Get touchy for safe sex
It's time to drop the warnings of hairy palms and blindness as a result of masturbation, says a study which shows an association between self-love and safe sex.
Questioning 820 teenagers from the USA, the study found 73 percent of boys masturbated and that it was associated with condom use during their sexual encounters with partners. In other words, boys who masturbated were eight times more likely to have safe sex than those who did not masturbate.
Teenagers between 14 and 17 years of age were questioned about their sexual habits in the study recently published by the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine.
Both boys and girls who reported masturbating were also more likely to have oral and vaginal sex with partners.
The report explained that though the link between masturbation and safe sex is a tenuous one, "the association of any behaviour with increased condom use deserves further investigation, given the rates of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections in adolescents."
Masturbation was recognised in the study as an important part of sexuality and one that plays a critical role during adolescent sexual development.
While more boys admitted to masturbation than girls, researchers noted an increase in frequency of masturbation in both sexes the older they got. Yet, girls were more cautious with their answers, admitting to an increase in masturbation as they grew up, but also stating that they had not masturbated recently.
Blog site Jezebel.com stressed that girls need to feel as comfortable as boys when it comes to exploring their sexuality. "The study emphasizes that being more sexually self-aware makes teens have healthier sex lives. That's something girls shouldn't be missing out on just because society tells them masturbation is shameful."
The study stated that health care professionals tend to avoid talking about masturbation as it is stigmatised, but that they should be bringing it up with their adolescent patients "to provide competent and comprehensive sexuality education in the clinical setting."