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It is very normal to masturbate to get personal gratification. But the most vociferous of the misconceptions about masturbation is that it is dirty, an act of perversion and would ultimately result in weakness, loss in size of the penis, erectile dysfunction and impotency. This only aggravates the situation in which, men are unable to control themselves and need release.

In such situation these misconceptions not only leave men confused and anxious but they also develop a feeling of low self esteem and guilt which affects their marital lives in future. They seek the advice of the so called ‘sex practitioners’ to get back their vigor and lost manliness. While nothing happens to their libido, the ‘doctors’ make fat money.

Masturbation is not restricted to men alone. Even women involve in forms of masturbation from mild to significant. Fortunately, there are no myths attached to it.


Limitations of masturbation

  • Becomes monotonous after sometime
  • Can cause a kind of psychological problems in men after sometime


Therapeutic effects of masturbation

  • Teaches how one’s body responds sexually- caresses and fantasies are necessary to make some individuals “TURN ON”. (Litvinoff, 1992 a)
  • Acts as a bridge helping to make the transition to adult sexuality.
  • Relieves sexual tension and it is enjoyable .
  • Can help elderly persons to retain sexual urges and capability to perform. Can reduce prostrate problems in elderly men since infrequent or nonexistent orgasms can produce congestion of the prostates and can be very painful.
  • Can be of great help to women who are unable to achieve orgasm by regular intercourse (Reuben, 2000 a)
  • With care, can totally prevent acquisition of STIs.


Ill effects of masturbation

  • The guilt feeling
  • Fear of humiliation when exposed
  • Can get lonesome
  • Can be frustrating at some stage since sex is never sex without another person when human feelings and emotions to give and receive at the other end are not there


Masturbation is a universal sexual behaviour by both sexes. Feelings towards masturbation are governed by what you feel towards sex in general. “If sex is taboo then masturbation is guilty”. (Litvinoff, 1992 a)

Everyone indulges in it in some stage of their lives. One who enjoys masturbation is in any way neither sexually less complete nor more, than others.  Problem arises only when the person, or his or her partner, feels in some way intimidated by the activity (Geddes and Grosset, 2002 a)

More open reports, guidance and awareness exist in the West than here. Our society is still burdened by the centuries old misconceptions about this form of normal sexual behaviour. Individuals carry the burden of guilt and fear and are not forthcoming because of the stigma attached to it. The flames of fears are fanned by the ‘Quacks’ who use every opportunity to their personal profit. Every form of media from periodicals to books to televisions and posters one finds the ‘ill effects’ of masturbation and remedies for it.

It is our responsibility to prevent our youngsters from falling prey for it.

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