Question from Armami Q.: Help! I think I may be addicted to masturbation. I mean I like doing it and all, but I find myself doing it more. How can I tell if I’m addicted?
Answer: There is nothing wrong with enjoying masturbation. It is a healthy, normal, and wonderful part of the human sexual experience. It can help you get in touch with your sexuality as well as improve your sexual response and even boost your libido.
However, sometimes masturbation can be too much of a good thing. Excessive masturbation and compulsive or chronic masturbation could be signs of a larger problem. Many people who masturbate excessively find that they also have issues with other sexual behaviors as well. In fact, chronic masturbation could be a sign of a sex addiction.
Although it might sound a bit strange, the truth is that sex addiction is a real and serious problem, and 3 percent to 6 percent of Americans are estimated to suffer from it. Like other addicts, sex addicts put their health, finances, emotions, and relationships on the line for sexual gratification, which can often involve dangerous or self-harming behaviors.
According to sex therapist Dr. Laura Berman, sex addicts think about sex virtually all the time. They spend hours looking at pornography on the Internet, they masturbate multiple times a day (often to the point that it becomes painful), and they are consumed by their need for sexual release. Almost everyone enjoys sex and loves sexual pleasure, but sex addicts are different: They need sexual stimulation to feel alive and happy. Like an alcoholic who needs a drink or an addict who needs a hit, sex addicts do not want to live without their drug of choice.
Chronic masturbation can sometimes be an offshoot of sex addiction, especially if it is accompanied by a compulsion to view pornography. While masturbation and pornography can both be enjoyed in a safe and healthy way, they can become problematic if they take over a person’s life and the individual is powerless over them.
Others masturbate so often that it becomes physically painful, yet they still continue to seek the high of reaching orgasm. Some people masturbate even when it is not appropriate, whether it’s on the job or at family functions in which their behavior could gravely damage their reputation. They know it is wrong and dangerous to do so, yet they feel compulsively pulled toward the behavior.
One way to figure out if you are addicted to masturbating is to see if you are able to stop or follow guidelines you set for yourself (whether it’s masturbating only a couple times a week or watching pornography). If you can’t follow these guidelines or if masturbation begins to harm your well-being from an emotional, physical, or financial standpoint, you should consider seeking help from a therapist.
Here’s also three practical tips that can help stop the addiction:
1. Find another outlet for your time and energy. Fill your days and nights with engaging activities. The excitement of doing something different can help replace the urge to masturbate, and you’ll have a go-to distraction next time you’re tempted. Find a new hobby, or cultivate a skill. Learning something that takes a while to master can refocus your brain on the delayed gratification of achieving goals instead of the instant gratification of masturbation. Try skills like cooking, woodshop, archery, baking, public speaking, or gardening.
2. Block Porn Your Computer. One of the reasons you may be masturbating so much is that you know that you can…