Does masturbation affect memory?
Does masturbation affect the brain in the long term?
As the Wikipedia article on masturbation sums up, the current consensus among scientists is that masturbation has no negative effects and that all known positive effects are physiological (e.g., reducing the likelihood of developing prostate cancer in men over 50) or at the level of general well-being (e.g. it relieves depression and leads to higher self-esteem).
A quick Google Scholar search returned no results for studies on the relationship between masturbation and cognitive functions such as memory, attention, etc. This does not mean that masturbation does not affect these functions positively or negatively, just that it does not appear to have been studied.
Sexual stimulation and orgasm activate the parasympathetic nervous system and lead to the production of gender-specific sex hormones as well as neurotransmitters such as acetylcholine, dopamine and serotonin, which in turn influence the relevant neurotransmitter systems.
Too much masturbation can result in a loss of libido (psychological) and a loss of sensitivity (physiological), although what is too much differs between individuals. Certainly, most teenagers indulge in extensive sexual self-exploration during puberty with no obvious negative consequences.
As Archimedix pointed out, one study found that frequent masturbation in teenage males was correlated with a higher likelihood of prostate cancer. However, the researchers speculated that it was not masturbation that caused the hormones that cause cancer, but rather the hormones that caused both the higher sex drive and cancer. Again, masturbation does not seem to have a negative effect, and not masturbating would not have prevented cancer, but the cause is all speculation. (http://www.webmd.com/prostate-cancer/news/20090127/masturbation-and-prostate-cancer-risk).
Rather, the common consensus among sexologists is to encourage teens and even children to actively explore this area. For example, the WHO European Regional Office suggests that masturbation can help individuals better understand their sexual needs and limits, communicate more clearly in a sexual situation, and avoid abuse (http://www.bzga.de/infomaterialien/) . publications /? idx = 2042).
As with any activity, such as excessive work, masturbation can become problematic. But like at work, masturbation is not a problem in and of itself.
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