Masturbation still gets a bad rap in society, probably because it is a private sexual behavior rarely shared or discussed in public — even with the closest of friends.

But masturbation is a normal part of sexuality in humans, even if they are involved in a relationship with another person. Even though some people are still often taught in childhood that masturbation is something to avoid doing, researchers and experts in sexuality agree that masturbation is a normal, healthy sexual behavior.

There is nothing wrong with you if you masturbate, or if you choose not to. Between the ages of 18 and 60, somewhere between 54 to 72 percent of women, depending on age, acknowledge masturbating regularly, according to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB, 2009). For men, the number is higher — between 72 and 84 percent masturbate at least once a month, depending on their age. Nearly 84 percent of men aged 25-29 engage in masturbation the most. The same age group in women also masturbates the most (nearly 72 percent).

Most women who masturbate do so monthly, or a few times a month. Most men who masturbate do so weekly or multiple times a week, according to the NSSHB survey.

Common Masturbation Myths

In the articles below, we answer the top ten myths regarding masturbation.

  1. Does masturbation cause blindness?
  2. Do spouses continue to masturbate after marriage?
  3. Why are people so embarrassed about masturbation?
  4. Why do women often have trouble reaching orgasm during intercourse?
  5. How much masturbation is too much?
  6. What do I tell my “touchy” toddler?
  7. Will eating Kellogg’scornflakes make me stop doing it?
  8. Is shower massager masturbation okay?
  9. Can masturbation help me learn to have an orgasm?
  10. Should I tell my partner that I masturbate?

Remember — masturbation is a normal part of human sexuality. While it may be embarrassing to discuss with others, it’s nothing to be ashamed of (as long as it is done in private and in moderation).

It’s also perfectly okay if you don’t like to masturbate, or don’t find it all that exciting to you. Human sexuality is a spectrum of behavior, all of which is perfectly normal. As the NSSHB survey notes, “There is enormous variability in the sexual repertoires of U.S. adults, with more than 40 combinations of sexual activity described at adults’ most recent sexual event.”

The National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior (NSSHB) was conducted by researchers at Indiana University and includes the sexual experiences and condom-use behaviors of 5,865 adolescents and adults ages 14 to 94.