7.7
August 9, 2021

Let’s talk about Masturbation. And Sex. On Elephant.

Masturbation, Shame, Community, Disagreement, oh my!

I have no problem with sex or masturbation as topics of ads or articles on Elephant, so long as they’re consensual.

We’re taught to feel shame around sex, and masturbation—or at least embarrassment. In reaction, some of us get overexcited. Either way, sexuality is weaponized by religions, and laws—usually against women.
But, as long as it’s consensual, sex is a simple delight—a natural pleasure, a profound path of exploration akin to food.

Love begins with oneself, and family. That warmth extends to friends, and lovers. As we grow up, that basic affection manifests in a new way—sexuality.
Maitri is the path of making friends with ourself, that we might then have a foundation upon which to create love with others. And masturbation is a part of learning to love and accept ourselves, too. Shame gets in the way, but it, too, is part of our path.

So let us de-tabooify sex, with ourself and others. Let us embrace our hunger, our passion, without suppressing or (on the other extreme) overly focusing on it. For such a delightful act, we can afford to relax. This simple delight must be ethical, or it is no longer delightful.

We masturbate. We make love. We feel embarrassment, shame, and overexcitement around masturbation and sex. It’s time for each of us to practice letting those extra layers go, both personally, and societally.

Sex is something that should be explored, without shame, with pleasure, with curiosity, with delight. We’ve had millennia of religions and the patriarchy hating on sexual pleasure, particularly women’s.

 

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From the beginning, one of our 12 areas of focus was Love, Relationships, Loneliness, Sexuality. Loneliness is key, there. Maitri is fundamental to making friends with ourself, that we might then have a foundation upon which to create love with others. And masturbation is a part of making friends with ourselves, too.

Part of our focus was, and is, to de-tabooify sex, and masturbation.

I masturbate. I make love. I dare say you do, too, or have, or will. I have felt embarrassment and shame around masturbation, and food, and diet. It’s time to let that go, both personally, and societally.

We will disagree, respectfully, intelligently, humorously, patiently, thoughtfully, occasionally on Elephant. That’s because we’re a community. Not a cult. Not One Voice. I’ve said that before, but it bears repeating.

Disagreeing is not grounds to unsubscribe. I subscribe, and I hope you do, too, to Elephant because we have room for respectful disagreement. Not despite it.

Ethics, or lack thereof, are grounds to unsubscribe. If you expect the social media platforms and TV and magazines and newspapers and movies you watch to always just show ads you agree with, then you’d unsubscribe to all of them. I have no problem disagreeing with ads, shouting at my TV or commenting (pointedly, but with info, and respectfully) on Instagram ads I dislike. If you don’t like an ad on Elephant, scroll. Or comment.

I have no problem with articles criticizing Elephant. In fact, I support them, as long as they’re honest, and intelligent, and respectful, and they include an understanding of where we’re coming from.

Where we’re coming from: I’d take ads from Amazon, which I boycott, just so long as we retain that right to criticize that ad in our editorial. So your criticism, again, is welcome.

Where we’re at: our female sponsorship team (sales) has a high bar for sponsors we’ll work with. I’m proud of them, and our sponsors. But again, if they lowered that bar, I’d be fine with that, just so long as I could criticize them on an editorial on the same page as their ad might appear.

Where we’re at: sponsors pay for readers who don’t subscribe to read Elephant. Part of our mission is reaching beyond our choir. So that’s key.

Where we’re at: I pay 33 staff to work with me, and for you, and I pay them well, and want to pay them better. They aren’t free. We pay 15 writers a week—that’s 60 a month—and I’d like to pay them more, and better, and more of them. Sponsors help pay for that, too, as do subscriptions.

Subscribe. Or don’t. Either way, read, and comment, and learn, and disagree, and change your mind, and write! We’re a community. It’ll be messy. But comments like those I saw recently, about unsubscribing, showing tacit and overt agreement that our morals are sullied because we dare feature women’s masturbation and kegel exercises (read the post, by a mom talking about how they helped her incontinence postpartum)…well, those hurt. And I’m not going to do this forever, if our community doesn’t get the above. That’s not a threat, it’s just sharing, vulnerably, that this stuff is exhausting, and we’re doing it for mission, not some other goal (like quarterly profits, just).

So please read it carefully, and consider your quietness, or anti-subscription comment, in comment sections such as that one. And be braver in comments, instead of all going quiet or agreeing. Because social media trains us to be all-for or all-against, and that kind of quiet all-or-nothing is demoralizing for me and our team.

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