Q&A: Masturbation Frequency And Common Myths

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QUESTION: Is masturbation unhealthy? Am I masturbating too much if I do it more than once a day?

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In spite of many sex educators’ and doctors’ best efforts to educate people about masturbation, it seems that many masturbation myths persist. In fact, we get quite a lot of questions about whether it’s okay to masturbate.

Nothing Wrong With Masturbating

Most people’s masturbation is within a normal, healthy range. There is nothing necessarily wrong with masturbating once, twice, or three or more times in a day – and yes, even if that happens several times in a week or ever day in a week.

Masturbation refers to the many ways that women and men pleasure their own bodies. Though most people stimulate their genitals during masturbation, some prefer to stimulate their nipples or inner thighs, and some rub against a pillow or bed or get creative in the shower or bath. Truly, there are countless ways that men and women learn to find pleasure through masturbation.

Many Masturbation Myths

In the 1800s there were many myths about masturbation that suggested that masturbation would cause all sorts of medical illnesses. In fact, masturbation is not harmful. It will not make people sick or unusually fatigued, nor will it make them grow weak or feeble.

In fact, masturbation tends to help quite a lot of people to feel relaxed, to fall asleep or simply to feel content and satisfied. It can also be a helpful way to learn about one’s own body and what type of stimulation feels good.

In rare cases, people may masturbate so often – or in such unusual ways – that it gets in the way of their ability to hold a job, attend school or maintain a healthy relationship with another person. But that’s not really a masturbation issue, as that can happen with any range of things – for example, sex with another person can get in the way of these same things, as can someone’s insistence on watching television for an excessive amount of time.

If your masturbation routine is causing you distress or discomfort, you might find it helpful to speak about it with your healthcare provider or with a sex therapist.

You can find a sex therapist through the website of the American Association of Sex Educators, Counselors and Therapists.

Further Reading

In addition, The Big Book of Masturbation by Martha Cornog provides an often humorous look at how people have talked or written about masturbation from the perspectives of medicine, psychology, anthropology and even comics.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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    as I know – even some animals masturbate! :)