Can You Die From Masturbation
“Masturbating has become a dirty word. We’re so afraid that we’ll be labeled as perverts for our private pleasure that society tells us to keep this activity secret. But why? Is masturbating really bad for you? Can you die from having an orgasm?
The answer to both questions is no. Masturbation is not physically or emotionally harmful in any way. If anything, it can even help you feel better by reducing stress and anxiety. And while some people may tell you otherwise, masturbation doesn’t cause STDs (sexually transmitted diseases). There are no risks when it comes to pregnancy either. In fact, masturbation is the ultimate form of safer sex because there’s zero chance of contracting sexually transmitted infections like gonorrhea, chlamydia, syphilis, herpes simplex 2, hepatitis C, HIV, HPV or trichomoniasis.
But masturbation does have its detractors. Some people still think it’s dangerous simply because they don’t know how to do it correctly. Others believe that masturbation will make them go blind. Still others worry that it might kill your brain cells. The only thing certain about these claims is that they aren’t true. Here’s the truth: Masturbate away!
Myth 1: Masturbation Causes Cancer
In 2008, researchers at Harvard Medical School published a study on human papillomavirus (HPV) and cervical cancer. They found strong links between the two, but they also discovered something interesting: Genital warts caused by HPV could disappear without treatment, yet reappear if women resumed sexual activities with their partners. This led them to conclude that “”reactivation”” was responsible for recurrence [sources: CDC; Kopp].
If you’ve ever had genital warts, you probably understand how painful the experience can be. Itchy bumps develop around the infected area, often becoming hard and crusty. Once treatment begins, the skin becomes soft again. Warts can sometimes be difficult to treat, however, especially those that appear very early in life. Even after removing all visible signs of the virus, new ones can pop up later.
This phenomenon seems to happen more frequently among women who engage in high-risk behavior such as oral and anal intercourse, which raises the possibility that other forms of sexual contact — including masturbation — play a role in HPV transmission. However, researchers haven’t been able to prove that one specific type of sex leads to higher rates of disease. Further research into the issue is needed before definitive conclusions can be drawn [sources: Gansler; Linsenmeir; Niederkrotenthaler et al.; O’Brien].
Of course, there are plenty of cases where warts persist despite medical intervention. Most of the time, this happens due to a person’s immune system attacking the wart tissue. Luckily, modern medicine has advanced far enough to provide effective treatments that significantly reduce pain and scarring.
Myth 2: Masturbation Kills Brain Cells
One popular myth says that masturbation kills brain cells. That may sound pretty alarming, but it’s just not true. When someone dies, his/her body stops functioning properly. So what happens when you stop breathing? Your heart quits working, right? Well, then why would your brain continue to function long after death when it should shut down? That’s because the brain receives oxygen through blood vessels called capillaries. Capillaries are different than arteries and veins, though. Unlike these larger vessels, capillaries measure less than 0.8 millimeters across. They’re teeny tiny!
A single capillary looks like a strand of spider webbing. Its diameter ranges anywhere from 5 to 8 micrometers. To put that number into perspective, a red blood cell measures 7 micrometers wide. A typical neuron, meanwhile, measures 20 micrometers wide.
Capillaries enable your brain to get oxygenated blood. Without them, the brain wouldn’t receive proper nourishment. Unfortunately, too much pressure inside a small space can lead to problems. For instance, meningitis bacteria can enter the bloodstream and travel throughout the body via the lymphatic system. If the tiny spaces in the brain are blocked off, it can result in severe swelling. This condition is known as hydrocephalus, and it causes serious damage to nerve cells and surrounding tissues. Fortunately, doctors can relieve pressure on the central nervous system by placing a tube called a shunt directly into the spinal fluid pathway.
Although it sounds scary, hydrocephalus is extremely rare. Doctors estimate that fewer than 100,000 Americans suffer from it each year. Meningitis, on the other hand, affects roughly 240,000 people annually. Nevertheless, it serves as a good example of how important capillaries are to healthy brain function.
Myth 3: Masturbation Makes Eyes Water or Cause Blinking
Some people say that masturbation makes eyes water or cause blinking. It turns out that those people are likely referring to dry eye syndrome. Dry eye occurs when tears cannot adequately moisturize the surface of the eye. Tears act as lubricants, protecting the conjunctiva (the mucous membrane covering the whites of the eyes) against irritation.
Dry eye usually develops gradually over time. Sometimes it appears suddenly because of a change in lifestyle, illness, medication or genetic predisposition. In most cases, dry eye improves within three months once underlying conditions are addressed.
Blinking is another misconception associated with masturbation. While it’s true that excessive rubbing can irritate the eyelids, masturbation itself rarely causes tears. Tears typically occur during or after sexual intercourse, crying or laughing, or eating. Tearing is actually a sign that the body recognizes emotional distress. It lets you know that something stressful has recently taken place.
So now you know the truth. Masturbate safely every day!”
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