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    Masturbation and Health: The Effects of Masturbation on Your Health

    Updated 12 February 2022 |
    Published 01 October 2018
    Fact Checked
    Anna Klepchukova
    Reviewed by Anna Klepchukova, Flo chief medical officer, UK
    Flo Fact-Checking Standards

    Every piece of content at Flo Health adheres to the highest editorial standards for language, style, and medical accuracy. To learn what we do to deliver the best health and lifestyle insights to you, check out our content review principles.

    Get to know a few interesting facts about masturbation and its effects on your health in the article below.

    Does everyone masturbate?

    Did you know that the clitoris has approximately 8,000 nerve endings?

    That is more than any other area of skin on your body and accounts for the sensations felt during intercourse and sexual activity. 

    Masturbation is very common.

    According to recent statistics, more than half of American women aged 18–49 (both single and those with partners) masturbate at least once every three months.

    How does masturbation affect health?

    Stimulating your own erogenous zones is a relatively common phenomenon.

    However, many people have doubts about whether masturbation is harmless to their health and whether it affects their menstrual cycle regularity.

    These fears regarding masturbation are common but not based on fact. The truth is that experts emphasize the positive aspects of masturbation, including:

    • Getting to know your own body better
    • Improving your sex life, as masturbation makes you more confident and aware of your sexual responses
    • Relieving stress
    • Boosting your mood due to the release of endorphins

    Masturbation is generally safe and even good for you. It can help you explore your body and relieve both sexual and emotional tension. It can benefit your sleep quality and may help when you feel down or irritable.

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    Contrary to myths, self-pleasure doesn’t cause blindness or infertility. While masturbating, you cannot become pregnant or contract sexually transmitted infections. Just make sure not to use someone else’s sex toys, because infections are spread through seminal and vaginal fluids.

    If masturbation doesn’t cause you discomfort or interfere with your daily life, it is absolutely harmless.

    Masturbation health effects

    Can your clitoris become less sensitive if you masturbate too often?

    The clitoris is built for pleasure. However, it is an incredibly sensitive organ with a huge number of nerve endings, and its prolonged direct stimulation can result in temporary desensitization.

    You may feel like you have lost the ability to be aroused and reach orgasm, but after a while, sensations will return to normal.

    A longer loss of sensitivity can be caused by hormonal changes (e.g., menopause, taking certain medications, etc.)

    If you are concerned, contact your health care provider for advice.

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    Potential negative aspects to watch out for

    Masturbation is common among people of all genders. It helps you discover your body and your needs, relieve stress, and improve your relationship with your partner.

    However, despite the advantages of masturbation, there can be negative aspects in rare cases.

    Too much masturbation can make it hard to reach orgasm during sex if the body gets used to the stimulation of specific places that may then be neglected during sexual intercourse.

    In some cases, self-pleasure can also become an addiction and interfere with your everyday life. 

    Finally, if clitoral stimulation is too intense, it can sometimes result in increased clitoral sensitivity, which may make sex painful for a little while.

    Remember that masturbation has no long-term negative consequences and is completely normal and healthy in moderation.

    References

    Sex FAQs and Statistics. The Kinsey Institute, https://kinseyinstitute.org/research/faq.php.

    Herbenick, Debra, et al. “Prevalence and Characteristics of Vibrator Use by Women in the United States: Results from a Nationally Representative Study.” Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd, 7 May 2009, www.jsm.jsexmed.org/article/S1743-6095(15)32585-6/fulltext.

    “Masturbation Q&A.” NHS Choices, NHS, 21 May 2018, www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Goodsex/pages/masturbation.aspx.

    Azadzoi, Kazem M, and Mike B Siroky. “Neurologic Factors in Female Sexual Function and Dysfunction.” Korean Journal of Urology, The Korean Urological Association, July 2010, www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2907491/.

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