orgasm in future masturbation sessions. Maybe you need to learn to not feel pressure to orgasm, which can block ability to orgasm, so you specifically intend not to orgasm during that masturbation session. Maybe you literally just weren't able to get off even though you tried, and so you stopped.

Orgasm is the release of blood congestion and muscle tension that's been built up during sexual arousal. If there's no orgasm at the end, then one is just left with engorged genitals (btw women have as much blood congestion down there. It's just mostly in the inner clit legs and vestibular bulbs). Isn't it a little odd to think about a dude getting his dick all hard and then just stopping, just because. Like, he could orgasm, but meh, he feels done with the masturbation, so he stops and lets his engorged dick just slowly go down. That doesn't seem all that strange to say for a female though, does it? Even though she would be left the same way, with blue clit.

And that's the bigger point I want to get into. I think the underlying reality to the idea that "orgasm isn't that important" is that it's not important for females. And it's not because it's actually not important. It's because women don't have them near as much as their bodies will allow, as much as they deserve, and as much as males expect to have themselves, and it's easier to pretend women are choosing that because "orgasm isn't that important" than to face the hard reality that our sexual culture simply doesn't provide the space or information or the examples needed to really allow females a true choice about whether to orgasm or not during masturbation and/or sex.

So, on an individual level, yeah, I get it. It's important to not make people (particularly females) feel shamed for not having orgasms, and in some ways saying that orgasm isn't the most important thing helps people on that individual level. Because truly, it's not their fault and they're not broken, and tons of women are in their shoes -no need to feel bad. However, pull out to a larger societal level and it is a fucking problem, and we should be worried, and we should be trying to fix this.

If females were on a level sexual playing field and did have an actual choice in the same way males do, it would be different, and I'd have no problem with reminders that orgasm isn't everything. In fact, for many people (particularly males), it's an important reminder that every sex act with another person is a negotiation that doesn't necessarily need to include their orgasm. But I also feel like those reminders serve more as a smoothing over of the appalling reality that most women don't orgasm most of the time during sex acts, even though our bodies are as able to do so as male bodies. It's a way to just accept that fate instead of looking at it and seeing how fucked up it is. 'Oh, you didn't orgasm? Well, you liked the emotional part right? You got aroused? That's just as important!' But is it? Really? What if you could have it all - the emotion, the arousal, the orgasm?

My point is, the idea of underselling orgasm to me wreaks of underselling female sexuality, and allows us to continue moving forward, eyes closed, ignoring how fucking insane it is that women give so much sexually and expect so little.

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