Masturbation, Oh My!
There are too many rumors flying around about masturbation… how are you supposed to know what’s true?
It’s time to get real here and sort out the truths from the myths. Hint: there are a ton of crappy rumors out there that are just trying to scare you into abstinence!
There are so many people that have questions about masturbation or self-pleasure:
- Is it ok to masturbate?
- Is masturbation a sin? Immoral?
- How much masturbation is too much?
- Is masturbating healthy?
- Should I abstain from masturbating to keep my energy up?
- And so many more common and uncommon questions… (all answered at the bottom of this article.)
It’s no wonder there are so many questions surrounding the topic of masturbation. Sex as a whole is still a very taboo subject to discuss, and masturbation is even more taboo!
I could go into all the cultural, religious, and other reasons why sex is so taboo in our society currently, but that might take all day. The bottom line is still the same: sexuality is NOT widely embraced in our society. (And what a shame that is!!)
I am a huge advocate for removing the taboo on sex. Read more about that in my article: Screw The Taboo.
Who ever created the sex ed classes for students (at least in America) has done a total disservice to our society by only teaching abstinence and fear of disease. Because of the lack of vital, open and REAL information, we are left with a population of young adults that spreads crazy rumors about masturbation and doesn’t know how to engage with a sexual partner on a HEALTHY level.
Would you surprised to know that almost everybody masturbates?
I would be willing to bet these number are actually low because not everyone is willing to admit that they have done such a taboo thing!
So let’s open up the discussion here on what’s true and what’s total crap.
Masturbation does not cause:
- hairy palms
- low libido
- impotence later in life
- erectile dysfunction
- penis shrinkage
- penis curvature
- low sperm count
- mental illness / insanity
- physical weakness
- STD’s / STI’s
- Cancer; In fact, some studies have shown a reduced risk of prostate cancer for men that ejaculate on a regular basis!
None of these are true. You may have been told one or more of these as a scare tactic to get you to stop touching your penis. It’s just a scare tactic though; NOT true!
What masturbation MAY cause:
Decreased sexual sensitivity
- This is only true for some people that take masturbation to extreme levels on a regular basis. More on this topic below in the FAQ’s section.
- This may be true for the people that accept the pressures of the people and culture around them. Once the outside pressures can be removed and you can accept what is true for YOU alone, then the guilt will magically disappear.
- This is only true for a small percentage of people, and its only people that are susceptible to addiction disorders to begin with. A basic question to ask yourself here: is masturbation getting in the way of your day-to-day functioning? More on this below in the FAQ’s.
The Truth About Masturbation
To put it very simply: masturbation is totally normal and healthy!
Self-pleasuring is great for getting to know your own body, exploring your own sexuality, promoting intimacy, releasing tensions, and releasing dopamine in the brain ( the “pleasure” chemical.)
Masturbation has been identified as a strategy in not only improving sexual health, but also in reducing unwanted pregnancies and in preventing STI’s. (Too bad they’re not teaching this is Sex Ed classes, huh?)
Benefits of masturbation include:
- reduce stress
- release tension
- enhance sleep quality
- boost concentration
- elevate mood
- relieve menstrual cramps
- alleviate pain
- improve sex
Ok so that’s all of the clinical answers on masturbation, but here’s my personal take on the matter:
Masturbation is necessary for a healthy and thriving sex life. If you don’t want a healthy and thriving sex life, then you don’t need to even think about masturbation. And that’s ok!
But for anyone that WANTS a fucking fantastic sex life, then masturbation is a vital part of getting there!
You need to know your body intimately. You need to know every little nuance of touch and sensation that your body craves. Knowing how to bring YOURSELF to orgasm is the first step in having great sex with a partner. You can’t expect your partner to make you cum if you can’t get yourself there first!
Any fear or insecurities you have surrounding touch and your own body needs to be overcome through masturbation BEFORE you can fully engage with a sexual partner on a healthy and connected level.
