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What is Chronic Masturbation? A Comprehensive Guide

Dr R. Y. Langham

May 19, 2022

Perhaps, you have never considered masturbation to be a real problem. This sexual behavior is usually performed alone without prying eyes. It eases your stress and anxiety and helps your worries fade away. There is no judgment because no one knows (besides you) what you are up to. In all honesty, for most, it is a relaxing way to enjoy your morning, afternoon, evening, or night. And, masturbating can be healthy – in moderation. Most people begin to masturbate during their teenage and young adult years; however, it can begin earlier or later than this timeframe. It tends to escalate in frequency and intensity as time goes on – until it becomes chronic.

Around the age of five, children tend to become more aware of their genitals, and how it feels to touch them. The pleasant sensation that accompanies touching, pulling on, playing with, rubbing, etc., can cause young children to keep returning to these behaviors. When a child is caught “touching” their genitals, it is often shunned, discouraged, judged, criticized, or ignored. As a result, the child learns that it is “bad” to “touch” their genitals.

More specifically, society sends a message to children that self-touch is inappropriate, immoral, or wrong. This is especially true in religious communities. As the child ages and his or her hormones ramp up, he or she may have urges to “touch” genitals – but this time through a conscious effort to masturbate. However, now, this person hides the activity for fear of being judged or criticized.

This person now equates masturbating with shame and guilt, which causes him or her to hide it from others. If masturbation was “normalized” or “destigmatized,” for instance, like taking a bath or shower and cleaning your body, we would have fewer cases of emotional distress and chronic masturbation.

Thus, the best thing you can do if you believe you may be suffering from chronic masturbation is to explore your body and find your erogenous zones. Doing this can help improve your sexual health and sex life. It will also help you determine what you want and do not want in the bedroom. If you have a healthy sex life, you will not need to excessively masturbate – you’ll be engaging in the real things – foreplay and sexual intercourse. So, when you feel the urge to masturbate with or without porn, grab your partner and try some of the fetishes you see on the screen or in your mind with him or her.

Keep in mind, however, that you can have too much of a good thing when it comes to masturbation. Excessive or chronic masturbation can be detrimental to your health and well-being. More specifically, it can wreak havoc on your physical, sexual, emotional, and mental health. Therefore, it is important to avoid spending most or all of your free time masturbating. If you feel like you simply cannot stop masturbating, especially if you are masturbating to porn, it may be time to seek porn addiction treatment.

If you are wondering what you should do if you cannot stop masturbating, you have come to the right place. This article will give you the ins and outs of having chronic masturbation, so you can reclaim your sexual vitality and reconnect with friends and loved ones.

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What is Masturbation?

Masturbation, sometimes referred to as “jerking off,” involves self-stimulation or “touching” your body to elicit pleasurable sensations. This sexual activity involves both your brain and body. Masturbation can include playing with, touching, tugging on, caressing, and/or rubbing your genitals, breasts, etc.

Sometimes, masturbation is performed alone, and sometimes, it is performed with a partner or with other people watching (voyeurism). Masturbation can also be a fun form of foreplay (activities before sexual intercourse). It can help you guide your partner during sex and alert him or her to what really “turns you on” – and vice versa.

Some people like to use sex toys, porn, erotic books, and sexually explicit or sexually-suggestive magazines to aid in masturbation while engaging in a variety of masturbation methods. Others use sexy or pornographic mental images to assist with masturbation.

Keep in mind, that almost anything can trigger urges to masturbate or watch porn while masturbating – i.e., a sexy advertisement or commercial, a sexy woman or man, a specific perfume, a sexually-explicit song, an R-rated movie with heavy love and sex scenes, etc. So, basically, anything you see, hear, touch, smell, or taste (i.e., aphrodisiacs like sushi) that sexually excites you, can be a masturbation trigger.

Although masturbation is usually thought of as a “solitary activity,” however, some couples engage in it together. Surprisingly, some experts believe that some female masturbators may actually find it appealing and even sexy to watch their partners pleasure themselves for a while before having sexual intercourse.

How Common is Masturbation?

The truth is it is hard to measure masturbation, primarily because it is usually a solo activity. Moreover, many people refuse to give a true account of how often they masturbate. So, masturbation statistics are only estimates. According to a 2007 study, 61% of men and 38% of women report regularly masturbating – with some people masturbating for up to 4x a week and others only masturbating occasionally.

