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Masturbation: The Self-Pleasure We Need to Talk About

What is Masturbation?

Giving yourself a hand, flicking the bean, choking the chicken, or rubbing the magic lamp – whatever you call it, masturbation is when you touch yourself, usually your genitals, for sexual pleasure.

OK, OK, why am I writing about one of the most personal activities someone might take part in? Because masturbation is a highly stigmatized topic, and there are many misconceptions that can contribute to the seriously guilty feelings some people may have for giving themselves some self-love. Plus, Manitoba’s sex ed curriculum currently does not cover masturbation, so many U of M students may not have all the facts.

Common Masturbation Myths

“Only male-identifying folks masturbate”

While it is true that men generally masturbate more frequently, people of all genders masturbate! In fact, masturbation has been found in a wide array of societies.

“Masturbating when you’re in a relationship is cheating”

Many people, both single and coupled up, engage in self-pleasure activities. Discovering what you do and don’t like can actually benefit your sex life with your partner.

“It’s not considered masturbating unless you have an orgasm”

There is no right or wrong way to masturbate – it can include climaxing or not!

“Masturbating is dirty and wrong”

This simply is not true. Many people masturbate – it’s perfectly natural. Guilty feelings sometimes accompany masturbation due to the stigma surrounding the topic. Remember that many people do masturbate, even if they don’t talk about it, and it’s normal to feel the desire to masturbate.

Why do people masturbate?

People masturbate for many different reasons. The most obvious reason being that it feels good! There are also many mental and physical health benefits, such as:

- Stress relief

- Release of sexual tension

- Improved sleep

- Boost your mood

- Relieve period pains

- Ease muscle tension

- Improve sexual dysfunction

Masturbating can also help you get to know your body better, and figure out what you do and don’t like. People in a relationship may also opt to masturbate together, rather than have sex. This avoids the risk of STIs and unplanned pregnancy.


Although there are many misconceptions about masturbation, it is a healthy and normal part of many people’s lives. It is a personal choice to self-pleasure or not, but if you do choose to masturbate, here are some health and hygiene tips to make your solo adventure a bit safer and more pleasurable:

- Wash your hands before you begin

- Use a lubricant to reduce friction

- Wash any toys after and make sure to use a condom if sharing a toy with a partner



About the Author

Carly (She/Her)

Hi everyone! I am a returning volunteer to HU as it has been such an engaging and gratifying experience. I am in the Faculty of Science, taking the Honours psychology program with a minor in biology. I’m passionate about helping others, especially with understanding mental health, sexual health, and gender related issues.

I love spending time with friends and family, exploring new places in the city, reading thriller novels, and listening to new music.


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