There are many myths surrounding masturbation, mostly warning about possible ‘dangers’ and harm that it could do to you. One of the most famous and long lasting is that ‘masturbating will make you go blind’. In this post we will look into where this misconception came from and the truth about the matter.
Although most of you have probably already heard of the myth, let’s have a more in depth look at it.
As a youngster, you may have heard from either your peers or older people that if you masturbate you will eventually lose your sight. Possibly in the form of ‘don’t touch that, you will go blind.’ As if every time you enjoyed self-pleasure, your eyesight will be chipped away until it is completely gone.
The origin of this myth goes back hundreds of years, from various writers. Back in 1723 (or slightly earlier) the pamphlet Onania: or, the heinous sin of self-pollution was making the rounds, written by an unknown author. In it, there are claims that masturbation can cause a whole host of illnesses, including ‘disorders of the eye’.
In 1760 Samuel-Auguste Tissot published L'Onanisme, a medical treatise on the dangers of masturbation. He claimed that semen was an ‘essential oil’ to the body, so depleting it can cause weakness in the body, including blurred vision.
Since those days, science has progressed enormously, and study after study as found that none of this is true.
What Does Affect Eyesight?
So if masturbation doesn’t cause bad eyesight, what does?
Firstly, it's useful to know of the causes of bad eyesight that may be a medical issue, which you should speak to a doctor about. Some issues with the shape of the eye can cause nearsightedness or farsightedness, or even astigmatism. These can be corrected by wearing glasses, or surgery in more extreme cases. Presbyopia (difficulty in focusing on nearby objects) is caused by age, and just a natural part of getting old.
Outside of those issues, there are also some habits, unrelated to masturbation, that can cause your eyesight to deteriorate from eye strain.
- Staring at your computer screen or phone for too long can tire out your eyes.
- Looking at a screen in the dark can strain your eyes from changing the focus from light to dark too often.
- Eating poorly and not drinking enough water can mean you do not have enough vitamins and minerals for healthy eyes, or enough water for lubricating your eyes.
- Sleep deprivation can hurt your eyes as well, making them twitch and be sore.
- Not wearing the right prescription strains the eyes and tires them out.
While the first two habits on the list above are common in daily life, some do point out that (especially with the recent prevalence of smartphones) the consumption of erotic material on screens such as porn on your pc/phone, in badly-lit or dark rooms for prolonged periods of time, shows how masturbatory habits may affect your eyesight. However, that is the visual stimulus associated with it, not the act of masturbation itself.
Even if you recognize a lot on this list, don’t worry! There are things you can do to make it better.
What Can I Do?
The best thing to do if you notice your eyesight getting worse is to see an eye doctor, in case you have any conditions that require treatment.
If your eyesight issues are caused by bad habits, it is up to you to start making healthier changes.
For eye-strain issues caused by screen-time, try to avoid staring at your TV and devices for too long.
- Take a break from your screen every now and then.
- Don’t look at screens in the dark.
- If you are reading on your smartphone, make the text bigger to not strain your eyes.
For lifestyle choices, getting enough sleep, drinking enough water and eating healthily (vitamin-and-mineral-rich fruits and vegetables) are highly recommended.
Hopefully you now understand that the old superstition about masturbating making you blind is not based on any medical evidence.
However it is still important to take care of your eyes, so make sure to visit an eye doctor often and maintain a healthy lifestyle, which will bring more benefits than simply keeping your eyes in good condition.
There are a couple of possible issues with excessive masturbation, but overall masturbation has many great benefits, so be wary of believing any of the old myths and superstitions that you may have heard and enjoy yourself.