Is the sexual stimulation of the genitals, usually to the point of orgasm. The stimulation can be performed using the hands, fingers, everyday objects, or dedicated sex toys. Mutual masturbation, masturbation with a partner, can be an alternative to sexual intercourse. Studies have found that masturbation is frequent in humans of both sexes and all ages, although there is variation. Various medical and psychological benefits have been attributed to a healthy attitude to sex in general and to masturbation in particular, and no causal relationship is known between masturbation and any form of mental or physical disorder. Acts of masturbation have been depicted in art worldwide since prehistory. While there was a period (from the late 18th to the early 20th century) when it was subject to medical censure and social conservatism, it is considered a normal part of healthy life today. It is commonly mentioned in popular music as well as on television, in films and in literature.
Masturbation is the self-stimulation of the sex organs, most often to the point of orgasm. Sixty to ninety percent of adolescent boys and 40 percent of girls masturbate. Although people’s attitudes about masturbation differ widely, there is no evidence that masturbation is in any way physically, psychologically, or emotionally harmful. For many young people, masturbation is an opportunity for private sexual exploration before deciding to engage is sexual activity with another person. It is also considered the safest form of sex in the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV).
Masturbation allows a healthy way to express and explore one’s sexuality and to release sexual tension without the associated risks of sexual intercourse, according to many healthcare providers. They also agree that masturbation is a natural, normal, and healthy way of self-exploration and sexual expression. It is increasingly recognized among mental health professionals that masturbation can relieve depression and lead to a higher sense of self worth. Masturbation can also be particularly useful in relationships in which one partner wants more sexual activity than the other, in which case masturbation provides a balancing effect.
Many conservative religious groups teach that masturbation is a sinful practice. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2352, lists masturbation as one of the “Offenses against Chastity” and calls it “an intrinsically and gravely disordered action” because “use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose.” It goes on to caution that extenuating factors could exist, such as immaturity, habitual, or psychological problems. The discussion of masturbation has been controversial for hundreds of years and still is to some extent in the early 2000s, more so in the United States than Europe and other Western nations. Children caught by their parents masturbating are often punished and told it is a sin. In fact, there is no mention of the word “masturbation” or “self-pleasure” in the Bible. Children are also often told it is wrong or unhealthy, myths that are not supported by medical research.
In the early 2000s, masturbation has become more accepted for both males and females yet there is still a stigma about discussing it openly. College courses on human sexuality include materials and discussion of masturbation, and many parenting manuals deal with ways to affirm a child’s self-pleasing habits rather than degrading or punishing the child. Many sex therapists believe that to have better sexual experiences with a partner, an individual needs to learn to masturbate first since it is the best way to learn what one likes and does not like in his or her sex acts.
Most people think of masturbation as a very personal and private act involving using only the hands to manipulate the genitals. Ways of masturbating common to both males and females include pressing or rubbing the genital area against an object, inserting a finger or other object into the anus, and stimulating the penis or clitoris with electric vibrators, which can also be inserted into the anus or vagina. Some males and females enjoy touching, rubbing, or pinching their nipples while masturbating, and both sexes also sometimes use lubricants, such as hand lotion, to improve the sensation.
Masturbation in Males
The most common form of masturbation, especially in circumcised males, is to wrap one or both hands or several fingers and thumb around the erect penis and stroke it up and down until ejaculation. This action results in no direct stimulation of the head of the penis and ejaculation is achieved almost entirely from stimulation of the penis shaft and its contact against the underside of the head of the penis only. In uncircumcised males, it is most common to grip the skin of the penis and move it up and down, resulting in repeated sliding of the foreskin back and forth over the head of the penis until orgasm is reached.
Another common method is to rub the erect penis against a smooth surface, such as a mattress or pillow until ejaculation is reached. Less common masturbation techniques include use of an artificial vagina or other “sex toy.”
In 2003, an Australian research team led by Graham Giles of the Cancer Council published a medical study that concluded frequent masturbation by males may help prevent the development of prostate cancer and that it would be more helpful than ejaculation through sexual intercourse because intercourse can transmit diseases which can increase the risk of cancer instead.
Masturbation in Females
Females most commonly masturbate by stroking or rubbing the vulva, especially the clitoris, with hands and fingers until orgasm is reached. Females also may use running water to stimulate the vulva or insert fingers or a hard object into the vagina. Many women are only able to achieve orgasm through masturbation. Some women can experience sexual stimulation simply by crossing their legs tightly.
One enduring myth is that female masturbation can lead to decreased sensitivity of the clitoris resulting in a decrease in the frequency and intensity of female orgasm. However, the evidence points the other way and suggests that women who have engaged in masturbation have a better understanding of their own genital anatomy and can guide their sexual partners in appreciating the specific sexual acts that contribute to female orgasm.
DISADVANTAGES OF MASTURBATION
- Most people who masturbate have a feeling of guilt of doing something they have been made to believe is bad. Most of these feelings arose from religious or cultural taboo and traditional beliefs on sexual behaviour and practices.
- Bruising of the genital organs can occur during masturbation, particularly if they are handled roughly during the act or if there is not enough lubrication. These can cause a lot of pain and can lead to serious infection if contaminated by germs.
- Like all habits, it may be difficult to break for some people. The tendency is also there for adolescents to do nothing else but masturbate whenever they have some free time. This is bad as it does not allow them to develop other aspects of their talent and broaden their horizon for the world ahead.
- There is the danger that masturbation may be preferred to normal sexual intercourse, and this may affect sexual relationship after marriage.
- In men, masturbation has been known to be associated with premature ejaculation, that is, having ejaculation before or just after sexual intercourse has begun.
- If a person thinks of masturbation and nothing else or if his or her whole existence revolves around masturbation then there is something harmful but if one enjoys masturbation with full control, it is not harmful.
However, the dangers of masturbation have been exaggerated. It may not lead to any physical injury unless one is addicted to it. Any ill effects which masturbation may result are feeling of anxiety, guilt, or self condemnation which it brings. Masturbation is looked upon as wicked, sinful and abnormal by elders and it results in sexual anxieties among children.
In spite of the religious and cultural disapproval, masturbation is widely practiced especially by adolescents (As from 20 to 35 years old). As part of healthy development, it is acceptable but however, it can become a habit that may affect future normal sexual relationship.
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