The Latin verb masturbari is of uncertain origin. Terms such as playing with yourself, pleasuring oneself and slang such as wanking,  jerking off,  and frigging are common. Self-abuse and self-pollution  were common in early modern times and are still found in modern dictionaries.
A large variety of other euphemisms and dysphemisms exist which describe masturbation. For a list of terms, see the entry for masturbate in Wiktionary. Techniques Two vibrators in a sex shop Masturbation involves touching, pressing, rubbing, or massaging a person's genital area, either with the fingers or against an object such as a pillow ; inserting fingers or an object into the vagina or anus see anal masturbation ; and stimulating the penis or vulva with an electric vibrator , which may also be inserted into the vagina or anus.
It may also involve touching, rubbing, or pinching the nipples or other erogenous zones while masturbating. Both sexes sometimes apply lubricating substances to intensify sensation. Reading or viewing pornography , sexual fantasies , or other erotic stimuli may lead to a desire for sexual release such as by masturbation.
Some people get sexual pleasure by inserting objects, such as urethral sounds , into the urethra the tube through which urine and, in men, semen, flows ,  a practice known as urethral play or "sounding". Men and women may masturbate until they are close to orgasm , stop for a while to reduce excitement, and then resume masturbating. They may repeat this cycle multiple times. This "stop and go" build-up, known as " edging ", can achieve even stronger orgasms.
The most common masturbation technique among males is to hold the penis with a loose fist and then to move the hand up and down the shaft. This type of stimulation is typically all that is required to achieve orgasm and ejaculation. The speed of the hand motion varies throughout the masturbation session. Male masturbation techniques may differ between males who have been circumcised and those who have not. Some techniques which may work for one individual can be difficult or uncomfortable for another.
For males who have not been circumcised, stimulation of the penis typically comes from the "pumping" of the foreskin , whereby the foreskin is held and slid up and down over the glans , which, depending on foreskin length, is completely or partially covered and then uncovered in a rapid motion.
The outer foreskin glides smoothly over the inner foreskin. The glans itself may widen and lengthen as the stimulation continues, becoming slightly darker in colour, while the gliding action of the foreskin reduces friction. This technique may also be used by some circumcised men who have sufficient excess skin remaining from their circumcision. For circumcised males, on whom the glans is mostly or completely uncovered, this technique creates more direct contact between the hand and the glans.
To avoid friction, irritation and soreness from this resulting friction, some may prefer to use a personal lubricant, masturbation cream , or saliva.
The shaft skin can also be slid back and forth with just the index finger and thumb wrapped around the penis. A variation on this is to place the fingers and thumb on the penis as if playing a flute, and then shuttle them back and forth.
Lying face down on a comfortable surface such as a mattress or pillow, the penis can be rubbed against it. This technique may include the use of a simulacrum , or artificial vagina. Prostate massage is one other technique used for sexual stimulation, often in order to reach orgasm.
The prostate is sometimes referred to as the "male G-spot " or P-spot. Anal masturbation without any prostate stimulation, with fingers or otherwise, is also one other technique which some men enjoy. Since the muscles of the anus contract during orgasm , the presence of an object holding the sphincter open can strengthen the sensation of the contractions and intensify orgasm.
A good quality personal lubricant is advisable to both increase the pleasurable sensation and aid insertion. Some people prefer to simply stimulate the outer ring of the anus, while others will follow this by inserting one or more fingers.
There are many other variations on male masturbation techniques. Men may also rub or massage the glans, the rim of the glans, and the frenular delta.
Some men place both hands directly on their penis during masturbation, while others may use their free hand to fondle their testicles , nipples , or other parts of their body.
The nipples are erogenous zones, and vigorous stimulation of them during masturbation usually causes the penis to become erect more quickly than it would otherwise. Some may keep their hand stationary while pumping into it with pelvic thrusts in order to simulate the motions of sexual intercourse. Some may lay in the prone position and rub their genitals against the bed sheet or other surface, a technique called prone masturbation.
Others may also use vibrators and other sexual devices more commonly associated with female masturbation. A few extremely flexible males can reach and stimulate their penis with their tongue or lips, and so perform autofellatio. A somewhat controversial ejaculation control technique is to put pressure on the perineum, about halfway between the scrotum and the anus, just before ejaculating.
Fingering sexual act Female masturbation involves the stroking or rubbing of a woman's vulva , especially her clitoris , with an index or middle fingers , or both. Sometimes one or more fingers may be inserted into the vagina to stroke its frontal wall where the G-spot may be located. Many women caress their breasts or stimulate a nipple with the free hand and anal stimulation is also enjoyed by some.
Personal lubricant is sometimes used during masturbation, especially when penetration is involved, but this is not universal and many women find their natural lubrication sufficient. Like males, common positions for female masturbation include lying on back or face down, sitting, squatting , kneeling , or standing.
