A man won’t get hairy palms or go blind from masturbating; most people know this well by now. Still, the variety of religious and cultural taboos surrounding the practice have had a lasting effect on public consciousness, with many wondering if masturbation poses a risk to penis health, other areas of the body or overall sexual wellbeing.

Generally, masturbation is a perfectly healthy activity, both physically and sexually. Frequent erections and ejaculations can keep the penis strong and functional into old age. Sexually, it helps men learn about their members and get to know what they like. Self-pleasuring also brings the emotional benefit of relieving stress. And, while results of research are mixed, ejaculating often may even help protect prostate health.

However, as with anything under the sun, this generally healthy practice can become detrimental to an individual in a number of cases. The following are masturbation habits that men should look out for and correct if they are in play.

Death grip

Some men love nothing more than squeezing the penis tightly while cranking away; the physical sensation combined with the mental intensity can deliver great pleasure. However, subjecting the delicate manhood skin, blood vessels and nerves to so much pressure on any kind of regular basis can have poor results, such as toughened skin and desensitization.

Men who have a difficult time feeling pleasure and achieving release with a softer grip may need some time to retrain their members to enjoy subtler sensations. Taking a break from masturbation then getting back to it with some new, interesting techniques - such as rubbing the head against a lubed-up palm or trying out a toy - can help.

Public practice

Exhibitionism is a fairly common fantasy, but for some people, it’s more of a fetish - something they feel they need to indulge in order to achieve sexual gratification. This can lead to immoral and illegal public displays.

Men who have a hard time resisting the urge to pleasure themselves in risky public places should seek out the guidance of a sex counselor who can steer them in safer, healthier directions. They may help men learn to indulge their desire for exhibition without subjecting people to an undesired show.

Constant cranking

For some men, masturbation is so enjoyable that they perform the activity every chance they get. Obviously, for the man with a lot of free time, this can be a problem. The skin and nerves need rest, but if they’re not getting those, they can suffer pain and desensitization.

For some men, though, the problem isn’t an excess of free time. Some men avoid certain activities, such as spending time with friends or arriving to work on time, because they can’t resist a solo session or two. This may indicate an addiction to the practice - whenever masturbation interferes with a man’s social, work or relationship life, it is likely a problem. Again, a sex counselor can be helpful in this situation.

Porn addiction

Most men, and many women, enjoy watching porn, and there’s usually nothing wrong with that. However, men who find themselves needing the same type of porn, or rougher and rougher materials, in order to get off may have trained their penises to respond sexually only to this particular type of stimulus. Such a man may be unable to perform with an actual partner.

Sex counselors can guide men in getting used to different and gentler stimuli. Some recommend a hiatus of a month, reintroducing masturbation with less extreme visuals (or perhaps just imagination).

The penis is subjected to many frictions throughout the day and night - from a man’s own hand to a partner’s body to the clothing he wears. Whether he masturbates too roughly or just the right amount, he may find that the skin on his manhood becomes dry and chafed. Using a penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) can help to soothe and heal dry skin, as well as fortify the member against frictions to come. Keeping the manhood skin healthy and supple will allow a man to enjoy his member with greater frequency.