Introduction to Masturbation
Masturbation is the self-stimulation of the genitals to achieve sexual
arousal and pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm (sexual climax). It is
commonly done by touching, stroking, or massaging the penis or clitoris until an
orgasm is achieved. Some women also use stimulation of the vagina to masturbate
or use “sex toys,” such as a vibrator.
Just about everybody. Masturbation is a very common behavior, even among
people who have sexual relations with a partner. In one national study, 95% of
males and 89% of females reported that they have masturbated. Masturbation is
the first sexual act experienced by most males and females. In young children,
masturbation is a normal part of the growing child’s exploration of his or her
body. Most people continue to masturbate in adulthood, and many do so throughout
Why Do People Masturbate?
In addition to feeling good, masturbation is a good way
of relieving the sexual tension that can build up over time, especially for
people without partners or whose partners are not willing or available for sex.
Masturbation also is a safe sexual alternative for people who wish to avoid
pregnancy and the
dangers of sexually transmitted diseases. It also is necessary when a man must
give a semen sample for
infertility testing or for sperm donation. When
sexual dysfunction is present in an adult, masturbation may be prescribed by a sex
therapist to allow a person to experience an orgasm (often in women) or to delay
its arrival (often in men).
Is Masturbation Normal?
While it once was regarded as a perversion and a sign of a mental problem,
masturbation now is regarded as a normal, healthy sexual activity that is
pleasant, fulfilling, acceptable and safe. It is a good way to experience sexual
pleasure and can be done throughout life.
Masturbation is only considered a problem when it inhibits sexual activity
with a partner, is done in public, or causes significant distress to the person.
It may cause distress if it is done compulsively and/or interferes with daily
life and activities.
Is Masturbation Harmful?
In general, the medical
community considers masturbation to be a natural and harmless expression of
sexuality for both men and women. It does not cause any physical injury or harm to the body, and can be
performed in moderation throughout a person’s lifetime as a part of normal
sexual behavior. Some cultures and religions oppose the use of masturbation or
even label it as sinful. This can lead to guilt or shame about the behavior.
Some experts suggest that masturbation can actually improve
sexual health and
relationships. By exploring your own body through masturbation, you can
determine what is erotically pleasing to you and can share this with your
partner. Some partners use mutual masturbation to discover techniques for a more
satisfying sexual relationship and to add to their mutual intimacy.
WebMD Medical Reference