Walking in on someone masturbating is like smoking weed — it’s bound to happen at least once during your college career.

With a stroke of bad luck, I walked in on my housemate tending to his manhood the other night. Since it was my first time intruding on a masturbator-in-action, I wasn’t sure what to do. Are there rules of etiquette for dealing with the awkward aftermath?

According to past victims of this unpleasant encounter, there is no established code of conduct. However, there are a few cardinal rules to keep in mind if you ever find yourself in this sticky predicament.

Keep eye contact to a bare minimum. Sure, not staring intently into the eyes of a masturbator seems like common sense, but unsuspecting guests are known to be highly susceptible to “deer in the headlights” syndrome.

Don’t linger around. Some people inadvertently use small talk to diffuse awkward silences. In the case of a masturbation mishap, avoid this nervous habit and make your exit immediately.

Have a laugh about it afterward. Humor is often born out of awkward moments, so why not embrace it? Just make sure the laughter is well-timed, like not while a masturbator’s pants are still down. Remember, you want to be laughing with them, not at them.

While listening to my friends reminisce about their masturbation tribulations, I realized there wasn’t a single account of a female masturbator.

According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, about 82 percent of men and 65 percent of women between the ages of 18 to 29 have masturbated within the past year. Why do more guys partake in solo sex?

Some people assume men are hornier than women because of biological differences, but that theory has been put to rest by scientists a long time ago. So if there is an equilibrium of horniness between sexes, then there must be a social stigma attached to the act that deters women from indulging in the joys of masturbation.

To investigate this masturbatory taboo, we should first take a look at our use of language. They say the Eskimos have a ridiculous number of words for snow (which is actually an urban legend), but we have dozens of words and phrases in the English language for male masturbation — jerking off, jacking off, rubbing one out and choking the chicken, to name a few.

Many of us would be able to fill an entire page with synonyms without having to put much thought into it. How many terms can you think of for female masturbation? Not as easy, is it? Perhaps our limited language is indicative of the sexual repression of women. Since hitting the brisk age of puberty, my guy friends have been open about their solo sexcapades, but I seldom hear girls talking about their personal endeavors.

If it’s socially acceptable for guys to dish about it, why does female masturbation still fall into the category of that-which-shall-not-be-discussed?

Though gender equality has certainly progressed over the years, the pressure for women to adhere to traditional gender roles is still pervasive in our society. Even today, some people consider women who are sexually passive and codependent desirable, while women who masturbate are considered sexually deviant, promiscuous or desperate. Several of my female friends said they don’t masturbate because they don’t feel comfortable getting themselves off.

As an advent masturbator since sixth grade, I initially had a hard time understanding their sexual repression. How can something that feels so good also feel so wrong at the same time? But after delving deeper into the core issues regarding social conventions, it’s easier to understand why so many women share similar reservations.

Another friend said she never masturbates because her boyfriend satisfies her sexually. Even if the sex is as mind-blowing as she says it is, I never once heard of a guy quit masturbating because he was in a relationship. Clearly, masturbating while in a committed relationship is not an indication of trouble in paradise. Whether you are single, taken or it’s complicated, it’s important and veritably healthy to be well in-tuned with your body and sexual self.

Being able to recognize, communicate and experience what brings us pleasure helps strengthen the relationship we have with ourselves, as well as with others. Still not convinced masturbation is right for you? Masturbation has a ton of health benefits, including lowering blood pressure, reducing stress and promoting good sleep. Still, though, some American public figures find a way to hate on a good thing. Christine O’Donnell, who unsuccessfully campaigned for Delaware’s Senate seat last year, publicly condemned masturbation and called it a sin.

But if you’re ever in a moral conundrum, I advise that you ask yourself, “What would Christine O’Donnell do?” And immediately do the complete opposite.

But in this case, don’t forget to lock the door.