What if we told you that spicy food leads to lust which makes you masturbate more. Or that masturbation can lead to a slow degenerative condition which may not only affect us but our offspring as well. Basically, too much masturbation can make you infertile. Oh and beware, it can also cause the growth of hair on the palms of your hands!

A few of you may not buy this, because it is obviously not true. For the others who think there is even an iota of truth here, you are not alone. Dr John Harvey Kellogg developed an unsweetened Kellogg’s cornflakes to prevent men from feeling lust and thus prevent masturbation. Sylvester Graham, who developed plain graham crackers is another such anti-masturbation crusader.

Unfortunately, our present-day reality is mostly shaped by perpetuated falsehoods of the past. Dr Teesha Morgan, Sex Therapist and Couples Counsellor and the co-founder of the Westland Academy of Clinical Sex Therapy, has met several women who come with shame and fear related to self-love. In case of men, they have been so used to masturbation that they face a different pattern in their sex life. And most men and women still consider masturbation as a taboo.

Fact or fiction

  • Dating vs single-hood: Statistically, men, who are dating or in relationships are more likely to masturbate than those who are single. So if you believe that only singles masturbate, you are wrong there, Mister! Older people masturbate less than younger ones and more educated men masturbate more.
  • Early childhood masturbation: Masturbation before puberty is looked down upon because the society associates it with hypersexuality. However, practising self-love before puberty or even during infancy is normal.
  • Adverse health risks: The only health risks you are prone to are allergies due to the use of lubricants, or skin irritation. IT WON’T MAKE YOU INFERTILE!
  • Lowers stamina: Sportsmen, athletes or bodybuilders often believe that masturbation can affect your performance. This is total fiction. The only way this can be a fact is if you masturbate to the point of exhaustion.
  • Sexual problems: There is no evidence that masturbation leads to premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction. The logic here is simple – if you follow a pattern of touch and climax in a few minutes when you are alone, you may not be able to last longer with a partner. Similarly, if you are used to certain visual stimulation and your partner can’t offer you that, you may not be aroused. However, this cannot be related to erectile dysfunction.

Effects of masturbation on health

It is estimated that about 95% of men and 89% of women have masturbated at some time in their life. Masturbation carries with it a plethora of positive health benefits. It alleviates headaches, decreases stress, is a sleep aid, and it actually improves your immune functioning. So, masturbating daily is normal and healthy.

The only adverse health risk is possibly the inability to perform or rise up to the occasion with a partner, which is the cause of excessive masturbation. Or let’s say if your masturbation addiction stops you from going to work or impedes your daily functioning and social responsibilities, then it may be an issue.

Masturbation is sin-ful (no pun intended)

Almost all religions still hold that masturbation is sinful. So many men do not masturbate or feel guilty about masturbation because of that. Many boys in their teens inherit the negative views about masturbation from adults.

With all this negativity around this one-word, how is it that you break free of this? Address all those false statements and myths about masturbation, because these will have a trickle-down effect on future generations and, thus, contribute to many sexuality-based issues. If the word seems like a taboo, use better ways to express it, suggests Dr Morgan. Terms like, ‘me time’ or ‘a little self-relaxation therapy’ or giving yourself a ‘onesome’ instead of a threesome, can help modify your outlook.


Changing your perspective can lead us to a better society. It will make you better partners, better lovers and, of course, better communicators.

Medically reviewed by Rishabh Verma, RP