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This question has probably been asked by almost everyone at some point in their lives. But the answers we receive vary from "it is very good" to "it is very bad".

I can understand that becoming obsessive about it is bad (in fact becoming obsessive about anything is bad). But this seems a psychological effect, not one that brings actual physical harm.

Is there any definite evidence to say that it is good or bad ?

By bad, I mean do we see any definite physical effects like impotency, nerve weakness (some people say your nerves weaken), etc?

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    Don't forget hairy palms, blindness and a degenerate spinal cord.
    – Lagerbaer
    May 6 '11 at 5:14
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    Given the fact that primitive cultures have successfully started fires via friction, I would say there is a definite possibility that there might be bad consequences.
    – user5341
    May 6 '11 at 5:58
  • 1
    It's all good.
    – Rusty
    May 6 '11 at 9:18
  • 7
    I think the proof to the contrary is that there seem to be a lot of post-teen boys walking around on the planet in good health.
    – JohnFx
    Jun 4 '11 at 20:25
  • 2
    Stop rubbing your eyes, you'll become impotent!
    – nico
    Sep 20 '11 at 20:32
84

Masturbation is in NO way bad for your health.

Just keep in mind...

Masturbation is very safe -- but not entirely safe.

But masturbation safety isn't guaranteed. "Masturbation is just about the safest sex there is," says Cornog. "But the laws of physics and biology don't stop operating just because someone is masturbating."

In certain extremely rare instances, masturbation and partner sex alike can cause penile fracture, which is a medical emergency that often necessitates surgery - source


General Health Benefits

  • Muscle relaxation
  • Helps you to fall asleep
  • Promotes release of the brain’s opioid-like neurotransmitters (endorphins), which cause feelings of physical and mental well being.
  • Reduces stress
  • Enhances Self-Esteem source

Bonus Health Benefits for Females

  • Building resistance to yeast infections.
  • Combating pre-menstrual tension and other physical conditions associated menstrual cycles, like cramps.
  • Relieving painful menstruation by increasing blood flow to the pelvic region. This will also reduce pelvic cramping and related backaches.
  • Masturbation is associated with improved cardiovascular health and lower risk of type-2 diabetes.

Prostate Cancer

Some interesting research...

Whereas frequent overall sexual activity in younger life (20s) increased the disease risk, it appeared to be protective against the disease when older (50s). Alone, frequent masturbation activity was a marker for increased risk in the 20s and 30s but appeared to be associated with a decreased risk in the 50s, while intercourse activity alone was not associated with the disease. - Sexual activity and prostate cancer risk in men diagnosed at a younger age

However...

The researchers theorize that it may not be the masturbation itself which is increasing risk of prostate cancer in men who masturbate frequently in their 20s and 30s. Men who masturbate more may do so because they have high levels of male sex hormones -- and young men genetically predisposed to have hormone-sensitive prostate cancer will be at higher risk if they have more male hormones. In men over age 50, the researchers theorize, frequent masturbation helps drain the prostate of fluids that may contain cancer-causing substances.. - WebMD


The Bottom Line...

Masturbation is in NO way bad for your health.


Sources...
FOXSexpert: The Health Benefits of Masturbation
The decloseting of masturbation ?
Masturbation - Better Health Channel: Victorian Department of Health
Masturbation: 5 Things You Didn't Know
Health benefits of self cultivation

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  • 9
    What's the source for the claim about self esteem?
    – Christian
    Jun 9 '11 at 14:26
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    also according to TED its the best painkiller for headaches (if you achieve orgasm) blog.ted.com/2009/05/20/10_things_you_d
    – Xitcod13
    Aug 8 '12 at 0:56
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    Orgasm can cause headaches because of muscle contractions in the neck. TED is not a credible source.
    – Keyo
    Feb 4 '13 at 9:30
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    -1 none of this shows that it is "in NO way bad for your health" for example there are arguments that is bad for your psychological health (at the very least some religions/philosophies claim so)
    – Celeritas
    Nov 14 '13 at 9:08
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    @Keyo why is TED not a credible source?
    – Celeritas
    Dec 29 '13 at 7:14
3

As explained in the answer by Rusty, masturbation, in general, is not bad for health. However, there are a few caveats:

  1. Prone masturbation might be detrimental to male sexual health. Refer to Is prone masturbation detrimental to your sex life? for analysis on this.
  2. Masturbation using sex toys, if done incorrectly, may cause UTIs or spread infections. This is explained in a medically reviewed article from Everyday Health.
  3. Masturbation might cause negative psychological effects such as guilt in people with certain cultural, spiritual or religious beliefs. Source: Healthline Article.
  4. Masturbation can cause frustration and other negative psychological effects in people with conditions such as erectile dysfunction, low libido, or post-orgasmic illness syndrome. Source: Healthline Article.
  5. Many psychologists believe that masturbation can become addictive, as mentioned in an article by clinical psychologist Dr. Lisa Firestone.
  6. Sources which provide evidence that masturbation is good or not harmful to health often make this claim about masturbation in itself, and not masturbation to pornography. Masturbation with the use of pornography may cause potential negative effects such as self-perceived pornography addiction. Some pornography users exhibit problematic pornography use, where their pornography-use profile (“problematic high-frequency use”) is associated with negative effects on well-being, such as depressive symptoms and self-esteem issues.
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    Nice first post, welcome to Skeptics (sceptics if you're from the UK). Aug 25 at 3:18

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