Too Much of a Good Thing: Are you Addicted to Masturbating?

What is masturbation?

Conventionally, masturbation is described as the stimulation of your genitals for arousal or sexual pleasure. Anyone can masturbate regardless of age, gender or relationship status, just as long as they are experiencing sexual urges. Those in relationships may also enjoy masturbation too, it’s a perfectly natural way to explore your sexuality and learn about your body.

Addiction to masturbation explained

Masturbation is fun and healthy. However, like everything, moderation is key. Masturbating too often or excessively to the point that it is causing problems in day to day life may be a sign of masturbation addiction or compulsive masturbation as it is sometimes known. Other signs of masturbation addiction include:

are you addicted to masturbation?

Low productivity

Calling in sick at work or being unable to complete tasks because you spend so much time masturbating can be a sign that you are struggling with an addiction to masturbation.

Risky masturbation

If you find yourself engaging in risky masturbation such as masturbating in public because you cannot fight the urge to masturbate, this could be a sign of masturbation addiction.

Masturbating when you don’t feel sexual

If you’re masturbating when you don’t feel sexual or not enjoying it may also be an indicator of an addiction to masturbation.

Feeling guilty after masturbation

Some people experience shame after masturbation because they are led to believe that it is wrong. However, if you’re experiencing low moods and strong guilt afterwards, this can lead to long term negativity about sex and masturbation in general. Masturbation is a pleasurable experience and should be considered as such.

are you addicted to masturbation?

Using masturbation as a coping mechanism

Regularly turning to masturbation as a way of managing low moods or as a distraction from stressful situations may be a worrying sign that things aren’t quite right. That’s not to say that masturbation isn’t a great way to relieve tension! However, regularly ignoring your feelings and distracting yourself with masturbation could indicate an addition.

Over reliance on pornography

Masturbation addiction and an over reliance on pornography usually go hand in hand. However, if you find that you are unable to become aroused without watching pornography before masturbation, or even before sex, this could be a sign of an addiction.

A lack of sex with your partner because of excessive masturbation

If your urges to masturbate are causing problems in your relationship, or you are masturbating so much that you are no longer interested in a sexual relationship with your partner, it is likely that you may have an issue that you need to seek help for.

Staying in to masturbate instead of going to work or out with friends

Isolating yourself because you feel ashamed or avoiding family and friends because you want to stay in and masturbate is also a huge red flag. May people isolate themselves to hide an addiction and this simply adds to the feeling that you are struggling alone.

Being unable to stop masturbating, even if you want to If you want to stop masturbating so frequently but you can’t, this indicates an addiction to masturbation. Quite often, the problem isn’t how much you masturbate because this is different for everyone. But the issue is when you make the decision to stop but you are unable to, especially if masturbation is causing problems.

are you addicted to masturbation?

Becoming addicted to masturbation

There are two key substances that play a part in masturbation addiction. The first is dopamine which plays a part in the ‘reward transmission’ of arousal. When you begin to masturbate, the pleasurable feelings that you experience are caused by the transmission of dopamine. When the pleasure peaks and you climax, endorphins are released which make you feel happy, relaxed and sleepy. When people become reliant on masturbation as a coping mechanism, this opens the door for masturbation addiction.

Some of the effects of masturbation addiction include:

• Low productivity due to excessive masturbation or watching too much pornography
• Unrealistic sexual expectations, this can be due to watching porn
• Struggling to become aroused without certain triggers such as watching pornography
• Sore or chafed genitals
• Low self esteem
• Isolating yourself from friends and family
• Losing friends due to changing plans at last minute and telling lies to stay home and masturbate.

Who suffers from addiction to masturbation?

Anyone can suffer from an addiction to masturbation, whether male or female. However, according to a study conducted by the University of Indiana more men masturbate than women, but that doesn’t mean that they are addicts. Some masturbation is perfectly normal. Studies have shown that more men have admitted to a masturbation addiction than women, but perhaps it is simply
something that women prefer not to speak about.

Techniques to curb an addiction to masturbation

Admitting that you have an addiction to masturbation is the first step to getting your life back on track. However, like any addiction there will be several challenges that you will need to overcome.

Here are a few techniques to help you on your journey:

Avoid high risk situations

Recognising triggers and removing your access to them may help you to curb the urge to masturbate. Of course, you won’t be able to avoid them forever, but as long as you are aware of your triggers you won’t be caught off guard.

Learn new ways to relax

Masturbation to relieve tension is a way of escaping, rewarding ourselves and relaxing. However, without using masturbation to do this, you will need to seek out new techniques to prevent yourself from relapsing back into an addiction to masturbation. This could be taking up a new hobby, going for a walk or even reading a book.

Work on your coping skills

When you feel stressed out and tense, you tend to reach for something that is familiar and comforting, such as masturbation. Cognitive behavioural therapy is a great way to relearn new coping mechanisms reduce negative thinking so that you cope with tricky situations differently.

Be honest with yourself

You don’t have to tell everyone about your addiction, its personal. But you do need to be honest with yourself. There is a saying, ‘Nothing changes if nothing changes’ which means that you have to make some changes to see the results that you want. If you relapse, be honest with the people who are supporting you and use it as a learning tool to help you recover. If you lie to others and lie to yourself, you are not making the changes that you need for success.

Be persistent but patient

Recovery from any addiction takes a lot of time and patience, don’t be too hard on yourself. Set yourself realistic goals and stick to them. Find other ways to reward yourself and use every day as a learning tool. You will find some days easier than others, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you find it difficult sometimes.

Where to get help if you’re a masturbation addict

Seek help from your GP or a trained counsellor. They will help you to work on some techniques such as distraction and refer you to a specialist service that may be able to help. If you have access to the internet, websites such as No Fap have some great resources for dealing with a masturbation and porn addiction.

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