Masturbation: The facts

What is masturbation? Does everyone do it? Is it OK? Here, Kids Help Phone shares information about sexual health and answers important questions about masturbation.

What is masturbation?

Masturbation is when a person stimulates (excites) their own genitals (e.g. clitoris, vagina, penis, etc.) in a way that feels good. Many people masturbate by touching, rubbing or doing something else to their genitals to feel sexually excited. They may masturbate with their fingers, their hands, a pillow, sex toys, etc.

People may masturbate to the point of:

  • sexual arousal (feeling good)
  • ejaculation (release of semen from the penis)
  • orgasm (an intense feeling of pleasure in the body at the peak of sexual excitement)

People may masturbate for a variety of different reasons. For example, they may masturbate to:

  • relieve stress
  • feel pleasure
  • help them fall asleep
  • learn more about their sexuality and likes/dislikes
  • feel closer to a partner

Mutual masturbation is when the people involved in a sexual activity masturbate together or in front of each other.

Remember, masturbation is a safe sexual activity. With masturbation, there’s no risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Masturbation is a healthy way to explore your body and your sexuality. It can also be a way to learn more about your sexual likes/dislikes. Mutual masturbation can help you get to know a partner’s sexual preferences, too.

There’s no right or wrong way to masturbate. Most people masturbate in a location where they have privacy. Remember, if you’re masturbating with a partner or in front of someone, it’s very important that you all feel good about it, and that everyone involved consents to what’s happening.

Does everyone masturbate?

Masturbation is very common — some people do it often, while others may do it rarely (or not at all). How you choose to masturbate — and how often — is very personal and totally up to you.

Is it OK to masturbate?

Yes! Masturbation is healthy and normal. Whether or not you choose to masturbate is completely up to you. It’s OK if you do masturbate, and it’s OK if you don’t.

Many people have different opinions about masturbation. Myths and cultural, religious and/or moral beliefs about masturbation may influence how you and/or your family feel about it. It’s important to remember that the choice to masturbate is personal and totally up to you.

If you feel like sex or masturbation is interfering with your daily life, it’s important to find balance. If you need support, you can talk to someone you trust such as a friend, family member or health-care professional.

If you’d like more information or someone to talk to about sexual health, you can always contact a Kids Help Phone counsellor at 1-800-668-6868.


If you would like to know more about this topic, you can connect with a counsellor by phone or Live Chat.