Masturbation is the act of purposely stimulating one's own sexual organs to induce excitement and orgasm. Once thought to be a severe pathology of mental illness, studies by Kinsey and others starting in the 1950s showed that it was a normal behavior for both men and women with well over 90% of men engaging in it at some point of their lives at that time. The percentage of women who engage in masturbation has been steadily increasing since the 1950s and now the overwhelming majority of both sexes have engaged in it and a substantial percentage of people engage in such behavior on a regular basis, even if they are sexually active with partners. Most people start masturbating at the onset of puberty, but masturbation can occur at any age. It is now well understood to be a normal part of healty sexual behavior.
However, despite modern knowledge about the practice, if often persits as a taboo, particularly among younger persons. Individuals are relucant to talk about it even with intimate partners and medical professionals. The occurrence of gratification disorder (a misonmer for precocious masturbation) is poorly understood by parents. As such, medical professionals often have to be trained to be tactful with patients when discussing it.
Masturbation has been mentioned several times on House, M.D.
In The Choice, the doctors give the patient a choice of straight or gay porn to masturbate to while they test his ability to get and maintain an erection. To avoid revealing his sexual preferences, he takes an injection instead.
In Small Sacrifices, while House and Cuddy are fighting, House tells her that because she's not having sex with him, he's been "choking chickens", a euphemism for masturbation.