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Is Masturbation Normal? FAQs About Masturbation Answered by Flo

Masturbation is a form of sexual self-gratification. While it’s completely normal and healthy to masturbate, lots of people have questions about it.

Today we asked Anna Targonskaya, a medical consultant at Flo, to answer some of the most frequently asked questions from our users. Keep reading to get the answers to some of the masturbation FAQs running through users’ minds.

Masturbation is the stimulation of erogenous zones (e.g., clitoris, anus, or vagina) with the goal of achieving sexual satisfaction and orgasm. It is commonly done by touching the clitoris or vaginal wall, especially the anterior wall, with fingers, sex toys, or a vibrator until orgasm. Masturbation is absolutely normal and is performed by people of all genders.

Many people experience a boost in their sex drive during their period, and it’s normal to masturbate during this time. Masturbating during your period is harmless and can still bring sexual satisfaction. Moreover, it can help relieve unpleasant period symptoms. Just make sure your hands are clean and follow common hygiene routines.

It is absolutely normal to masturbate. More than half of American women masturbate at least once every three months. Stimulating the erogenous zones to achieve sexual satisfaction and orgasm is a normal practice. As long as it’s not interfering with other aspects of life, masturbation is completely harmless.

If someone can orgasm from masturbation, it could be a sign that they know their own erogenous zones pretty well. Masturbation can also boost confidence when with a partner. Teach them where to touch you and what to do. Feel free to show them what you like. Let your partner get to know your body the way you know it.

No, masturbation can’t affect your period. Changes in your menstrual cycle such as period delay may be due to hormonal imbalance, chronic stress, poor nutrition, or some other health issues but not masturbation.

There is no normal when it comes to frequency of masturbation. It depends on the individual. Some people masturbate every day or even several times a day. Others don’t masturbate at all. Masturbation is only harmful if it interferes with other aspects of life.

Having a lot of sex or masturbating too much cannot affect the vagina’s “tightness.” Vaginal walls are very elastic; they expand and contract during and after sex. Neither masturbation nor sex can permanently stretch the vagina.

Generally speaking, masturbation should not hurt, unless there is a medical issue or a bad-fitting sex toy. It might be helpful to contact a health care provider if there is pain during masturbation.

If it isn’t time for your period, masturbation shouldn’t cause bleeding. If masturbation does cause bleeding, talk to a health care provider to find out the reason.

A gynecologist can’t tell if you’ve recently had sex or masturbated. If the vagina is unusually swollen or irritated, a health care provider may ask questions about masturbation habits. But the only time a health care provider can really know anything about someone’s sex life and level of activity is when they choose to share this information with them. 

People of all ages and genders masturbate, and it’s absolutely normal.

It’s your decision whether to masturbate or not. Some people masturbate every day or even several times a day. Others don’t masturbate at all. All of these options are perfectly normal.

Sometimes masturbation can make it harder to reach an orgasm with a partner. People who are getting to know themselves better during masturbation can share what they really like with a partner to boost the sex experience. If you have trouble confiding in your partner about your desires, it may help to talk to a counselor or therapist.

Cramps after masturbation can sometimes happen because the uterus has a muscular layer that can contract during orgasm. If these cramps are light, there is no reason for concern. Underlying gynecological conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis, ovarian cysts, or uterine fibroids can also cause cramping and lower abdominal pain after masturbation or sex. Contact a health care provider to find out the reason for strong cramps after orgasming.

Masturbation is good for both physical and mental health. It helps reduce stress, enhances the quality of sleep, and strengthens the muscles in the pelvic floor. In some people, masturbation helps to relieve menstrual cramps. Masturbation is only harmful if it interferes with work or social life. 

No, masturbation has nothing to do with periods. Changes in the menstrual cycle and periods may indicate a hormonal imbalance, chronic stress, poor nutrition, or some other health issues. Masturbation improves sleep quality and helps to get over stress.

In some cases, masturbation can tear the hymen, especially if a finger or sex toy is inserted too deep. The same can happen with tampons.

It is up to you whether to discuss this topic with your parents. Masturbation is a normal way to get sexual satisfaction. It is absolutely harmless. The majority of teens don’t discuss masturbation with their parents, but if you have a really strong and trustful relationship, you can talk to them about intimate questions.

Generally, masturbation brings a feeling of emotional and physical satisfaction and excitement. If masturbation results in no feeling at all, this might be a psychological case called anhedonia where someone can’t feel satisfaction. Or, masturbation might just not be your thing. On the other hand, issues with the innervation of the vaginal area can also cause reduced sensation. Talk to a health care provider to find out the exact reason.

No. Pregnancy is only possible during masturbation if sperm comes in contact with the vagina. It’s not possible for someone by themself to become pregnant or catch a sexually transmitted infection (STI) while masturbating. Coming into contact with someone else’s sex toys or another person’s genitals can carry the risk of pregnancy (if there’s semen present) or an STI. Both precum and semen may contain sperm.

As we’ve seen, masturbation is normal and can lead to sexual satisfaction. It can also help people educate their partners about how they like to be touched. Masturbation also provides other benefits like relieving stress and improving the quality of sleep.

“FAQs & Sex Information.” Sex FAQs and Statistics, kinseyinstitute.org/research/faq.php.
“Masturbation Q&A.” NHS Choices, NHS, 21 May 2018, www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodsex/pages/masturbation.aspx.

Burri, Andrea, and Ana Carvalheira. “Masturbatory Behavior in a Population Sample of German Women.” The Journal of Sexual Medicine, U.S. National Library of Medicine, 30 May 2019, pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31155389/.

Lastella, O’Mullan et al. “Sex and Sleep: Perceptions of Sex as a Sleep Promoting Behavior in the General Adult Population”. Frontiers in Public Health, March 2019,
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/331499432_Sex_and_Sleep_Perceptions_of_Sex_as_a_Sleep_Promoting_Behavior_in_the_General_Adult_Population

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