It’s one of our most-asked-about topics ever, so it’s time we had a good chat about MASTURBATION. There, we said it.
Here, we answer your frequently asked masturbation questions...
Is it wrong?
Nope – there’s nothing medically wrong with it at all. As GF’s resident doctor Sally Cockburn has said, there’s nothing abnormal about enjoying it and it’s natural to feel an urge to do it in private.
Sexual Health Australia director Desiree Spierings even says it can be quite beneficial - for starters, you get to claim your body and its responses as your own and it’s def sex with someone you love. You get to learn how your body works, what feels good, what doesn’t and can get in touch with your sexuality. This is all great because it could help you guide a partner when the time comes. That and it’s said to be a good way to relieve stress.
Are there any downsides of masturbation?
As Sally often tells us, those who might tell you masturbation is bad or dangerous are usually ill-informed or have a moral objection to it. One downside would be if you were causing yourself pain… more on that in a moment.
Am I too young to masturbate?
The short answer is no. According to Desiree, it is normal to touch yourself with an understanding this is a thing that should be done privately from ages 5-9 and to masturbate in private starting from age 10 to 17.
How much do people do it?
Desiree, referring to a recent Australian health study, says two thirds of men and one third of women had masturbated in the past year, and 50 per cent of men and 20 per cent of women had in the past four weeks. Men reported doing it more often than women. Half of those who had masturbated in the past four weeks did it more than once a week.
But how much is TOO much?
As Sally has said, a sign of excessive masturbation would be if it were interfering with your enjoyment of other daily activities. So, let’s say you were ditching netball practice in favour of lots and lots of solo time – this would be a bit of an indicator that it had become an obsession for you.
What can I do if I feel pain, not pleasure?
Got the ouches? Your body is trying to tell you something because it should not hurt at all. “Pain may mean you are too rough in the way you are touching yourself,” Desiree explains. “It might be important to change your style.” Remember, your vagina is a sensitive area so use some common sense - for example, clean hands and short fingernails are helpful to have. If the pain sticks around, Desiree recommends you see your doc because it could be a sign of an STI. Don’t worry if you need to see a doc over problems with this area – she will be chill and confidential.
What can I do if I can’t make it to the big O?
“Having an orgasm is about letting go,” explains Desiree. “It’s about completely losing control.” According to her, every girl is physically capable of the big O via stimulation to the clitoris. To get to that ‘losing control’ feeling, she says you should try relaxing and thinking sexual thoughts because this is one of those mind over matter things that can take time and patience.
What if I feel awkward and ashamed about masturbating?
These awks feels could be coming from other people. As Anne-Frances Watson, sexuality education researcher of the Queensland University of Technology, says in the Girlfriend Guide to Life, “most parents and schools are embarrassed to talk about masturbation… but just because it’s a bit of an awkward topic, it doesn’t make it wrong.” No matter what anybody tells you, it’s a completely natural thing to do. But, know what? Like everything else to do with your body, you get to choose. Feeling uncomfortable with it or disinterested in it? That’s totally OK. It is not something you HAVE to do.
What if I get caught masturbating?
Take steps to ensure your private activities remain just that – private. But if you were in a private space when you got sprung, Desiree urges a convo with the ‘rents about respecting your privacy and having boundaries – for example, to knock before entering your room.
Why do I masturbate four or five days before my period?
You’ve got your hormones to thank for that, according to Desiree. “There’s nothing wrong with having a stronger urge to masturbate at particular times in your cycle. We feel sexual desire at different intensities throughout our cycle.”