Masturbation, it’s something we almost all have in common as human beings. It’s also something that we as a species have in common with dogs, horses, birds, walruses, turtles, squirrels, porcupines, elephants, and of course, monkeys.
It turns out a large swatch of the natural world are frisky little critters from time to time and, if you’re a naturalist, this tells you all you need to know whether male masturbation is normal and whether ultimately you consider it healthy or harmful.
If however you’re still unsure whether masturbation is healthy or harmful, let us clear that up right off the bat.
The first answer, more of a common sense reminder than anything, is that anything can be harmful if it’s abused and/or not used in moderation. The classic example this is water, the most essential combination of molecules to life.
In correct amounts, water allows life to THRIVE on earth. Conversely, it is very possible to drink so much water you die. This “water intoxication” occurs when you consume so much water it throws your body’s electrolyte balance out of whack (no pun intended) and can ultimately result in death.
So, when it comes to self-love time, yes, there can be a point where you masturbate so much that it is objectively “harmful”. This could include anything from physical dysfunction/self-damage to your organ, to other more social-impacts like disruption of your personal or professional life and relationships.
After researching multiple medical journals and reading numerous expert interviews with clinicians, we were unable to find any scientific facts that would indicate that moderate responsible levels of masturbation are harmful in any way. In fact, it would seem the evidence leans more in the opposite direction, indicating that self-pleasure is actually a constructive act.
But before we formulate our final conclusion it’s worth looking at some of the nuances when it comes to this potentially slippery issue…
Males vs Females
First, while this article is specifically addressing male masturbation we should say that most of the health benefits associates with self-love can also be applied to women.
Masturbation can come in all forms. From a simple bottle of lotion and your hand to electric devises for all orifices, the affair can be jazzed up to the moon or it can be done in a more minimalist utilitarian fashion.
It’s important that frequency and duration of masturbation can also vary greatly between men and women, which is important to differentiate when it comes to trying to ascertain what is healthy and what isn’t.
For example a woman making a night of it, lighting candles, turning on some music, taking a bath, having a massage, before slowly easing into a 45 minute long strum session is a completely “normal” amount of time to dedicate to masturbation.
Yes, if you didn’t know it already, women DO MASTURBATE as well, they’re just not as vulgar about it! Female masturbation, while perhaps often done with a different mindset than many men, is just as common and has equal ability to be either constructive or destructive depending on how it fits in with their life and routines.
While there’s nothing stopping men from taking the same amount of time to focus on the physical and emotional lead-up, actually stroking yourself for 2 hours straight may be a bit excessive, not mentally, but no the fragile skin of your penis.
So while the styles my differ, the definition, that is sexually stimulating your body, either with your hand or a play toy, remains the same. Masturbation truly defies gender roles, societal status, and ideologies. At the and of the day, everyone loves a little mono yi mono time.
Healthy is a vague definition. For an obese person to consumer slightly few calories than they did yesterday would be considered a healthy step for them, but if a healthy weight individual tried consuming the same amount of calories it may be considered extremely unhealthy.
According to Planned Parenthood (they know a thing or two about sex), some of the healthy/benefits of masturbation include but are not limited to:
- release of pent up tension
- reduction of overall stress
- improved quality of sleep
- improved self-esteem and self-image
- improve sexual problems
- relief from menstrual cramps for women
- strengthening of muscle tone in pelvic and anal areas
The problem is we are all different, so the same strict rules may not apply to everyone. This means, unfortunately, while we can try to clarify things for you in this article, ultimately you are the only one who can determine whether either the frequency or duration of your masturbation habits are having a positive or negative impact on your life.
Healthy generally applies to something that gives you some sort of physical, mental or spiritual benefit. So, if you feel more relaxed, more comfortable, can sleep easier, or feel more connected with yourself when you masturbate, then it most certainly is a healthy activity for you.
However, there can be instances when masturbation can be considered “unhealthy”.
Something that is harmful is something that negatively impacts either your life or the lives of those around you. Yes, damaging your partners emotions and hurting your relationship is one potentially harmful side effect of unhealthy masturbation.
The most unhealthy side effects of excessive masturbation include:
- Decreased desire for meaningful relationships/physical contact
- Pornography addiction
- Self-damage to sensitive skin/organs
- Inability to maintain external commitments (professional/personal)
- Increased stress
- Social awkwardness
- Increased lotion bill
For the most part many of the potential negative impacts of male masturbation can be mitigated by simply reducing the frequency.
Some things can be harder to fix though, such as the impact excessive self stimulation may have had on a relationship, or perhaps the addiction that may form from regular binging of pornographic content.
Sex counselors and therapists are trained to help better diagnose these “big picture” problems and help devise plans for you to overcome them, which, more often than not do not prohibit masturbation but instead find ways to do it more healthily.
Just like water, in the correct doses, masturbation can be a great value-add to your life and is nothing to be ashamed of, it is something to be proud of, your body is an amazing thing and you only get one!
How Often Should I Masturbate?
If you haven’t noticed the trend yet, the true answer to this question is “it depends”. We all have different sex drives, different relationships, and different responsibilities in life. Therefore, the amount of time we have for masturbation varies.
However, assuming your job, school, your relationship and your hobbies are not impacting your availability with your palm, then it would seem that 21 times per month is a healthy amount as Harvard has found that for men who masturbated 21 times per month cut their odds of getting prostate cancer by a whopping 33%.
We’ll wank to that!
Regular orgasms are useful in not just maintaining healthy prostate function but can also have a ripple effect in terms of stress reduction and self-confidence.
If you feel masturbating is damaging your self-confidence first make absolutely sure it is the masturbating that is doing this and not false mental constructs you might have created, such as self-shaming or self-guilting because of incorrect beliefs that were instilled in you previously.
Carnal Knowledge Conclusion
Fundamentally, we do not want to advocate or demonize things like pornography, which is the most common partner in crime when it comes to chicken choking. Just like all types of media, from TV to video games, the type of pornography and the frequency with which it is consumed is more telling in regards to it’s impact on your life than anything.
We advise you take stock, look around and try to evaluate whether masturbation has impacted your personal relationships or your professional aspirations in any way.
If not, then you’re probably in the clear and can sit back and whack it with a whimsical nonchalance.
If however your relationship is on the rocks, or your shunning social interactions with real people in favor of a solo-celebrations, then you may want to spend a little more time diagnosing.
Try abstaining for a week and the difficulty may be an indicator as to whether or not your frequency needs to be modulated.
You can also try keeping a journal, record the frequency, what you consumed, and how you felt after. If the notes lean toward negative, then you may have to reassess. If they lean to the positive, you may need to do more wanking!
At the end of the day though, if you are concerned about your health habits it is best to speak to your physician or find a specialist. These people have spent their lives evaluating and helping people just like you so they have a very deep knowledge of the pros and cons of masturbation and can help you strike a balance that works for your unique life cir”cum”stances.