Reducing the risks from masturbation

There is no risk of catching a sexually transmitted infection if you masturbate alone. If you masturbate your partner, there is a risk that any viruses or bacteria on your hands could be passed to your partner. Similarly, any viruses or bacteria on their genitals or in their semen might be passed on to you. Mutual masturbation carries no risk for HIV (unless there is broken skin, where it can be low risk).

The longer masturbation goes on, the greater the risk that the skin on or around the genitals will become damaged. This makes it easier for infections to enter the bloodstream.

Some ways to reduce the risks from masturbation include:

  • Avoid masturbation if there are open sores or cuts on the skin
  • Use plenty of condom-friendly lubrication
  • Wash your hands carefully with soap before touching your genitals, mouth or eyes if you've been masturbating your partner, or touching your partner's genitals, mouth or eyes if you've been masturbating yourself
  • Use safer sex alternatives to mutual masturbation, such as cyber sex, sex toys and phone sex

Condoms & lube

Find out how to stay healthy and still enjoy your sex life: