What is Masturbation: Benefits and Side Effects

Dr. Danish Sayed

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Danish Sayed

General Physician

8 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Masturbation is very rarely discussed and when it is, it is heavily stigmatized
  • Masturbation is a highly intimate act and a good way to release the build-up of sexual tension
  • Educating yourself of the various masturbation effects, whether positive or negative, is the way to curbs misinformation

When it comes to masturbation effects, there is a lot of conflicting information, myths and half-truths in the air. This is mainly because it is an act that is very rarely discussed and when it is, it is heavily stigmatised. However, in truth, masturbation effects on the body are rarely negative and generally bring about several positive reactions. Masturbation is a highly intimate act and a good way to release the build-up of sexual tension, which is known to bring about negative feelings.

What is Masturbation?

Masturbation, which involves touching the genitalia or other delicate body parts with the purpose of evoking sexual satisfaction or pleasure, is a common practice.

Masturbation is a healthy and safe method to experience pleasure, explore your body, and let go of stored-up sexual tension. People from all backgrounds, genders, and ethnicities experience it. In fact, according to one survey of older adults, between 27 and 40 per cent of women and 41 to 65 per cent of males admitted to masturbating in the previous month.

Despite popular belief, masturbation has no physically dangerous side effects.

Masturbation that is excessive or obsessive can occasionally be hazardous or indicate other mental health issues. Masturbation is often a joyful, normal, and healthy act.

Masturbation, as an act, is safe and causes no physical harm. However, it does affect the brain and triggers several reactions. To know more about the different masturbation effects on the body and its impact on the brain, mood and any other aspects of everyday life, take a look at these points.

Benefits of Masturbation

As mentioned earlier, there are very rarely any negative outcomes from masturbation and here are a few benefits to highlight this fact.

Proven to be beneficial for health

Masturbation increases blood flow throughout the body while also releasing endorphins, which are feel-good brain chemicals. Even if there is an orgasm, the mood is improved.

Helps with post-menopausal sex issues

During menopause, many women experience changes. Without a doubt, masturbation may be beneficial. In fact, the vagina might narrow, which can make vaginal examinations and sexual intercourse more unpleasant. However, masturbation, especially when done with a water-based lubricant, can actually stimulate sexual desire, relieve certain tissue and moisture issues, and avoid constriction.

It doesn't need to happen quickly (or end with an orgasm)

Simply said, masturbation is not a "fast" experience. Rushing and concentrating too much on the orgasm can both lessen how pleasurable it is.

Toys can be beneficial to induce an orgasm

Between the ages of 18 and 60, about half of women have used a sex toy like a vibrator or dildo. A vibrator, which does stimulate the nerve endings in the clitoris, may be helpful if one has problems climaxing to orgasm.

Facilitates the release of hormones

Research has found that masturbation causes sexual pleasure, and this leads to a release of hormones from the brain’s pleasure centre. These hormones have a role to play in several aspects of everyday living. Here is a quick overview of these hormones and their effect on the body.

  • Oxytocin: Often referred to as the love hormone, oxytocin brings about happiness and promotes social, sexual and maternal behaviours. Additionally, oxytocin facilitates positive social interactions, growth, healing and overall wellbeing as well.
  • Dopamine: Otherwise known as the happiness hormone, this neurotransmitter is associated with reward-seeking acts, movement and motivation in the brain.
  • Serotonin: This neurotransmitter acts as a mediator for happiness, satisfaction and optimism. Studies have also found that higher serotonin level in the bodywork toward improving a person’s mood.
  • Adrenaline: This hormone regulates metabolism, heart rate and airway diameters. What’s more, it also works toward lowering stress.
  • Endocannabinoids: These are neurotransmitters that regulate inflammation, pain, cardiovascular function, addition, memory, depression and learning. Additionally, it plays a vital role when performing rewarding acts like eating, social interactions and exercise.
  • Prolactin: This is a hormone that plays a key role in emotional regulation and promotes a physiological response to stress management and reproduction.
  • Endorphins: These are chemicals that provide the rush associated with exercise and act as the body’s natural pain killer.

Masturbation effect on memory

Enhances cognition Studies have found a positive way in which masturbation affects memory. This is because masturbation releases prolactin and dopamine in the body. The former has a neuroprotective effect and the latter has found to promote healthy cognition. In fact, a study found that increase sexual activity improved number sequencing and recall in older males and females.

Boosts immunity

Research suggests a beneficial aspect to the way masturbation affects immunity. This is primarily because both prolactin and endocannabinoid are known to regulate immune function in the body. What’s more, these boost the hormones that are known to lower stress.

Additional Read: List of Superfoods to Help Boost Immunity

Reduces pain

Due to the release of both endorphins and endocannabinoids, research has found that masturbation helps reduce the pain felt by the body. This is because endocannabinoids keep inflammation and pain processes in check while endorphins act as pain killers. In fact, masturbation may also help during pregnancy as it reduces lower back pain. However, do so only after consulting your doctor.

Improves sex life

Some studies suggest a beneficial effect on sexual function for those who masturbate. These studies found improved sexual wellness and positive function too. Moreover, masturbation boosts self-esteem and this can be vital to having fulfilling sexual encounters.

Side Effects of Masturbation

Masturbation and guilt

A person's cultural, spiritual, or religious views may induce them to feel bad about masturbating. Even though masturbation is neither immoral nor unlawful, you may still receive messages that it is "filthy" and "shameful." If you feel guilty about masturbating, you can talk to a trusted friend or relative about why you feel this way and, if you'd like to, how to get over your guilt. You might find it useful to seek the assistance of therapists who focus on sexual health if you want to get rid of the guilt or shame you experience when you masturbate.

Masturbatory addiction

Anything in excess has the potential to be harmful. Excessive masturbation may lead to the following:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Early ejaculation
  • It may also prevent you from having sex with your spouse
  • A penis injury
  • Vision alterations
  • A lower back ache
  • Pain in the testicles
  • Loss of hair

If it harms your relationships or other aspects of your life, interferes with your career or academics, or both, then you may be deemed to be masturbating excessively. In addition, the fact that you don't spend as much time with your loved ones as you once did or that you don't take care of their needs could also harm your romantic ties and friendships.

Consider talking to a doctor or counsellor about strategies to reduce your masturbation if you're concerned that you may be doing it too frequently. 

Consider talk therapy if you want to reduce your masturbation. You may also try cutting back by doing other things instead of masturbating. The next time you have the desire to masturbate, try:

  • Taking a run
  • Journal writing
  • Socializing with friends
  • Taking a stroll

Masturbation effects on kidney

Due to the stigma that surrounds masturbation, there are a few negative effects as well. These are general feelings of guilt as it is often thought of as a shameful act. In addition to that, the myths surrounding masturbation may also bring about anxiety. The spread of misinformation such as the supposed masturbation effects on kidney or that masturbation results in blindness can be a source of great distress. Another popular myth is that masturbation causes the growth of hair on your palms or hands. This is false, and this type of misinformation can lead to anxiety.

In addition to this, another side effect of masturbation is that it increases the risk of developing compulsive sexual behaviour. This is an addiction to masturbation that can disrupt everyday life and act as a roadblock to building and maintaining relationships. It can lower productivity, make you anti-social, lead to you skip responsibilities and make you less attentive to others around you.

Myths About Masturbation

There are a number of widespread myths regarding masturbation that lack solid scientific support.

For instance, masturbating doesn't result in the following:

  • Infertility
  • Dehydration
  • Hormonal imbalances
  • Changes in the penis's size or shape
  • Lower sperm count
  • Reduced vision
  • Acne
  • Hairy palms
  • Erectile dysfunction
  • Lower libido

Some people could also think that masturbation hurts love relationships or shows one partner isn't happy with their sexual experience.

However, many people discover that masturbating alone or with their spouse may really improve their sex life, despite the fact that excessive masturbation might have negative consequences.

Additionally, masturbation may offer a number of health advantages and is among the safest kinds of sex because there is no chance of pregnancy or STIs.

Educating yourself of the various masturbation effects, whether positive or negative, is the right way to go as it curbs the spread of misinformation. It is important to understand that masturbation is normal and there are no known physical side effects to it. However, as mentioned earlier, it can be addictive, and this can lead to problems with everyday life. If the addiction develops into compulsive behaviour, this issue requires proper care and treatment. Whether you want to know more about masturbation or seek treatment for an addiction, it is always a good idea to talk to an expert such as a sexologist, a general physician, or a specialist like a gynaecologist. To find the most suitable specialist and to do it easily, be sure to use the Bajaj Finserv Health App.

This digital tool makes availing of quality healthcare simpler and easier than ever. With the smart doctor search feature, you can now find the top specialists in your city effortlessly through your smartphone. To make things faster, you can book appointments at clinics completely online. What’s more, the app enables you to consult doctors virtually, over the video, making remote care a viable solution when an in-person visit isn’t feasible. Another notable feature is the health library which you can use to learn about different health conditions and preventive care practices. For easy access to these benefits and more, download the app for free on Google Play or the Apple App Store.

Published on 2 Mar 2021Last updated on 2 Dec 2022

Frequently Asked Questions

The neurotransmitters dopamine and oxytocin, which are involved in controlling mood and elevating sensations of pleasure, are connected to sexual behavior, including masturbation. Numerous additional advantages, such as lowered stress levels, increased self-esteem, and increased overall satisfaction in older persons, have also been linked to sexual pleasure.

Even while it may be a joyful, healthy, and natural activity, some individuals may decide to stop masturbating if it becomes obsessive or starts to affect their relationships or other activities. Some people may also choose to stop masturbating for ethical or religious reasons.

There is no "normal" frequency for masturbation, claims the International Society for Sexual Medicine. While some people might choose to masturbate every day, weekly, or monthly, others could decide not to. Masturbation is harmless and beneficial as long as it doesn't have a negative impact on your relationships or interfere with other activities like work or school.

No, masturbation won't help you lose weight. Excessive masturbation, on the other hand, might cause you to lose weight because, theoretically, it is an activity.


  1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/masturbation-effects-on-brain#negative-effects
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/masturbation-side-effects#during-pregnancy
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/masturbation-side-effects#sexual-sensitivity

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Danish Sayed

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Danish Sayed

, MBBS 1 , MD - Physician 3

Dr Danish Ali is a trusted Sexologist in C-Scheme, Jaipur. He has been a successful Sexologist for the last many years. Dr Danish completed his MBBS,M.D (medicine) - Kazakh National Medical University in 2012, PGDS (sexology) - Indian Institute of Sexology in 2015 and Fellowship in Sexual Medicine - IMA-CGP in 2016. Dr.Danish is the first certified sexologist of USA from jaipur. Specializing in sexology Dr Danish deals in treatments like couples therapy, sexual therapy, night fall, erectile dysfunction, penis growth, premaritial counseling, infertility, impotency, masturbation, sexual transmitted diseases (STD), syphillis, burning micturition, sexual stamina, premature ejaculation and male sexual problems. Dr Danish practices at Famous Pharmacy in C-scheme in Jaipur and has 7 years of experience. Dr Danish also holds membership in Indian Medical Association (IMA), Indian Association of Sexologist, Indian Society for Reproduction and Fertility and Jaipur Medical Assosiation.


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