A Safe, but Touchy Subject


By the end of the lesson, participants will be able to:

1. Identify basic facts and common myths about masturbation.

2. Examine common attitudes and their own feelings about masturbation.

3. Explain why masturbation is a healthy and safe form of sexual expression, a readily available and reliable part of a person’s strategy for avoiding both sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy.


No teaching about “safer sex” is truly complete without including a discussion of masturbation as a SAFE method of protection from STIs, as well as pregnancy. People of all ages are likely to have questions about masturbation. Websites that provide sexual information for teens, such as www.scarleteen.com and www.sexetc.org, report that masturbation is one of the topics that young people ask about most often. While young people and adults often report receiving strong messages about masturbation during adolescence, including those conveyed by silence, masturbation is rarely addressed except in the most comprehensive of sex education programs.

In a world of myths and misinformation, it is important for everyone to develop positive attitudes about a behavior in which most will engage at some point in their lives. This lesson will help participants examine common attitudes and beliefs about masturbation in a non-threatening, nonjudgmental manner. It also allows them the opportunity to consider, perhaps for the first time, just how valuable masturbation can be as a safe form of sexual expression and pleasure.

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