These risky methods of masturbation are killing people, according to doctors

Despite the old wives' tales about going blind or getting hair on your palms, masturbation is actually harmless. In fact, when done in moderation, it can be quite good for your health and your sex drive. At least, it is if you don't do anything stupid.

Unfortunately, sometimes the exhilaration of a cheeky bit of secret solo activity just isn't enough, and many people turn to slightly more risky methods of getting off.

In Germany alone, an estimated 100 people per year are dying as a direct result of dangerous masturbation habits.

A man surfs the Internet in a dark room Credit: Getty

If you look at the official statistics, the numbers are fairly low. However, doctors believe that a huge number of cases go unreported, as relatives or loved ones of the deceased often hide evidence in order to save the victim from shame.

"The number of unreported cases is extremely high, which is a very rare case in forensic medicine," said Dr. Herald Voss, a German physician who has warned against risky masturbation practices.

Voss continued to explain that if police officers arrive at the scene of a death and deem it to be accidental, then the body does not get transferred to forensics. So, if law enforcement turns up at the site of a reported fatality and finds the victim in certain compromising circumstances, it's likely that they'll simply give the cause of death there and then, rather than put extra strain on the resources of the more scientific fields of investigation.

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One example the doctor gave of relatives covering up for the deceased was a case in Halle, Germany, in which a mother reported her son's death to the police. When emergency services arrived, they were confused at the apparent lack of cause of death for the young man. However, the mother later admitted that she had found him with clamps from Christmas tree lights attached to his body, and it was then concluded that he had died from an electric shock.

Autoerotic asphyxiation is one of the leading causes of death when it comes to fatalities during masturbation, as victims often lose control of how much airflow is reaching their lungs - either because they have attempted to choke themselves by using some sort of ligature around their neck, or have deprived themselves of oxygen by placing a bag over their head.

Most recently, a suspected autoerotic asphyxiation victim was discovered in Hamburg after having put a bag over his head. He was covered in sliced cheese, had pantyhose pulled up over his upper body, and was wearing a diving suit and a raincoat.

man on laptop at night Credit: Getty

As amusing as this may sound, it is a pretty serious issue.

Official numbers released by the Institute of Legal Medicine state that it has only investigated 40 accidental autoerotic fatalities in northern Germany between 1983 and 2003 with all the victims being males between the ages of 13 and 79.

However, if as many people are succumbing to masturbation accidents as Dr. Voss claims, then it's something that more people should be aware of.