Masturbation

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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

Wants girlfriend to masturbate

Dear Argh,

Research shows that women learn to masturbate later than men, often during or after college rather than during puberty. This process includes two parts: learning to orgasm and learning to feel good about it. In the 1970s, women would meet in women's groups with safety, humor, and support to talk about many things, including orgasm -- having them, not having them; how to have them, how to have them more frequently; what works, what doesn't work; how to have them with partners; and, their feelings about orgasm. Ironically, this is not happening today. So for similar information, she can check out some of the materials, videos, and books available at woman-sensitive, sex-positive bookstores, such as Eve's Garden based in New York City and Good Vibrations in San Francisco.

Your girlfriend is not alone. There is plenty that she can do to learn (you can learn, too!), if this is truly a path your girlfriend wants to take! She may need privacy and time alone to explore her own body and to experiment, learning for herself what sensations are pleasurable. Sometimes, a nonallergenic lotion, a lube, or a vibrator can make a difference. Practice, information , and pleasure go a long way in minimizing feelings of "dirtiness" and guilt.

Alice noticed that you signed your letter "argh" and wondered about that. What is causing your frustration? Why is it so important to you that your girlfriend learn to feel comfortable masturbating? What would change in your relationship if she were to masturbate? What would change for you? What would change for her? (These are questions to ask yourself, and the answers may prove interesting.)

If your girlfriend doesn't have an orgasm when she's with you, or has never had an orgasm in her life, read the following questions found in Alice's Sexuality archives: No orgasms for girlfriend, No orgasms with boyfriend, Am I having an orgasm?, No orgasm with intercourse (female), and Easing orgasms for women.

Alice

March 22, 2012

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Alice. When you asked why it was important that his girlfriend learn to masturbate, that actually struck a small chord with me. I would like my girlfriend to do that, too. She and I have had this...
Alice. When you asked why it was important that his girlfriend learn to masturbate, that actually struck a small chord with me. I would like my girlfriend to do that, too. She and I have had this discussion before. She has no idea where any of her "spots" are, and it crosses my mind that it could possibly make it easier for both of them to reach a "mutual climax", aside from a physical one, if they both knew what they were doing and "where" to go. I think Argh wants this because it could possibly bring him and his girlfriend closer, it could be a turn on, and it really could help him to get to "know" his girlfriend, too. Sincerely, ~Low Flyer

Masturbation — too much of a good thing?

Dear Humble and Curious Student about Masturbation,

When you get the urge to self-indulge, feel free to go for seconds or fill 'er up as many times as you like. Masturbation habits vary tremendously from one individual to the next. There are people who never masturbate, those who masturbate two or three times in their life, those who masturbate three or more times a day, and everything in between. Many people masturbate throughout their lifetime without any side effects, other than pleasure. If masturbating isn't increasing the stress in your life (work, school, relationship, family, etc.), why not just enjoy yourself?

If you're not sure how you feel about your current masturbation practices, you may want to ask yourself a few questions. To Curious Student about Masturbation, what was your usual pattern of masturbation in the past? Did anything else in your life change two months ago? You mentioned stress. Is this stress about being in school, leaving a job, moving, or ending a relationship? To Humble, what may have sparked the recent changes in your masturbation patterns? Does masturbating get in the way of other activities or relationships in your life? Does masturbation make you feel good, bad, energized, or disconnected? There are no "right" or "wrong" answers to these questions. Rather, the key is to be honest with yourself about what works for you right now.

There are a certainly a few directions you can take at this point. One, unexpected as it may seem, is to masturbate more often and see if you feel any differently. Another is to try masturbating one or two times less per day and see how that makes you feel. How about scheduling masturbation dates? This would give you a specific time frame for the activity so that it doesn't take time away from other endeavors. Also, it would make you conscious about each time you are masturbating, what triggered the need to release, and whether or not there are discernible patterns.

You could consider changing your style of masturbation. Try using lube so your goods don't become raw or irritated. Can you find ways to try maxing out the pleasure you get from each experience with yourself, perhaps by varying speed, pressure, or alternating hands? All of this should give you more information about your needs, desires, wants, and make the masturbation experience more deliberate.

Humble, if the real issue is that you have some emotions related to not "getting it" any other way (sex, orgasm, relief, or intimacy with another person), then masturbating probably won't do the trick. Like exercise, masturbation is a great stress-reliever, but it won't help you move past bigger issues. Psychologically, there might be something you could do to become more available or more receptive to a potential partner. Don't exclude counseling as an option if you feel stressed or concerned about your relationship status. Columbia students can call x4-2878 to make an appointment at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS).  

