Masturbation One-on-one

October 19, 2009

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I’ll bet my entire tuition fund that most BU students are unaware that Student Health Services has a sexologist on staff. But to Teri Aronowitz, discussing sexual health and gender issues is just another day on the job.

Teri Aronowitz, Boston University's sexologist

Teri Aronowitz, Boston University's sexologist

Aronowitz, a nurse practitioner at SHS, earned her title of “sexologist” in the form of a post-doctorate degree from the Kinsey Institute, a program part of Indiana University that researches and studies sexual issues. Dr. Alfred Kinsey, a controversial researcher who sought to understand and explain sex in the human race, established the Institute in 1947 as a not-for-profit organization part of Indiana University.

As Aronowitz stepped into the  BU Women’s Resource Center to talk about masturbation on October 8th, over 40 people greeted her. She sat down in the middle of the room, cracked a few jokes, and then dove right in. While we were there for almost two hours talking about sexual related issues and topics, I decided to share a few interesting highlights.

- Almost everyone masturbates… almost. Dr. Alfred Kinsey polled 5,000 men and 5,000 women in the 1940s, asking them about masturbation. He found that 92% of men admitted to masturbating (no shocker there), but only 62% of females admitted to pleasuring themselves. Since we’re living in a time six decades later, I can only hope that more women are not only partaking in masturbating, but are more open about it. I can’t help but wonder if the other 38% of women were simply too embarrassed to talk about it.

- Focus on the clitoris. It’s a scientific fact: women can’t reach orgasm unless their clitoris is stimulated. According to Kinsey’s study, 84% of the women that masturbate used “clitoral and labial stimulation” to make it to the finish line, while only 20% used vaginal insertion. The clitoris exists solely for the purpose of pleasure – the only organ in the human body that has such a use. As for the popularly speculated G-spot?  The G-spot is a tissue on the inside of the vagina that sits right behind the clitoris. This tissue comes into contact with the clitoris, providing the intense orgasms many women attest to.

- Sex toys from the Orient. Aronowitz enlightened us to an interesting device developed for masturbation in Renaissance Japan: rin-no-tama. This sex toy is made up of a hollow, wooden phallic tube, inserted into the vagina. The woman would then insert a ball or two into the hollow tube, which would then vibrate and create erotic sensations for the women. I guess this is a good technique if your vibrator’s batteries ever die.

Rin-no-tama, the Japanese sex toy

Rin-no-tama, the Japanese sex toy

- Women’s “blue balls.” Aronowitz related stories of how patients would come to see her, complaining of discomfort in the vaginal area and automatically assuming they had an infection. However, this uncomfortable feeling could be the result of stimulation ending with no climax, Aronowitz explained. When the clitoris is stimulated, the labia engorges it. If climax is not reached, the labia can continue to be swollen for days, which can pull on the clitoris and rub together as you walk, resulting in discomfort. Aronowitz suggests that if this ever happens, take care of yourself in bed as soon as possible!

- Add climaxing to your bedtime routine. A friend of mine once asked if masturbating before bed was actually beneficial, since achieving an orgasm increases blood flow, making it harder to fall asleep. Aronowitz says pleasuring yourself or engaging in sex with your partner is a good way to wind down from a stressful day. Sex is achieved in 4 stages: excitation, plateau, orgasm, and resolution. During resolution, blood flow and pressure returns to normal, ensuring you will be able to sleep afterwards.

Dr. Teri Aronowitz can be reached at 617-353-3575 or at taronow@bu.edu for any questions about your sexy-time.