You're Not Going Blind: The Truth About 7 Masturbation Myths

Masturbation, an innate human behavior likened to natural bodily functions by Dr. Susan Kellogg-Spart, director of the Division of Female Sexual Medicine at the Pelvic Medical Center in Rosemont, Pennsylvania, remains stigmatized despite its naturalness. This stigma has perpetuated misinformation and misconceptions around solo sexual practices, influencing societal perceptions and attitudes. It's crucial to delve into these myths to unveil the truths surrounding this often-taboo topic.

Myth 1: People in relationships don't masturbate

Justine Marie Shuey, a sexologist in Philadelphia, emphasizes that masturbation is a common behavior irrespective of relationship status. Shuey dispels the misconception that partners might feel discomfort or insecurity due to their significant other's solo sexual activities, wrongly interpreting it as dissatisfaction within the relationship. She emphasizes the importance of acknowledging diverse levels of sexual desires, asserting that variations in sexual expressions are entirely natural and healthy. Furthermore, Shuey highlights masturbation as a natural facet of numerous sexual experiences, serving as a means to explore and fulfill individual sexual needs and desires within or outside a relationship.

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Myth 2: Excessive masturbation causes erectile dysfunction

Dr. Spadt offers insight into the relationship between excessive self-stimulation and erectile function, highlighting that while it doesn't directly cause erectile dysfunction, it can contribute to desensitization. Regular exposure to particular forms of stimulation, be it through the use of devices or manual touch, could cultivate preferences or dependencies on specific sensations. This habitual adaptation may influence an individual's capacity for arousal and response, particularly in the context of partnered sexual experiences. While this pattern doesn't inherently trigger erectile issues, it could potentially impact the levels of arousal and responsiveness during intimate moments with a partner.

Myth 3: Masturbation is not a normal part of sexual development

Dr. Shuey points to a thorough investigation carried out by the American Journal of Pediatrics involving adolescents aged 14 to 17, revealing that a significant majority, 74% of boys and 48% of girls, openly acknowledged engaging in masturbation. This study serves as a compelling testament, affirming that adolescent masturbation is not only a prevalent behavior but also an entirely natural and healthy aspect of sexual exploration and maturation for individuals across various age groups. Emphasizing that this exploration isn't limited to specific genders or age brackets, the study underscores the pivotal role of masturbation in fostering positive sexual health and contributing to overall well-being. It signifies a crucial step in understanding and appreciating masturbation as a universally normal and essential facet of human sexual development and expression.

Myth 4: Masturbation has no health benefits

Shuey underscores a multitude of health advantages associated with masturbation that extend far beyond mere sexual gratification. These encompass a broad spectrum of benefits, including enhanced quality of sleep, alleviation of stress, reduction in headaches, improved focus and concentration, elevated self-esteem, a revitalized and youthful appearance, and enhanced levels of physical fitness. Additionally, she highlights specific sexual health benefits, particularly noteworthy for older women, such as the alleviation of vaginal dryness and heightened comfort during sexual intercourse. This holistic range of health benefits offers a comprehensive and nuanced understanding of the profound positive impact that regular masturbation can have on an individual's overall well-being, encompassing both physical and sexual health components.

Myth 5: Masturbating too much is not okay

According to Dr. Spadt, excessive masturbation occurs when it serves as an escape from relationship issues, affects one's health, or replaces real-life experiences. It's important to note that if frequent self-stimulation causes physical discomfort, consumes excessive mental space, creates relationship problems, or leads to habituation issues, indicating only specific types of stimulation can induce orgasms, it might signal a need to reduce frequency. However, Dr. Spadt highlights that only a very small percentage of individuals reach the stage of excessive masturbation.


Myth 6: People only masturbate when they're alone

Dr. Spadt points out that mutual masturbation is integrated into the sexual routines of some individuals. She underscores that certain couples find satisfaction in observing each other's self-stimulation, considering it an intimate and thrilling experience. Additionally, some individuals derive pleasure from reaching orgasm through self-stimulation after engaging in various sexual interactions with their partner. Mutual exploration fosters trust, intimacy, and open communication, providing deeper insights into each other's sexual desires and relationship boundaries.


Myth 7: Masturbation Can Make You Go Blind

Shuey attributes many misconceptions about masturbation to historical beliefs that exclusively linked sex to procreation. During that era, any sexual activity not tied to procreation was considered problematic, including masturbation. These antiquated beliefs led to myths associating masturbation with severe consequences such as mental illness, tuberculosis, hairy palms, and death. Shuey strongly emphasizes the urgency to dispel these myths, asserting that masturbation is a normal, healthy aspect of human sexuality, entirely unrelated to the alarming myths propagated in the past.
Masturbation, a natural aspect of human sexuality, warrants understanding and acceptance, free from societal stigmas and misconceptions.
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