Masturbation seems to be more accepted for men in our society currently, but I encourage women to be more open in exploring their own bodies. For women that are just getting started, or are a bit uncomfortable with masturbation, here’s a great podcast by Sexologist Juliet Allen to really get you on the right track: CLICK HERE FOR PODCAST
Frequently Asked Questions about Masturbation
Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about masturbation, and some not-so-common questions as well:
Is masturbation healthy? Normal? Safe?
Yes, yes and yes!
Masturbation is the safest form of sexual activity! We are all sexual beings and it’s totally normal to feel horny and turned on at times. A healthy way to engage that sexual energy is through masturbation.
What I find very UNhealthy is when you suppress your sexuality by forcing yourself to abstain from any sexual activity. You may choose to abstain from sexual intercourse with a partner for various reasons, but you do not have to suppress your sexual energy completely. Masturbation is the healthy outlet here.
What’s a healthy amount of masturbation?
There is no right answer here. This is what you have to figure out for yourself as each individual may have a different answer here. I think as long as you do not go to either extreme here (too little or too much,) then you just go with what feels right for you.
How much is too much?
As long as you are able to function in your daily life, (go to work, talk with family and friends, and do everyday tasks,) then you’re totally fine. If your frequency of masturbation is taking priority over your daily life, then you may have an addiction issue. I would encourage you to seek some help with a professional; preferably a sex therapist.
Does masturbation diminish your energy levels or make you drowsy?
This is probably the most commonly asked question surrounding masturbation.
It’s important to separate out two components here:
Masturbation does not always have to lead to an orgasm. It’s important to know that and to practice that. Removing the goal of achieving orgasm allows you to concentrate on the pleasing sensations you’re experiencing instead of forcing your body to clench up and climax. Removing that end-goal allows the person to relax, enjoy the moment and stay more present. It’s important to allow yourself some of these sessions in your life-long masturbation experiences because it allows you to really discover the depths of pleasure in your body. And that’s a wonderful exploration! You’re also then better prepared to show your next lover how best to please you!
What you’ll find (particularly for women here,) when you relax and just enjoy the sensations of masturbation is that you can reach a different kind of orgasm. This type of orgasm isn’t that sharp, eruptive type of orgasm that we typically associate with the word, but a more fluid, rolling type of orgasm. It’s an amazing experience for sure!
The drowsiness usually is present right after either partner climaxes. For men this means when they ejaculate and for women this usually means they’ve just had a clitoral orgasm. All the sexual energy that had been building and building in your body is released when climax is reached, hence the diminished energy.
Usually the drowsiness is temporary and within a few hours to a day, your energy is replenished fully.
The lowered energy levels can be avoided all together but not coming fully to a climax. This method is more often experienced by women because men just reach orgasms faster and easier than women (in general.)
On the flip side of this equation is the idea that if you just abstain from any sexual experience, including masturbation, all together that you’ll maintain higher energy levels. And this notion has been disproved many times; it’s just simply not true.
And for those that find themselves with anxious energy, stuck in their spiraling mind of endless worries and stresses… masturbating yourself to the point of climax is a highly effective method to RELIEVE all that anxious energy, help relax your body, and give you a dose of dopamine! Sometimes, you just need to RELEASE that excess energy!
Does masturbation lower sex drive (libido)?
You may feel tired after you reach climax as discussed in the previous question, but that does not affect your overall sex drive.
If anything, masturbation will help to INCREASE your libido because it’s a way to waken up your sexual energy. Sexual energy is a powerful source of energy, there is no doubt about that. With practice, you can train yourself to channel that primal energy and use it to fuel other parts of your life.
Can prolonged daily masturbation diminish a man’s performance with a partner?
This would only be a problem if the man in question was not able to keep an erection with his partner because he had masturbated prior to engaging with his partner.
Men need to know their limits here. Some men are able to keep an erection for multiple sexual sessions daily, and others for only one session per day.