It seems as though a little self-reflection might go a long way in determining your self-pleasure schedule. Once you're comfortable, self-service can be a happy and healthy part of life.

Alice

November 25, 2014

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Best short article I have ever read on the subject!
Best short article I have ever read on the subject!

Condoms for masturbation?

Dear Resourceful,

The choice of whether or not to use condoms during masturbation is dependent partly on your goal and partly on your method of masturbation. Are you using a vibrator or dildo, or are you letting your fingers do the walking? Are you looking to be neat? Getting used to how the condom feels?

For those who use vibrators and dildos to pleasure themselves, condoms can be useful. For both men and women, a condom keeps the dildo clean, which can help prevent infections when a toy is shared, or prevent re-infections in the same person (whether the infection is sexually transmitted, or simply a run-of-the-mill infection, like a yeast infection). Condom use is especially important for women who use dildos and vibrators for both anal and vaginal stimulation. Use separate condoms for each orifice, as moving directly from the anus to the vagina can introduce harmful bacteria into the vagina or urethra and lead to urinary tract infections (UTIs) or other complications (also check out Finger from anus into vagina — Okay? for more info).

If you're choosing to diddle manually, the use of condoms might be taking safer sex a little bit far -- unless you have an active infection that you want to keep covered. The main cause for concern would be the presence of HPV (human papillomavirus, a.k.a. genital warts) or herpes lesions on the genitals. It's a good idea to try to avoid touching HPV or herpes lesions until they've healed — if you do come into contact with any sores, wash your hands thoroughly post-action. Conversely, if you have a wart on your hand, you don't need to worry about passing it to your genitals; genital warts are generally caused by different strains of HPV than warts on other parts of your body.

Another possible reason for using condoms during masturbation would be to keep things neat and tidy during and after your solo-sexcapades. While condoms would work in this respect, many find that tissues, hands, bed sheets, underwear, and so on...work just as well. If you're a novice, using condoms during masturbation may help you get the hang of how to use them and how they feel — that way, during partnered sex, you'll be a prophylaxis pro.

Enjoy!

Alice

March 12, 2014

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Condoms can really make masturbation much more enjoyable. The feel of the condom rubbing against then penis is highly pleasurable. The condom can keep the penis nicely lubricated and avoid getting...
Condoms can really make masturbation much more enjoyable. The feel of the condom rubbing against then penis is highly pleasurable. The condom can keep the penis nicely lubricated and avoid getting it sore. For me, the nicest part is that when I cum, I don't have to worry about catching my semen in a Kleenex, so I can continue to concentrate on my orgasm and I usually ejaculate a few more times than I would have otherwise. Then without having to worry about a mess I can doze off in my afterglow, and dispose of the condom when I wake up.

August 8, 2013

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Hi Alice, my name is Josephine. I really enjoy reading this post you wrote in reference to condoms during masturbation. A lot of people still do not understand the importance of this topic especially...
Hi Alice, my name is Josephine. I really enjoy reading this post you wrote in reference to condoms during masturbation. A lot of people still do not understand the importance of this topic especially when it comes to issues such as whether or not a condom should be used with sex toys. There are many people who share toys with their sexual partners and because of this I personally feel that condoms should be used on toys each and every time unless both partners have been tested for std's. Thank you for such a great educational post.

I don't masturbate, but she does twice a day

Dear Smooth hands and 20/20 vision,

There are many myths and misconceptions about masturbation that continue to persist (see related questions below). Among them, that all men masturbate and that women don't. To give you a quick answer, both you and your partner are quite normal. Masturbation is healthy!

The decision to "get in touch with yourself" is entirely personal. While it's true that many men and women do it — or at least say they do — certainly not everyone does. Now when it comes to the frequency of watching a partner masturbate, that may be a different story. Some partners enjoy watching the other masturbate, while some consider it a very private and personal experience. What may be most important is for you and your partner to have an open and honest discussion about your masturbation views.

You might consider if this difference in "normal" approaches to masturbation is evidence of other problems in your relationship? If yes, think about the context and work on that together. If not, and it is only sexual, do you get turned on watching? Are you just objecting to the number of times, or the rigidity of having to do this? Are you totally opposed to masturbation? Could you think about mutual masturbation — where both people are together while masturbating her/himself? Are you even tempted to try masturbation in private? Is there any sort of compromise possible in this situation (i.e., you each masturbate once a day, or you agree to maintain status quo but not to pressure each other)? Or, are you just sexually incompatible? Regardless of the answers to these questions; neither of you are right nor wrong. There may simply be a difference of beliefs. In any case, communicating with your partner, establishing mutually acceptable behaviors and boundaries, along with trust and respect for each other's position is necessary to maintain a healthy relationship.

