Does Masturbation Make You Tired?
Do you ever feel tired or sleepy after masturbating? If so, you are not alone. Many people feel so relaxed after masturbating that they literally fall into a peaceful slumber. Some people even report it being the best sleep of their lives. But does masturbating really make you tired? Or, is it all in your mind? Well, masturbating does involve movement, even movement that you may not recognize, so perhaps, it could make you tired. If you are wondering if the fatigue you feel following masturbation is real and not a figment of your imagination or the result of a long or stressful day, keep reading. In this article, we explore the effects of masturbation on your mind and body and determine if engaging in this adult pastime can really wear you out.
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What is Masturbation?
Researchers suggest that approximately 34% of women and 53% of men have engaged in masturbation within the last 30 days. Masturbation is a common adult pastime that involves self-pleasuring. Masturbation involves touching or caressing one’s genitals or “nether regions” for self-stimulation, pleasure, or sexual arousal. This activity is not only natural but also a relatively safe way to explore one’s body and release pent-up stress and sexual tension.
People of all ages, genders, educational backgrounds, socioeconomic statuses, sexual orientations, and relationship statuses. And, contrary to popular belief, occasional or even regular masturbation is not inherently harmful. The only time masturbation becomes a problem is when it is linked to porn addiction and/or is negatively affecting the person’s quality of life in some way (i.e., physical, social, spiritual, sexual, or mental health).
Keep in mind, however, that excessive or compulsive masturbation can morph into a porn addiction (when combined with porn use), substance abuse, or when it affects one’s romantic relationship or mental health. However, for most people, masturbation is and can be a healthy, natural way to learn more about one’s body and identify their sexual wants and needs.
Can Masturbation Be Beneficial?
Yes, masturbation can be beneficial when used in moderation.
Although masturbation-focused studies are limited, research on sexual stimulation (even accomplished through masturbation) suggests that there are several emotional, mental, physical, and sexual benefits to masturbation, such as:
- Relieves stress and sexual tension
- Aids in better and longer sleep
- Improves one’s mood
- Lowers one’s risk of anxiety or depression
- Supports relaxation
- Encourages sexual pleasure and satisfaction
- Alleviates menstrual cramps
- Boosts one’s self-esteem and self-confidence
- Improves one’s sex life (better sex)
- Helps one better understand their body
In fact, an earlier study suggests that married women, who engage in masturbation, are more likely to experience multiple orgasms, higher self-esteem and self-confidence, a stronger sex drive (libido), enhanced sexual arousal, a better mood, better sex, and a happier marriage. Masturbation can be practiced alone or with a partner. Couples, who masturbate together, typically do it to learn more about each other’s bodies, trigger sexual arousal, prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and pregnancy, and/or engage in foreplay.
Does Masturbation Come With Side Effects?
The general consensus is that masturbation is relatively safe, however, it can, in some cases, trigger feelings of shame and guilt about engaging in excessive or chronic masturbation, especially when porn use is involved. In these cases, masturbation can be extremely physically, emotionally, or mentally tiring.
Other side effects linked to masturbation include:
- Shame & Guilt
Some masturbators may feel shame and guilt due to religious, spiritual, familial, or cultural upbringing and beliefs. Even though masturbation is not “dirty,” “shameful,” “evil,” “wrong,” or “immoral,” it is a message that is often espoused in certain circles, especially religious ones. In these circles, touching oneself or self-pleasure is considered taboo, which creates a sense of shame and guilt in the individual who engages in it. Add in porn use, and this shame and guilt tends to intensify.
- Porn Addiction
Many times, masturbation is linked to excessive or compulsive porn use or porn addiction. Porn addicts tend to masturbate to the porn they see on their screens. For many of these individuals, having healthy sex relations with a partner becomes almost impossible, primarily because the brain links sexual arousal and pleasure with porn instead of their partner.
Excessive or compulsive porn use can also cause a person to adopt unrealistic sexual expectations which negatively affect their romantic relationship or marriage. Porn addiction involves an involuntary and excessive or compulsive urge to watch or use porn.
People with a porn addiction are unable to stop viewing porn without porn addiction treatment, even if they want to. This type of addiction when combined with masturbation can cause mixed emotions, confusion, shame and guilt, isolation, avoidance, and/or low self-esteem and self-confidence. It can also lead to anxiety, depression, a diminished sex life, relationship issues (i.e., feelings of betrayal), and/or suicidal thoughts or attempts.
