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Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of one's own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm.[1][2][3] The stimulation may involve hands, fingers, everyday objects, sex toys such as vibrators, or combinations of these.[1][2] Mutual masturbation is masturbation with a sexual partner,[3][4] and may include manual stimulation of a partner's genitals (fingering or a handjob),[4] or be used as a form of non-penetrative sex.[5] Masturbation is benign and harmless. Recently a German health insurance company even recommended masturbation as a sleep aid![6]

Masturbation is common in both sexes and at any age. Various medical and psychological benefits have been attributed to a healthy attitude toward sexual activity in general and to masturbation in particular. No causal relationship is known between masturbation and any form of mental or physical disorder.[7] In the Western world, masturbation in private or with a partner is generally considered a normal and healthy part of sexual enjoyment.

Male masturbation

Masturbation to orgasm before bed is very relaxing and contributes to sleeping. Moreover, it helps to prevent nocturnal emissions (wet dreams}.

The manner of male masturbation tends to be controlled by the circumcision status of the individual.

How one masturbates depends on whether one has an intact, internally-lubricated, movable erogenous foreskin that glides up and down the shaft or whether one has been circumcised.

Masturbation may be helpful in reducing a persistent erection.

Intact penis

The movable, internally-lubricated, nerve-laden erogenous foreskin and its gliding action is an important aid to masturbation.[8] Intact males simply use their hand to glide the foreskin back and forth. It is not necessary to retract the foreskin while masturbating. If the foreskin is of adequate length, then the intact male will usually keep it forward for additional stimulation. Use of lubrication is optional for intact males. The motion of the foreskin stimulates the nerves inside the foreskin.

Prolonged and/or vigorous masturbation occasionally causes lymphoedema of the foreskin, which causes swelling of the foreskin. The condition is painless and harmless. It usually resolves within about 24 hours.

Beaugé (1997) states that adult phimosis is caused by unusual methods of masturbation that fail to stretch the narrow foreskin of childhood.[9] According to Beaugé, the condition may be treated by changing one's method of masturbation so that the foreskin is pulled back against the head of the penis causing it to stretch.

Circumcised penis

Circumcision was introduced in English-speaking nations in Victorian times (19th century) to un-foreskin the penis, tighten the skin to make it immovable, and make it impossible to masturbate. It failed to stop masturbation, but it made it harder to do and less enjoyable. E. J. Spratling (1895) gave instructions on doing circumcisions to other doctors:

In all cases [of masturbation] circumcision is undoubtedly the physicians' closest friend and ally ... To obtain the best results one must cut away enough skin and mucous membrane to rather put it on the stretch when erections come later. There must be no play in the skin after the wound has thoroughly healed, but it must fit tightly over the penis, for should there be any play the patient will be found to readily resume his practice, not begrudging the time and extra energy required to produce the orgasm. It is true, however, that the longer it takes to have an orgasm, the less frequently it will be attempted, consequently the greater the benefit gained ... The younger the patient operated upon the more pronounced the benefit, though occasionally we find patients who were circumcised before puberty that require a resection of the skin, as it has grown loose and pliant after that epoch.[10]

Kim & Pang (2007) reported that masturbatory pleasure decreased in 48% of the respondents and increased in 8%, while difficulty increased in 63% but was easier in 37%. They concluded that there was a decrease in masturbatory pleasure after circumcision.[8]


Circumcised males found that they could still masturbate if they used lubrication to overcome the handicap of being circumcised. Most, but not all, circumcised males need lubrication to avoid friction irritation.[11] Some circumcised males who have a loose cut and some gliding action find it is enough for masturbation without lubrication.

Substances with harsh or irritant chemicals should not be used for lubrication.[12]

One may use various personal lubricants that are sold for sexual lubrication[13] or one may use such substances as baby oil, coconut oil, other vegetable oils, and saliva. Saliva dries rapidly so it must be replenished frequently, but it is always available.

