Is masturbation normal?

Masturbation is completely normal and extremely common. People of all ages masturbate and it’s often the first sexual experience they have.

However, not everybody enjoys masturbating and there’s no reason to do it if you don’t want to.

What is masturbation?

Masturbation is when you get sexual pleasure from touching your genitals, usually with your hand. You can masturbate yourself or a partner. Masturbation usually leads to an orgasm.

Generally, men and boys masturbate by rubbing or moving their hand up and down their erect penis. Women and girls may use their fingers or hand to rub the area around their clitoris or vagina.

Many people enjoy masturbating with their partner as part of a healthy sex life and there’s no right or wrong way to masturbate.

Can masturbating cause any health problems?

Masturbation doesn’t cause any harm, either physically or mentally, even if you do it often. Your genitals may feel sore if you masturbate a lot in a short space of time.

If you masturbate with a partner, the risk of passing on or getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is low, as long as you don’t pass genital fluids to one another on your fingers or in any other way.

Although people may be embarrassed to talk about masturbating, you shouldn’t feel ashamed of it or guilty about doing it. If you feel the need to masturbate is interfering with your everyday life, talking to a GP may help.

Read the answers to more questions about sexual health.

Further information:

Page last reviewed: 11/01/2016

Next review due: 11/01/2018