This estimate is the highest in young adult men, who began masturbating as teens. This estimate does not appear to be linked to the man’s relationship status. Some experts suggest that men, between the ages of 25 and 45, are the most frequent “masturbators” and that these individuals typically engage in this behavior once or twice a week.

Regardless, the frequency at which a person masturbates largely depends on the specific male or female, and what he or she considers “masturbating.” Keep in mind that some people masturbate every day, while others only masturbate a couple of days a week or a few times a month. The frequency of masturbation may also be linked to relationship status.

Although masturbation, especially masturbation with porn, can be included in the relationship (both partners engaging in it alone or together), some people feel more comfortable doing it when their partners are physically unavailable due to work or parenting responsibilities, illness, fatigue, etc. Also, some people, especially men, masturbate more frequently once a relationship ends.

Researchers suggest that a person’s age and the time it takes to become erect, ejaculate, or orgasm can also affect the frequency of masturbation. As men age, the time it takes to obtain an erection after ejaculating (the refractory period) lengthens – it takes longer. And, even though orgasms can occur independently of ejaculation they typically occur together.

Can a Person Masturbate Too Much?

Absolutely! You can masturbate too much.

Moderation is key to most things – i.e., activities, foods, adult beverages, sex, shopping, using porn, and even masturbating. The truth is the problem is not masturbating – the problem is how much you do it. Masturbating once or twice a day is common for many women and men, however, masturbating continuously (every chance you get) probably is a problem.

Excessively or chronically masturbating can disrupt your routines, interfere with your daily functioning, and negatively affect your quality of life. For instance, if a young adult man frequently misses work, avoids family celebrations and social events, or feels ashamed about masturbating, that could be a problem. Some people feel guilty about masturbating, leading to increased stress and anxiety.

The main concern with chronic masturbation is that it can cause other problems, such as genital chafing, low self-esteem, sexual dysfunction (i.e., erectile dysfunction (ED), impotence, premature ejaculation (PE), sexual performance anxiety, etc.), depression, anxiety, genital desensitization, feelings of shame and guilt, emotional detachment, relationship issues, etc.

Is Chronic Masturbation a Real Condition?

Yes, it is.

Chronic masturbation is a real condition, even if it is not recognized in the DSM-5. It is typically measured by the amount of time a person spends masturbating each day, the number of times masturbation leads to orgasms, and the intensity of the penal friction during masturbation, But, understand that just because chronic masturbation is not officially recognized as an addiction or mental health condition, it still exists.

For instance, many people erroneously believe that masturbating once or twice a day suggests that it is chronic – when it may not be. More specifically, masturbating can be chronic without being a chronic problem. If frequent masturbating is not causing problems in your life, then there is no need to fret over it. Remember, masturbation can be healthy when performed in moderation.

What Causes Chronic Masturbation?

The cause(s) of chronic masturbation varies from person to person. However, certain factors appear to predispose certain people to chronic masturbation.

Causes of chronic masturbation may include:

  • A neurotransmitter or brain chemistry imbalance
  • Neuro-pathway “brain” changes
  • Brain structure and function abnormalities
  • Accessible sexually explicit content (i.e., porn)
  • Substance abuse or addiction (i.e., drugs and alcohol)
  • A personal or family history of mental illness
  • Family conflicts
  • A history of physical or sexual abuse

Can Chronic Masturbation Affect My Physical Health?

Yes, chronic masturbation can affect your physical health.

Chronic masturbation can affect your physical health in the following ways:

  • Genital pain, chafing or exposed and raw penal skin (on the shaft of it)
  • Painful ejaculations
  • Genital injuries, although this is rare
  • Musculoskeletal injuries or pain from too much physical exertion or movement
  • Penile fractures, which are also rare

Can Chronic Masturbation Affect My Mental/Emotional Health?

Yes, chronic masturbation can cause a myriad of emotional/mental health issues.

For some people, masturbating is a form of “escape.” In other words, these individuals use masturbation as a coping mechanism to ease or eliminate stress, fears, doubts, worries, anxiety, intrusive thoughts, shame and guilt, low self-esteem, and/or depression. When you gain relief from masturbating, even if it is only temporary, you are more likely to return to it over and over again.

When you continuously return to an activity, like masturbating, it can become chronic.

Many “chronic masturbators” are embarrassed by their behavior, which is why it tends to go unreported or unspoken. Chronic masturbation is a compulsive behavior – one that can make a person feel out of control. “Chronic masturbators” excessively worry about their actions and feel bad about being unable to stop them or get a grasp on their urges and impulses.

