Masturbation is a part of a healthy sex life but should a high blood pressure problem hold you back from flying solo? If you are avoiding some me-time in bed because you fear it is dangerous for you, what follows will put your mind at ease.
Some Rise In BP Is Normal With Masturbation
Masturbation does cause a slight increase in blood pressure after ejaculation in all healthy, normal individuals. When you masturbate or have sex, your adrenal gland discharges epinephrine and norepinephrine – something it does in any “stressful” situation. These hormones cause a rise in blood pressure and raise your heart rate.1 For both men and women, blood pressure is elevated from when you reach your sexual plateau to about 10 minutes after you ejaculate or have an orgasm.2
But Masturbation Cannot Cause Hypertension
If you’re worried about whether masturbation can cause hypertension, the answer to that is clear. It does not. What it can do, like sex, is to temporarily elevate your blood pressure, as you have already seen. But that never translates to a blood pressure problem on its own.3 Having a pre-existing hypertension issue doesn’t make the act unsafe either. More on that next.
Masturbation Safe With Controlled High BP, But Can Be A Problem For High-Risk Hypertensives
If your blood pressure is being kept in check with lifestyle changes, antihypertensive drugs, or a combination of both, you are considered to be in the low-risk group. If that’s the case, it’s safe for you to carry on with sexual activity, including masturbation. Yes, masturbation like sex will cause a slight rise in your blood pressure during the act, but it shouldn’t present any problems if your hypertension and cardiovascular health are otherwise in check.
On the other hand, if you have a hypertension problem that is not in check, you are in the high-risk category and may have to be a little cautious. You may be at risk of a cardiac or vascular event like a heart attack or stroke from the blood pressure spike, excitement, and other physiological changes experienced during the stimulation. How do you find out if you fall into this category? Get your blood pressure checked and diagnostic tests done by your doctor to know for sure – there are no shortcuts here. Your doctor will also be able to tell you whether it is safe to masturbate or have sex given your condition. If you’re considered at high risk of problems, you’ll need to first treat your high blood pressure and any other related cardiac disorders (like atherosclerosis) before you get the go-ahead to fly solo.4
All in all, though, don’t get yourself riled up about masturbation and sex triggering a heart attack/sudden death. The possibility of such an incident is even lower than the chances of it happening when you’re shoveling snow! Plus, there are ways to reduce your relative risk. For instance, just including regular physical activity can bring down your risk of a heart attack during sex five-fold, maybe more.5
High BP May Lower Libido And Interest In Masturbation
Your high blood pressure doesn’t hold you back from having sex or masturbating. However, hypertension can cause damage to inner walls of your arteries and alter blood circulation patterns in the body, hampering or reducing blood flow to the genital region.6 This can affect how quickly or how much you can arouse yourself, putting a spanner in the works when you are masturbating.7
Many women with high blood pressure experience a dip in libido or sex drive. This may cause you to have less interest in masturbation or sex and can leave you more fatigued.8
In men, high blood pressure may also cause reduced blood flow to the penis, making it difficult to attain or sustain an erection while masturbating or during sexual intercourse. If you have erectile dysfunction as a result of your hypertension, you can still go ahead and pleasure yourself – but be prepared that it may not always yield the results you want. You will need to treat the high blood pressure to improve blood flow to the pelvic region and penis.9
In fact, if you are unaware of your high blood pressure problem, your masturbation may actually help you identify the problem. Your doctor may ask you about your sexual life to understand if you lose erections during masturbation or have less than full erections.
BP Medicines May Affect Sexual Function And Take The Fun Out Of Masturbation
Besides the impact high blood pressure has on sexual function, sometimes the very treatment for hypertension may worsen things for you. Many antihypertensive drugs are known to cause impairment of sexual function including erectile function.10
If you find it hard to have or sustain an erection, it can make masturbation a rather frustrating and unsatisfying experience. The good news is your doctor may be able to get around these side effects by including phosphodiesterase-5 inhibitors to counteract the effect of the drugs or switching you to angiotensin receptor blockers. The latter doesn’t have the negative effects on sexual function that some older antihypertensive drugs have.11
Get Your BP Under Control To Continue Self-Pleasuring
A blood pressure problem shouldn’t really get in the way of masturbation – as long as you keep tabs on it. A healthier lifestyle with no smoking, less alcohol, more physical activity, more fresh produce and less processed/salty foods, and the right medication can help you rein in hypertension. Get this right and you should be good to fly solo in bed too!
|↑1||Banerjea, B. K., and S. C. Sen. “Electrocardiographic study of the effect of masturbation normal individuals.” Indian journal of physiology and pharmacology 20, no. 4 (1976): 226-230.|
|↑2||Xue-rui, Tan, Lv Ying, Yang Da-zhong, and Chen Xiao-jun. “Changes of blood pressure and heart rate during sexual activity in healthy adults.” Blood pressure monitoring 13, no. 4 (2008): 211-217.|
|↑3||Is sex dangerous if you have high blood pressure?. Blood Pressure UK.|
|↑4, ↑10||Reffelmann, Thorsten, and Robert A. Kloner. “Sexual function in hypertensive patients receiving treatment.” Vascular health and risk management 2, no. 4 (2006): 447.|
|↑5||Oh please, not the “sex causes heart attack” story again. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑6||High blood pressure can affect your sex life, says the Harvard Heart Letter. Harvard Health Publishing.|
|↑7, ↑8||How High Blood Pressure Can Affect Your Sex Life. American Heart Association.|
|↑9||How High Blood Pressure Can Affect Your Sex Life.American Heart Association.|
|↑11||Doumas, Michael, and Stella Douma. “The effect of antihypertensive drugs on erectile function: a proposed management algorithm.” The Journal of Clinical Hypertension 8, no. 5 (2006): 359-363.|