There is no shortage of myth and misconception surrounding supposed harms of masturbation; men will find no mention of hairy palms and blindness here. Masturbation is, generally, an important component of sexual and penile health, as it promotes healthy erectile function and helps a man "get in touch" with what he likes, both concerning types of physical stimulation and the fantasies that turn him on.

That said, it is not impossible for the practice of self-gratification to become problematic, and this occurs when it interferes with a man’s sex life or causes injury to the penis. The following masturbation don’ts should be heeded if a man wants to keep his cranking safe and conducive to a healthy sex life.

1. Don’t choke it. Sure, the squeeze of a tight grip may feel great in the moment, but there are a couple reasons not to use, or at least not to rely solely on, a strangle hold grip when jerking it.

First, a man who does so is subjecting his tissues to a lot of pressure. Bruising could result, and even if it doesn’t, his member might be too sore to enjoy stimulation, either solo-based or with a partner, for up to a few days. Is it really worth it?

Second, a guy who uses this method all the time trains his penis to respond sexually to this particular type of stimulus. Sure, a partner’s orifices offer tight accommodations, but they aren’t going to provide the same pressure as a man’s own hand strangling it. So he may experience difficulty performing with a partner.

2. Beware the dry rub. Lots of guys forego the lube while masturbating because the friction of the hand against the penis feels great. And some guys, particularly those with foreskin, produce sufficient natural lubrication to make products unnecessary.

But constantly skipping the slippery stuff can leave the member sore and chafed, as with the choke hold, meaning it won’t be ready for other activities for some time. Chronic chafing can occur if dry rubbing is a man’s habitual technique.

Over time, skin that is exposed to friction can undergo a process called keratinization in which the outer layer of skin toughens. This can lead to reduced sensation in the penis, something no man wants.

3. Mind what one is sticking it in. Using a vacuum hose or cramming the member between mattresses might sound like a ton of fun, but these methods could place far too much pressure on a man’s member. Some guys use vacuum pumps in hopes of making it bigger, and may see this as a good way to get aroused, but these devices are best reserved for men with erectile dysfunction. They shouldn’t be used with regularity by others, since, over time, they can weaken penile tissues that contribute to strong erections.

4. Easy on the visuals. Some men find that, over time, their tastes and preferences concerning pornography become more extreme. Some guys find they can’t masturbate without porn, and others need a specific kind to get off.

This can be problematic because it indicates that a man has trained his penis to respond sexually to a certain stimulus, and he may not be able to feel the same type of pleasure with a partner. Men should mix up their viewings, avoid the super hardcore stuff and occasionally rely on their imaginations for stimulus during solo play. If porn has become a problem, a man can take some time off and see a sex therapist to learn how to retrain his penis through healthier masturbation practices.

Along with adequately lubing during a solo session, guys should consider using a moisturizer daily to promote healthy skin and protect the skin against chafing, dryness and keratinization. A penis health crème (health professionals recommend Man1 Man Oil) with Shea butter and vitamin E can do just that; one moisturizer provides hydration while the other locks it in. Tag team common penile skin issues with Man1 Man Oil to help keep the rod ready to go.