Sexuality & Culture

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 449–475 | Cite as

Masturbation and the Media

  • Anne-Frances WatsonEmail author
  • Alan McKee
Original Paper


This paper explores the important role the media play in informing young people about masturbation. A pilot study of focus groups with twenty-two young Australians aged between 14 and 16 explored what they know about sex and sexuality, and where they have found that knowledge. This paper reports on their knowledge about masturbation. Although researchers agree that masturbation can be a positive part of healthy sexual development, most young people reported that they received very little positive information about it from their parents or in formal sex education in school. These young people’s discussions around this topic were largely ambivalent, but also highly complex due to the varying levels and types of information that they receive. In this context the media play a vital role in providing information about masturbation through books and magazines for young women, and television comedies for young men.


Masturbation Sex Sexuality Sex education Sexuality education Media Television Young people Adolescent sexuality 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Queensland University of TechnologyBrisbaneAustralia

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