Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of one’s own genitals for sexual arousal or sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. Masturbation is probably the most universal of all sexual practices, at least among men. Surveys on the subject since the nineteenth century suggest that well over 90 percent of men masturbate at some time during their lives. Men, as early as in their childhood discover that touching their genitals feels good. Most men grow up learning that masturbation is wrong or bad and only a few grow out of the false guilt they carry with the act.
Masturbation is a normal part of healthy life, very common, nothing wrong with it and safe are reassuring for men to practice the sexual act without any guilt. Unlike the risks involved in sexual intercourse, masturbation as a sexual act is safe in terms of protecting oneself from sexually transmitted diseases and avoid unwanted pregnancies. Having said that masturbation is a safe and sound sexual practice, there are ways when it could go wrong.
Healthy masturbation relieves stress and rewards with feel good neurotransmitters and hormones. There are abnormal ways of masturbation that may make men fall prey to physical and mental ailments. Men become victims of extreme abnormal ways of masturbation with appalling consequences. There have been cases of extreme masturbation resulting in grave physical injury, psychological disturbances and crime.
Masturbation may cease to serve its objectives of stress relief under circumstances of obsessive masturbation. In obsessive masturbation, a person is usually involved in an inward impersonal fantasy world. One may get used to it as the inappropriate way to resolve other things. But because of relieving one’s mind with masturbation, he may never do those other things in need. Such inappropriate behaviour may interfere with decision-making, action-planning and executing. This may incur loss to a man’s personality and identity.
Masturbation becomes compulsive when it gets in the way of one’s work, responsibilities or social life. Like any other behaviour or habit, Compulsive masturbation can disrupt one’s life. Masturbation can be destructive when used as a means of cutting off oneself from feelings and attachments. Masturbation officially becomes a problem when a man is doing it instead of talking to people, or being intimate with them. Masturbation here is being used as a way of soothing oneself and depriving his relation to another person. Compulsive masturbation behaviour comes with secrecy and deception. In accordance with his intense masturbation behaviour, the person may expect unrealistic sexual participation from his partner and if not met, can strain interpersonal relationships. This, in the long run can deprive the female partner from romantic relationships and break down family life.
Excessive masturbation can have negative effects of addiction. When a person becomes dependent on sated and relaxed feelings post masturbation and uses them to escape stressful life situations or mental problems, it opens the possibility for masturbation addiction to occur. Addiction to masturbation can lead a person to spend more time in masturbating and less time at meaningful work. People who are addicted to masturbation seem to spend more hours watching pornographic clips and videos. This makes them less available and less productive individuals.
People who are addicted to masturbation are in constant search for new exciting ways to achieve maximum sexual pleasure. This tendency may push the individual to extreme ways of conquering sexual pleasure from watching child pornography, masturbating in public places, masturbating at another person and other such anti-social activities.
Aggressive masturbation techniques such as tight grip and vigorous strokes when practiced over an extended period of time can desensitize the penile nerves. Excessive masturbation without sufficient lubrication can cause penile skin irritation and make it sore. Repeated aggressive hand masturbation systematically desensitizes the penis through excess pressure and friction. The face down position of masturbating against a surface such as the mattress, bed etc., puts a great deal of pressure on the penis. This pressure in the prone position is much more than the pressure from free hand masturbation. Undue pressure on the erect penis in the prone position can also be a reason for numbness and desensitization of the penis. Desensitization of penis can be a cause of concern in achieving and sustaining penile erection during sexual intercourse. Due to pornography addiction and/or wrong masturbation techniques, men may become both physically and psychologically desensitized to normal sexual stimulation and arousal with a sexual partner. (Erectile Dysfunction)
Penile fracture is a rare condition of vigorous masturbation, wherein an erect penis snaps due to rough handling. The chambers that hold blood during erection ruptures causing pain and swelling of the penis. A surgery may be the only way to restore penile function. Men can suffer blunt trauma when they try to intensify masturbating by penetrating their penis in to objects that are not meant for sexual pleasure or to simulate intercourse. These can be dangerous and can lead to injury and permanent damage.
Masturbation as non-procreative sex is linked to the perceptions within a given culture of its nature and consequences. Ideas about masturbation are crucial for understanding societal attitude towards sex. Masturbation is a key to understanding changing development in attitudes toward human sexuality. Attitudes towards masturbation are slow to change but as they do so, attitude towards sexuality also changes. Thus, views on masturbation have been carried over as changes from theological offence in to medico – morals through the years. An act that was once sullied as spiritually wrong is now gaining awareness as a healthy sexual act.
The vast proliferation of pornographic Web sites, phone sex lines, and other erotic media suggests masturbation is widely practiced. With the advancement of information and technology, more ways to increase pleasure through masturbation have been introduced. Almost everyone who is sexually active or is experiencing sexual urges can masturbate. When done in moderation and in a controlled manner, masturbation can be an ideal way of relieving sexual urges and preventing sexually transmitted infections and diseases. If a man feels that the need to masturbate is interfering with his everyday life, talking to a sexual health care provider can help. If the act becomes all-consuming, there may be an underlying medical cause such as inappropriate age, lack of sexual knowledge, sexualized play or aggression, prematurely developed seductive behaviour or an indicator of sexual abuse. Such behaviours require remedial measures to control the situation.