Masturbation is defined as the self-stimulation of the genitals to achieve sexual arousal and pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm/sexual climax (Knowles, 2002). It is a natural process and one of the most common sexual activities that humans take part in. The subject of masturbation has long been a taboo topic and seen is a sin in many Western religious cultures. Because of this, guilt and shame are associated with masturbation. In the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries many believed masturbation caused illnesses and it was seen as a disease. This has been proven to be untrue and in fact many medical professionals now believe masturbation to be good for a persons physical and sexual health. Masturbation is a natural healthy process and should not be viewed as something sinful and unnatural.
Masturbation is one of the first sexual experiences a person will have and it usually done by stimulating the penis or clitoris with a hand, fingers or “sex toys” (Knowles, 2002). Masturbation is way of discovering ones sexual “potential” and is done for various reasons. Some people may masturbate to relieve sexual tension, to help them fall asleep, or as a safe sex alternative just to name a few. It begins as early as infancy and can continue into adulthood with varying frequency, with or with out a partner but is not considered a substitute for sex, merely a variation. Masturbation “does not cause any physical injury or harm to the body, and can be performed in moderation throughout a person's lifetime as a part of normal sexual behavior” (Knowles, 2002).
Masturbation has been viewed as a shameful act “having pathological origins and negative physical and mental health consequences”(Knowles, 2002). The origins of this negative point of view about masturbation can be traced back to the Middle Ages and Christianity. Martin Luther’s misinterpretation of the biblical story of Onan fueled the dishonor associated with masturbation for centuries. Early founders of the church deemed masturbation as an “unnatural sin” along with any other sexual acts that didn’t lead to procreation. This belief system continued into the 20th century however as medical and psychological knowledge advanced, the notion that masturbation was harmful began to dissipate. Alfred Kinsey’s research and subsequent books played a major role in the emerging change in attitude toward masturbation (Knowles, 2002).
“Masturbation is an important means of learning about our bodies” (Yarber, 2010). Studies have found that masturbation is common in humans of both sexes and all ages. Studies also suggest that masturbation can start as early as childhood. Beginning in infancy we learn that pleasure and satisfaction can be experienced by touching our genitals. This knowledge transcends into early childhood. At this stage children are still learning about their bodies a making discoveries. They are innocent of sexual thoughts and desire. The only...