In general sense, masturbation is the act of exciting the sexual organs by rubbing, stroking, or fondling, pressing or other forms of handling. It is part of the normal sexual development which occurs in adolescent and which everyone indulges in at some point in life. In a more restricted sense, masturbation goes beyond just exciting the sexual organs, that is, in men, not just handling the penis until erection is achieved.
After the initial excitement, the handling of the sexual organ continues until the point of intense sexual pleasure and often times, until orgasm occurs. In other words, masturbation is an act by which one has “sexual intercourse” with oneself. This could be called auto-sexuality, although true auto-sexuality only occurs in an hermaphrodite. Hermaphrodite refers to an animal that possesses both male and female sexual organs.
Those who masturbate will agree with me that it gives physical pleasure similar to that experienced during sexual intercourse with the opposite sex. Masturbation to the point of orgasm gives relief from tension. There are many unfounded false beliefs associated with masturbation and some of them are very absurd. For instance, some believe that masturbation can cause blindness, deafness, ill-health or sterility. None of these claims is true.
Admittedly, masturbation causes a lot of distress, guilt and self-reproach in those who practice it very regularly. Like most sexual behaviours, there is little information available about how common it is because of cultural taboo.
However, information available suggest that masturbation is more common in men than in women. In one survey among adolescents, it was found that 98 of every 100 boys masturbate, and about 70 of every 100 girls do so before the age of 21years. It is also suggested that masturbation is more common in technologically advanced societies. In the following paragraphs, we shall look at why people masturbate.
WHY DO PEOPLE MASTURBATE?
Masturbation is a sexual behaviour developed in childhood. This behaviour is normally discarded as the individual grows up into adulthood. It becomes an abnormal situation when it is sustained to adulthood. The following are some of the reasons why masturbation is practiced.
(A) Lateness in Getting Married:
The men become fully sexually developed without a steady partner for relieving their sexual arousals. Those who cannot seek sexual relationship with prostitutes often continue the adolescent practice of masturbation.
(B) Boarding of Adolescents:
This encourages exchange of information about masturbation and allows room for adventures into it. When such boarding facilities are unisex and far away from where sexual intercourse with the other sex is possible, then masturbation becomes quite rampant. (C) Sex Materials:
With technological advancement comes literature (books, magazines, pictures) and audio-visual materials (films, televisions and videos) which arouse sexual desires in individuals.
In the absence of a sexual partner to relieve such sexual tension generated from these materials, masturbation becomes a way out. These materials, of course, do not exist in a technologically primitive societies but that does not mean that masturbation does not occur in these societies. As I mentioned earlier, masturbation is part of the normal sexual development in every human being. It only becomes a deviation from normal sexual behaviour when it is practiced more frequently and to the point of orgasm. Let us critically look at the practice of masturbation in men and in women.
THE ACT IN MEN:
The hand is the most common object of masturbation. In men, the penis is stroked, massaged or squeezed with one or both hands until erection is achieved. Sometimes, erection is aroused by sight or by the thought of a woman. Men imagine all the actions and pleasures associated with sex and how wonderful an admired lady would be in bed. This causes...