Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development

pp 916-917


  • Steuart T. WatsonAffiliated withEducational Psychology, Miami University (OH)
  • , Christine GriffesAffiliated withEducational Psychology, Miami University (OH)


Autoeroticism; Jacking off; Pleasuring oneself; Servicing oneself; Whacking off


Self-stimulation of the genitals to achieve sexual arousal and pleasure, generally to the point of orgasm.


Masturbation is achieved via touching, stroking or massaging the penis, vagina, or clitoris until orgasm is reached. Approximately 95% of males and 89% of females masturbate on a regular basis. Masturbation is a normal, healthy activity that generally begins in adolescence, although it is not uncommon for young children to masturbate as they grow and begin to explore their bodies [2]. Masturbation can serve many purposes including relieving sexual tension, stress, and inducing a state of general relaxation [2]. Although masturbation is a normal, healthy activity when it occurs at the appropriate times and places, it becomes problematic when people choose to masturbate in public places or at such a high frequency that it disrupts other behaviors, s ...

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