Lying face down one may use the hands, one may straddle a pillow, the corner or edge of the bed, a partner's leg or some scrunched-up clothing and " hump " the vulva and clitoris against it. Standing up, a chair, the corner of an item of furniture, or even a washing machine can be used to stimulate the clitoris through the labia and clothing. Some masturbate only using pressure applied to the clitoris without direct contact, for example by pressing the palm or ball of the hand against underwear or other clothing.
In the s, Havelock Ellis reported that turn-of-the-century seamstresses using treadle-operated sewing machines could achieve orgasm by sitting near the edge of their chairs. This can potentially be done in public without observers noticing. Thoughts, fantasies, and memories of previous instances of arousal and orgasm can produce sexual excitation. Some women can orgasm spontaneously by force of will alone, although this may not strictly qualify as masturbation as no physical stimulus is involved.
Non-penetrative sex Mutual masturbation involves two or more people who sexually stimulate each other, usually with the hands. It can be practiced by people of any sexual orientation , and can be part of other sexual activity.
It may be used as foreplay , or as an alternative to sexual penetration. When used as an alternative to penile-vaginal penetration, the goal may be to preserve virginity or to avoid risk of pregnancy. Non-contact mutual masturbation Two people masturbating in the presence of each other but not touching. Contact mutual masturbation One person touching another person to masturbate. The other person may do the same during or after. Non-contact group More than two people masturbating in the presence of each other in a group but not touching each other.
Contact group More than two people physically touching each other to masturbate as a group. Mutual masturbation foreplay The manual stimulation of each other's genitals where the session eventually leads to sexual intercourse.
Becker examined the latter. This was done in response to data and experience from the other EU member states to reduce teen pregnancy and STIs STDs , and to promote healthy habits. Diversity in Contemporary America, by Strong, Devault and Sayad, the authors point out, "A baby boy may laugh in his crib while playing with his erect penis".
Contrary to this belief, several studies actually reveal a positive correlation between the frequency of masturbation and the frequency of intercourse. A study has reported a significantly higher rate of masturbation in gay men and women who were in a relationship. A woman's orgasm between one minute before and 45 minutes after insemination favors the chances of that sperm reaching her egg. If, for example, she has had intercourse with more than one male, such an orgasm can increase the likelihood of a pregnancy by one of them.
The next ejaculate then contains more fresh sperm, which have higher chances of achieving conception during intercourse. If more than one male has intercourse with a female, the sperm with the highest motility will compete more effectively. By watching a partner masturbate, one finds out the methods they use to please him- or herself, allowing each partner to learn exactly how the other enjoys being touched. Intercourse, by itself, is often inconvenient or impractical at times to provide sufficient sexual release for many people.
Mutual masturbation allows couples to enjoy each other and obtain sexual release as often as they need but without the inconveniences and risks associated with sex. Men who averaged five or more ejaculations weekly in their 20s had significantly lower risk.
However they could not show a direct causation. The study also indicated that increased ejaculation through masturbation rather than intercourse would be more helpful as intercourse is associated with diseases STDs that may increase the risk of cancer instead. However, this benefit may be age related. A study concluded that frequent ejaculation between the ages of 20 and 40 may be correlated with higher risk of developing prostate cancer. On the other hand, frequent ejaculation in one's 50s was found to be correlated with a lower such risk in this same study.
The association between frequency of orgasm and all cause mortality was also examined using the midpoint of each response category recorded as number of orgasms per year. The age adjusted odds ratio for an increase of orgasms per year was 0.
That is, a difference in mortality appeared between any two subjects when one subject ejaculated at around two times per week more than the other. Assuming a broad range average of between 3 and 5 ejaculations per week for healthy males, this would mean 5 to 7 ejaculations per week.
This is consistent with a Australia article on the benefits against prostate cancer. The strength of these correlations increased with increasing frequency of ejaculation. The mechanism is through stimulation of the sympathetic nervous system and is long lasting. The study author suggests "It can be done [from] time-to-time to alleviate the congestion and the patient can adjust the number of intercourses or masturbations depending on the severity of the symptoms.
With two or more participants, the risk of sexually transmitted infections, while not eliminated, is much less than with most forms of penetrative sex. Support for such a view, and for making masturbation part of the American sex education curriculum, led to the dismissal of US Surgeon General Joycelyn Elders during the Clinton administration.
Some EU Nations promote masturbation in their sex education curricula. Sexual climax, from masturbation or otherwise, leaves one in a relaxed and contented state. This is frequently followed closely by drowsiness and sleep — particularly when one masturbates in bed.
This limitation can serve as encouragement to follow through with physical therapy sessions to help improve endurance.
In general, real sex slightly increases energy consumption, according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. A small study demonstrated lower blood pressure in persons who had recently masturbated compared to those with no proximate sexual activity.