Does Masturbation ACTUALLY Improve Immunity?

This article was scientifically fact-checked by Human Sexuality expert Dr. Laurie Mintz.

For the past month, and for what is sure to be a few more, the world has been occupied with COVID-19 (coronavirus). From stocking absurd amounts of toilet paper to thinking up the best 20 second songs to wash your hands to, it has been an interesting mix of panic and amusement as we come to grips with the pandemic. As many start to work from home, you may be wondering if there is any truth to the claim that masturbation will boost your immunity. Never fear, our team has decided to investigate!

Does Masturbation improve immunity

Does Masturbation Improve Immunity?

The answer is… it’s complicated. Immune systems are complicated, that is. There was a 2004 study of 11 men that found that “sexual arousal and orgasm increased the absolute number of leukocytes, in particular natural killer cells.” It did not affect T Cell or B cell count. 

So what does that mean exactly? The difference between the two groups is that they are your innate (non-learning) and adaptive immune responses, respectively. They’re both important for fighting off diseases! However, this study has a few obstacles in its way before officially declaring that masturbation is an immunity booster. First of all, there were not even a dozen participants—that’s a tiny sample size of all cis men. As well, we don’t know how long this ‘boost’ lasted (or even if it necessarily helps against COVID-19). 

Again, immunity is complicated. The best medical advice for making sure your immunity is in tip top shape are the no-fun basics like getting sufficient sleep, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly.

So is Masturbating Useless for Immunity?

Not necessarily! To say the current global situation has been stressful for many people would be a huge understatement. Stress produces cortisol, which in short spurts can help limit inflammation, but over a long period of time can negatively impact your body’s immune response. With a lot of uncertainty about how long social distancing measures will be part of our lives (not to mention concern for family members, or our financial situations during this crisis) it’s possible that we’ll all be stressed out for a while. 

Masturbation is an easy way to de-stress yourself (and a great way to pass the time if you’re stuck in the house; it’s a total myth that you’ll get addicted). So, while masturbation might not be the miracle you were hoping for in terms of your immune system, it certainly can’t hurt your immune system and it’s bound to help with your stress level!

Looking to stock up on some essentials? Look no further than our pleasure guides!

Facts checked by:

Dr. Laurie Mintz

Dr. Laurie Mintz, Ph.D.Laurie Mintz, Ph.D., is a professor at the University of Florida, teaching Human Sexuality to hundreds of students a year. She has published over 50 research articles and is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association. Dr. Mintz also has maintained a private practice for over 30 years, working with individuals and couples on general and sexual issues. She is also an author and speaker, spreading scientifically-accurate, sex-positive information to enhance sexual pleasure.

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Written by: Lea Marsden

Lea Marsden
For Lea, what once was “a European summer abroad” turned into traveling the world and studying sexual cultural differences for the past 6 years. She has a PhD in Gender & Sexuality and has a theory that dating guys in their twenties is an unpaid internship. She’s currently writing from a cafe in New Zealand.

2 comments

  1. Hi Lea
    Thats’s a relief 🙂
    As an addiction expert I would point out that it might become addictive if masturbation is repeatedly paired with a reduction in anxiety. Over a longer period of time, masturbation could become the go to (in place of drinking alcohol, smoking or gambling) for any form of anxiety being experienced – and if this occurs to such an extent that it disrupts your life then that is problematic.

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