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Can Masturbation Cause Infertility In Men? Science Explains

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"Quit doing that or you'll go blind. You know why your palms are hairy, don't you? It's the sexual gateway drug." There are all sorts of hilarious myths and aphorisms about male masturbation. Possibly as many aphorisms as there are euphemisms, but whether you're reading an eye chart after watching porn or considering the origins of the phrase "spanking the monkey," you're probably not considering sperm count until it becomes a problem. And then? You might find yourself asking, "Can masturbation cause infertility in men?"

There is a lot of bad information available that discusses the idea that the more a man ejaculates, the lower his sperm count. It's based in the hypothesis that the testicles are some sort of basic storage device that must build up reserves in the way that a solar battery must build up a charge. If the energy — in this case, the sperm — is depleted, there must be a period of recovery time allowed to build up the sperm in the semen once again. However, science disputes this theory. According to The Mayo Clinic, there is no correlation between masturbation and sperm count or infertility. Instead, The Mayo Clinic posited that the more you have sex or use masturbation to become interested in sex, the likelier a man is to get a woman pregnant.

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However, can masturbation cause infertility in men in any other ways than lowering sperm count? Not in any physiological sense, according to the Shady Grove Fertility Clinic. According to their website, the external physiological factors that can affect fertility are along the lines of things like heavy metals poisoning, cocaine and drug use, alcohol abuse, prescription drugs, and trauma to a man's genitals. Although there is a small amount of men who experience male infertility due to erectile dysfunction.

There are myriad types of erectile dysfunction (ED), but sometimes, ED is thought to be caused by an over-reliance on external agents like pornography or its ilk to trigger a sexual response in men, according to Psychology Today. This type of ED is rare, and it's often not physiological, but psychological, as evidenced by the man's ability to achieve climax during masturbation while engaged with the pornography. This is by no means saying that porn is bad, but there is a subset of users who become detached from the real, tangible act of sexual intercourse to the point where their performance becomes a problem.  

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That type of ED and subsequent infertility isn't caused by masturbation, but the masturbation is a symptom of a much deeper psychological issue that needs to be dealt with. Assuming the man can work beyond that constraint, they should theoretically be able to achieve orgasm during intercourse and ostensibly produce a child from that coitus.

There is no scientific link between regular masturbatory habits and infertility, though. If your partner is one of those guys who has to masturbate in the shower every morning just as a part of their routine, it's not going to affect them, according to Dr. Malpani Fertility Center. The shower, shave, masturbate, brush teeth habit is just that — a habit. I need coffee before my feet hit the ground, some people need an orgasm. You do you.

Turns out, men are constantly replacing the sperm in their bodies, according to Seminars in Cell and Developmental Biology. They're basically walking sperm factories — which explains so much — and it's not an engine that needs fueling, but a well that continually replenishes from the ground around it. Masturbation won't drain that well, just call for more water from the surrounding area.

This aphorism about masturbation decreasing sperm count is debunked, but I don't know about that whole "going blind," thing, so maybe a trip to the opthamologist is in order if things are looking fuzzy. Couldn't hurt.

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