Indiana Daily Student

Prone masturbation a threat? Probably not

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Somewhere I read that prone masturbation (facing downward and rubbing the penis with bedding, etc.) results in sexual health related issues like erectile dysfunction. How true is it? Are there any real threats of prone masturbation?

Probably not. Some males and females of all ages — from childhood through adulthood — engage in prone masturbation, lying down on a bed or floor and rubbing their genitals, whether to orgasm or not.

Some sex therapists and educators have noticed that men with delayed ejaculation often describe having engaged in prone masturbation or other less common forms of masturbation, often since childhood. (Delayed ejaculation, DE, refers to taking a very long time to ejaculate, such as 45 to 60 minutes, even when one wants to come sooner.) In my professional experience, this has been something I’ve noticed, too — that many men who wish they could ejaculate sooner seem to more often say that they’ve long masturbated in a prone position or with a very particular and often unusual hand position.

So what does that mean? Does that mean that prone masturbation or the hand position “caused” them to develop DE? It could be, though we need far more research to see if that’s true or not. Another possibility is that, even at early ages, some people just need greater pressure or stimulation on their genitals than other people in order to feel excitable or orgasmic and that this need for more pressure is what both drives them to use a prone masturbation position AND also what explains the fact that it takes longer for them to come.

For example, one college-aged guy who came to me for help said that he had always needed more pressure for masturbation; regular hand masturbation did little for him. But he didn’t use prone masturbation either; rather, he had discovered his mom’s very intense Hitachi magic wand vibrator when he was a teenager (the Hitachi is one of the most intense vibrators around) and found he could ejaculate when he used that on his penis. Since his genitals had always been relatively insensitive (not responding to hand stimulation) he had no reason to believe he “caused” his DE by using a vibrator; rather, using a vibrator was just what he needed.

But let’s say you want to learn to ejaculate in other ways. Some men find that varying their masturbation technique can, over time, help them learn to respond to other forms of stimulation. It can take weeks or months but here’s what some men do: they limit their masturbation so that, if they currently masturbate every day, they reduce their masturbation frequency to two to three times a week or less often. That way they build sexual tension. Then, when they do masturbate, they try masturbating some other way such as using their hands or a vibrator, using lubricant sometimes and not other, rubbing against a soft blanket rather than a mattress, and so on. You get the point. Over time, many men find that this variation helps them.

Other men find it helpful to meet with a sex therapist and work out a treatment plan which can also involve talk therapy. This can be especially helpful if you feel any guilt, anxiety, shame or embarrassment related to masturbation or other sexual or relationship issues. You can find a sex therapist through

And if you simply enjoy prone masturbation and don’t have any sexual concerns or problems related to it, simply enjoy it! Many men and women do.

Debby Herbenick, Ph.D. is an associate professor at Indiana University’s School of Public Health and a Research Fellow and sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute. She’s the author of six books about sex; her newest is “The Coregasm Workout.” Follow Kinsey Confidential on Twitter @KinseyCon & visit us online at

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