Expert Answers Factual Answers to Your Sexual Health Questions

anonymous on September 1, 2011

Will masturbating now hurt me in the future?

I’m a young woman and I’ve been masturbating for two years...but I’m afraid that it’s bad for me. Will masturbating damage me sexually in the future?

answered by Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD on September 1, 2011

I’m so glad that your shared this question because there are a lot of myths about masturbation…and sometimes it’s hard to separate the myths from the facts.

First, rest assured that masturbating now won’t cause damage to your sexuality or future sex life. Generally speaking, masturbation is a normal, healthy way to explore your sexuality.

In fact, since masturbation is a typically a solo activity, there are very few – if any – potential risks. Some researchers who focus on sexually transmitted infections (STIs) even suggest that encouraging people to masturbate (more than they have sex with others) decreases the overall risk of spreading infections.

Masturbation is also a safe way for you to learn about your body, and to discover what you enjoy…and what you don’t. As you learn the geography of your body and how to give yourself an orgasm, you’ll begin your journey toward sexual awareness and a healthy understanding of your own sexuality.

Additionally, masturbation often helps people explore their fantasies in a safe way. And because everyone is different, you’ll already know what to tell your future partner(s) about what you like or don’t like when it comes to sex.

Speaking of future partners, many women (and men) who have regular sex partners continue to masturbate. According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior conducted by Indiana University, more than half of women ages 18-49 reported masturbating during the previous 90 days. Within that group, rates were highest for women who were 25-29, and a little lower in the older age groups.

Bottom line? Not only is masturbation perfectly normal and considered relatively safe by the medical community, it’s also quite common for women and men to pleasure themselves throughout their lives.

Thanks again for asking this question, and I wish you good luck and good sexual health.

Related info:

Annette Fuglsang Owens, MD, PhD

Dr. Owens is an AASECT-certified sexuality counselor. Her areas of expertise include the medical aspects of human sexuality and sexual problems, as well as the impact of STDs ⎼ and other diseases, illnesses and disabilities ⎼ on sexuality. Dr. Owens was educated at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.

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