Choking the chicken. Waxing the surfboard. Jerkin’ the gherkin. There are a million ways to describe masturbation and just about as many ways to do it. With an activity so prevalent, it’s odd that there is so much bad information in circulation. Let’s take a minute to talk about nearly every man’s favorite pastime: masturbation.

What Is Masturbation?

Masturbation is when a man touches, strokes, and otherwise stimulates his penis for pleasure. The hand is not the only thing a man can use for self-pleasure. Many men use a variety of sexual aides for stimulation or things they have made into their own pleasure devices (à la American Pie). Masturbation can also include more than just the penis. Many men also stimulate other erogenous zones such as the nipples, testicles, perineum, and anus. Usually masturbation ends in orgasm with the release of semen, but it doesn’t need to. Plenty of men enjoy the journey and don’t need the release.

Masturbation Myth #1: A Man Is a Pervert if He Masturbates

Some cultures, societies, and religions demonize masturbation and believe that if a man masturbates, he’s a sexual deviant. However, it’s simply not true. Perversion is described as something that is abnormal and unacceptable. So, if a man masturbating is something that society deems as unacceptable, then he may be perceived as a pervert. But the action of self-pleasure itself is not grounds for calling someone a pervert and, abnormal and unacceptable is a widely subjective designation, anyway.

Masturbation Myth #2: Masturbation Causes Hairy Palms

Unless a man is a werewolf and only masturbates on the full moon, no, masturbation does not cause hairy palms. It’s believed that this superstition hails from a book published in 1756 called the Onania. The intent of the book is to frighten people away from self-pleasure and other practices.

Masturbation Myth #3: A Man Can Lose His Virginity by Masturbating

Nope. Virginity is not a self-serve sorta thing. Virginity is more a societal ideal than a physical act. It does not require someone of an opposing gender and for women does not require the breaking of the hymen (which often happens well before the act ever happens). Think of masturbation as more ritual than biological.

Masturbation Myth #4: Masturbation Causes Health Problems

Actually, masturbation can help a man’s health. It is a gateway to sexual health by helping men understand what they like and what they are comfortable with. Masturbation is a free way to reduce stress and create a happier headspace. It also helps sleep quality and athletic (and sexual) performance.

Believe it or not, studies have shown that regular masturbation with release is linked to a reduction in the possibility of prostate cancer. A 2016 study showed that men who ejaculated 21 times or more each month had a 20-percent decrease in the likelihood of prostate cancer. The only caveats to this are for men who wax the banana when hands are dirty or infected. Also, be sure to do a proper skin test prior to using any lubricant.

Masturbation Managed

Now, although masturbation is a healthy, normal activity, it does make sense to take a moment and talk about proper penis care because it’s a delicate appendage, after all. First, be sure to give the penis enough rest between sessions. Just like any other muscle, it needs a little recovery time. Also, be mindful of how tight the grip is because a too-tight death grip can cause friction burn and make the penis less sensitive in both the short and long run.

Second, be sure to wash that mighty member often and after every self-love sesh. Use tepid water and a gentle cleanser like baby wash to gently and meticulously wash the penis, being sure to suds up the entire genital area and retract the foreskin for a soft, squeaky clean. Also, rinse well and either air or towel dry with soft pats as opposed to rubbing the towel across the frisky fella.

Lastly, reward him with an indulgent, specially formulated penis health creme (health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil, which has been clinically proven safe and mild for skin) to nourish and rejuvenate the penis. Creams with a natural base like shea butter or vitamin E and that include other vitamins that promote penile wellness like A, C, and D are essential for providing the penis with vital nutrients and moisture for optimal penis health. Look for creams that also have L-carnitine, a science-backed protector against peripheral nerve damage. A little love now will result in some good self-love later!

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