Masturbation good for your health?

Posted at 02/22/2010 1:41 PM | Updated as of 02/22/2010 5:24 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Only a few people may admit to doing "it," but experts have said that masturbation is beneficial to a person's mental, social, and physical health.

According to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois, masturbation (which they defined as touching one's own sex organs for pleasure) reduces stress, induces sleep, and can help people to become familiar and comfortable with their body.

Citing studies, the McKinley health handout also cited the following perks of masturbation:

  • alleviates premenstrual tension for many women
  • provides a healthy sexual outlet for people who choose to abstain from sex with partners or who do not currently have available sexual partners
  • can be a route to safer sex, to help prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV
  • allows for sexual pleasuring for those who are not ready to engage in vaginal, anal, or oral sex
  • increases blood flow to the genital region, which can help overall sexual functioning
  • helps women learn how to achieve orgasm
  • helps men to increase ejaculatory control and manage rapid or delayed ejaculation.

Masturbation myths debunked

Contrary to what some people think, the McKinley Health Center said masturbation does not lead to insanity or hair growing on the palms. It added that it does not drain excessive energy from the body.

"There are no harmful side effects of masturbation," it said, adding that regardless of cultural attitudes and values, masturbation has been found in all societies.

Here are some myths that McKinley said are unfounded in medical and social science:

  • Only people who cannot find sexual partners, or who are socially inadequate, masturbate
  • Masturbation leads to physical problems such as mental illness and growing hair on your palms
  • Masturbation "ruins" a person for partner sex
  • Men will run out of semen or sperm if they masturbate excessively
  • Others, including medical doctors and sexual partners, will be able to tell if you masturbate.