Health Benefits of Masturbation – AskMen

Health Benefits of Masturbation – AskMen

It Turns Out That Engaging in Self-Pleasure Is Seriously Good for You

Masturbation gets a bad rap.

Despite being the source of likely tens of billions of orgasms every year, and primarily occurring in private where it doesn’t bother anyone, it’s still seen as a problem by many.

Some accuse it of being addictive, while others parrot old myths about it having negative effects.

And while it is possible to develop potentially unhealthy habits when it comes to self-pleasure, overall, the picture is quite rosy.

RELATED: The Most Popular Masturbation Techniques for Men

That’s right — these days, doctors and sexologists overwhelmingly agree that masturbation is good for you. And not just in one or two ways, but many.

In order to get a better understanding of the myriad health benefits of masturbation, both physical and mental, AskMen spoke to a number of sex experts. Here’s what they had to say:

What Is Masturbation?

“Masturbation refers to the act of self-stimulating one’s genitals, usually in the pursuit of sexual pleasure,” says sex expert Justin Lehmiller, brand ambassador for ASTROGLIDE.

As Dr. Joshua Gonzalez, brand ambassador for ASTROGLIDE, points out, this self-stimulation often, but not always, leads to the point of orgasm.

RELATED: What an Orgasm Feels Like and How to Intensify It

“This can look different for different people, as we all experience sexual pleasure differently, but for many people, it can involve stimulating the penis, anus, vulva, or vagina, with their hands or sex toys,” says Rhiannon John, certified sexologist for

“Usually, ‘masturbation’ refers to stimulation of the genitals, but it can also include stimulation of other body parts such as the anus or nipples,” says Suzannah Weiss, resident sexologist for Fleshy, an AASECT-certified sex educator. “Some refer more broadly to ‘self-pleasure,’ which can include self-massage and other full-body pleasurable activities beyond genital touch.”

RELATED: How to Pleasurably Play With Your Testicles

Masturbation can also be “a great way to get to know your body and what you like in the bedroom so that you can be more informed during partnered sex,” says Anna Richards, sex educator and founder of the erotic ethical porn site “When you are touching yourself, you can try out different techniques and forms of touch so that you can teach a partner how to please you.”

“People masturbate for lots of reasons such as pleasure, enjoyment, fun, and tension release,” says Michelle Forcier, MD, MPH, Health Clinician at FOLX Health. “Some individuals masturbate alone, while others masturbate with a partner. There is no one right way to masturbate. Masturbation is full of personal preferences! Satisfying, consensual sexual activity is a healthy human activity. Masturbation falls into this category.”

Why Does Masturbation Have a Bad Reputation?

Despite masturbation’s many benefits, a “surprisingly large number of people hold negative attitudes toward” it, says Lehmiller.

RELATED: Sex Myths It’s Time We Stopped Believing

However, there are many different reasons for this, and each person’s viewpoint may be unique.

Religious or Socio-Cultural Beliefs

“In many cases, it is tied to religious beliefs or teachings that hold masturbation to be sinful or immoral,” Lehmiller notes. But “in other cases, it stems from a belief that masturbation is inherently harmful to one’s physical or mental well-being.”

“Negative attitudes toward masturbation can stem from a variety of sources,” Dr. Gonzalez agrees, “including cultural and religious beliefs, social stigma, misinformation and lack of education, gender norms and expectations, psychological factors like shame and guilt, and relationship dynamics.”

Sexual Health Misinformation

Other people believe that masturbation is “‘addictive,’ that it depletes their testosterone, and/or that it impairs fertility,” says Lehmiller. “However, what the research shows is that, in general, masturbation is a healthy activity that is typically associated with better (not worse) health outcomes.”

RELATED: Busting Myths About the Risks of “Chronic” Masturbation and More

Cultural Messaging

“Negative messages about sex are unfortunately all too present in society, originating from sources like schools, religious institutions, media, and interpersonal relationships,” says John. “Unfortunately, masturbation often falls victim to these messages of shame and guilt.”

“Very often, we may get shaming messages about sex,” says Wendi L. Dumbroff, MA, LPC. “These messages are so important, because they can really impact the sexual being that we are.”

Messaging at Home

Even if you aren’t raised in a cultural context that explicitly condemns self-pleasure or sexual feeling, because masturbation can feel like a deeply private and vulnerable act, any kind of negative messaging at all can have lasting impacts on how you perceive it.

RELATED: How to Overcome Sexual Shame

“Imagine an adolescent who has begun to discover their body, and perhaps a parent accidentally intrudes on their privacy,” says Dumbroff. “The parent’s reaction can say volumes — are they respectful and calmly say they are sorry and leave, do they get angry, do they say something that is embarrassing to the child? We can imagine the impact of each of these situations.”

Being shamed by family members for self-pleasure is “very common, and some people don’t even remember it because it can happen at very young ages,” says Weiss.

RELATED: What to Do If You’re Caught Masturbating

An Absence of Positive Reinforcement

“In addition, sometimes other people’s silence around masturbation — that is, someone’s family and school not talking about it — is enough to make someone feel negatively about it, as they get the message that it’s too shameful to even talk about, she adds.

Unhealthy Gender Paradigms

There can also be a gendered component to negative viewpoints around masturbation.

RELATED: How Women Feel About Male Masturbation

“Many men may feel shame over their sexuality more generally because it is painted as predatory in the media and they hear of many men causing harm through sexuality,” Weiss notes.

Richards notes that women, meanwhile, may feel shame around the perception that they’re not ‘supposed’ to masturbate or have sexual urges due to prevailing notions of ‘slut-shaming’ in many societies.

