4Men - Health

Exercise and gym tips, Gay health issues and the latest news in the struggle against HIV/AIDS

Masturbation Enigmas

By Alex James

How much do we really know about masturbation and its side effects? Sure, we know masturbation feels good — that’s a given. There are nearly endless techniques for experiencing the pleasure of masturbation, but what else can it do to us? Playing with ourselves can help us fall asleep, reduces headaches and stress, anxiety and tension, it’s great for immune functioning, increasing endorphin production, and is so good for our prostates. But is there anything else we should be looking out for?

There’s a lot of history behind the negative side effects of masturbation. Since man could grab his pecker and stroke it, people have been coming up with myths that it’s bad for you. Will masturbating cause acne? If it did, 95% of guys would be walking around with a face full of zits. Masturbation must cause sterility, right? While it’s true that having consecutive ejaculations will reduce your sperm count and the volume of semen compared to the first ejaculation, your testes are a factory for sperm production and masturbation isn’t going to close this factory down. Does masturbation cause hairy palms? I don’t even understand this one; is semen Miracle-Gro? The same can be said for blindness, insanity and a whole host of other myths that have been proved false by medical science.

So there have to be some negatives, right? Masturbation itself is harmless and there are no proven long-term physical issues with moderate masturbation habits. However, we can all experience some side effects, whether they are short-term, long-term or related to chronic masturbation habits.

One side effect of masturbation is that subsequent ejaculations will take longer. If you masturbate a few times before a date and, hopefully, proceed to have sex, you’ll probably find more difficulty reaching climax. Thankfully, giving our penis a day or two to recharge should do the trick. In addition, we each know the secrets to getting ourselves off. Masturbating can sometimes create an individual orgasm effect where we train our bodies to respond to our own familiar touch and have a reduced response to other people’s touch, resulting in a tougher time reaching climax with others. A lot of guys can relate to this.

Our hard-ons may also be affected by masturbation as well. After each ejaculation, you’ll notice the firmness of the next erection may get slightly softer and spongier, depending on how close apart the erections are. There’s little evidence that too many erections or masturbation will have an effect on your erection in the future. There’s a wealth of evidence that points to age, diet, smoking, and cardiovascular health as factors that affect your beat-meat getting stiff. Another side effect of masturbation is abrasions or swelling of the penis. Some people have rough hands, calluses, use vigorous strokes, or don’t use lube.

Masturbation can also have a negative psychological impact on a person. Many people feel shame and guilt because of their masturbation habits. Whether it’s a cultural, religious or moral issue, people can be very hard on themselves. The tug of war between what feels natural and pleasurable versus what they were told to refrain from can have lasting harmful effects on a person’s self-esteem, confidence and self-love. Psychosomatic effects can also occur, where physical symptoms are the result of psychological factors (feeling shame, guilt, anxiety can manifest into things like headaches, back pain, chronic pain, etc).

Biologically, chronic masturbating can affect our brain and body chemistry because it can overproduce sex hormones and neurotransmitters. This overproduction impacts each person differently, and can range from fatigue, pelvic pain, vision changes, lower back pain, testicular pain, or hair loss. There is current research that states increased testosterone production is linked to DHT production, which is associated with male pattern hair loss.

However, we have to be careful of the conclusions we extrapolate from research. I still need more evidence to believe hair loss because correlation doesn’t imply causation. Did you know large consumptions of alcohol reduce testosterone production? So does this imply that drinking booze will reduce my testosterone levels, subsequently DHT levels, and stop my hair from falling out? Doubtful — I’d just be bald and drunk. If you notice any of these effects, try cutting back on your masturbation habits for a few months and see if it helps alleviate your symptoms. If the symptoms are still there, you might as well keep tugging away and see a doctor for a medical checkup.

Compulsive masturbation can also negatively affect a person. What’s compulsive masturbating? There’s no set number of times; it’s associated with a person having difficulties in his life resulting from his masturbation habits. One guy masturbates six times a day and feels productive and great while the other feels the exact opposite. Compulsive masturbation can negatively affect your work, relationships, self-esteem, finances, social support, and have legal problems if you’re not able to find a balance between being responsible in life and satisfying your pleasures and desires.

I hope I didn’t turn you off from masturbating. It’s a wonderful thing and one of the greatest gifts you can offer yourself. There are positives and negatives to everything in life: sex, singlehood, driving a car, being in a relationship, and working. We have to make sure the good outweighs the bad to find happiness.

Join us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter Keep up with us on Pinterest Join our Google Plus circle Join us on Tumblr