What is Masturbation?
“Masturbation is a physiologically natural and harmless expression of sexuality for both men and women. There is a great amount of pleasure associated with masturbation“. It doesn’t cause physical or mental harm and you can use it in moderation for a lifetime. That’s just normal sexual behavior, even among people who have a sexual partner.
While masturbation was once considered a perversion and a sign of a mental health problem. We now consider it a normal, healthy sexual activity that is enjoyable and safe. It’s a great way to experience sexual pleasure which you can do for a long time.
In a national study in the US, 95% of men and 89% of women reported having masturbated. For many people, masturbation is their first sexual experience. In young children, masturbation is a normal part of the growing child’s curiosity and exploration of their own bodies. Most people masturbate when they are entering the phase of adulthood, and many do so all of their lives.
If there is one activity that almost every man on the planet is familiar with, it is masturbation. After all these years, you may think that you know everything there is to know about the subject. But there is a lot of things that you may not know about it yet as self-stimulation is a domain with huge potential for exploration.
Medical Professionals’ Opinions on Masturbation
What are the health benefits of masturbation?
Medical science has shown that masturbation has no harmful effects on health, growth, fertility, or sexual strength. It helps to reduce “sexual tension” and helps people to feel more comfortable with their own sexuality and relationships. It just means that masturbation is not harmful. By exploring your own body through masturbation, you can find out what you like erotically.
In fact, when it comes to medical advice, masturbation is a yes-yes. This is because masturbation has health benefits too:
- When you masturbate, the hormone cortisol decreases in your body. This in turn not only reduces stress but also regulates and increases your immunity. After all, when you reach orgasm, feel good neurochemicals like dopamine and oxytocin hit the bloodstream. And they are by far the best source of dopamine available to you.
- Whether it’s a daily headache or menstrual cramps, masturbation will help you cope better with it. Medically speaking, women have uterine contractions when masturbating. They soothe menstrual cramps.
- When you masturbate, you understand your body better than ever, alleviate your insecurities. It helps you know what works for you and what doesn’t.
Doctors usually consider masturbation to be harmful when it inhibits sexual activity with a partner. Or it causes the person significant stress. Sometimes, it can lead to suffering or interfere with life and daily activities if performed compulsively. If you have a partner and your partner is physically and emotionally available to have sexual intercourse. Doctors recommend that you engage in real sex over self-stimulation.
Related : Female Masturbation
How Athletes go About It
According to the ancient way of thinking, abstinence was the best way to ensure athletic performance. It was mainly due to the right balance of mind and body. This why many coaches advocate the importance of sexual abstinence, especially before a sports competition. Because they believe that ejaculation removed testosterone from the body, thereby reducing aggression and muscle strength. It can contribute to leg weakness and decreased stamina as well.
Masturbation can negatively affect athletic results by consuming too much energy. However, there have been very few clinical studies in today’s literature to support this point.
Athletes’ Point of View
Athletes from different sports categories account for varied experiences when it comes to masturbation while training professionally:
Football world cup players agree that either masturbation or sex right before a game does not allow them to play at their full capacity. And hence, even their coaches sometimes place a ban on their sexual activities a week before the game.
Activities such as calligraphy, swimming, hiking, etc can discourage people from engaging in deviant sexual behaviours. Olympic swimmers have mentioned that they don’t feel the urge to masturbate or have sex as non-athletes do. The reason is that they get their adrenaline rush from the intense swimming that they engage in.
To be a professional boxer, you have to work hard physically. You need to strengthen your body and have long-lasting stamina. Masturbation for boxers will end up weakening the body and decreasing resistance. They won’t feel it right away.
But it will negatively affect their boxing efforts and cause health problems in the long run. While engaging in boxing consistently, if they were to masturbate, many report lower back pain, weakness among many other things.
Ever heard of Viswanathan Anand? Becoming a world-class chess player takes immense focus, dexterity and knowledge retention. Many aspiring chess players have reported that masturbation causes their cognitive abilities to deteriorate.
Not just masturbation, but any form of sex also negatively impacts performance. There are some athletes who know this well and avoid anything sexual for a few days to a few weeks. This they do prior to their matches/competitions in order to ensure maximum strength during sporting events.
People in general, and modern medicine as well, claim that masturbation is harmless for everyone based on inconclusive medical research. However, athletes know very well that it reduces the body’s vital energy.
The View of Eastern culture on Masturbation
Views on masturbation differ widely among world religions. Some religions consider it spiritually harmful, some say it’s mentally and physically harmful, while others have a situational view.
Among the latter religions, some view masturbation as permissible when used as a means of sexual self-control or as part of healthy self-exploration. But they do not allow it when performed for the wrong reasons or as an addiction.
Since then, masturbation has been looked down upon, prescribed by doctors, and specially used since the dawn of time. Our ancestors had masturbation techniques very similar, if not more ingenious, to ours.
Related : What Bible says about Masturbation ,
The Chinese Taoist Perspective
Tantric missionaries brought their encoded sexual knowledge to China and other parts of Asia. The Han Dynasty of China (200 BC – 220 AD) brought this knowledge to Taoism. It was the first Asian culture to produce a sexual manual for the common man (and woman).
