“Masturbation: the primary sexual activity of mankind. In the nineteenth century it was a disease; in the twentieth, it’s a cure.”
What Is Masturbation?
Masturbation is the act of stimulating one's own genitals to the point of orgasm. Masturbation can help to relieve sexual tension and stress. It can also increase sexual satisfaction with intimate partners, as well as promote rest and relaxation.
Masturbation is practised by people of all ages, genders, and sexual orientations. It has been observed in young children as they learn to explore their bodies. Masturbation is common in the presence of a consenting partner or alone.
The Pros & Cons
The decision to masturbate or not is entirely personal. Masturbation, on the other hand, has been shown to increase hormones and chemicals that promote positive emotions, feelings, and sensations.
Meanwhile, the majority of the negative effects of masturbation are concerned with how someone feels about the act itself, rather than the physical consequences on the body.
Hormone & Chemical Release
Masturbation, as well as other sexual activities that result in sexual pleasure or orgasm, cause the release of hormones and chemicals that are involved in the pleasure-reward centre of the brain. These are some examples:
Dopamine: Known as the "happiness" hormone, is a neurotransmitter that is involved in motivation, movement, and reward-seeking.
Oxytocin: Known as the "love" hormone, has a wide range of behavioural and physiological effects, including promoting happy sexual, social, and maternal behaviours. The hormone also promotes happiness, positive social interaction, growth, and healing.
Serotonin: Is a neurotransmitter that aids in the mediation of happiness, optimism, and satisfaction. There is also a link between increased serotonin levels and improved mood.
Endorphins: Are "feel-good" chemicals that reduce pain more effectively than morphine.
They are in charge of the pleasant rush or high associated with exercise.
Prolactin: Is a hormone that promotes physiological responses such as reproduction, stress management, and emotional regulation.
Endocannabinoids: These neurotransmitters play an important role in rewarding behaviours like exercise, social interaction, and eating. They also aid in the regulation of pain, inflammation, metabolism, cardiovascular function, learning and memory, anxiety, depression, and addiction.
Norepinephrine/noradrenaline: Is a stimulating neurotransmitter that increases and regulates dopamine transmission, which is linked to happiness levels.
Adrenaline: Adrenaline reduces stress by regulating the heart rate, blood vessel and airway diameters, and metabolic processes.
Reduced Stress & Anxiety
The release of oxytocin during sexual activity appears to reduce stress hormones like cortisol while promoting relaxation. Prolactin also aids in the regulation of stress responses.
Masturbation causes the release of hormones and neurotransmitters that help reduce stress and blood pressure while also promoting relaxation, which may make falling asleep easier. A 2019 study of 778 adults discovered a clear perception of favourable sleep outcomes associated with orgasm. Many respondents believed that masturbation helped them fall asleep faster and sleep better.
Endorphins are painkillers produced by the body. Endocannabinoids are also known to aid in the regulation of pain and inflammation. These natural pain relievers may also help with menstrual cramps.
Improves Mood And Ability To Concentrate
Masturbation may increase levels of hormones associated with a good mood, such as dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins. Masturbation may improve focus and concentration by increasing levels of hormones and neurotransmitters involved in learning, memory, and motivation.
Improves Cognition And Self-Esteem
Masturbation can cause an increase in adrenaline levels. Higher levels of salivary and urinary adrenaline are associated with higher levels of personal growth or a sense of life purpose, according to researchers. Learning to please oneself can be empowering and improve one's body image.
Prolactin has a neuroprotective effect in response to stress, reducing neural damage. Dopamine appears to contribute to healthy cognition as well. Sexual activity increased recall and number sequencing in older males and recall in older females aged 50–89, according to a 2016 study.
Some people may be morally or religiously opposed to masturbation and feel guilty or shameful about masturbating or even thinking about it.
Excessive masturbation can also result in physical issues such as irritated or broken skin, genital swelling, and cramps.
Bacterial infection, including UTIs — not from masturbation, but from not properly cleaning sex toys or hands before use
Skin irritation if you masturbate too frequently or roughly
Oedema (swelling) on the penis if you masturbate too frequently
If someone has certain conditions, such as vaginal dryness or dyspareunia, which is recurring pain during vaginal penetration, they may find vaginal masturbation uncomfortable or painful.
Post-orgasmic illness syndrome and erectile dysfunction: Masturbation can also be unpleasant if someone has a rare condition in which they become ill after ejaculating.
Mental Health Issues
Masturbation can also be difficult for some people to engage in positively, particularly those who have sexual dysfunction or a history of abuse. Masturbation may be very embarrassing or even distressing for these people.
Excessive masturbation is a symptom of an underlying mental illness that can lead to behavioural problems. One sign that masturbation is an addiction is a strong sense of guilt after masturbation. This can result in increased alcohol consumption. Masturbation becomes a problem if it becomes compulsive or if you force yourself to do it. It is acceptable to do so, but do not let it consume you.
Is Masturbation Normal?
Many people find discussing masturbation difficult. There is stigma and shame associated with the concept; some cultures and religions teach young children that touching themselves is wrong. Masturbation, on the other hand, is a perfectly healthy and normal activity that many people engage in.
Is Masturbation Safe?
Masturbation is widely regarded as a safe method of releasing sexual tension without risking disease or an unwanted pregnancy. It allows people to try out new sexual experiences. They can get to know their own bodies and discover what feels good and what they would rather avoid.
When Does Masturbation Become Problematic?
Masturbation usually becomes a problem when it interferes with someone's job performance, relationship, or overall health. Masturbation can be problematic for couples for a variety of reasons. Masturbation may take away from shared sexual experiences or make a partner less available, masturbation may be used to avoid existing relationship issues, or masturbation habits may be kept hidden from a partner.
Can You Hurt Yourself By Masturbating Too Much?
Masturbation injuries are uncommon, but they do occur; these can include soreness, bruising, or cuts. Individuals should exercise caution when masturbating with objects that are too hard or sharp. Masturbation may cause emotional harm, such as shame or guilt, in some people if it contradicts their religious or cultural beliefs. Masturbation, on the other hand, is both healthy and safe.
Can Masturbation Cause Relationship Problems And Is It Healthy For A Relationship?
Frequent masturbation is often a symptom of poor communication about sexual needs rather than the cause of a couple's sexual problems. Some people find it easier to satisfy themselves than to have an open conversation with their partner about what arouses them, what turns them off, and the logistics of ensuring that both parties are sexually satisfied.
Masturbating can be a healthy part of a couple's sex life when approached honestly and respectfully, producing either neutral or positive effects. It can increase intimacy with a partner and even help couples who have different sexual frequency preferences. When a partner is unwilling to engage in sexual activity, having masturbation as an option can relieve stress.