What is masturbation?
Masturbation [ photo gallery
] is the stimulation of the sexual organs usually by a person himself, to obtain an orgasm. Though masturbation can be done by partners on one another, the term is more commonly used when sexual satisfaction is provided by self. Most people use their hands to masturbate, but instruments like vibrators and dildoes may also be used. These imitate the movements of the hand and provide sexual pleasure.
Masturbation is a way of releasing pent up sexual energy. Most people start masturbating at the time of puberty. With changes in an individual's hormonal profile during puberty, there is a surge of sexual energy which can be released with the help of masturbation. Masturbation is reported more in males than in females. More than a physiological difference in libido, this may be due to sociological taboos on females. Females also tend to discontinue or reduce masturbation when they form sexual relationships.
Is masturbation harmful?
This is the biggest myth surrounding masturbation. If indulged in moderation, masturbation, on the contrary, is a healthy practice that releases sexual energy. According to certain religious practices and beliefs, masturbation is harmful since it results in the loss of a man's "seeds" and makes him weak. Masturbation in women has largely been ignored in the religious texts. Other myths surrounding the act are that it reduces virility by making the semen less thick thereby reducing the chances of a man to bear children. This is totally untrue. Masturbation does not cause any loss of strength or virility in a person.
What are the other myths surrounding masturbation?
- Only males masturbate – this is not true. Females masturbate as much as males do. However, they tend to report it less than males due to the social stigma attached to it. Also it has been observed that females tend to reduce or discontinue masturbation once they get into meaningful sexual relationships.
- Masturbation is unhealthy – masturbation per se does not cause any health hazards. It is not an unhealthy habit. However, it may be mentally unhealthy if it assumes obsessive proportions and the individual is unable to think of anything else. It may also have physical repercussions if the instrument used to masturbate is dirty or infected.
- Only adolescents masturbate – though the practice usually begins during adolescence, almost all adults practise it at some time or the other.
- Masturbation does not provide as much satisfaction as sexual intercourse – sometimes masturbation is more satisfying than the sex act. This is because, during masturbation, an individual is in control of his own movements and can maximize the pleasure according to his or her needs. During sexual intercourse, the degree of satisfaction may, to some extent, lie with the partner.
- People masturbate only if they have unfulfilling sexual relationships – people also masturbate for self satisfaction, even when they have fully satisfying sexual relationships.
Can one stop masturbating?
One can stop masturbating if one wants to. Just as one can live without indulging in sex, one can also stop masturbating with some will power. However, since the activity has nothing to be ashamed of and most people do it, there is no scientific reason to discontinue it. If one still wishes to discontinue, then the sexual energy may need to be channelised into alternative physical activities.