What is masturbation? Is masturbation bad for health?
Masturbation is self-stimulating your genitals in a sexual way to the point of reaching an orgasm.
It is a very common behaviour among men and women and is a very normal part of growing up for children of both sexes.
Most children play with their genitals between the ages of two and six. To a grown-up person, the sight of children fondling their own genitals can feel disturbing because he/she looks at the act through adult filters. However, this act is a very normal part of growing up for every child, as it is a process of self-exploring their own bodies and discovering how each part of their body responds to touch, and how some parts are more pleasurable than others. To a child rubbing his/her genitals simply feels innocently pleasurable and is not “wrong” or “bad”. These “adult filters” are introduced to the children by the adults, and often the child ends up feeling confused and worried.
The adults react to the child in the same way that they saw their own parents or grown-ups around them react, while they were exploring their own bodies as children. Therefore, they continue to carry those feelings of shame and guilt and never got a chance to get comfortable with their own sexuality.
The act in itself is not “good” or “bad”, though in some cases religious beliefs may induce people to label it as “bad”.
The crucial factor in such a scenario would be, how an adult approaches a child and without shaming the child makes the child feel comfortable with his/her own body, and gently explains the propriety side of it, if child indulges in the act in front of people.
Sexual development is a very much an essential part of normal growth and development for a child, just as physical development, emotional development, learning and developing language and communication skills is normal.
Having said that, what also needs to be stated is, even though there is nothing wrong with masturbation, it is also okay not to masturbate. Some people have naturally lower levels of sexual desire or may decide that they want to abstain from masturbation for religious or personal reasons. You can follow whatever option you feel is best for you.
Is it a ‘bad thing’ if women masturbate?
Women in India are always expected to either never recognise their inherent sexual longings, or to easily overcome their sexual desire.
Here, the feeling of experiencing pleasure for a woman comes with the burden of shame and guilt. It’s easy for a woman who is comfortable with her sexuality to get labelled as a “slut”.
To compound the problem further, not many women in this country are even aware of a particular part of their body, called the clitoris. In fact, the clitoris is also not mentioned in the sex education classes or conversations, as sexual pleasure for women is largely identified only with penetration.
The clitoris is a small, sensitive organ made of erectile tissue in the vulva of the female reproductive system. It contains thousands of nerve endings that make it an extremely sensitive organ. Touching stimulates the clitoris and produces sensations of sexual pleasure.
To know more about the clitoris please see:
Masturbation can actually help women to understand their own bodies better, and they can do so without any shame or guilt. In fact, if anything, masturbation can help enhance a woman’s sexual experience with her partner.
The fact is there is enormous potential for healing, fulfilment, and wellbeing through exploring your sexuality as a woman and expressing it and experiencing it with joy.
Is masturbation a common behaviour?
Sexologists, as well as researchers, are of the opinion that masturbation is a completely normal process for human beings and is a healthy sexual behaviour. It probably has a bad reputation because it is an intensely private sexual behaviour, which no one discusses, even with the closest of friends.
Is masturbation harmful to women?
No. From a health science perspective, masturbation is not at all harmful to you. Some people think masturbation is bad for moral reasons, however, that is a personal choice.
Is it healthy for a woman to masturbate daily?
Masturbating daily can be normal for some women, depending on their age and sexual drive, whereas for others it can be excessive. As long masturbating does not affect your overall energy levels, and does not encroach into your daily life and activities you should be fine.
Excessive masturbation though can inhibit sexual intimacy with your partner.
On the other hand, missing out on regular orgasms can increase your stress levels and can add to mental health issues, frustration, and unhappiness in general. Masturbating aids stress release and helps to stabilize your mood, making you happier and healthier.
How many times in a week is masturbation considered normal for a woman?
The frequency per week can vary from woman to woman, based on her general health conditions. There are women who masturbate two to three times a day, or five times a week, seven times a week, or even not at all. This does not in any way make them more or less sexual.
Sexual drive is natural, however, an excess of anything is harmful. Therefore, rather than increasing the frequency of masturbation you can consider diverting your energy to things such as sports, creative arts or any other hobbies. This ensures that you live a balanced, healthy, and happy life.
