Erectile dysfunction (ED) affects millions of men around the globe. Some figures show that more than 30 million men experience ED in the United States alone. For decades, doctors have tried to discover the causes and treatments for erectile dysfunction. Masturbation is one factor that some have claimed leads to ED. Masturbation is an issue that has been excessively debated upon when it comes to erectile dysfunction.
Masturbation has been established as a normal part of sexual development by sexual health experts, and some of the myths surrounding masturbation have led to the common belief that men who masturbate too much can develop erectile dysfunction. But is this really true?
Can masturbation cause erectile dysfunction?
Unforunately, there is no clear answer to this question yet. There are many unanswered questions still hidden in the complexity of human sexuality and psychology. Although masturbation and ED have been found to be closely related, erectile dysfunction may not be a direct result of masturbation. There are many psychological things to consider when it comes to masturbation, and psychological erectile dysfunction is something that is very much a reality.
A simple answer to why men who frequently masturbate are unable to achieve an erection during regular sex may simply be that masturbation causes men to become accustomed to certain types of touch stimuli that arouse them. This, in turn, makes them unable to get an erection when exposed to the stimuli received during stimuli from a sexual partner.
This is a form of psychogenic erectile dysfunction. Some men also commonly fantasize or expose themselves to sexually explicit imagery while masturbating, as a source of arousal. They may become sensitized to these triggers and require them in order to become sexually aroused. Thus, in the absence of these stimuli during sex with a partner, they may be unable to perform sexually.
How is masturbation related with erectile dysfunction?
As mentioned above, some researchers have identified erectile dysfunction as a result of masturbation. ED has been named by a large proportion of men as the main reason for dissatisfaction in their sex lives. One study also identified masturbation with a negative association to intimate relationship satisfaction.
To be frank, the more unhappy a man is in an intimate relationship, the more likely he is to masturbate. In contrast, erectile dysfunction causes many relationship problems, which can lead men to masturbate in order to achieve sexual gratification.
A study published in The Journal of Sexual Health in 2010 explored the organic and biological aspects of autoeroticism and masturbation. The study clearly established masturbation as a common behavior in men experiencing ED4.
Is masturbation good or bad for erectile dysfunction?
One study, published in the July 2008 issue of the American Journal of Medicine, was carried out in men aged 50 to 70 over the course of 5 years. The objective of the study was to probe the association between frequency of sex and erectile dysfunction in men5.
Although, the study did not list masturbation as a means of achieving sexual satisfaction, it did show that infrequent sex can lead to erectile dysfunction and that regular sex can protect against ED in men. Many sexologists and urologists believe masturbation can protect against ED, although the subject still needs more scientific research to be validated.
Although different studies show different correlations between masturbation and ED, there is a high degree of association between masturbation and erectile dysfunction. Whether masturbation is a cause or a result of erectile dysfunction is a matter that still needs extensive research.
Although masturbation has been recognized as a part of normal sexual behavior in humans, men should be encouraged to engage in sex with a partner so that they do not become reliant on masturbation for achieving an orgasm.
Counseling and behavioral therapy can help overcome bedroom fear in men, and can help calm their nerves so they do not resort to masturbating and do not become sensitized to masturbation as the only form of sexual pleasure. It can open gateways to different sexual stimuli for them so that they can achieve an erection more readily during sex with a partner, and it can lead an ED free life.
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1. Nunes KP, Labazi H, Webb RC. New insights into hypertension-associated erectile dysfunction. Current Opinion in Nephrology and Hypertension. 2012;21(2):163–170.
2. Braun, Moritz, et al. "Epidemiology of erectile dysfunction: results of the'Cologne Male Survey'." International journal of impotence research 12.6 (2000): 305.
3. Santtila, Pekka, et al. "Discrepancies between sexual desire and sexual activity: Gender differences and associations with relationship satisfaction." Journal of Sex & Marital Therapy 34.1 (2007): 31-44.
4. Corona, Giovanni, et al. "Autoeroticism, mental health, and organic disturbances in patients with erectile dysfunction." The journal of sexual medicine 7.1pt1 (2010): 182-191.
5. Koskimäki, Juha, et al. "Regular intercourse protects against erectile dysfunction: tampere aging male urologic study." The American journal of medicine 121.7 (2008): 592-596.
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