Forget 'No Nut November' — masturbation is healthy and avoiding it will just make you uncomfortable, a doctor says

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Dr. Malik said that masturbation can reduce stress and help you get better sleep.Krista Long/Getty Images
  • People challenge themselves to give up masturbating for No Nut November.

  • But there's no health benefit to stopping masturbating, according to urologist Dr. Rena Malik.

  • She said abstaining from masturbation will most likely just make you uncomfortable.

Men are missing out on health benefits if they participate in "No Nut November", according to urologist Dr. Rena Malik.

No Nut November is a parody of No Shave November or Movember, when men are encouraged to grow their facial hair for a month to raise awareness of men's health issues. It is thought to have originated around 2011.

The "No Nut November" Reddit page, which has over 136,000 members, says it is "an event where those who have found it hard to go even a few days without masturbating attempt to challenge the dependency, and go an entire month without making the bald man cry. Some do it for the memes, others do it for actual self-improvement."

But Malik said that while proponents of the month-long abstinence from masturbation often portray it as beneficial for your mind and body, there's no substantial research to back those claims.

Malik told Insider that in addition to making you feel good, ejaculation can reduce stress and may even decrease your risk for prostate cancer.

There's no reason to stop masturbating

Malik, who has a YouTube channel dedicated to urology, said that there's no reason to stop yourself from masturbating.

In reality, she said, purposefully not masturbating can be uncomfortable for most people. Epididymal hypertension, commonly referred to as "blue balls," is a condition in which the testicles ache after being aroused for too long without ejaculation. The condition is often temporary and not dangerous.

But Malik said when people intentionally try not to masturbate, they can tense the muscles in their pelvic floor, causing pain in their testicles, excessive urination, and constipation. The condition, called high-tone pelvic-floor dysfunction, can become a cycle, she said, where anxiety from the condition makes the tension worse.

Masturbation reduces stress and can help you sleep

Malik said that when you masturbate and orgasm, your brain releases chemicals like oxytocin and dopamine, which make you feel happy and relaxed. A majority of participants in one 2019 study, both men and women, reported having better quality of sleep when they orgasmed before bed.

Another reason men shouldn't participate in No Nut November, Malik said, is that ejaculating may reduce a person's risk of prostate cancer.

In a 2016 study from European Urology, men in their 20s and 40s who self-reported ejaculating more than 21 times a month were less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer than those who ejaculated four to to seven times a month. While these results were not seen in every age group, they are still significant, Malik said.

A common masturbation myth claims the practice lowers men's testosterone levels. But while some small studies have found a slight increase in testosterone from abstaining, Malik said other studies have actually found testosterone levels in men may increase after orgasm.

The myth that that masturbation can lower performance in sports events also doesn't have a basis in science, Malik said.

"If [refraining from masturbation] feel like it's helping [men] have more clarity and they're not bothered and they feel great, then by all means that's fine. But if you are having issues, there's no point in putting yourself through torture because someone said that you should do it," she said.

Read the original article on Insider