Not only doesn’t it cause hairy palms or blindness, but masturbati0n is actually healthy. Ask your doctor!
For millennia, high-horse moralists have been dispensing fear and loathing among generations of impressionable young boys by peddling preposterous myths and outright lies about masturbati0n.
You’ve heard them all before: masturbati0n leads to blindness, hairy palms, insanity and just generally being a bad person.
What’s perhaps most perplexing is that these fairy tales have persisted for such a long time. After all, the majority of boys discover that they are entirely devoid of truth by the time they’re 14.
According to Health24’s Great South African Se_x Surveys for 2008 and 2009, between 71 and 82 percent of South African men confirmed that they mastur_bate (the figures for women are between 67 and 75 percent) and more than 85 percent say they first started to mastur_bate before the age of 18. In other words: “everybody” does it!
For children it’s a normal and natural part of growing up and discovering their bodies, se_xuality and the joys of having opposable thumbs. For adults it’s a pleasant, safe and healthy se_xual activity that, rather than being vilified, should be universally encouraged. Woody Allen’s oft-quoted quip bears repeating: “Don’t knock masturbati0n – it’s se_x with someone I love.”
It may seem superfluous to belabour the fact that it’s good for you – it feels really, really nice, right? – but there are some benefits to masturbati0n you may not have thought of before:
- Unlike sex with a partner, you can’t contract a se_xually transmitted disease and nobody falls preg_nant.
- It’s a great reliever of stress and se_xual tension and for many a pleasurable cure for insomnia.
- It increases the flow of testosterone through the body which can help to strengthen muscles and bones. Testosterone also helps to transport a hormone called DHEA which is important in the functioning of the immune system.
- It helps you to learn how your body and pen_is respond to various stimuli – what feels good and what doesn’t – a basic requirement for a fulfilling se_x life. It also teaches you to recognise that point-of-no-return moment just before 0rgasm and can teach you to avoid premature ejaculati0n.
- Since the body releases endorphins – natural feel-good chemicals – during masturbati0n, it can improve your mood and may help to fight depression.
- It can help you build stronger pelvic floor muscles which lead to better se_x – women have long know about this, of course.
According to a pamphlet aimed at teenagers and distributed by the UK’s National Health Service in 2009: “Health promotion experts advocate five portions of fruit and veg a day and 30 minutes physical activity three times a week. What about se_x or masturbati0n twice a week?” The pamphlet’s punch line says it all: “An 0rgasm a day keeps the doctor away.”
…and the downs
Of course masturbati0n can be dangerous, but so can using a toaster:
- Overly energetic and frequent masturbati0n can lead to an irritation of the skin of the peni_s. Surprise, surprise!
- Very, very rarely – when the erect peni_s is forced downward too far or hit against a hard object – masturbati0n can result in penile fracture. This involves a painful tear in the tunica albugi_nae, the tissue around the peni_s’ spongy layers, and is a medical emergency that requires surgery.
- Frequent masturbati0n while lying face down can lead to “ure_thral trauma” or “traumatic masturbat0ry syndrome” in which the urethra is injured, resulting in urine exiting the peni_s in a haphazard shotgun spray rather than an easily-controlled narrow stream.
Experts warn that men who frequently mastur_bate in a way that’s very different from se_x with a partner may find it difficult to climax during se_x with a partner – a type of se_xual dysfunction called retarded ejaculati0n.
Masturbati0n and pr0state health
In 2003, Australian researchers found that frequent ejaculation through se_x and masturbati0n may reduce a man’s risk of contracting prostate cancer, but a 2009 study suggested that the correlation between pr0state cancer and ejaculati0n may, in fact, be age-dependent. Young men who mastur_bate frequently do so because of an enhanced se_x drive as a result of high levels of testosterone. Their high testosterone levels – not their masturbati0n habits – may actually raise their prostate cancer risk. Among older men, the same study found that frequent masturbat0rs lowered their prostate cancer risk, probably because masturbati0n drains the pr0state of fluids containing carcinogenic toxins.