Chapter 9

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Lecture Notes

Masturbation is the most common form of autoeroticism and is done by most men and women. It is the rubbing, caressing, or otherwise stimulation of the genitals. It is done for many reasons—relaxation, relief of sexual tension, it can be done when the partner is not available, it is used as a source of physical pleasure, an aid to falling asleep, and is the best way to avoid STIs and HIV. Masturbation is an important means of learning about one's body. Through masturbation, children and adolescents learn what is sexually pleasing, how to move their bodies, and what their natural rhythms are. It can be done alone or with a partner. It is not necessarily a substitute for interpersonal sexual activity but is a legitimate form of activity in its own right. There are no harmful physical effects, and it's safe because there's no exchange of genital secretions, or blood that transmit HIV and other STIs. Sex therapists often encourage their clients to masturbate as a means to overcome specific sexual problems and discovering personal sexual potential. Masturbatory behavior is influenced by education, ethnicity, religion, and age, with education being a particularly strong factor. The more educated one becomes, the more frequently he or she masturbates.

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