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Are There Benefits to Masturbating Without Porn?

Dr R. Y. Langham

Aug 01, 2022

Masturbating gets a bad rap a lot of times, but should it? Truthfully, masturbating can be healthy, and even beneficial in some cases, such as when a person is unable to have real-life sex due to an injury or illness, or when he or she does not have a partner. Masturbating can relieve sexual tension, and even improve a person’s mood. It only becomes a problem when it is chronic, and/or when it negatively affects a person’s ability to function. 

For example, masturbating, combined with porn, can lead to work absenteeism, poor work performance, fractured relationships, and sexual dissatisfaction in the bedroom with a real-life partner. More specifically, masturbating to porn can cause neuropathways to form in the brain, leading to a porn habit. 

In other words, masturbating to porn can “trick” the brain into thinking that engaging in this activity is the only way to achieve sexual arousal and satisfaction. If this occurs there is a high chance that the person will lose interest in sex or sexual activities with their real-life partners, because they no longer find their partners sexually desirable. Moreover, chronically masturbating to porn can trigger sexual problems, like erectile dysfunction, premature ejaculation, impotence, low libido, or anorgasmia (an inability to orgasm), in the bedroom. 

Although real-life sex is ultimately more sexually fulfilling because it is real, porn can also convince its users that masturbating to porn is more sexually satisfying than masturbating without it (i.e., masturbating with a partner or alone) or having sex with a flesh-and-blood person. As a result, it may become unfathomable to these individuals that they do not need porn to enjoy masturbation or sex. 

The good news it is possible to masturbate and enjoy sex without porn. With this article, you will learn how you can masturbate without porn and still be sexually satisfied.

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What is Chronic Masturbation?

Chronic masturbation involves repeatedly masturbating (alone or to porn) so much that it negatively affects your quality of life, for instance, causing anxiety, porn addiction and/or masturbation addiction, and/or sexual performance issues. In other words, if masturbating disrupts your life somehow, you are likely dealing with chronic masturbation. 

However, contrary to popular belief, a chronic masturbator is not always someone, who masturbates excessively or someone, who has been masturbating for a long time. Rather, a chronic masturbator could also be someone, who engages in this activity occasionally. It is not how frequently a person masturbates that determines chronic masturbation, instead, it is how masturbating is affecting your life. 

So, a chronic masturbator may be a person, who only masturbates 2x a week, but who experiences anxiety, depression, shame and guilt, unemployment, damaged relationships, sexual issues, poor self-esteem and self-confidence, etc. Or, it may be a person, who masturbates excessively, who experiences the same negative emotions or consequences. On the flip side, a person, who masturbates a lot, but does not suffer adverse effects is likely not a chronic masturbator. 

The same came to be said for a person, who occasionally masturbates, but does not experience negative emotions or consequences. Masturbation may begin as an adult pastime or stress reliever but morph into something much more damaging. It can even lead to masturbation addiction. Over time, urges to masturbate can become highly stressful and anxiety-provoking. The stress and anxiety stemming from urges to masturbate can resemble compulsions, in which the masturbator turns to porn to ease the stress, anxiety, and urges to masturbate. 

The chronic masturbator then enters a cycle of porn – masturbate – orgasm. This individual develops a psychological, emotional, mental, and physiological dependence on masturbating, making it hard, if not impossible for him or her to orgasm without a stimulus, like porn. Once the chronic masturbator enters this cycle, sexual issues arise and real-life romantic relationships deteriorate. 

The problem is when a chronic masturbator engages in this activity it causes the brain to view masturbating, especially porn, as a “reward.” It is this “reward” that triggers the urge to masturbate. As a result, the chronic masturbator continues to return to the “reward,” which is masturbation – despite the possible negative emotions and consequences. A habit then forms, possibly leading to an addiction.

Is Masturbating to Porn a Big Deal?

It can be if it gets out of control. Occasionally masturbating to porn may not be a big deal, however, if you spend large amounts of time engaging in this activity if masturbating to porn is causing sexual issues, affecting your quality of life, and/or damaging your romantic relationship, then yes, it is a big deal, and you may need porn addiction treatment. Although masturbation, in general, is normal and healthy self-stimulatory activity, if you are consumed or “obsessed” with masturbating to porn, you will likely need porn addiction help to kick your porn habit. 

Understand that porn can “dull” one’s senses when it comes to sexual stimuli – i.e., foreplay, kissing, genital touches, etc. so that the only way to become arousal and release tension (ejaculation) is by viewing porn and masturbating. Because, a porn user is no longer sexually stimulated by foreplay, sexual activities, or sexual intercourse with his or her partner, porn, in a sense, becomes the “new partner.” 

