It's tough to approach an issue like masturbation. People usually don't want to talk about it.
Thank goodness we have science to start the conversation! Some science indicates that routine masturbation is a good thing.
There are verified benefits of a regular release including better prostate health and lower stress levels. But 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 its achieved, but that's not the case.
In one study conducted by Dr. Stuart Brody and Tillman Kruger, it was observed that certain hormones were released in sometimes 400% higher concentrations 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."
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 behavior that floods the brain with dopamine can desensitize us, requiring more of the same behavior 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.
"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," says Dr. N.K.Lin.
"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."