Photo Credit: iallaMost people do it — yet so many people worry about doing it! That's because there are a lot of myths out there that masturbation is dirty, dangerous, or something to be embarrassed about doing. But the truth is, masturbation is a safe and healthy way to have sex, and it's here to stay.
Is masturbation unhealthy? The myth is that masturbation makes you blind, crazy, or stupid, damages your sex organs, or stunts your growth. This couldn't be further from the truth. Masturbation is not emotionally or physically harmful in any way. Plus, solo sex is the ultimate form of safer sex — there is no risk of pregnancy or infection.
Do girls masturbate? Truth is, girls and women do masturbate, and there's no reason why they shouldn't. In fact, one study showed that women who masturbate have higher self-esteem than those who don't.
Is there such a thing as too much masturbation? According to the experts (the American Psychiatric Association), it's only when masturbation gets in the way of daily activities — like going to school or work, or meeting friends — that it would be considered "too much." Also, some people worry that masturbating frequently will affect a girl's ability to get pregnant or a guy's ability to produce sperm. It doesn't.
Can masturbation cause pregnancy? It's not possible to get pregnant from masturbating, unless semen is spilled on a woman’s vulva.
If I masturbate with an object, can it give me a sexually transmitted infection? When it comes to using objects, it’s not possible unless more than one person is using the object. Infections can be spread if objects are shared and someone has an infection. Condoms can be used on sex toys that go into the vagina or anus if partners want to share them. Use a new condom for each partner — and for each part of the body.
Do people masturbate together? Mutual masturbation is when sexual partners stimulate their own or their partner’s genitals. To play it safe, make sure you and your partner wash your hands after you touch yourself and before touching your partner (or vice versa). STDs can spread this way too! If you are a woman and your partner is male, it is also possible to get pregnant if his sperm enters your vagina at any point. Another way you can play it really safe is through using latex (or nitrile-based) gloves when touching your partner (and they can use a different pair of gloves when touching you). This is especially important if you or your partner has open sores, scratches, or cuts on your hands or genitals. Gloves are also an important safer sex option to consider if either you or your partner is infected with an STD, like HIV or herpes. Learn more about Gloves, dental dams, and ways people protect themselves during sex.
What should I do if my parents catch me masturbating? Talking with them about it might open the door for further conversations about privacy and sex in the future. Your parents might be able to answer questions and offer great advice. Plus, sharing what you both know about sexuality and sexual health can help strengthen trust among you. If you're nervous or embarrassed, it's OK to say so!
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was adapted from PlannedParenthood.org, a website that provides education about reproductive and sexual health.