Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of one's own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm. Children often masturbate beginning at a young age. Visual depictions of their doing this can sometimes be considered child pornography, as in the case of New York v. Ferber.
From the eighteenth into the twentieth centuries, masturbation was defined by doctors as a malady,ca debilitating practice which caused a variety of physical and mental illnesses. A variety of treatments, foods (Graham crackers), and devices were developed to suppress masturbation. Nevertheless, as late as 1996, U. S. Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders was forced to resign after publicly recommending that children be taught about masturbation.
In Western countries, in response to the epidemic of AIDS and to a lesser extent of other sexually transmitted diseases, masturbation has lost most opposition, and is endorsed by health professionals. Masturbation clubs, primarily but not exclusively gay male, meet regularly in some cities. However, in many less-developed countries masturbation is still viewed very negatively (more negatively than prostitution), or is criminalized.