Blindness, baldness, hairy palms, eternal punishment - these are just some of the dire consequences that elders have used to discourage males from the act of self-love. While most men no longer give these warning any credibility, there are any number of other supposed results of masturbating that, at least on some levels, may sound as though they have some basis in reality. These potential masturbation risks are described here, along with the evidence that backs them up or puts them to rest for good. Some penis care tips for maintaining optimum organ health are also offered below.

The "Risks"

1) Infertility - Men are often told that frequent masturbation reduces sperm count and can contribute to fertility problems. This seems to make sense - frequent ejaculation should logically decrease the number of sperm available and, on a temporary basis, it does. On the other hand, the body is constantly producing sperm, so the supply is quickly replenished. In fact, men who ejaculate more frequently tend to have healthier, livelier sperm than those who hold back.

2) Impotence - Men are prone to hearing that masturbation will cause impotence or "weak" erections. In fact, this is just not true at all. Erectile quality tends to adhere to the "use it or lose it" rule - men who do not use the equipment, either with a partner or alone, are more likely to encounter impotence issues than those who put it through its paces on a regular basis.

3) Sickness, Fatigue, Loss of Energy - Many men (and women, too, for that matter) believe that masturbating is somehow unhealthy and that it can cause loss of strength, fatigue and even illness. These concerns have no basis in reality, except in the sense that men who believe them may, in essence, talk themselves into experiencing these symptoms. Masturbating is a normal, healthy practice that has numerous health benefits, including decreasing stress, building confidence and promoting relaxation.

4) Loss of Sensation - Men who masturbate frequently are often worried about loss of sensation in the penis; in this case, there is some validity to the concern. Dry-rubbing of the penile skin creates friction that can, over time, cause a thickening of the outer layers of skin, similar to the calluses that form on the hands and feet. This can, indeed, contribute to a loss of penile sensation if steps are not taken to support the healthy growth of new skin cells.

Protecting the penis and preserving sensation

Because frequent, dry masturbation can really take a toll on the penile skin, not to mention the underlying sensory tissue, it is important to take the right steps to preserve sensation, protect the skin and promote healing.

Men can do this by following these simple rules:

1) Wear loose, breathable clothing. Tight jeans and underwear that squeeze the genitals close to the body tend to limit blood flow, meaning that the penile tissue may be deprived of oxygen and other elements that are needed to allow healing and preserve sensation.

2) Keep it clean. Skin that is coated with grime, sweat and body fluids is more susceptible to infections that can damage skin cells and impair overall penis health.

3) Use a personal lubricant. Much of the damage created by friction can be reduced by using a water-based lubricant that is designed for the purpose. Lotions, soaps and other household items are not ideal for this application. Lotions can be quickly absorbed into the skin, while soap can contain chemicals that dry out the skin and leave it dull and unresponsive.

4) Loosen the grip. Men that grab on with a chokehold and yank away during every session often complain of reduced sensation. Using a gentle touch and mixing up the technique every now and then can prevent the penile nerve cells from becoming "bored" with the process.

5) Use a quality penis health cream (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil). Nourishing the skin, nerve and circulatory tissue with a combination of targeted ingredients such as vitamin A, alpha lipoic acid, vitamin C and acetyl L-carnitine can soften skin that has become toughened through overuse as well as boost blood flow and improve overall sensation.