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Does masturbation cause impotence?

Posted in Personal Health 04 May, 2012

Masturbation is a difficult subject to approach people about. While the sexual taboos that existed decades ago may have been somewhat dislodged by the birth of the Internet, which provides an abundance of erotic and pornographic material, as well as the more open manner sex is portrayed and discussed, individuals rarely disclose their masturbatory habits comfortably even for the sake of medical analysis.

However, there are dozens of forums online where the question about a potential link between masturbation and impotence has been posed which suggests that this is a real concern for many men. Unfortunately, the answers they are receiving are based more on the personal experience of other visitors rather than medical fact or clinical studies. The majority of the reported cases perceive a relation between increased pornography usage and masturbation based on vivid imagery.

Let’s look at the link between these two. The more sexual stimulation there is around someone, it’s possible the more likely they are to respond by satisfying their sexual desire. As intercourse or masturbation is all about reward to a degree, imbedded in our genes to help us reproduce as a species, this links it inherently to dopamine. Dopamine is a neurochemical used by the body as “motivation”; in essence, it rewards the body for doing things by stimulating pleasure. This is why things like smoking, drug use and other addictions are so strong because they reward the brain in a similar fashion.

Like any addiction, the first time is always the most powerful experience and after that it becomes more and more difficult to achieve that feeling. The same example is being used for masturbation as a cause for impotence and it could be argued that abstaining from masturbating or sexual intercourse improves the sensation of the next experience. There is arguably an unreasonable hysteria surrounding pornography and masturbation which is often propagated by men suffering from impotence. However, it is worth considering the possibility that the psychological factors which are proven to cause impotence could be exacerbated by the worry that it could be caused by masturbation.

This scenario is why clinical studies use placebos, or sugar pills, when tested alongside prescription medication. Test subjects don’t necessarily realise that their medication essentially contains no trace amount of an active ingredient, but believing it does or doesn’t can have a significant impact on the results of that trial. In the situation of the link between masturbation and impotence, because a large amount of the men who report the problem don’t consult their doctors or medical professionals, they self-diagnose based on inconclusive information online which only perpetuates the fear and anxiety. These are medically proven causes of impotence, unlike masturbation.

To put it simply, masturbation may have an impact on causing impotence in the sense that it could compound an existing cause by increasing anxiety. But that doesn’t mean, that masturbation causes impotence, just that many men are attributing the activity to the condition and unfortunately due to the stigma surrounding the condition and masturbation itself, are not consulting their doctors.

The best advice is to always consult a doctor first, regardless of how embarrassing the condition may seem. They will be able to provide confidential guidance and support as well as treatment options if necessary, or refer you to a counsellor for further assistance.


  • SylvesterThursday, Jul 12, 2012

    does masturbation cause impotency in men?

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