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Morality of masturbation

Dear Reader,

Biologically and psychologically speaking, masturbation is as right and normal as sneezing, coughing, laughing, eating, and yawning. It carries no health risks but does carry benefits. It can help alleviate insomnia, get you in touch with what turns you on sexually, and be a stress–reliever (of course, if you're worrying about the morality factor, it may not be much help with that last one).

The morality of masturbation, as it relates to your religious, cultural, or spiritual beliefs, is something you will have to decide for yourself. Many people seek the help of family, friends, books, life experience, and/or clergy or other religious leaders. You mention feeling too embarrassed to talk to your priest about it. Is there perhaps another individual you would feel more comfortable tos talk with who also shares your religious beliefs or background? The answers don't have to come today, but arriving at conclusions about sex-related matters that you can live with may be one way to say good-bye to guilt.

On guilt, psychiatrist R.D. Laing said "True guilt is guilt at the obligation one owes to oneself to be oneself. False guilt is guilt felt at not being what other people feel one ought to be or assume that one is." What do you suppose makes you feel guilty about masturbating? For many people, societal or family messages about masturbation being "wrong" or "dirty" can stick in our consciousness even when we "logically" no longer believe such declarations. Others may have had a parent "discover" them masturbating at a young age and still carry shame from a disapproving parental reaction. If your religion says masturbation is wrong, what are the reasons given? And how do those reasons sit with you?

If it turns out that nothing about masturbation seems to "rub you the wrong way," it may be worth working through the guilt so that you can continue to enjoy this pastime that is enjoyed by so many others. But if it begins to feel morally questionable to you, stopping may be the best route for you. On such decisions, Sting once said: "Let your soul be your pilot. It'll guide you well."

Alice

Beatless in Seattle: Masturbation stops when relationship begins

Dear Beatless In Seattle,

It's great that you are in a relationship in which you're sexually satisfied! Your thoughts (thanks for sharing) touch on a couple of issues. Masturbation is not mandatory — you may choose not to "beat off" while with your current girlfriend or with future partners, but doing so is not "silly" or dirty. Masturbating and being in a loving relationship are not mutually exclusive, and many people in relationships use masturbation, alone or with a partner, as a healthy release of sexual energy — just as they did when they were single.

Solo sex is not a shameful betrayal of one's partner and is not reserved for one gender. Rather, masturbation is one of the many kinds of sexual activities that people enjoy. Like intercourse, masturbation is healthy, enjoyable, and normal. Of course, if masturbation replaces sex between partners without mutual consent, or if its popularity with one partner leaves the other sexually dissatisfied, partners may need to talk about what would constitute a sexually satisfying relationship.

Guilt before, during, and/or after masturbation is not uncommon among "beaters" of all ages, and may stem from moral, religious, and/or social doctrines that disapprove of it. Breathing a huge sigh of relief when you have a new partner because it replaces a need for self-pleasuring may be problematic. After all, the frequency of sex with a partner may vary widely in cases of illness, stress, or even travel that separates partners. When a partner is not in the mood, or when your mate is "away," it doesn't mean that your dominant hand shouldn't play. As such, you may want to consider asking yourself some questions that may help you better understand why you came (pun intended) to the conclusion that you did about self-gratification:

  • What were you taught about masturbation? Who taught you about it?
  • When did you first discover masturbation?
  • How did you feel before, during, and after masturbating, i.e., guilt, excitement?
  • If applicable, how does your community (social, religious, etc.) regard masturbation?

Finally, you may want to consider discussing this issue with your girlfriend. Does she share the same beliefs about masturbation? What does she think about masturbation in a relationship? How would you (and your girlfriend) feel about including mutual masturbation during sex? Having this discussion is up to you, but you may find that discussing desires and new ways of giving pleasure may positively affect your sex life with your girlfriend.

Perhaps it would be helpful to learn more about masturbation and other ways of achieving sexual pleasure. You may want to check out the responses in the Go Ask Alice! sexuality archives (there is a section devoted to masturbation).

