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02 August 2011

Boys who masturbate have safe sex later

Masturbation may be important in sexual self-awareness and condom use in teenage boys. A new report shows that boys who masturbate are more likely to wear a condom during sex.

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Masturbation could play an important role in sexual self-awareness and condom use in teenage boys, according to a new report.

A study showed that 86% of boys who masturbated during the past year said they'd worn a condom last time they had sex, compared to only 44% of boys who didn't masturbate.

While that link doesn't prove that masturbation itself leads to safer sex, the association of any behaviour with increased condom use deserves further investigation, given the rates of unintended pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections in adolescents, the report says.

The new study, supported by Trojan condom maker Church & Dwight Co, is based on a nationally representative survey of 820 adolescents between 14 and 17 years old.

Masturbators have more sex too

Dr Cynthia Robbins at Indiana University in Indianapolis and colleagues found that nearly three-quarters of boys said they masturbated, while less than half of girls did so.

The kids who masturbated reported having more sex than those who didn't, including oral sex and vaginal intercourse.

After taking age and partner status into account, sexually active boys who masturbated were about eight times as likely to have used a condom during their last intercourse as boys who didn't masturbate.

Masturbation education needed

For unknown reasons, there was no such link for girls.

In a paper published online in Archives of Paediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the researchers note that masturbation is a highly stigmatised topic and that many doctors shy away from discussing it.

The findings of this study together with existing publications on masturbation should be used by health care providers to inform, educate and reassure adolescents about masturbation to provide competent and comprehensive sexuality education in the clinical setting, they conclude.

(Reuters Health, August 2011)

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