For some people, the stress, worries, anxiety, and/or depression may trigger a non-stop OCD-like compulsions, where a person continues to masturbate as a way to ease sexual and non-sexual tension, emotional distress, anxiety, depression, boredom, workplace and/or relationship issues, etc.

Note: Christians and other religious “chronic masturbators” are especially prone to experiencing emotional distress as a result of their behaviors.

Can Chronic Masturbation Cause Sexual Dysfunctions?

Yes, it can.

As a rule of thumb, masturbation, in moderation, likely will not lead to sexual dysfunction (i.e., ED, PE, performance anxiety, impotence, etc.). Rough or excessive masturbation techniques can lead to injuries, although this is rare.

However, chronic masturbation can trigger erection and ejaculation issues. When sexual dysfunctions arise, especially porn-related ones, it can damage or destroy your relationship. More specifically, it can cause trust issues, feelings of betrayal, low self-esteem and self-confidence, self-doubt, hurt feelings, and insecurities.

This is especially true when non-masturbating partners feel they must compete with porn stars on a screen. Studies suggest that problematic, excessive, or chronic masturbation can lead to a reduced interest in sex, poor sexual arousal (in regards to a partner), low sexual satisfaction, emotional detachment, etc. The result? Conflict, a poor sex life, and/or a broken or failed relationship.

Can Chronic Masturbation Cause Side Effects?

It is possible…

Masturbation typically does not cause side effects, however, if it is compulsive, constant, or vigorous, it can.

Listed below are some side effects of chronic and/or excessive masturbation:

  • Edema – Males, who grip their penises too tightly, while masturbating can experience penal edema (swelling).
  • Irritated Skin – Vigorous, excessive, and/or constant masturbation can lead to chafing or skin irritation.
  • Guilt and Shame – In most cases, masturbation is not immoral, wrong, or unhealthy, however, some people may be embarrassed by their behavior afterward.

Note: Keep in mind, however, that masturbation is not linked to blindness or infertility.

What Are the Signs of Chronic Masturbation?

The reasons why some people, especially males, power up their electronic devices and go to porn sites to masturbate to the images and videos on the screen varies, depending on what is currently happening in their lives, what they need and want to feel fulfilled and sexually satisfied, and what they are struggling with. Some individuals masturbate to ease stress, anxiety, depression, or boredom, while others masturbate to aid in sleep, help them relax, improve their moods, “escape” emotional distress, and/or boost sexual arousal.

Listed below are signs of chronic masturbation:

  • Emotional upset
  • Responsibility neglect
  • Physical pain
  • Masturbating in inappropriate settings
  • Prioritizing masturbation over being sexually active with a real-life partner
  • Feeling “out of control.”
  • A loss of genital sensitivity
  • Poor impulse control
  • Shame and guilt about masturbation
  • Overstimulation from vigorous or constant masturbation
  • Sexual dysfunctions (i.e., ED, PE, impotence, performance anxiety, etc.)

Is Chronic Masturbation Linked to Excessive Porn Use and Porn Addiction?

Yes, it is.

Using porn can quickly become a compulsion, especially when if it occurs over a long time. Why? Well, because repeating an action or engaging in a behavior, such as watching porn can cause neuropathways to form in your brain. Neuropathways are needed to form habits, like a porn habit or porn addiction. Using porn causes pleasurable sensations in your brain, which causes you to keep returning to it. Because of this porn habits or porn addiction is hard to stop. When you combine masturbation with “porn use,” you end up with two interconnected problems instead of just one.

The truth is people are egocentric, by nature, and as such, they are constantly seeking sensations that bring us happiness, joy, euphoria, excitement, relief, and pleasure. Conversely, people are also inherently self-centered when it comes to their individual wants, needs, and desires. We are hard-wired to interact with others, have sex, procreate, and form relationships.

Pleasurable sensations act like a “drug” in the body, causing you to get hooked on the feeling of masturbating or masturbating to porn. Eventually, this euphoric feeling can lead to chronic masturbation and/or full-blown porn addiction. This is why so many people get addicted to masturbating and porn.

The combination of porn and masturbation enhances the pleasurable sensations in the body. In other words, it triggers your body’s internal reward system, which in this case, is visual stimulation, sexual arousal, and sexual satisfaction. Once porn causes you to experience an orgasm, you are likely to crave that feeling again.

At first, you do not see a problem with masturbating all of the time – society and the media often portray masturbating to porn as a healthy adult pastime, so you keep doing it because you do not see anything wrong with it. However, over time, this habit becomes ingrained in you until you are physically, mentally, and emotionally unable to stop it. Then, masturbating to porn becomes a problem.

