Before the 18th century (when masturbation was projected as a heinous sin), not much attention was given to the self-loving act of masturbation.
Then things changed and onanism became a term. Since then, solitary sex has had medical and ethical concerns doing rounds in a society pretending to refrain from washing dirty laundry in public.
You must realize that the whole “You will get blind,” “You will become sterile,” “Your growth will be stunted,” “You will grow hair on your palms,” or “It’s only meant for men or singles” is all a sham preventing you from enjoying optimal sexual health.
In an attempt to remove some of the guilt, shame, ignorance, and “I would never” associated with pleasuring oneself, here’s how being master of your own domain can hand you amazing health benefits (no pun intended). (You’re, also, most welcome.)
1. Reduces Stress
Dopamine, a neurotransmitter (a nervous system messenger), is released during masturbation. Being responsible for the brain’s reward and pleasure pathways, increased levels of dopamine trigger the stress response by activating adrenalin. You, thus, feel relief from anxiety and stress.1
2. Relieves Pain
With orgasms, endorphins are released.2 Endorphins are morphine-like compounds that serve as your body’s natural painkillers and also give you a sense of pleasure.3 This means your best kept secret (read: masturbation) can help you forget about your migraine or menstrual cramps.4
3. Improves Sexual Performance
Pelvic floor muscles stretch like a hammock from your tail bone at the back to your pelvic bone in the front. Stronger pelvic floor muscles give you better control during sex. However, with age, these muscles weaken, causing sexual dysfunction in women and erectile dysfunction in men.
Polishing the pearls (read: clitoris stimulation) or beating the bishop (read: penis stimulation) can contract and strengthen these muscles and, hence, improve your performance in the sack.5 6 Your partner will appreciate your diligent preparation.
4. Induces Restful Sleep
For up to an hour after an orgasm (including masturbation-induced orgasms) prolactin is increased in both men and women.7 8 Prolactin reduces your sexual drive, causes you to feel exhausted, and helps you catch some very welcome kip.9
You just found a reason for staying an extra hour in bed, didn’t you?
5. Fires Up Your Libido
Nitric oxide (NO) is produced in the linings of your blood vessels. It dilates your blood vessels to increase blood flow and is very important for libido.10 (NO is the neurotransmitter of erection.) When you’re healthy, your body produces more NO. As you age and your health deteriorates, NO levels fall. Masturbation helps maintain high levels of NO in your blood stream, keeping your carnal fire alive.
6. Improves Sperm Quality
Within 3 days of having sex, men are likely to masturbate and are even more likely to do so within 2 days before the next time they have sex.
Weird random studies? Not really. A study suggests that this is how men ensure that only their most fit sperm inseminate their partners.11 Masturbation removes the older, suboptimal, unfit sperm. Think of it like as a competitive strategy for the most desirable women. So contrary to the myth, masturbation improves sperm quality.
7. Increases WBCs In Men
According to a study, masturbation-induced orgasms increase the number of natural killer cells (type of WBCs) in men.12 This translates to a stronger immune system and better resistance to disease, including pesky colds.
8. Reduces Risks Of Prostate Cancer
According to a Harvard study, men who ejaculated more than 21 times in a month were 33% less likely to develop prostate cancer than men who ejaculated 4–7 times a month.13
Other studies have also supported the conclusion that increased ejaculation reduces risks of prostate cancer.14 15 Though the mechanisms of this correlation are unclear, researchers hypothesize that with frequent ejaculation, potential carcinogenic secretions in the prostate are secreted more regularly.16 Though these studies talk about ejaculation that includes sexual intercourse and not just masturbation, it’s good to know that you can take your health into your own hands.
Is Over-Masturbation A Thing? Can You Get Addicted?
Yes, and yes! In search of those easy-to-access endorphins, you may find your hand slipping into your pants more often than you intend. This may interfere with you reaching climax when having sex with a partner. Seek counseling if you recognize the following warning signs:
- Getting distressed as a result of it
- Using it as a means to escape an ugly reality
- Masturbating to the point of unpleasantness and injuring yourself
- Becoming anti-social
- Constantly feeling lustful beyond control
As long as it doesn’t take over you’re life, you’re good to go.
But word of advice…
It’s important to try a host of techniques or you may become unresponsive to unfamiliar techniques your partner may use during intercourse. Before your sexual health gets out of hand, get past the taboo and take matters into your own hands.