Since the coronavirus was a global pandemic, many of us have become more attentive to our health. In addition to keeping the social security distance, we began by increasing the frequency of hand washing and we started wearing the mask.
We also look at which foods best support immunity. And along the way, we may have heard of things that seemed unrelated to immune function, but might actually work on paper.
We mean masturbation. There is not enough evidence to confirm whether masturbation significantly affects immunity, but some preliminary research suggests there may be some positive effects.
A small 2004 study found that men had a higher post-orgasm white blood cell count from masturbation, compared to their pre-orgasm white blood cell count. White blood cells (also called leukocytes) are responsible for finding and attacking bacteria, viruses, and/or parasites in the body. "This shows that components of the innate immune system are activated by sexual arousal and orgasm," the researchers say.
Tierney Lorenz, a clinical psychologist who studies sexual health and immunity, says that masturbation likely impairs immunity, though that may not mean what most people assume it does. "When people ask about immunity, they're often talking about your susceptibility to disease, but the immune system actually does a lot of different things," she tells MBG. "It helps your body recover from injuries, heal after exercise, and in the case of your period, it helps break down tissue that isn't being used and then build it back up again," she adds.
When it comes to sexual activity, including masturbation, the part of the immune system that is primarily affected in women is related to reproduction. "The more someone engages in sexual activity and masturbation, the more the message is produced to their body that reproduction is a priority, and the more the immune system will act in ways that align with that priority," Lorenz explains. In some ways, that's going to be to the person's net benefit, since reproductive mechanisms can reduce reactivity to certain autoimmune problems, she adds.