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Masturbation means touching one’s own body, often including the genitals, for sexual pleasure. Masturbation can be a fun activity for a person to try without the risk of pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections, or the complexities of a relationship with someone else! It is completely normal to masturbate; in fact, young children and even babies will soothe themselves by rubbing their genitals against comfortable objects because it feels good.
During puberty and into adulthood, masturbation can be a healthy way for a person to discover what feels good to them, how their body responds to touch, and what an orgasm feels like. It can involve touching any part of the body, but most often it includes stimulating the genitals. Some people masturbate by rubbing their clitoris, vulva, and vagina with their fingers or with a sex toy; others stroke or rub their penises with their hands or with a sex toy.
Masturbation is safe and healthy. Some people masturbate to relax or to help them fall asleep, because it is an effective way to release tension and stress. In fact, sexual pleasure and orgasm release endorphins in the brain that can help with mental clarity and mood. It feels good and it is the safest kind of sex a person can have.
There is no right or wrong way for someone to masturbate: A person gets to decide what feels best to them, how to do it, where to touch themself, and how often. Choosing somewhere private to masturbate—like a bedroom or a bathroom—can help someone to relax, feel safe, and feel comfortable masturbating. It is important to know that public masturbation is against the law because it may cross other people’s boundaries. Like all sexual activities, if someone else (like a partner) is present while someone is masturbating, be sure to check in to get their consent first.