Some people who engage in masturbation deliberately withdraw from friends, family, and peers because they do not want others to find out that they are chronic masturbators. So, rather than being faced with judgment due to their masturbation or porn use, they self-isolate. Many of these individuals do not understand how hurtful this action is to their loved ones because their addiction is more important (at the time) than their friends, loved ones, and peers.
People who engage in chronic masturbation or porn addiction (with masturbation) tend to go to work late or skip school or work altogether (because they are spending this time watching porn and masturbating), neglect household, hygiene, and parenting responsibilities in favor of masturbating to porn, cancel plans with friends and family so they can continue masturbating, miss important events like birthday parties and family celebrations because they are unable to stop watching porn and masturbating.
Any addiction is lonely, but porn addiction, especially when it involves masturbating, may be one of the most tiring and the loneliest ones.
- A Failed Relationship
In extreme cases, excessive or compulsive masturbation can damage or destroy relationships, especially romantic ones or marriages, but also family relationships and friendships. Porn addiction and chronic masturbation is a secretive behavior, and because people who engage in this adult pastime hide it from others, it has the power to wreak havoc on relationships. When one partner masturbates or masturbates to porn in secret, it changes the dynamics of the relationship.
If the partner who is in the dark finds out, it can cause a mix of emotions, ranging from confusion and self-blame to hurt, anger, and feelings of betrayal. Mistrust is bred from secrecy, regardless of the reason. And, if the masturbating partner begins to treat their partner differently (i.e., spending less time together, a change in attitude towards the unsuspecting partner, a reduced or non-existent desire to have sex with the unsuspecting partner, etc.) because of their porn use or masturbation practices, it could end up damaging or destroying the romantic relationship, leading to a failed relationship.
Likewise, family members and friends could start to back away from the masturbator due to repeated cancellations and a lack of communication. If you spend the majority of your time masturbating or watching porn and masturbating, that leaves little to no time for your friends and loved ones. This could cause resentment from your loved ones down the road, especially if they do not know what is really going on. While you may believe that withdrawing or self-isolating from friends and loved ones protects your “secret,” the cost will be high. You could end up losing the people who love you the most.
- Sexual Dysfunction
Chronic masturbation and excessive or compulsive porn use can lead to sexual dysfunction – i.e., impotence, premature ejaculation (PE), erectile dysfunction (ED) or porn-induced erectile dysfunction (PIED), etc. This occurs when neuropathways form in the brain causing habits to develop like between porn use and masturbation. When these habits form, it becomes hard to experience sexual arousal or satisfaction without using porn and masturbating. In some cases, this causes sexual dysfunction, which causes problems in the person’s relationship and sex life. A chronic masturbator may also experience performance anxiety when they equate sexual satisfaction with porn or how porn stars behave on screen or during sexual acts.
Can Masturbation Make You Tired?
Technically, masturbation could make you tired if you engage in it frequently, compulsively, or excessively. Masturbating involves repetitive hand motions, which could become tiring if most of your day involves engaging in these motions. In severe cases, it could even cause a person to experience carpal tunnel syndrome of the hand and wrist. Thus, in this way, masturbation can make you physically tired. It could also make you mentally or emotionally tired, especially, if you have been taught that masturbation and porn use are “bad,” “dirty,” “wrong,” “evil,” or “immoral.”
People who have a strong religious faith, especially Christians, who masturbate, may struggle with their perceptions and what they have been taught about masturbation. This is especially true when masturbation is linked to porn use or porn addiction. In this way, masturbating can make you mentally and emotionally tired. The excitement of masturbation ignites your nerves and certain parts of your brain connected to excitement, which can also be tiring. In other words, the energy used from “firing up” your nerves and the tensing of the muscles connected to your genitals, can actually physically tire your body out.
Thus, to sum it up, repetitive, frequent, excessive, or compulsive masturbating or masturbating to porn can be physically and mentally and emotionally draining.
Is It Normal to Feel Tired After Masturbating?
Yes, it is quite normal to feel tired after masturbating.
