Negative Side Effects of Masturbation

Man in bed is wearing a blue shirt with his fist up to his face looking at a woman who is at the edge of the bed with her arms crossed looki

As with any of the true pleasures in life, however, moderation is key. If you’re masturbating to an excessive degree, you could run the risk of not only interfering with your daily routine but your overall perception of life and fulfillment, too. It all depends on your approach — and how likelihood you are to become obsessive about it.

“People can have a negative relationship with masturbation, particularly if it means you are neglecting other areas of your life. If you masturbate in the morning and it makes you late for work, or if other relationships in your life feel neglected, that can be a challenge,” explains sex expert, oral sex instructor and manager of operations and outreach at Self Serve Toys, Hunter Riley. “Masturbation and sex are two different practices, and so are porn and ‘real life’ sex. Porn is not a representation of how most people have sex in real life, so as long as you keep realistic expectations about what you see in porn vs. what you expect from partners in real life, there shouldn’t be much of an impact to your sex life.”

To be clear, masturbation is healthy. The only issue is when it disrupts your lifestyle, your emotions, your relationship and your overall happiness. Here, a guide to the possible negative side effects of masturbation, and what to do if you find yourself in this situation:

1. How Masturbation Can Affect Your Physical Health

While your perception of masturbation might be the feel-good vibes it releases once you reach orgasm, Riley says there are plenty of other positive side effects of spending some time below your belt. “Masturbation has lots of positive health benefits including stress relief, help to get to sleep, reduced tension, boosted immunity and more,” she says.

But if you’re masturbating so fiercely and intensely, perhaps as a way to avoid other issues in your life that you don’t want to deal with or accept, you might cause some damage to your penis and testicles. Coleen Singer, sexpert at Sssh.com, says if you’re compulsive with your habits, you might experience rashes, redness and irritation to your genitals. This can be extremely painful, especially if you can’t keep yourself from masturbating, even when you’re raw or frankly, not in the mood. Though the obsessive-compulsive-must-touch-myself mentality is much more emotionally charged than physically inspired, the aftermath on your private areas could be extensive. That’s why seeking the advice of a therapist is recommended, and if you notice any irritation, begin using a lubricant to ward off the symptoms while you recover.

2. How Masturbation Can Affect Your Psychological Health

You might take the time to study and pay close attention to the reactions of your partner as you navigate different erogenous zones of her body, but how much TLC do you give yourself? When used as a method of determining new ways to please yourself that can be translated into your sexual experiences with a partner, masturbation can actually build your self-esteem. “Masturbation can increase self-confidence because you don’t have to rely on another person for sexual release and satisfaction. If you know how to please yourself, it can be easier to help a partner learn how to please you, which is a win for everyone,” Riley explains

But, if you have leftover guilty feelings from your childhood where your sexuality as suppressed, or if you feel dependent on your habits, you might find yourself struggling in the opposite direction. You might even rely so heavily on jerking yourself off, that you neglect to seek emotional assistance when you need it, or find other ways to manage your moods. “Since masturbation does improve mood and create a sensation of happiness, some people could begin to use masturbation too frequently and it could become an unhealthy stress reliever,” Geter says.


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