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Masturbation is perfectly healthy and normal, and lots of people do it. Thinking of trying it yourself? Help is, ahem, at hand...

It's a perfectly natural way of exploring your body

What is it?

Bringing yourself off, frigging, tossing off, playing with yourself, w***ing - masturbation is sexual pleasure that you give yourself.

Everybody does it differently, but it usually involves touching our sexual parts while thinking sexy thoughts or fantasising.

Is it wrong to masturbate?

Not at all. It's a perfectly natural way of exploring your body and discovering what feels good for you, which is a very personal thing. Most boys masturbate most days, and the peak age for male masturbation is 17. It may happen less often after that. Fewer girls masturbate every day.

Not everyone masturbates, so there is no need to do it if you'd rather not.

Is it bad for my health?

No. Masturbation won't make you go blind or insane, give you spots, stunt your growth, or turn you into a slag either!

In fact, it can be good for you as it helps relieve stress and causes your body to release endorphins (pleasure hormones) which make you more relaxed. It can help you sleep, and it may even help your genitals keep in top working order. It also allows you to explore what you enjoy, meaning you might feel more clued up with future partners.

Masturbation is also the ultimate in safe sex.

Is it OK to put an object inside my vagina?

You can do what you like, as long as it doesn't hurt you and you're sure you can keep a hold of it so it doesn't get lost inside you. However, some objects will be covered with everyday bacteria, which could cause an infection in your vagina. Don't put anything in your vagina that you wouldn't also put in your mouth.

If in doubt - cover whatever you use with a condom first. Sex toys are specifically designed for this purpose so that may well be the best option.

BBC Advice factfiles are here to help young people with a broad range of issues. They're based on advice from medical professionals, government bodies, charities and other relevant groups. Follow the links for more advice from these organisations.