We have a reason to believe, why a man as a superior breed, started walking upright since creation - one of the reasons is to keep his hands free for masturbation! On a serious note, masturbation is a healthy activity of stimulating one’s genitals for sexual pleasure which might or might not lead to orgasm. Masturbation is pretty common amongst men and women of all ages and plays a pretty important role in sexual development.

But surprisingly, since years in specific religion and culture, masturbation has been associated with taboo, which leads to feelings of guilt and anxiety, in many. Although for years there has been a debate on the same, whether masturbation leads to mental health issues or not, what researchers believe is that masturbation for many triggers feelings of guilt and anxiety which in turn might lead to depression.

As per recent research, Italian researchers found that men who feel guilty after masturbation are more likely to have psychological issues, including feelings of depression and anxiety. This research which was conducted on 4211 men aged between 48 and 51, found that around 8% of the men reported feeling guilty after masturbation. For this research, each participant had to answer questions about his masturbation habits and feelings.

Not only were feelings of guilt associated with psychological distress, depression, and anxiety but those who reported such feelings also had more sexual issues and relationship conflicts with their partners. Alcohol consumption was also found high amongst these men. It is also interesting to note that men who reported such feelings of guilt were from the lower rung of the age group.

Experts suggest that men who do suffer from such feelings of guilt and anxiety from masturbation should speak to a doctor about the same. The first scientific view which linked masturbation to mental health problems can be traced back to 1800. Although by 1900, scientific studies and researches had been able to abandon this view, coming to religion and culture.

The taboo associated with masturbation can be traced back to way before that, wherein people used terms like ‘it’s a sin,’, ‘you will go to hell’, or even ‘you will go insane’, which all pretty much exist. Naturally, if such thoughts keep echoing in your mind during this act of sexual pleasure, it is bound to lead to mental disturbances. This stigma attached to masturbation also explains entirely why masturbating frequently can lead to problems with erections, also known as erectile dysfunction.

Engaging in activities which have such taboo attached to them, can lead to an increase of the hormone cortisol, which is also known as the stress hormone. This stress can interfere with your brain sending messages to your body for extra blood flow, including penile blood flow which is essential for erection. This constriction of vessels leading to limited blood flow leads to erection issues.

Although PVI or penis-vagina intercourse indeed leads to more feeling of closeness and satisfaction amongst couples, there is no need to consider masturbation as a taboo or a harmful activity. On the contrary, masturbation has many health benefits like it helps improve sleep by releasing the hormone oxytocin, boosts self-esteem, reduces the risk of prostate cancer and helps increase actual sex drive.

But yes, just like excess of anything is not right, excessive masturbation might also pose some mental issues affecting your relationships and other aspects of personal life. Warning signs to keep an eye open for, would be, If you are hurting yourself with frequent or rough masturbation, missing work, missing important social events and cancelling plans with family or friends.

If you find yourself excessively addicted to the same, you can always consult a doctor or therapist for help. To distract yourself, a few activities that help are, exercising regularly, going for a walk or run, spending time with friends or writing something you always wanted to.

Thus to sum it up, masturbation is healthy as long as your practice the same in a healthy way, without letting it affect your personal or sexual life, including your relationships. So, stop feeling guilty mister, in case you are, for there are better things in life to feel guilty for other than this healthy way to release your sexual energy!

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP

Feeling guilty after masturbating?