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A Young Man's Guide to Masturbation

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What is masturbation?

Masturbation is stimulation of the genitals for the purpose of advancing sexual arousal. In males, this generally means stroking the penis by hand to the point of ejaculation, or orgasm. Masturbation is a very normal practice in boys and men.

Do all males masturbate?

Nearly all males start masturbating between the ages of 12 and 14, although some start before puberty, before they are able to ejaculate. Half of boys have masturbated to orgasm by their 13th birthday, and 74 percent have done so by their 14th birthday. By their 15th birthdays, close to 100 percent of males have masturbated to orgasm.

How do males masturbate?

The usual way for a male to masturbate is to form a loose fist around his erect penis and stroke in an up and down motion. This is a basic sexual skill. Masturbating any other way can lead to sexual difficulties later.

Why do people masturbate?

The main reason is that it's fun. Males also masturbate to eliminate the sexual fluids they produce that build up from day to day. There's another reason that you might not have thought of. Masturbation rids your body of the sperm that have built up, so when you're finished, the older sperm are gone, and the newest, best ones are still inside you. So if a man tries to inseminate a woman, he has a better chance if he's masturbated within a few days than if he hasn't.

How often do boys masturbate?

In the teen years, the majority of males masturbate at least once a day. Eight times a week is probably the most common statistic. It's not uncommon to hear of teenage males, especially younger ones, masturbating twice a day. Doing it fewer than eight times a week is OK too. The average male will masturbate well over 1000 times before he ever has sex with a female.

Where do males masturbate?

Most males masturbate in bed, although many do it at their computer desks too. The third most popular place is the bathroom. It's most comfortable to do it in bed, and males who do it elsewhere almost always learned how to do it in bed.

Can I hurt myself by masturbating?

For most males, masturbation is healthy. There are three methods of masturbating that should be avoided:

  1. You can hurt yourself if you masturbate in a face-down position (the prone position). Masturbation should be performed on your back, although you can do it sitting or standing once you've learned it on your back. Masturbating face-down puts too much pressure on your penis and might cause problems when you someday try to have sex with a partner. This is a troublesome condition called prone masturbation. If you masturbate prone, you need to stop and learn to do it face-up.
  2. You can hurt yourself if you stick anything into your urethra while masturbating (or any other time). (The urethra is the tube in the opening at the end of your penis where urine and semen come out.)
  3. It's not good to use force to stop the flow of semen when you ejaculate, like by squeezing your penis tightly. This sends the semen into your urinary bladder, and the force can damage the blood vessels and nerves in your penis.

What does an orgasm feel like?

An orgasm starts with a pumping feeling inside the pelvis. That's the prostate gland contracting. It feels really nice to touch the penis in the seconds before ejaculation. Ejaculation is when semen squirts out from the penis in a series of waves. Most people relax and let the pleasurable feeling spread throughout the body. Within a few seconds, the penis becomes too sensitive to touch.

What happens to the semen after a person masturbates?

Most people clean it up with tissue or a piece of cloth, like a sock or an old shirt. Some guys rub the semen on their bodies or underwear.

Do adult men masturbate?

Yes. Most men masturbate for the rest of their lives, whether or not they have sex with partners too.

Do girls masturbate?

Yes, although not as universally or as frequently as males. Only 50 percent of teenage girls report masturbating, while 75 percent will do so by their 18th birthdays (compared with 100 percent of males). A much smaller percentage of females masturbate daily compared to males. Many females who masturbate do so less than once a month. Although masturbation has been observed in every species of mammal, there is no species where the females masturbate more often than the males. There is also no society on earth where the women masturbate more than the men.

No one has ever told me anything bad about masturbation. So why do I feel guilty about it?

In the old days, young people were told all sorts of crazy things about masturbation that weren't true. But just because those things aren't told anymore, that doesn't mean no one feels guilty about masturbating. The reason is this: If everyone were happy and satisfied by masturbating, there would be no reason to mate with other people and produce offspring. So feeling a little guilty about masturbation from time to time is normal and perhaps good for the human race.

While you're free of that burden that earlier generations had to deal with, your generation has a different burden. In the old days, people used to get married and form families about the same time their bodies were ready for sex and masturbation. Today's young people have developed bodies earlier than ever before, and at the same time, they have to postpone marriage and families later than ever before. This means masturbation is more useful both earlier and for a longer time than ever before.

What are wet dreams?

Wet dreams, which are correctly called nocturnal emissions, are orgasms that some males experience during sleep. The dreams that bring them on may or may not be sexual in nature. They reflect not sexual desire but the body's need to eliminate sexual fluids like semen and prostate fluid. Only about half of males ever have wet dreams. Most males start masturbating before they can ever have one. And very few of those who have them continue having them after they learn to masturbate. Don't worry if you never have one or if you stop having them when you masturbate.

How often do wet dreams occur?

The small fraction of the male population -- overwhelmingly 12 to 15 years old -- who have them regularly have one about every 10 days.

Is masturbating anything like a wet dream?

Yes. It feels just like a wet dream, except you're awake. When you masturbate, you're basically giving yourself a wet dream.

How can I masturbate if I've never done it before?

When you get an erection, try to figure out if there's something you thought about or saw that brought it on. Then think about that while you lie on your back and stroke your penis as described above. While masturbating, most young males think about girls that they like, and they imagine kissing them or seeing them naked.

What can I do if I have more questions?

Your father, older brother or other older male relatives are the best resources. Asking an older male friend whom you trust might also be good. Other adult males, like doctors, teachers, clergy, and counselors might have good information, but they're likely to be less frank than your dad or older brother will be. It's probably not a good idea to trust someone your own age to answer your questions about masturbation.

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