Don’t Miss a Single Update or New Release! Sign up Today

Does Masturbation Cause Erectile Dysfunction? What Studies Say

Does Masturbation Cause Erectile Dysfunction? What Studies Say
Dr. Constance Odom, MD Picture of Dr. Constance Odom, MD

Medically reviewed by

Written by our editorial team.

Last Edited 7 min read

Many people believe that masturbating too much can cause erectile dysfunction. There is much debate about this topic, and studies tend to contradict each other. However, the question remains: Does masturbating too much cause erectile dysfunction?

Here is what studies say. Many studies say that there is no fact-based evidence that masturbating too much causes erectile dysfunction. ED in itself is the inability to obtain and sustain an erection. ED can be caused by a number of things, but according to experts, inadequate blood flow to the penis is most often to blame. 

ED is a common condition which most often affects many men over the age of 40. A positive blood flow is absolutely essential to getting an erection, according to K Health. One study “followed” a man who felt that his frequent masturbation habits contributed to his inability to get an erection with his wife. This almost led to a divorce, but after being diagnosed with a depressive disorder, the man was able to consummate his marriage. Their relationship then returned to normal, as did their sex life. 

Because of this, masturbation habits had no effect on the man’s inability to get an erection. Instead, the reason for his ED was psychological. In some cases, men may become dependent upon solo sex, but this is not always the case. Erectile dysfunction can be caused by either psychological or physical issues. So what physical factors contribute to the development of ED?

According to Healthline, excessive tobacco or alcohol use are known to cause ED. The process of obtaining an erection involves your brain, blood vessels, hormones, and nerves. Drinking alcohol can affect all of these functions, which often leads to the development of ED. 

High or low blood pressure may also be to blame. Roughly 80 percent of the time, high blood pressure causes many men to develop ED. High blood pressure can be caused by a number of factors, including kidney disease. Healthy blood vessels are essential to a successful erection, and anything that restricts healthy blood flow can contribute to ED.   

One study analyzed men who went to behavioral therapy with their partners to understand their partner’s sexual habits. Those who participated in these studies did not report any issues with ED. In fact, there is currently no evidence that masturbation can cause erectile dysfunction. However, some studies have found that watching too much porn could potentially lead to ED. 

There is no scientific research to support the claim that masturbation can cause erectile dysfunction. It is not unusual for men to have trouble getting an erection, but a number of other factors outside of masturbation are known to cause ED. High levels of stress can cause ED. A lack of sleep may also be responsible for the inability to get and sustain an erection. 

Occasional bouts of ED are nothing to worry about, but persistent cases of ED may be cause for concern. Men who have difficulty getting an erection during sex or masturbation may have an underlying condition that affects their ability to obtain an erection, or it could just be age. Studies report that 40 percent of men age 40 have difficulty obtaining and sustaining an erection. For men in their seventies, that number jumps to 70 percent. Despite finding no evidence that masturbation causes erectile dysfunction, masturbation does tout a number of health benefits. Seventy-four percent of men report that they masturbate, while roughly 48 percent of women reportedly masturbate. 

Masturbation helps relieve sexual tension and boosts your mood. In addition, it reduces stress and anxiety, improves sleep, and may improve a man’s performance and pleasure in the bedroom. It may also improve your sleep. While masturbation has many benefits, abstaining from masturbation for a bit can increase your testosterone levels by 45 percent. 

However, also bear in mind that masturbation has an impact on future erections. Men have different refractory periods, and refractory period length ranges from 30 minutes to a couple of hours. Older men take longer and may need as much as 24 hours before they can obtain an erection again. 

According to experts, men may have a hard time obtaining an erection after masturbating. Most men need some time to recharge before getting an erection again. Called the male refractory period, this period of time is essential to a man. Men are not interested in sex and are unable to get an erection during the refractory period.     

While many men worry that masturbating or viewing porn causes ED, experts say that only the individual can determine if those are the cause for ED. If you believe masturbation habits are interfering with your life or affecting your relationships, you can try to determine why these are negatively impacting your life. Studies have found that men who masturbate at least once per week reduce their risk of developing ED. 

Despite an overwhelming lack of evidence that masturbation does not cause ED, some professionals say that certain techniques and approaches to masturbation can keep men from obtaining an erection and ejaculating. However, this is normal and has no link to ED. Aggressive masturbation techniques can reduce penile sensitivity, a fact that may decrease sexual satisfaction.       

  You may find it hard to have an orgasm when you practice aggressive hand motions. You can get so used to certain masturbation techniques that you have difficulty climaxing with a partner. Switching approaches and using techniques you would use with your partner may make it easier to climax during partnered sex. Masturbating to porn may also cause you to lose sight of what sex should be like. 

When this happens, you may have difficulty getting aroused. You may also develop performance anxiety. Internal struggles surrounding masturbation may make it difficult to experience pleasure. 

When it comes to masturbation, a number of psychological factors can lead one to develop ED. Having relationship problems, for example, can make it difficult to get an erection. Stress caused by your work or personal life can make it difficult to get an erection and can also negatively affect your sexual function. 

According to PubMed, the impact of pornography viewing has not been sufficiently studied, but it remains a critical factor in sexual response. Those who view pornography may develop arousal problems and orgasm difficulties. More studies are needed to gain more insight into these problems and how they affect your relationship with your partner. As a whole, studies have produced mixed opinions, and oftentimes, masturbation is so taboo that it is rarely talked about.   

Many men resort to masturbation when they find it difficult to get erect enough for sexual intercourse, WebMD says. For most men, ED is caused by health problems, such as diabetes, depression, and heart disease. Men might feel performance anxiety and consequently, cannot get aroused. While there’s no proof that masturbation causes ED, masturbation can help combat stress caused by personal relationships and external factors.   

Overcoming ED is a priority for many men, especially those who suffer from the condition. Any number of issues can cause ED, so it can be hard to pinpoint the exact cause. Despite skepticism about masturbation’s effect on ED, experts say that masturbation can benefit men in a number of ways. For example, occasional masturbation can benefit the health of your penis. 

Many studies have found that specific parameters and goals yield mixed results about masturbation’s effect on ED and sexual function. Many research endeavors have studied the use of Sildenafil and similar drugs on masturbation and ED.  These studies have found that there is no benefit to patients after they stop therapy with these drugs. Tadalafil helped keep men from losing penile length.

According to studies, stimulating the penis on a regular basis can help men develop positive sexual function. Good penile functions can help minimize your chances of developing ED. This is just one reason why masturbation promotes good health, instead of causing ED. If you don’t have a partner, masturbating helps you maintain good sexual functioning and penile health. Sometimes men who masturbate excessively have a hard time getting an erection for sex with a partner.

Because of this, it may help to keep the frequency of masturbation to a minimum. In other words, don’t overdo it. However, men need a refractory period to recover, so taking time to rest may help with your next partnered sexual encounter. It’s important to remember that sexual health is just as important as physical and psychological health. If you experience sexual problems after masturbation, you may need to speak with a professional. 

You can get a free online consultation with a professional. This helps you maintain a certain degree of anonymity. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the discomfort of speaking with someone face to face. Online research also goes a long way. Google issues that you are experiencing, and educate yourself. That way, you can more effectively tackle any sexual problems you face. 


16 Sources

Nu Image Medical has strict sourcing guidelines to ensure our content is accurate and current. We rely on peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical associations. We strive to use primary sources and refrain from using tertiary references.

This article is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. The information contained herein is not a substitute for and should never be relied upon for professional medical advice. Always talk to your physician about the risks and benefits of any treatment. Nu Image Medical may not offer the medications or services mentioned in this article.