What happens when you hear the word masturbation? Do you blush, giggle, feel ashamed… or smile knowingly & contentedly to yourself? There are lots of myths and misinformation about masturbating, so I’m here to set the record straight. Can you masturbate too much? Is excessive masturbation dangerous? Long story short: although masturbation is definitely a private pleasure, it’s also nothing to feel guilty about and it doesn’t cause any harm. You’ll discover new & exciting ways to spice up your self-pleasure sessions at the end of this article too!
What Is Masturbation?
Masturbation is the act of deriving sexual pleasure from touching your genitals (or other body areas which result in sexual pleasure for you). This might be done with your hand(s) or with accessories such as sex toys and other intimate use products. The term masturbation usually refers to pleasuring oneself, but you may also masturbate a partner –where you give them sexual stimulation with your hands or with sex accessories.
Penis masturbation is usually done by moving hands up and down an erect penis, which is aided by using sex lubricant or masturbation cream. People with a vulva, clitoris and vagina might use their fingers (again, perhaps aided by using lube) to rub the clitoris until satisfied.
Other forms of masturbation include anal play, where anal-specific toys should be used as these have a flared base to stop them being pulled up into the body. Anal toys include static and vibrating butt plugs, anal beads and prostate massagers –for people who have a prostate, of course.
Although masturbation often leads to an orgasm, it doesn’t always –and it doesn’t have to. Masturbation is an enjoyable and relaxing activity whether you choose to finish with an orgasm or not. Even if you do have an orgasm, that may not signal the end of the solo or shared masturbation session. I feel it would be a positive step if people could move away from seeing orgasm as the ‘end goal’ or ‘finish line’ for any sexual pleasure session, as it would relieve a lot of the pressure people can feel to reach orgasm or give their partner an orgasm.
Why Do People Masturbate?
Masturbation is often a person’s first ever sexual experience and explored during puberty, which is the time when our bodies change for adulthood and are flooded with hormones. Puberty is a time of a heightened awareness of our body in a sexual sense, as well as an awareness of and curiosity about sexuality as a whole.
From those first explorations, people may discover how exciting, enjoyable and relaxing masturbation can be, and it becomes something that a lot of adults engage in from time to time.
Masturbation keeps you in tune with your body, it helps with personal body positivity, self-confidence as well as relaxing you with the flood of endorphins should you choose to have an orgasm. It is a healthy part of many adults’ intimate lives.
Are There Any Rules?
There is no right or wrong way to masturbate, just make sure you follow safety precautions if you decide to use extra tools like sex toys and lubricant. The main rules to follow with toys and sex lubes are:
- Don’t switch sex toys between anal and vaginal use, as you’ll likely transfer dangerous bacteria
- Any toys used for anal exploration and stimulation must have a flared or otherwise anal-safe base
- Only use sex toys which are made with body-safe and non-toxic materials
- Ensure you’re using a compatible lubricant for your sex toy, and for your body (particularly relevant for those with a vagina
- If at any point your masturbation session isn’t fun and pleasurable, stop.
Myths & Rumours: Masturbation Perception Over Time
Perhaps you’ve heard some myths pertaining to masturbation in the past. Let’s get the main ones out of the way.
- Your palms will get hairy
- You’ll go blind
- Masturbating too often weakens your sperm & makes you infertile
- God is watching, you’ll go to hell
I’m pleased to tell you that all of the above are complete and utter rubbish. With regards sperm count, any effect is temporary after your masturbation session – you’ll be back at typical sperm count for your age in a day or so.
How Often Is Normal? What Would Be Excessive?
Firstly, you don’t have to masturbate at all if you don’t want to, or if you’ve tried and it just isn’t for you. There’s nothing wrong with you if masturbation isn’t your thing.
Perhaps it is specifically not masturbating, either on your own through choice and will power, or with the ‘help’ of a third party like a partner, Dominant, owner or Keyholder, that you prefer and psychologically ‘get off’ on.
When it comes to how much masturbation is normal, it really depends how you’re defining normal. Are you comparing your masturbating frequency to the average from all the masturbators round the world? Or meaning normal as in within the typical scope of life as an adult human who masturbates? By default, then, your masturbation habits will be ‘normal’.
Still worried that you’re masturbating too much? Think about the specific side-effects which are causing you to worry. Masturbation doesn’t cause any harm, whether mentally or physically, even if you masturbate a lot. Obviously, you can develop soreness and chafing if you masturbate loads in a short amount of time. Using a great quality lubricant can help with this.
If you masturbate so often that you’re physically damaging yourself despite using lube, or you’re unable to fulfil everyday responsibilities and obligations in life, I would recommend seeking specialist advice from a doctor or therapist.
Research & Findings
Time for some numbers!
The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior reported some interesting findings in 2014:
- Just under 25% of women aged 18-39 masturbated between once a week & a few times a month. 10% masturbated twice or more per week.
- Just over 25% of men ages 18-39 masturbated on a weekly basis. Another 25% masturbated twice or more per week.
These are self-reported figures, although they’re anonymous, but it’s worthwhile considering that any residual stigma or shame about masturbation could have skewed these figures.
In 2019, TENGA conducted a Self-Pleasure Report in the USA. This revealed that amongst people who masturbated (84% of Americans), 60% masturbated at least once a week. 23% masturbated just once a month. Just under 75% of respondents considered masturbation a form of self-care.
Benefits Of Masturbation
Masturbation doesn’t just feel good, there are some physical and psychological benefits to masturbating too.
- May help lower the risk of prostate cancer
- Relieves stress
- Eases menstrual cramps
- Can improve your sleep
- No risk of pregnancy or STIs
- Helps you understand your body better, from a physical stimulation point of view
- Increases heart rate & boosts circulation
- Relieves sexual frustration, which could be affecting other areas of life
- Harmless, guilt-free pleasure which doubles as self-care
- Helps keep your sex drive ticking over, your libido stoked
- Can lead to the discovery of new sexual fantasies, whether you share those with a partner or simply enjoy learning more about these intimate parts of your psyche
All the above –and masturbation doesn’t have to cost a penny!
How To Spice Up Your Self-Pleasure Sessions
As well as adding lubricant to aid glide and provide additional comfort, sex toys are a great way to spice up masturbation sessions. Using a product specifically for intimate stimulation will allow you to experience a range of different sensations to when you just use fingers and hands. For example, there are vaginal dildos and vibrators, clitoral stimulators, penis strokers, prostate massagers and various anal play toys.