Men who have practiced non-surgical foreskin restoration usually report that they no longer need lubrication because of the improvement in gliding action.

Restored penis

Many men who practice foreskin restoration report an improvement in their masturbation experience. Notably, they typically report an improvement in gliding action, in sensation, and a reduction of need for lubrication.

Refractory period

After a wet or dry orgasm, one immediately goes into the refractory period.[14] The glans penis becomes hyper-sensitive and further masturbation becomes impossible for a variable period of time.

In human sexuality, the refractory period is usually the recovery phase after orgasm during which it is physiologically impossible for a man to have additional orgasms. This phase begins immediately after ejaculation and lasts until the excitement phase of the human sexual response cycle begins anew with low level response.

See also

External links


  1. a b REFweb Robinson, Jennifer (4 March 2010). Masturbation – Is Masturbation Normal or Harmful? Who Masturbates? Why Do People Masturbate?, WebMD. Retrieved 17 August 2011.
  2. a b REFbook Lehmiller JJ (2017): The Psychology of Human Sexuality. John Wiley & Sons. P. 402. ISBN 978-1119164708.
    Quote: Masturbation refers to all solo forms of self-stimulation focusing on the genitals. Masturbation practices vary widely depending upon the individual's body and personal preferences. For instance, masturbation among women may involve manipulation of the clitoris and labia, stimulation of the breasts, or vaginal penetration with a sex toy. [...] Among men, masturbation most frequently involves using one or both hands to stimulate the penis. Of course, men sometimes utilize sex toys too (e.g., masturbation sleeves, butt-plugs, etc.).
  3. a b REFbook Nadal KL (2017): The SAGE Encyclopedia of Psychology and Gender. SAGE. P. 1123. ISBN 978-1483384276.
    Quote: Masturbation is the act of touching or otherwise stimulating one's own body, particularly one's genitals, for the purpose of sexual pleasure and/or orgasm. The term is most commonly used to describe solitary masturbation, in which people provide themselves with sexual stimulation while they are physically alone. Mutual masturbation is when two or more people manually stimulate their own body or each other's bodies.
  4. a b REFbook Bruess CE, Schroeder E (2013): Sexuality Education Theory And Practice. Jones & Bartlett Publishers. P. 151. ISBN 978-1449649289.
  5. REFbook Upton D (2014): Nursing & Health Survival Guide: Health Promotion. Routledge. P. 52. ISBN 978-1317906179.
  6. REFweb (25 July 2019). Barmer Krankenkasse empfiehlt Masturbation zum Einschlafen [Barmer health insurance recommends masturbation to sleep] (German), Spiegel. Retrieved 1 May 2020.
  7. REFbook Coleman E (2012): Masturbation as a Means of Achieving Sexual Health. Bockting, Walter O. & Coleman, Eli (eds.). New York: Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group. P. 7. ISBN 978-0-7890-2047-5.
    Quote: Despite the scientific evidence indicating that masturbation is generally a normal variant of sexual expression and that it does not seem to have a causal relationship with sexual pathology, negative attitudes about masturbation persist and it remains stigmatized.
  8. a b REFjournal DaiSik K, Pang MG. The effect of male circumcision on sexuality. BJU Int. March 2007; 99(3): 619-622. PMID. DOI. Retrieved 18 February 2020.
  9. REFjournal Beaugé M. The causes of adolescent phimosis. Brit J Sex Med. September 1997; : 26. Retrieved 30 May 2021.
  10. REFjournal Spratling EJ. Masturbation in the Adult. Medical Record. 1895; 24: 442-3. Retrieved 2 November 2021.
  11. REFweb Lubrication. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  12. REFweb What kinds of lubrication do you not recommend?. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  13. REFweb What kinds of lubrication do you recommend?. Retrieved 24 April 2022.
  14. REFweb (2012). Refractory period,, Segen's Medical Dictionary. Retrieved 29 May 2020.