What Can Masturbation Do To Your Mental Health?
What can bashing the bishop do to your brain?
Bashing the bishop. Playing the clitar. Having a good, old fashioned ménage à moi. Whatever you call having some “quality alone time”, there’s no denying that masturbation is one of the the best ways to beat boredom.
But just how can it affect your mental health? Well, seeing as it’s Mental Health Awareness Week, we decided to find out!
What happens when you wank?
Sure, most of you will have figured out ~exactly~ what happens when you wank when you were thirteen - you touch yourself and you (usually) orgasm. But what does that actually MEAN for your brain?
Well, masturbation (like sex) stimulates the thousands of nerves in your genitalia, which send positive signals to the brain. A combination of mental and physical excitement slowly build and build until, hopefully, you reach peak sexual arousal - the orgasm. A mass of neurochemicals flood the brain, creating an overwhelming sense of euphoria (and suddenly making you feel very ready for bed).
In fact, as you orgasm, the part of the brain that deals with reason and logic literally shuts down. That’s right, you can literally bang someone senseless! But what does this all mean for mental health?
What do you dopamine?
Okay, so the first thing we need to mention is that, obviously, mental health is a HUGE area to cover, so in the interest of simplicity, let’s look at depression and anxiety.
Depression and anxiety are two of the so-called Common Mental Health Problems, a blanket term that also covers OCD, PTSD, Schizophrenia, Bipolar, and pretty much every other mental health issue you’ve ever heard of. Depression and anxiety often go hand in hand, as one can very often cause the other, and around 1 in 6 people will have experienced a CMHP in the last week.
Depression and anxiety have a number of causes, but one popular theory is brain chemical imbalance, a lack of dopamine and serotonin, the neurochemicals that are responsible for mood stability and your brain’s reward system. Still with me? Okay! Let’s talk about masturbation…
What can masturbation do to your mental health?
Well, there’s actually a great deal of disagreement over what masturbation can do to your mental health.
When you orgasm, alongside shutting down that rational part of your brain, you’re flooded with a tonne of dopamine. Pretty much the only reason humans enjoy masturbation is the pleasure we feel from the chemical reward of orgasm, as well as getting to know your body better, of course!
But, like a good old fashioned Netflix binge, the more you do something the less rewarding it feels. The first few episodes of Peep Show you watched on that hungover Saturday morning were hilarious, but as you finished series after series and the sun set on your stinking, sofa-bound body, you realise you hadn’t laughed in a good few hours. The same can happen with masturbation.
Excessive masturbation, like frequently using internet porn, may desensitise you to dopamine, and make usually pleasurable activities seem less rewarding. Sex is a “big reward” for the body, like food, or drugs, and regularly experiencing big rewards can numb the brain to smaller rewards. It doesn’t cause depression per se, but it can emulate the symptoms. So, the important message is this - don’t stop wanking, just maybe don’t go overboard. All things in moderation…
The more you know!
- Words by Josh Pappenheim
Now check out a load of guys and girls trying to find their way around a dick. Yep, you did read that right...