|Part of the series on|
|A baker's dozen on sex|
“”The most fun any one person can have whilst being totally alone.
|—The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy on masturbation.|
“”Hey, don't knock masturbation! It's sex with someone I love!
|—Alvy Singer (Woody Allen), Annie Hall (1977)|
Masturbation, from the Latin manus (hand) and stuprare (soil, make dirty), is the act of gratifying oneself sexually, often while alone. It can also apply, as in "mutual masturbation", to more than one person gratifying each other, without resorting to direct genital to genital stimulation.
 Cultural attitudes
Different societies, cultures, and religions have taken various positions on the subject on masturbation. A few are given below.
 Seventh Day Adventism
|Children who practice self-indulgence [masturbation] previous to puberty, or the period of merging into manhood or womanhood, must pay the penalty of nature's violated laws at that critical period. Many sink into an early grave, while others have sufficient force of constitution to pass this ordeal. If the practice is continued from the age of fifteen and upward, nature will protest against the abuse she has suffered, and continues to suffer, and will make them pay the penalty for the transgression of her laws, especially from the ages of thirty to forty-five, by numerous pains in the system, and various diseases, such as affection of the liver and lungs, neuralgia, rheumatism, affection of the spine, diseased kidneys, and cancerous humors. Some of nature's fine machinery gives way, leaving a heavier task for the remaining to perform, which disorders nature's fine arrangement, and there is often a sudden breaking down of the constitution; and death is the result. (Solemn Appeal, 1870, p. 63)|
|Females possess less vital force than the other sex, and are deprived very much of the bracing, invigorating air, by their in-door life. The result of self-abuse in them is seen in various diseases, such as catarrh, dropsy, headache, loss of memory and sight, great weakness in the back and loins, affections of the spine, and frequently, inward decay of the head. Cancerous humor, which would lie dormant in the system their lifetime, is inflamed, and commences its eating, destructive work. The mind is often utterly ruined, and insanity supervenes. (A Solemn Appeal (Appeal to Mothers), pg.73)|
|It is not the taxation of study alone that was doing the work of injury to your children, but that their own wrong habits were sapping the brain, and robbing the entire body of vital energy. The nervous system was becoming shattered by being often excited and thus laying the foundation for premature and certain decay. Self -abuse is killing thousands and tens of thousands. (Manuscript Releases Volume Five pg. 396 (Letter to Dr. and Sister Lay, Feb. 13, 1870))|
|The minds of some of these children are so weakened that they have but one half or one third of the brilliancy of intellect that they might have had, had they been virtuous and pure. They have thrown it away in self-abuse. Right here in this church, corruption is teeming on every hand. (Testimonies for the Church volume Two pg. 361)|
Now if Ellen White didn’t masturbate there must have been some other reason why she was so silly.
 Betty Dodson
Sex educator Betty Dodson, on the other hand, wrote Sex For One, an entire book on how to enjoy masturbation more. Most people who have studied the subject are more inclined to take her side.
|And so if God was there from the very beginning, he invented men and women, then he also invented wanking, then he said wanking was sinning, so if I'm feeling randy, I'm not allowed to hand-shandy, but having sex with my family, that is just fucking great. (It's all there in Ezekiel 8) |
(Tim Minchin, Ten Foot Cock and a Few Hundred Virgins)
Divided. Some Christians oppose it, many don't, and, in fact, it is possible that some condone it as a means of controlling one's sex drive when needed. Biblical scriptures against masturbation tend to be fairly indirect, due to its highly taboo status - in some cases (eg. the sin of Onan) it's not completely clear what specific act is envisaged.
In Theravadan Buddhism, for monks, it is consider unskillful, a vice or attachment that causes addiction to sexual cravings, from which suffering ultimately arises. For laypeople, it is still considered a vice but is still "okay" per se, as long as people do so according to the eightfold path, precepts, and other Buddhist teachings. Sexual attraction is considered to be a result of delusion of cultures, which enculturate people into lusting after a pus-, blood-, and filth-laden vessel, whether male or female. This claim can be slightly supported in cross-cultural anthropology and sociology, and Feminism and its subfields have studied the subject with similar conclusions. The practice of Paṭikkūlamanasikāra, a 32 body part, vipassana meditation, is prescribed to overcome such cravings. This practice, though never studied in a scientific setting, might well have a slight affect on reducing sexual urges at least temporarily, although there may be other unknown consequences of this practice.
Not only are they aware of the differences between male and female masturbation, they're not shy to point them out either. Male masturbation is called sendzuri,  which translates as "1,000 strokes." Female masturbation, however, is mandzuri,  which translates as "10,000 strokes." The current world record holder for prolonged masturbation is Japanese.  
