Masturbation Addiction FAQ
Yes, masturbation is a common sexual addiction that affects men and women alike. Masturbation is a healthy part of sexual exploration during childhood development. Sometimes a person turns to masturbation as a form of self-medication to deal with stress or trauma. When masturbation becomes a method of escape, this can set the stage for an addictive pattern.
Masturbation addiction commonly referred to as compulsive masturbation can be very secretive and isolating. A man or woman can compulsively masturbate with or without pornography and the behaviors can be very different. Some people may masturbate as part of their daily routine while others may binge masturbate. Binge masturbation involves spending several hours masturbating while watching porn or fantasizing. Compulsive masturbation usually lacks intimacy and often can lead to a lot of shame.
There is nothing wrong with masturbation, and for some people masturbation is a way to connect with their sexuality in a healthy way. An addiction to masturbation can be both physically and emotionally harmful to a person and their loved ones. Due to the amount of time and energy spent on masturbating, genital injury is common. Additionally an addiction to masturbation can make intimate relationships difficult and hinder people from seeking out intimacy.
No. Masturbation addiction is a real problem regardless of morality. There are certainly many points of view regarding the morality or acceptability of masturbation. A professional sex therapist does not impose morality in the treatment of masturbation addiction. It is the role of the therapist to honor a client’s personal morality while working with the client to reduce shame and explore healthy sexuality.
For a masturbation addict, a period of abstinence is recommended under the supervision of a trained therapist. Like anything, there can be imbalance in this sexual area of our life, just as there can be imbalance in the food we eat, the work we do, and the relationships we have. This doesn’t mean we stop eating, working or relating. The important thing is to treat the problem by stopping the unhealthy behavior, and to find healthy strategies for fulfilling sexual needs.
In some cases, a high sex drive is a biological imbalance that can be managed with medication. More often, fear or anxiety motivates the need for masturbation as a controlled release for excess sexual energy. By treating the underlying issues with a skilled therapist, we believe that abstinence from compulsive masturbation actually leads to greater control of sexual energy.