Is excessive masturbation harmful to women?
Even good things in excessive proportions can be harmful. If you masturbate excessively it can lead to:
- rawness and extreme genital irritation from too much friction
- living too much in your head and in your fantasies, rather than face reality
- disconnecting emotionally or sensually when it comes to your partner
- conditioning yourself to only become aroused or reach an orgasm in one specific way, if you are masturbating the same way every time
Is it healthy for a woman to masturbate daily?
Masturbating daily can be normal for some women, whereas for others it can be excessive. As long as masturbating does not affect your overall energy levels, and does not encroach into your daily life and activities you should be fine.
Though, few sex experts consider masturbating daily to be excessive. Masturbating daily can lead to weakness, fatigue, early ejaculation and may inhibit sexual activities with your partner.
Can masturbation replace sex for women?
Masturbation in itself is a pleasurable activity which stands apart from sex. In fact, masturbation can enhance the experience with a sexual partner, because it helps you understand your own body better as a woman.
However, if you are only masturbating and are ignoring or missing out on physical intimacy with your partner, then it could be a sign of a problem.
There are valid times though when masturbation can replace sex, for example:
- if the partner’s sex drive is lower than yours, then masturbation is an option
- if the partner is sick
- if the partner is not available
When is masturbation not safe for women?
Masturbation is generally safe. However, if it is done excessively and aggressively then it can be harmful.
- When you touch the genitals of an infected person and then touch yours, you may suffer from Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs). STIs can also occur if you share your sex toys with an infected person.
- If you rub yourself aggressively you may end up injuring your vagina.
What are the benefits of masturbating for women?
The benefits of masturbation for women are many:
- Female masturbation helps prevent cervical infections and relieves urinary tract infections. In fact, the desire to masturbate can be strong for a woman with UTI and with good reason, because masturbating can help relieve the pain, lubricate the vagina, and flush harmful bacteria from the cervix.
- Relieves you of depressed feelings as when you become aroused, the hormone levels of mood-boosting dopamine and epinephrine soar in your body.
- Masturbation can help relieve emotional stress greatly.
- It helps you to strengthen your relationship with yourself because when you know and love yourself deeply on physical and emotional levels, you gain confidence and let yourself grow through self-awareness.It leads to proper self-expression in all areas of life and boosts your self-confidence.
- Masturbation can enhance the quality of your sleep and help you deal with insomnia.
- Women who experience more orgasms and greater frequency and satisfaction with masturbation or sex are known to have greater resistance to heart disease and Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.
- When a woman orgasms it increases the pelvic floor strength. There is increased blood pressure in the clitoris. The muscle tone, heart rate, and respiration increases and the uterus goes up from the pelvic floor, thus increasing pelvic muscle tension and strengthening the entire region.
- It can enhance your relationship with your partner since you know yourself physically.
- For women, masturbation can help relieve stomach cramps.
- In post-menopausal women, a narrowing of the vagina can make sexual intercourse and pelvic exams painful, but masturbation, particularly with a water-based lubricant, increases blood flow to the sex organs. This can help relieve moisture problems and prevent the narrowing of the vagina.
How do I know if I am masturbating excessively?
You know you’re masturbating excessively when:
- It causes you significant distress
- You are masturbating multiple times per day to escape from stress or realities of day to day life
- You prefer masturbating rather than an intimate relationship with your partner and therefore, have completely stopped sexual relations with your partner
- You regularly injure yourself by rubbing yourself aggressively
- You hardly have time for your friends or family, as you are too busy pleasuring yourself
- You constantly feel lustful and fight the urge to pleasure yourself
- Pain, rawness and irritation in your genital area
What is the treatment of excessive masturbation?
If you are or feel you are masturbating excessively and it is hindering your daily life, immediately consult a general doctor, who may, in turn, refer you to a psychiatrist or a counsellor. A psychiatrist or a counsellor will help you to regulate and divert your energies in a more productive way and gradually wean you away from aggressive masturbation.
At times, medication may also be suggested depending on your symptoms and general health conditions.
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