Does Masturbation Cause Hair Loss? And 11 Other Questions Answered

Medically reviewed by Timothy J. Legg, PhD, CRNP on October 9, 2017Written by Annamarya Scaccia

What you should know

There are a lot of myths and misconceptions around masturbation. It’s been linked to everything from hair loss to blindness. But these myths have no scientific backing. Masturbation poses few risks and isn’t associated with any harmful side effects.

In fact, quite the opposite is true: Masturbation has a number of documented physical and mental health benefits. You can relieve stress, boost your mood, and release pent-up energy when you masturbate. It’s also a fun and safe way to practice self-love and explore your body.

Keep reading if you still have questions about hair loss and other myths and misconceptions about masturbation.

1. Does masturbation cause hair loss?

Premature hair loss is primarily caused by genetics, not masturbation. On average, most people shed 50 to 100 hairs a day, all while growing new hair in. It’s part of the natural hair growth cycle.

But if that cycle gets interrupted, or a damaged hair follicle is replaced with scar tissue, it can lead to hair loss in men and women.

Oftentimes, your genetics are behind this interruption. The hereditary condition is known as male-pattern baldness or female-pattern baldness. In men, pattern baldness can begin as early as puberty.

Other possible causes include:

  • hormonal changes
  • scalp infections
  • skin disorders
  • excessive hair-pulling
  • excessive hairstyling or hair treatments
  • certain medications
  • radiation therapy

2. Does it cause blindness?

Again, no. This is another common myth not based on scientific research. In fact, it’s a link that has been debunked time and again.

The actual causes of vision loss include:

3. Does it cause erectile dysfunction?

Research doesn’t support the idea that masturbation can lead to erectile dysfunction (ED). So what actually causes ED? There are a number of physical and psychological factors, none of which involve masturbation.

They include:

4. Will it damage my genitals?

No, masturbation won’t damage your genitals. However, you may experience chafing and tenderness if you don’t have enough lubrication while masturbating. Here’s how to find the right kind of lube for you.

5. Will it have an effect on my fertility?

It’s highly unlikely. Research shows that sperm quality stays the same even with daily ejaculation, whether or not it’s due to masturbation.

In men, fertility can be affected by:

In women, fertility can be affected by:

  • certain medical conditions, such as endometriosis
  • early menopause
  • radiation or chemotherapy
  • exposure to chemicals and other environmental factors

6. Will it have an impact on my mental health?

Yes, yes, yes! Research shows that masturbation can actually improve your mental health. The release of pleasure you feel when you orgasm can:

  • ease pent-up stress
  • elevate your mood
  • help you relax
  • help you sleep better

7. Can it kill my sex drive?

Not at all. A lot of people believe that masturbation can kill their sex drive, but that hasn’t been proven. Sex drives are different person-to-person, and it’s natural for our libidos to ebb and flow.

But masturbation doesn’t cause you to want sex less; it’s actually thought that masturbation can give your libido a little boost — especially if you have a low sex drive to begin with it.

So what causes a low libido? A lot of conditions, actually. You can have a low libido because of:

8. Is it possible to masturbate too much?

Maybe. If you’re not sure whether you’re masturbating too much, ask yourself these questions:

  • Are you skipping daily activities or chores to masturbate?
  • Are you missing work or school?
  • Do you cancel plans with friends or family?
  • Do you miss important social events?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, then you may be spending too much time masturbating. Although masturbation is normal and healthy, excessive masturbation can interfere with work or school or cause you to neglect your relationships.

If you think you’re masturbating too much, talk with your doctor. He or she will conduct a physical examination to determine whether there may be a physical health issue. If they don’t find any abnormalities, your doctor may refer you to a therapist to help you address your concerns.

9. Will masturbation ruin partner sex?

No, quite the opposite is true! Masturbation can actually enhance sex with your partner. Mutual masturbation can allow couples to explore their different desires, as well as experience pleasure when intercourse may not be possible or wanted.

Self-pleasuring can also help couples avoid pregnancy and prevent sexually transmitted infections. But if you find yourself wanting to masturbate more than having sex with your partner, consider speaking to a therapist to get at the root of that desire.

10. Can using sex toys during masturbation ruin sex without them?

Not necessarily. Using sex toys to self-pleasure can spice up your masturbation session, and they can be fun to use during sex with your partner. But if you’re using toys regularly, you may feel as though sex is lackluster without them.

If that’s the case, it’s up to you whether you want to cool things off or talk with your partner about how you can incorporate your favorite toy more often.

11. Will eating Kellogg’s cereal help quell my urges?

Nope, not in the slightest. You may be wondering why this is even a question, because really, what do corn flakes have to do with masturbation? As it turns out, everything.

Dr. John Harvey Kellogg invented corn flakes in the late 1890s, and marketed the toasted wheat cereal as a way to promote health and stop people from masturbating. Kellogg, who was strongly anti-masturbation, thought chewing on the bland food could curb sexual desire. But there’s no scientific evidence that’s true.

The bottom line

Masturbation is safe, natural, and healthy. It’s a great way to get in touch with your wants and needs. Whether you masturbate — and how you masturbate — is a personal decision. There’s no right or wrong approach. Nor should you feel any shame or guilt for your choice.

But remember that masturbation doesn’t cause harmful side effects. If you’re experiencing any unusual symptoms or feel as though you’re masturbating too much, see your doctor. They can discuss any concerns you may have.

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