Remember, partner sex may rock your world, but this doesn't mean that beating off needs to take a beating…

Alice

Erection detection

Dear J,

Simply put, no. Neither your past masturbation and porn viewing, nor your refusal to sexually stimulate yourself again (despite your possible desire to do so) is directly causing your erections. Your body is paying attention to emotional and physical stimulation — and you're right, sometimes you don't even have to be consciously thinking about sex in any way for an erection to arise. This also means that getting an erection shouldn't mean to you (or your partner) that sex is your goal. Erections — frequent or few-and-far-between — mean that you're mentally and physically responsive, chock full of naturally produced, stimulating hormones, alive, and, yes, very normal! For sure, releasing your sexual energy by going back to masturbation may reduce the frequency of your erections when you are with your partner — but of course, that decision is up to you.

When, or if, you tell your partner that your hard-ons hardly mean sex, you might suggest that she take them as a compliment — evidence that you're truly happy to be with her. If you're not up for chatting about your excitements just yet, you might make them less obvious by wearing brief-style underwear that allows for preventive penis positioning. In other words, when an erection comes, your pants will bulge like an igloo, instead of a tee-pee.

Underwear monitoring, as well as suggestions to think about your school work, something sad, or another turn-off that encourages flaccidity, seem like a lot of energy to expend on something that's as natural as yawning when you're tired. Your belief that masturbation is wrong — when in or out of a relationship — may produce tension within yourself, and between you and your partner. Perhaps some of that anxiety is encouraging your immediate concerns about erection detection. To help decide potential directions for the future, you may also want to take a look at the related questions. Regardless of how you choose to proceed, remember that you're quite normal. Happy dating!

Alice

Dr. Do Diddle: Pre-med masturbation and productivity

Dear Reader,

You don't have to be a doctor to know that masturbation (whether once per week, or once per hour) does not cause memory loss, decreased brain power, fatigue, or depression — that is, unless you're doing it instead of school work, socializing, eating, sleeping, bathing, etc. Your stress about your normal masturbation pattern, combined with the energy you use "trying not to do it," might even decrease your productivity far more than playing doctor with yourself would. It would be surprising to learn that Einstein, Curie, and Spock didn't take stimulating study breaks themselves. And look what masterful work they accomplished!

Remember, energy is neither created nor destroyed. So go ahead and release that sexual energy. You might even be able to convert it into an "A" on that anatomy test!

Alice

Masturbating roommates

Dear straight,

You have strong friendships, you're in school, you're able to feel and express affection, and you can clearly consider and communicate your feelings. And sometimes you masturbate with your roommate. You're as normal as a one-dollar bill. In fact, your willingness to reach out for information is evidence that you are able to address with your concerns in a healthy way.

Are you the only straight masturbating friends on earth? Well, since this topic has been raised by plenty of past Go Ask Alice! readers, the answer is clearly NO. The fact of the matter is that masturbation is normal and healthy, whether you're next to your roommate or solo. However, considering the negative messages that many people receive about masturbation and homosexuality, your angst is understandable. It may help to consider why you are concerned about masturbating with your roommate. Could your concern stem simply from guilt you feel about masturbation itself, whether it's alone or with someone else? (The guilt issue is discussed at length in the masturbation section of the Sexual and Reproductive Health archive.) Or, are you wondering whether you might now, or later, be bi or gay? You could also be wondering what your roommate and best friend thinks of your dual diddling; have you had a chance to discuss it with him?

Keep this in mind: normal, monkey-spanking men come in all sexualities. Normal, monkey-spanking roommates also come in all sexualities. If you enjoy masturbating with your roommate, and it's not interfering with your friendship, school, or work, go ahead. If you stop enjoying sharing this type of activity, you can stop. Either choice would be normal and healthy, as long as you feel comfortable.

Alice

December 15, 2008

21501
Thanks a lot Alice.

You saved my friendship. Very recently, me and my friend were watching porn together and got so excited that we both started masturbating together. But after that, both of us...

Thanks a lot Alice.

You saved my friendship. Very recently, me and my friend were watching porn together and got so excited that we both started masturbating together. But after that, both of us were feeling guilty and out of embarrassment we were not talking to each other. After reading this article I felt a great relief and talked about it to my friend. Now both of us are back in our normal relationship. Thanks a lot once again.

