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 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 great because it could help you guide a partner when the time comes. It's also 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.
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 to 9 and to masturbate in private starting from age 10-17.
HOW MUCH DO PEOPLE DO IT?
A recent Australian health study showed 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 interfacing 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 IF I GET CAUGHT?
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.
WHAT IF I FEEL ASHAMED ABOUT IT?
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 embarassed 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 you 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.