While Taoism permitted most types of sexual activities, it generally disapproved of masturbation for the same reason as tantra. As ejaculation outside a woman’s body was technically a loss of the essence of life.
Chinese painter Zhou Fang depicted these sexual acts on scrolls and influenced Japanese court art of the same period. In the 19th century, Japanese artists produced wood-stamped pornography, including masturbation. In one case, a woman enjoys pleasure with an octopus.
Indian Kamasutra Perspective
The Kamasutra is an old Indian Sanskrit text about eroticism, sexuality, and how to keep an emotionally fulfilled mind. Attributed to Vātsyāyana, the Kamasutra is neither exclusively nor predominantly a sexual manual on sexual positions.
But written as a guide to the art of the good life, the essence of love and the search for a life partner. Also maintaining the love life and other aspects of the pleasure-oriented abilities of human life
Self-pleasure is not a reprehensible sin in Hinduism. Here the pursuit of Kama is one of the four goals of human life. Except for people who have taken the vow of Brahmacharya, Hinduism grants complete freedom as to sexuality.
The Kama Sutra (4th century – 6th century AD) does not condemn masturbation. But explains in detail the best practice for different kinds of masturbation.
Who can Benefit from Masturbating?
While you may remember your early teens as some of the most frantic when it came to masturbation. The real action usually comes a little later. According to the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior put forth by Indiana University. Men’s masturbation habits usually reach a peak when they are between 18 and 29 years old.
Health benefits of masturbation:
However, there is one massive caveat. It’s important to note that in any study of masturbation, the level of underreporting can be significant. A lot of people are afraid to participate in surveys when it comes to sensitive topics such as masturbation.
The frequency of consecrated pastimes decreases after the age of 30, but why is it decreasing? Is our testosterone gradually depleting as we age, thereby reducing our sex drive? Or is it because now that we are older we have jobs, kids and bills to pay among other responsibilities? We just don’t have the time and freedom to masturbate whenever you feel like it?
Masturbation can be either good or bad for you, depending on how old you are. This solitary sexual activity, which is widespread but people don’t talk about it as much.
Frequent masturbation increases the risk of prostate cancer, or in some cases, decreases it when you’re between the ages of 20 and 30. But by the time men turn fifty, it can protect against diseases. It helps flush out toxins that have built up over the course of life.
Who shouldn’t indulge much in this?
Clinically, no age is too young for children to explore their bodies. Masturbating at a young age is surprisingly common. However, the age group of people below 30, who feel the desire to masturbate the most, must not indulge. Here’s why:
- Affects work life – Masturbation addiction can damage your relationships and other parts of your life. Masturbating too much can disrupt your work or study, which can affect productivity.
- Damage to the penis – Frequent or rough masturbation can cause mild skin irritation. Forcibly bending an erect penis can break the blood-filled chambers, a rare but frightening condition known as a penile fracture.
- Affects relationships – If you’re a young man with a girlfriend or a wife .You may need to attend to her desires in sex in some situations. Masturbation can damage your romantic relationships and friendships because you don’t spend as much time with your partner. They might notice or feel that you love them lesser or don’t pay attention to their needs.
Some people masturbate quite frequently. They might make it a routine to do so once a week or once a day. Or as many times one feels like in a day, which happens in most cases. Some people never masturbate, and that’s perfectly normal as well.
There are various myths regarding masturbation. Although experts have debunked it several times, they seem to keep coming up. Science does not support most rumours about masturbation. Often, there is no scientific evidence that masturbation causes problems. Nor do they suspect any side effects.
Masturbation only becomes addictive when it gets in the way of your work, your responsibilities, or your social life/relationships. If that is an issue for you, you should speak to a counsellor or a sex therapist.
Of course many people have a lot of questions about Masturbation:
FAQ’s on Masturbation:
#1. Will masturbation affect kidney?
Well, there is no proven evidence that masturbation can affect kidneys. However to those individual who have kidney stones and have severe kidney problems physiological effects may be different.
#2. Can you injure self while masturbating?
Though masturbation is a normal, healthy and fun act , there could be a few rare and extreme cases when excessive masturbation can harm an individual.
#3. Does masturbation affect sperm count?
There is no scientific or medical evidence for this. Having said that will not affect the sperm count or fertility
#4. Does female masturbation cause hormonal imbalance?
Masturbation , due to the pleasure- increases the hormones such as Dopamine, Serotonin , and oxytocin. However there are no evidences that it will cause hormonal imbalance for women.
#5. Does masturbation lower blood pressure?
Masturbation at the time of orgasm increases the heart rate and blood pressure. But research says that it does not induce lower blood pressure on individuals.
Some people may feel ashamed, guilty, or embarrassed when they talk about masturbation. But masturbation is normal, healthy, and not a reason to feel guilty. Some people learn at a young age that masturbating is wrong and feel guilty about it.
If this is how you feel, keep in mind that almost everyone masturbates. It is completely normal and there is nothing wrong with that. Talk to a counsellor or therapist as they can help when you have trouble dealing with feelings of guilt.
You can also check Masturbation Effects on Your Health: Side Effects and Benefits in Healthline.