Masturbation refers to sexual stimulation, especially of one’s own genitals (self masturbation), often to the point of . The stimulation can be performed manually, by other types of bodily contact (except for sexual intercourse), by use of objects or tools, or by some combination of these methods. Masturbation is the most common form of autoeroticism, and the two words are often used as sinonyms, although masturbation with a partner (mutual masturbation) is also common. Animal masturbation has been observed in many species, both in the wild and in captivity.
The word masturbation is believed to derive from either the Greek word mezea (μεζεα, “penes”) or the Latin manus (“hand”) and the Latin turbare (“to disturb”). A competing etymology based on the Latin manu stuprare (“to defile with the hand”) is said by the Oxford English Dictionary to be an “old conjecture”.
While “masturbation” is the medical term for this practice, many other terms and expressions are in common use. In the vernacular, terms such as “pleasuring oneself”, “having a dig”, “wanking” and “jerking off” are common. See masturbate in Wikisaurus for many others.
Ways of masturbating common to members of both sexes include pressing or rubbing the genital area, either with the fingers or against an object such as a pillow; inserting fingers or an object into the anus (see anal masturbation); and stimulating the penis or vulva with electric vibrators, which may also be inserted into the vagina or anus. Members of both sexes may also enjoy touching, rubbing, or pinching the nipples or other erogenous zones while masturbating. Both sexes sometimes apply lubricating substances to intensify sensation.
Reading or viewing pornography, or sexual fantasy, are often common adjuncts to masturbation. Often people will call upon memories during masturbation. Masturbation activities are often ritualised. Various fetishes and paraphilias can also play a part in the masturbation ritual. Some potentially harmful or fatal activities include autoerotic asphyxiation and self-bondage.
Some people get sexual pleasure by inserting objects into the urethra (the tube through which urine and, in men, semen, flows). If these objects are urethral sounds, the practice is known as “sounding”. Other objects such as ball point pens and thermometers are sometimes used, although this practice can lead to injury and/or infection. Some people masturbate by using machines that simulate intercourse.
Men and women may masturbate until they are close to orgasm, stop for a while to reduce excitement, and then resume masturbating. They may repeat this cycle multiple times. This “stop and go” build-up can achieve even stronger orgasms. Rarely, people quit stimulation just before orgasm to retain the heightened energy that normally comes down after orgasm. Doing this could lead to temporary discomfort due to pelvic congestion.
Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich in his 1922 essay Concerning Specific Forms of Masturbation tried to identify healthy and unhealthy forms of masturbation. He tried to relate the way people masturbated to their degree of inclination towards the opposite sex and to their psycho-sexual pathologies.
Female masturbation techniques include a woman stroking or rubbing her vulva, especially her clitoris, with her index and/or middle fingers. Sometimes one or more fingers may be inserted into the vagina to repeatedly stroke its frontal wall where the g-spot is located. Masturbation aids such as a vibrator, dildo or Ben Wa balls can also be used to stimulate the vagina and clitoris. Many women caress their breasts or stimulate a nipple with the free hand, if these are receptive areas for sexual stimulation. Anal stimulation is also enjoyed by some. Lubrication is sometimes used during masturbation, especially when penetration is involved, but this is not universal and many women find their natural lubrication sufficient.
Common positions include lying on back or face down, sitting, squatting, kneeling or standing. In a bath or shower a female may direct tap water at her clitoris and vulva. Lying face down one may use the hands, one may straddle a pillow, the corner or edge of the bed, a partner’s leg or some scrunched-up clothing and “hump” the vulva and clitoris against it. Standing up a chair, the corner of an item of furniture or even a washing machine can be used to stimulate the clitoris through the labia and clothing.
In the 1920s, Havelock Ellis reported that turn-of-the-century seamstresses using treadle-operated sewing machines could achieve orgasm by sitting near the edge of their chairs.
Women can sexually stimulate themselves by crossing their legs tightly and clenching the muscles in their legs, creating pressure on the genitals. This can potentially be done in public without observers noticing. Some masturbate using only pressure applied to the clitoris without direct contact, for example by pressing the palm or ball of the hand against underwear or other clothing.
Thoughts, fantasies, and memories of previous instances of arousal and orgasm can produce sexual excitation. Some women can orgasm spontaneously by force of will alone, although this may not strictly qualify as masturbation as no physical stimulus is involved.
Sex therapists will sometimes recommend that female patients take time to masturbate to orgasm, especially if they have not done so before.
Male masturbation techniques are also influenced by a number of factors and personal preferences. Techniques may also differ between circumcised and uncircumcised males, as some techniques which may work for one can be quite painful for the other.
The most common male masturbation technique is simply to hold the penis with a loose fist and then to move the hand up and down the shaft until orgasm and ejaculation take place. The speed of the hand motion will vary from person to person, although it is not uncommon for the speed to increase as ejaculation nears and for it to decrease during the ejaculation itself. When uncircumcised, stimulation of the penis in this way comes from the “pumping” of the foreskin. This gliding motion of the foreskin reduces friction. When circumcised, there is more direct contact between the hand and the glans, thus a personal lubricant is sometimes used to reduce friction. Sometimes, if too much pressure is applied, it may be rubbed sore for a time.
Circumcised or not, men may rub or massage the glans, the rim of the glans, and the frenular delta.
Another technique is to place just the index finger and thumb around the penis about halfway along the penis and move the skin up and down. A variation on this is to place the fingers and thumb on the penis as if playing a flute, and then shuttle them back and forth. Another common technique is to lie face down on a comfortable surface such as a mattress or pillow and rub the penis against it until orgasm is achieved. This technique may include the use of a simulacrum, or artificial vagina.
There are many other variations on male masturbation techniques. Some men place both hands directly on their penis during masturbation, while others use their free hand to fondle their testicles, nipples, or other parts of their body. Some may keep their hand stationary while pumping into it with pelvic thrusts in order to simulate the motions of sexual intercourse. Others may also use vibrators and other sexual devices more commonly associated with female masturbation. A few extremely flexible males can reach and stimulate their penis with their tongue or lips, and so perform autofellatio.
The prostate gland is one of the organs that contributes fluid to semen. As the prostate is touch-sensitive, some directly stimulate it using a well-lubricated finger or dildo inserted through the anus into the rectum. Stimulating the prostate from outside, via pressure on the perineum, can be pleasurable as well. Some men, also, enjoy anal stimulation, with fingers or otherwise, without any prostate stimulation.
Semen is sometimes ejaculated onto a tissue or some other item.
A somewhat controversial ejaculation control technique is to put pressure on the perineum, about halfway between the scrotum and the anus, just before ejaculating. This can, however, redirect semen into the bladder (referred to as retrograde ejaculation). If repeated on a regular basis, this technique could cause long term damage due to the pressure put on the nerves and blood vessels in the perineum.
to be continued…