Masturbation can be a normal, natural part of a healthy lifestyle and provides plenty of beneficial effects for your body. There may be some effects that stem from sexual activity that can be concerning for people with medical issues, such as having an adverse effect on those with a high heart rate or blood pressure. There can be a lot of worrying information regarding this on the internet, but it may not be as bad as you think if you look deeper into the data!
Read on as we take a deeper look into what really happens to your heart and blood pressure during masturbation and see if these rumors contain any truth.
How Does Masturbation Affect Your Heart Rate?
Masturbating, as with anything that involves any sort of mild to moderate physical excursion, will cause your heart rate to rise. In fact, sexual activity such as masturbation is the cardiovascular equivalent of swiftly walking or climbing two flights of stairs! If you can accomplish this kind of exercise without any kind of adverse effect on your health, then it’s likely you can masturbate without issue.
According to a study in 2012, it should be uncommon for your heart to beat faster than 130 beats per minute and for your systolic blood pressure to surpass 170 mm Hg during any kind of sexual activity in people with normal blood pressure (a relatively normal heart rate being between 60-100 beats per minute and blood pressure being less than 120/80mm Hg).
Myths Surrounding Masturbation and Your Heart
There are some terrifying findings from studies by seemingly trusted sources that state sexual activity triples your chance of a heart attack. What these findings do not mention is that patients under these conditions are usually questioned on their activities prior to the heart attack as compared to the days when they didn’t suffer from one. This can often influence the data and affect the way doctors calculate a ‘relative risk’ or going even deeper, an ‘absolute risk’ associated with sexual activity.
In an article discussing sex and the heart, it was found that the absolute risk of heart attack for a 50-year-old man who exercises frequently is 1 chance in 1 million per hour. Tripling that risk by engaging in sexual activity increases the risk to 3 in 1 million per hour. This is only for a two-hour period during and after sexual activity. For a recovering heart attack survivor, the absolute risk of 10 in 1 million per hour increases to 30 in 1 million per hour by engaging in sexual activity.
What this means is that while there is some truth to masturbation or sex causing a heart attack, the chances are still very low. In fact, it is less than if you exert yourself shovelling snow. When reading ‘myths’ such as these, if you find yourself concerned, it is always important to research more about the subject. You may find out that there is a lot less to be worried about than you think.
Connections Between Masturbation and Blood Pressure
For most people, it is very unlikely that masturbation will raise your blood pressure to a dangerous level, even if you already have issues with high blood pressure. Your heart rate and blood pressure naturally increase during all sexual activities, not only during masturbation, but should return to normal relatively soon after.
Arousal causes a complex sequence of reactions in your body that involves changes to your nervous, circulatory, and endocrine systems. In fact, sexual arousal is generally broken into four phases: excitement, plateau, orgasm, and resolution:
- Excitement phase: During the excitement phase, your heart rate speeds up and your blood pressure starts to increase. You should also experience other changes such as faster breathing, increased blood flow to your genitals, and increased muscle tension.
- Plateau phase: During the plateau phase, your heart rate, blood pressure, and the other changes you underwent during the excitement phase increase until you reach climax.
- Orgasm phase: Your heart rate and blood pressure reach their most elevated point during climax and you may experience involuntary muscle contractions.
- Resolution phase: After the orgasm phase, your body should swiftly return to its normal state before arousal.
If you experience symptoms that persist out of the ordinary, this is when you should consider speaking to a medical professional. For most people with only mild health issues, you should be back to your normal state within at most two hours of sexual activity.
When Should I Be Concerned?
If you experience any pain, tingling, or numbness during masturbation or any kind of sexual activity, you might consider speaking with a medical professional. If you are finding it difficult to maintain an erection and are concerned about high blood pressure, then a doctor could help find the cause of your issues.
You are generally a good judge of what is normal for your body, so if you feel any sort of abnormality, don’t hesitate to speak to a professional if you have any concerns or questions regarding your sexual health.
Benefits of Masturbating
We have covered the benefits of masturbation more thoroughly in other blogs, such as benefits you may not know about or why masturbation before sleeping may help with your self-wellness. Here are some of the key reasons why masturbation can be helpful for your health and heart.
Masturbation can bring with it plenty of health boosts such as the following:
Alongside the above benefits, masturbation could help increase your heart’s health. As mentioned before, masturbation can raise your heart rate to the same level as mild to moderate exercise. So while there are no conclusive studies to concretely back this theory, masturbation could have a positive effect on your cardiovascular health in moderation!
Of course, this would only be the case for a person with a generally healthy lifestyle, so take that into consideration when adding masturbation to your self-care routine.
Masturbation, as with any sexual activity, naturally causes your heart rate and blood pressure to increase. For the majority of people, especially those who don’t suffer from any major health concerns, this shouldn’t cause any problems and you should return to a normal heart rate not long after climax. In fact, masturbation could help increase your cardiovascular health as part of a healthy lifestyle.
Should you ever have any concerns regarding your sexual health, you should not be embarrassed to speak to a healthcare professional as soon as possible. After all, your health, both physical and mental, are of the utmost importance.