Masturbation: separating fact from fiction

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There are still plenty of urban myths doing the rounds when it comes to masturbation: it makes you go blind, or it means that there is a problem in your relationship. Is it true that even babies engage in this behaviour? Or that women never do it? Health n Wellness is here to separate fact from fiction when it comes to solo pleasure.

1. Masturbation is unnatural

FALSE. Let us say it and say it again, as there are still people out there who believe that masturbation is something taboo and that goes against nature. For long decades, particularly in Christianity, it was considered that any sexual practices intended for anything other than procreation should be banned. However, self-stimulation is present in almost all mammals. Dogs and cats masturbate with their tongues.

According to a recent French study, 90% of men and 60% of women aged 18 to 69 regularly masturbate. It is therefore well and truly as “normal” and “natural” a practice as any other.

2. It is not normal to masturbate if you are in a relationship

FALSE. Masturbating in the presence of one’s partner can be part of erotic fun, which is becoming increasingly more common. The mass influx of sex toys has also made the practice more open and more widely talked about.

Masturbation can also take up the slack if one partner has a higher sex drive than the other.

According to the same French study mentioned above, women essentially tend to masturbate between the ages of 25 and 50, while the majority of men regularly do so until they are around forty. The respondents indicated that their reason for masturbation was for the simple pleasure of it, without emotional constraints, the need to negotiate or pay attention to another person.

However, certain people in relationships find it difficult to cope with the fact that their partners masturbate. In such cases, consult a specialist who can help you understand where the problem is coming from, and how to remedy it.

3. It is an adolescent behaviour

FALSE. Freud is partly responsible for this misconception. In fact, in the 20th century, it was thought that the true female orgasm could only be achieved via penetration. Any other practice was considered juvenile.

Obviously, masturbation is something that people engage in at all ages, and helps people maintain their sexuality, even if they are not in relationships.

4. Men who watch porn masturbate

male testicles
Credits: Derneuemann – Pixabay

TRUE. When a man watches a pornographic film or looks at porn magazines, he does so in order to become sexually aroused by the images. This is usually followed by masturbation.

5. Solitary pleasure starts later in females

TRUE. Masturbation generally starts younger in boys, which is explained by the fact that their penis is an external and omnipresent organ. Girls feel more vague sexual sensations, and touching the area may therefore come less naturally. Half of all girls have never masturbated before they meet their first sexual partner.

However, sex professionals encourage masturbation: it contributes to sexual development and prepares people for sharing their sexuality with their partners during their first sexual encounters.