Masturbation, which has already been discussed in dealing with the sexual phenomena of childhood, means, in the strict sense, the use of the hand to procure sexual excitement on the subject himself. In a wider sense, it is applied to all forms of self-excitation adopted for this end, and it is even possible to speak illogically of “psychic masturbation” in which the excitation is brought about by though unaided by any physical act.
The term “onanism” is sometimes applied in the same sense, but without justification, since the device of Onan was not in any sense an act of masturbation, but simply coilus interruplus. Hirschfeld has devised the term “ipsation,” distinguishing it from “auto-erotism,” as being gratification on the individual’s own body as a physical object, and not as a psychic object.
Masturbation, in the wider sense, is widespread phenomenon among animals and man in all parts of the world. It is so widespread that we cannot, strictly, speak of it as “abnormal.” It is a phenomenon which lies on the borderland between the normal and the abnormal, and is liable to occur whenever any restraint is placed on the natural exercise of the sexual function.
Among animals in the domesticated and isolated state and sometimes also in the wild state, through this is less easy to observe—various forms of spontaneous solitary excitement occur, both in males and females, sometimes by flapping the penis against the abdominal walls, and frequently (especially in females) by rubbing the sexual parts against external objects.
This Article is taken from Psychology of Sex
Written by Arshad. A