No, really. It can help you learn your own body better, help increase your ability to have orgasms, help you sleep better, relieve cramps and stress, etc. It can increase your self esteem and make you feel good about yourself, and in general. Seriously, it's a great thing to do. Plus, it feels good. I don't think I need to convince you anymore, but in case I do...
According to a study, in the past year, 83% of men and 71% of women ages 25-29 (the most common ages of my readers) have masturbated. That's a lot. Basically, most people masturbate at least once in their lives. The percentages dip down a bit in the early teens and late 60's and 70's, but not even by that much.
There are so many ways to masturbate. You can use your fingers or toys, read or watch porn, rub up against something. Everyone experiences it differently. If you haven't ever done it, I urge you to take some time now and try! Find out what turns you on. Watch some videos, read some erotica. It is a great feeling to go into a relationship and be able to say "This is what I like." It can just make your sex life that much better! Mutual masturbation is also an option. If you don't feel comfortable touching yourself alone, do it in front of someone who would love to watch! There are so many possibilities.
A lot of religions preach about masturbation being sinful. I found this article from Today's Christian Woman that talks a bit about it. The author says that it is not always immoral, as long as you are thinking pure, non-lustful thoughts with the intention of helping yourself and/or your relationship and don't let it overcome you. I figured that made sense for people with religious convictions. But then, she says this--
"Many women learned (or were even taught) to masturbate at very young ages. This is particularly true of those who have been sexually violated and have been "sexualized" at a young age."
No, no no no no no no. No. Everyone grows up with the instinct of wanting to touch themselves. How can you go a whole lifetime with a body and never explore it? Wanting to discover and know your own body is not a result of assault or over-sexualization, and it makes me sad that there are women that think this. You wanting to get off at age 14, 15, 16 doesn't mean you have been violated and/or sexualized. It means you are turned on and want to help yourself by getting off.
As far as I know, the Bible speaks of lust and adultery, but doesn't explicitly say anything about masturbation (feel free to correct me if I overlooked something). Catholicism is extremely against masturbation, as well as anything that isn't basic sex between a married couple with the intent of reproduction. Buddhism and Hinduism are a little more complicated in their views. Neither explicitly condemn it, but they also don't encourage it. The Kama Sutra is an ancient Hindu text, so at least they were aware and understanding of the body and it's sexual abilities.
Masturbation has been used in all kinds of televisions shows, movies, books, music, etc. 'Longview' by Green Day is probably one of the most well-known songs about masturbation, and it even references the old myth that doing so will cause you to go blind.
Longview by Green Day
The Prince song 'Darlin' Nikki' mentions a masturbating prostitute before a night of wild sex. The song 'She Bop' by Cyndi Lauper is about female masturbation. Almost every popular tv show now has a scene with a character masturbating, or at least alluding to it. This list has just a few popular ones. Arguably the best scene from HBO's Silicon Valley is a scene where the characters are discussing an algorithm by comparing it to jerking other's off.
And probably my favorite thing to do with masturbation is Kellogg's Corn Flakes. Kellogg was an interesting man. He had quite the aversion to sex. Apparently, he was married, but never consummated the marriage. He even adopted his kids, because you know, other people having sex to produce children is better than him doing it. He once wrote, "'Self-pollution is a crime doubly abominable." He thought that masturbation caused a plethora of problems, including but not limited to bad development, acne, heart palpitations, epilepsy and mood swings. He also said that meats and foods with lots of seasoning and flavors would increase sexual desire. He believed that eating healthy would help keep desire low. So what was his cure? Corn Flakes!! Kellogg believed this super bland, boring breakfast cereal would help to curb sexual appetite. Honestly, corn flakes is better than the alternative--he wanted to thread silver wire through foreskins to prevent erections and put carbolic acid on clitorises to discourage touching. Yikes.
Basically, there are always going to be people who believe that masturbation is wrong. I'm here to tell you that it's not. If you're going to do it, do it in the privacy of your home, or at least somewhere where you aren't exposing yourself to people who do not want to be a part of your own little ritual.
Be safe. Girls and women--DO NOT stick anything inside of yourself that wasn't meant to be stuck inside of yourself. You may have heard horror stories. Most of those stories aren't real, but they are meant to deter you from sticking a household item inside yourself. Get a toy, or just use your fingers. Fingers are magical little things.
For both genders, condoms are actually great for masturbation. Stick a condom on a toy and it is a lot easier to clean up afterwards. Never go from your anus to your vagina, ladies. You will get an infection. If you put anything inside of yourself, make sure you pee afterwards to avoid getting a UTI. Also, using extreme pressure or vibrations can cause a loss of feeling. That is normal, but if that happens, ease up a bit. Sometimes years of masturbating a certain way can make it a bit difficult to orgasm with a partner eventually. Mix it up and have fun with it. Happy touching!!