BY: ASHLEY THOMPSON, PH.D.
Many of us have likely heard the old wives’ tale that masturbation will make you blind and result in hairy palms (particularly among men). Despite what your parents might have told you, I am here to report that research on solo sexual activity actually indicates that masturbation can result in a variety of HEALTHY and BENEFICIAL outcomes.
Although not all occurrences of masturbation result in orgasm, many do. Consequently, research on the benefits of orgasm reveals that the physiological byproduct associated with an orgasm is the release of endorphins into the body, which can help to reduce stress, relieve sexual tension, reduce the likelihood of prostate cancer in men, and improve issues associated with insomnia (Haake et al., 2004; Rao, Aswinidutt, Anil, Dhananjaya, & Hasan, 2009). In fact, there are some studies that have indicated the masturbatory orgasms can even help reduce nasal congestion (Zarrintan, 2008) – sorry Kleenex and Puffs!
However, not all benefits of masturbation are linked to orgasm, just the experience of sexual arousal can be beneficial. In fact, research suggests that stress/tension reduction can result from sexual arousal ALONE (regardless of orgasm; Murphy, Seckl, Burton, Checkley, & Lightman, 1987).
KEEP IN MIND – there can be too much of a good thing. In fact, is Rirare cases, some people’s masturbation habits may create distress for oneself or one’s relationship. That being said, for the vast majority, masturbation is associated with much more positives than negatives. So, forget what your grandma told you and feel free to have a little fun!
Haake, P., Krueger, T. H. C., Goebel, M., Heberling, K., Elsenbruch, S., & Schedlowski, M. (2004). Orgasm-induced redistribution of leucocytes and lymphocytes subsets in males. Neuroimmunomodulation, 11, 293-298.
Murphy, M. R., Seckl, J. R., Burton, S., Checkley, S. A., & Lightman, S. L. (1987). Changes in oxytocin and vasopressin secretion during sexual activity in men. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, 65, 738-741.
Rao, P. J., Aswinidutt, R., Anil, K., Dhananjaya, S., & Hasan, F. (2009). Sex as a cure for insomnia. Medical hypotheses, 72, 760-761.
Zarrintan, S. (2008). Ejaculation as a potential treatment of nasal congestion in mature males. Medical hypotheses, 71, 308.