Is it unhealthy for guys to masturbate daily?

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Q: Is it unhealthy to masturbate daily?

A: I have a family member who is a police officer in another state.  As part of the hiring process he had to undergo a psychological evaluation, during which he was asked the following question: “Would you rather have sex or read a book?” 

Without missing a beat, he answered: “Well… am I in a library?”

Besides being pretty hilarious, what does that story have to do with answering your question?  Everything.  It depends on the situation

If you’re asking if there are risks of physical harm from frequent masturbation, the answer is no.  I suppose if you’re giving yourself rug burns or carpal tunnel syndrome, you should tone it down a notch.  But if you’re talking about the whole “you’ll go blind” or “you’ll grow hair on your palms” stuff – the answer is a definitive no.   It doesn’t affect fertility (unlike the ladies, who are born with all of the eggs they’ll ever have, guys constantly replenish sperm throughout their lives) or cause any other physical problems.

Could it even be good for you?  There’s been some press lately that frequent ejaculation (either alone or with a partner) lowers the risk of prostate cancer.  One study seemed to indicate that men who averaged 20+ ejaculations per month had a significantly lower risk of developing prostate cancer compared to men who average 4-7 per month.  But there are some problems with the study that make it hard to say whether or not this relationship is really true. 

HOWEVER… there are times when frequent masturbation can be a sign of trouble.  Obviously, if you feel it’s causing a problem in your life – making you feel guilty, anxious, depressed, or causing problems with relationships – then it should be addressed.   And if it is compulsive – you want to stop but you can’t – that can be a sign of a more serious issue like Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD). 

I know this is a “touchy” topic (sorry… couldn’t resist), but it’s a very common question so you shouldn’t feel embarrassed.  Odds are you’ve got absolutely nothing to worry about – but if you are, the clinical staff at Student Health or CCS can help. 

John A. Vaughn, MD (OSU SHS)


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