This post is part of Mashable's Masturbation Week. May is National Masturbation Month, so we're celebrating by exploring the many facets of self-love.

For as long as people have been masturbating, there have been misconceptions surrounding the act. Thankfully, most of the assumptions held about self-pleasure (no, it won't kill you — and no, it's nothing to be ashamed about) have been debunked over the years.

Here are six common misunderstandings about masturbation to ease your nerves, once and for all.

1. Masturbating ___ amount of times a week/month/year is bad for you
As long as you aren't inflicting physical harm on yourself or detracting from your life in a negative way — or using a piping hot cucumber as a DIY Fleshlight — then masturbate as many times as you please. There's no magical number that you should or shouldn't reach, and everyone's bodies are different. Masturbating in moderation is of course, suggested by various sources. However, you should be mindful of your needs and aware of the risks, such as its affect on IRL relationships and intensity of orgasms. And definitely give it a break if your skin becomes raw at any point.

The best rule to follow is the one that's applicable to most things in life: Too much of anything isn't good for you.

2. Masturbating makes you infertile
To repeat the important point above, safe masturbating in appropriate doses is not bad for you — and it won't make you infertile. There is a lot of misinformation around this issue, but according to Mayo Clinic, male masturbation does not decrease sperm count and female masturbation "isn't likely to have much effect on your fertility."

For healthy men, masturbating in excess, may impact sperm count. But fear not, it's only temporary.

"It takes most men about 12 to 24 hours to regenerate a good sperm count after a previous ejaculation," Dr. Ira D. Sharlip, clinical professor of urology at UCSF, told Men's Journal. “So if a patient is masturbating very frequently — and by that I mean multiple times every day — that will suppress the sperm count and reduce the chance for fertility.”

But, give yourself a bit of a break and you should bounce back.

3. Men are the only ones who masturbate
If you consume a lot of pop culture, it's easy to believe this outdated myth. But we have some news for you: Women do masturbate! Can you believe it? Yes? Good. Most of what we see in films, music and television unfortunately shows women's sexuality only in the service of others. But no, women do masturbate —and according to one survey by TENGA nearly a third of women prefer it to sex. Oh, and in case you weren't aware, trans and gender non-conforming people masturbate too. Orgasms for everyone!

4. There's no right way to masturbate
Just like there is no right way to eat a pizza (go ahead and fold it, you New York monsters), there's no one correct way to masturbate. Whether you use your own hands or your favorite sex toy, it's all fair game when it comes down to doing the deed. There aren't rules you should follow except ensuring that you are practicing good hygiene. As many before me have suggested, masturbation is an opportunity to explore your body and what makes you feel good.

"Masturbation can be a self-soothing behavior that calms down our minds…gets us in touch with our bodies, and gives us time to focus on ourselves instead of worrying about what others think," sexologist and sexuality educator Megan Andelloux told Greatist.

Everyone has their own path towards orgasm, and the various ways you masturbate can help you uncover or fine-tune your journey.

5. There are no benefits to masturbating
This is just straight-up wrong.

There are benefits to masturbating other than it feeling good. According to Planned Parenthood, masturbation can help alleviate a variety of issues like stress, menstrual cramps, and muscle tension.

"When you have an orgasm, your body releases endorphins, which are hormones that block pain and make you feel good," Planned Parenthood states. "The good feelings that accompany an orgasm happen whether you’re by yourself or having sex with a partner."

That orgasm also releases dopamine and helps you sleep better — something everyone can use.

6. Masturbating causes blindness
Please do not listen to anyone who has told you this. Masturbation does not cause blindness. That is a myth that has spiraled out of control, and according to Everyday Health, it's one that's existed for a while.

"Many myths about masturbation, such as this one, come from beliefs back when people believed sex was only meant for procreation," director of female sexual medicine Susan Kellog-Spadt, PhD at the Center for Pelvic Medicine told Everyday Health. Phew!

7. You have to masturbate alone
If you want to, sure, but mutual consensual masturbation is also something you can try with a partner. Whether you want to spice things up in your sex life or to simply explore new terrain together.

Jenny Block, author of The Ultimate Guide to Solo Sex, suggests that for mutual masturbation with women may give insight into how women reach orgasm.

"Women don’t actually take longer than men to come if you’re talking about going from totally unaroused to orgasm," she wrote. "Masturbating together can be the perfect tool for explaining this and a great way to show a male partner that when the right things are done to the right places on your body, you are just as likely as he is [to] get to the [fi]nish line in no time."

Source : Mashable



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