Can Masturbation Cause Erectile Dysfunction?

Men can have concerns about their masturbation habits causing Erectile Dysfunction. This guide will break the common myths related to masturbation and ED.

Dr. Laurence Levine
Expert in male sexual health, leading Urologist in USA
by Dr. Laurence Levine Last updated 11/16/2022
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Many men wonder, “are my masturbation habits causing my Erectile Dysfunction (ED) issues?”

While this is a common concern, the reality is that masturbation is a healthy and safe activity for most men.

Healthy masturbation habits should not have an effect on ED, and men should feel comfortable engaging in this activity.

Quick FAQs

Erectile dysfunction is usually caused by other factors not related to self-pleasure.

In most cases, it does not. If excessive masturbation or pornography usage leads to overstimulation, it may result in more stimulation being needed to reach orgasm.

Some common causes of ED include obesity, stress and anxiety, tobacco and alcohol, and depression.

This guide will help with understanding masturbation while breaking the most common myths surrounding ED.

Masturbation Causes ED: Fact or Fiction

Some may wonder, “can masturbation cause ED?” 

Barring specific examples, which we will get to in a moment, erectile dysfunction is usually caused by other factors and not self-pleasure.

Masturbation is a healthy activity for most men as it allows them to relieve tension, explore their bodies, and learn more about what’s pleasurable or exciting in the bedroom.

In fact, masturbation can actually be a helpful tool for increasing stamina during intercourse with processes like edging or the squeeze technique.

The belief that masturbation causes ED is often from the shame that some men feel after masturbation.

This shame may arise from their upbringing, such as from religion or strict parenting, or it may be due to their partner’s thoughts on masturbation since it is often linked to pornography.

In some cases, men may feel as though they have failed by engaging in masturbation, despite it being a healthy and normal activity.

Some studies have even found a correlation between shame and erectile dysfunction, showing that mental distress may result in physical ailments like ED.

Sexuality is often highly mental, and if men have preconceived notions about masturbation and ED, then it may become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

One way to avoid this is by recognizing that masturbation is healthy, normal, and nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed by.

It should be noted that this is about masturbation and not excessive pornography usage.

While studies have found porn to be relatively neutral when used in moderation, some people may have an over-reliance on pornography which can create its own problems.

Some believe that the heavy consumption of porn may lead to over-stimulation, which can then make real-life sexual encounters less exciting.

While the studies have yet to confirm whether this is a cause of ED from masturbation or not, it may be wise to limit time spent on pornography to prevent the dulling of real-life senses.

What the Experts Say

Many studies have found that masturbation is highly beneficial for men.

It has been suggested that it can lower the chances of prostate cancer as a man ages, and it can help to improve a man’s mood throughout the day.

Another benefit of masturbation includes a greater understanding of one’s sexuality.

Learning how to slow down or speed up movements can lead to greater control in the bedroom, and finding new sensitive areas along the body can help to increase overall sensuality and satisfaction.

Other main benefits include:

  • Improved mental health
  • Relaxation
  • Less stress
  • Positivity

However, all of these benefits assume that a man is masturbating in a healthy way.

There are instances where a man may spend too much time on masturbation or pornography, and this can lead to less free time in other areas.

Can masturbating too much cause ED?

Generally not, but excessive masturbation or pornography usage, which is often linked together, may create a situation where it takes more stimulation to bring a man to orgasm.

This can often be quickly fixed by reducing time spent on pornography or masturbation.

In some cases, masturbating roughly or without lubrication (if circumcised) can lead to a dulling of the senses.

Often called a “death grip,” this is when a penis has been overexposed to rough hand movements and can no longer get sensation during normal non-vigorous intercourse.

While a “death grip” may influence ED, it can quickly be reversed by masturbating less frequently or by using more gentle techniques with adequate lubrication.

Finally, orgasming from masturbation several times a day may make a man less aroused when with a partner.

Every man has a different refractory period, which is the time it takes to get aroused again after an orgasm. It’s important for every man to understand what their limit is.

If there are any concerns about ED from masturbation, it may be best to hold off on masturbation if one expects a sexual encounter during the same day.

This allows the body to be more receptive and naturally ready for intercourse without feeling tired or worn down from a previous orgasm.

Some men may only need 15-30 minutes to be ready for another orgasm.

Others may require a full 12 or 24 hours. It’s a very individualistic thing, and it may depend on:

  • Age
  • Fitness level
  • Cardiovascular health
  • Diet
  • Hydration
  • Sleep schedule

Common Causes of ED

There are many studied causes of erectile dysfunction, and while every man is different, ED is often related to one or more of the following conditions:

Tobacco and Alcohol

Both tobacco and alcohol can negatively influence the cardiovascular system and lead to weaker erections and ED when used frequently or excessively.

Obesity

Obesity is a common factor in ED due to its effects on blood flow and the circulatory system.

Stress and Anxiety

Sex is highly mental, and both anxiety and stress can influence ED, especially if there’s any hesitation around sex.

Depression

Depression often causes anhedonia, which is a loss of pleasure.

High or Low Blood Pressure and High Cholesterol

If your cholesterol or blood pressure is outside of the normal range, you may be susceptible to erectile dysfunction.

A Lack of Exercise

Exercise is vital to improving the cardiovascular system, which is also essential to maintaining firm and consistent erections.

Poor Sleep

It could be a lack of sleep that is causing the erectile dysfunction by disrupting hormones and overall health.

In many cases, a mental and physical check-up with a doctor can lead to a greater understanding of one’s health.

From there, it’s possible to find the most likely reason for ED, which is crucial when working toward a cure.

Diet

A poor diet may lead to deficiencies in essential vitamins and minerals, and this may disrupt the cardiovascular system leading to ED.

In some cases, a vitamin supplement can help to fill in the gaps in one’s diet or even add benefits to an already healthy diet.

Products like VitaFLUX also have many beneficial nutrients that can help to increase one’s libido and cardiovascular system.

These active ingredients include:

  • L-Arginine
  • L-Citrulline
  • L-Carnitine tartrate
  • Magnesium
  • Zinc

Other Common ED Myths

There are many common ED myths that men hear from time to time, and most of them are false.

Some claim that ED is impossible to have at a younger age, but the reality is that all ages can suffer from it.

Some men also perpetuate the myth that ED cannot be cured.

While it's not easy to overcome, with the assistance of a medical professional, ED can be successfully treated in most cases.

One other harmful myth is that those suffering from ED have a lack of affection toward their partner.

This is generally not the case, and couples should be open with one another to ensure there are no misunderstandings about the condition.

Takeaways

Does masturbating cause ED?

No, and in many cases, it can be a fulfilling and beneficial activity for every man’s sex life.

Erectile dysfunction is often caused by a combination of mental and physical factors.

Getting in shape, eating well, and reducing stress and anxiety can help to improve erectile dysfunction.

Masturbation is a safe and healthy way for men to explore their sexuality, learn what feels good, and release mental and physical tension throughout the day.

There’s nothing shameful about it, and it does not lead to erectile dysfunction or any other mental or physical problems.

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Dr. Laurence Levine

Dr. Laurence Levine

​Dr Laurence Levine is a Professor of Urology and practices at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. He is focused specifically on Male Sexual Health and is past President of the Sexual Medicine Society of North America (SMSNA). Dr. Levine graduated from the University of Colorado School of Medicine where he received his MD and completed his training in Urology at the Harvard Program in Boston.​

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The Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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