Who doesn’t enjoy masturbation? Keeping aside the taboo associated with this topic, it is an undeniably pleasurable sexual activity. Moreover, it has numerous health benefits you probably haven’t heard about. It reduces stress, elevates your mood, enhances sexual pleasure, helps you explore your body in a healthy manner and promotes a better sleep cycle.
Despite masturbation being an excellent sexual activity, myths surrounding it remain rampant. So let’s take a look at the flip side. Does masturbation affect immunity in a positive way? Does masturbation affect the immune system by way of strengthening it?
Does Masturbation Affect Immunity?
A 2004 study on male masturbation revealed a lot surrounding this debate. Herein, 11 participants were made to masturbate until they reached orgasm while experts drew blood from them in the midst of the activity. Why was this done? Experts measured leukocytes, lymphocytes and other such blood immune system markers to establish a relationship between masturbation and immunity. Moreover, bloodwork was collected before orgasm, at a neutral state as well.
What were the results? That male masturbation increased the activity of some immune system components temporarily. This included natural killer cells that fight cancer tumor cells and those that are virus infected.
However, all said and done, researchers believe that these results should be taken with a pinch of salt as an 11 participant study sample is not representative of the male community.
Why Might Masturbation Influence Immunity?
When the male arousal state is enhanced and certain hormones are released during and after masturbation, immune cells experience a boost. This boost may last up to 24 hours after orgasm, however, its most significant benefits are seen within 60 minutes post orgasm. Hence, researchers have concluded that masturbation effects on the male immune system are short lived, not to be mistaken for long-term, sustained immunity development.
Philip Haake, Tillmann H C Krueger (2004) Effects of sexual arousal on lymphocyte subset circulation and cytokine production in man (National Library of Medicine) https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15316239/