Fortunately, doctors no longer tell people that masturbation causes insanity, fits, blindness and impotence. These warnings were quite untrue – masturbation does none of these harms. Although people often feel guilty about masturbation, it has many good aspects.
- It is a safe sex activity much better than sexual activities that could give you a sexually transmitted infection.
- It helps you become familiar with your body and your sexual responses.
- It can help you fulfil your sexual needs if you are having difficulty finding a new sexual partner that you are happy with.
- It can help you release tension and relax, and some people find it helps them get to sleep.
- It may be good for your health; a survey of more than 29,000 US men found that those with the highest number of ejaculations (including ejaculations produced by masturbating) possibly had a lower risk of prostate cancer (Journal of the American Medical Association 2004;291:1578–86).
- Some people worry that they are masturbating too much. It is difficult to know what the average is.
- A survey of Australian teenagers between 15 and 18 years of age reported that both boys and girls masturbated, but boys did it more frequently; 38.2% of boys but only 8.7% of girls masturbated three or more times a week (Psychological Reports 1996;79:499–509).
- A UK survey of men and women between 16 and 25 years of age found that 73% of men and 36.8% of women had masturbated in the previous month (Archives of Sexual Behaviour 2008;37:266–78).
Of course, people may not tell the truth on questionnaires about intimate subjects such as masturbation; the females in these surveys might have felt embarrassed about admitting how often they masturbated.
Written by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Edited by: Dr Margaret Stearn
Last updated: Thursday, June 10th 2010
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