A study reported that 91% of women play with themselves and, for most, it’s an extremely enjoyable experience. However, as female masturbation is still seen as a taboo subject in some cultures and for some people, a minority of women do have feelings of shame and guilt about pleasuring themselves.¹

Turning the telescope around, this study also highlights that almost 10% of women do not masturbate. If you’re one of those who has never had the urge to flick the bean, that’s entirely normal too.²

Orgasmic experiences

For girls, playing with themselves is often the first sexual experience they have.² Most females touch and stroke their clitoris and the area around it. The clitoris is the small soft bump in front of the entrance to the vagina. It’s very sensitive and touching it can give you strong feelings of sexual pleasure. As much as fun as it is, you could argue that masturbation is a means to an end. The end being an orgasm, which is defined as the peak physical reaction to sexual stimulation or, in laymen’s terms, fireworks going off in the brain.²

Although many men don’t seem to be aware of this fact, most women need the clitoris to be stimulated to have an orgasm during sex or masturbation. The physical reaction of an orgasm includes flushing of the skin, increased blood pressure and heart rate, and changes in the brain. There also appears to be a link with better physical and psychological health, that includes a boost in self-esteem.² (Something most of us could do with.) While many women and girls play with themselves using their hand, others prefer using a sex toy, like a vibrator

Is masturbation bad for you?

Can wanking make you blind? No, no. no! And is it possible to do it too often? In most cases, the answer would be no. However, if men wank a lot in a short space of time, they can get a slightly alarming looking swelling on the penis, called oedema. This swelling usually disappears within a day or two. If in doubt, always seek medical advice and consult your GP*.ᴲ Having said that, no matter whether you’re male or female, if you feel the need to masturbate is actually interfering with your everyday life, then talking to your GP may help you get things back under control.²

Mutual masturbation

Many couples enjoy wanking together. This is a perfectly healthy activity, in itself, although there are a couple of risks of mutual masturbation that you need to be aware of.ᴲ Firstly, as unlikely as it sounds, it’s possible to become pregnant if sperm is transferred to the vagina from either his or her fingers.ᴲ Secondly, there’s a risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection (STI) if you fondle your partner’s bits and then touch your own. This is because STIs can be passed from one person to another through infected semen or vaginal fluid.ᴲ There’s also a risk of catching an STI if you handle sex toys which have been played with by an infected person before you use them. If you do share sex toys, make sure you wash them between sessions and put a new condom on them.ᴲ

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