This is easily the saddest thing we've had to report all day. If you or someone you love frequently enjoys doing the five-finger shuffle, there's a study that suggests they might face negative effects over time.
Published in Biological Psychology, scientists Dr. Stuart Brody and Tillman Kruger discovered that there's a 400% higher concentration of chemicals like oxytocin and prolactin during sexual intercourse than with solo orgasms. Why does that matter? As one blog points out, this means you're getting much less oxytocin when you're giving yourself a hand, with a similar amount of dopamine. Oxytocin is linked with satisfaction, meaning that jerking off is inherently less satisfying.
Well, duh, but there's more. The more you masturbate, the more dopamine your brain gets flooded with (minus the warm, complacent, satisfied feeling from oxytocin). The more frequently this happens, the more you can build up a tolerance or even addiction to it, which can put you in a vicious cycle of increased masturbation, Kleenex, lotion, and tears until you come close to reaching the same feelings of happiness again.
But if jerking off the same way again and again isn't providing you with much release, the problem may not just be dopamine related. In an article about 'death grip syndrome' (the idea that whacking it too tightly will damage your dick), Dr. Michael A. Perelman advised VICE readers to switch things up: "The idea is to be able to be responsive to more than one kind of stimulation, so that you can enjoy a range of responses."
Look, there are lots of healthy benefits to jerking off, like releasing endorphins that contribute to stress relief, and even boosting your immune system, but as with most things, moderation and variety are the keys to happiness. So buy a Fleshlight or a blowjob machine, play with a friend, give it a go in the shower, switch hands. Do whatever you need to do to keep things fresh — your sex life may depend on it.
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