Masturbation is still very much a taboo topic — so it can be tricky to work out whether you’re doing it too much or too little.

In recent years, there has been an idea that access to pornography has led to too much masturbation, causing a wave of sexual problems and warped views of sex.

But DailyMail.com reported on a study last week which suggested abstaining from pleasuring yourself is also bad — and could raise the risk of anxiety, depression and erectile dysfunction.

We asked three health experts about the exact number of times men and women should aim to masturbate each week, with very surprising results:

Men should masturbate from seven to 21 times a month, scientists suggested. For women, the estimation was at least once a week is best and that masturbating during the menstrual cycle could help to relieve pain (stock image) Men should masturbate from seven to 21 times a month, scientists suggested. For women, the estimation was at least once a week is best and that masturbating during the menstrual cycle could help to relieve pain (stock image)

Men should masturbate from seven to 21 times a month, scientists suggested. For women, the estimation was at least once a week is best and that masturbating during the menstrual cycle could help to relieve pain (stock image)

Dr Yvonne Fulbright, a sex expert based in Iceland, told DailyMail.com women should look to masturbate for nine days over the menstrual cycle Dr Yvonne Fulbright, a sex expert based in Iceland, told DailyMail.com women should look to masturbate for nine days over the menstrual cycle Dr Ian Kerner, a sex therapist and author of bestseller 'she come's first', told DailyMail.com that pornography was fine to use. But he urged people to pay for it Dr Ian Kerner, a sex therapist and author of bestseller 'she come's first', told DailyMail.com that pornography was fine to use. But he urged people to pay for it

 Dr Yvonne Fulbright, a sex expert in Iceland, said that women should look to masturbate for nine days over the menstrual cycle to help ease cramps. Dr Ian Kerner, a sex therapist and bestselling author, previously told DailyMail.com that it was fine to use pornography, but urged people to pay for the use

Women — once a week at least (and consider masturbating during your menstrual cycle for pain relief)

Dr Peter Kanaris, a sex therapist on Long Island, recommends women aim to masturbate or have sex at least once a week. 

‘I would say that if a person is inclined and able to be active weekly that is beneficial, whether that is via masturbation or via involvement with a partner,’ he said.

Dr Yvonne Fulbright, a sex expert based in Iceland, told DailyMail.com that women should look to masturbate frequently around their menstrual cycle for pain relief.

‘With managing one’s pre-menstrual syndrome (PMS) and menstruation woes like pain, one would want to self-pleasure more than once per month,’ she said.

‘PMS often starts five days before bleeding begins and goes away within four days of it starting.

‘So it could be beneficial to masturbate on each of those days.’

Masturbating raises blood flow to the pelvic area, which helps to relieve pain. The method can also be used to ease other ailments like back pain, she said.

A 2020 study from University College London suggested that masturbating once a week in your 40s can help to delay menopause.

Researchers tracked 2,936 women aged 45 years for a decade and found that those who engaged in sexual activity at least once a week were 28 percent less likely to have entered the menopause by the end of the study compared to women who masturbated less than once a month.  

The scientists behind the study suggested that when women do not have sex or masturbate, the body ‘chooses’ not to invest in ovulation, triggering menopause.

Dr Rena Malik, the director of female pelvic medicine and reconstructive surgery at the University of Maryland, told DailyMail.com that it was important for women to choose a frequency of masturbation that they were comfortable with.

‘There is no right or wrong amount,’ she said. ‘If you are masturbating, as long as it is not interfering with your daily life and spending time with partner or friends, then it is fine.’

She said that after menopause women should ‘absolutely, 100 percent’ continue to masturbate in order to reap the physical benefits.

Asked about what would constitute masturbating too much, the experts said that, like with men, this would be when it begins to interfere with someone’s daily life.

Men — 21 TIMES a month is ‘sweet spot’

According to Dr Kanaris the ‘sweet spot’ for men is about 21 times a month — or five times a week.

He said the lower limit should be around seven times a month.

Dr Kanaris cited a 2016 study on 32,000 men that showed frequent masturbating lowered the risk of prostate cancer.

He encouraged older men to masturbate more as data shows they tend to pleasure themselves much less frequently than those in their 20s, 30s and 40s.

‘It is good to be aware of these correlational numbers,’ he said. ‘But thinking I am failing because I am not hitting the mark is the wrong way of looking at it.

Have sex once a week if you’re in a couple, doctors say 

 

DailyMail.com spoke to four medical professionals who said that couples should aim to have sex at least once or twice a week — but they added there is no harm in having it even more often. 

‘If a person feels, “oh gee, once a week is what I am comfortable with”, that is perfectly okay. 

‘I don’t want people to think that if they don’t hit these numbers then they are in trouble.’

The 2016 study, by researchers at Boston University, found those who ejaculated more — through masturbation or sex — were up to a third less likely to get prostate cancer.

It’s thought that the act helps clear potentially cancer-causing substances from the prostate.

Dr Kanaris warned, however, that men should not become compulsive about their masturbating and should go with how they feel.

He told DailyMail.com: ‘I would be cautious, though, to create a sense of compulsory masturbation. 

‘You know, “I have only masturbated 16 times this month and this is jeopardizing my health”, that would be the wrong way to look at it.’

Research also shows that when people masturbate, it triggers the release of a flood of feel-good hormones, responsible for easing anxiety, stress and raising self-esteem.

Studies have also linked masturbation to lasting longer during sex, helping men to bond with their partners.

Asked about how much masturbation was too much for men, Dr Kanaris said there was no specific number — but he did suggest masturbating multiple times a day was problematic.

He said someone could tell if they were masturbating too much if the habit began to interfere with their daily lives including going to work and seeing family and friends.

Dr Peter Kanaris, a sex therapist on Long Island, suggested men should masturbate from seven to 21 times a month Dr Peter Kanaris, a sex therapist on Long Island, suggested men should masturbate from seven to 21 times a month

Dr Peter Kanaris, a sex therapist on Long Island, suggested men should masturbate from seven to 21 times a month

Other risks from too much masturbation include injury, which happens when people start applying more force in order to get the same pleasure.

Is porn OK? You might want to read a book instead

All the experts said that pornography was ok to use — but in moderation.

Dr Ian Kerner, a bestselling author and sex therapist, told DailyMail.com: ‘I am all for having a relationship with your own sexuality. 

‘And if porn is going to be the thing to engage sexual arousal, then I don’t have a problem with it.’

He added, however: ‘I do suggest ethical porn. It costs something but means they all want to be there, have consented and get paid.’

Dr Malik warned that pornography was a ‘mixed bag’.

She said that using it ‘once in a while’ was beneficial for masturbation and getting to know your sexuality.

But viewing porn too regularly carries risks because it is ‘very produced’ and ‘not a reflection of what real sex is like’. She warned this could lead to unfulfilled expectations and disappointments in the bedroom.

Alternatives to pornography include fantasy — using your brain to imagine a sexually exciting scene like ‘before porn existed’ — and erotic literature, she said.

People could also use their partners, she said, or sex toys to find other ways to stimulate themselves.