Viewing porn while masturbating can be extremely enticing to some people, because it gives them something to do with their hands, while stimulating their genitals, and watching sexually-explicit images, videos, or movies on their device(s). Masturbating to porn offers users an immersive sexual experience.

And, while this is usually no real interaction with the people on the screen, it can feel that way to some porn users. In their minds, they are connecting with the people on the screen, and in a sense having virtual sex with them – when in reality, it is all fantasy.

Unfortunately, at this point, it is usually too late to manage or quit the frequency of your masturbation to porn habit. Porn addiction occurs when you keep returning to porn even though it is negatively impacting your life, health, and well-being. It is causing problems in your life but you feel powerless to stop it. Porn becomes your “master,” controlling your life, ruining your self-esteem and relationships, and stripping you of your power.

How Can I Stop Masturbating?

Listed below are treatments and home remedies you can try to stop masturbating:

Conventional Treatments
  • Chronic Masturbation Therapy

    Chronic masturbation therapy addresses all of the underlying factors associated with excessive, constant, and/or vigorous masturbation. A chronic masturbation therapist, psychotherapist, or sex therapist can help you recognize other factors, such as trauma, depression, anxiety, etc., that could be contributing to your chronic masturbation habit.

    Some chronic masturbation specialists instruct clients to commit to and sign a “celibacy contract” that states that they will refrain from masturbating alone or to porn. The goal is to help chronic masturbators abstain from self-pleasuring themselves too much and/or self-pleasuring to porn.

  • Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy (CBT)

    Another treatment used to treat both chronic masturbation and porn addiction is cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT). CBT alters thoughts, beliefs, and mental images, which in turn improves your behavior.

    For instance, if you start to recognize how masturbating is causing problems in your life, it loses its power. And, if and when it loses its power, you are less likely to chronically masturbate alone or to porn. Researchers suggest that CBT is highly effective for behavioral compulsions like chronic masturbation and chronic masturbation to porn.

  • Medication

    Sometimes medications, specifically antidepressants, like SSRIs (i.e., Luvox, Paxil, Celexa, or Zoloft), are used to treat chronic masturbation. Keep in mind, that there are no masturbation-specific medications on the market at this time. However, other mental health conditions and addictions (i.e., depression, anxiety, chronic stress, porn addiction, psychosis, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, substance abuse addiction, etc.) that require medications may inadvertently help chronic masturbation and chronic masturbation to porn.

  • Abstinence

    Abstinence is another way chronic masturbation is sometimes treated. In this case, abstinence refers to refraining from masturbating or masturbating to porn. According to a recent study, higher abstinence motivation is linked to a higher “perceived” impact of chronic masturbation, conservatism, religiosity, and a distrust in science. Thus, researchers have also found that people, who suffer from reduced genital sensitivity are more likely to engage in abstinence.

Alternative Therapies

Listed below are alternative therapies that may help you stop masturbating:

  • Holistic Therapy
  • Family Therapy
  • Couples or Marital Therapy
  • Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT)
  • EMDR
  • Experiential Therapy
  • Art Therapy
  • Music Therapy
  • Yoga Therapy
  • Hypnotherapy or Hypnosis
“Home Remedies” for Chronic Masturbation

Listed below are home remedies that may help reduce the time you spend masturbating:

  • Add 2-3 saffron strands to an 8oz. glass of milk with 2-3 at bedtime may help reduce the frequency of your masturbation.
  • Consuming sunflower seeds, soybean products, and peanuts may ward off chronic masturbation and/or porn addiction.
  • Ingesting ginger, a potent antioxidant, not only improves your blood circulation but may also help you resist urges to masturbate.
  • Drinking vitamin C beverages, like cranberry juice and/or orange juice each day not only provides you with essential nutrients but also may counter chronic masturbation side effects, like physical exhaustion.
  • Consuming foods rich in zinc may help you combat the negative side effects of chronic masturbation.
  • Supplementing with herbal extracts, like early purple orchid, winter cherry, nutmeg, and/or caltrop may reverse any side effects associated with chronic masturbation.
  • Journaling can help you figure out what is causing you to chronically masturbate. It can also help you determine how masturbating really makes you feel.
  • Investing in self-help tools, like Stop Together, an online porn addiction recovery program can address your chronic masturbation with or without a porn addiction. This online program has helped thousands of men and women reclaim their sexual health and repair their self-esteem and relationships.

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