Masturbate Your Mild COVID-19 Symptoms Away
COVID-19 often presents unpleasant physical symptoms, including fever, chills, cough, headache—and basically every other sign of the common cold or flu virus. And as if being down and out isn't bad enough, it also lands you isolated in quarantine for several days.
While some old-fashioned rest and relaxation is encouraged, there may be other, more pleasurable ways to ease symptoms beyond a good book and your favorite tea. Surprisingly, masturbation may help provide quick (and safe) relief while your body works to fight off the virus.
Good news: The endorphins released during arousal are also known as the body's natural painkillers.
"Masturbating causes a release of hormones in the body, such as dopamine and serotonin, which are known to alleviate headaches, improve cognition and even heighten senses, such as smell," said Anthony Puopolo, M.D., a board-certified physician and chief medical officer of LifeMD in California. "While masturbating is not the cure for COVID, it can make your symptoms more manageable and may also boost your immune system."
On average, most people achieve climax through masturbation in less than 15 minutes. At that rate, it won't take long to test out these theories for yourself. But keep in mind, the evidence only points to potential short-term relief from mild COVID-related symptoms, if any.
COVID-19 as a serious threat
With no clear end to the pandemic in sight, positive cases continue to rise as the virus spreads around the world. Millions of COVID-19 vaccines have been distributed in the United States alone, while experts continue to stress the importance of quarantining when infected or at risk of infection. As the pandemic continues, scientists race to learn more about the virus and its human hosts. Luckily, many people are able to recover quickly from the comfort of their home.
"Although COVID can result in serious illness, many people only experience mild symptoms, and its worst 'side effect' is isolation in quarantine," said Karyn Eilber, M.D., a Beverly Hills, California-based board-certified urologist, professor of urology and OB/GYN, and sexual wellness expert. "This isolation can result in feelings of depression and anxiety, so to counter these feelings, many people turned to what was readily available to improve their mood—sexual activity."
Helps boost your mood
It's no secret that masturbation can be fun, but there's actual science to support it as a mood-boosting activity. As Puopolo mentioned, having an orgasm causes the body to release several "happy" hormones, including dopamine and norepinephrine, according to a 2016 study in Socioaffective Neuroscience & Psychology. Dopamine is responsible for feelings of pleasure and happiness, and its release can instantly put you in a better headspace. Norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter, is also linked to changes in mood—with increased levels leading to feelings of euphoria.
Reduces the severity of headaches
Headaches during COVID-19 are quite common and often debilitating. Not only do dopamine and endorphins released during an orgasm boost mood, but they may also help alleviate migraines, as reported in a 2007 study published in Cephalalgia. Another 2013 study published in Cephalalgia revealed that sexual activity helped relieve migraines in a portion of participants.
However, it should be noted that not all headaches can be alleviated this way. While these results are somewhat encouraging, the study mentions around 50 percent of participants "reported worsening" in their pain levels.
An older, but relevant, 2006 case study published in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery, and Psychiatry also established a correlation between masturbation and migraine relief. The study references the "gate theory phenomenon," which relates to the inhibition of pain transmission at the spinal level. In short, the pain gate control theory explains that pain can be either magnified or inhibited via nerve signals at the level of the spinal cord.
Relieves stress and anxiety
Being stuck inside for days at a time isn't as relaxing as it sounds. People with mild COVID-19 cases are especially likely to become frustrated by the isolation. Increased levels of stress and anxiety can lead to mental health problems, including depression.
When the body becomes stressed, your adrenal glands produce increased amounts of cortisol, also known as the "primary stress hormone." According to a 2016 study published in The Journal of Health and Social Behavior, sexual pleasure, including masturbation, reduces the levels of cortisol in the body—therefore reducing stress.
People with COVID-19 are likely to experience increased nasal inflammation and mucus production due to the virus—in other words, a stuffy nose and likely a sore throat, which can be anything from a damper on the day to a persistent frustration.
Lo and behold: In a small 2021 study published in the Ear Nose Throat Journal, researchers determined "climax can improve nasal breathing to the same degree as the application of nasal decongestant for up to 60 minutes in patients having nasal obstruction."
Burning calories while sick
Masturbating may be a rare chance to exercise during your illness. It may be a rather novel way to burn off those extra calories, but it does have some perks.
Science has yet to find an accurate measure of calories burned during masturbation, but according to a 2013 study published in PLoS One, men burn around 101 calories during intercourse. For women, this number is lower, at about 69 calories. Of course, these numbers will be even lower for a solo session—but it's not nothing.
Decreases body aches
Body aches are certainly one of the most unwelcome parts of COVID-19. Wouldn't it be nice to have a way to ease those aches and pains naturally? Good news: The endorphins released during arousal are also known as the body's natural painkillers.
When your brain becomes stimulated by physical pleasure, your body releases endorphins, which help ease the aches and pains of daily life. They also trigger a positive feeling throughout your entire body, relieving tension and improving your mood.
While masturbation is far from a cure for COVID-19, it may help ease some of those pesky symptoms for folks who have a mild case of the disease. So, whether you're a multi-orgasmic wonder or a tantric expert, masturbating could be the boost you need to fight off COVID-related discomforts.