CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Aside from birth and death, the most important time in our life is puberty.Puberty brings about many changes, from deepening voices and height changes to hair growing in unwelcome places and pimples popping up when we don't want them to. Puberty also begins the production of sexual hormones by our gonads (testes in boys and ovaries in girls).With the onset of newfound sexual feelings, we often feel a need for release, as we should. Humans simply have a desire for sex. Some experts argue that this is because sex is strictly for procreation, but the majority say our libido just needs to be satisfied.The libido, better known as "sex drive," produces feelings of sexual tension based on physical, social and psychological factors. But it's testosterone and estrogen, the primary sexual hormones for boys and girls respectively, that are the main cause of sexual tension.Most of you have seen on TV or in films where characters will say they made a mistake in choosing to have sex. You wonder, couldn't they simply choose not to have sex?This is where sexual tension comes in. You see, if we allow sexual tension to build and change into sexual frustration, our biological urges will eventually override our common sense and a primal desire for sex will kick in, making it easier for us to lose our inhibitions.This is how a lot of teenagers make mistakes when it comes to sex, but it doesn't have to be that way. If you have a strong sexual desire but don't wish to engage in sex or have no sexual partner, there is a way to relieve that tension: masturbation.Masturbation is often an undiscussed subject or the butt of jokes, but according to Planned Parenthood, 7 out of 10 adult males and 5 out of 10 adult females masturbate -- and those are just the ones who openly admit to doing it.Masturbation is by far the safest way to relieve sexual tension. You don't have to worry about catching a disease or getting pregnant. Masturbation also has other benefits, as it increases self-esteem, improves sleep, reduces stress and helps with depression. Not only that, but masturbation is essential for having healthy sexual relationships as an adult.No one knows what makes you feel good but you. Through masturbation, you can explore your body and find the spots that increase your sexual pleasure. Knowing what you want out of sex is commonly thought of as being overly sexual, but the truth is that knowing what makes you tick promotes a healthier and more satisfying sexual relationship. And if you don't have that, you're not going to have much of a healthy and satisfying romantic relationship.There is absolutely nothing wrong with masturbation. You're not a pervert for doing it, your genitals aren't going to shrink or become deformed, you're not going to get hairy palms, you won't go blind, and you most certainly will not cause yourself harm.If you feel like you need sexual release, masturbation is the best outlet because it poses no risk. It has all the benefits of being sexually abstinent plus the benefits of sexual relief.Masturbation is a very healthy, normal part of being an adult and not something you should feel guilty for doing. Its main goal is to produce positive feelings, so if doing it or thinking about it makes you feel uncomfortable, then it's OK not to do it, too. Not masturbating is just as normal as masturbating.When it comes to sex, there's a reason adults try to discourage us from having it as teenagers. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry. If you need release, why take such a bold and dangerous risk of becoming sexually active as a teenager, especially if you can safely take care of the problem yourself?