Do I Have A Masturbation Addiction?
Most of us enjoy a little – or a lot of – solo pleasure time and then we may wonder if too much of a good thing is considered a masturbation addiction?
If you’re worried you might have a masturbation addiction, you should probably take a step back and consider a few things first.
Here are some tips to determine if you have a problem – spoiler alert, you likely don’t! The reason I know this is because I have studied sexuality for over a decade at this point.
Masturbation Addiction vs. Compulsive Behavior
First thing’s first: masturbation addiction and sex addiction are not considered to be true addictions by all AASECT Certified Sex Therapists, most yet not all clinical sexologists, and other psychological professional associations.
Frequently, people don’t even feel like they have a problem until they see a magazine article or news story about the “pandemic of sex addiction” or shamed by their partner who read a blog on “masturbation addiction” during covid19.
Remember, statistics are a measurement used to study and quantify human sexuality- falling outside of the “average” doesn’t mean you are gross or sick or wrong!
- When we see statistics – about ANYTHING – begin to question!
- Reflect on who chose to do the study… and then get the actual study and read the “results” section of the study.
- I have a Hartford public library card that gives me access to many articles from my home computer.
For those of you who won’t want to further investigate, I will share my thoughts with you on masturbation addiction.
Here are some important considerations when comparing true addiction and compulsive (out of control) behavior:
Keep in mind, your masturbation habits are almost certainly not an addiction, and are even unlikely to be a compulsion unless you truly feel out of control.
Don’t Let Social Stigmas Kill The Mood
Masturbation is healthy and normal human behavior and even has some health benefits. Some people masturbate multiple times a day, some virtually never!
Even in modern societies there is a lot of stigma around anything outside of heteronormative, procreative sexuality, and masturbation is no exception.
Old wives tales about going blind from masturbation or religiously motivated warnings about “spilling/wasting your seed” perpetuate negative feelings around this very common and very human behavior, especially in regard to female and queer sexuality.
Your first question if you are worried about masturbation addiction should be:
Am I truly experiencing negative consequences from my masturbation, or am I just ashamed because of social conditioning?
As with any behavior, it is only harmful if:
- It interferes with your goals, career, or day to day obligations. Are you regularly skipping work to wank? Are you frequently flaking on friends to flick the bean? Did you drain your savings to diddle with new dildos?
- It is negatively affecting sexual relationships. You have nothing left to give your partner, or you often forgo sex with your monogamous partner to masturbate instead. This may be a sign to consider telehealth therapy for you and your partner.
- It is causing you physical harm. Are you getting frequent infections or injuries from masturbation that interfere with day to day life? Do you keep masturbating despite painful consequences that don’t bring you any pleasure?
- You are preoccupied with masturbation to the point of distraction. Are you unable to focus at work or school without frequent masturbation breaks to cope?
- You break the law. Are you so compelled to masturbate that you willingly break public decency laws or expose yourself in public?
When you see this list of consequences, it can be easy to understand why some people consider themselves masturbation addicts. What lies behind these behaviors are usually traumas, psychological conditions, and coping mechanisms to deal with stress, anxiety or depression, not a physical dependency on masturbation itself. These are all issues that can be worked through with a sex therapist or psychologist if you truly find your masturbation habits to be self-destructive.
The Health Benefits of Masturbation
If you’re still feeling some shame about masturbation, these benefits may help you see masturbation in a better light!
- It’s the safest sex around! You can’t get yourself pregnant, and you can’t give yourself a sexually transmitted infection. Just make sure you use clean hands and clean toys!
- Exploration: masturbation is an excellent way to figure out your likes and dislikes, making partnered sex even more enjoyable. It is also a safe and empowering way to begin reclaiming your sexuality and establishing boundaries after experiencing sexual trauma.
- Improved Mind/Body Connection: masturbation can help you connect to your body if you are feeling body dysphoria or disconnection.
- Orgasms: we love orgasms! If you can orgasm, it releases endorphins, which are a natural feel-good chemical.
- Nature’s painkiller: if you have menstrual cramps or a headache, that same endorphin release can ease muscle tension and increase your pain tolerance!
- Masturbation as meditation: the focus it takes to orgasm pushes other petty distractions from your mind, like meditation! This provides great stress relief.
- Zzz: incorporating masturbation into your nighttime routine can help you sleep better. It can be hard work getting off!
- Strengthen your pelvic floor: if incontinence is an issue for you or you want to strengthen your pelvic floor after trauma or giving birth, masturbation can be a great tool. In fact, physiotherapists who specialize in pelvic floor rehabilitation often prescribe toys and masturbation as a form of physio exercises. Cool!
Masturbation Addiction in Summary
Masturbation addiction is truly in the eye of the beholder, and more likely than not you are letting social stigmas interfere with a perfectly normal sexual habit.
It is normal to masturbate, and people have different libidos and sexual needs- just because you masturbate more than “average” or your partner or friends doesn’t make it an immoral or problematic activity!
Any behavior that is interfering with your life is worth examining with the guidance of a therapist, so if your masturbation habits are truly disrupting your life rather than enhancing it you should book an appointment. Hopefully this has helped open your eyes to the many benefits of enjoying masturbation, and the unlikeliness of having a masturbation addiction!
If you have any questions, or for clients hoping to take their intimate lives to the next level through personalized sessions on YOUR terms, learn more about our Text Therapy Program.
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