Masturbation has been falsely tied to sexual and other health problems. Find out the truth about the most common masturbation myths.
Masturbation is a natural physical function - "as natural as going to the bathroom or breathing air," says Susan Kellogg Spadt, PhD, RN, director of sexual medicine at the Pelvic & Sexual Health Institute in Philadelphia. However, there's a social stigma surrounding masturbation that has led to numerous masturbation myths. Here's an overview of those masturbation myths, as well as reliable sexual health information to debunk them.
Masturbation myth: Excessive masturbation can lead to erectile dysfunction. Reality: "Erectile dysfunction does not result from masturbation," Spadt says. "What can happen with either sex is they masturbate frequently and become used to a certain touch, be it vibration or one's own hand." Because of this, she says, "they may become habituated to that sensation and find it more difficult to have an orgasm with their partner."
Masturbation myth: People in relationships don't masturbate. Reality: According to the Kinsey Institute, 92 percent of men and 62 percent of women masturbate. "People masturbate whether they are in relationships or single," says Justine Marie Shuey, PhD, sexuality educator and a board-certified sexologist in Camden, N.J. "People often get jealous when their partners masturbate because they feel it's cheating or their partner is masturbating because they aren't good enough. What you need to realize is that people have different levels of sexual desire - all are totally healthy and normal, and some involve masturbation."
Masturbation myth: Masturbation will make you go blind.
Reality: "Many myths about masturbation, such as this one, come from beliefs back when people believed sex was only meant for procreation," Shuey says. Because masturbation isn't for procreation, it was considered problematic. "People also believed sex could lead to insanity, tuberculosis, hairy palms, and death," she says. "Obviously, none of these things are true," she says.
Masturbation myth: Masturbation is not a normal part of sexual development.Reality: "Individuals are sexual beings from birth to death," Shuey says. An analysis of data on sexual behavior involving more than 800 teenagers ages 14 to 17 who responded to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior showed that nearly three-quarters of boys and almost half of girls reported having masturbated.
(Everyday Health Media)