DO IT Yourself!

Hi Shawna,

I’m a 16 year old girl and have been masturbating since I was 10. Is it normal for girls to masturbate?

-Anonymous

I’m so glad you asked this question.  Here is the simple answer; IT IS TOTALLY NORMAL!  At least 90% of men and 70% of women masturbate, though some experts say the numbers are even higher.

Before I go further,  let me introduce myself.  My name is Christa and I have been at New Generation Health Center as a Health Educator for almost a year.  In my free time I go hiking and eat a lot of chocolate.  I love teaching sexual health and helping young men and women feel comfortable and empowered in their bodies and their lives.  That’s why I believe talking openly about masturbation is so important!

Masturbation is a healthy, wonderful part of our sexual lives. There is no “normal age” to start masturbating,  even babies sometimes do it.  As we get older,  it becomes more and more important for developing a healthy experience of our own bodies.  In the UK,  there have even been some public health campaigns that encourage teens to masturbate!

I know,  however,  that there is a lot of stigma around masturbation.  People may feel nervous,  guilty,  or embarrassed and might not be able to talk to their friends about these negative feelings. So let’s get it all out in the open.

There are a lot of negative myths about masturbation.  Maybe you’ve heard it makes you blind,  grows hair on your palms,  or stunts your growth.  Maybe you’ve heard that it makes it harder to orgasm with a partner once you’ve gotten used to doing it yourself.  Maybe you’ve heard that only people who can’t “get some” masturbate, or that girls don’t masturbate,  or that people in relationships don’t masturbate.  The list of myths goes on and on.

The great secret?  None of these are true!  Masturbation is healthy,  both physically and emotionally.  It releases stress,  relieves menstrual cramps in women,  can reduce risk of diseases of the reproductive organs,  and increase the chemicals in your brain which make you feel happy.  Many people masturbate to help themselves fall asleep or relieve headaches.  But the biggest benefit is that solo sex is the ultimate form of safer sex — there is no risk of pregnancy or sexual transmitted infection.

People learn about their bodies by giving themselves pleasure.  It increases your self-awareness,  self-esteem and sexual independence. Knowing your own body and what turns you on can give  you a sense of control over your sexual life that is hard to find when relying only on a partner.  If you do have a partner,  knowing how to please yourself can also help you communicate better about what you enjoy;  you can even masturbate with your partner.

So congratulations,  Anonymous! Not only is masturbation normal,  it is awesome.

For all readers who may not have tried masturbation yet (I know I was surprised when I got to college and found out that many of my friends had never tried because they thought it was “weird” or that they didn’t know how) let’s get down to it.  Masturbation is all about exploration.  If something feels good to you, keep doing it.  If something doesn’t, stop! Here are some tips to get you started.

Who: You!

What: You can use your fingers,  a toy (if you are over 18, try visiting a sex shop and asking for advice, or you can even order vibrators online),  a pillow,  the water faucet in your bathtub, etc etc.  Always make sure that anything you insert inside is clean.  If you are sharing a toy with someone else or using it in different “destinations,” like your anus and then your vagina,  put a condom on between uses.

Some people like to look at erotic magazines,  stories,  or videos. Some people just use their imaginations.

Try different motions,  pressures,  and locations.  And remember;  lube always helps!

Where: Anywhere you feel safe and comfortable.  What about where on your body? Try your neck,  nipples,  inner thighs,  ears,  mouth,  underarms,  penis,  testicles,  clitoris,  vulva,  anus,  perineum,  and even your feet!  If you are wondering what any of these places are,  check out our male and female anatomy post.

When: Can I say whenever?  The only way you can masturbate too often is if it interferes with your normal life,  activities,  or relationships.

Why: I hope we all agree on why by this point : )

Happy Thanksgiving, Readers! Give THANKS to YOURSELF!

In Happiness and Health,

Christa

Reviewed by Kohar Der Simonian, MD and Andrea Raider, NP

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