Sexuality and U
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Sexual Health

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Masturbation

Masturbation is one of the most common sexual activities, and refers to self-stimulation of the sexual organs. What men and women learn about their own sexual responses through masturbation helps them provide information to their partners about what feels best during lovemaking.

There are a number of reasons why people masturbate. Probably the biggest reason is that it feels good. Some people masturbate to relieve stress or relax. Masturbation is an excellent way of having frequent orgasms. Many women experience their most powerful orgasms through masturbation, and generally use what they have learned in pleasuring themselves to enrich the quality of their sex lives. Everyone experiences feeling “horny” or wanting sexual release and masturbation is a way to feel sexual pleasure.

Masturbation provides a person with a way to learn about her or his own sexuality. It can help us to figure out what kind of touch feels best. When a person knows what feels good sexually, he or she can show an intimate partner how they like to be touched which can contribute to a satisfying sexual component of a relationship.

Masturbation is the touching of one’s own body, usually the penis or vaginal area, for sexual pleasure. Common forms of masturbation are when a male strokes his penis up and down with his hand or a female touches her clitoris or inserts her fingers into her vagina. Most people will have sexual fantasies while they masturbate. Usually people masturbate until they have an orgasm.

Some people masturbate using sex toys such as vibrators or dildos (a sex toy that looks like an erect penis). The most popular type of sex toys used for masturbation are vibrators that women can use to stimulate the clitoral area. 

Whatever self-pleasuring technique works best for you is what you should use. There are no rules in masturbation - only that you make it a private act (or with your partner) - and that no one dictates to you how often you indulge yourself.  How you masturbate is a matter of whatever feels right for you - you can’t masturbate “wrong”. You’ll probably find that you get better at it each time you do it. There’s also no such thing as too much, but you might get sore if you rub a lot. And no, you won’t go blind, you won’t grow hair on your palms, your hands aren’t going to fall off, and there is no such thing as a man running out of sperm.

There are also reasons why some people choose not to masturbate. Not all people have the same level of sexual desire. So, it’s not surprising that some people masturbate frequently and some masturbate only occasionally or not at all. In other words, some people don’t masturbate because they don’t feel like it.  

Some people choose not to masturbate because it conflicts with their personal values (e.g., their religious beliefs). In some religious traditions people should only engage in sexual activity if it is between a husband and a wife and/or if the sexual activity can result in the conception of a child. People who come from religious backgrounds that don’t approve of masturbation may feel guilty about doing it.     

The bottom line is that if you want to masturbate, you enjoy it, and you feel comfortable with it in terms of your own personal values then there is no reason not to. On the other hand if don’t feel the desire to masturbate or feel that masturbation is not consistent with your personal values then that is OK too.

Some people may be concerned that they masturbate too often. There is no set number that can used to judge if a person masturbates too much. A general guideline is that if a person masturbates so frequently that it regularly interfers with important daily activities such as school, work, sports, or being with friends or relationship partners, then the person may want to reconsider how often they masturbate.

“Seeking sexual satisfaction is a basic desire, and masturbation is our first natural sexual activity. It’s the way we discover our eroticism, the way we learn to respond sexually, the way we learn to love ourselves and to build self-esteem.”

-Betty Dodson, renowned artist, author and sex educator

And, said Woody Allen, “it’s having sex with the one you love.”