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Can Masturbation Increase Life Expectancy?

Hold up, the secret to a longer life is…masturbating? In this article, we explore the truth in this statement, bust masturbation myths, and dive into all the different benefits of solo sex including better sex, improved emotional health, and physical health benefits such as reduced risk of prostate cancer and boosted immunity.

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There are many reasons why we masturbate - for some, it relieves sexual tension, and for others it simply helps with relaxation. For most of us, masturbating just makes us feel good. As it should, because masturbating actually has a ton of benefits for both our sex life and our emotional wellbeing. This article will explore these different benefits as well as potential side-effects that can arise from excessive masturbation, and will conclude by answering the question at large - will masturbating help me live longer?


About Masturbation

Masturbation is an act of self-pleasuring, and refers to the self-stimulation of one’s own genitals to achieve sexual pleasure, often to the point of climax.


It’s not something that’s often discussed, and there’s a lot of talk about masturbating being shameful, dirty, or even harmful. Yet the truth is that most people do it and it’s a common and normal experience. No, masturbation won’t give you deformed genitals or give you pimples, nor will it ruin other kinds of sex for you or limit your orgasms. 


In fact, it is a safe act, and may even have many benefits ranging from better sex to a stronger immune system. Masturbation is the safest form of sex you can have as you can’t get pregnant nor get any sexually transmitted infections (STIs) from it - and yet it can still be an extremely pleasurable experience.


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Sexual Health Benefits Of Masturbation

Regular masturbation can actually improve your stamina in bed and help you last longer during sex. Masturbating before sex, for instance, can help release sexual tension and help make the penis less sensitive, reducing the sensations felt during sex that trigger an orgasm. 


The refractory period, which is the time period after an orgasm during which a man is unable to ejaculate again until his next orgasm, may be a reason for this. Older men often experience longer refractory periods, meaning that they may need a longer time to recuperate before being able to orgasm again. This refractory period may allow you to last longer in bed and prolong sexual pleasure if you’ve already masturbated before sexual intercourse. 


If you’ve finished once from masturbation, then you’d likely be more at ease and take your time enjoying sex - compared to feeling the need to rush to fulfill your desire to orgasm and eventually finishing too quickly. 


Emotional Health Benefits Of Masturbation

Masturbation is an act of self-love and allows you to get to know your own body better. Learning to find joy in your body and figuring out how to pleasure yourself can help boost your self-esteem and confidence. 


Masturbation also causes your body to release happy hormones such as dopamine, endorphins, and oxytocin. Hormones are chemicals that travel through your bloodstream to tissues or organs and affect many bodily processes. These happy hormones are known to help promote feelings such as happiness and pleasure. 


Here’s how happy hormones can affect you: 


1. Dopamine 


Dopamine is known as the feel-good neurotransmitter made in the brain, acting as a messenger between neurons. It is released when you come to associate a certain activity with pleasure and when you feel like you’re being rewarded. For instance, eating food you love or experiencing sexual pleasure can raise your dopamine levels, which boosts your mood, motivation, and even your focus and attention span. There’s no actual research on ‘post-nut clarity’, a popular term you might’ve come across describing that moment of sudden lucidity after an orgasm, but it may be accounted for by the release of dopamine. 


2. Endorphins


You’ve probably heard of the term “endorphin rush” used to describe the feeling after an exciting or fun activity. Endorphins are groups of protein chains called peptides - they’re also a type of neurotransmitter. The term comes from the words “endogenous”, which means it originates from the body, and “morphine”, which is a pain reliever medication. They relieve pain in the body and can also boost your mood, which is why they’re released during both painful experiences and pleasurable activities. 


3. Oxytocin


Oxytocin is known as the “love hormone”, and is a neurotransmitter in the brain. Lovemaking activities such as orgasms and even hugging raises levels of oxytocin. It has been suggested that oxytocin could be beneficial for social phobia, autism, and postpartum depression, and could improve certain neuropsychiatric disorders. The hormone influences social behaviour and emotion, and is often associated with feelings of empathy, trust, and of course, love. 


Oxytocin is also associated with destressing, relaxation and even healing. Oxytocin is released during orgasm, and helps to reduce blood pressure and cortisol (a stress hormone) levels. It also increases pain thresholds and promotes growth and healing. 


Physical Health Benefits Of Masturbation

1. Reduces Risk Of Prostate Cancer 


Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer among men. The prostate is a small gland in males that produces some of the fluid that is part of semen, meant to nourish and transport sperm. 


Some studies have shown that masturbation may in fact reduce the risk of prostate cancer. A 2004 study found that a high frequency of ejaculation (21 or more times per month) was related to a reduced risk of total prostate cancer and similarly for organ confined prostate cancer. 


Another study in 2016 also investigated this claim using self-reported data from 31,925 male participants and showed that men with 21 or more ejaculations per month at ages 20 to 49 had a significantly lower risk of prostate cancer. 


However, these findings remain ambiguous since the research overall has been inconsistent and even contradictory. For instance, a 2016 review found that while some studies reported that masturbation and ejaculation variables could lead to reduced prostate cancer risk, some also reported causal relations or no statistically significant relations. Certain articles also showed multiple findings such as no relations early in life and protective elements only later on in life. 


2. Boosts Immune System


Masturbation can also potentially have an impact on the immune system because of the sexual stimulation and orgasm that occurs as a result. 


According to a 2004 study with 11 volunteers, sexual activity and orgasms do increase the numbers of Natural Killer (NK) cells, reflecting how the certain parts of the immune system are activated during sexual arousal. NK cells are best known for killing virally infected cells. They protect your body against diseases and can also help control early signs of cancer. 


