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Questions and Answers

What is Masturbation? Is It Safe to Masturbate?

satisfied-looking lube cartoon with safer sex gloves

Masturbation is the act of giving yourself sexual pleasure. This can be done on your own, or with a partner (or partners). There are lots of different ways to masturbate, including using toys, or your hands. Many people use masturbation to explore what they’re into sexually.

Masturbation can be good for you! It can cause your body to release some hormones and oxytocin, which can relieve pain and make you feel affectionate and nurturing. These benefits can help reduce headaches, menstrual cramps, muscle aches, and stress. There are lots of reasons people masturbate. Most people masturbate at least in part because it just feels good! Read on to learn more about masturbation and safer sex.

Can I get an STI from masturbating?

In a lot of ways, masturbation is a totally healthy habit! There is some risk of giving yourself a bacterial infection if you masturbate without washing your hands, or with unclean sex toys. You can make masturbation safer by washing your hands with gentle soap and water and trimming any sharp edges off your nails before you start. Sex toys can be cleaned a few different ways. Some can be boiled or run through a dishwasher to sterilize them, while others have different cleaning instructions. If you’re not sure, check the package your toy came in, or try doing a google search on how to clean the materials it’s made of.

You can’t give yourself an STI that you don’t already have. This includes through masturbation! There can be a risk of spreading an infection you already have in one part of your body to another part of your body. For example, if you’re having a herpes outbreak in your genital area, it’s possible for you to spread that to your mouth. You can reduce this risk by:

  • Washing your hands before and after you masturbate
  • Wearing latex or nitrile gloves
  • Cleaning your sex toys thoroughly
  • Putting a condom over any toys you’ve shared or plan on sharing with another person
  • Knowing your STI status

It is also possible to give or get some STIs through mutual masturbation with a partner. Mutual masturbation is considered lower-risk for STIs than some other sex acts, but it’s still a good idea to talk to your partner about it! You can practice safer sex during mutual masturbation using the same techniques listed above.

Is it normal to masturbate? Is it okay?

About 95% of adults masturbate, or have masturbated at some point. Even the American Medical Association says that masturbation is normal and healthy. There’s no reason to feel guilty or ashamed of masturbating.  Some people feel that it’s immoral, or a sin. Other times, people may feel uncomfortable with their own sexuality, and that can make them feel bad about masturbating. But masturbating isn’t wrong, and it is normal. Masturbating doesn’t make you a bad person.

Some people think that it’s more common for people with penises to masturbate! This may come from ideas that people have about gender and sex drive. Most people masturbate, regardless of what kind of body they have.

Although masturbation is extremely common and normal, some people do it less often than others, or not at all. That’s okay too! You should never feel obligated to masturbate if you don’t want to.

Different people enjoy masturbating more often than others. Masturbating less than once a month is just as normal as masturbating more than once a day. Some people don’t masturbate at all, and that’s normal too.

Can you masturbate too much?

Some people worry that they like masturbation too much. For a lot of people, this isn’t true. Masturbating is fine as long as it doesn’t keep you from doing the things you enjoy, like school, work, or spending time with friends.

If you have the urge to masturbate but don’t want to, there are lots of ways to distract yourself. Try thinking of things that aren’t sexual to you, like a test at school, or a chore you have to do. You can also use other physical activities, like running or riding a bike, to release energy. Or you can channel your energy into a hobby, or take a shower to cool yourself down. While it’s totally okay to masturbate, you don’t always have to. Sometimes it might not be the right time or place, or you might want to do something else. You can always masturbate another time.

Can masturbation affect muscle growth? Will it hurt my body?

Many people worry that masturbation might affect how they gain muscle. Masturbation can release certain hormones in your body, and some of those hormones – like testosterone – are linked to muscle growth. But the effect that masturbation has on these hormones does not affect muscle growth. Masturbating won’t make your muscles any less developed than they are.

Some people may joke about side effects of “too much” masturbation. There is a common saying that if you masturbate too much, you can go blind. Sometimes people joke about getting “hairy palms” from masturbating. Neither of these are real side effects of masturbation. Masturbation is not harmful to your body at all.

For more on masturbation and your health, check out the resources below!

More info:

  • How do you masturbate? – Scarleteen

    Scarleteen answer the question: “How do you masturbate?” for people with female bodies.

  • Can I get an STI from Masturbating?

    Planned Parenthood talks about whether its possible to contract an STI from masturbation for someone who has had no previous sexual contact

  • Is Masturbation Healthy?

    Information regarding the benefits of masturbation and how you can make sure you are being safe and sanitary when you masturbate.

  • Is Masturbation okay?

    A Scarleteen article that discusses the question “is masturbation okay?” The article discusses: basic statistics; common myths and misconceptions; some information about how to masturbate; and some frequently asked questions and answers.
    -“

  • Morality of Masturbation – GoAskAlice

    Is masturbation immoral? Is it a sin? Is it normal?
    Allowing your own morals and beliefs to guide you when it comes to your own sexuality and self-love. 

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