Is it normal to masturbate?

Yes. Over 90% of men and women have masturbated at some time in their life and many masturbate on a regular basis. There are so many myths and fears about masturbation that it can be a hard topic to talk about, but here are some basic facts to consider:

Masturbation does not cause physical or mental problems. The myths that masturbation can cause blindness, warts, infertility, or mean that you are “a loser” aren’t true. For many people (especially women), masturbation can be a first step to sexual pleasure and orgasm.

Both women and men masturbate; around 38% of women and 55% of men masturbate on a regular basis. (The Janus Report on Sexual Behavior, Samuel S. Janus and Cynthia L. Janus; John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 1993) Researchers aren’t sure why masturbation is more common among men, but it’s probably because although there is still some embarrassment about the subject, male masturbation is considered by many to be normal, funny, or even necessary. (Have you seen the movie Something About Mary, when Ben Stiller masturbates before his first date with Cameron Diaz?). However, female masturbation is still a much more taboo subject, as are many topics related to female sexuality.

You decide about masturbation. Sex and masturbation can be really difficult topics to talk, or even think about, especially if you have been told that they are dirty or shameful. But do the reasons that you are told that masturbation is wrong make sense to you? You may decide that masturbation is not the right thing for you, either right now or anytime in the future, but recognize that it’s a normal, common thing to do; and, it absolutely something you can talk privately to your health provider about if you have concerns.