When people become sexually aroused, their heart rate and blood pressure increase. In other words, their heart beats faster and their blood rapidly rushes through their bodies causing extra pressure in their blood vessels. Once these individuals reach the maximum level of stimulation, most people orgasm. In other words, an orgasm occurs when the muscles that constricted during sexual stimulation and arousal “let go” or release, triggering a sensation of happiness, relaxation, euphoria, and general pleasure. It is the “feel good” hormones, called endorphins, prolactin, oxytocin, and serotonin, that are released into your bloodstream after an orgasm that causes relaxation and sexual satisfaction. That is why many people feel tired or even sleep after masturbating and experiencing an orgasm.
What Do Chronic Masturbators Say About Masturbation and Fatigue?
The best way to determine if masturbation could make you tired is to hear from other people, especially those who masturbate and/or use porn compulsively or excessively.
- “If I masturbate too often, my anxiety acts up worse than before and I become increasingly tired and stressed. If I take a break, even for a couple of days, I feel better. Masturbating has been proven to make you tired, and when I’m tired I become more anxious.”
- “It’s weird. Sometimes I feel tired after masturbating. However, other times, I get an energy rush and feel wide awake. So, I never know what to expect.”
- “I was 21 years old and had gotten my first job out of college. I had always had big ambitions, big dreams, and a great self-motivation to do something with my life. I was working at a company that provided me with a laptop, internet connections, a cell phone, and other resources to make me more productive. But, something was holding me back. I had a masturbation habit. But, even though I was mentally tired and my energy level was low, I was still self-motivated to accomplish my goals.
Still, I felt tired all of the time. I used to feel drowsy many times while at work. I also had easy access to porn content on the internet, which was an obstacle for me. It made it hard for me to stop masturbating. Every time I decided to quit my masturbation habit, abstaining for a few days, I would see a porn video and be tempted by it. Masturbation followed me watching porn. The excessive and frequent masturbation took a toll on my health. I no longer had any physical energy. I was also always tired, dull, dizzy, and drowsy. I also had poor concentration.”
Ways You Can Stop Being Tired From Masturbation
One of the most effective ways to stop being tired from masturbating is to stop doing it, or at the very least, reduce how much you do it. Masturbation is tiring to you because you are likely doing it excessively. Anything that a person does excessively is bound to eventually become tiring. Even brushing one’s teeth can become tiring if we do it excessively (i.e., every couple of hours). However, if you stop doing the thing that causes you to become tired, you will no longer be tired.
Additionally, by reducing or quitting masturbating, you no longer have the heavy burden of hiding this activity from others. In other words, you will be released from the hold porn and masturbation over you. This will provide you with more emotional or mental energy to tackle other issues and responsibilities in your life. You will also have more physical energy because you will not be saddled with spending your time using porn and masturbating. You will be free to accomplish your goals, develop healthy relationships, focus on your health and well-being, and enjoy your life.
Cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT) are two common psychotherapies used to treat porn addiction and chronic masturbation. If anxiety or depression is involved, medications like SSRI antidepressants may also be prescribed. But, one thing that is important when it comes to chronic masturbation and porn addiction treatment is communication. When you tell someone what you are experiencing and/or seek treatment, you take away your addiction’s power. You also take back control of your life. So, it is important to ask for help.
You do not have to lose the people you care about and love. You also do not need to feel shame and guilt, because masturbation is not “dirty” or “wrong.” And, if you are addicted to porn and/or masturbation, there is help available, but first, you must tell someone you trust what you are experiencing. You do not and should not face this alone. Fortunately, there are self-help tools that can help you get a hold of your masturbation and porn use habits.
One such tool is Stop Together, an online porn addiction recovery program that can help you stop masturbating so you do not feel so mentally, emotionally, and physically drained. Mindfulness meditation is another good way to clear your mind and remove any urges to engage in porn use and masturbation. There are also porn addiction support groups, forums, podcasts, and hotlines that can help you acknowledge and address your porn addiction and masturbation habits before they rob you of your joy in life.
- Fischer, N., Graham, C. A., Træen, B., & Hald, G. M. (2022). Prevalence of masturbation and associated factors among older adults in four European countries. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 51(3), 1385–1396. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-021-02071-z
- Kaestle, C. E., & Allen, K. R. (2011). The role of masturbation in healthy sexual development: Perceptions of young adults. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40(5), 983–994. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-010-9722-0