Masturbation is a normal and healthy sexual activity at all ages and may serve as an appropriate substitute for partnered sexual behavior during adolescence. Adolescent boys usually learn about masturbation from their peers and demonstrate an increase in masturbation activity at age 13 to 15 years. Although some begin masturbation at preschool ages, girls tend to learn to masturbate at a later age, usually through self-discovery. Both boys and girls learn early in life that a social stigma is associated with masturbation and that it is not a topic for public discussion. Family physicians can reassure adolescents regarding the normal nature of masturbation behavior.

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