As a result, the porn user will only want to, and in some cases, be able to receive sexual satisfaction by masturbating to the sexually-explicit images and videos. So, if masturbating to porn is hurting you in some fashion, then yes, it is a big deal, and it is time to seek porn addiction treatment.

Can Chronic Masturbation Turn into Porn Addiction?

Yes, it can. 

If you must watch porn and masturbate to achieve sexual satisfaction, then you may have both a masturbation addiction and a porn addiction. More specifically, a chronic masturbator may begin masturbating without porn, but seek “new experiences,” and decide to add porn to the mix. Viewing porn while masturbating may produce new, pleasurable, and exciting sensations in the body, triggering the formation of new neuropathways or habits that keep him or her returning to masturbating to porn. Because it feels good to masturbate to porn, the masturbator returns to porn until it becomes a full-blown addiction – or comorbid addiction of masturbation and porn. In other words, masturbating to porn becomes a “reward” in the brain, making it a habit that is hard to break.

Do I Have a Porn Addiction?

Possibly. 

First, understand that millions of people around the world struggle with porn addiction. 

Porn addiction is defined as an inability to stop using porn, despite the possible consequences. Porn addiction is involuntary and impulsive, so even if a porn addict wants to stop using porn, it is almost impossible to do so without porn addiction help. 

Common signs of porn addiction include spending inordinate amounts of time viewing porn, inability to sleep due to urges to view porn or time spent using porn, losing track of the amount of time using porn, social withdrawal out of a need to hide one’s porn use, low self-esteem, shame and guilt after using porn, a feeling of being “high” before, during, and after using porn (especially when masturbation is included), a loss of interest in sex, sexual activities, like foreplay or “spooning,” and one’s real-life partner, a false perception that real-life sex should resemble porn sex, tardiness or absenteeism at school or work due to viewing porn, neglect of one’s family, household tasks, child-rearing responsibilities, etc., and/or an inability to stop using porn, despite multiple attempts to do so. 

Although porn addiction is a real condition, it is not officially recognized by the DSM-V as being a mental health condition or a behavioral addiction. Porn addiction is essentially life-altering, causing the addict to feel dependent on porn for happiness, relief, and sexual satisfaction. The good news is porn addiction can be successfully treated with therapy, medications, and self-help tools, like hypnosis, and mindfulness meditation.

The Benefits of Masturbating Without Porn

As mentioned above, masturbation can be healthy, normal, and even necessary when done in moderation. If masturbating is not causing issues in your daily life, it is usually not a problem. One benefit of masturbation is that it can be practiced alone or with your flesh-and-blood partner. You and your partner can self-stimulate in tandem, creating new sexual experiences. It can be used as a form of foreplay or a pre-sex routine to help you get in the right mind frame for sex. 

Thus, masturbating can be a fun and titillating adult pastime – as long as it does not get out of control. The same goes for masturbating to porn. It is okay to engage in this activity from time to time, however, it is easy to become addicted to porn when it is added to masturbation. It can also increase your risk of excessive masturbation, chronic masturbation, or masturbation addiction, primarily because your masturbation activities are tied to how frequently you use porn and how this use affects you. 

To sum it up, there are more risks associated with masturbating to porn than masturbating without it. The good news you do not need porn to have a good time. In other words, you do not need porn to have a good time. In fact, masturbating without it can take your sex life to another level.

Listed below are some benefits of masturbating without porn:

  • Stress-Relief – Masturbating without porn can relieve stress – unlike masturbating to porn, which can exacerbate stress. Constant urges to masturbate to porn can create more stress and anxiety, rather than easing them. Masturbating to porn can also cause relationship issues, which can be extremely stressful. It can also lead to low self-esteem, leading to high-stress levels. Although masturbating without porn can cause some stress and/or angst, it is unlikely to do so at the level of masturbating to porn – unless it becomes it turns into a masturbation addiction.
  • Better Sleep – Masturbating requires energy, and as such, can be quite tiring, depending on how long and often you do it. As a result, of expending this energy, you are more likely to experience better sleep. Masturbating also elevates your heart rate, speeds up your breathing, releases muscle tension, and increases blood flow to your genitals, which can lead to quality sleep. While masturbating to porn can temporarily release tension, afterward, it can also lead to shame and guilt, which can cause the stress, anxiety, and tension to quickly return, which along with urges to view porn, can lead to sleepless nights.
  • A Better Mood – If you have had a bad day, or if you are feeling ill, depressed, lonely, “sexually pent-up,” or bored, masturbating can put you in a better mood. According to studies, masturbation can trigger the release of endorphins, a hormone, in the body, which are responsible for increasing your energy, boosting your mood, and easing your stress. On the flip side, masturbating to porn can cause feelings of embarrassment, depression, anxiety, and chronic stress, which could put you in a terrible mood.
  • A Higher Libido or Sex Drive – Masturbating can actually boost your libido or sex drive. In other words, it can cause you to want more sexual activity. For some people, masturbation sparks their desire to have sex with their real-life partners. In other words, it gets those “juices” flowing and puts them in the “mood” for sex or sexual activities.

