A student from St. Bonaventure wants to know
Is it normal for a person in a relationship to masturbate? Male, First-Year
Dr. Caron's Answer: Yes. Masturbation seems to be one of the most widely practiced and least talked about sexual behaviors. And it isnt just beginners sex that kids do until theyre ready for the real thing. Men and women, boys and girls, people with a regular partner and those who are single, heterosexuals and non-heterosexuals, all masturbate. While some may believe that single adults are more likely to masturbate, the 1994 Sex in America survey found that adults with a partner are more likely to masturbate than those who did not have a partner. The researchers concluded that masturbation is not an outlet so much as a component of a sexually active lifestyle. Some people worry that if their partner masturbates, there must be something wrong with their relationship. However, there appears to be no relationship between frequency of masturbation and frequency of sex with ones partner. If fact, some studies have found that married people who masturbate have greater relationship and sexual satisfaction than those who do not.
A student from Duke University would
like to know:
I heard once that vibrators
cause some desensitization of the clitoris. Is this true? I
use mine by applying it directly to my clitoris, so that
I need to know if it's bad for me in the long run. I
wouldn't want to do something that would cause me to go
without future pleasure.
Dr. Caron's Answer: No need
to worry. The vibrator is very safe & very effective
in stimulating the clitoris. There is no evidence to
suggest it will lead to any structural damage or desensitize
- so enjoy! I assume that by applying the vibrator directly
on your clitoris, it leads you to orgasm most quickly. You
might think about varying your technique (I know, you're
probably thinking: why change a good thing?). What's great
about the vibrator is that you can learn to extend and build
to terrific orgasms. So you might want to think about varying
your approach. For
example, consider stimulating the clitoris for a few minutes
and then "backing off" just before orgasm by stimulating
the area around it, or putting a towel between you and the
clitoris for a few minutes. By doing this several times,
you may find your orgasm is much more intense, extended,
and pleasurable. Enjoy!
A student from
Harvard University wants to know.....
Is it normal, or should I say common,
for straight males to masturbate with and/or for other
Caron's response: Let me begin by stating that just because something is
not common does not mean it is not normal. And although
we usually think of masturbation as a solo activity,
it can be shared with a sexual partner in person, or
via phone or internet. It also happens in groups. Please
keep in mind that finding good research data on masturbation
is difficult because many people are not comfortable
reporting honestly about their masturbatory behavior.
Having said that, when looking for data on straight males
masturbating with other straight males, it does not appear
to be a very common practice - at least in the published
research arena. The little research found on this would fall into the
category of group masturbation - also known as the "circle jerk" - where groups
of boys form a circle and see who can masturbate the fastest or propel their
ejaculate the furthest. One recent paper on this very topic was published
by Cornog in the Journal of Sex Education and Therapy. An adult version of
group masturbation occurs in organized clubs, sometimes referred to as Jack-Off
or JO clubs. One example is the New York Jacks, a male masturbation club started
in the 1980s. Although it is thought that this type of shared masturbatory
experience most likely occurs between gay males, we know it also includes women
and heterosexuals. This is seen in the rise in clubs now referred to
as Jack and Jill Off or JJO clubs. Getting back to your question -
I think it is important for the people participating to decide what they
are comfortable with - and if this feels right for them - in terms of their
own values and beliefs. That's something to consider when deciding whether
to share this side of oneself with another person.
A student from Michigan State wants to know.....
Friends and I were debating
on whether it is healthy to masturbate everyday. I think one
can, but they disagree. What can your expert knowledge advise
Caron's Answer: You are correct in thinking that
a person can masturbate everyday; some people do. It's important
to recognize that masturbation has been a source of social
concern and censure throughout history - leaving many people
misinformed and feeling pretty guilty and ashamed. Many of
these negative attitudes are rooted in the early Judeo-Christian
view that sex was only for procreation. While today we see
more positive attitudes about masturbation as a normal sexual
behavior, a common concern which still exists has to do with
"doing it too much." But how much is "too much"?
Once a day might feel like too much to one person, while once
a month might seem like too much to another. The definition
of "healthy and normal" varies from person to person.
A lot depends on how the person feels about masturbation:
Do they feel horribly guilty or ashamed? Does it interfere
with other important tasks that need to be accomplished? One
might guess that if a person were masturbating so much that
it significantly interfered with school work, there would
be cause for concern. But, in that case, masturbation would
be an indication of a problem, rather than it being the problem
itself. For example, someone who is experiencing intense emotional
anxiety about adjusting to college may use masturbation as
an attempt to release the anxiety or as a form of self-comforting.
The problem is the source of the anxiety (adjusting to college)
rather than the masturbation. In another example, if a person
always (not just occasionally) preferred masturbation over
sex with a partner, it would likely be a symptom of difficulty
in interpersonal relationships; the masturbation would not
be the cause of the problem. For most, masturbation is an
on-going love affair that each of us has with ourselves throughout
from a student at the University of Maine:
Could a person like masturbation so much that they wouldn't
want to have sex with a partner?
Masturbation does seem to have certain advantages over intercourse.
It is simple, can be done quickly, and you don't have to worry
or be concerned with the desires and needs of a partner. Also,
some people find the intensity of orgasm from masturbation
to be greater than that of orgasms they have through intercourse.
Regardless of all of this, most people still prefer partner
sex over masturbation because of the many rewards partner
sex provides in addition to orgasm. If a person always (not
just occasionally) preferred masturbation over partner sex,
it would likely be a symptom of difficulty in interpersonal
relationships. The masturbation would not be the cause of