 Victorian Britain
Two quotations from the nineteenth century suggest that masturbation was held to have damaging physical effects. Physician William Acton wrote that:
|The frame is stunted and weak, the muscles undeveloped, the eye is sunken and heavy, the complexion is sallow, pasty, or covered with spots of acne, the hands are damp and cold, and the skin moist. The boy shuns the society of others, creeps about alone, joins with repugnance in the amusements of his schoolfellows. He cannot look any one in the face, and becomes careless in dress and uncleanly in person. His intellect has become sluggish and enfeebled, and if his evil habits are persisted in, he may end in becoming a drivelling idiot or a peevish valetudinarian. Such boys are to be seen in all stages of degeneration, but what we have described is but the result towards which they are all tending.. (William Acton, 1857)|
Forty years later, Grimsby trawler owner Charles Jeffs wrote in response to a Board of Trade report that remarked upon the high rate of deaths among apprentices in the fishing industry, that:
|Quite two thirds of our lads from workhouses or schools have inherited or contracted the habit of self-abuse, the result of which if not stopped is that phthisis sets in and they die or their reason gives way. I have made a special study of this dire disease and there is scarcely a day goes over my head but what I have to take one or more of the lads aside and endeavour to teach them the dangers of this practice. (National Archives, MAF 12/15, Apprentices: Investigation of the Fishing Apprenticeship System, 1894, letter from Charles Jeffs to A.D. Berrington, in correspondence)|
Or maybe they just went blind and fell over the side. Or maybe it really was a dangerous job.
The effects of masturbation have been alleged to include:
- Pleasure, often to the point of mild euphoria and enjoyable involuntary muscular contractions.
- In females, allowing them to reach an orgasm that they may not be able to achieve from sexual intercourse.[citation NOT needed]
- Ejaculation has been shown to decrease prostate cancer in older men.
- Masturbating has been shown to boost your immune system.
- Orgasm releases dopamine and oxytocin, which boost your mood. []
These have yet to be verified by the use of double-blind trials in accordance with the scientific method. (There are however said to be many eager college students prepared to be paid volunteers for such a long-term study for the benefit of humankind, at least as long as they are not part of the control group.)
- Causing hair to grow on the palms of one's hands.
- Making you go blind. 
- Ye being struck down by the vengeful hand of God.
- Neuralgia, rheumatism, affection of the spine, diseased kidneys, and cancerous humors.
- Drying up of the precious bodily fluids
- Catarrh, dropsy, headache, loss of memory and sight, great weakness in the back and loins, affections of the spine, and frequently, inward decay of the head.
- Dead kittens.
- Por speleing
- Eternal damnation in the Lake of Fire
- Increased time spent in purgatory
- Sore wrists and forearm muscles (definitely some anecdotal evidence available)
- Sticky computer monitors and/or keyboards, if jacking off to internet porn.
- Peyronie's Disease (too much wanking causes the tissue in parts of your knob to harden, thus causing said erect knob to bend alarmingly)
- Phthisis (whatever that might be)
 Masturbation and the Law
- The Jewish Talmud states that "Whosoever emits semen in vain deserves death." 
- Pee Wee Herman was arrested for, ahem, "making it big" in the movies.
- Texas rep. Michael Burgess incorrectly cited a study on fetus masturbation to try and ban abortions after the 20th week, believing that's when boys started. The actual study was on a 32 week old female fetus. 
 How To
The internet was created for the express purpose of answering this question. Use your brain first, then your hands. However, if you're Spanish, you're taught how to do it as part of your school sex education, causing much outrage from the Roman Catholic Church and conservatives.
 See also
- "The 30-Year-Old Orgasm Virgin": Review and commentary on Thanks for Coming: One Woman's Quest for an Orgasm, by Mara Altman, a memoir about a sexually repressed woman's "first time."
- Squirrels masturbate to avoid sexually transmitted infections
- Male and female masturbation documentary with techniques, pictures, videos, and stories (Obviously NSFW)
- Forgive me, Father, for I have touched myself
- How Common Is Masturbation, Really?
- ↑ For other amusing euphemisms, see here.
- ↑ http://www.eudict.com/?lang=japeng&word=sendzuri
- ↑ http://www.eudict.com/?lang=japeng&word=mandzuri
- ↑ http://www.japanator.com/elephant/post.phtml?pk=9887
- ↑ http://blogs.sfweekly.com/thesnitch/2009/05/masturbate-a-thon_champion_spe.php
- ↑ Unless the control group involves actual sexual activity at the same frequency of masturbation, especially if the partners for said sexual activity are arranged for them.
- ↑ This author has indulged in the aforementioned activity on numerous occasions and despite not being blind is unable to see any hairs on the palms of teh hands.
- ↑ http://www.come-and-hear.com/niddah/niddah_13.html Niddah 13a
- ↑ http://www.thewire.com/politics/2013/06/michael-burgess-fetus-masturbation/66345/
- ↑ http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8358629.stm