Masturbation is an extremely underrated form of self care. Whether you are looking for some solo pleasure after a rough day or looking to spice things up with your partner through some mutual masturbation, it is a sure shot way of releasing some endorphins in your body.
However, self pleasure is often seen as a ‘bad thing’ and often discouraged. While it is a fun and natural way for anyone to explore their body and try out things that might help get them off, there is a lot of stigma attached to it. In fact, it is a taboo topic even in the closest of relationships. The thought of a partner seeking pleasure from anywhere other than sex, seems to be the most popular argument against people not being comfortable with their partner masturbating.
It is no secret that masturbating has benefits that are not only good for you mentally but also physically. In spite of that, almost everyone in their life has heard absurd myths that are supposed to ‘discourage’ one from engaging in the act. From debunking the weirdest masturbation myths to listing some of it’s benefits and side effects (yes, sadly they do exist), this is what you need to know about anything related to ‘flicking the bean’-
Debunking common masturbation myths
It’s funny how we know for certain that almost everyone masturbates (or has tried to) but yet absolutely no one wants to openly talk about it. Since there is no active conversation about this perfectly healthy activity, the problem arises when people start believing myths related to it. While no one really may know where a particular myth has originated from, there is a high chance that you have probably heard at least one, if not more of these in your life.
Myth 1 : Masturbation causes infertility
Probably one of the most scientifically incorrect myths out there, doctors out there want you to know that masturbation definitely DOES NOT cause infertility. "Masturbation absolutely does not cause infertility,And, it won’t affect your chances of getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant one day." Dr. Cullin tells Refinery 29.
However, while some doctors may recommend the male partner to lesses the frequency of masturbation if he is planning to have a baby, it does not directly lead to infertility or a low sperm count. Dr. Cullin explains the scientific reason behind that - "For some men who are trying to get their partner pregnant and who have a low sperm count, doctors may recommend that they limit the number of ejaculations they have,But, that’s a very specific situation; masturbation itself doesn’t cause infertility or affect sperm count.”
So no, you can freely masturbate without the fear of a little self love causing you to become infertile.
Myth 2 : Masturbating can lead to erectile dysfunction
Erectile dysfunction is a very serious problem and if faced, can not only impact a man physically but also emotionally. The myth that masturbating could lead to erectile dysfunction could be perpetuated by parents who may not want their son engaging in this act. However, if this myth is believed it could be extremely detrimental to a person’s sexual health and even sexual life.
"There are many psychological and physical causes for erectile dysfunction- "Sometimes, desire and arousal are affected by a combination of both. However, masturbation isn’t one of these causes. It doesn’t matter when you start or how often you masturbate — it won’t cause erectile dysfunction." says Dr. Cullin.
Dr. Spadt also goes on to further explain that while masturbating for a long period of time may make you more comfortable with your own touch and could lead to reduced levels of arousal with a partner, it definitely DOES NOT lead to erectile dysfunction. “Erectile dysfunction does not result from masturbation. What can happen with either men or women is you masturbate frequently and become used to a certain touch, whether it's vibration or your own hand. You may become habituated to that sensation and find it more difficult to have an orgasm with your partner” she says.
Myth 3 : People in relationships do not masturbate
Whether it is regarding female or male masturbation, one of the most common myths out there is that many people seem to believe that being in a relationship should equate to not wanting to masturbate at all. If you've ever been in one, you know how ridiculous that statement sounds. Pleasuring yourself has nothing to do with loving your partner and even people with the most amazing sex lives often masturbate.
Justine Marie Shuey, PhD, a board-certified sexologist tells Everyday Health "People masturbate whether they are in a relationship or single. Some get jealous when their partners masturbate because they feel it's cheating, or that their partner is masturbating because they aren't good enough [in bed]. But it's important to understand that people have different levels of sexual desire — all are totally healthy and normal, and some involve masturbation."
Even Dr. Cullins agrees that wanting to mastering has nothing to do with the fact that you're in a relationship or not. "In fact, people who have regular sex partners are more likely to masturbate than people without sex partners.” While people frequently think that masturbating while being in a relationship could mean that they are not deriving adequate sexual pleasure from their relationship, masturbation could in fact help you enjoy your sex life even more. “Both single people and people in relationships masturbate. And, masturbation can actually enhance sexual intercourse with partners, both physically and emotionally." says Dr Cullin.
Myth 4 : Masturbation will make you go blind
Clearly one of the most ridiculous masturbation myths I have ever heard, it does not take a genius to tell you that masturbation will definitely not lead to you becoming blind. “Many myths about masturbation, such as this one, come from back when people believed sex was only meant for procreation," says Shuey. Because masturbation isn't for procreation, it was considered problematic. "People also believed masturbation could lead to insanity, tuberculosis, hairy palms, and death," she says. "Obviously, none of these things are true."
Myth 5 : There are no health benefits to masturbation
This completely incorrect statement could have probably been told to you if you were caught masturbating or your guardians wanted to discourage you from ever trying it. Even without the advice of a doctor, it does not take a genius to know that masturbation does have it’s benefits. If you've ever tried it, you can attest to the relief you feel after you achieve the well deserved orgasm. From a clearer state of mind to a fun stress reliever, masturbation is extremely healthy.
Yes, Masturbation has health benefits too
While researching, when I came across the myth that masturbation has no health benefits, I knew I has to list out just a few of the many benefits that pleasuring yourself could give you-
- reduction in stress
- release of pent up tension
- enhancement of sleep quality
- boosting concentration
- elevation of the mood
- relieving menstrual cramps pain
- alleviation of pain
- improvement of your sex life
Apart from these, Masturbation has also been identified as a strategy to improve sexual health by promoting intimacy, exploring self-pleasure, desires, and needs, reducing unwanted pregnancies, and preventing sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV transmission.
While these could help you masturbation guilt free, it does come with a few ‘side effects’
Side effects of masturbation
It has been proven that masturbation is completely harmless. However, too much of anything is never good and the same goes for this too. These ‘side effects’ include -
- If men frequently masturbate within a short space of time, they may experience a slight swelling of the penis called an edema. However, this swelling usually disappears within a couple of days
- If men have an aggressive masturbation method that involves too tight a grip on their penis, they can experience decreased sensation. This could lead to further problems while engaging in sexual activity with another partner.
- One of the most scary ‘side effects’ of masturbating too much is the link to prostate cancer. A 2008 study found that frequent sexual activity during a man’s 20s and 30s increased his risk of prostate cancer, especially if he masturbated regularly.
- In the few cases where masturbation becomes all the person thinks about, it could lead to disruption of their daily life and even significant problems in their personal as well, sexual life.
Taking into consideration it's side effects and benefits, it is clear that masturbation is perfectly normal, healthy and sometimes, even needed. While too much of it can cause some problems for you, so could having ‘too much’ sex with a partner. Bottom of the story is anything works if done in moderation. So, get cosy and give yourself a well deserved orgasm, because at the end of the day, everyone deserves one.