Masturbation is common among both men and women and married and unmarried people.
Studies show that at least 97% of men and 80% of women masturbate.
Furthermore, Dennis Coon, author of Psychology: Modules for Active Learning claims that at least 70% of married couples masturbate occasionally.
But despite its high prevalence, masturbation is still a taboo resulting in feelings of guilt for many.
Men, in particular, are worried about their masturbatory habits and may feel as if they may be over masturbating.
While there is no agreement on what constitutes a healthy frequency of masturbation, masturbation still can reach unhealthy levels.
Keep reading to learn more.
What is Masturbation?
Masturbation is the act of sexual self-stimulation. It can be done alone or with a partner.
Most medical and psychology experts agree that masturbation is generally a healthy and normal habit.
Through masturbation, you get to learn a lot about your own sexual response and have a healthy outlet for sexual tension.
Masturbation becomes pathological only when it impairs your functioning, inhibits interpersonal relationship, is done in public or causes injury. However, only a small portion of people develop problems due to their masturbation habits.
Compulsive masturbation is a recognized addictive behavior that can impair a person’s ability to function in life.
If you are sure that your masturbation habits are not causing you to miss work or avoid being intimate with your partner, then you don’t have the reason to worry.
What Study Says?
Men may worry that the numbers of time they ejaculate a day or a week will somehow impact their sexual and overall health.
A study published in BJU International found that men who had on average five or more ejaculations a week in their 20s had a decreased risk of prostate cancer than those who ejaculated less often.
On the other hand, frequent masturbation was recognized as a risk factor for developing an inflamed prostate due to blood congestion in the organ caused by too much stimulation.
However, the researchers from this study did not state what exactly constitutes frequent masturbation.
Some men also worry that masturbation may disrupt hormonal balance by decreasing testosterone levels. Although there seems to be some truth to this, studies are yet to confirm if this is truly the case.
Masturbation and Psychology
As we can see, studies on masturbation are divided on the actual health outcomes of this common practice.
Psychologists, on the other hand, universally agree that masturbation is normal and psychologically healthy for both men and women.
Even children and infants masturbate and this is now recognized as normal developmental behavior.
However, the taboo surrounding masturbation seems to produce a great deal of anxiety in those who masturbate, this is especially true for men.
Most people develop fetishes and sexual fantasies during their teenage years which is when they start masturbating regularly.
Some men may believe that their sexual fantasies are in some way deviant so they have a sense of revulsion after ejaculation as explained by Allan N. Schwartz, a clinical social worker, and therapist.
Schwartz believes pornography may play a role in this as it creates the breeding ground for particularly violent sexual fantasies.
So, how much Masturbation is Normal?
However, how much a person should masturbate weekly for it to be considered healthy is still unknown.
The major determining factor between healthy and unhealthy levels of masturbation are determined by its consequences.
In other words, are your masturbatory habits disrupting your health?
Do you get injured from masturbating too much?
Do you find it hard to function because masturbation is taking too much of your time?
Asking yourself these questions will help you determine if your habits are healthy or unhealthy.
Otherwise, it’s safe to say that most people can masturbate as much as they like without having to worry about their mental or physical health.
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Is Masturbation Good For Health?
There are several myths that revolve about the act of self-stimulation until you get a climax.
On a religious perspective, masturbation is termed as disobeying the nature’s role of either gender in life.
It’s been condemned by most faiths. Whereas masturbation can give some quick relief for sexual cravings, the frequency and the method used can significantly affect your sexual experiences.
According to Webmd, 95% of adults have masturbated at one time whereas others still do it.
It’s only that we have been flooded with myths and misconceptions about masturbation.
Not unless you are not comfortable with it, masturbation can be physically, psychologically, and sexually healthy.
It’s been several years ago since American Medical Association gave masturbation a nod as a normal and healthy sexual activity.
- Blindness: There were allegations that people who masturbate are at increased risk of suffering from poor eyesight or blindness. This misconception was argued from the correlation between puberty and the age at which most people notice they need to use glasses.
- Acne: Skin rashes which normally occur with hormonal changes have nothing to do with masturbation. Every sexual activity improves blood flow in every part of your body including the skin.
- Genitals Size: It was alleged that masturbation can lead to an increase or a decrease in the size of penis or testicles. Even a doctor is not in a position to tell if you have masturbated or not by just looking at the size of your genitals. Many factors come in to play to determine the size of your penis.
- Palm Hair Growth: There has been no scientific correlation between masturbation and semen with the growth of the hair in any part of the body, leave alone your palms.
- Male Infertility: Although frequent masturbation can lower your sperm count, a couple of days without practicing it will get your testes back into the threshold. Masturbation has nothing to do with the testes where the sperms are manufactured.
In reference to Dr. Vijaysarathi Ramanathan (Sexual Health Physician and Medical Sex Therapist), masturbation is one of the safest and uncomplicated methods of getting sexual satisfaction.
It is costless indeed.
You won’t face the frustrations of getting denied the chance or undergo the cost of flowers or candies to win a partner.
Dr. Vijaysarathi adds that it helps you understand your sexuality in the better way, become a better lover and can be an effective cure for premature ejaculation.
Other than self-stimulation, many couples enjoy mutual masturbation for heightened sexual pleasures.
The only problem with masturbation is if it becomes a compulsive behavior and impacts negatively on your work, studies, or relationships.
It’s at this time you should stop the habit.
Masturbation Side Effects
Although masturbation can be beneficial in a way, it also has some disadvantages.
They include; Addiction, Low Libido and Prostrate Cancer Risk.
- Addiction: Masturbation is a habit-forming character that can become a bother. You might have to be doing it at least once or twice every day. Due to “costless” sexual relief it brings, your sexual desire increases than in normal circumstances.
- Low Libido: After masturbation, you will normally go about with your daily businesses without thinking about sex. Most men enjoy masturbating with aided porn which hampers intimacy with others, especially women.
- Prostrate Cancer Risk: In reference to the Healthline article, 79% of young males who masturbate are at a higher risk of getting prostate cancer. On the other hand men over 50 years who masturbate lower their chances of the same condition.
Masturbation is not bad as long as you do it in a healthy way. Frequent and vigorous masturbation can cause injury or desensitization to your penis. You may no longer enjoy sex with a partner.
Whereas it’s done the right way, you won’t undergo the risks of infections with STDs. Neither will you cheat on your partner in the time of need.
Too much of it, however, is harmful to your health. Count of the calories and body nutrients you lose per every ejaculation.
You can’t replenish them in a single meal. If masturbation bothers you from a religious perspective, just keep off if your faith counts in every situation.
Masturbation is a great way to learn about your sexuality. The fantasies and physical response during masturbation help teenagers learn about sex.
Later on in life, masturbation is a normal part of physical and mental health.
Even married people masturbate despite the commonly held misconception that marriage removes the need for masturbation.
And although most people masturbate within the range of what is considered normal, some people may develop unhealthy masturbatory habits.
In such cases, masturbation can become compulsive and the need to masturbate often can interfere with a person’s functioning.
Excessive masturbation can also cause physical injury and make a person feel ill.
If you are worried about your masturbation habits, talk to a doctor and therapist and see if they can help you in any way.