Masturbation is a fact of life for most men, and by all accounts, it is a natural and healthy practice. It allows men to become familiar with their own sexuality and to experiment with what feels good (and what does not). According to many sexual health experts, self-pleasuring can help guys to become better partners. Aside from these benefits, ejaculation causes a release of hormones that can give a man a sense of well-being and help him to relax, which is beneficial for his overall health.
However, despite these benefits, improper handling can lead to some unexpected side effects, which may range from minor to life-altering if they are not addressed adequately. Maintaining penis health and performance can depend on understanding these effects and taking measures to prevent them.
Masturbating without the benefit of a personal lubricant can stress the penile skin and cause damage to the underlying tissue. While men are not always prepared with a bottle of lotion at hand, and the temptation can be overwhelming, it is important to be aware of these potential issues:
- Dry masturbation increases the risk for infection. Vigorous stimulation not only leads to a sore penis; the excessive friction can cause microscopic cracks and lesions that allow harmful bacteria to take hold. Bacterial infections can cause pain, swelling, and an unpleasant discharge. If allowed to progress, these bacteria can become extremely difficult to eradicate. Untreated bacterial infections may even lead to a condition known as prostatitis, an inflammatory condition of the prostate that can cause severe pain in the perineal area, testicles, abdomen and penis, as well as cramping and aching on ejaculation.
- Dry masturbation may cause “toughening” of the penile skin. Like the skin on other parts of the body, the penis skin reacts to constant stress by undergoing a process of keratinization. Essentially, this amounts to a thickening of the skin, similar to the calluses that tend to develop on the hands and feet. While this process is the body’s way of protecting itself, the net effect is that the thickened layer of penis skin reduces the ability to detect tactile stimulation. Men often compensate for this loss of penis sensation by gripping the penis even more firmly during masturbation; this, in turn, exacerbates the effects of rough handling.
Even men who are vigilant about using a lotion or lubricant during self-pleasuring sessions may be tempted to get rough from time to time.Aggressivestroking and bending of the penis during self-stimulation can lead to the formation of scar tissue around the erectile chambers. Because scar tissue does not expand in the same manner as the surrounding penile tissue, a bow-string effect may result. This can lead to pronounced bending or curvature of the penis during an erection; in some cases, this can make intercourse painful or prevent it altogether. Men with this condition, known as Peyronie’s disease, may also experience shortening of the penis.
Avoiding penis damage and minimizing the effects of masturbation
In order to reduce the risk of unpleasant side effects and to increase the body’s ability to repair itself when damage does occur, some proactive measures are necessary.
First, hygiene is a major factor in this process. Keeping the penis clean with a mild cleanser and warm water can help to reduce the number of harmful organisms that are present on the skin. For men who are uncircumcised, this is especially important.
Second, using a personal lubricant during masturbation is advised to prevent drying and irritation to the penis skin. While men are often tempted to reach for the soap or shampoo in the shower, or grab a bottle of hand lotion, these often contain chemicals that may add to irritation and skin damage. Fragrance-free, water-based lubes that are intended for intimate use are best for this purpose.
Third, keeping the penis well-nourished with vitamins, antioxidants and amino acids can protect the penis from infection, toughening of the penis skin, and the formation of scar tissue. A specially formulated penis vitamin cream (most health professionals recommend Man 1 Man Oil) may help not only to guard against masturbation side effects and promote healing; it can improve the tone and texture of the penis skin and even boost sensitivity, leading to greater enjoyment of sex.
For additional information on most common penis health issues, tips on improving penis sensitivity, and what to do to maintain a healthy penis, visit: http://www.penishealth101.com. John Dugan is a professional writer who specializes in men's health issues and is an ongoing contributing writer to numerous online web sites.