Q&A: Are There Adverse Effects To Frequent Masturbation?

E-mail Email Icon Print Print Icon
Reddit Digg StumbleUpon Delicious Bookmark

QUESTION: Are there any adverse effects to frequent masturbation? I’m only 20 years old and I’m starting to notice slight male pattern baldness. Some sites say frequent masturbation causes hair loss. I thought I would ask the experts.

Subscribe to the Kinsey Confidential Podcast: iTunes | RSS

Bald Guy Soap

Photo: 0olong (flickr)

There don’t appear to be any health risks to masturbation. It doesn’t make people go bald or blind.

This is a great question that’s on many people’s minds. Although masturbation has gotten a bad rap in the past, health professionals – including medical doctors and psychologists – now recognize that masturbation is a common behavior that is often a healthy part of many people’s sex lives.

How Common Is Masturbation?

Data from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, which my research team at The Center for Sexual Health Promotion recently conducted, confirmed what previous research has found: namely, that most men and most women in the U.S. have masturbated. Also, men tend to masturbate more often on average than women do.

As an example, we found that about 25 percent of single men ages 18 to 24 reported having masturbated four or more times per week over the past week. Another 22 percent of men reported having masturbated at least twice a week over the past year on average. Among single men ages 25 to 29, even larger proportions of men reported masturbating this often. About 30 percent said that they masturbated four or more times per week over the past year and 23 percent masturbated two or three times per week, on average, over the past year.

That’s not to say that men who are married or in a relationship don’t masturbate often. About 49 percent of men ages 25 to 29 who were in a relationship reported having masturbated at least twice a week over the past year, as did almost 40 percent of men ages 25 to 29 who were married.

All The Benefits

Masturbation is a common way for both men and women to enjoy the bodies they live in. Some people find that masturbation helps them to relax after a stressful day or to fall asleep at night. Given how important sound sleep is to health and energy, that’s a good thing!

Masturbation can also help men and women to learn what they life, in terms of sexual touch and pace, so that they can share this information with a partner.

Fortunately, there don’t appear to be any health risks to masturbation. It doesn’t make people go bald or blind. It won’t lead to deteriorated health. As long as you feel comfortable with your masturbation and it doesn’t seem to get in the way of your ability to experience satisfying relationships or do well at work or at school, it doesn’t have to be a problem.

Next Question: Allergic To Semen?

I think I have an allergy to semen. Any advice on how to deal with this, and who I should talk to about this problem?

Although rare, it is possible for women – and even some men – to experience a hypersensitivity or allergy to semen. If you think that you may have such an allergy, we’d recommend that you ask an allergy specialist about this.

Some women react to the semen of each male partner that they have. Others only seem to be allergic to the semen of a particular partner, or only after a significant hormonal event in their life such as starting birth control pills, having a baby, or going through menopause.

In the mean time, you may be able to address the issue by using a condom during sexual activity with a partner so that you don’t come into contact with any semen. However, if you are severely allergic –such as if you break out in hives or experience difficulty breathing or swallowing, then you should speak with a healthcare provider at the earliest opportunity and not put yourself at risk.

We Need Your Questions! Submit them on our website and listen to archived episodes of the podcast. Get a weekly dose of Kinsey Confidential sent straight to your portable player by subscribing on iTunes.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
More posts by this author »

Comments