Masturbation is the act of stimulating one's genitals for sexual pleasure.
Masturbation typically involves a psychic component or fantasy and may be aided by pornography (more commonly in men) or devices to create stimulation (more commonly in women).
Masturbation is usually a solitary activity, but it can be conducted with others present ("witnessed masturbation") or assisting ("assisted masturbation"). It is also possible to masturbate together ("sharing masturbation" or "mutual masturbation").
Masturbation is a healthy part of a normal sex life, and large majorities of both men and women masturbate, despite stigmas that may exist around the practice. According to the Merck Manual of Diagnosis and Therapy, "It is considered abnormal only when it inhibits partner-oriented behavior, is done in public, or is sufficiently compulsive to cause distress."
A 2023 study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B found that masturbation is common among primates and may help male primates breed successfully. Masturbation clears out old and flawed sperm, leaving healthier specimens to compete against other males' sperm. Masturbation can help reduce disease by cleansing the urethra and can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer. Low ranking males who masturbate immediately before copulation might increase their chances of ejaculation before being interrupted by higher-ranking males.
Anecdotal evidence suggests that using an excessively tight grip when masturbating the penis can desensitize the sexual organ, potentially leading to sexual dysfunction in regards to actual sexual intercourse (death grip syndrome), since a mouth, vagina, or anus can't produce the same pressure as a hand.
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