Unpleasant Personal Experiences

As well, Weiss says, “some people have negative attitudes toward masturbation because they have negative experiences with it, including compulsive porn usage, troubling fantasies, and rushed, unsatisfying sessions where they aren’t really in their bodies.”

“This kind of shame tends to lead to the ‘fast, quiet and quick’ rule when it comes to self-pleasure,” says certified somatic sex educator and founder of Back to the Body, Pamela Madsen, “because we don’t want to get caught or shamed when self-pleasuring.”

The Health Benefits of Masturbation

“Studies specifically examining the link between masturbation frequency and sexual health outcomes are limited, but research suggests it may provide several benefits,” says Dr. Gonzalez.

RELATED: Why You Should Get Yourself a Sex Toy

So what are those benefits, exactly? In no particular order…

It Can Be Good for Your Sexual Health

Masturbation may “help boost libido, improving sexual function and desire,” according to John.

“It can also help maintain sexual function and genital health by promoting increased blood flow to the genitals, which can contribute to better erectile function in males and improved vaginal lubrication in females,” says Dr. Gonzalez.

It Can Be Good for Your Sexual Self

“Regular masturbation can help individuals explore their own bodies and understand their sexual desires and preferences,” says Dr. Gonzalez.

RELATED: How Masturbation Is Great for Your Sex Life

Masturbation “allows us to explore our fantasies,” Madsen agrees. “Masturbation also gives us the opportunity for the kinds of sexual exploration that we may not feel ready to do with a partner yet.”

That being said, engaging in mutual masturbation with a partner can be sexually fulfilling and exciting in situations where penetrative sex or oral and manual stimulation aren’t options.

It Can Be Good for Your Overall Health

“Experiencing orgasms and engaging in masturbation have been linked to various health benefits, such as reducing the risk of heart disease, hypertension, and stroke,” says John.

RELATED: What to Know About Men’s Heart Health at Every Age

It Can Be Good for Your Prostate

“For men, in particular, masturbation can be beneficial for prostate health,” says Richards. “One Harvard study found that men who ejaculated 21 or more times per month had 31% lower the risk of prostate cancer than those who ejaculated 4-7 times a month.”

There is some evidence that prostate massages, “in combination with antibiotics, may help in the treatment of chronic prostatitis,” John agrees.

RELATED: Prostate Health & Cancer Prevention Tips

“Prostate massage involves massaging the prostate gland through the rectum to release prostate fluid,” John explains. “The research is limited, but some doctors ​​may recommend prostate massage as part of a comprehensive treatment plan for chronic prostatitis.”

“While prostate massage can be used as a method of treatment, it can also be a pleasurable experience for some people with prostates,” they add. “The prostate gland is often referred to as the male G-spot, and stimulation of the gland can lead to intense sexual pleasure and more intense orgasms. The sensation of prostate massage is often described as a deep, intense pressure or a fullness sensation.”

It Can Help You Fall Asleep

“Another benefit many report is that it helps them to fall asleep,” says Lehmiller.

“The release of endorphins during orgasm can induce feelings of relaxation and drowsiness, making it easier for some individuals to fall asleep,” Dr. Gonzalez notes.

RELATED: Understanding the Hidden Connection Between Sleep and Sex

“In particular, the hormone prolactin, which is released after orgasm, is conducive to sleep,” says Richards. “The hormones oxytocin and vasopressin may also play a role in increasing melatonin levels and, therefore, facilitating sleep.”

So if you’ve ever felt sleepy after sex or masturbation, that’s a big reason why. But there’s more to falling asleep after a late-night jerk-off session than just basic brain chemistry.

“Sleep is so essential for our overall health, so having a natural remedy for promoting it is a very handy benefit of self-pleasure,” Lehmiller adds.

It Can Offer Pain Relief

“In terms of physical health, orgasms release your body’s natural opioids, which help to relieve pain,” says Richards. “Some people with chronic pain conditions find that masturbation provides pain relief immediately following masturbation, and sometimes throughout the day.”

Orgasms from masturbation also decrease muscle tension, Weiss says, “so some people with chronic headaches or chronic pain experience temporary relief of symptoms after masturbating.”

As well, she adds, “for some, masturbating regularly actually helps to keep pain at bay in the long term. Since masturbation relaxes the pelvic muscles in particular, some people find that it is helpful for menstrual pain or other forms of pelvic pain.”

It Can Boost Your Immune System

“There’s also been some research suggesting that masturbation might boost the immune system,” says Richards. “In one study, men who had just masturbated had higher levels of natural killer cells, which can fight cancer and viruses.”

“Research has found that after people masturbate, the number of leukocytes (white blood cells) and natural killer cells increases in their bodies,” Weiss agrees. “These cells help to fight off infections.”

So, she notes, “while masturbation isn’t a cure for any illness, it may decrease your chances of getting sick, the severity of an illness, or the amount of time it takes to recover.

It Can Relieve Stress

“One of the biggest reported benefits of masturbation is stress relief,” says Lehmiller. “Many people find it to be a helpful way of relaxing and relieving tension.”

That’s because there’s evidence to show that sexual pleasure “releases endorphins that can relieve stress and improve mood,” says Weiss. “Some people like to masturbate as a break from the workday when they’re feeling burnt out so that they can feel refreshed and get back to work.”

“For some, it can even be a meditative experience, allowing their mind to rest,” she adds.

It Can Feel Incredibly Pleasurable

Life can be hard! In a world that often seems like it’s designed to beat people down, taking time to explore your own pleasure can be a meaningful act.

“Masturbation just feels good!,” says Madsen. “Pleasure is healing.”

You Might Also Dig:

Source link

Leave A Reply