March 7, 2008

21414

Thanks Alice.

I was worried about this until I read your advice. My roommate and I stopped hiding our masturbation from each other out of necessity. Our need is very big but our room is...

Thanks Alice.

I was worried about this until I read your advice. My roommate and I stopped hiding our masturbation from each other out of necessity. Our need is very big but our room is very small. We became very comfortable with it and sometimes even help each other out now. Sadly for him, he often has difficulty reaching orgasm and needs help. This has also helped me enjoy masturbating much more. I was very unsure of myself but he assured me it was very common among roommates and had nothing to do with sexual preference. I see he was correct. I thanked him for helping me see this and allow myself to enjoy it. Thank you too.

May 9, 2004

20637
Alice, on masturbating roommates: i am a nineteen-year-old male. my roomie and i masturbate each other. we have no problems. we are both str8. we are just best buds and want...
Alice, on masturbating roommates: i am a nineteen-year-old male. my roomie and i masturbate each other. we have no problems. we are both str8. we are just best buds and want to make each other feel good.

May 9, 2004

20638
Alice, In the first place, there's a lot of masturbation in college dorms all over the country, not just here. Guys who are roommates generally develop an understanding about this. My roomie and I...
Alice, In the first place, there's a lot of masturbation in college dorms all over the country, not just here. Guys who are roommates generally develop an understanding about this. My roomie and I are comfortable enough with each other so it's no big deal. We are both straight, real-guys who deal with the realities of nature together. Stuff like that is endemic on every college campus. Greg, 19

June 14, 2002

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I was worried and read MASTURBATING ROOMMATES and several responses. I was worried because I did this, too. I did it regularly with my bunkmate at summer camp. He was much...
I was worried and read MASTURBATING ROOMMATES and several responses. I was worried because I did this, too. I did it regularly with my bunkmate at summer camp. He was much older and knew a lot more, so he made me feel comfortable about it. But later, I felt guilty and thought it might mean I was gay or strange since I enjoyed it so much and so often initiated it. I have been doing it with a neighbor after school all this year. Knowing how common, normal, and even healthy it is has lifted my doubt and guilt. I am enjoying my need and sharing the experience with a friend of similar need. Thanks.

Masturbating stats: Are there gender differences and why?

Dear Wants to learn more,

Many women masturbate, but they haven't beaten the men when it comes to solo sex frequency... at least not yet. Statistically speaking, various studies of the sexual behavior of men and women detailed connections between gender and self-stimulation. The authors of The Social Organization of Sexuality (Edward O. Laumann, John H. Gagnon, Robert T. Michael, and Stuart Michaels; University of Chicago Press, 1994) gathered information about masturbatory practices from face-to-face interviews and self-administered questionnaires of 2,969 men and women ranging in age from 18 to 59 years. The researchers found that 41.7 percent of women and 63.3 percent of men masturbated during the year studied. According to The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior (Samuel S. Janus and Cynthia L. Janus; John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993), based on a large-scale, nationwide survey of adult Americans ages 18 and up conducted between 1983 and 1992, 10 percent of women reported masturbating frequently (several times weekly or daily) vs. 25 percent of men. Similarly, 38 percent of women reported masturbating on a regular basis (monthly to daily) in comparison to 55 percent of men. The Kinsey Institute also published statistics about gender differences in masturbation. They were compiled from renowned sex researcher Alfred Kinsey's studies on the sexual behavior of men and women. According to Dr. Kinsey's 1948 and 1953 studies, based on detailed interviews with white American adults, 92 percent of men and 62 percent of women reported that they had masturbated.

Several reasons have been suggested to account for the lower percentage of women (vs. men) who have ever masturbated. Women are considered "good" when they adhere to their traditional sex role: to be sexually passive, naive, and dependent -- basically, to be nonsexual. Sexually experienced and independent women are frequently seen as threatening and "loose."

