I’m just going to break the ice and start this piece off by being as honest as I can possibly be: I love to masturbate.

I mean, who doesn’t? It’s relaxing, its pleasurable, and it’s fun.

And in an always-busy, always-bustling city like London, masturbation can be the perfect way to let your hair down once you’ve retreated to your cosy bedroom.

Over the years, science has often indicated that routine masturbation is a good thing. There are verified benefits of a regular release including better energy levels, and lower stress levels.

However, apparently just like any good thing, too much can be harmful.

You may not think so, but orgasms are pretty complicated things. It’s easy to assume that an orgasm is the same no matter how it’s achieved, but that’s not the case.

In a study conducted by Dr. Stuart Brody and Tillman Kruger, it was observed that certain hormones released when you come are greater (some times 400% higher) during sex than masturbation, including oxytocin.

Oxytocin is thought to be released during hugging, touching, and orgasm in both sexes. In the brain, oxytocin is involved in social recognition and bonding, and may be involved in the formation of trust between people and generosity.”

So basically, higher levels of oxytocin released in the brain leads to a greater feeling of satisfaction because it offsets dopamine.

Dopamine itself is fine. It’s responsible for our pleasure/reward reactions.

The issue is that when too much dopamine is released too frequently, our brains become desensitized to it.

Any behaviour that floods the brain with dopamine can desensitize us, requiring more of the same behaviour in order to get the same reward.

Brain scans conducted on people with porn addictions found that the part of the brain that lights up is the same part that lights up when a heroin addict has just injected heroin. Yikes.

So masturbation does a great job of flooding the brain with dopamine but it doesn’t produce much oxytocin, which combats the dopamine. This makes excessive masturbation dangerously addictive. Excessive dopamine can even make your brain more stressed out.

Dr. N.K.Lin, adds

Since dopamine is the precursor to the stress hormone epinephrine (adrenaline), excess dopamine results in the adrenal glands overproducing epinephrine and putting the body in a prolonged state of fight-or-flight stress. At the same time, norepinephrine is synthesized from dopamine and released from the adrenal medulla into the blood as a hormone, along with the stress hormone cortisol.”

Epinephrine, norepinephrine and cortisol fuel the fight-or-flight response, directly increasing heart rate, triggering the release of glucose from energy stores, and increasing blood flow to skeletal muscle. All of this has a severely taxing effect on the body.”

Party poopers