As the coronavirus or COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread around the world in recent times, sickness and the fear of getting infected have been constantly on the mind of people. The widespread pandemic has forced people to stay indoors as the countries around the world have imposed lockdowns and social distancing rules thus creating lots of alone time and a rise in masturbation.

The benefits of self-gratification for healthy people have been well documented in the past. People feel good, stress-free, and happy among many other positives. But the effects of the activity on the immune system is not that much explored.

According to Kathleen Dass from the Michigan Allergy, Asthma and Immunology Center, masturbation helps by improving the immune system, as reported by the Melmagazine. Citing a 2017 study that was published in The Journal of Sexual Medicine, Dass said, "Masturbation was shown to stimulate neurotransmitters through the endocannabinoid system, which affects homeostasis and apoptosis [programmed cell death]." Homeostasis and apoptosis help in body regulation that leaders to better overall functioning and health.

Masturbation Helps in Protecting Against Infections?

Sleeping naked
Reuters (Representational Image)

"We know that orgasm increases our dopamine, serotonin, and oxytocin (the 'love hormone') to make you feel good and lead to better sleep," Dass added. "Studies show that people who don't get quality sleep or enough sleep are more likely to get sick after being exposed to a virus, such as a common cold virus. Lack of sleep can also affect how fast you recover if you do get sick," she also mentioned.

When a person sleeps, the immune system releases a type of protein that help to promote sleep, which is called cytokines. Few of the proteins get multiplied to help the body deal with an infection, stress, but lack of sleep interrupts the process.

Dass stated that orgasms help in lowering stress. She added that when a person is stressed the ability of the immune system to fight off antigens decreases thus making the person susceptible to infections.

The expert while citing a study of 11 men that was published in 2004 said that the men showed an improvement in their white blood cell count and natural killer cells five minutes and 45 minutes following masturbation. Both the cells help in protecting against infection. Dass also stated that the study only had 11 participants and physicians will not recommend masturbation as a supportive therapy with a virus.

The deadly virus outbreak is currently spreading like wildfire around the world as more than 26.3 million people globally. Masturbation might help people to strengthen their immunity system amid the ongoing pandemic.