Publish 16 November 2021
⚠️ Reader Discretion: Mature subject matter/image.
Do You Masturbate?
Forgive such a personal question. It is not meant to be salacious. Your mental response, either way, is private. Long considered a deviant practice of pubescent boys, you may now recognize masturbation as a mainstream norm. You might be surprised by the statistics and consequences if you login. It is not limited by gender or adolescence. Very adult men have been caught with their pants down—on camera. 
More than a century ago, the medical and psychiatric communities sought to expunge what the clergy could not. From the late 1700s through the mid 1800s, the doctors perpetuated the notion that masturbation was a heinous sin causing mental illness. The precept was fed by a large number of patients openly masturbating within insane asylums. 
Clitoridectomy was a remedy to female masturbation for several years in the 1860s. During the late 1800s, treatment fell from favor as investigations in psychiatry and sexology made it clear the practice was nearly universal. 
Though not limited to males, the gender with the most testosterone practices with greater frequency. There is a difference between a male nocturnal (seminal) emission and masturbation. The former occurs during a dream. Masterbation requires conscious effort.
According to statistics by FiveThirtyEight, 7.9% of women between the ages of 25–29 masturbate two to three times a week.  By contrast, 23.4% of men in the same age group do. The Kinsey Institute study reveals more than half of American women ages 18–49 masturbate at least once every three months. 
There is no daily monitoring—though I wouldn’t rule it out as becoming a feature of Alexa, HomeKit, or fitness trackers in the future. For now, data pertains to focus-group respondents. If you ask for lifetime occurrence, expect statistics to rise over 75% across all genders.
We cannot connect every aberrant behavior to the pandemic. But some spring into the spotlight as a result of it. Sheltering in place has brought about more casual business attire and some associated activities. Shoes, bras, and pants are walking away from virtual boardroom meetings.
Some viral exposure is accidental. You might want to blame it on being dressed only from the waist up.  A woman began disrobing to take a shower without realizing she was still connected to a virtual meeting. A partially dressed mom entered her bedroom where a preschooler had initiated a conference call with her boss.
Other people working from home schedule time for personal arousal between Zoom meetings.  Frequency of a practice makes it common, not normal. Many politicians and actors received treatment for sexual addiction, prior to the lockdowns. 
Consequences of Masturbation
Depending upon who you ask, masturbation is either good or bad. Sex therapists attempt to assuage negative emotions by normalizing the practice. They cite benefits like gaining familiarity of one’s erogenous zones with cardiovascular stimulation, endorphin release, and stress reduction.  You gain similar benefits from running around the block (without the climax).
Could heightening personal gratification nurture addiction or hedonism? The combination of three neural pathways create a powerful catalyst for masturbation addiction: 
- Arousal includes pleasure and intensity.
- Numbing produces a calming, relaxing, soothing, or sedative process.
- Fantasy focuses on escape through obsession, preoccupation, and ritualization.
Some people masturbate to the point of injury. The guilt they feel for lack of self-control may be identified as self-abuse. Masturbation addiction is not within the psychology reference DSM-5. Yet, obsession, paraphilia, depression, and emotional detachment may require counseling. 
The multibillion-dollar sex industry exploits sex toys, magazines, books, movies, strip clubs, and prostitution. The goal of the industry is to remove the boundaries of societal morals. Sex items that brought censorship and proscription a few years ago now escape scrutiny.  Most people try to set personal limits on sexual depravity. But the promise of a better orgasm can be an enticing slippery slope to traverse.
Sex toys can end up in compromising positions. An Arizona woman got an active vibrator stuck within her bladder. Emergency room personnel routinely extract a long list of autoeroticism devices from vaginas and rectums. This includes dildos, fruits, vegetables, bottles, and sports equipment.  In one Swedish study, 40% of retained foreign rectal objects in a large Stockholm hospital requiring removal under anesthesia were sex toys. 
Masturbation is a topic best discussed by parents with their prepubescent children—before it becomes a practice. Youths benefit from maintaining some innocence. Preserve intimate moments for a life partner to strengthen the marriage bond. Couples can then associate the orgasmic experience with someone they love, other than themselves. Adults who feel obsession with excessive self-pleasure may seek the direction of a licensed therapist or, if they have one, their mates.
Many people continue attending videoconferences sans pants. Some of them take intimate advantage of the occasion. Abstaining from autoeroticism might prevent accidental exposure of embarrassing devices or personal activities while teleconferencing.  Beware of emails offering remote technical support, cover your webcam lens when not in use, [14,15] and wear some pants around the house.