Karen Fratti
August 17, 2017 11:39 am

Masturbation is still one of those things people sometimes feel uncomfortable talking about. That could be because it’s something we usually do alone or that loads of sexual education programs out there still shy away from talking about it. But knowing the facts about masturbation is important, if only so no one feels weird about doing it or skips it entirely (unless you just don’t want to do it, which is totally chill and fine).

Masturbating is totally natural.

According to a 2011 National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, 85 percent of men and 58 percent of women report masturbating by the age of 17 — though all of that is based on self-reporting, so the numbers could definitely be higher than that. If anything, thanks to a long history of demonizing masturbation, like teaching that it leads to mental illness, people tend to get super shy about their masturbation habits, especially women.

Think about it: Of all the words we have to describe how males masturbate — jerking, yanking, pulling — there’s not even a catch-all slang term for women to use when they get themselves off.

Instead of being shy or making up cutesy names for giving yourself an orgasm, it’s high time we all talked a little more about masturbation. Here are some conversation starters for you.

1Everyone does it.

Or at least thinks about. You’re normal for masturbating or for wondering about it and not doing  it. But most people report masturbating at least a little bit. There are a handful of studies out there done between 2008 and 2014 that show both men and women masturbate on the regular. One 2011 study even found that 92 percent of women reported masturbating. However, a 2017 study published in the journal PLOS One found that only 40 percent of women reported masturbating within the past month, and 20 percent of women reported having never done it all! If anything, this only means that women should definitely try masturbating more often.

2It can help your PMS.

According to doctors, masturbating can actually help with your menstrual cramps. Dr. Alyse Kelly-Jones, OB/GYN, told Revelist that an orgasm increases blood flow to the genitals and releases all of those feel good chemicals, like oxytocin, in your brain, which relaxes your body and can make your cramps more tolerable. It’s sort of a roundabout effect, in the same way that experts suggest jogging or exercise to relieve menstrual symptoms.

3Masturbation doesn’t have to be done alone.

The couple that masturbates together, stays together (or at least gets off together). Not only is masturbating with a partner a fun way to spice your sex life up, doing it together reduces the “stigma” of masturbation in your relationship, according to sexpert and author of Solo Love, Jenny Block. It also really turns up the volume on your intimacy level. Also, it’s literally the safest sex possible.

4There’s no such thing as too much.

Aside from possible chafing, there is no health risk with masturbating. If getting off alone is seriously inhibiting your work life or making it so you’re actually turned off from partner sex, you might want to talk to a counselor about it, but having the urge to masturbate during the day is totally normal.

5Actually, it’s good for you.

Giving yourself regular orgasms can relieve stress, help you sleep better, and even increase the strength of your pelvic floor, according to Planned Parenthood. Some sexual assault survivors also report that masturbating can be a useful way to heal, though whether or not thats true for you is something you should work on personally with a therapist.

6Props are encouraged.

But not necessary! Just use your hands if that works for you, but if you find that you’re not reaching an orgasm alone, or never have, exploring your body with a vibrator or dildo can help you figure out what you like.

7It’s OK to do it when you’re tied down.

No, not literally tied down, unless that’s something you’re into, obvs. Some people are threatened when they realize that their long-term partner is masturbating. Shouldn’t they be having sex with you? Relationship sex and masturbation should be viewed as two different activities. If you’re masturbating instead of doing your partner on the regular, you might want to check your sexual attraction to them. But otherwise, being in a relationship doesn’t negate the need for a little self care.

There are many things grown-ass women should know about masturbation, the most important one being that your habits are likely extremely normal and healthy, whatever they are.

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