Concerned about too much masturbation? Solo sex is not a numbers game. Find out more with this 3-part checklist.
The truth about the “too much masturbation” concern
The verdict is in and it’s a resounding “not guilty” on self-pleasure. Scientists and psychologists agree that regular solo sex is perfectly natural and even therapeutic. So there’s no way your self-love routine can turn into too much masturbation. Or is there? If you’re concerned about whether or not you’re engaging in too much masturbation, read on to understand potential pitfalls to avoid.
The benefits of masturbation
Self-pleasure has many benefits to your (sexual) well-being. Here are the top 5 perks for men and women.
- …lifts your mood and beats stress. Did you know that orgasm can help you relive stress? Bathe your brain in the feel-good hormones oxytocin and dopamine. They counteract cortisol and boost your mood and productivity.
- …gives your immune system a boost. Masturbation leads to an increase in leukocytes or white blood cells. These tiny helpers protect your body from infections and pathogens—viruses and bacteria that can cause disease.
- …helps you sleep faster. Orgasm can help with insomnia. Thanks to oxytocin, your parasympathetic nervous system is activated. The big O also increases prolactin, another hormone related to effective sleep.
- …reduces the risk of prostate cancer. Frequent masturbation (1-2 times a week) lowers the risk of prostate cancer for men in their 50s, one study showed.
- …fine-tunes your sexual responsiveness. Getting to know yourself can improve your self-image and help you understand what excites you. Mindful masturbation, in particular, can help you last longer in bed.
Further, sex therapists regard too much masturbation as a lesser issue than no self-stimulation. So for most men, there’s no reason to worry about masturbation side-effects.
Self-pleasure is for everyone
Masturbation is common. Men who are in sexually fulfilling relations masturbate. Men who aren’t in an intimate partnership masturbate. And men who don’t have a happy sex life also self-pleasure. For the majority of the population, masturbation is a common activity.
Four out of five men who actively pleasure themselves do so irrespective of their relationship status. What’s more, sharing your habits openly with a significant other is generally an encouraging experience that builds deeper trust and intimacy.
Now that you understand how self-pleasure supports your health and well-being, let’s address the potential concern lurking in the back of your mind: can you masturbate too much? The short answer is yes, but it’s unlikely.
How much masturbation is too much?
Some men wonder if they’re shooting past their sweet spot. But there are so many factors that come into play that there’s no one-fits-all figure to go by. Age, for example, plays a big role. What may feel like too much masturbation for a man in his sixties may be just right for a man in his thirties.
Anything from a couple of times a year to several times a day might be your personal Goldilocks zone. What’s right for you now and what’s too much masturbation in ten years from now will change with your sex drive throughout your life. As for the negative side-effects of too much masturbation–there are some.
Emotional side-effects of excessive masturbation
Guilt and anxiety are the major feelings people can face with too much masturbation. Some men feel guilty about pleasuring themselves due to socio-cultural or religious conditioning.
If this is you, know that touching yourself is neither bad nor immoral, no matter what the (inner and/or outer) voices tell you. If you need help breaking through mental boundaries, speak to a coach or therapist.
When it comes to anxiety, professional opinions vary. One study found that anxiety over too much masturbation may stem from guilt, which can even lead to sexual dysfunction.
Other research argues that too much masturbation can lead to anxiety because it depletes dopamine levels. One study found that young men masturbate the most, and those men also experienced the greatest levels of anxiety.
If you’re experiencing anxiety and wonder if it’s due to too much masturbation, experiment with reducing the frequency with which you self-pleasure and see what happens to your mood.
3 signposts of too much masturbation
The following checklist will help you figure out whether your self-service is doing you a disservice. You know you’re engaging in too much masturbation when:
- You feel less sensitivity or even pain. Since tingling nerves are what self-love is all about, you want to avoid reduced sensitivity. Too much of the same masturbation technique leads you to keep pushing the same buttons–harder and faster. “This can lead to skin chafing or even Peyronie’s disease—the buildup of plaque in the shaft of your penis that can result from too much pressure while stroking it,” explains urologist Tobias Köhler.
- Your intimate relationship is affected. If too much masturbation is impacting your relationship and ability to respond to and climax with a partner, it’s time for reflection. Like in the case above, you may be limiting your arousal techniques to the kind of stimulus that can’t be replicated with a partner. If your routine becomes too much of the same, change things around. Consider sex toys as a way of experiencing new and different sensations.
- Your work or social life suffers. Because sex involves mind and body, signs that you have a problem with too much masturbation needn’t be purely physical. Masturbation is too much on your mind? Like during dinner with the family? Or when you should be concentrating on work? These are potential red flags. Letting your responsibilities and relationships slide means your healthy functioning is at stake.
If any of these apply to you, remember this: do not feel guilty over too much masturbation. Make peace with yourself and take steps to adjust your behavior.
Take smart steps to quit too much masturbation
Masturbation is central to healthy sex life, and there’s no reason to abstain completely. If you feel that your well-being is at risk though, here are 3 measures you can take to cut back from too much masturbation.
- Stop watching porn. The stimulation and addictive nature of porn may be too hard to overcome.
- Take care of your body. Find other ways to reduce your stress. Eat healthily, work out, and try to get enough sleep.
- Get help. Join a support group or speak to a therapist. You don’t have to deal with this alone.
Too much masturbation? The bottom line
Masturbation is a normal part of most men’s lives. How much you masturbate will change with age and sex drive.
Too much masturbation occurs when your health and life suffer. If that’s the case, cut back for a while to find your equilibrium.
Sex toys can be very helpful in reawakening neural pathways numbed by porn and too much masturbation, so take time to experiment with those.