Masturbation is defined as the sexual stimulation of one's own genitals, usually for the purpose of reaching orgasm. Masturbation can be performed in many ways: using the fingers, hands, everyday objects, or specific sex toys to stimulate one or more areas of the genital region. Throughout history masturbation has been a common and effective way for men and women to learn about their bodies and to understand and explore their sexuality. Literature on male masturbation techniques is not quite as varied as it is for female methods; however, males do, on average, report masturbating more frequently than females. 1 Masturbating can help a man learn which areas of his body are the most sensitive and pleasurable when aroused. This physical awareness can help a man understand his own body, communicate his desires to his partner(s), and relieve sexual tension and stress.2 Male masturbation techniques are influenced by many different factors and personal preferences. Certain techniques that work for some men might be uncomfortable or difficult for others.
In the rest of this article, we outline some of the most common methods of male masturbation.
Manual stimulation includes the use of one’s hands to stimulate one’s genitals. By grasping the bottom of the shaft (the base of the penis) and moving the hand gently up and down, men can effectively stimulate their penis. Manual stimulation can arouse men quickly, as it increases the blood flow to their genital area and causes an erection. With increased stimulation of this area, it is common for men to reach orgasm and subsequent ejaculation. Men can experiment with manual stimulation by varying the speed at which they masturbate to experience different kinds of pleasure. Moreover, keeping one consistent speed can create a growing feeling of pleasure that can help men reach sexual climax.
Some men, if uncircumcised, enjoy pulling down the foreskin of their penis for increased stimulation.2 Others like to masturbate by gripping the penis with the palm facing downward and the thumb pointing towards them; this position is typically called the monkey grip. (Note For Kelsy: I will add a picture here to demonstrate! This position IS backwards.) To add variety to manual stimulation, some men will gently massage, pull, or hold their testicles while masturbating. Lastly, men who report being uncircumcised or simply find it difficult to masturbate can use water-based lubricant while masturbating to decrease friction and maximize pleasure. It is not recommended to use soap, as this might dry out the skin of your penis.
The Fleshlight is a brand of sex toy made to look and feel like a vulva (and vagina), anus, or mouth, depending on the type. The Fleshlight is named for the flesh-like material comprising its inner sleeve, as well as the plastic case that resembles a flashlight. Fleshlights can even come with custom-molded labia (the lips of the vulva), which are sometimes shaped to emulate popular pornstars. Many men choose to use the Fleshlight during masturbation, as it can better simulate the experience of having sex with a partner.
Other men prefer using life-like dolls designed for penetration. Some dolls are made out of plastic and are blown up; others are more life-like and made out of material resembling human skin.3 These dolls can range in price significantly, depending on who makes them, how realistic their features are, and what material they are made of. Some of these dolls can also be pre-ordered and custom-made to have pubic hair, smaller or larger breasts and hips, different-colored skin and eyes, and other varying life-like features.3
Other Sex Toys
There are hundreds of sex toys that are available for men and women. The dildo, for example, can be used to penetrate the anus to stimulate the anal nerves and prostate gland. Other sex toys for men are often molded into the shape of a buttox, mouth, or vulva (and vagina) and are available in different sizes, shapes, and even realistic colors.
Pornography is the purposeful exhibition of sexual subject matter for the purpose of sexual arousal typically through videos or pictures. Watching porn on the Internet can be enjoyable for men and women, and some men and women might engage in watching pornography while masturbating or with their partner(s). While some people use it regularly to become sexually aroused, others find pornography offensive and controversial. Thus, watching porn is a highly personalized decision that may or may not enhance one’s sexual experiences.
Porn includes a variety of different pictures and videos that are usually categorized by genre. These genres categorize porn in different ways. For example, porn might be categorized using different body parts, sex positions, sexual acts, or fetishes. Some pornographic websites require registration, while others are free.
Pornography is sometimes an unrealistic depiction of what sex really looks like in real life; therefore, it is crucial to watch porn understanding that the actors and actresses are photo-shopped, highly sexualized, and not representative of real men and women. Porn often demonstrates unequal power dynamics and stipulates unreasonable expectations on men and women. In no way should porn substitute comprehensive sex education.
Mutual masturbation is a sexual act that involves at least two people who stimulate each other’s genitals.1 If you have a partner that you feel comfortable with, having your partner manually stimulate your genitals or masturbating each other simultaneously can be a great way to explore your sexuality and to experience pleasure together. Communication is a very important factor when it comes to participating in sexual activities with a partner. It is important to be open and honest with one another and to help each other explore what the other likes.
Some couples find it enjoyable to watch each other masturbate, as it can be very sexually arousing. Couples will typically go about this by lying down next to each other or by masturbating while they face each other. This experience can serve to be very intimate and oftentimes requires communication and patience.
Although masturbating is very natural, it is not socially acceptable to masturbate whenever you please; therefore, we recommend you masturbate on your own personal time. Masturbating can be done in the privacy of your own room, shower, or other personal space.
Moreover, many men like to masturbate by fantasizing about women/men or watching porn. This type of behavior is normal and acceptable; however, it is very important to note that men should avoid watching or fantasizing about child pornography and rape. Being involved in child pornography in any way is illegal in the United States, and continuously watching pornographic scenes where the woman is getting raped against her will can create and lead to dangerous socialization and inappropriate behavior. If you believe that you may be addicted to pornography, have serious trouble becoming aroused without pornography, or have other major concerns, we ask that you contact a sex therapist that can help you work through these issues.
How Much is Too Much?
It really depends! Your masturbatory habits are probably fine, as long as masturbation or the lack thereof does not begin to intrude with your daily life. Masturbation is a form of sexual expression and liberation and is very subjective for each person. Although there is no specific number that separates masturbating just enough from masturbating too much, it is advised that if your sexual habits interfere with other parts of your life and/or stop you from doing daily activities, you may want to reduce your masturbatory habits.
Moreover, masturbating too much will not cause you to become less intelligent or less religious. Masturbation is completely normal and acceptable. It will not cause your IQ to go down or cause you to become sick. There are currently no records of studies that point to negative physical health effects from masturbating. Contrary to popular belief, masturbating is typically healthy and beneficial for the human body. It is normal for humans to want to touch themselves, and it should not be shamed or looked down upon. Masturbating cannot hinder your physical or psychological self. Although some religions and belief systems dictate that masturbation is a sin, looking at masturbation—from a physiological perspective—is typically a normal and healthy act.
There is absolutely no chance of getting a woman pregnant by masturbating. Even if you are thinking of a particular person while masturbating, or are mutually masturbating, the only way a woman has a chance of being pregnant is if semen enters her vagina. If you can learn by yourself what your body feels like and what feels good to you, then you can serve to facilitate strong communication skills if you are in a relationship.
No matter how you choose to masturbate, masturbating is a healthy act and an excellent way to explore your body. We encourage you to investigate your body to discover what different moves or techniques bring you pleasure. Thanks for reading and happy masturbation!
1. "Manual Stimulation | SexInfo Online." Manual Stimulation | SexInfo Online. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. http://www.soc.ucsb.edu/sexinfo/article/manual-stimulation
2. "Masturbation." Female & Male. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/sex-101/masturbation-23901.htm
3. “Real Dolls: Love In The Age of Silicon.” N.p., 11 Oct. 2005. Web. 18 Feb. 2014. Https://web.archive.org.
Created May 9th, 2003. Last Updated March 13, 2014.