In addition, in many cultures, women are raised to believe that their genitals are repulsive and inferior to those of men. They're also encouraged to repress their sexual feelings until marriage, when sex is for the purposes of procreation and pleasing their husband. A woman learns that she is to receive sexual pleasure only from sexual intercourse (not from touching or oral sex, and especially not from masturbation) with her husband (not with anyone else or by herself). If a woman with a partner masturbates, it is often seen as though there's something wrong with her relationship. Likewise, if a woman is without a partner, masturbating is seen as an act of loneliness.

Not only is there a taboo for women to masturbate, but there's also a greater taboo against talking about it. No doubt, for some women (and some men), talking about sex can also be awkward, so shyness, as you mentioned in your question, may be another, though lesser, factor. It doesn't have to be this way. Masturbation is a healthy and natural part of sexuality. It enables people to learn about their own bodies and genitals as well as to recognize and develop their sexual responses or orgasms. It also helps to foster communication in intimate relationships by making it easier for partners to identify and express what feels good physically and sexually for them and to each other. Candid discussions about sexuality and sexual pleasure can help free women (and men) from the historically negative influences that have bound and prevented some women (and some men) from discovering, exploring, and enjoying their sexual selves. These conversations can make it easier to break the taboos and myths about masturbation and can encourage women (and men) to reach their healthy, sex-positive goals.

Here are some resources for more information:

Sex for One: The Joy of Self-Loving, by Betty Dodson

For Yourself: The Fulfillment of Female Sexuality, by Lonnie G. Barbach

Yellow Silk: Erotic Arts and Letters, by Lily Pond and Richard Russo (editors)

Alice's Sexuality archive (with a section about masturbation)

Alice

January 22, 2013

522166
Ha! I always wish I could be part of these studies! I'm a 26 yr old woman, and I've known that my genitals produced much pleasure ever since I was 5. Obviously, it wasn't really sexual til I got my...
Ha! I always wish I could be part of these studies! I'm a 26 yr old woman, and I've known that my genitals produced much pleasure ever since I was 5. Obviously, it wasn't really sexual til I got my period at age 10...then the feelings changed from "always relaxing" to "usually intense". For the past 6 years or so, I've masturbated at least 5 days a week. I'm very highly sexed...but my lover's job keeps him traveling a lot. Even when he is home, he thinks my masturbating is sexy, so we usually incorporate it into our regular sex sessions. Of course, I love watching him too! In my opinion, 62% of women admit to masturbating.

January 17, 2013

521844
This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. Thank you for sharing!
This is the perfect blog for anyone who wants to know about this topic. Thank you for sharing!

June 29, 2009

21570
Dear Alice,

I am a female and I masturbate quite regularly, sometimes twice a day. I believe that women pleasure themselves often but just do not talk about because it has been percieved by...

Dear Alice,

I am a female and I masturbate quite regularly, sometimes twice a day. I believe that women pleasure themselves often but just do not talk about because it has been percieved by society as "dirty" for women whereas for men it's a given because society feel men are more sex focused then women.

September 25, 2006

21128
Alice,

I had such a rocky time when I discovered masturbation at the age of thirteen — I thought it was something dirty, and I was terrified that someone would walk in on me. I also was convinced...

Alice,

I had such a rocky time when I discovered masturbation at the age of thirteen — I thought it was something dirty, and I was terrified that someone would walk in on me. I also was convinced that I was the ONLY girl in the world who did masturbate and that made me even more ashamed of it. I don't even think I had a word for it the first year or so I was doing it.

In sophomore year, about four close friends of mine were sleeping over at my house, and as these things usually go, we didn't really sleep. Instead, we talked the entire night in my basement. That night, I discovered, to my great surprise, that every single one of my friends masturbated regularly. One of them had been doing it since she was a little kid and was amazed when she heard that I thought it was strange. Another was actively looking for new ways to find orgasms, and another had just recently started and was quite shy about it.

That was several years ago. I don't feel ashamed about masturbation anymore — why should I? There is absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to feel good — I often find that it relaxes my body and my muscles. It just feels wonderful.

I think that the ignorance and taboo that surrounds female sexuality is a definite problem. It pains me to think of other girls going through all that crap I put myself through because no one ever talks about women masturbating.

