The effect that masturbation has on the human body is powerful and, due to its highly stigmatized nature, often mysterious. And it’s not hard to imagine that self-pleasure could impact the immune system. Still, misinformation surrounding masturbation runs rampant in our society, and getting to the truth can be challenging.
The short answer is no; as we currently understand it, masturbation does not affect immunity. However, as with anything related to sexuality and pleasure, the full story is more complicated.
In this article, we will discuss the effects that masturbation has on the human body and discover whether the immune system is affected at all.
Can Masturbation Actually Affect Your Immunity?
Believing that a little self-pleasure session cured your cold isn’t a wild thought. Masturbation, especially when you’re feeling ill, floods the body with feel-good hormones, creating a temporary feeling of health and boosting your mood.
Researchers looked into the phenomenon in 2004 with a study published in the Neuroimmunomodulation titled “Effects of sexual arousal on lymphocyte subset circulation and cytokine production in man.” Big words there, but essentially the study tested certain blood markers of 11 men before, during, and after masturbation.
According to Medical News Today, “The study found that masturbation temporarily increased the activity of some components of the immune system…which fight cancer tumor cells and cells infected by viruses.”
This result makes it seem like masturbating does boost our immune cells. Unfortunately, many issues with the study invalidate that conclusion for health experts. Here are just a few of the prominent complications:
- It was only conducted on men: This experiment only tests the male orgasm; female orgasms or orgasms of intersex individuals may provoke different biological responses.
- It has a minuscule sample size: More than eleven people are needed to take a study at face value. Generally, a sample size of 200 to 300 is considered acceptable, but the more the merrier.
- It was never repeated: Repetition with the same end results is required for a study to be taken seriously. Most studies require multiple follow-ups to become an accepted public health fact.
- Blood markers may be a poor tester: What if the blood results are just a sign of a reduction in stress? What if white blood cells are boosted temporarily and fall below average hours later? The blood markers may not be a thorough enough gauge of the immune response.
This study can’t be 100% trusted, but that doesn’t mean that its results aren’t promising. This small, incomplete study still shows interesting findings and could eventually prompt larger, more efficient studies into the biological immune response of masturbation.
Maybe masturbation can directly improve your immune system, but it remains a temporary unknown.
Ways Masturbation Might Boost Immunity
Masturbating and sexual activity aren’t a magic cure-all, but they have a profound effect on the body that can produce surprising results.
Although there’s no solid evidence that achieving an orgasm boosts your immunity, there are ways that masturbation can improve your general health and have positive effects. Here are some of the positive side effects of masturbation:
- It can technically be considered exercise: Masturbation does a lot of the things that exercising does. It jacks up your heart rate, lowers blood pressure, gets you sweaty, and (sometimes) works specific muscle groups.
- It helps you fall asleep and stay asleep: Better sleep is essential for immune health, and masturbation can help you fall asleep and enjoy a sustained rest.
- It reduces stress: Stressed bodies are more susceptible to illness and take longer to heal. Masturbating reduces stress which can positively impact overall immunity.
- It works as a pain reliever: Various endorphins released during and after masturbation block pain receptors, allowing your jack-off session to function like a dose of extra-strength Tylenol.
- It can boost mental health: Self-pleasure, especially to completion, floods the body with powerful hormones. These hormones can improve your mood and even work to combat poor mental health.
Here are some of the powerful hormones that work to have this effect and are released when masturbation occurs:
- Dopamine: This is your ‘happy hormone’ that improves your overall mood.
- Endorphins: This is the body’s natural painkiller. Fun fact: This hormone has a stronger effect on your body than morphine.
- Oxytocin: This hormone is associated with bonding and love.
- Testosterone: This well-known hormone boosts sexual arousal and stamina.
- Prolactin: Interestingly enough, this hormone works to help lactation but also can boost your mood.
Masturbating is a powerful act that is biologically designed to make you feel good and come back for more. It may not stop you from getting the flu, but it will make you feel better on a sick day.
How You Can Support Your Immune System
It would be wonderful if just jacking off could save you a trip to the doctor. Unfortunately, health and wellness is a bit more complicated.
Although masturbation isn’t proven to help your immune functioning, there are lots of activities and steps that can boost your immunity and offer health benefits, such as:
- Eating healthy, nutrient-dense meals: Your body requires specific nutrients and the correct amount of macros to survive and thrive. Eat full, balanced meals to ensure your immune system is powered up and ready to go.
- Getting enough vitamin D every day: Vitamin D is found in certain fish, dairy, orange juice, and some other foods. It is a key vitamin in building bone strength and reducing inflammation.
- Exercising daily: Daily exercise works to increase cardiovascular strength and overall health. Regular exercise can even reduce the risk of disease and improve your brain health.
- Staying hydrated: Without proper hydration, your body is unable to effectively regulate heat and maintain bodily functions, putting your immune system at risk. 3.7 liters for men and 2.7 liters for women per day should do it.
- Maintaining a constant, healthy weight: Your general ideal weight is between you and a medical professional, but maintaining this weight keeps your body in the optimal form to fight off infections and disease.
- Avoiding smoking: Smoking can damage your body’s ability to fight off diseases, among the other unfortunate effects of smoking.
- Moderate drug use: The majority of Americans drink alcohol, at least casually, but remember it's still harmful. Ensure you’re following this drug’s recommended dosage, and reach out if you need help.
- Washing your hands: Bacteria can lead to some pretty gnarly infections and illnesses; wash your hands and keep yourself clean.
- Minimize stress: A stressed-out body isn’t great at staying healthy. Focus on low-stress hobbies and attempt to remove stressors from your life whenever possible.
Follow these steps to support a happy immune system now and in the future. Solo sex is just one part of complete and healthy well-being.
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