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Can Excessive Masturbation Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

by | Jul 18, 2022 | Sex

Busting the myth

 

Masturbation is a healthy, normal part of life, with around 75% of men revealing that they engage in masturbation.

When it comes to debunking myths, masturbation is the topic of some of the most ludicrous rumours and speculation out there. Starting with the myth that people in relationships don’t masturbate, through to the mind boggling myths that masturbating will make you go blind or cause you to grow hair on the palms of your hands.

Whether you’ve heard that masturbation will cost you your vision, or that it leads to erectile dysfunction, the likelihood is that all of these myths are simply that.

Understanding erectile dysfunction

 

Although you may not be discussing your sexual health issues with mates at the pub, conditions like erectile dysfunction are more common than you may realise.

One study, published by the National Centre for Biotechnology Information, revealed that more than 50% of men reported having experienced ED, with this total increasing by up to 15% for men over the age of 40.

While it can sometimes be a challenge to confront any health problems, sexual or not, it’s important to remember that erectile dysfunction is a manageable condition. With a range of ED treatments available, oral medications are proven to be one of most reliable and effective methods, with tailored prescriptions that address issues with blood flow, low testosterone levels, stress, and sexual arousal.

Causes of erectile dysfunction

 

Erection problems can be caused by a number of factors, from certain health conditions and psychological issues, to sexual performance anxiety and the use of illicit drugs.

Research from the Mayo Clinic explains the complexity of male arousal as a process that involves hormones, the brain, blood flow, the nervous system, emotions and muscular response. This complex process is why we see so many different causes of erectile dysfunction, because ED can occur when there is a problem with any one of these functions.

Physical causes

Before we delve into the workings of the brain and discover how psychological factors can increase the likelihood of ED, it’s time to take a look at the health conditions and lifestyle factors that may be hindering your performance in the bedroom.

Some underlying conditions that may be affecting your ability to form an erection include:

  • High blood pressure

  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • Prostate cancer

  • Urethra issues

  • Sleep apnea and insomnia

Certain habits and choices in your day to day life also have the capacity to negatively impact your sexual health, such as stress, obesity, alcoholism and cigarette use. By partaking in regular exercise, maintaining a healthy weight and implementing simple stress relief techniques into your daily routine, you’ll be taking the first step towards better sexual health.

Emotional causes

Alongside the possible physical causes of ED, there are a number of emotional and mental issues that may lead to hindered sexual activity. The key to limiting the impact of these emotional causes is to reduce stress in your life and identify any other factors that may be triggering low self esteem, depression or anxiety.

Prescribed medication

The complexity of human anatomy means that, not only can there be physical and emotional causes of ED, but your ability to get and maintain an erection may also be affected by certain prescription medicines.

Although both older and younger men can be affected by ED, according to one study published by Harvard Medical School, one of the reasons for an increase in prevalence with age can be attributed to the fact that it is more likely for older men to be on some form of medication. The study also estimated that 25% of all ED cases are a result of the side effects of drugs, ranging from beta blockers and diuretics, to antidepressants and ulcer medications.

If the effects of ED are dampening the enjoyment of your sex life, it may be time to seek medical advice. In many cases, sexual function can return to normal, by finding an ED treatment that’s right for you.

Other risk factors for erectile dysfunction

 

ED is a symptom that accompanies a number of conditions and diseases. While the list of causes of ED may be lengthy, so too are the disorders associated with this affliction, with direct risk factors including:

  • Prostate concerns

  • High cholesterol

  • Cardiovascular disease

  • Neurogenic disorders

  • Inflammation within the male reproductive tract

Get hard, Stay Hard Treatment options for erectile dysfunction

 

There are a number of effective ED treatments available, ranging from simple lifestyle changes to prescription medication.

One of the biggest misconceptions preventing young men from seeking medical advice, is the common belief that erectile dysfunction only affects older generations.

