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Teen Masturbation Linked With Safe Sex

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TEEN MASTURBATION
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More teen boys masturbate than teen girls, and engaging in the practice seems to be tied with their safe sex practices, according to a new study.

Almost 75 percent of teen boys reported ever masturbating in their life, while less than half of teen girls in the study said they did, researchers found.

And 86 percent of boys who said they masturbated over the past year also said they used a condom the last time they had sex, while only 44 percent of boys who said they didn't masturbate over the last year said they used a condom during sex, according to the study, published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine.

Even though masturbation doesn't automatically mean that a teen will definitely practice safe sex, it at least shows that there's a link between the two behaviors, Reuters reported. The study examined 820 teens ages 14 to 17.

In addition, teens who said they masturbated were more likely to engage in sexual activity than teens who said they don't masturbate, Reuters reported.

Researchers also found that as teens got older, they were more likely to report having masturbated, U.S. News & World Report reported.

Alan Hilfer, psychology director at the Maimonides Medical Center in New York who was not involved with the study, told U.S. News & World Report, that teens should not feel afraid to or concerned about participating in masturbation.

"It goes without saying that we should help teens, boys and girls, be comfortable with this," Hilfer told U.S. News & World Report. "And we should understand while doing this that there is certainly a gender difference, in that girls, for better or worse, are still far more reserved than boys on both the subject and the act."

According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, masturbation among children and teens is a normal part of growing up and learning about the body.

However, there are certain times when it should be of concern to parents and may be unhealthy, according to the AAP. Some examples include if the child or teen masturbates excessively at home and in public; if the public masturbation continues on even if the child has been talked to about it; if there is also aggression, sadness, social isolation, bed-wetting, withdrawal or destructiveness that accompanies the masturbation behavior; and if there is sexual talk that is inappropriate or sexual activity that is also occurring.

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