The Side Effects of Masturbation

Written by: Angela Watson | Updated: February 26th, 2019

There's a book for children called Everybody Poops. The main goal of the book is to educate children that all animals have to defecate and that it's a simple fact of life.

There should be a book for adults aptly titled Everybody Wanks. Everybody (nearly) has experienced sexual desire & a build up of sexual energy and the easiest way to dispel this energy is with a masturbation session. Self-love is normal, more times than not healthy (more on this later), and key to learning about your body. Masturbation is a great thing, but like all great things, moderation is key.

You're here because you're wondering exactly what the side effects of masturbating are, let's not waste any time and get right into it.

The Good

For both men and women, masturbation has benefits worth exploring. These benefits include a mood boost from the feel-good chemicals released by masturbation, increased relaxation, and help falling asleep. Other benefits are more mental, like being able to last longer in bed with your partner for example. As masturbation is a pleasurable activity in and of itself (no studies required for that one), being able to unwind and bring yourself to orgasm after a long day is a great way to keep your stress levels in check.

As Aziz Ansari so eloquently put it, treat yo’ self. 

There is also some evidence pointing towards masturbation activating the innate immune system, thus protecting you from a bacterial or viral infection.

In men, masturbation has a myriad of positive health outcomes. Premature ejaculation can be treated by gradually increasing the amount of time you can sustain sexual pleasure before orgasm by training yourself not to ejaculate. Erectile dysfunction can be prevented with regular but not excessive masturbation as it keeps all of the muscles and blood vessels in shape and ready to go at a moment’s notice. Masturbation also ensures that the pool of sperm available for insemination is new and healthy as opposed to the two week old geezers trying to become your next child. This also engages your prostate to create more sperm & seminal fluid to replace what has been lost, leading some scientists to link this with improved prostate function in the long term, perhaps even to the point of reducing rates of cancer.

Women-specific benefits include the ability to feel sexual pleasure without the risk of becoming impregnated, it can relieve menstrual cramps, and it can also flush bad bacteria out your vagina. Squatters should have no home in your vagina. Since masturbation can flush out undesirable bacteria around the vagina & urethra, UTIs are less common in women who masturbate frequently.

The Bad

The negative aspects of masturbation tend to only come out when masturbation is pushed to excessive levels or simply done improperly.

Masturbation that is too rough can cause scar tissue in the penis and result in a condition similar to Peyronie’s disease. This scar tissue is not soft and pliable like regular penile tissue and can cause curvature in the penis. (it’s worth noting that you really need to over-do it, or hurt yourself while masturbation for this to occur)

Too-frequently masturbating in a very intense fashion without the use of lubricant (“dry” masturbation) can result in the penis becoming overly desensitized to sexual touch. Men who squeeze too hard, known as death grip, are at risk of desensitizing their penises to the point where sex with a real woman is not stimulating enough to cause orgasm. Some desensitization can prove beneficial for a fulfilling sexual experience, but it is not satisfying to have to jerk yourself off for a couple minutes straight just to reach climax, possibly causing friction with your partner.

In the case of women, over masturbation can cause abrasions to the vagina canal that result in decreased sensation in the area, it is unwise to further agitate the area once these abrasions have been formed and women with these abrasions frequently report a higher difficulty achieving climax. Another concern for females who practice self-love frequently is irritation of the urethra leading to incontinence.

The Confusing

Masturbation itself is practiced by humans as well as other primates such as chimpanzees. Masturbation in its natural and purest form appears to have a negligible effect on human functioning and health.

Recently however, men have been taking to the internet to vent their frustrations with the perceived toll of the excessive use of pornography in their masturbation habits.

More men aged as young as 20 are experiencing a difficulty maintaining an erection & libido with a flesh and blood woman, and a large community known as the NoFap community is chalking this up to an overuse of online pornography.

The thinking is that while our brains do know the difference between masturbation and sex, your brain still receives a spike in dopamine for every new scene, partner, or position in an individual video. Users of internet pornography sometimes begin using internet pornography every day due to its easy and unlimited access from a young age and condition their brains towards novelty seeking behavior in an endless sea of porn.

The side effects are thought to be many. Many of these men report extreme inhibition with approaching women and it theorize it may be because their brains have been tricked into thinking that unlimited sexual partners are a click away so there is no need to seek out real women for satisfaction. Others argue that the dopamine rush from having 32 tabs of porn tailored specifically to an individual’s taste cannot be replicated in actual sexual encounters.

In short: there is growing evidence to suggest that the overuse or unhealthy use of internet pornography can negative affect males and contribute to erectile dysfunction, poor sexual health, and exacerbation of mental issues.

I must add that the NoFap community is extremely culty at times and I think they do take things too far. A large majority of these claims are conjecture not supported by studies or science, but there is mountains of empirical and anecdotal evidence backing up these claims. Such an endless source of high quality sexual stimuli is extremely new for our society and the greater implications are just now being explored.

Some are able to use pornography in a way that does not hinder their personal lives, but some feel their lives are deeply impacted by their use of pornography to increase the pleasure from masturbation. The line between science and pseudoscience is extremely blurry and a clear cut answer is yet to be put forward.

The Straight-Up-Untrue

For a long time masturbation was seen as sinful and an act against God. These religious doctrines are antithetical to our biological drive to be sexual creatures and ultimately reproduce. Back in the day the easiest way to get the population to comply with the church’s wishes were to spread untruths about masturbation to discourage the practice. Here are a few 100% untrue side effects of masturbation:

  • Blindness
  • Hair loss
  • Weakness
  • Lowered sperm count
  • Infertility
  • Hairy palms
  • Reduction in penis size
  • Mental illness
  • Change in shape of penis
  • Sexual deviancy

All of the preceding conditions have no basis in reality and are simply fabrications made to further the agenda of those uncomfortable with the idea of people jerking off.


Masturbation is a normal part of the routine of billions of healthy individuals on the planet. It can improve our mental well-being as well as be used as an outlet for our emotions. Touching one’s self helps an individual to learn their bodies and connect with themselves on a deeper level. When pushed to the extreme, masturbation can be detrimental to both physical and mental health, but this can be applied to nearly all other human behaviors.

Excessive grooming for instance can irritate the skin and actually leave the body in poorer shape than it was originally.

So, to conclude, masturbation isn’t the devil, but it’s not all Yahtzee and Mai Tai’s.

About Don Watson

My name is Don Watson and I love to support my wife Angela's passion for human sexuality. It pays dividends for me personally and I enjoy writing about the topic as I'm a sexual person by nature. I concern myself with everything on the website that has to do with the male reproductive system to compliment my wife's female-oriented content. Have any questions? You can contact me via email.

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