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11 Things You Never Knew About Masturbation

Because you can’t love someone else until you love yourself.

Like your “alone time?" You’re not alone. Test your masturbation savviness with these 11 random facts.

1. According to experts, it’s good for you.

The verdict is in — getting sexy by yourself is perfectly healthy. According to sexuality researchers, masturbation increases blood flow and triggers an endorphin rush. You don’t even have to orgasm to benefit from the mood-boosting effects of solo sexy times.

2. People have been masturbating since at least the Copper Age (Hint: Before the Bronze Age).

Prehistoric rock paintings from around the world show depictions of both male and female masturbation. The earliest known records of masturbation come from ancient Sumer — or present-day Iraq — where masturbation was believed to boost potency.

3. But not all languages have a word for masturbation.

Apparently, not everyone’s doing it. This study found that a handful of African Congo Basin tribes lack a word to describe masturbation in their languages, and tribe members were confused by descriptions of masturbation.

4. It can enhance your sex life.

Masturbation is pretty much practice for the real deal. According to one sex educator, experimenting can help you to feel both confident and comfortable expressing yourself in bed with a partner.

5. We’ve come a long way since the 1600s when getting caught masturbating could mean the death sentence.

Around 1656, New Haven enacted legislation stating that decried public and private masturbation. Among other capital offenses — including witchcraft, adultery, and homosexuality — acts committed by women that were “against nature” were punishable by death, as was public masturbation.

6. Women are more likely to achieve orgasm when alone.

The Kinsey Institute reports that when flying solo, women are more likely to achieve an orgasm “always” or “nearly always.” Unfortunately, for women in a relationship, a mere 62 percent said they were satisfied with both the frequency and consistency of orgasm. Yikes.

7. We’re definitely not the only species that do it.

No, humans did not invent masturbation. Our not-so-distant primate cousins are champion masturbators, while cetaceans masturbate by rubbing themselves on the ocean floor. Male elephants, too, have been known to masturbate by repeatedly slapping their erect penises against their underbellies. Research suggests that penguins, turtles, lizards, rodents, and even bats also have some variation of auto-erotism. Kinky.

8. Don’t masturbate too hard guys, or you’ll fracture your member.

According to Mayo Clinic, a penis fracture is a “painful injury” that may be signaled by a cracking sound, dark bruising, and — who’d have guessed — the loss of an erection. Though it’s most likely to happen after intercourse-related accidents, "aggressive" masturbation can also cause fractures. You’ve been warned.

9. Research suggests that masturbation may lower the risk of cystitis, diabetes, and prostate cancer.

Let’s just say Victorian-era warnings that masturbation caused infertility, insanity, and blindness were off the mark. Findings investigating the beneficial effects of masturbation have exploded in recent years, though some suggest that not orgasms are created equal — both masturbation and sex have distinctive benefits.

10. Women are more likely to use toys to masturbate.

First invented by a British doctor, the very first electromechanical vibrator appeared in the 1880s. Apparently, the invention was hailed as the solution to an age-old problem: “effective therapeutic massage that neither fatigued the therapist nor demanded skills that were difficult and time-consuming to acquire.” In other words, vibrators saved lazy husbands.

11. There’s an app for that.

HappyPlayTime is an app which uses a series of educational games taught by Happy, a smiling vulva reminiscent of a Strawberry Shortcake doll. Users can download the app or play it on the web to learn about the anatomy of their ladyparts and practice basic stimulation techniques. Men, take note.

[Image via Getty]

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