For most people, masturbation can be a normal and healthy habit. However, as with any enjoyable experience, masturbation can become an addiction if it is done too much. The symptoms of masturbation addiction are actually quite similar to other forms of addiction.
In this article, we are going to talk about masturbation addiction, its symptoms, and what you can do if you suspect that you are addicted to masturbating.
Masturbation addiction. What is it?
Any addiction is a pathological compulsion. The term refers to the continued repetition of certain behaviors even after they have started to have a negative impact on your life.
Generally, when most people start masturbating, they enjoy the practice a healthy amount. However, as with any enjoyable activity, it’s relatively easy to start masturbating too often. If you start masturbating to the point where it’s affecting your social life or mental health, you’re probably experiencing masturbation addiction.
People become addicted to masturbation for different reasons.
One common reason that people become addicted to masturbating is that it helps to manage unwanted feelings such as stress. On a deeper level, masturbation can also be a temporary fix for people who are feeling lonely or who are craving human connection. This is especially true when there is pornography involved. (Check out the benefits of quiting porn).
The simulation of human connection allows people to feel like they are actually connected. Furthermore, your brain doesn’t know the difference between masturbating and having sex. When you masturbate, your brain releases the same cascade of hormones and neurotransmitters that cause you to feel accomplished and relaxed after having sex.
There is a biological function for this. The body encourages behaviours that are good for your safety and the future of you and your family. Sex is one of the most important things for securing a healthy future as it allows us to reproduce. However, masturbation does not do this. Masturbation is a temporary release that does not provide any biological benefits.
What’s happening here is you’re fooling your brain into releasing dopamine. Dopamine is the neurotransmitter responsible for feelings of reward and motivation. Naturally, this hormone is released when we accomplish something, eat healthy food, have sex, or exercise. These things are all good and important for survival.
However, because dopamine is so intensely pleasurable, it becomes very addictive. Masturbation is one of the quickest ways to cause a dopamine release in the brain. As such, it is also one of the most addictive habits.
Masturbation addiction can also arise because of previous trauma, emotional difficulties, or other mental health issues.
Symptoms of masturbation addiction
If you’re not sure whether or not you’re struggling with masturbation addiction, it can help to take a look at the symptoms. You may be surprised to learn that the symptoms of masturbation addiction are very similar to the symptoms of any other addiction.
While masturbation addiction may not be as serious or dangerous as addiction to drugs or alcohol, it causes people to display a number of the same behaviors. These behaviours are largely related to the dopamine system that we discussed earlier. Compulsive, seeking behavior, and an increasing need for more intense stimulation or some of the hallmarks of addiction.
Here are some other common symptoms of masturbation addiction.
- Choosing to avoid social situations or engagements in order to masturbate.
- Frequently stepping away from social situations, responsibilities, or work so that you can masturbate.
- Frequently thinking about masturbation to the point where it takes up a large majority of your thoughts.
- Being unable to stop masturbating despite thinking about quitting.
- Pornography addiction. Pornography addiction and masturbation addiction often go hand-in-hand, however, this is not always the case. People can develop an addiction to masturbation even without using pornography. However, as their addiction becomes more intense, they may begin to rely on pornographic stimulation to satisfy their needs.
- Relationship difficulties. It is not uncommon for people with masturbation addictions to develop problems in their relationships.
- Masturbating to more and more intense sexual material.
- Masturbating several times a day.
- Being unable to control your compulsions to masturbate.
Masturbation addiction can also lead to a number of physical symptoms. Some of these symptoms can simply be the result of bad masturbation habits, and they do not necessarily only occur in people who have an addiction. Nonetheless, here are some examples of physical problems that can occur with excessive masturbation.
- Erectile dysfunction. Many people find that chronic masturbating impairs their ability to get an erection, especially in the bedroom with a real partner.
- Sexual dysfunction. In addition to erectile dysfunction, masturbation addiction can cause people to develop unrealistic expectations in the bedroom, both for themselves and from their partners. This is especially true if people are watching pornography and setting the standards based on material. This can lead to a number of different sexual dysfunctions, worries, and other isues.
- Generally, if you’re masturbating with the intention of reaching orgasm as quickly as possible, you’re basically training your body to reach orgasm quicker. Excessive masturbation is one of the leading causes of premature ejaculation.
- Physical pain and injuries. Masturbating too much, too often, or too vigorously can cause injuries of the penis or vagina. Chafing, raw skin, and bruising can emerge if you’re masturbating too often. There are also a number of sexual disabilities that can be developed from excessive masturbating.
What causes masturbation addiction?
There are a number of different things that can contribute to masturbation addiction. Here are a few examples of common causes of masturbation addiction.
- Improper education about masturbation and healthy sexual practices.
- Sexual trauma or other traumas that affect your ability to connect with people and develop relationships. People who do not believe that they are worthy of building relationships may instead choose to simply masturbate and fantasize.
