Sex Expert answers the most Googled questions about Masturbation


Masturbation involves touching the genitals or other sensitive areas of the body for sexual arousal or pleasure. 

The activity feels somewhere between good and mind-blowing, depending on the day. Masturbation is so fun and it’s a near-universal activity, but what goes on behind the scenes when you do it? Does it have any benefits beyond the obvious physical thrills?

For some people, masturbation is a sensitive topic that many prefer to keep on the down low. However, it is essential to educate yourself on the activity if it is something that sparks your interest.

Sex expert Sarah Riccio, owner of delicto.com answers the world’s most Googled questions around masturbation. 

Is masturbation normal?

Whilst masturbation goes against the belief of some religions, for the majority, it is a harmless expression of a person’s sexuality. A person can use their own hands or sex toys.

According to a self pleasure report, 84% of Americans have masturbated; the percentage rose to 91% for the British; with both countries stating that they masturbate multiple times a month. 

It is a completely healthy, common and normal activity to enjoy, and people should feel reassured that many others do it themselves.

How to masturbate?

There are many different ways to masturbate, and how you approach this depends on what makes your body feel good. Masturbation provides a good opportunity to learn about your own body and sexual desires without the complications that can occur when with a partner.

The general ways include, touching the clitoris, touching the glans (aka ‘bell-end’), exploring inside the vagina as well as the tugging back and forth on the penis. Some people like to explore with sex toys, and these are made for all genders.

How often should you masturbate?

According to the International Society for Sexual Medicine, there is not a ‘normal’ frequency for masturbation. It is a natural way to practice self-care, and as long as it does not affect your everyday life in a negative way, the frequency is a personal choice.

How much masturbation is too much?

Masturbation is a healthy pastime and allows a person to relax and please themselves. As long as this remains enjoyable, there is no upper limit to the number of times you can do it. However, understanding whether the impulse to masturbate interferes with you day to day life will help you to decide if your habit has become unhealthy. 

Factors including, having masturbation on the brain 24/7, using it as escape or doing it at inappropriate times or places are all signs that you have developed an unhealthy habit. It is vital to recognise this and perhaps spend your time on other activities to distract yourself, such as going for a walk or writing in a journal.

What happens if you masturbate ‘too much’?

The only health risk to masturbation can be tenderness or soreness when performing the act often. If there has been a lot of friction, the skin can react and become red and sore, however this will go away soon after the act, or a cream can be applied to reduce the discomfort.

How to masturbate without porn? 

Without porn, masturbation can light up your imagination. The creative part of your brain goes into overdrive when you’re alone.

That means your mind churns out vivid ideas and images during masturbation to help bring exciting scenarios to life. The next time you get off on a great fantasy during solo time, don’t forget to thank your prefrontal cortex. 

However, some people are too reliant on pornography, which is a manufactured sexual experience. When spending too much time masturbating to this, you reduce your ability to use your own mind as a visual aid. Weaning yourself away from pornography will spark vivid images in your mind perhaps of past positive experiences or fantasies that you can discover.

What are the effects of masturbation?

The most obvious effect of masturbation is pleasure, however there are other aspects of life that are positively impacted. 74% of Americans agree that masturbation is a form of self-care or therapy.

Better sleep

Delete the white noise app and flush the sleeping pills! The same chemicals that make you feel relaxed and euphoric after masturbating also help you fall asleep. No wonder so many of us break out the vibe/dildo/masturbator when insomnia strikes. Solo play is great for both the pleasure and the peaceful rest that follows.   

Lowered blood pressure

Oxytocin doesn’t just make you feel relaxed and more attached (to yourself or a partner!), it can also lower your blood pressure and help you de-stress. Oxytocin’s been called the body’s natural tranquilliser for this very reason. 

Improved sexual function

Masturbating gets the blood pumping, the juices flowing, and the muscles contracting. This feels great at the moment, but has a higher purpose, too! Masturbation keeps your sexual response system tuned up and in good working order. Regular solo play can also help alert you when something seems awry, like persistent vaginal dryness or erection issues. 

Sharper memory

Dopamine and prolactin sharpen your ability to remember and can protect your brain against the effects of stress. The effect is especially pronounced if you’re over 50, a great side effect of masturbating when you’re older.

Improved self-esteem

The adrenaline that flows when you masturbate can trigger more positive feelings about yourself and a better body image. Studies even show that adrenaline released during solo play can help you feel empowered and increase your sense of purpose. Turns out pleasuring yourself is good for your mental and physical health. 

You Boost Your Immune System

Pleasuring yourself comes with some nice antiviral perks! One study showed that masturbation increases the number of killer and white blood cells, making it easier for your body to fight off everything from colds to infections. How? Orgasm helps to regulate cortisol, a hormone that can reduce your immunity if you’re under chronic stress. And don’t forget — orgasming can also help you sleep, another key to a strong immune system. 

You Strengthen Your Pelvic Floor 

Masturbation gets the blood pumping to your pelvic region, bringing oxygen to those all-important internal tissues. Arousal and orgasm also cause pelvic muscles to contract, making them stronger and more toned.

The stronger and more toned your pelvic floor, also known as Kegel muscles, the more pleasurable masturbation feels, and (naturally), the more you want to play solo.  Healthier pelvic floor muscles are also associated with better bladder, giving people of all ages another excellent reason to masturbate. 

Understanding your own body can also allow you to form a deeper sexual connection with a partner, as you will be able to guide them to the pleasure points you understand on yourself. You can also understand 

How many calories does masturbation burn?

Masturbation isn’t a particularly physically intense activity – a 2019 report from Healthline says that only five or six calories are burnt in an average solo masturbation session. This act does not expel as much energy as partnered sex. It has been said that this burns 101 calories for men on average, but only 69 calories for women.

What to eat after masturbation?

There is no particular diet that should be followed after masturbation, however, if you feel that your energy is at a loss after carrying out a solo session, bananas are a great source of natural energy thanks to their high level of potassium. Other foods that are good for a boost of energy are apples, eggs, and oranges – all typically very accessible foods.

Is masturbation safe?

Masturbation is completely safe and can benefit your physical and mental health. It is also an extremely safe act of sex with no risk of catching an STD. Interestingly, practising masturbation has been linked to boosting your pain threshold. Research reveals that your ability to tolerate pain rises as much as 75% during masturbation and orgasm and the hormone serotonin is responsible for this.

Sarah Riccio, sex expert and owner of delicto.com commented: “Masturbation is a completely normal activity that can serve as the ultimate form of self-care, and strengthen intimacy with a partner as well.

“When a person brings themself to orgasm, their body is flooded with oxytocin and dopamine, hormones that create feelings of love and happiness. This can spark a boost in self-confidence, make them feel more empowered in their sexuality, and deepen their understanding of how they like to receive pleasure. 

“This enhanced awareness of one’s sensual self can absolutely lead to better communication and greater sexual satisfaction with a partner. In fact, research shows that people who masturbate solo are more likely to reach orgasm with a partner.”

This research was carried out by delicto.com, an information website on exploring pleasure, product reviews, how-to guides and a wide selection of carefully curated sex toys and accessories.

Story credit to delicto.com