March 9, 2006

21042

Alice,

RE: Masturbating stats...

To the 72-year old gentleman, I hope that me and whatever woman I am with when I am 72 have as great of a sex life as you and your wife!! I'm already...

Alice,

RE: Masturbating stats...

To the 72-year old gentleman, I hope that me and whatever woman I am with when I am 72 have as great of a sex life as you and your wife!! I'm already jealous of you. In regards to masturbation though, us guys usually don't talk about that sort of thing, we all know we do it, but we will generally deny it because it's always a topic of joking/fun-poking/insults, etc. All of the girls that I've dated denied that they masturbate, so I think females are very unlikely to admit it in social settings, or even to a partner. To all the women out there, if you like to flick your bean, don't lie about it to your man! Tell him, he won't be disappointed. I personally think a woman who is comfortable enough with her body to masturbate and admit it is very sexy.

September 29, 2005

20977
Dear Alice,

Your assessment is correct in regards to the female's perceived historical roles. But, things are changing! I am 72-years-old and have masturbated all my life. My wife is open-minded...

Dear Alice,

Your assessment is correct in regards to the female's perceived historical roles. But, things are changing! I am 72-years-old and have masturbated all my life. My wife is open-minded, but from a sheltered upbringing, had never masturbated. We have an open and healthy sex life. I started by teaching her how to have an orgasm with my hand, then suggesting she try it. Very reluctant at first, but she did it and enjoyed later. Now she has a vibrator! Every time we have sex is a combination of intromission, masturbation, and sex toys. She is having the best sex of her life with multiple orgasms and free of HANG UPS!

January 24, 2003

20467
Dear Alice, I want to make a comment about MASTURBATING STATS: ARE THERE GENDER DIFFERENCES AND WHY?. I have always been curious about masturbation and what others thought about it. I have talked to...
Dear Alice, I want to make a comment about MASTURBATING STATS: ARE THERE GENDER DIFFERENCES AND WHY?. I have always been curious about masturbation and what others thought about it. I have talked to my friends about it (we're all girls) and it seems that I'm the only one who thinks it's totally normal. Some have said that they thought it was gross and said that masturbation was only ok for guys. These girls aren't religious either, so it's not that kind of thing affecting them. I've talked to my mom about masturbation and she's been really cool about it (she even bought me a vibrator!). Unfortunately, none of the eight people I've talked to about it, besides my mom, think that it's normal. They could have been lying because they were uncomfortable by the question, so I don't know. My best friend and I were talking about it one day and she told me that she wouldn't know how to even start masturbating because she doesn't know where anything is. I gave her a basic anatomy lesson and some tips, so maybe she has become better acquainted with herself by now. I am still so surprised that the general opinion among my friends is that masturbation is bad, gross, dirty, or whatever. Girls, feel free to masturbate! Touch yourself, find out what you like, have a good time. Also, don't worry if you don't orgasm your first couple of tries. I tried sporadically for a few years until I had an epiphany with one of those detachable showerheads. So, fellow females, try, try, try and practice makes perfect. Go and conquer your nether-regions with pride! :)

Interval training for multiple orgasms

Dear Jerky Boy,

Each of us is the only expert on ourselves. Interval training, such as described above, seemed to make sense for your friend and provide him with the results he wanted. Only YOU can tell whether this regimen will also work for you. Try it and see, and let others know your results!

Multiple orgasms for men can also be had by teaching your body to extend the period of high arousal BEFORE you ejaculate. Also called karezza, men can learn to experience peaks of pleasure without ejaculating. The way to do this is to masturbate to high arousal and then before you ejaculate, change the stimulation — switch hands, change the rhythm, the fantasy, the position, or exhale and inhale more slowly to release some muscle tension. Then when you feel the immediate pressure to ejaculate subside, bring yourself to the brink again, and then backtrack, as described.

As for your other question, force and amount of ejaculate are determined by a number of factors, including age and the length of time since the last ejaculation. So, to increase your ejaculate, you would have to wait until you got a bit older, or wait for long periods between ejaculations. However, as you probably know, if you do not ejaculate through masturbation or sex with a partner, you may have wet dreams (nocturnal emissions), since the body tends to seek its own form of release.

