Is Masturbation Healthy?

Medically Reviewed on 12/20/2022
Masturbation is the self-stimulation of the genitals to achieve sexual pleasure or arousal to the point of orgasm. Masturbation generally is considered normal unless it becomes a problem by inhibiting sexual activity with a partner, done in public, or causes distress to the person masturbating.
Although no general health risks are associated with masturbation, it can have a strong negative or positive effect on many people.

Masturbation is a healthy and natural part of a person's sexuality. Studies have reported that masturbation is beneficial. Masturbation is the act of touching, stroking, or rubbing one's genitals for sexual pleasure. It is a method of expressing and exploring sexual desires, and it's a safe and healthy way to discover your comfort zones and what feels good.

Masturbation can't cause disease or infection unless you're doing it with something unsanitary, such as a toy or an object that can't be sanitized, or with unwashed hands. However, this “pleasure” can become addictive, with the person becoming compulsively reliant on masturbation for general well-being, which in turn, may affect daily life.

Masturbation is a natural response of both men and women to their bodies' desire to feel pleasure. According to doctors, it not only is a safe way to have sexual pleasure but also has many health benefits.

Masturbation is a fundamental sexual urge in all humans and should be pursued without hesitation. It promotes:

Studies report that masturbation can give people a healthy way to discover more about their bodies and different ways to experience sexual pleasure. Although healthy, masturbation should only be done in complete privacy.

Masturbation can sometimes deem unhealthy when it takes precedence over other everyday activities such as school, job, or spending time with friends and family. It is essential to achieve balance if you believe that sex or masturbation is interfering with your everyday life. If you require assistance, speak with someone you trust, such as a friend, or family member, or a healthcare professional such as a sexologist.

Although many people choose to masturbate, it's acceptable for some people to choose not to. Masturbation is good and healthy; however, you are entirely free to decide whether to masturbate. Both masturbating and not masturbating are acceptable.

Is masturbation good for you?

Studies have reported that masturbation can be good for human beings and can have several health benefits if practiced in moderation. 

  • For women, masturbation can help prevent cervical and urinary tract infections by prompting a process called tenting or the opening of the cervix as part of the arousal process.
  • In men, masturbation reduces the risk of prostate cancer, most likely by allowing the prostate to flush out potential cancer-causing agents.

Masturbation, in general, can lower the risk of type II diabetes, reduce insomnia through hormonal and tension release, and increase pelvic floor strength through orgasmic contractions. Moreover, masturbation improves immune function by increasing cortisol levels, which in small doses can regulate immune function, and alleviates depression by increasing endorphin levels in the bloodstream.

Masturbation provides the most convenient method for maximizing orgasms, and there are numerous additional benefits from orgasms in general, such as:

Masturbation is good from a medical standpoint, and it is completely normal for both men and women to engage in it. Masturbation can help you discover your body and what you like. 

You will be able to communicate with your partner if you are familiar with your body and what excites you. Communication between partners about what excites them may result in a healthy sexual relationship, which is important for general well-being.


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12 health benefits of masturbation

Masturbation provides more than just on-demand orgasms. Most gynecologists suggest that it has health benefits that both you and your body will appreciate in the long run.

Six potential health benefits of female masturbation

  1. Helps ease menstrual cramps
    • There is some evidence that occasional masturbation might help relieve period cramps. Endorphins, which are produced during arousal, are "feel-good" hormones with stress-busting properties. These "feel-good" neurotransmitters can provide much-needed pain relief during menstrual periods. 
    • Furthermore, some experts believe that uterine contractions help menstrual fluids and tissues leave the body faster, aiding in cramp relief. Self-stimulation with an effective orgasm might help your periods feel less severe.
  2. May help deal with your daily stress
    • High levels of stress hormones such as cortisol increase the risk of health problems such as anxiety, depression, weight gain, heart disease, and sleep disorders.
    • Masturbation is pleasurable. Whether doing it alone or with a partner, you're probably not thinking about your everyday concerns. You're preoccupied with your body and how good it feels. Every sense is heightened, allowing you to practice mindfulness and be present in the moment.
    • During orgasms, your body produces oxytocin which lowers the level of the stress hormone cortisol, which is beneficial for women's overall health.
  3. Improves skin
    • Studies are being conducted to observe how sexual arousal affects hormone levels in women. It was observed that orgasms increase the body's estrogen levels. Low estrogen levels due to stress have been linked to thinner skin, lower collagen and elasticity, and increased wrinkling and dryness.
    • Additionally, masturbation can produce a glow after an orgasm. Masturbation may assist in reducing the body's stress reactions. This reduces the production of oil, sweat, and acne while also improving the appearance of your skin.
  4. An exercise for your muscles
    • Vaginal and pelvic core muscles are critical to women's health. These muscles support the health of the vagina and bladder. During an orgasm, these muscles contract, assisting women in maintaining a healthy bladder and lubricated vagina.
    • The pelvic floor muscles in women may weaken with age. Masturbation is a great technique to keep them healthy and supported because when women have an orgasm, these muscles tighten just like during Kegel exercises.
  5. Increases libido
    • Regular masturbation may increase your libido. The more you excite your body, the more in tune it will be with your sexual desires. Masturbation is the proper approach to exploring and becoming acquainted with your body. Once you've figured out what works for you, this will also help you enjoy intimacy with your partner. 
    • Women do not experience orgasms with penetration. This might lead to dissatisfaction or increased sexual tension. Masturbation is a great method for increasing your sexual desire and achieving climax during sexual intercourse with your partner.
  6. May prevent infections
    • Female masturbation is essential for preventing cervical infections and relieving urinary tract infections. Recent research suggests that masturbating might help reduce pain caused by urinary tract infections. Masturbation lubricates the vagina and cleanses the cervix from pathogenic microorganisms. 

