Masturbation

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Can I get an STI from masturbating?

Dear Reader,

You cannot get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) from masturbating on your own. This is true regardless of your gender and how you masturbate. It is useful to know how you masturbate, on the outside rubbing your clitoris, with penetration, or both. If you use penetration, then the swelling can be caused by vigorous stimulation of your vulva while masturbating. It might help to think about whether or not your solo sex style has changed at all recently. For example, are you masturbating in a new way? More frequently? With more intensity?

It is also possible that your vaginal opening or barrel is swollen from being aroused. Blood flows into the genital area when someone is aroused, and this causes the genitals to swell. (Think of an erect penis… Not very different if you consider the swelling!)

You said that you have never had sex. By this, do you mean sexual intercourse, penetration, no sexual contact at all, or something in between? One thing to keep in mind is that there are some STIs that can be transmitted through close intimate contact, even if there's been no penetration. Some, like crabs and scabies, can also travel on sheets and towels.

In some states, when minors (people younger than eighteen years) receive medical services, their parents are contacted for permission beforehand. Since you are eighteen, parental notification is probably not an issue. It's still understandable that you're concerned or scared to see a health care provider for fear of your mom finding out that you are masturbating. First, this is a private thing that your mom does not need to know about. Second, if residing in the United States, people your age as well as minors have rights to confidential reproductive health care. What this means is that unless you consent or give permission to your health care provider, s/he cannot disclose your medical records to anyone, including your parents (except for minors in the case of abortion services, which depends on your particular state's law). Last, it would be important to get things checked out with a health care provider (more on how to do this in a minute) if the swelling doesn't go away in a few days, or if you've noticed other changes in your genital area. If you experience itching, burning when you urinate, or a change in your vaginal discharge, let your provider know. S/he can check for signs of a yeast infection, STI, or other infection.

If you are worried about cost, insurance coverage, or your mom finding out by accident, you can make an appointment at Planned Parenthood or at another low-cost clinic in your area. Read the Related Q&As listed below for more information about finding services near you.

Maybe you're worried about simply explaining your need to see a gynecologist or other health care provider to your mom. If so, remember that you have a right to privacy, and you don't have to talk about the details of this situation if you don't want to. In reality, your mom has probably wondered at some time or another about her own reproductive health, and whether her "private parts" were normal. She may even masturbate, too! In other words, she might turn out to be a great resource for you. If you go this route, here are a few options of things to say:

"Mom, did you know that it's recommended that women start having yearly GYN exams at the age of eighteen? I think I'd like to go soon. Is there someone you'd recommend so that I can make an appointment?"

"I'd like to make an appointment to see a doctor. I just want to check in and make sure everything is okay with my personal health (or genitals, privates, vulva, 'down there,' reproductive parts, women's parts)."

"I've been reading a lot about women's health lately. I've decided that I want to learn some more by talking with an expert about my health."

In Enthusiastic masturbation causes swelling?, a male reader poses a similar question to yours. Check Alice's Sexuality and Sexual Health archives for more info about masturbation, STIs, and gynecological exams.

Alice

Masturbation fantasies?

Dear Wanna understand,

The following sentiments are possibly among those silently spoken by men (and women) pornography viewers everywhere -- and let's start off with your entry:

"Oooh, I'd love to do it with her/him."

"Look at those (fill in the blank)!"

"Those breasts can't be real."

"I wish they'd show more of him/her."

"Where's the damn rewind button!"

"That's not a bad idea... maybe we could try that this weekend."

"Why aren't these people using condoms?"

"If only I could come eight times in ten minutes."

"I didn't know toe-sucking could be a turn-on."

"Do you think they're paid well?"

"My grandmother could write a better script than this."

If your man likes to peruse the pages of adult magazines, or occasionally pop in a copy of "Forrest Hump," you could ask him your question directly. Who knows -- his answer might pique your own interests.

Alice

December 11, 2012

519982
My fantasies usually consist of a girl/woman pulling a belt into the waist very very tightly; sometimes after seeing it on video, television or in real life; or remembering past experiences.
My fantasies usually consist of a girl/woman pulling a belt into the waist very very tightly; sometimes after seeing it on video, television or in real life; or remembering past experiences.

December 10, 2012

519917
I think "I wonder if she really likes that" Or "If it feels good" and "If she is really is orgasiming".
I think "I wonder if she really likes that" Or "If it feels good" and "If she is really is orgasiming".

