Masturbation is the manual excitation of the sexual organs, most often to the point of orgasm. It can refer to excitation either by oneself or by another (mutual masturbation), but most commonly it is restricted to refer only to such activities performed alone. It is part of a larger set of activities known as autoeroticism, which also includes the use of sex toys and non-genital stimulation. Masturbation and sexual intercourse are the two most common sexual practices.
|Table of contents|
2 Masturbation among human females
3 Masturbation among human males
4 Methods common to both human genders
5 Health and psychological effects
6 Can masturbating prevent cancer?
7 Masturbation in history and society
The word masturbation is believed by many to derive from a plural Greek word for penis ( µe?ea ) and the Latin word turba , meaning disturbance. A competing origin based on a Latin phrase meaning "to defile with the hands" is regarded by most dictionaries as "an old conjecture".
The word onanism was used as a synonym, but it is rarely used today, because it is falsely interlinked to a Biblical story Genesis 38:7-9, in which a man called Onan "spilled his seed (semen) upon the ground" to avoid impregnating his dead brother's wife. It is now generally agreed that the passage refers to the sexual contraception method of coitus interruptus but not to masturbation, and so the term onanism has become obsolete in English.
Females commonly stroke or rub the vulva, especially the clitoris. Women may also use running water such as the spray from a modern shower to stimulate the vulva and the clitoris. Some women enjoy stimulation of the vagina by inserting fingers or an object such as a dildo or vibrator. With the advent of the modern vibrators such as the rabbit or dual types, some women can easily obtain orgasm or even multiple orgasms, where under conventional sexual intercourse this was not achieved. A large number of women use the addition of a vibrator to intensify normal love making.
In many cases vibrators are purchased as presents by partners who get sexual enjoyment watching there other half using the vibrator on themselves.
The most common form of masturbation in uncircumcised males is gripping the skin of the penis and moving it up and down, resulting in repeated sliding of the foreskin back and forth over the glans penis (the head of the penis) until orgasm is achieved. Circumcised men, who lack a foreskin, may instead either directly massage the glans with one or both hands, often with the aid of a lubricant, or, apparently more commonly, slide the skin of the shaft up and down beneath the glans. Although the skin may in so doing touch the corona of the glans, in most men, this method results in no direct stimulation of the upper glans surface (as in uncircumcised men) and ejaculation is achieved almost entirely from stimulation of the shaft and its contact against the underside of the corona only.
A 1989 Australian survey of 85 men found that nearly two-thirds of circumcised men masturbated with the help of a lubricant, while almost all intact men used the foreskin and the shaft skin to do so.
More so than in the past, some men use an artificial vagina for masturbation. Men who can reach their penis with their tongue sometimes also perform auto fellatio, in which the man licks or sucks his own penis.
Ejaculation of semen can be messy, but may be controlled by wearing a condom or by ejaculating into an artificial vagina or even into a rag.
Ways of masturbating common to members of both sexes include pressing or rubbing the genital area against an object, such as a pillow, inserting fingers or an object such as a butt plug into the anus, and stimulating the penis or vulva/clitoris with electric vibrators, which may also be inserted into the vagina or anus. Members of both sexes may also enjoy touching, rubbing, or pinching the nipples while masturbating. Both sexes sometimes use lubricating substances to improve the sensation available.
Reading or viewing pornography, or sexual fantasy, are common adjuncts to masturbation.
Both from the standpoint of avoiding unwanted pregnancy and that of avoiding sexually transmitted diseases, masturbation is the safest of sexual practices. There is no credible scientific or medical evidence that manual masturbation is damaging to either one's physical or mental health. It does not make your palms hairy or your genitals shrink. Nevertheless, people from a socially conservative or religious background may experience attendant feelings of guilt during or after masturbation.
Solitary masturbation carries no risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted diseases. Masturbation with a man and a woman can result in pregnancy only if semen contacts the vulva. Any masturbation with a partner can theoretically result in transmission of sexually transmitted disease by contact with semen or female sexual fluids, and such contact should be avoided with any partner whose disease-negative status you are not sure of.
Objects inserted into the vagina or anus should be clean and of a kind that will not scratch or break. Care should be taken not to fully insert anything into the anus - any object used should have a flared or flanged base such as a purpose made butt plug; otherwise retrieval can require a visit to the emergency room. Most modern dildos and anal plugs are designed with this feature.
On July 16, 2003, an Australian research team led by Graham Giles of The Cancer Council published a medical study which concluded that frequent masturbation by males may help prevent the development of prostate cancer, and that it would be more helpful than ejaculation through sexual intercourse because sex can transmit diseases which can increase the risk of cancer instead.
Discovered in a United States patent, number 745,269, filed on May 29, 1903 by Albert V. Todd. It describes a device designed to prevent masturbation by inflicting electric shocks upon the perpetrator, by ringing an alarm bell, and through spikes at the inner edge of the tube into which the penis is inserted.
As noted above, modern medicine recognizes that there is no significant harm (short term or long term) caused by the practice of masturbation, and regards it as a normal practice. In past times, however, some medical professionals taught that all sorts of deleterious effects could occur as a result of masturbation. Since the 18th century, many "remedies" have been devised for masturbation, including regularly eating corn flakes, physical restraint, electric shock, treating the genitalia with stinging nettles, or surgically removing them entirely. In later decades, the more drastic of these measures were increasingly replaced with psychological techniques, such as telling children they will get hairy hands or that their face will turn green from masturbating. In the United States and other English-speaking nations, routine neonatal circumcision was widely adopted in part because of its believed preventive effect against masturbation.
Many conservative religious groups teach masturbation to be a sinful practice. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraph 2352, lists masturbation as one of the "Offenses Against Chastity" and calls it "an intrinsically and gravely disordered action" because "use of the sexual faculty, for whatever reason, outside of marriage is essentially contrary to its purpose." It goes on to caution that extenuating factors could exist, such as immaturity, habitual, or psychological problems.