Self-love has often been seen as a moral flaw, akin to vanity and selfishness. The Merriam-Webster dictionary later describes self-love as to “love of self” or “regard for one’s own happiness or advantage”. Synonyms of this concept are: amour propre, conceit, conceitedness, egotism, and many more. However, throughout the centuries this definition has adopted a more positive connotation through self-love protests, the Hippie era, the new age feminist movement as well as the increase in mental health awareness that promotes self-love.
Self-love was first promoted in the early years of the Hippie era (also known as the Beat Generation of the 1960s). After witnessing the devastating consequences of World War II and having troops still fighting in the Vietnam War, western (especially North American) societies began promoting “peace and love” to help generate positive energy and to promote the preservation of dissipating environmental factors, such as the emergence of oil pipelines and the recognition of pollution caused by the greenhouse effect.
These deteriorating living conditions caused worldwide protests that primarily focused on ending the war, but secondarily promoted a positive environment aided by the fundamental concept of crowd psychology. This post-war community was left very vulnerable to persuasion but began encouraging freedom, harmony and the possibility of a brighter, non-violent future. These protests took place on almost all continents and included countries such as the United States (primarily New York City and California), England and Australia. Their dedication, perseverance and empathy towards human life defined this generation as being peace advocates and carefree souls.
The emergence of the feminist movement began as early as the 19th century, but only began having major influence during the second wave movement, which included women’s rights protests that inevitably led to women gaining the right to vote. These protests not only promoted equality but also suggested that women should recognize their self-worth through the knowledge and acceptance of self-love. Elizabeth Cady Stanton used the Declaration of Independence as a guideline to demonstrate that women have been harshly treated throughout the centuries in her feminist essay titled “Declaration of Sentiments”. In the essay she claims that “all men and women are created equal; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”; and that without these rights, the capacity to feel self-worth and self-love is scarce. This historical essay suggests that a lack of self-esteem and fear of self-love affects modern women due to lingering post-industrial gender conditions.
Self-love has also been used as a radical tool in communities of Color in the United States. In the 1970s Black-Power movement, the slogan “Black is beautiful!” became a way for African-Americans to throw off the mantle of predominately White beauty norms. The dominant cultural aesthetic pre-1970s was to straighten Black hair with a perm or hot comb. During the Black Power movement, the “afro” or “fro” became the popular hairstyle. It involved letting Black Hair grow naturally, without chemical treatment, so as to embrace and flaunt the extremely curly hair texture of Black people. Hair was teased out the hair using a pick. The goal was to cause the hair to form a halo around the head, flaunting the Blackness of its wearer. This form of self-love and empowerment during the 70s was a way for African-Americans to combat the stigma against their natural hair texture, which was, and still is, largely seen as unprofessional in the modern workplace.
ay 2015 is International Masturbation Month, a month long celebration of learning to not only love yourself, but educate yourself about the safest form of sex. It was first celebrated as National Masturbation Day on May 7, 1995, when the sex-positive, San Francisco based sex shop, Good Vibrations, declared the day in response to the firing of Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders. Edler was fired by then President Bill Clinton on December 9, 1994 for daring to promote that masturbation be a part of sex education for public school students. The day was eventually extended to the entire month of May. Click on for funny, poignant memes about masturbation!
For those of you unaware, May is Masturbation Month and May 28th is International Masturbation Day! This self-gratification commemoration was created in 1995 by a San Francisco sex shop (Good Vibrations), in response to President Bill Clinton firing the then-Surgeon General, after she suggested that masturbation be taught as a part of sex education. Since then, the day has spread worldwide, focused on creating awareness, conversation and acceptance of the often-maligned act. If your beliefs are not in cohesion with this maneuver, totally cool with us, whatever you do (or don’t do) to your body is entirely up to you. But if you’re a burgeoning ‘bater who has some reservations, there’s no need to be ashamed. Here’s what you need to know.
With that in mind, you’d assume that masturbation while in a relationship would get in the way, but it can actually enhance your partnership. Firstly, regular masturbation can keep oneself sexually and physically confident – it’s hard to tell someone what you like if you don’t know yourself. As for your sexual health, it seems the older you get, the more you should do it (use it or lose it) as it works towards maintaining and improving blood flow and virility. For those men that are perhaps a little more premature than others; regular masturbation can help the tolerance of stimulation and act as a stamina aid. When it comes to baby making, there’s a common belief that frequent masturbation has an effect on sperm, which is partially true. While masturbation has no effect on sperm quality (though age and lifestyle certainly do), it takes about 74 days for sperm to reach optimal maturity. Though men can re-ejactulate semen (the fluid which carries the sperm) in as little as a few minutes (known as the refractory period), there will be less and less actual sperm in the semen each time. So frequent masturbation can make a man less fertile, but in no way causes infertility; the testicles continue to produce sperm as long as they’re able.