However, the study also found that orgasms had a limited effect on T or B cell subsets (major cellular components of the adaptive immune response), so while there may be an effect on your immune system, it may be a restricted one.


Currently, there are only a few small studies suggesting that sexual arousal does boost the immune system, much less a specific link between masturbation and immunity. 


So Does Masturbation Increase Life Expectancy?

Well, there are some studies that prove that high frequencies of masturbation does relate to a lower mortality risk and therefore higher life expectancy, but we still can’t say for sure. 


A 1997 Wales study of 918 men aged 45-49 found an inverse relation between orgasmic frequency and mortality after a 10 year follow up. They discovered that the mortality risk of the group with a high frequency of orgasm was 50% lower than that of the group with a low frequency. 


However, there is still insufficient scientific evidence and research to prove this correlation. Yet sexual arousal and pleasure do contribute to one’s overall health, so even though there is no direct evidence for the relationship between masturbation and life expectancy, we know that masturbation is still pretty good for you.


Are There Any Negative Side Effects Of Masturbation? 


Masturbation doesn’t have any negative or harmful side effects, especially physical ones. However, almost anything done in excess can have its problems - too much of anything is rarely a good thing. Excessive masturbation and even the development of an addiction to masturbation can be developed over time. 


Developing such an addiction can adversely impact your life. If you find yourself missing work, school, or important social events, skipping daily activities, cancelling plans with friends or families to masturbate, these are likely signs that you are spending too much time masturbating. 


If you feel that your masturbation habits are negatively impacting your life, you should speak with a healthcare professional or consider consulting a sex therapist, who can help you with strategies to cope with and overcome the issue. 


If you’re feeling awkward about meeting a therapist or simply want a more convenient option to suit your schedule and preferences, online sex therapy may work best for you. Here at Noah, we offer online sex therapy with professional and accredited therapists who will help you assess the root cause of your problem and then design methods to help you overcome the issue and improve your sex life.


The Takeaway


Masturbation may not exactly be scientifically proven to increase life expectancy, but there’s no denying that it does come with its benefits.


It can help you learn what you prefer or enjoy during sex and allow you to explore your own body and bodily pleasures. Not only is it safer than other forms of sex, but it may also help you last longer in bed. 


Masturbation also has a plethora of emotional health benefits, including boosting feel-good chemicals in your brain that can help with your overall mood and even your social behaviour. Overall, it is said to reduce stress and to help with relaxation. 

 

Experiencing orgasms and sexual pleasure can be beneficial to your overall health. Masturbating once or even twice a day is fine, and there really is no ‘normal’ amount of masturbation for any one person. However, forming an addiction to masturbation that affects your life in terms of productivity or your personal relationships can be an issue, and you should consider seeking professional help if you find yourself in this situation. 


On the other hand, if you find yourself wanting more from your sessions, consider using sex toys to bring your solo sex to the next level. It’s not true that only single people masturbate - it’s perfectly normal and even healthy for you to masturbate even if you’re in a happy relationship. It can even be a helpful tool to boost libido (sex drive) and for you to try new sexual activities with your partner, such as masturbating together. 


If you want to add some oomph to your time in the bedroom, we’d recommend the Noah x Lelo FIS V2. If you’re feeling like you need a leg up either from your solo sessions in bed or even sex with your partner, the FIS V2 could be what’s missing. It is a high-tech fleshlight that uses special training programmes to teach you how to last longer in bed and also comes with app support so you have greater control over the pleasure you experience. Worth a try? We’d say so. 


With Noah, a digital health clinic for men in Singapore, you can speak to a therapist and get the treatment you need from the comfort of home. Doctors on our platform are best equipped to help you determine the best course of action and can prescribe you with the right medication should you need it. If you need something a little different, like the FIS V2, or need to get some lubricant quickly, we offer discreet delivery - within 4 hours, at no additional cost.

Disclaimer


Articles featured on Noah are for informational purposes only and should not be constituted as medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. If you have any medical questions or concerns, please talk to your healthcare provider. If you're looking for a healthcare provider, click here.


References



Uvnäs-Moberg K., Petersson M., 2015. Oxytocin, ein Vermittler von Antistress, Wohlbefinden, sozialer Interaktion, Wachstum und Heilung/ Oxytocin, a mediator of anti-stress, well-being, social interaction, growth and healing. Zeitschrift für Psychosomatische Medizin und Psychotherapie, 51(1), pp. 57-80. (Link)


Gottlieb, S., 2004. Frequent ejaculation may be linked to decreased risk of prostate cancer. BMJ, 328(7444), pp. 851. (Link)


Rider J.R., Wilson K.M., Sinnott J.A., et.al., 2016. Ejaculation Frequency and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Updated Results with an Additional Decade of Follow-up. Prostate Cancer Editorial, 70(6), pp. 974-982. (Link)


Aboul-Enein B.H., Bernstein J., Ross M.W., 2016. Evidence for Masturbation and Prostate Cancer Risk: Do We Have a Verdict? Sex Med Rev, 4(3), pp. 229-234. (Link)


Haake P., Krueger T.H., Goebel M.U., Heberling K.M., Hartmann U., Schedlowski M., 2004. Effects of sexual arousal on lymphocyte subset circulation and cytokine production in man. Neuroimmunomodulation, 11(5), pp.293-8. (Link)


Davey Smith G, Frankel S, Yarnell J., 1997. Sex and death: are they related? Findings from the Caerphilly Cohort Study. BMJ, 315(7123), pp.1641-4. (Link)


WRITTEN BY
Reviewed By
Published On
February 3, 2022

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