Young women's version of this guide

Masturbation, or rubbing your genitals, is a natural way to learn about your body and what feels sexually satisfying. Many people masturbate, and others do not. It’s up to you to decide what’s best for you. Read on for more information about masturbation.

Is masturbation normal?

Yes. Masturbation is a normal activity. Contrary to any myths you may have heard, masturbation will not cause you to go blind, grow hair on your palms, or cause you to become infertile.

Is masturbation OK?

From a medical standpoint, masturbation is normal. People may have different views on masturbation based on their religious, cultural, and/or personal beliefs. Ultimately you will have to decide what’s right for you.

Can masturbation be harmful to me?

As long as you’re masturbating in a private place, and you’re not irritating your genitals, masturbation is not a harmful activity. If you ever feel pain in your genitals while masturbating it’s a good idea to talk with your health care provider to make sure that everything is okay.

Are there any tips for masturbation?

Things to consider before masturbating are:

  • Being in a private space.
    • While some people may masturbate with partner(s), it’s important to get consent and do it in a private space.
  • Consider using a lubricant or gentle moisturizer to help prevent irritation.
  • Consider having tissues or a towel close by to help with cleaning up.
    • Some people use a condom.
  • Some people find it helpful to have something that helps get them in the mood or sexually aroused.

How do I know if I masturbate too much?

Some people masturbate every day, other people masturbate every few months, and others never masturbate. If you’re worried about whether you masturbate too much, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you ever miss school or work because you’re masturbating?
  • Is masturbation constantly on your mind?
  • Does masturbation get in the way of your daily activities (such as doing homework, going to sports practice, etc.)?
  • Do you skip hanging out with friends or participating in social activities because you’re at home masturbating?

If you’ve answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may be spending too much time masturbating. It’s a good idea to talk with your health care provider or a mental health professional such as counselor or therapist.

Here’s a tip on how to bring it up to your health care provider: “I think I might masturbate too much. What can I do?”

How can I stop or cut down on masturbation?

Change can be hard. Try making some small changes. Instead of masturbating try:

  • Joining a new activity such as a sports team, a club at school, or playing an instrument.
  • Doing something you enjoy such as reading, video games, etc.
  • Spending more times with friends or family.
  • Getting extra help – speak to your health care provider or therapist.

Will masturbation affect my sex life?

In some cases people may notice if they masturbate before sexual activity with their partner(s) it may affect their ability to get an erection or ejaculate.

Overall, as long as you’re not more interested in masturbation than in spending time with your partner(s), masturbation should not have any negative effect on your sex life. Some people practice mutual masturbation – or stimulating each other’s genitals – as an alternative to sexual intercourse and a way to prevent unwanted pregnancy (if applicable) as well as sexually transmitted infections. Remember it’s important to discuss consent with sexual partner(s) to make sure you all agree.