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Masturbation: What Are the Side Effects?

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Let's be real. Masturbation is a natural, common, and even necessary (for sexual health) part of life. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and can even be considered a good thing. However, like all things, you can surely be excessive in your masturbation habits, and there can be consequences. These consequences are not life-threatening, but they are worth mentioning.

Things like porn addiction, de-sensitization to real life sexual encounters, and even erectile dysfunction, can all be potential side effects of too much self-pleasure. If you are concerned that you may be masturbating too much, consider seeking help from a sex therapist or counselor.

Let's not forget that masturbation can be a healthy part of a normal and active sex life. Just be mindful of your habits, and everything will be fine. With that said, let's now take a look at some of the side effects that can potentially result from too much self-love.

Can Masturbation Cause a Decrease in Sexual Sensitivity?

There are mixed-bag answers for this. For one, masturbation can potentially cause a decrease in sexual sensitivity due to how it can lead to desensitization in the genitals. Additionally, if a person masturbates using a firm grip or pressure, this can cause the tissues in the genitals to become less sensitive. If a person experiences a decrease in sexual sensitivity after masturbating, it is recommended that they try using a lighter touch or different techniques.

This may have less to do with the actual nerves in your penis and more to do with your body getting used to the sensation of touch or sensation in general in that area in your mind. Getting used to the sensation could make it harder for you to be aroused or reach orgasm when with a partner.

But on the other hand, if you suffer from sexual dysfunction or low libido, regular masturbation could actually increase your sexual sensitivity. Research has shown that people with sexual dysfunction who masturbate regularly have an easier time becoming aroused and reaching orgasm during sex with a partner.

So in conclusion, it really depends on the person. Some people may find that masturbation causes a decrease in sexual sensitivity, while others may find that it increases it. For regular sexual activity, a person should experiment to see what works best for them, and be mindful of any changes in their body.

Negative Physical Side Effects of Masturbation

Chafing: The most common physical side effect of excessive masturbation is chafing or irritation of the skin on your hands and/or penis. This is because you are essentially rubbing the skin raw, and it can become irritated and even raw from all the friction. 

In extreme cases, this can lead to small cuts on the skin, which can then become infected. If you notice any redness, itching, or burning, it's probably best to lay off the self-love for a bit and focus on developing a new, positive relationship with masturbation.

Death Grip Syndrome: This is a condition that can occur from masturbating with an extremely tight grip. The constant tightness can cause the erectile tissue in your penis to become desensitized, and you may find it difficult to orgasm from anything other than extremely tight pressure. 

While this is not a permanent condition, it can be quite frustrating, and it's definitely something you want to avoid. If you find yourself having difficulty orgasming from anything other than a death grip, it's probably best to take a break from masturbating for a while and focus on other ways to get sexual satisfaction.

Negative Mental Side Effects of Masturbation

Porn Addiction: This is one of the most common side effects of excessive masturbation, and it's also one of the most difficult to overcome. When you masturbate using porn as your main source of stimulation, you are training your brain to become more and more aroused by the images you are seeing. 

This can lead to an addiction, where you become obsessed with porn and find it difficult to get aroused by anything else. If you find yourself struggling with this, it's important to seek help from a sex therapist or counselor. There are also many online resources that can help you overcome a porn addiction.

Compulsive Masturbation: This is another common side effect of excessive masturbation, and it can be just as difficult to overcome as a porn addiction. When you masturbate compulsively, you are essentially using it as a way to escape from your problems or to relieve stress. This can lead to problems in other areas of your life, such as your work or your relationships.

Many men masturbate out of boredom, or simply habit. This leads to less enjoyment during the act, and often to feeling guilty or ashamed afterwards. If you find yourself masturbating compulsively, it's important to seek help from a therapist or counselor.

Positive Physical and Mental Side Effects of Masturbation

Masturbation is a great release of sexual tension and has many benefits. These benefits include the following:

1. Reduces stress: Like exercise, masturbation can help to relieve stress and tension. How? When you orgasm, your body releases endorphins, which are known to boost mood and relaxation. The act of touching yourself also releases oxytocin, which is known as the “cuddle hormone” and helps to promote bonding and trust. When you feel good, you’re more likely to be relaxed, so it’s a positive feedback loop when you are practicing a healthy and normal level of masturbation.

2. Helps you sleep: On the same note as reducing stress, the endorphins released during orgasm can also help you to fall asleep more easily. In addition, touching yourself can help to increase levels of serotonin, which is known as the “happy hormone” and helps to improve your mood and make you feel more relaxed.

3. Increases sexual confidence: When you know your body and what pleases you, it can increase your confidence in sexual encounters with partners. If you’re able to show your partner what you like, it can make sex more enjoyable for both of you. And if you know how to please yourself, you’re less likely to rely on a partner to get you off, which can be empowering.

4. Decreased risk of prostate cancer: Studies have shown that men who ejaculate frequently have a lower risk of developing prostate cancer. While the exact mechanisms are not yet known, it is thought that the removal of toxins and cancer-causing agents from the body through ejaculation may play a role.

10 Masturbation Myths

You may have heard some crazy things about masturbation. The best way to see if they are true or not is to read information from peer-reviewed articles published in scientific journals. However, we can give you a quick rundown of some of the most popular myths about masturbation:

1. Masturbation Causes Blindness: This is false. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

2. Masturbation Causes Infertility: When done in moderation, there is no evidence that masturbation causes infertility.

3. Masturbation Causes Impotence: There is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

4. Masturbation Can Make Your Palms Hairy: This is false. There is no scientific evidence to support this claim.

5. Masturbation Causes Memory Loss: Memory loss is a side effect of some medications, but there is no evidence that masturbation causes memory loss.

6. Libido Is Increased or Decreased by Masturbation: While some people may experience an increased libido after masturbating, this is not true for everyone. The same goes for decreased libido. Masturbation does not have a universal effect on libido.

7. The Shape of Your Penis Can Be Changed by Masturbation: Masturbation does not have any impact on the shape of your penis.

8. Sperm Quality Is Affected by Masturbation: There is no evidence that masturbation has any impact on sperm quality or count.

9. Acne Is Caused by Masturbation: There is no evidence that masturbation causes acne. It is possible that the increased hormone levels associated with puberty may cause acne, but this is not due to masturbation.

10. Masturbation Is Addictive: While some people may become addicted to masturbating, this is not because of the act itself. People can become addicted to anything that provides them with pleasure, including sex, food, drugs, and gambling. The addiction is not caused by the act, but by the person's underlying psychological issues.

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This blog post is for educational purposes only and does not constitute medical or other professional advice. Your specific circumstances should be discussed with a healthcare provider. All statements of opinion represent the writers' judgement at the time of publication and are subject to change. Phoenix and its affiliates provide no express or implied endorsements of third parties or their advice, opinions, information, products, or services.

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