Masturbation & Sickness: Can You Beat a Cold by Beating Off?

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

It’s the time of year for runny noses, sniffles and coughs. If you’re feeling the effects of a cold or flu, you probably don’t feel much like getting intimate with a partner or practicing self-love while you’re in that state. However, if you’re like this author and believe that an orgasm a day keeps the doctor away, it begs the question; can an orgasm cure the common cold?

Sickness and masturbating

Sexual activity while sick can have a positive effect on treating your cold or flu in that it stimulates blood flow Even during times of peak health, there are so many health benefits of orgasms, which include:

  • Improved sleep quality.
  • Decreased stress and anxiety.
  • Strengthened immune system
  • Headache relief.
  • Relaxed muscles.

So even in the best of times, masturbating is good for you, and there are no side effects! Pharmaceutical companies could only wish for a medical breakthrough as amazing as self-pleasure, and you can do it for free!

The benefits listed above will have a positive effect if you find yourself coming down with a cold or flu, however, should you rely only on masturbation as your sickness treatment? No. Take some over the counter flu or cold medicine to deal with your biggest symptoms, then use self-pleasure to take the edge off of the outlying effects of your sickness.

It’s got to be noted that when a man ejaculates, he loses trace amounts (read: very very small amounts) of zinc, copper and some other vitamins, all of which are useful in maintaining a tip-top immune system. They’re just trace amounts and nothing to worry about, but if you so wish, you can bolster the amount of zinc and copper in your system with foods that contain both, like leafy greens.

For men and women, a bit of masturbation while sick can benefit by decreasing the amounts of stress hormone – cortisol – that your body produces. This can act not only as a stress reliever, but also a sleeping aid, both of which will greatly bolster your body’s immune responses to illness.

Keep in mind that we’re talking mainly about solo play and not intimacy with a partner. Of course, experiencing pleasure with someone else can be even more titillating and rewarding, when you’re down with a stuffy nose you simply might not be willing to share any excess bodily fluids your body is producing from the neck up.

Speaking of ‘from the neck up’, if you do end up getting intimate with a partner while sick, try to keep all of the action focused on everything below the neck. Because so many common illnesses are spread via saliva and mucus transmissions, a deep kiss will likely get your partner sick as well.

However, can you get sick from bodily fluids like semen or vaginal fluid? The prevailing wisdom says no – however if you’re in close enough contact for semen or vaginal fluid to pass between partners, you’re already in proximity to catch whatever illness they have anyways. Don’t say we didn’t warn you!

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: Colin Hanna

Colin Hanna is a Volonté contributor and freelance writer who lives in Shanghai, China with his wife. He's written extensively about sex and human sexuality for LELO since 2010.

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