March 18, 2005

20869
Alice,

This is in response to the question concerning what men think about when masturbating and looking at porn magazines. Not all men use porn. All I need to do is think about my wife. Works...

Alice,

This is in response to the question concerning what men think about when masturbating and looking at porn magazines. Not all men use porn. All I need to do is think about my wife. Works every time.

Masturbation inhibits growth?

Dear Reader,

Nope, masturbation does not stunt growth. Neither your penis or vulva, nor any other part of your body, including your height, is affected. Masturbation also does not cause blindness, hairy palms, or insanity, as some people have heard.

In fact, masturbation is normal and even healthy! While masturbation can be many different things to many different people, typically, it causes pleasurable, soothing, exciting, orgasmic, and, ultimately, relaxing sensations.

For more information on masturbation, check out the Go Ask Alice! masturbation archives.

Love,

Alice

Masturbating friends

Dear Masturbating friends,

It’s terrific that you have a friend with whom you may be yourself and explore your personal needs. Your question’s a great example of individuals being comfortable with their own sexuality. So, yes, simultaneous self-stimulation, also known as mutual masturbation, is "normal," natural, healthy, and safe whatever your sexual orientation, gender, or age.

It’s very common for someone in her or his late teens and early twenties to explore and define her or his sexual identity. This may include experimenting, either by yourself or with someone else, to discover what feels good and what doesn’t. As long as your sofa squirting doesn't surf from an occasional sideline sport to a full-time hobby that preempts work, school, exercise, dating, or any other activities from which you might benefit, playing with your remotes will likely bring you continued high ratings.

It may often seem like some moral, social, or ethical rules prohibit or shun masturbation (including the idea of touching yourself in the presence of others), but it isn’t considered abnormal, harmful or illegal as long as it’s consensual and done in a private space (i.e., someone’s home, and not a shopping mall, school, or any other public place). If those rules are followed, you may rest assured that it’s still okay to play with your friends, even if you’re not a kid anymore!

Alice

February 4, 2000

20339

Alice,

I'd like to respond to MASTURBATING FRIENDS. I too routinely masturbated in the company of friends from a young age. I thought it was normal. I stopped...

Alice,

I'd like to respond to MASTURBATING FRIENDS. I too routinely masturbated in the company of friends from a young age. I thought it was normal. I stopped when I went to college and began to wonder if it was normal and doubted myself. I masturbate a lot and so it was no wonder that in my first year my roommate caught me. Rather than being shocked, he apologized and asked that I go on as if he wasn't there. After seeing me enjoy myself, he got hard and asked if I wouldn't mind if he too masturbated. We now masturbate openly and sometimes mutually yet we are still straight.

Optimizing solo-sex

Dear Minute Waltz Boy,

You are not a Minute Boy — you are a Five Minute Man. What's wrong with that? Rather than quantifying your solo-sex as a set number of seconds, try to think about how great it makes you feel. This way, instead of worrying about a five minute countdown, you can enjoy every second of tantilizing sensation. What pleasure you'll get!

Second, it seems that those five minutes of heaven are pre-filled with anticipation and excitement. How could you expect to last any longer than that, given these parameters? Perhaps you'd like to stay in the ring for a couple of rounds. You can designate the first time to just getting your rocks off, in the best and quickest five minutes possible. Then, you can go for it again! Time number two is the time to change hands, try it with lube, change your fantasy, change your stroke, and/or change your touch points, not touching the good spots as often or as hard. Or, you can tell yourself to try to come as fast as you can and see what happens. The main point is that the more times you do it "in one sitting," the longer it usually takes to orgasm the second and third times. This goes for partner sex, too.

Last, but not least, you can try the shower, where there is more privacy. Try using soap as a lube to go to town as much as you want... minus any evidence.

Alice

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

Dry hump on chair

Dear In love with chair,

Looks like you've discovered a pleasurable way to shine the wood! This method is perfectly normal. In fact, the dry-hump method of masturbation is used by many men. There is no risk to your groin area (unless, of course, you're rubbing against spiked furniture). Every once in a while, though, you may want to masturbate manually with your hand and a lubricant, so that if or when you have intercourse, you will know the feeling and be able to be stimulated in the more "usual" way. It is possible to get so used to one method, that a particular stimulation becomes necessary for your enjoyment. You may want to check out the related Q&As for more information. Keep on groovin'!

Alice

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