All about masturbation

Flicking the bean, flogging the log, jacking off, jilling off, jerking the gherkin - whatever you want to call it, masturbation is super healthy and a totally normal part of being a human being. Learn about what masturbation is, who does it, why it's healthy, and how to know if masturbation is becoming a problem.

This will be useful if: 

  • you want to learn about masturbation
  • you feel guilty about masturbating
  • you want to know when masturbation can become a problem
guy with hands in his pockets

What is masturbation?

‘Masturbation’ generally means the stimulation of the genitals, usually for pleasure. For men this usually means stroking and rubbing the penis, and for women it usually involves stroking or rubbing the clitoris and surrounding area. If you’re unsure where any of these bits are, spend a bit of time checking out some simple anatomy guides, and your own body in the mirror.

Masturbation is a great way to learn about your body, how it works, what feels good and what doesn’t. There’s really no right or wrong way to masturbate. If you’re getting all those good feels and you’re not hurting anybody, get to it! You won’t go blind, your hair won’t fall out, and no-one will know (unless you tell them, of course), we promise. 

Who masturbates?

A recent study of Australian adults showed that 72% of men and 42% of women had masturbated in the past year. 

Masturbation among women is becoming increasingly common, especially with erotic fiction like 50 Shades of Grey popping up all over the place. While there has always been a bit of shame and secrecy around female sexuality, girl power is starting to come into full force! 

The point being, most Australians masturbate. It’s not just one type of person who plays with themselves – it’s a whole range of people of all different ages, backgrounds, and sexual preferences.  

Of course, masturbation isn’t compulsory and you are not abnormal if you don’t want to play with yourself. Some people don't masturbate or have any desire to masturbate at all, and that's completely okay as well! 

Is masturbation healthy?

Many young people feel guilty about masturbating, often due to religious or cultural beliefs that tell them it’s wrong. But masturbation is super healthy and it has a TONNE of extra benefits too.

Masturbation can help you to:

  • Get to know your body and what feels good
  • Release sexual tension
  • Relax and help you get to sleep
  • Improve your mood
  • Relieve menstrual cramps

BONUS! It’s also free from the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmissible infections (STIs)!  

When can masturbation be a problem?

Most masturbation is normal and healthy, but sometimes it can turn into a problem. 

If you find you are masturbating all the time and it’s getting in the way of other things you enjoy doing like hanging out with friends, then it might be becoming a problem for you. Similarly, if you’re using dangerous objects to masturbate, or doing it in a way that’s hurting you or someone else, you may need to consider other methods. Take a step back and try something different – experiment with a range of different textures, pressures and techniques that don’t cause injury. 

If you’re still worried about the way you’re masturbating, speak to a doctor or counsellor. There’s no need to be embarrassed – they’ve heard (and seen) it all before!   

It goes without saying, but masturbation in public or in front of a child or non-consenting adult is NEVER OKAY. But as long as you’re getting down in a private space or with someone else who is fully consenting, go for it!   

What can I do now?

Last reviewed: 06 August, 2015
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