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4th February, 20213 min read

What are the benefits of masturbation?

Medical reviewer:Dr Ann Nainan
Author:Caroline Bodian
Last reviewed: 03/02/2021
Medically reviewed

All of Healthily's articles undergo medical safety checks to verify that the information is medically safe. View more details in our safety page, or read our editorial policy.

There are a lot of myths about masturbation. But the truth is that masturbation is completely normal and healthy.

So no, it doesn’t cause blindness, acne or insanity. And it won’t make your hair grow or lower your sperm count. In fact, masturbation has lots of potential benefits. Read on to learn about 5 of them…

It can help you enjoy better sex

Masturbation usually leads to an orgasm, so it’s no surprise that it can help you learn how to climax. Apart from it being pleasurable in itself, you can use masturbation to figure out what you like and don’t like sexually, so you’ll know what works when you’re with another person, too.

Some people like to masturbate with another person – sometimes called mutual masturbation – which can add another layer of enjoyment to a relationship. But of course, it’s a personal choice.

It releases sexual tension

When you have an orgasm, you get an intense feeling of pleasure and release, along with the contraction of your genital muscles. So masturbation can be a beneficial way to release any sexual tension you may have built up.

It’s the safest sex you can have

If you’re masturbating alone, there’s no chance of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so it’s very safe sex.

And in the case of mutual masturbation, the risks are still low. Sperm would have to be transferred from a penis to a vagina – on fingers, for example – for there to be a risk of pregnancy. There’s also a risk of spreading or getting an STI from semen or vaginal fluid if you’re touching someone’s else’s genitals and your own, but again, it’s small.

However, if you feel like your masturbating is ‘out of control’ or it’s getting in the way of your life, you may want to speak to your doctor for advice.

It may reduce stress

According to a small study, sex may help you beat stress – and that includes masturbation.

In the study, people who had no sex at all were the ones who had the highest levels of stress when performing tasks such as public speaking and mental arithmetic in the stress tests – while those who had any type of sex were more relaxed. Lots of people say masturbation helps them to feel more relaxed, too.

It might help you stay healthy

Some research has suggested a link between how often you have sex and how strong your immune system is – although more research is needed to confirm this.

What we do know for certain is when you have an orgasm – during sex or masturbation – your body releases endorphins: ‘happy’ hormones that can block pain and contribute to making you feel good. That alone may be reason enough to masturbate regularly.

Key points

  • masturbation is normal and healthy
  • it can help you figure out what you like sexually
  • it’s safer than other types of sex
  • it can help you release sexual tension
  • it makes your body release hormones that contribute to making you feel good
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