What I Learned in Bed

By Tressa Versteeg

Dear Hannah,
I generally find myself emotionally attracted to men and physically attracted to women. I am female, but when I masturbate I have to think of myself as a man. I know sexuality can be complicated, but I am a senior and ready to identify with some sort of group! Is there anything I can do to hasten the process? Or will I forever be trapped in this “somewhere in between” place?
Slow to Know and FrustratedYou’re right, SKF, sexuality is complicated. Being a senior doesn’t mean you need to be at the pinnacle of emotional maturity or handle your feelings with complete clarity. Most people never fully understand their emotions or who they are. Sexuality is a continuum. No person is 100% of anything- be it straight, gay, or whatever else. We all fall somewhere along the range, which makes life that much more confusing.

Don’t expect yourself to identify as one thing and one thing only. You don’t have to subscribe to the labels of gay or straight- define your own sexuality. “Somewhere in between” isn’t a disappointment.

The certain qualities you’re looking for in a partner transcend gender. It’s perfectly normal to be sexually attracted to women and emotionally attracted to men. Many women can relate to you on this issue, for many reasons. You may be attracted to a woman because you want to embody some quality that she has, either physically or mentally.You might love the idea of a man in a relationship for the stereotypical qualities they can offer- security, strength, reliability; on the other hand you crave the things that a woman can offer sexually- sensuality, tenderness, care. The key is to understand that you should, and can, expect all of these from your future partner, no matter their sex. Men and women can inhabit the same qualities. Women are just as capable of being driven and touch as men are of being sensitive.

You might fantasize about women because you want intimacy with a woman, and that’s nothing to feel ashamed of. There is no better time than now to explore this. As long as you’re being honest with yourself and your partners about your intentions, try out new things to find what makes you feel the best.

Thinking of yourself as a man while you masturbate doesn’t make you weird, SKF. People have have all sorts of fetishes- some have to wear diapers or injure themselves to get off. Consider yourself lucky. If you feel comfortable and happy imagining yourself as a man while you’re having sexy-you-time, no one can judge you.

However, if putting yourself in a male sexual position brings up other anxieties, then you need to check with yourself. If there are any bad experiences associated with this (or any other part of your life), talk to a counselor or someone who can help you understand how to have healthy relationship with your sexuality.

If a woman turns you on, channel the feeling to fulfill your needs. If imagining yourself as a man does the trick, explore that instead of repressing it.

Dear Hannah,
I’ve heard that masturbation will increase my immune system and even prevent allergies. Last time I got a cold, I jerked it as much as humanly possible for a few days, but I didn’t notice any improvements. Does it actually help?
Getting Off to be Healthy

Masturbation as the cornerstone of any healthy lifestyle. Exercise, eating well, refraining from drinking and smoking: boring! Masturbation an easy and enjoyable way to improve your health. If you work hard to keep your body and mind healthy in other ways, rest assured that your efforts are worthwhile. Exercise and healthy eats keep you fit and happy, and can make your orgasms even more explosive.

Masturbation has gotten a bad rap in the past and been blamed for blindness, neuroses, warts and madness. However, as we’ve learned, masturbation improves your physical and mental health. Women in the 19th century were treated for “madness” with a vibrator session at the doctor’s office, madness cured!

Now we have the privilege of touching ourselves guilt-free in our very own homes. The best way to destress is a session of genital fun. Masturbating can also lessen PMS pains, get rid of cramps, relax muscles, improve sleep and increase self-esteem, according to the Better Health Channel. A BBC report in 2003 showed that masturbation can reduce the risk of prostate cancer in men and that the best time to reduce the risk through masturbation is in your 20’s. So now is the time to crank out those self-induced screaming orgasms.

In terms of your immune system, masturbation isn’t a cure. but regular masturbation will strengthen your immune system and prevent viruses. Once you’ve caught the bug, only rest and fluids can help you. Masturbation can help you feel less concerned about school work you’re not doing due to your fever, but it won’t make your temp go down. Allergies stem from genetic and environmental factors masturbation habits can’t control. Rubbing one out on a spring day might decrease your itchy nose, it won’t change your allergies.

Masturbation has great benefits for your sexual health as well. For starters, solo sex has no risk of pregnancy or STI’s. You can even masturbate with a partner for exciting sexy fun without the dangers of fluid-swapping penetration. When you masturbate you can explore your sexuality in a safe place, a–nd find out what you like so you can let your partner know how to wind you up. Also, if you have sexual issues, like trouble reaching orgasm or premature ejaculation, masturbation is one of the best treatments.

Nothing’s better than a good old guilt free, self-sex party in the comfort of your own bed–so go on and touch yourself.