Masturbation_ pros and cons

Whatever you got told as a kid, male masturbation is a natural act.

If you need proof, research indicates that 60% of Canadian men will self-satisfy every week!

Masturbation indeed declines with age—but 74% of men between 55-59 will still masturbate every month or more.

Today, we’re talking about the pros and cons of male masturbation. Some of this may surprise you!

What Is Male Masturbation

The act of masturbation results in a sexual release by manipulating the genitals; in men, this is the penis.

Some people fantasize when they masturbate, watch erotic videos or look at stimulating pictures. Others may use a sex toy on other parts of their body. 

While masturbation generally involves self-pleasure, a person may also masturbate with a partner—this is mutual masturbation.

Historical View of Masturbation

Throughout history, many societies have prohibited masturbating or considered it a sin.

Some religions feel that self-pleasure is a vice because it focuses on self-pleasure and not procreation. It’s even been suggested that masturbation weakens the body and mind and may result in sexual impotence.

Pros of Masturbating

Masturbation benefits

Researchers have begun to study self-pleasure more closely to determine its benefits in sexual functioning and self-satisfaction.

Physical Benefits and Mental Health Effects

The natural act of masturbation generally results in sexual release, and the body releases “happiness hormones,” including dopamine, prolactin, oxytocin, testosterone, and endorphins. 

Here are the benefits:

  • Happiness hormones increase feelings of relaxation.
  • Oxytocin specifically regulates stress and can reduce anxiety caused by the cortisol hormone.
  • Endorphins are pain-relieving and mood-boosting hormones.
  • Testosterone can improve stamina.
  • Prolactin aids the mind and immune system.

Masturbation Can Help Treat Erectile Dysfunction (ED)

For many years, the myth prevailed that ED is caused by self-pleasure. This isn’t true.

Research shows that self-satisfaction can improve cases of ED that occur when a person is anxious, stressed, or affected by other psychological issues.

When people can satisfy themselves, it can make them more confident in getting and keeping an erection during sex with a partner.

Masturbation May Lower Risk of Prostate Cancer

Specific data from cancer researchers shows a link between how often a man ejaculates and his chances of getting prostate cancer. 

In 2016, the results of an 18-year study of 32,000 men in different age groups showed:

  • Men were asked to track their sexual habits, which resulted in ejaculation.
  • Practices included self-pleasure, wet dreams, or sex with a partner.
  • Men who ejaculated between 4 to 7 times/month could have an increased risk.
  • But men in any age group who ejaculated at least 21 times/month had a 20% lower chance of getting prostate cancer.

So how can ejaculation make the prostate healthier?

Scientists are still determining the benefits, but one theory is that ejaculating more flushes out harmful chemicals that may build up within semen.

Masturbation Can Improve Partner Sex

Here’s another myth: masturbation makes sex with a partner less fulfilling. This is not true!

Self-pleasure or mutual masturbation can be an enjoyable part of a healthy relationship.

Studies focused on married women made an important discovery—they were happier in their relationships. However, scientists suggest that this benefit may also apply to married men.

Research also shows that self-pleasure can help people maintain healthier sex drives, and when you know how to pleasure yourself, you can show your partner what you like.

Cons of Masturbating

Aggressive masturbation

There can be physical and psychological risks to masturbation, but let’s be clear: self-pleasure itself is not harmful to you mentally or physically.

Physical Effects

On the physical side, masturbating too roughly or too frequently can make the tender skin around the genitals chafe. Sometimes, the penis may swell slightly—this is called edema. 

It’s also important to recognize that aggressive masturbation techniques can affect sexual sensitivity and decrease feelings of pleasure. Generally, this is caused when a person grips their penis too tightly.

Adverse physical effects like chafing or swelling should subside within a few days, and a change of technique should help men experiencing a loss of sensitivity from masturbating.

Guilty Feelings

No matter what medical experts say, you may feel guilty about self-pleasure. Your shame may be profound if it conflicts with your religion or cultural beliefs. 

But masturbation is normal and healthy, and men can benefit from discussing their guilty feelings with a close friend or a psychologist specializing in sexual health.

Excessive Masturbation Habits

It can be concerning to desire masturbation enough to affect daily life.

Here are symptoms to be aware of:

  • Work, school, or essential social events get missed
  • Daily functioning is affected
  • Relationships and responsibilities suffer
  • Real-life experiences and relationships are avoided.

Anyone worried about the frequency of masturbating can get help for this issue!

Doctors, counsellors, or specialists in sexual health are beneficial in finding a solution through talk therapy or managing sexual desire in other ways.

Sex Is Still More Beneficial Than Masturbation

Masturbation vs partner sex

Medical research has proven that partner sex (intercourse) delivers the most benefits in lowering blood pressure, maintaining a healthy prostate and heart, and even lowering pain thresholds.

It’s still unproven that self-pleasure shares these benefits.

There’s no definite answer why, but the body responds differently to sex versus masturbation—the hormones within semen are even different during sex than self-pleasure.

Harder. Better. Faster. Stronger… With OHN

So what’s the bottom line here?

Well, masturbation is not only normal, but it’s also medically proven to be a healthy sexual habit, and male self-pleasure has few side effects.

You don’t need to be vocal about self-satisfaction if it doesn’t make you feel guilty or disrupt your life. When you know how to please yourself in the right ways—and you’re not causing yourself any physical pain—there’s no need for worry or concern.

We specialize in men’s sexual health issues, with confidential clinics across the GTA. 

If you have doubts about masturbation or men’s health issues, contact us for a free consultation. Our specialists are here for you in Toronto, Oakville, and Brampton, and we would love to help answer all your questions! 

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Griffin, R.M. (2022) Can Sex, Masturbation Affect Prostate Cancer Risk?, WebMD. WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/ejaculation-prostate-cancer-risk (Accessed: December 4, 2022).

Griffin, R.M. (2022) Male masturbation: 5 things you didn’t know, WebMD. WebMD. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/men/guide/male-masturbation-5-things-you-didnt-know#1 (Accessed: December 1, 2022).

Huang, S.; Niu, C.; Santtila, P. Masturbation Frequency and Sexual Function in Individuals with and without Sexual Partners. Sexes 20223, 229-243. https://doi.org/10.3390/sexes3020018

Midlife Canadians are leading active and happy sex lives but putting themselves at risk for contracting stis, trojan™ study finds (2018) Newswire. Newswire. Available at: https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/midlife-canadians-are-leading-active-and-happy-sex-lives-but-putting-themselves-at-risk-for-contracting-stis-trojan-study-finds-578953521.html (Accessed: December 4, 2022).

Nichols, H. (2020) Are there side effects to masturbation?, Medical News Today. Medical News Today. Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320265#takeaway (Accessed: December 2, 2022).

Scaccia, A. (2022) Male masturbation: Tips for Solo Play, Healthline. Healthline Media. Available at: https://www.healthline.com/health/mens-health/how-to-masturbate-for-men#frequency (Accessed: December 1, 2022).