Have fun as you explore!

Alice

September 20, 2002

20450
Dear Alice, This is a response to Interval Training for Multiple Orgasms. To Jerky Boy, I'd say that trying for multiple ejaculations in a day is probably not going to do...
Dear Alice, This is a response to Interval Training for Multiple Orgasms. To Jerky Boy, I'd say that trying for multiple ejaculations in a day is probably not going to do much, except possibly make you very tired and put you off the whole idea altogether. I experienced multiple orgasms myself very recently. I didn't have them through multiple masturbations though. Instead, I took great care over the quality of attention I was giving myself. Whilst before I had tried to gain relief very quickly from a penis with very little sensitivity in it, leading to myself coming in less than 30 seconds, most of the time, I paid a little more attention to my settings. I won't go into the details, but I thought about taking it very slowly, and being kind to myself. After 25 incredible minutes, I was awarded with five consecutive orgasms. What works for your friend may not necessarily work for you. Whilst he seems masturbation crazy, and is apparently doing some serious power-jerking over there, you might benefit from just a little exploration of what you enjoy the most, and what will give you the most stimulation — conjure up a fantasy about an unusual partner, find somewhere new to touch yourself. You'll find that you'll get what you're looking for. ~Finally satisfied

Masturbation healthy?

Dear Hand boy,

Yes. Stroking the one-eyed snake, polishing your pearl, southern comfort… whatever you call it, masturbation is a healthy (and normal) sexual activity that people of any gender may enjoy. In fact, masturbation can be healthy in a number of different ways: physically, mentally, and emotionally. Masturbation can also be a healthy addition to solo, partnered, or group sexual encounters. Read on to find out why.

Masturbation is one way for you to enjoy your own body, and to give yourself sexual pleasure. It can also tune you in to your own sexual likes and dislikes. You then have the choice of sharing that information with a sexual partner(s) to enhance a sexual relationship. Mutual masturbation, when two people masturbate in front of each other, can also be arousing, and is a great alternative to intercourse without the risk of transmission of sexually transmitted diseases or risk of pregnancy.

Believe it or not, quite a lot of research has been conducted on this subject. And the overall conclusion is that masturbation is universal across nearly all cultures, and that it can have a number of healthy outcomes, such as:

  • Relieving stress and releasing tension (including the obvious, sexual tension)
  • Providing a sexual outlet for people who are not having sex with a partner (whether by choice or by circumstance)
  • Alleviating pre-menstrual symptoms in some women
  • Helping to induce sleep, or conversely, helping to start the day with an energized calm
  • Strengthening muscle tone in the genital region
  • Promoting a couples' level of sexual satisfaction in their relationship
  • Providing treatment for some types of sexual dysfunction

One study even found a correlation showing that ejaculating more often (whether through partnered sex or masturbation) led to a lower risk of prostate cancer in adult men.

In case you're curious, there is also a great deal of information about who masturbates. The short answer is people of all kinds. But to flesh it out a little more (excuse the pun):

  • Infants — while not necessarily erotic, many infants touch their genitals once they learn that the stimulation feels good.
  • Children — again, not necessarily erotic, but many children also find self-stimulation pleasurable.
  • Adolescents — perhaps the classic group associated with masturbation. Many males and females masturbate regularly in their pre-teens and teens.
  • Adults — married, partnered, or single, adults ages 18-59 are actually more likely to masturbate than adolescents. What's more, people with regular sexual partners are more likely to masturbate than singles.
  • And then there are many people, from all age groups, who rarely or never masturbate.

While masturbation itself is normal and healthy, there are times when a person might have a negative relationship with solo sex. Certain cultures or religions place such a stigma on masturbation that some people feel guilt or shame after pleasuring themselves. On a different note, a few people feel the compulsion to masturbate so often that it begins to interfere with other life events and duties, such as working or going to school. For people who are concerned about masturbation, it may be helpful to discuss any quandaries with a counselor, health care provider, religious leader, or trusted friend.

