Living with erectile dysfunction can be challenging. Many people may be unsure about what causes the problem and wonder whether masturbation leads to erectile dysfunction. Erectile dysfunction is when you have trouble getting and maintaining an erection during sexual activities.

Another word for erectile dysfunction is impotence. People with erectile dysfunction get erections sometimes though not consistently. Other men can’t get or maintain an erection through intercourse. Erectile is common as it affects about 30 million males in the U.S.

Are Masturbation and Erectile Dysfunction Linked?

It’s common for most people to think that masturbating frequently leads to erectile dysfunction. Other people also believe that watching pornography can lead to erectile dysfunction. None of these has been proven- they are both myths.

One of the reasons why people associate erectile dysfunction with masturbation is that after ejaculation, men experience a period of time when they find it difficult to get an erection. (refractory period) Men find it hard to get and maintain an erection at this period of time. Some men are able to get an erection after an hour after ejaculation but some are able to get hard sooner. For some men, it may take several hours.

A 2023 study published in the International Journal of Impotence Research examined the links between masturbation frequency, use of pornography, and their effects on erectile dysfunction among 3586 males with an average age of 40 years. The study found that there were links between porn usage and masturbation frequency with erectile severity.

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Pornography Addiction and Erectile Dysfunction

A study published in JMIR Public Health and Surveillance in 2021 found that there’s no link between erectile dysfunction and masturbation frequency. Pornography usage for half an hour or less while masturbating wasn’t linked to erectile dysfunction and most people did not watch porn for more than half an hour in a row.

This study found that study participants who watched porn for more than 30 minutes in a row were likely to experience erectile dysfunction. In addition to that, people who were addicted to pornography were more likely to experience erectile dysfunction.

Masturbation frequency including maturation while watching pornography was not linked to erectile dysfunction. The study authors asserted that more studies need to be done on the links between erectile dysfunction and pornography addiction.

How Does Masturbation Impact Sexual Health?

There are many taboos associated with masturbation and most people have feelings of shame about masturbation. The National Survey of Sexual Health Behaviours, 2009 found that more than half of males between the ages of 16-59 reported masturbating a month before the survey. Masturbation can be healthy as there are many benefits associated with masturbation.

A 2015 study on married women showed those who masturbated reported higher self-esteem, increased sexual desire, experienced more orgasms, and more satisfaction in their marriage and sex life.

Masturbation and Prostrate Cancer

Some studies show that frequent ejaculation can lower the risk of prostate cancer although doctors aren’t sure why. According to a 2016 cohort study of 31,925 participants, and more than ten years of follow-up showed that a low risk of prostate cancer was associated with a higher frequency of ejaculation.

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A recent survey from 2016 also noted that 44% of analyzed studies showed that there is a link between low prostrate cancer risk and frequent ejaculation. However, there’s no evidence that frequent ejaculation protects against advanced prostrate cancer therefore more research is required.

Masturbation During Pregnancy

Hormonal changes during pregnancy cause pregnant people to have high sexual desire. Masturbation helps to release this sexual tension during pregnancy.

Masturbation also helps ease pregnancy symptoms like lower back pain. During and after orgasm you may experience irregular cramping, Braxton hicks contractions and lower back pain.

If they don’t fade away, you should contact a doctor right away. People with high-risk pregnancies are sometimes advised of sexual intercourse since orgasms could increase their risk of early labour.

Take Away

Masturbation can be good for you both physically and mentally. Masturbation can be one of the best ways people can learn about their sexuality. It can help us explore our sexual desire and what we don’t like during sexual activity, how to last longer in bed and this can make sexual activity with your partner more enjoyable. People who feel great about their bodies, masturbation and sex are more likely to protect themselves from unintended pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

Credit: Gistmate