While ED may be more likely to present with ageing, recent studies have shown that the number of younger men experiencing symptoms of erectile dysfunction has risen in more recent times. Stressful jobs, alcohol consumption, lack of sleep and an increase of nicotine vape users are all contributing factors to this change in statistics.

When you start your journey to improve sexual activity, it’s important to follow the advice of a medical professional. Engaging in an open and honest dialogue will ensure that you are provided with a medication or treatment plan, that your doctor believes is right for you and your personal circumstances.

Benefits of masturbation

 

Now that the myth has been debunked, we can sit back, relax and marvel at the numerous health benefits associated with masturbation.

Masturbating has been known to improve sleep quality, alleviate stress, boost self esteem and enhance relaxation, all whilst promoting the release of endorphins, which results in feelings of blissful mental and physical wellbeing.

Masturbation also provides a safe avenue for people to explore their sexuality on their own terms, by becoming more familiar with their own responses to sexual stimuli, helping to improve open communication with their partner.

Masturbation and sexual performance

 

While there is no hard evidence that masturbation leads to ED, preliminary research suggested that some men may be more likely to experience a lacking sexual performance, if they choose to masturbate shortly before sex. It’s facts like these that start the rumour mill, with misleading information, such as the falsity of excessive masturbation causing erectile dysfunction in men.

On the contrary to this preliminary data, leading scientific research now shows that all men will have differing experiences, when it comes to masturbating prior to sexual contact.

For those who have a shorter refractory period or who have experienced premature ejaculation in the past, masturbating prior to sexual activity can be highly beneficial, allowing some men to maintain erections for a greater period of time.

Alternatively, if your body needs a longer recovery time between orgasms to maintain a healthy erection, masturbation prior sex may result in problems with sexual stimulation and an unsatisfying experience for both parties.

Emotional factors may also provide an explanation for the link between erectile dysfunction and masturbation, with the Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy publishing a study that proposed psychological factors, such as guilt caused by masturbation, may result in ED.

Is there a link between watching porn and erectile dysfunction?

 

Although masturbation does not directly cause erectile dysfunction, a number of peer reviewed studies and papers have revealed a possible correlation between watching porn and developing issues with sexual dysfunction.

Most men and women engage in masturbation when watching porn, and so there blurs the line between the relationship of masturbation, porn use and sexual health.

In some cases, healthy young men who watch porn have reported developing issues relating to sexual performance anxiety and unrealistic expectations, resulting in trouble maintaining an erection.

A study published by Psychology Today identifies growing evidence that suggests “too much porn can diminish sexual performance”.

While we’re not saying you need to ditch the porn entirely, it may be a smart decision to simply be aware of how often you engage in viewing. The study continues by stating that frequent masturbation to porn may lead to a person becoming desensitised to sexual imagery and physical interactions.

Let’s get your health sorted!

 

If you’re experiencing issues with your sexual health, start a convo with one of our doctors to discuss the option of sexual medicine to treat ED – and take back control of your sex life today.

Sources

 Harvard Health Publishing. (2021) Some drugs may cause your erectile dysfunction.(https://www.health.harvard.edu/mens-health/some-drugs-may-cause-your-erectile-dysfunction)

Healthline. (2017) Can masturbation cause erectile dysfunction? (https://www.healthline.com/health/erectile-dysfunction/can-masturbation-cause-erectile-dysfunction)

Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy. (2011) Masturbatory guilt leading to sever depression and erectile dysfunction. (https://doi.org/10.1080/00926230290001402)

National Center for Biotechnology Information. (1994) Impotence and its medical and psychosocial correlates: results of the Massachusetts Male Aging Study. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8254833/)

Pilot. (2022) Masturbating before sex to last longer. (https://pilot.com.au/co-pilot/masturbating-before-sex-to-last-longer)

Psychology Today. (2012) Does porn contribute to ED? (https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/therapy-matters/201205/does-porn-contribute-ed)

 

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