How to masturbate: male masturbation tips

The myths, the facts and the health benefits of masturbation plus how to get to grips with yourself.

How to masturbate
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Not sure how to masturbate, or looking to pleasure your partner and after some tips? Masturbation, wanking, jerking off, jacking off and rubbing one out are just some of the terms to describe masturbation. Whatever you call it, male masturbation is commonly defined as a sex act in which you stimulate your own body, erogenous zones or genitals which can result in sexual arousal and orgasm.

We look at the myths, the facts and the health benefits of masturbation, plus offer some expert tips on how to get to grips with yourself:

Is masturbation normal?

Sadly there's still a lot of shame and stigma surrounding masturbation, and there are some harmful myths that still circulate - such as masturbating ‘too much’ can make you go blind. The fact is, masturbation is a perfectly healthy and normal part of life.

‘There are many stigmas for all genders around masturbation. Although men are more likely to report masturbating regularly than women, there are still many stigmas that can affect men specifically,’ says Justin Hancock, sex educator and creator of BISHuk.com.

Whether a man is in a relationship or single, it’s perfectly common and normal for them to masturbate.

‘I’ve heard many of these stigmas and myths from young men over the years. “It causes a loss of stamina or strength”. “It’s only okay to do it in prison”. “It’s not real sex if it’s not with someone else”. “Real men don’t do that”.’ These myths are all completely untrue and in fact very harmful.

Fortunately in recent years, health professionals, sex experts and sex educators now accept that masturbation is a healthy and normal part of life. Whether a man or person with a penis is in a relationship or single, it’s perfectly common and normal for them to masturbate. At the same time, lots of people don’t masturbate at all or very infrequently, and that’s normal too.



Why do men masturbate?

There are a number of valid reasons men and penis-having people masturbate, including:

  • For sexual pleasure
  • For fun
  • To reach orgasm
  • To relieve stress or anxiety

    But if you pleasure yourself simply because you're bored or to help you get to sleep, that's OK too!

    Teenagers and younger men tend to masturbate more frequently as part of sexual exploration, but as long as you enjoy yourself in private and it doesn't interfere with daily life, why you masturbate and how often is entirely down to the individual and there should be no shame associated with pleasuring yourself.



    The health benefits of masturbation

    Many sex experts promote masturbation as a method for improving your mental and physical health and self-pleasure comes with a number of proven benefits:

    • Masturbation and prostate cancer

    ‘A study done in 2017, showed that men who ejaculated more than 21 times a month reduced their prostate cancer risk by approximately 20 per cent, compared to men who only did it four to seven times a month,' says Dr Shirin Lakhani, intimate health expert from The Cranley Clinic. This indicates that there may be an association (rather than proof) between frequent ejaculation and a lower risk of prostate cancer. It's not clear from the study whether this was ejaculation through masturbation or with a sexual partner.

    • Masturbation and pelvic floor muscles

    Sex, regardless of how you define this, ‘works your pelvic floor muscles to help prevent erectile dysfunction and incontinence,’ adds Dr Lakhani.

    • Masturbation and your mental health

    When you ejaculate, the release of hormones such as dopamine and oxytocin prompt a boost in your mood. ‘Ejaculation also increases levels of the hormone cortisol, which helps to regulate and maintain your immune system,' says Dr Lakhani. 'Masturbating may also flush out harmful bacteria and toxins, improving overall prostate health but the evidence for this is unclear.'



    • Masturbation and self-esteem

    Some people also consider masturbation a way to get to know your body better. ‘Knowing what feels good for you will only enable you to better communicate that to a partner, and feel more relaxed in sexual situations when there is someone else there,’ says Kate Moyle, psychosexual therapist and sex expert for LELO.

    • Masturbation and sexual performance

    You might have heard some sex educators claim masturbation helps men improve their sexual performance for partnered sex. Often referred to as sex training workouts or the stop-start technique, some sex coaches recommend these methods to prevent rapid ejaculation.

    However, Hancock argues this way of thinking isn’t helpful. ‘These ideas merely reinforce the idea that solo sex is either not sex, or is a lesser version of sex. I would like us to present solo sex as just that, sex with ourselves. It’s a sexual activity we can choose to do if we want to. It’s also equally okay not to do it if we don’t want to,’ he explains.

    ‘It’s often overlooked that many men are asexual, and so might not feel the desire to masturbate at all. I think it would be better for us to address the messages men receive about being a man, rather than pestering them into masturbating if they don’t want to.’



    How often do most men masturbate?

    There is no such thing as normal when it comes to masturbation, so the frequency in which you pleasure yourself is entirely up to you. ‘Some men like to do it daily, while others are far less frequent,' says Dr Lakhani. 'Some don’t feel the need or desire to masturbate at all, and that’s perfectly healthy too. It all boils down to individual preference.’

    ‘Some studies have shown that masturbation doesn’t bring as many health benefits as intercourse does, and interestingly even the make-up of semen is different if you masturbate instead of having sex,’ she adds.

    Remember that whether you masturbate three times a day or don’t masturbate at all, as long as it fits into your routine and doesn’t rule your life, it’s healthy.



    How to masturbate: male masturbation tips

    New to self-pleasure, or a seasoned masturbator and keen to try out some new techniques? Follow our expert tips on how to masturbate:

    ✔️ Slow down

    ‘Try to give yourself some time and space and slow down. Rather than it be a guilty pleasure to be completed as efficiently and quickly as possible, you could make it a bit more of an event,’ Hancock says.

    ✔️ Listen to your body

    You might be tempted just to listen to what’s going on with your genitals while masturbating, but Hancock recommends you pay attention to all of your senses and think about what’s going on in your whole body.

    ✔️ Explore other body parts

    ‘Allow yourself to touch different parts of your body in different ways and just be patient with yourself,’ says Hancock. ‘Allow for different sensations to occur from stroking your chest, side, abdomen, arms, or even from just breathing and feeling sexy.’

    ✔️ Pay attention to your thoughts

    ‘Notice what your thoughts are and perhaps whether you are fantasising. This may be a fantasy you might return to, or a memory from the wank bank, or something you are watching, reading or listening to,’ explains Hancock.



    ✔️ Don’t think of orgasm or ejaculation as the end goal

    ‘Try to get away from the idea that it’s just about reaching a conclusion of ejaculation and or orgasm. Just as ejaculation and orgasm aren’t the same, orgasm and enjoyment aren’t the same either. Being goal focussed can really ruin sexy times,’ he adds.

    ✔️ Know that you can stop at any time

    If you’re not enjoying it, stop. Hancock says, ‘If it gets too much and the thoughts are too difficult, it’s okay to just stop and try again another time. Like partnered sex, you can’t enjoy solo sex without consent, so don’t make yourself do something you aren’t feeling okay with.’

    ✔️ Try something new

    Moyle suggests shaking things up a bit if you’ve always masturbated the same way. ‘You can change the texture by using lubricant, or trying it in the shower, or try different strokes varying the speed and pressure,’ she says.

    ✔️ Don’t worry about how other people masturbate

    Try not to get bogged down with worrying about what’s ‘normal’ or what other people do during masturbation. ‘Individuals are all different and so their preferences will also be that way,' says Moyle. 'It’s about finding what feels good and right for you, and also understanding that may change. Sexuality and preferences are not fixed and so if something stops working for you then adjust and see what feels better.’

    💡 For more advice on enjoying and experimenting with masturbation, read Hancock’s BISH solo sex guide.



    Last updated: 14-01-2020

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