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What Is Masturbation (Male)?

Medically Reviewed by Dan Brennan, MD on June 29, 2021

Masturbation is touching or rubbing your genitals, anus, or other parts of your body for sexual pleasure. Male masturbation is when someone who identifies as male masturbates.

Most of the time, the intended goal of masturbation is to achieve orgasm — the physical and emotional sensation at the peak of sexual excitement. 

Masturbation in Puberty

Some people, especially younger men going through puberty, might be reluctant to discuss their masturbation with their family members. However, this privacy is nothing to worry about due to masturbation’s personal nature. 

Male masturbation is nothing to be embarrassed about. Masturbation is natural, and even children up to the ages five and six partake in masturbation because of their curiosity about their own bodies. So, it is important to tell younger men that their masturbation is okay and nothing to be ashamed about, even though it should be done in private. If you have any questions about masturbation, the best person to ask is your doctor. 

Other Names for Male Masturbation

Male masturbation is called different names by different people. Some informally refer to male masturbation as “pleasuring oneself” or “playing with oneself.” There is also an abundance of slang words for masturbation, such as “wanking,” “jerking off,” and “jacking off.”

Myths and Misconceptions about Masturbation

Male masturbation is common, normal, and healthy, but many people have been told for years that masturbation is “dirty” or “inappropriate”. As a result, it can bring complicated or conflicting feelings, such as guilt. If you have guilt, talk with someone you trust. A therapist or medical professional can be helpful. 

Likewise, male masturbation is not harmful to sexual organs. The most common risk is tender or chafed skin, which can be prevented with lubricant.

How Masturbation Works in Relationships

If you’re in a relationship, you can still masturbate. It can help to avoid any guilt on the part of a partner who does not want to engage in as much sexual activity as the “higher frequency” partner. 

If, on the other hand, your partner starts to feel upset about your masturbation, communicate clearly to them why it is important to you. And be sure to come into this conversation with understanding. If you are masturbating frequently, your partner could feel inferior when compared to your ability to pleasure yourself. Reassurance and communication are key in these relationship scenarios. If problems progress, it could help to talk with a sex counselor

WebMD Medical Reference

Sources

SOURCES:

About Kids Health: "Puberty in Boys."

Dictionary.com: "Masturbation."

Dictionary.com: "Orgasm."

Healthy Children: "Masturbation."

Medical News Today: "What to Know About Sperm Production."

PsychCentral: "Is Masturbation Bad for You?"

Psychology Today: "7 Myths About Masturbation—and the Truth About Solo Sex."

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