Four potential health benefits of male masturbation

  1. Lowers the risk of prostate cancer
    • According to recent research, masturbation reduces the incidence of prostate cancer. Doctors believe that people who masturbate regularly have a low risk of triggering prostate cancer in the later part of age.
    • Disease-causing toxins build up in the urogenital tract, and when you masturbate regularly, these carcinogenic triggers may be flushed out from the system.
  2. Improves sperm motility
    • Masturbation has been shown in several trials to increase sperm quality and motility. Masturbation before intercourse, in theory, releases leftover sperm. This allows for the production of fresh and better sperm throughout the sexual act, increasing the odds of pregnancy.
  3. Manages premature ejaculation
    • Sex therapists worldwide have observed that men who experience premature ejaculation during sexual intercourse might benefit from masturbating approximately two hours before sex. This allows them to have more prolonged intercourse before another ejaculation occurs.
  4. Fights depression
    • Depression in men is considered taboo just like masturbation in women. There aren't many people who are outspoken about it, owing to a lack of knowledge about it.
    • Masturbation boosts the production of endorphins, particularly serotonin and dopamine, which help improve one's mood; therefore, if you have depression and need a healthy way to let out your stressors, masturbation is an ideal method to do it.

Two general health benefits of masturbation

  1. Promotes better sleep
    1. Masturbation is a physically demanding and energy-intensive activity. You require a lot of energy, which makes you much more exhausted than you think. Following masturbation or even intercourse, the body goes through various physiological changes. When you finally hit your peak, letting go of all the energy and stress leaves you exhausted and worked up. This tiredness is perfect for making you get better sleep.
  2. Assures your sexuality
    1. One of the key advantages of masturbation is that it aids in determining and confirming one's sexuality. The same is encouraged because of the chain of ideas that one has when contemplating masturbation.
    2. Masturbation, according to experts, can help increase one's self-confidence and self-esteem in terms of sexual preferences. This allows men and women to pursue more of their interests rather than settling for something they are only alright with.

Masturbation is the sexual stimulation of one's genitals, generally to the point of orgasm. Hands, fingers, and specialized sex toys can be used to stimulate during masturbation. Masturbation provides a direct experience of what an orgasm should feel like, knowing which should offer you an idea of what to expect during intercourse with your partner.

What are side effects of masturbation?

Masturbation should never become an addiction. A pleasurable practice that increases sex drive should not become an unmanageable affair. Excessive masturbation has both physical and mental side effects.

Side effects of masturbation

  • Compulsive behavior
    • There is no scientific diagnosis of masturbation addiction, yet some believe it should be classified as sex addiction. The American Psychological Association does not classify masturbation as addictive.
    • However, masturbation addiction can develop because of untreated sadness or anxiety. It might also be in response to unmanageable life events. 
    • Masturbation can be an issue if it interferes with daily living. Frequent need for orgasm can be addictive due to the production of endorphins, dopamine, and serotonin in the brain.
  • Delayed ejaculation
    • The American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders characterizes delayed or retarded ejaculation as the persistent or recurrent delay in, or absence of, orgasm after a normal sexual excitement phase during sexual activity.
    • One possible reason for delayed ejaculation is penile sensitivity caused by excessive or vigorous masturbation.

Anything in excess can be harmful and excessive masturbation may result in the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Early ejaculation
  • Difficulty having sex with your spouse
  • Injury

You may be masturbating excessively if it affects your relationships or other aspects of your life, interferes with your profession or studies, or both. Furthermore, the fact that you don't spend as much time as you used to with your loved ones or that you don't take care of their needs may undermine your romantic and friendship relationships.

Speak with a doctor or therapist about ways to reduce your masturbating sessions.

How much masturbation is too much?

Masturbation is acceptable if it is merely a routine part of your life. However, if masturbation starts to negatively affect your life, you must stop doing it just like any other bad habit.

How frequently you masturbate is entirely up to you. According to numerous studies, a healthy person can masturbate up to three times per day and repeat the cycle for the following four to five days of the week. Some people might view this as high-frequency masturbation.

When it comes to masturbation, everyone is different. Some people may do it one or two times a day, whereas others may do it once every few weeks or months.

Is masturbation considered a sin?

A study by Indiana University reported that 85 percent of women and 94 percent of men in the United States admit to having a habit of masturbation. However, the stigma associated with it still exists. Numerous myths have been developed due to the associated taboos. 

Masturbation is considered a sin by some religions. However, all qualified medical, psychiatric, psychological, and sex experts concur that masturbation is completely normal and healthy and that almost everyone engages in it. When done moderately, it has no negative effects. Worrying and feeling guilty about masturbating leads to needless suffering and has no positive effects.

Although no general health risks are associated with masturbation, it can have a strong negative or positive effect on many people. It is widely used in sex therapy to improve an individual's and/or a relationship's sexual health. Promoting masturbation as a public health strategy for sexual health remains controversial.

More research is required on the effects of masturbation on self-esteem, body image, sexual functioning, and sexual satisfaction, as well as methods for using masturbation to promote sexual health.

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Medically Reviewed on 12/20/2022
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