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There's nothing wrong with masturbation. Come on, say it with me: "there's NOTHING wrong with masturbation." Not a thing. It won't put hair on your palms, make you go blind, ruin you for sex (whatever that means), make you gay, or make your dick shrink -- or get bigger for that matter. Who does it? Just about everyone on this planet: more people jerk off than don't. In fact, odds are that if someone says they aren't, then they really are. Girls do it, boys do it, men do it, women do it, cops do it, doctors do it, teachers do it, football players do it, astronauts do it, sailors do it ... get the point?
Who says so? Doctors, therapists, counselors, and me. So if everyone does it, and it won't hurt you, then what's the big deal? Well, a lot of people are kind of uncomfortable about the idea of masturbation. Parents, for instance, usually aren't really ready to accept the fact that their kids -- to them babies just yesterday -- have any kind of sexual feelings. Other adults are the same: the idea that kids being sexual, even with just themselves, is just too difficult to accept. Instead, they'd much prefer it if kids didn't do anything at all -- just wait until they magically turn into adults. The fact is, the road to adulthood is a slow, steady process, and expecting kids to not be curious, not try to understand their bodies, is unrealistic. Adults also carry the baggage that often they, too, were taught that either masturbation didn't exist or was something bad -- another strike against them understanding or supporting their kids and their budding sexuality.
Kids can sometimes be harsh with each other about masturbation. With no straight info from parents or other adults its easy to see why: if no one talks about it then it must be bad, right? Nope, sorry, the fact that adults can't handle the fact that their kids are jerking off doesn't mean it's bad for them -- it just means that their folks can't handle it.
What about religion? Often I get zapped with the 'masturbation is a sin' line. Hey, religion is between you and God. Religious people run the gamut from masturbation is bad, to masturbation won't hurt you in the least. If you have a question about religion ask your priest, rabbi, minister, or parents because I don't know the answer. I can't tell you what's bad for your soul -- only that masturbation won't do anything to your body or your mind.
Another line I get all the time is that masturbation is something you do only when you can't have sex, that it's something only desperate people do -- wrong! Lots of people masturbate who also have sex with a partner. It's not less than having sex, it's just another kind of sex. Many folks perfer to masturbate -- maybe their too tired for sex, or just don't want to do something just for themselves. Couples often masturbate together -- which can be very hot -- if they don't want to worry about sexually transmitted diseases or getting pregnant. In fact, masturbating together -- where you don't exchange any fluids -- is a perfectly safe sexual activity.
Jerking off is nothing to be ashamed of. Part of the reason why people don't talk about it much is because it's mostly a private thing -- it's something they can't share with anyone, so there's no impetus to talk about it. I'm not suggesting that you should run out and tell the whole world that you jerk off, but there's also no reason why you should torture yourself about it. Keep in mind what I've said before: just about everyone on this planet masturbates, and usually those that say they don't aren't telling the truth.
It's easy to say that you shouldn't feel bad about jerking off -- after all, for lots of people all they've ever heard is bad things about masturbation -- but you can start by just giving yourself some slack. Masturbating is not being weak, or out of control. It's pleasuring yourself, reducing tension and relaxing. It's about giving yourself sexual pleasure. Don't you think you deserve to feel good? To love your body and yourself? Care for yourself -- you're worth it. Even if you don't masturbate all that often, take care of yourself by trying not to give yourself a hard time about doing it. There are many things to worry about nowadays: sexually transmitted diseases (like HIV, hepatitis, or others), teen pregnancy, global warming, the destruction of the rainforests, terrorism, hate crimes, etc., but masturbation isn't one of them.
Take it easy ... relax, learn to love yourself and your body. You're worth it.