Most men are aware that age-old religious and cultural taboos around masturbation are founded partly on the false premise that the practice of solo play is somehow bad for a man’s health. While certain extreme techniques or a jerking habit so frequent that it interferes with other aspects of a man’s life pose health problems, most men don’t need to worry about the frequency or technique with which they enjoy self-gratification. Though it’s fairly common knowledge today that the practice isn’t unhealthy, men may be unaware of the many ways in which it benefits overall health and, specifically, penis health. The following benefits of masturbation can help men revel even more in this favorite pastime.

1) It relieves stress. Masturbation results in the release of dopamine and endorphins in the body, two substances that promote pleasant feelings and relaxation. What is more, the practice lowers blood pressure. It’s a great way to de-stress and have a lot of fun at the same time.

2) It can help people sleep. For the same reasons that self-pleasuring can diminish stress, it can also help people fall asleep. A nightly session could relieve insomnia for some.

3) Use it or lose it. Nitric oxide is a very important chemical for men’s sex lives - it’s what causes blood vessels to relax in the penis, which allows the in-rush of blood that creates an erection. Sexual activity, whether partner-based or solo, helps maintain adequate levels of this chemical in a man’s body. Masturbation can promote erectile health and sexual stamina.

4) It puts a man in touch with what he likes. When yanking his chain, a man can pay attention to the rhythms and amount of pressure he enjoys most. He can use this knowledge to increase the pleasure he experiences with a partner, and to guide partners when they provide oral or manual stimulation.

5) It may help manage weight. Masturbation may boost metabolism, thereby helping the body maintain a healthy weight.

6) It might relieve migraines. Neurologist Stefan Evers states that roughly one-third of migraine patients find relief from a headache attack through sexual activity. Since a partner isn’t always around or interested when migraines strike, but one’s hand is always there, it’s a great resource for migraine sufferers.

7) It can boost the immune system. One study found that masturbation-induced orgasm increased the number of white blood cells in the body, which protect against infections and other dangerous invaders.

8) It can relieve sexual frustration. When a partner isn’t in the mood, or when there’s no such partner to speak of, a man can grow frustrated. This is not only emotionally difficult, but physically as well. The infamous "blue balls" is a situation no man wants to find himself in; taking a few minutes - or a long time - to enjoy himself privately can alleviate the strenuousness of the situation.

9) It gets one in touch with his fantasies. What does a man think about when he masturbates? If he uses visual stimuli, what types of scenarios turn him on? He can consider whether or not he might be able to or want to incorporate some of these elements into his partner-based sex life.

Masturbation is not the only way a man can promote optimal penile and sexual health. He can consider using a quality penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) on a daily basis. A cream that contains natural moisturizers like Shea butter and vitamin E can help alleviate some of the soreness and dryness that may result from vigorous sessions. Other nutrients, such as acetyl L-carnitine and L-arginine, promote nerve and circulatory health, helping to encourage the maintenance of sensitivity to pleasure and erectile health as a man ages.