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Masturbation is the manual excitation of the sexual organs, most often to the point of orgasm. It can refer to excitation either by oneself or by another (see mutual masturbation), but most commonly it is restricted to such activities performed alone. It is part of a larger set of activities known as autoeroticism, which also includes the use of sex toys and non-genital stimulation. There are also masturbation machines used to simulate intercourse. Masturbation and sexual intercourse are the two most common sexual practices. Some people are only able to achieve orgasm by masturbation rather than sexual intercourse. In the animal kingdom, masturbation has been observed in the male of every species of mammal.


Masturbation among women

Masturbation techniques among women are numerous and more varied than among men. They are influenced by a number of factors and personal preferences.

A woman may stroke or rub the vulva, especially the clitoris with her middle or index fingers, or even index and second fingers. This is pleasurable for most women, especially when rubbing the breast and nipples at the same time. A woman may sometimes insert one or more fingers inside the vagina and repeatedly stroke the frontal wall of her vagina where the G-spot is located. A woman may also use masturbatory aids such as a vibrator, dildo or Ben Wa balls to stimulate the vagina and clitoris.

A woman may masturbate while in a bathtub, shower, or even hot tub by using warm running water to stimulate the clitoris.

Or she may straddle a pillow, stimulating the clitoris through the labia and clothing, similar to frotteurism.

Some women reach orgasm by crossing their legs tightly and clenching the muscles in their legs, which creates friction.

Anal stimulation is also preferred by some women because of the thousands of sensitive nerves located in the anus.

Women may use lubrication as part of their masturbation technique.

Masturbation is one of the easiest ways for a woman to reach orgasm.

Masturbation among men

Men as a group employ fewer masturbation techniques than women. These too are influenced by a number of factors and personal preferences. The most common method of masturbating among males is a hand job, where someone holds the penis with a loose fist and moves the hand up and down the shaft until orgasm is achieved. The gliding motion of the foreskin reduces friction, thereby facilitating masturbation in the absence of artificial lubricant. Some circumcised males directly massage the glans, generally with the aid of a sexual lubricant, but this is usually too irritating for uncircumcised males.

Another method practiced by a small proportion of males is to lie face down on a comfortable surface such as a mattress and rub the penis against it until orgasm is achieved. For both circumcised and uncircumcised men, masturbation may result in pain, irritation, or abrasion if performed too roughly. This problem may be less prevalent for uncircumcised men. Some use an artificial vagina, or simulacrum, for masturbation. Many males fondle their testicles or other parts of their body while masturbating.

Ejaculation of semen is sometimes controlled by wearing a condom or less frequently by ejaculating into an artificial vagina, a sock , a tissue or the toilet. Most males ejaculate onto their bodies and then clean up with a cloth or tissue. A controversial ejaculation control technique is to put pressure on the perineum, a spot about half way between the scrotum and the anus, just before ejaculating. This can redirect semen into the bladder. However, the technique may cause long term damage due to the pressure put on the nerves and blood vessels in the perineum. Some people are also able to reach orgasm without ejaculating. Proponents of tantric sex say that this is a learnable skill that can allow the male to require a shorter refractory period before they are able to again achieve orgasm.

The prostate gland is one of the organs that contributes fluid to semen. As the prostate is touch sensitive, some men directly stimulate it using a well-lubricated dildo inserted through the anus into the rectum. Similarly, a partner may provide the masturbation by hand and/or mouth and tongue, or by inserting a well lubricated finger into the anus for direct stimulation of the prostate.

Men who can reach their penis with their tongue or lips sometimes perform autofellatio, in which the man licks or sucks his own penis. However, research shows only one man in a thousand can do this to orgasm.

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