- Unhealthy sexual habits. If you regularly engage in unhealthy sexual practices, it can be easy to distort your perception of what is helpful and what is necessary when it comes to sexuality. This can easily lead to masturbation addiction.
- Access to pornography. Another reason that masturbation addiction is so common nowadays is because pornography has become increasingly available. Easy access to pornographic material can cause arousal and arousal can lead to masturbation. If you have a hard time controlling your impulses, or if you have easy access to pornography, you may need to learn some techniques to manage cravings.
- Substance abuse and addiction. Substance abuse can also lead to masturbation addiction. Certain drugs, especially stimulants like amphetamines are cocaine, tend to increase libido in extreme amounts. If you use these drugs, you are more likely to engage in compulsive masturbating for extended periods of time.
- Boredom. One of the major causes of addictions of any type is boredom. If you do not have any fulfilling hobbies, activities, or social engagements, then you’re naturally going to be looking for something to find fulfillment with. Since masturbation causes a release of the same chemicals the creative sensation of fulfillment and peace, many people turn to it as a source of satisfaction.
Treatment of masturbation addiction
There are many different ways that you can treat and manage a masturbation addiction. In this section of the article, we will explore some of the most common and effective ways that you can overcome a masturbation addiction and learn to control your cravings.
Understand your habits
No matter how you approach this, it’s important to consider the reason and cause behind your masturbation addiction. Understanding the reasons that you’re masturbating can really help you figure out why you’re doing it in the first place.
Are you trying to fulfill some sort of need? Do you enjoy the feeling of reward and motivation that comes along with an orgasm? Are you trying to fill a void that might otherwise be filled by relationships or human connection?
There is always an underlying reason to any sort of addictive behavior. Understanding the underlying reason and learning how to find a more healthy and sustainable solution to meet these needs is paramount to overcoming the issue.
Join a support group
Support groups like Alcoholics Anonymous have grown popular all around the world. These groups help people with addictions learn how to cope with their cravings and find support among other people who have been in a similar situation.
While they’re not as common, there are also support groups for people with masturbation addictions. If you can’t find one in your local area, then search online.
Finding a support group is important because it allows you to feel like you’re no longer alone. Masturbation addiction is different in many ways than addictions to drugs or alcohol. Masturbation and sexual behaviour are highly taboo in our society, and it’s not always easy for people to open up about their masturbation addiction. Contrary to drug addiction, masturbation addiction does not lead to erratic behavior changes and can be difficult to detect in others.
This can lead people to feel isolated and afraid to open up about their problem. Feelings of isolation can lead to loneliness and shame and can further aggravate the need to find release through masturbating.
Find a counselor
There are many addiction counselors in the world who are trained especially to deal with people who struggle with addictions of all sorts. If you’re hoping to find someone to treat a masturbation addiction, you’re going to want to look for an addiction counsellor who specializes in behavioural addictions. Behavioural addictions are those that relate to certain behaviours and habitual actions, such as masturbating or gambling.
While these addictions operate in a similar way as drug addiction, they are not necessarily the same. A counselor with a specialization in behavioural addictions will be able to help you understand the underlying mechanisms of your addiction so that you can overcome it once and for all.
Make new hobbies
Boredom is one of the biggest causes of addictions. If you don’t have any sort of hobbies that you enjoy, then you are likely going to find yourself bored and unfulfilled. This can easily lead to masturbation addiction. On the other hand, if you’re trying to stop a masturbation addiction, you’re going to need something to fill your time and make you feel fulfilled.
Try out things like playing a new instrument, joining a sports team, reading new books, going for hikes, or anything else to keep your mind off of masturbating so that you can find fulfilment in other ways.
Make some new connections
Masturbation addiction can also be a sign that you’re lonely or craving human connection, especially if you’re frequently using pornography. Masturbation stimulates the release of the same chemicals that you get when you have sex. We all have a natural drive to feel this satisfaction and connection with other human beings. Masturbation is often one way to fill the void when you are feeling alone.
If you think your masturbation is related to this, then don’t hesitate to try to reach out to friends both old and new. Making new friends isn’t always easy, especially if you don’t socialize a lot already. This is one of the reasons that joining a support group can be useful.
If you can’t or don’t want to join a support group, there are still plenty of other ways to meet people. You can join a new group or team, take part in a group activity, or spend time at a social club where there are other people. You can also meet people online. This allows you to match certain interests and assess whether or not you’ll get along with someone before you actually meet up with them.
Masturbation can be a normal process, however, it can easily spiral into addiction. Like any addiction, masturbation addiction can interfere with your social life, your work, and your mental health.
In this article, we’ve addressed several ways that you can manage a masturbation addiction. If you are interested in making a positive change in your life, don’t hesitate to reach out and see you get the help that you need. Remember that you’re not in this alone and you don't want to have masturbation withdrawal symptoms alone!