FAQ: Is Masturbation Dangerous?

Detailed Question: 

Is Masturbation Dangerous?



Masturbation Is Not Dangerous!
Masturbation, or self-stimulation of the genitals for pleasure, is not a dangerous or bad activity for men or women. In fact, it is quite normal. It cannot cause any health problems-- even though there are many myths that warn of dangers. Masturbation does not cause fertility changes in men or women, such as decreased sperm or egg counts.


People have been told for hundreds of years that masturbation is bad, and some were even told that it poses health risks. Many people do not stop to question the validity of these messages and mistakenly believe them to be true. There are actually many benefits associated with masturbation: it can help to relieve stress and tension, help you to go to sleep, and it has been proven to aid in alleviating menstrual cramps. It helps you learn what kind of stimulation turns you on. It can also be viewed as a good workout for your cardiovascular system, and can improve self-esteem, self-confidence, and self-awareness. Masturbation also allows people to remain sexually active throughout the course of their entire life, partner or not!? 


There is no numerical safety limit to how many times a day one can or should masturbate. The only time a person should be concerned is if his or her masturbation is so frequent that it significantly interferes with other aspects of the individual's life. For example, if a young man stops socializing because all he wants to do is masturbate, he may become socially withdrawn which creates its own problems. Otherwise, pleasuring oneself is safe and enjoyable.

Are there Benefits to Masturbating?
Masturbation has several benefits. It relieves sexual tension and helps people become more comfortable with their own bodies. Masturbation while alone gives the individual sexual gratification without needing to engage in sexual activities with others, and it does not carry the risks of STIs or pregnancy. Through masturbation, a person can learn how he or she likes to be touched. Once in a sexual relationship, the individual can share this information with his or her partner to maximize pleasure. Some couples even masturbate with one another to broaden their range of sexual activities. For men, masturbation with stop-start techniques (halting stimulation just prior to orgasm, then touching oneself again once the orgasmic feeling has subsided) can help increase ejaculatory control.


Masturbation is an excellent way to learn about your sexual anatomy and unique sexual likes/dislikes and responses. Through experimentation (which is a normal activity), you can touch all the parts of your body and find out what brings you the most pleasure. This knowledge will help both you and your partner (present or future) to have a good sex life. Sex toys and lubricants can also help you explore and discover what gives you the most pleasure, allowing you to approach sex with a partner with more confidence and satisfaction.? 


Is it Normal to Masturbate?

Despite all of the rules and taboos placed around masturbation, there is nothing unnatural about it. Everyone is born with genitalia, and it is only natural that people experiment with touching their genitals during the course of their lives. Children often do so in the first year of life without any instruction or other prior learning. They touch their genitals because it brings them physical pleasure; they are not yet aware that society influences many people to consider it negatively. Many parents will attempt to stop their children from engaging in the taboo behavior if they see it or hear about it occurring. Ideally, however, parents should be helping their children understand the difference between behaviors that are appropriate in private and those that are appropriate in public. Parental discomfort and embarrassment play key roles in influencing the way parents talk to their children about sex and sexual topics. Even the most educated parents may have difficulty discussing masturbation, so it is not surprising that many children view masturbation as a bad thing.


Guilt and misinformation have been associated with masturbation for hundreds of years. It is only recently that people have begun to accept that masturbation is natural in humans and other species. Sex therapists encourage people to use masturbation as a good way to learn about their bodies and the types of stimulation that best arouse their sexual feelings. We should value masturbation as a learning process and overcome the strong taboos that are often still associated with it.? ?

Is Masturbating like Sex?
Self-pleasuring is a form of sexual expression. Masturbation is a type of sex. It is safe sex, since you cannot become pregnant or contract an STI (Sexually Transmitted Infection) while masturbating. You are reinforcing your identity as a sexual being every time you masturbate. You are casting off the taboos and negative thoughts from ancient belief systems and celebrating your sexuality. You will not go blind or be punished, as many old wives’ tales claim; instead, masturbation provides us with a way to escape the world and enter into the private world of our sexual selves.?

Real Life Testimonials?
My mom encouraged me to masturbate when I was growing up. She said that it would help me learn more about myself and what I enjoyed sexually. I do not have any anxieties about masturbation.?-J. Price?

My dad caught me masturbating when I was 13. He freaked out and said that I was a dirty boy and punished me harshly. From that time on, I feared masturbation and anything associated with sexual pleasure. I have felt much confusion and turmoil since then and have learned that it is important to foster good feelings about self-pleasuring in order to have a healthy sex life.?   -M. Harris?

Next to running, masturbating is my favorite way to clear my mind and relieve stress.?  -K. Blane?

My friends and I all thought it would be cool to go and buy vibrators. I felt so nervous and dirty the first time I used mine, and just could not relax and enjoy myself. It took several attempts to finally become comfortable with using the vibrator to playing with myself. Once I relaxed, I loved it and was able to learn what I liked and did not like for pleasurable sexual stimulation. My sex life and confidence have improved dramatically since then, and I recommend a vibrator to anyone not achieving the levels of pleasure that they desire during sex!?   -T. Marshall? ?

I went to a Catholic school through 8th grade where sex education was virtually non-existent. We were taught that masturbation would send us to Hell because we were committing a great sin. Since then, I have learned that masturbation is a positive expression of my unique sexuality and is perfectly normal. No more praying to God for forgiveness every time I engaged in my self-pleasuring activities!?   -P. Hasek? ?


?For more information regarding masturbation and the attitudes and views surrounding it, check out these great websites:


  1. Robert Crooks and Karla Baur, Our Sexuality. Seventh ed. Brooks/Cole Publishing Company: New York, 1999. Pg. 251.

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