    Low libido or sex drive can stem from a chronic illness, depression, painful intercourse (in women), etc. Masturbating to porn can also increase your libido or sex drive, but this increase hinges on thoughts of people on a screen having sex or enticing you to have sex, not a real-world emotional and physical connection with someone. The high libido is caused by something make-believe instead of something real and tangible.

  • A Strong Immune System – Although study results are mixed, some researchers believe that masturbating can boost your immune system. In fact, a 2004 study found that masturbating can temporarily boost some elements of the immune system, such as leukocytes, and “natural killer cells,” which are responsible for fighting malignant tumor cells, and infected cells caused by viruses. Masturbating to porn, on the other hand, can actually weaken your immunity by increasing your stress and anxiety. Chronic stress and anxiety can “wear you down” and place you at risk of developing infections and catching viruses.
  • A Closer Romantic Relationship – Masturbating with a partner or even solo can make your relationship better. Masturbating alone can help you become sexually aroused before having sex with your real-life partner. And, masturbating with a partner can help you simultaneously “get in the mood” for sex. It can also be exciting for some to watch their personal self-pleasure. Some people also find pleasure in helping their partners masturbate. These types of activities can help couples grow closer. It can also help them connect on a deeper, more emotional level.

    In other words, it can help couples reach a higher level in their relationships. Masturbating to porn, on the other hand, can tear a couple apart, especially if one partner is in the dark about it. Masturbating to porn can also cause changes in the brain, where the masturbator prefers watching porn and masturbating to real-life sex with a partner. This could cause the partner to feel undesirable, unloved, unwanted, and betrayed. These feelings could morph into hurt feelings, fights, and eventually a breakup or divorce.

  • Reduced Depression – Masturbation can ease depression. More specifically, it can promote the release of serotonin (“the happy hormone”), dopamine, and endorphins, which are responsible for improving and balancing your mood, helping you sleep better at night, and making you feel better overall. Conversely, masturbation to porn can actually trigger depression and make you feel worse instead of better. Heavy porn addicts or porn addicts tend to feel ashamed of their behavior, which can trigger depression.
  • A Stronger Heart – Another benefit of masturbation is the impact it has on the heart. Researchers suggest that masturbating can positively affect your overall heart function. According to studies, masturbation is considered exercise, which can help elevate your heart rate, making the heart stronger, and causing it to work more efficiently. Moreover, masturbating and orgasming can increase your breathing, which can also increase your heart rate and strengthen your heart. Masturbating to porn can also increase your heart rate and breathing, however, this is dependent on what you see on a screen instead of your imagination or the connection you share with your partner.

What Should I Do If I Feel Like I Am Addicted to Masturbating to Porn?

If you think you may be addicted to masturbating to porn, it is important to seek porn addiction help. The most common porn addiction treatment involves cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT is designed to alter how you see things, in the hope that changing your perception will lead to a change in behavior. If therapy alone is ineffective, an SSRI antidepressant may be a reliable option.

Other things you can do to combat a masturbation/porn addiction are to install anti-porn software on your electronic devices and move them to open spaces (so you no longer have access to porn), share your concerns with someone you trust, spend time with friends and family, and give yourself a brake.

If all else fails, or in addition to your formal treatment program, you can sign-up for an online porn addiction treatment recovery program, like Stop Together! With the right treatment, and a strong desire to stop masturbating to porn, you can build a healthier romantic relationship with your partner, improve your self-esteem, socialize more, and have a sexually satisfying life without porn!

References

  • Purvis, K., Landgren, B. M., Cekan, Z., & Diczfalusy, E. (1976). Endocrine effects of masturbation in men. The Journal of Endocrinology, 70(3), 439–444. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1677/joe.0.0700439
  • Haake, P., Krueger, T. H., Goebel, M. U., Heberling, K. M., Hartmann, U., & Schedlowski, M. (2004). Effects of sexual arousal on lymphocyte subset circulation and cytokine production in man. Neuroimmunomodulation, 11(5), 293–298. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1159/000079409
  • Banerjea, B. K., & Sen, S. C. (1976). Electrocardiographic study of the effect of masturbation on normal individuals. Indian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology, 20(4), 226–230. Retrieved from https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/1010639/
  • Exton, M. S., Krüger, T. H., Bursch, N., Haake, P., Knapp, W., Schedlowski, M., & Hartmann, U. (2001). Endocrine response to masturbation-induced orgasm in healthy men following 3-week sexual abstinence. World Journal of Urology, 19(5), 377–382. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s003450100222

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