Masturbation – the sexual arousing of men or women by touching or gently shaking their genitals.

In ancient times masturbation was stigmatised as having adverse health effects. But with the advancement of search and studies related to this topic, people started becoming more positive about it in the recent past. However, there still are some myths associated with masturbation. In this post, we will discuss the top myths about masturbation and debunk all of these myths on the basis of science.

#1. Does masturbation cause low testosterone levels?

Fitness-freaks, bodybuilders, athletes know how important testosterones are for enhancing their performance. Testosterones due to their capability of retaining nitrogen, are essential for the development of muscle mass. Now not just maintaining muscle mass, but low levels of testosterones can cause depression and anxiety. Testosterones also help melt down those extra pounds.

So now that we know how important Testosterones are, we don’t want them to get low. Nuh-uh! There are people who abstain from ejaculation before any major event and performance. They tend to save the energy for better performance. Mike Tyson, the Boxing Legend quoted, “I never knew that conquering so many women takes so much from you more than adds so much to you. I always read that the great fighters never had sex before fights and I was a young kid and I wanted to be the youngest heavyweight champion in the world, so I restrained myself from sex for around five years.” A study conducted by Jiang M at Zhejiang University showed ejaculation does not decrease T levels. But it is true that sexual abstinence for more than a week shows an increase in testosterone levels.

Fig 1.  A research on the relationship between ejaculation and serum testosterone level in men

So is it safe to masturbate without lowering testosterone levels? Yes, it is, provided you do it once or twice every week and not more than that if you are in your 20s. But for men in their 50s, the whole scenario is different. Keep Reading!

#2. Does masturbation causes prostate cancer?

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No, it doesn’t. A study conducted by Leitzmann MF, Platz EA, Stampfer MJ, et al. Ejaculation Frequency and Subsequent Risk of Prostate Cancer. Journal of the American Medical Association 2004 suggests there is no relation between ejaculation and increased rate of prostate cancer.

However, they concluded that higher frequency of ejaculation was related to decrease in risk of prostate cancer. Another study conducted by Polyxeni Dimitropoulou in the University of Cambridge suggests that young men who frequently indulged themselves in various sexual activities increased the risk of prostate cancer, whereas men in their 50s indulged in frequent sexual activities decreased the risk of prostate cancer.

#3. Does masturbation cause hair fall?

Hairfall is related to several factors including DHT (dihydrotestosterone), and most people suffer male pattern baldness because of excessive DHT. However other factors like scalp dandruff, stress tend to worsen the situation. DHT is a dihydrogenated testosterone which is synthesised by the hydrogenation of testosterone by 5α-reductase. The internet is flooded with questions related to DHT and its effect on hair thinning and male pattern baldness. But before we consider DHT as the antagonist, we need to know how DHT is responsible for:

  • Body hair growth
  • Sexual characteristics in male
  • Development of prostate glands

There is this deficiency named 5α-reductase deficiency in some men. Men with this deficiency grow up with underdeveloped genitals, and sometimes end up being infertile. Now you don’t want that, right? I love my genitals and so does everybody. So, turns out DHT is not the bad guy. But an excess of it may cause some severe problems:

  • Acne
  • Hair loss
  • High blood pressure

If you experience any of these symptoms you should pay a visit to the doctor and check your DHT levels with a serum DHT test or whatever test your doctor suggests. Now coming to the link between masturbation and DHT, there are no studies that suggest masturbation causes hair-fall. However, there are studies conducted which suggest masturbation release oxytocin, which enhances the reduction capability of 5alpha-reductase and hence the conversion of testosterone to dihydrotestosterone takes place more rapidly. And the excess DHT produced can shrink the hair follicles and cause hair-fall.

Fig 2: Oxytocin and prostatic function
Image Credit: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8714010

Think of it this way, If masturbation or sex is the major cause of DHT synthesis then why is not every pornstar bald? Even if there are a whole lot of bald porn actors, I know of many who look like hairy grizzly bears. So, dump this false notion like a bad habit. Oxytocin is not the only hormone that is the sole cause of conversion of testosterone to DHT. Other causes like stress, depression, lack of sleep and God know what else is also responsible for that hair-fall problem.

One more thing, if it was not for oxytocin (also known as the maternal hormone), there would be no lactation in women. So, not the worst hormone to happen, right? Don’t judge a hormone by its name. Ok! that’s lame.

#4. Does masturbation cause hairy palms?

Fig 3: It’s my left palm. Is it hairy?

No, stop listening to your grandma, the neighbour’s kid, any random person you meet who’s gonna somehow find a link between masturbation and anything bad that happens in life.

Look! Life IS unfair. But that doesn’t mean you gonna blame masturbation for it. If you are losing your hair, maybe that’s hereditary. If you are weak maybe you need to see a doctor. If you met with an accident, maybe that happened because you were high. Masturbation is not the dark energy behind all of it. Or is it?

#5. Does masturbation have health benefits?

Though masturbation sounds like a sin to some out there, there are some health benefits related to it.

  • It reduces stress
  • Helps in getting rid of sexual tension
  •  Increases blood flow to the genitals
  •  Stimulate endorphin production, allowing better oxygen metabolism and more efficient cell functioning throughout the body
  • Works as a treatment for sexual dysfunction.

Now that you have all the facts in front of you. All the myths debunked. You get to decide if you’re gonna use that bazooka every day or you use it wisely.

That’s it for today’s post. Stay healthy, wealthy and wise… Dreamers!