What Is Masturbation?
Jacking-off, wanking, self-pleasure, onanism, whatever you want to call it, masturbation is a huge part of sexual health. But what is self-stimulation, exactly?
The American English Merriam-Webster definition of masturbation is “erotic stimulation especially of one's own genital organs commonly resulting in orgasm and achieved by manual or other bodily contact exclusive of sexual intercourse, by instrumental manipulation.”
However, in practice, masturbatory and self-sexual pleasure acts can get a lot more complex. In this article, we will decode the taboo complexities of masturbation and do a deep dive into what, exactly, masturbation is.
Is It Normal to Masturbate?
It is! Sexual gratification through masturbation is a normal, healthy behavior. Self-sexual stimulation can improve mental health, reduce sexual tension, and help you learn more about your own body.
Any sex therapist worth their salt will tell you that masturbatory exploration starts at a young age (with some starting in primary school) and is completely normal sexual behavior.
These are the common stages of masturbation that you may recognize:
- Exploratory masturbation: This usually begins around ages three to five. It is a stage in which children are learning about their bodies, and it is not sexually driven.
- Goal-driven masturbation: This typically begins around age 10. During this stage, the goal of reaching orgasm is set, and masturbation becomes a sexual activity.
- Standard masturbation: This stage begins sometime during the teenage years. Orgasming is attainable, and teens/young adults may begin to seek toys like vibrators to help reach climax.
There is no need to feel shame or embarrassment about masturbating. Just because it is a taboo subject doesn’t mean it isn’t completely normal and commonly practiced.
Combating the Stigma Around Masturbation
There have always been stigmas surrounding masturbation for both men and women. Many current societies are exceptionally accepting of varying sexual behaviors, and yet, self-pleasure is still a taboo subject.
In order to combat the negative view of masturbation, it's important first to understand and dismantle the common masturbation myths. Here are some of the outlandish myths that were spread throughout history:
- Masturbation causes blindness: This is an old myth that is blatantly false. It used to be popular to claim that masturbation could cause other physical ailments like blindness, acne, and illness. The cause of these myths could be that when teenagers start to masturbate, they also begin to suffer from acne and the pains of puberty.
- Masturbation causes infertility: This insidious myth was likely based on a classic misunderstanding of the human body. We now know that masturbating does not permanently decrease sperm count in any way.
- Masturbation causes erectile dysfunction: You may still hear this mistruth thrown around in conversation. The reality is that erectile dysfunction is likely the result of aging, outside illness, or injury. Masturbation has nothing to do with it.
- Masturbation shrinks the genitals: This myth was likely started in an effort to stop men from masturbating. Though a member will 'shrink' after orgasm, this is not permanent nor directly tied to self-pleasure.
Another common mistruth was that women do not masturbate. This falsity has led to shame and confusion for many women throughout history.
Let us be clear—masturbation is a normal human activity that does not deserve or warrant any associated stigma. So feel free to jack off in peace, knowing that the masturbation myths of old are completely false.
Lots and lots of people masturbate. It's challenging to get exact numbers as no study is perfect, and individuals may not be honest about their personal sexual activity.
However, the TENGA 2018 Global Self-Pleasure Report states that ninety-two percent of American men masturbate, and seventy-six percent of American women masturbate.
These numbers are staggering and emphasize the sheer number of people who practice regular self-pleasure. Think of jacking off as a standard form of self-care on par with using a skin mask or going to the gym.
Are There Different Ways to Masturbate?
Yes, there are many different ways to masturbate. Every single person's body is different. The way they respond to sensation is different. The way they experience pleasure is different.
In fact, some individuals may not start masturbating until well past their teens, yet their techniques are the same as someone who's been masturbating since they were 10.
Check out our tips on the best techniques to try for a fantastic self-pleasure life. Remember, trying new things can be intimidating at first but so worth it in the end.
Is There Such a Thing as Too Much Masturbation?
No, not really. It actually has a ton of benefits. You may be surprised to discover that masturbating can:
- Help treat insomnia
- Lower stress
- Ease menstrual cramps
- Act as a natural painkiller
- Build sexual confidence
There are even more benefits to self-pleasure, from boosting mental health to helping prevent heart attacks.
There is only one instance where self-pleasure can be harmful. It is possible to become addicted to masturbation. It can be challenging to recognize when you or a loved one has a masturbation addiction. The most recognizable symptoms include difficulty establishing or building intimacy with a partner, inability to complete day-to-day tasks, and lack of personal motivation.
It can be upsetting and confusing when self-stimulation is stopping you from living your life.
Following these steps can help you or a loved one stop addiction-based masturbation and instead get back to practicing quality, healthy self-care.
- Take a break: Add another healthy self-care act to your schedule to replace excess masturbation. Hit the gym, spend time with loved ones, and reach out to a confidant about your recent struggles.
- Switch it up: Often, we get stuck in a self-pleasure rut and can't reach a good orgasm, leading to desperate addictive masturbation. A new toy can switch things up and help you cum like a champ once again.
- Monitor habits: You want masturbation to be fun and fulfilling. Be mindful of your masturbation habits to ensure you or a loved one doesn't slip back into destructive patterns.
Too much of a good thing can be toxic. Make sure your sensational wanking habits don't slip down an exhaustive path. You deserve to have fun, pleasurable self-love sessions.
Explore What Brings You Pleasure With Fleshlight
At Fleshlight, the word of the day is always masturbation. Our sex toys are crafted with the highest-quality materials and designed to enhance every session. Here are some of our top designs, guaranteed to blow your mind:
- The female porn star pocket pussy: This stunning tool is crafted after your favorite porn stars. It’s ideal for a self-pleasure session set to your top porno.
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Choosing the ideal sex toy for yourself can be a tough process. At Fleshlight, we ensure that every toy is body-safe and specially made to improve your masturbation sessions. Discover what brings you pleasure with Fleshlight.