To maximize your pleasure and safety, here are some tips to consider when getting a grip on yourself:

  • If you're using any objects to help get the job done (sex toys, cucumbers, what have you), throw a condom on first — especially if that object will be shared with someone else or enter more than one orifice (use a new condom for each "destination").
  • Plenty of lube = maximum comfort (and less chafing) — water-based lube is a universally good choice. Some men prefer using lotion on their penis, however women should avoid inserting lotion, oil, petroleum jelly, and anytying oil-based, into the vagina to avoid risk of vaginitis (irritation and/or infection in the vagina).
  • Masturbate when it's enjoyable to you. If you don't feel like it, don't worry about it. If you want to do it again, go ahead.
  • Try different techniques, positions, times of day, mood music, etc. to learn more about what feels best.

People sometimes wonder if a person can masturbate "too much." To this concern, the answer is: not likely. As long as you are still able to participate in your normal daily activities, you can feel free to masturbate none, one, or multiple times per day.

Alice

Mutual masturbation

Dear Handy,

Many a person's first sexual activity, masturbation isn't only for solo play — it may be even more fun with company! Masturbation with more than one person together is often referred to as mutual masturbation. Whether solo or social, this activity is one of the safest forms of sex play. Yet there are a few precautions helpful in prevention of pregnancy and STIs.

For pregnancy prevention, try to avoid ejaculating on or near the vulva. Watch out for precum, too. Although the risk of pregnancy is significantly reduced if semen comes into contact with only the external parts of the vulva, there remains still a potential risk of pregnancy. Contact with mucous membranes (such as the inner labia, clitoris, vagina walls, or anus) allows for risk of transmission of STIs. Drying your hands before touching your partner's genitals with tissues is likely to be effective. Fresh sperm carry the risk of still impregnating your partner. Washing and drying your hands thoroughly may be better, but if this isn't practical, keep a towel by the bed (instead of tissues) and dry your hands thoroughly. It may be beneficial, as you mentioned, to wait an additional few minutes, which you may creatively spend exciting your partner without your hands.

Mutual masturbation has many loyal fans, yet many others haven't discovered its magic. So what's so great about it?

  • STI and pregnancy prevention. So you and your partner want to get it on, but have no condoms or dental dams? This is a great option.
  • Orgasmic precision. Mouths, tongues, and other body parts may be a lot of fun. But hands have skills and dexterity unmatched by many other body parts. For many, manual stimulation produces the strongest orgasms, mainly because hands are best able to apply the right pressure, speed, and timing. They often have excellent stamina, as well.
  • Main course or side dish. This activity is quite versatile: it may be served as foreplay or it may finish things off. It may be the primary activity you build up to, or it may be one of many adventures you have during your tryst.
  • Sick of the same old thing. Because of all the shame and secrecy surrounding masturbation, this activity is a well-kept secret. Many couples have never tried it. If you're in need of new fun activities, this is a good one to try. You may learn a thing or two of how to please your partner, too.
  • What's in a name? Hand job, JO (jerk off), rubbing, massage, stroking, shaking hands with Ms. or Mr. Happy, firing the Surgeon General...the list is endless. Perhaps it has so many names because it has spread so much joy.

Its versatility doesn't stop there. Don't forget, it may involve more than two people, role-play, fantasy, and/or toys. So try to get out your lube, turn down the lights, warm up your hands, and grab your towels. It's likely to be a fun and safe time.

Here's to the 5-Digit Disco,

Alice

Save own cum?

Dear Stroker,

It's always better when it's wetter! As far as the research goes, there are no scientific studies on the preservation of pre-cum for masturbation lubrication. However, bacteria does live on the human skin and in the air at all times. Because of pre-cum's exposure to skin and air, it would be an ideal medium for bacteria to proliferate if stored in a container over time. This bacteria could then be transferred to your penis (or more specifically, openings in the head such as the urethra) during masturbation, potentially causing a urinary tract or urethral infection. Instead, why don't you splurge and try a consumer water-based lube? Greasing the wheels with a touch of this stuff will leave your engines roaring. And you may be happy to know that "a little dab'll do ya good" — that is, you won't need much to do the trick!

Alice

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