During one's youth, masturbation helps maintain good sexual health. It is a practice that allows young people to discover and explore their bodies, especially as they change with puberty. And although masturbation has many positive effects on the body, it is not mandatory to practice it either. Each person is free to masturbate or not in respect of their own desire and desires. Even today, there are many false beliefs surrounding masturbation. Fortunately, scientific research shows time and again that there are no negative consequences to masturbation
Masturbation | Definition
To masturbate is to get pleasure by touching your own body. It is mainly the erogenous zones of the body that are stimulated, including the genitals.
Masturbation is a sexual practice that allows one to feel sexually excited, to feel pleasure. It is possible to reach orgasm, but it is not a mandatory step. There are no specific instructions or techniques. Some people use their hands, fingers, sex toys, a pillow, etc. There are many ways to do this depending on each person's preferences, desires at the time and pleasure. The best way to know what to do for yourself is to take the time to explore your body.
Masturbation is a very healthy behavior that allows you to discover your body. But it is important to note that it is also normal to not feel the need to masturbate. Some people feel pleasure from masturbation and others do not. Emotional states and certain times in life can also affect the desire to masturbate.
Each person is free to have the sexuality they desire, as long as it is practiced within their own limits and those of others.
When masturbation is performed with or in front of another person, it is called mutual masturbation. And when it includes other people, it is important to first ensure the consent of each person.
The myths around masturbation
There are still false beliefs circulating around masturbation. Many of them were invented at a time when religion was more prevalent in society. These myths were intended to discourage masturbation, which was frowned upon due to religious beliefs.
Health experts are now certain: masturbation is not a health risk. And a person can't get pregnant or get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) while masturbating.
Masturbation is a healthy and normal practice. Whether or not young people choose to masturbate is their decision and there is no wrong decision.
Here are a few things to know that refute common false beliefs.
There is no category of young people who masturbate more than others
Indeed, there is not one gender (female, male, transgender, non-binary or fluid) that masturbates more than another. The frequency of masturbation varies according to the period of one's life, one's desire, one's state of health, etc.
The frequency with which a person masturbates has no influence on their health
Some people masturbate often and others do not. During adolescence, the frequency may be more sustained and there might be a bigger desire to explore, but there is no "normal" frequency.
However, if your sexual activity is negatively affecting your life in any way, you should not hesitate to talk to people you trust. You can also call a crisis line like Kids Help Phone.
Masturbation has no influence on menstruation
Menstruation comes at very different ages for different people. And the recurrence of cycles is not always well regulated. The way or frequency with which a person masturbates is personal and does not affect menstruation.
There is no risk of “running out” of sperm
Sperm is produced whenever it is needed. This means that there is no surplus or shortage of sperm. There are no production limits and new sperm is always available when needed.
We can still masturbate when we are in a relationship
The urge to masturbate does not disappear because you are in a relationship and have an active sex life. Exploring sexual activities with the self brings a different kind of pleasure and is a moment to yourself. There is no need to feel guilty about masturbating while in a relationship and it is important to communicate this with your partner.
The shape of the genitals is not modified by masturbation
During puberty, bodies undergo changes, but these are normal. Masturbation has no influence on the size or shape of the genitals.
The effects of masturbation on the body
There are many benefits to masturbation and we can choose to masturbate for many different reasons:
- To feel a sense of well-being and excitement
- To relax
- To reduce stress
- To stimulate happiness hormones (dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, oxytocin...)
- To explore your body
- To explore one's sexuality and discover what is pleasurable and what is not
- To have better sleep
- To share a sexual experience with a partner
Masturbation is safe. And for many, it also plays a positive role in their sexual development.
For many parents, talking about masturbation is not so easy. And this is largely due to the fact that it is still a taboo subject in society. Even more so, when it comes to female masturbation.
Still, an American study named "Prevalence, frequency, and associations of masturbation with partnered sexual behaviors among US adolescents" shows that many adolescents masturbate. It also explains that masturbation is an integral part of normal sexual development.
As a parent, don't hesitate to bring up the subject with your child. By opening a space for discussion with your children, they will know that you are a resource person and that they can trust you. And the day your kids have questions, they'll know who to turn to in confidence.
LOVE supports youth to thrive through programs and healthy relationships that build emotional intelligence and help overcome the challenges they face. Our participants emerge from LOVE’s programs with greater resilience, heightened skills, and the confidence to be inspirational leaders.