Whether it's to blow off steam or moisten up a dry spell, masturbation is a universal human pastime, regardless of an individual's gender or sexual orientation. There are a lot of myths out there about the purported effects of masturbation. From tales of masturbation leading to blindness and hairy palms, to the misconception that masturbation is abnormal and 'dirty'–there's a lot of sift through.
Scientifically speaking, the answer is no. You cannot cause erectile dysfunction through masturbation alone. It's important to remember that healthy erections require a lot of disparate bodily systems to work together and work well. As a result, there are a vast array of both psychological and physiological factors that can contribute to an ED. These include age, depression, pelvic floor trauma and cardiovascular issues–to name a few.
In fact, research actually shows masturbation to be a 'promising approach' to the recovery of erectile function in people who recently underwent a radical prostatectomy. What's more, the benefits of masturbation can help address some of the psychological components of ED through relieving stress, mood elevation, and improved sleep quality. As biochemist Daniel Kelly notes in The Conversation, there are numerous studies that point to the benefits of masturbation. Whether it's the release of endorphins after an orgasm or a better grasp on sexual desires and pleasures, science dependably points to masturbation as a net-positive behaviour.
Though there is a no scientific evidence that points to masturbation being a cause of ED, there are a few indirect links that could psychologically contribute to an ED.
For some, masturbation includes viewing pornography. A Behavioral Sciences clinical report explored the connection between porn consumption and ED, positing that internet porn's limitlessness could account for the rise in erectile dysfunction in sexually active men under 40. This report suggested that internet porn's 24/7 availability and unending novelty affected erectile function because it conditions viewers to a set of sexual stimuli that aren't matched in reality. To learn more about porn and ED read our blog post.
Societally, culturally, and religiously, there are a lot of messages that paint masturbation as a dirty, shameful, sinful activity. These negative perceptions of masturbation can cause individuals psychological stress, guilt, and anxiety. These psychological factors affect your central nervous system, which is one of the key components of achieving healthy erections. When your central nervous system is compromised by stressful or anxious thoughts, this impairs your brain's ability to transmit the erotic signals necessary to create an erection.
Something masturbation and ED have in common is the hefty amount of stigma they both carry. When it comes to masturbation, it's important to remember that it is a common, safe, and pleasurable sexual activity–with many health benefits! The idea that it alone causes ED is about as scientifically accurate as saying masturbation results in blindness. These myths are meant to promote abstaining from masturbation by using shaming scare-tactics.
Here at Regimen, we work to de-stigmatize all aspects of men's intimate health. This means empowering you with research-based knowledge and a science-backed ED treatment plan that puts you in control.
Join the digital program that empowers you to treat your erection problems with a holistic approach. Self-assess your erectile function now and immediately receive guidance on how to improve it.