Updated: JULY 12, 2021

Masturbation is the manual stimulation of one’s genitals to achieve orgasm. It can be done with one’s own hands or with the assistance of an everyday item or sex toy. There are many health benefits associated with masturbating, and it is typical behavior in both males and females of a wide variety of ages.

Many words and phrases are used to describe masturbation for both males and females.

More About Masturbation

Although many cultures view masturbation as taboo, health professionals consider it a regular part of sexual development. According to the Janus Report on Sexual Behavior, released in 1993, 89 percent of women reported that they had masturbated in their lifetime, while 95 percent of men admitted the same (and, as the popular joke goes, the remaining 5 percent lied!)

In 2009, the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior analyzed data on the sexual behavior of more than 800 teens between the ages of 14 and 17. They found that male adolescents started masturbating earlier and more frequently than female adolescents did. Overall, almost 75 percent of the males surveyed admitted to masturbating regularly. Only slightly less than half of the females surveyed admitted to masturbating.

The techniques involved in masturbation vary widely.

For women, some common masturbation methods include stroking the clitoris and vulva using one’s hand or fingers, inserting a sex toy or other object into the vagina, or simply crossing the legs tightly to apply pressure to the clitoris.

The most common male masturbation technique is to hold the penis and stroke it up and down the shaft. It can be done slowly or quickly, depending on personal preference. Some other techniques include massaging a specific part of the penis, stroking the shaft with two hands, or caressing an erogenous zone like the nipples or the testicles.

Masturbating comes with many health benefits. A 2003 study by an Australian research team revealed that masturbating regularly cuts the risk of prostate cancer. It’s also known to boost immune response and improve mood.


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