If a man wants to be able to last longer and longer with his partner, he can practice a masturbation technique called edging. This is where you bring yourself close to an orgasm, but then back off before climaxing. And then you repeat the process again and again. You’ll find that with practice, you’re able to last longer and longer before ejaculating.
Is masturbation better or worse with toys?
Sex toys are fabulous for exploring your masturbation sessions! But some of the toys have gone pretty extreme lately and can give you false expectations of what would happen with a real partner.
For men: There are a wide variety of masturbation toys on the market now, and men LOVE them! (Check out the selection here.) It can be a great way to replicate the feeling of having intercourse with a real partner.
But whether you use a toy or your hand, be careful not to make it too extreme that a real partner wouldn’t be able to come close to that sensation. For example, if you’re used to a death grip on your cock to get yourself off, then practice loosening your grip so that it comes closer to replicating the feel of a real vagina (assuming you’re heterosexual.)
For women: Vibrators can be a girl’s best friend! (This one is my personal favorite!) It’s an easy and quick way to masturbate to reach an orgasm. (You can read about my personal journey with sex toys here.) BUT…
No man (or woman,) can replicate the fast pulsations of a vibrator. So if the vibrator is the only way you can achieve orgasm, then it’s time to retrain yourself. The good news is that you know you CAN achieve climax! So take your time, relax, and practice masturbating with just your hands. It’s going to take longer, but that’s not a bad thing is it??
Vibrators are the most common go-to toy for women, but you can also use a dildo that doesn’t vibrate. Just be careful in choosing the size of the dildo because most actual men won’t be able to measure up to the KING KONG-sized dong you’ve had your eye on!
How do you get the same sensations when with a partner?
When you’re masturbating, try to come close to replicating realistic sensations.
Instead of using a giant-sized dildo, use a smaller dildo that is closer to the size of a real penis. (read more about penis size here.)
Instead of using a death-grip on your cock to get yourself off, loosen your grip to mimic an actual vagina.
You don’t have to do this all the time in your masturbation sessions, but it’s highly recommended to do this SOME of the times. The last thing you need is to have unrealistic expectations for your next lover because of how you’ve been masturbating.
Does masturbation affect your chances of finding a partner? (If you can do it yourself, why find someone else?)
Some people are perfectly happy to not be in a relationship and will use self-pleasure as their sexual outlet. And that’s totally fine.
But assuming you want to find a suitable partner in the future, masturbation is certainly not going to have a negative impact in your search. I feel it’ll actually help you! When you are in touch with your body, you are more confident as a whole person. That confidence is projected out and is highly attractive to others! You may find with your new level of confidence, you are a magnet for suitable partners.
Will masturbation help me and my partner while we have sex?
Masturbation is a great way to get to know your own body incredibly well so that when you do engage sexually with a partner, you already know what you like and what you desire. You can guide your lover in how to please you… and THAT is a HIGHLY attractive feature of a lover!
Another really fun way to get to know your lover is to masturbate in front of each other. You may need to build a level of trust first before your partner is ready to engage on this level, but it’s so erotic and such a turn on! And really – watching your lover please themselves is the best way to see what they like and HOW they like it. If you haven’t already tried this, pluck up the courage and do it! (If you’re shy in asking your partner to try this technique, just send them the link to this article and ask them if there’s anything in here they’d like to try with you. Hint hint!!)
Will masturbation hinder your social and emotional development?
If you develop an addiction to masturbation, then yes it’s going to affect lots of areas of your life, but that’s true of most addictions.
Outside of any addictions, masturbation can actually lead to increased confidence, less anxiousness and a happier disposition. To me, that’s going to mean furthering your social and emotional development!
Is it ok to masturbate when I’m in a relationship? When I’m married? Should I tell my partner? Should we do it together?
Masturbation while in a relationship is totally fine and healthy! In fact, I highly recommend it in front of each other as I outlined in the previous question.
