Self Body Exploration, Self Pleasure, and Masturbation

Teen – Self Body Exploration

What is Self Body Exploration?

Written by Team BLOOM

  |  Reviewed by Hina J. Talib, MD

Self body exploration is the natural process of exploring your amazing body, learning how to identify its many interesting and miraculous parts, and figuring out what type of touch feels best for you and where. It is a journey of self-discovery of your body, its functions, and the sensations you feel when being touched in certain ways. This type of exploration can start with something as simple as lightly touching the inside of your arm, with your palm faced up, from the underside of your wrist all the way up to the inside of your elbow. Whether you like the feeling or not, this is a perfect example of experimenting with different types of touch and the sensations you might feel. 

Self Pleasure & Masturbation

As you grow older, you are now becoming your own independent person. Exploring with touch on your own body is an important and helpful way for you to be able to learn your anatomy and the types of touch that feel safe, comfortable, and pleasurable to you. People of all ages, genders, abilities, sexualities, ethnicities, cultures, religions, and relationship statuses have a right to experience pleasure and explore their bodies and preferences through self pleasure. This is a normal and healthy part of growing up!

Touching or rubbing your genitals in a pleasurable way is often called masturbation. Masturbation is when you stimulate your own genitals for pleasure. As you enter into the stages of puberty and beyond, this type of touching may become of interest to you, and is completely normal and healthy when done in private or with a consenting partner. And know that many people do it! It is important to remember that truly knowing your body, including your genitals, is essential to your health and well-being. It can be a powerful tool to help you be able to advocate for yourself throughout your life. 

Self Body Exploration FAQs
1. Do people of all genders pleasure themselves?

Yes! People of all genders pleasure themselves throughout their lives, but there can be big differences in acceptability within the gender binary. Culture, societal pressure, gender roles, and gender expression expectations can create barriers that impede genders who identify as women from exploring their bodies with freedom and confidence and being honest about their exploration adventure. We are working to break through this stigma so that everybody can feel confident and comfortable experiencing self-pleasure without personal limitations.  

2. Will I want to self pleasure more during puberty?

Yes! Many will, but some will not. As your body grows, develops, and enters into the stages of puberty, your sense of body awareness will mature as well. An increase of sexual hormones during these stages may also elicit feelings of sexual tension and curiosity to explore your own developing body and sexuality. Self pleasure is a normal part of adolescence. Most younger adolescents will discover that masturbation is sexually pleasurable and can lead to a journey of self-discovery.  

3. Are there benefits of self body exploration?

Yes! There are several benefits to exploring your body through self pleasure!

  • Knowing your anatomy: Self-exploration is a way to get to know your anatomy and appreciate the amazing body you have. It is also a way to discover what is normal or not normal for you, in case you are experiencing a medical condition that needs attention from a doctor. And if you find something out of the ordinary, then you should always seek medical advice from your doctor.
  • Curiosity: Being curious about your developing body is a normal part of self-discovery.
  • Exploring sexuality: Exploring your body by yourself can help develop a feeling of comfort and confidence about how your body works, feels, functions, and responds to touch.  
  • Discovering what feels good to you: Knowing what feels good and what does not will help develop your sense of body boundaries and limits. It will also help you to communicate what feels good and where, when you decide to share your body with a partner.
  • Stress release: Self-pleasure can release tension and promote a sense of relaxation.
  • Help you gain confidence and security in knowing your body and self. 
4. Can I self pleasure too much?

Yes, if the act of needing to self-pleasure is interrupting your ability to complete or perform your daily or social activities, or if you are experiencing medical complications such as soreness in your limbs, hands, or genital region or if you are developing blisters, rashes, or redness from excessive friction.

5. When does masturbation become abnormal?

Masturbation in public is never normal or acceptable. Be socially responsible and respectful and always make sure you are alone or with a consenting partner. 

  • When you are unable to delay your need for this self-gratification out of the respect of others or context of the situation.  
  • When you become so preoccupied with masturbating that you become withdrawn from performing activities or interacting socially with others.
  • If you become dependent on masturbation as the primary means to deal with your emotions. 
6. Can I be addicted to self-pleasuring and masturbation?

If you feel like you are unable to control your urge for self-pleasure, you could be doing it compulsively. Explore the reasons for your frequent masturbation so that you can substitute other positive activities that may fill that need. If you’re masturbating to relieve tension, finding other ways to release stress and anxiety can develop a life skill that is more balanced. Don’t feel like you need to give up this gratifying activity, but just participate in it with control.  

7. What should I do if someone catches me masturbating?

Masturbating is something that is private to you, so if someone walks in on you it can feel embarrassing for you and them. Chances are, they’ve masturbated before. To make it less awkward, say something funny about it (like, I’m busy here!) and then just ask them for privacy. Everyone deserves to experience self-pleasure, but in private. If YOU catch someone else masturbating in their private space, apologize, and immediately give them their privacy.  

8. Is self pleasure while you’re in a relationship normal?

Yes! Many people who are in relationships self pleasure. It can be a way to figure out how you like your body to be touched. This then can help you communicate to a consenting partner what feels good and what doesn’t. Some partners self pleasure at the same time, which can be a way to sexually be together without risking exposure to STIs or accidental pregnancies. 

9. Are fantasies normal?

Yes! Using your imagination and fantasies to experience pleasure is healthy and normal. Using porn instead of using your own imagination and fantasies can provide you with a false sense of normal sexual thoughts and behavior.  

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