Alice

Horny all the time?

Dear Horny,

It's terrific that you're aware of your sexual desires. Masturbating two or three times per week, having erections (even in relatively non-sexual settings), and thinking about your sexual wants and needs is quite normal. Horniness can increase or decrease when under stress, and also when inundated by stimuli, including memories or desires.

When you get erections in class, there are ways of remaining discreet. Undoubtedly you already have a few tricks that help you get through those moments. Erections are simply a reaction to a sexual signal. Often, if you think about something asexual, or something that is a total turn-off (like your next exam), you can lose your erection.

Have you thought about some healthy ways of discharging your (sexual) energy? How about masturbating more frequently? What about exercise? Other forms of stress relief? Keep in mind the idea that the frequency of sexual desire can (and likely will) change a number of times during the lifespan. What you choose as a way to handle situations today may not work forever. Be creative in expressing your desire and handling your needs.

In terms of the woman you have a crush on, maybe you could try talking with her. Sometimes, by acting on your feelings you can put this looming sexual energy into perspective. No need to feel bad, just about everyone has desires, crushes, and fantasies. Perhaps you two have more in common than you realize.Talking is a great first step toward exploring feelings, and may lead to a healthy and productive outlet for your sexual energy. 

Best of luck to you!

Alice

Can masturbation cause gas?

Dear Arggggh,

Gas and masturbation are highly unlikely to be connected with each other. Have you tried to stop masturbating? Has the gas subsided as a result? Perhaps you could try the same experiment by increasing the times you masturbate daily. Do you notice that the gas is increasing?

From your question, it sounds as if you could be under pressure and/or stressed out. Gas and digestive upsets are common stress responses, as well as loss of concentration and lethargy. If this is the case, you can check out some stress management tips in the Emotional Health archives of Go Ask Alice!. If you are a Columbia student, you can take advantage of resources on campus, such as Stressbusters. Masturbation, itself, can be a stress reducer, as well.

On the other hand (no pun intended), are you feeling guilty about your self-pleasure? Is your body responding physiologically to your discomfort with masturbation? Masturbation is normal, natural, and healthy, yet many people feel ashamed or guilty about it. Masturbation taboos have been around and in force for decades, and even though some societies and cultures are much more open to it nowadays, for others, the taboos are still ingrained.

Some self-detective work seems to be in order here. Is there anything else that happened in your life at around the same time that you started masturbating? There's also the possibility of a medical/digestive problem. Make an appointment at Medical Services online using Open Communicator or by calling x4-2284 to have your gas checked out. If you are not at Columbia, your first step is to see your medical provider for a check-up. If you feel you need to talk with someone about your feelings around masturbation and are at Columbia, you can make an appointment at Counseling and Psychological Services (CPS).

'bye,

Alice

No privacy to masturbate

Dear Always aroused,

You clearly know what you need to function effectively. The issues seem to be logistical. You need to develop either creative ways to find privacy or creative ways to masturbate with the privacy you have.

For example, since this is such a priority, you need to find some kind of private time and private space. Some people masturbate in the shower, since that is the only place they had privacy growing up. Men sometimes soap up their penis and go to town. Some women use a mild soap on their clitoris to make it slippery, or press with their fingers without extra soap; some use the spray of the shower. Of course, if you have never masturbated standing up, this may take some adjustment, but it does add to your options.

What about going to the bathroom and closing the door for privacy? What about when you or your roommate is in the shower? It is hard to believe that there is absolutely never a time when you are in your room and your roommate isn't and you're sure s/he isn't going to come home. Did you ever have time in your room alone for private phone calls? How do you arrange them? You might say, "I need to make a private phone call tonight from 9 to 9:30 P.M. (or from 3 to 3:30 P.M.)." This gives your roommate time to plan to be invisible, and you a block of time to do your thing, although this might not work every day.

Perhaps you could run home for a "lunch break" when your roommate is away from the room. If you are worried about starting to masturbate and then hearing the key in the door, try a code, like placing something prearranged on the doorknob, i.e., a tie or a ribbon, to signal that you don't want to be disturbed. It could also be a note that says, "Do not enter till 2:30 P.M. Studying (or napping)." Your roommate may be relieved since this would give him/her permission to take time alone in the room as well.

Realistically, how much time are you actually talking about? Many men can, and do, come within two minutes of beginning to masturbate. Similarly, Alfred Kinsey found that many women orgasmed through masturbation within five minutes, a brief amount of time. While not always advocating fast orgasms, since they tend to minimize pleasure; however, what is wrong with a quickie in a pinch? You do deserve at least one orgasm a day, and, if you're creative, you can come up with a way to find the privacy to give it to yourself.

Alice

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