And for the sake of your marriage, do SOMETHING to keep your sex life alive! Read my article 6 Ways to Spice Up Your Sex Life. If the sex life in a marriage dies, I can almost guarantee that one of the spouses is resenting the other because of it.
If you find yourself masturbating in secret because your partner isn’t able to get you off, or just isn’t wanting to engage with you sexually, then you’ve got a problem. You can do nothing or say nothing, and then nothing is going to change. If you want your sex life to change, then you’ve got to do something about it.
And this is where I tell women: STOP FAKING IT.
You are only doing yourself a disservice by faking orgasms to please your partner. Try this instead: Tell your partner you’re going to give them a show. They only get to watch; no touching allowed! Then you masturbate in front of them, bringing yourself to a real orgasm. Tell your partner that they have to do the same moves to you for the next session. Then you get to guide them that next time so they’re hitting all the right spots for you. But don’t fake it! Be real and regain some power over your sex life!
Do you have to use porn to masturbate?
No, you don’t have to use anything to masturbate if you don’t want to. Many people love the visual stimulation of looking at porn or a magazine while masturbating. And there are endless varieties of porn to choose from. But you can also imagine a scene in your mind, and then you can take the scene where you want it to go. And that’s always fun too!
Does masturbation cause pain?
The short answer here is NO. If you are doing something to your body and it is painful, then back off and try something else. If you think there may be an underlying medical issue, consult your doctor for a professional assessment.
There are some people that like to push their sensation levels to what some would call pain. It is a way to make yourself highly awake and present in the moment. That is a thrilling space for some to play in. I would caution you here to not cross the line into self-mutilation, (cutting is one example.) If you find yourself there, please reach out to a trusted person for help.
Will masturbation turn you into a pervert?
Nope. It’s a healthy outlet for your sexuality.
Just don’t masturbate openly in front of children ok? That’ll make you a pervert.
Will masturbating make you go blind? Give you hairy palms?
No and no. These are just scare tactics told to kids to get them to stop touching their genitals.
Is masturbation considered self-abuse?
No. It’s a way to discover the needs, wants and desires of your body. That is not abuse.
Will masturbating cause infertility?
In general, no.
For women who masturbate, their vaginal fluids are generally more abundant, which leads to an ideal environment to get pregnant. (Don’t worry ladies, you’re not going to get pregnant just because you masturbate.)
For men in general: Your sperm is replenished on a daily basis from the time you hit puberty and well into your later years. You could masturbate multiple times daily and still be perfectly able to father a child.
For men trying to conceive a child with a woman: Millions of new sperm is produced every day in a healthy male body. To get optimal sperm count and quality, it’s generally recommended that a man ejaculate 1-2 days prior (and not sooner) to when you want to impregnate a woman who is ovulating. For a man that has low sperm count, this recommendation may be altered. Consult a fertility specialist for your specific diagnosis.
Is masturbation a steppingstone to a homosexual lifestyle?
Nope. It doesn’t matter how you identify yourself sexually, it’s totally normal and healthy for anyone and everyone to engage in masturbation.
Is it possible to break the hymen and bleed when masturbating?
Penetrative masturbation–whether with fingers or sex toys–can stretch the hymen of a woman that has not already stretched (broken) her hymen. It’s the stretching of the hymen that can cause some bleeding initially.
The hymen is a highly misunderstood body part and does NOT always equate being a virgin with having an intact hymen. Read more about it here
What about the NoFap movement?
I will address this in my next blog post (read it here) as this needs a whole article devoted to this movement. Be sure you’ve subscribed to my blog so you don’t miss any new articles in the future.
Masturbation is completely healthy and is a key aspect of a thriving sex life!
Leave the guilt at the doors that society built and embrace the fuck out of your pleasure-seeking body!
If you have additional questions about masturbation that weren’t covered here, drop me a comment below and I’ll be happy to answer them.