Wherever there is content extolling the benefits of masturbation, there is also a flood of voices condemning it. The topic always goes hand in hand with conversations about frequency, namely: doing it too much. “While fears and negative attitudes toward sexuality can be found throughout history, one behavior of particular concern was masturbation,” he says Sarah Melancon(opens in a new tab)Ph.D., sociologist, clinical sexologist and resident expert at The Sex Toy Collective.
Libido is based on our reward system – and the more positive experiences you have, the more you want. Masturbation and orgasms create desire for more masturbation, sex, and orgasms. TL;DR: Masturbation is great. Solo sex is a fantastic (and free!) way to de-stress, relax and increase positive neurotransmitters(opens in a new tab). It can also help improve mood and self-esteem.
At the same time there are nuances. Zachary Zane(opens in a new tab)author of Boyslut: A Memoir and a Manifesto(opens in a new tab) and sex expert for momentum intimacy(opens in a new tab), indicates that you can overdo just about anything. “Masturbation only becomes a problem when it negatively affects other aspects of your life,” he says. For example, if your masturbation habits are causing you to skip work, give up sex with your partner, or cause pain or injury, it may be worth revising your masturbation habits. “But if it is NOT having a negative impact on your life, then stay tuned! Enjoy it,” says Zane.
In all likelihood, your jerking off habits are perfectly normal and okay.
In all likelihood, your jerking off habits are perfectly normal and okay. And so, for this glorious month, Masturbation May, we’re going to do away with the pervasive notion that if you masturbate too much, you’re doing something wrong, shameful, or breaking your cock/clitoris. Let’s change the mindset.
The Roots of “Dangerous Masturbation”
Why are people so obsessed with how often you touch your junk? Melancon says it’s pretty heavily based on religion. “Many religions condemn sexual activity(opens in a new tab) outside of heterosexual marriage, including masturbation,” she says. “In Judeo-Christian religions, masturbation is considered a sin.” This goes back to the biblical story of Onan in which he “spilled the seed.” Onan had sex with his brother Frau and instead of climaxing inside her, he withdrew so she could not carry his offspring. You know, a really sweet and chilled situation. God obviously curses him for spilling his seed because, well, the Bible. Ironically, the story on which this concept is based actually describes Onan’s retreat and not his masturbation.
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In the Victorian era(opens in a new tab)It was believed that masturbation caused mental illness. These pervasive views of the dangers and evils of masturbation may be more encoded in 2023, but ghosts of the past still seem to haunt us.
Can you actually masturbate TOO much?
Basically not really. As long as you don’t rub yourself sore or quit work to knock it out 24/7, Silva Neves(opens in a new tab), a certified psychosexual and relationship psychotherapist, says worrying when you’re peaking isn’t a problem. “There’s no evidence that masturbation is bad, and there’s no single definition for measuring ‘too much,’ because everyone’s limits are subjective and individual,” he says.
Sex addiction is not recognized by science. Why are people still diagnosed?
Additionally, there is no evidence that frequent masturbation is in any way harmful or addictive. The notion that masturbating too much can become a problem is heavily tainted with shame and sexual negativity. Neves tells us that The use of terms like “porn addiction” or “sex addiction” is highly problematic – as it both increases shame during sex and is not recognized as an addiction by either the ICD or the DSM-5.
Long story short, you can’t masturbate too much unless you’re hiding in your room, ignoring your friends, family, and commitments to constantly cum. It’s about cultivating healthy habits.
How you think about masturbation affects how you think about your behavior.
Usually it’s not about whether you’re masturbating too much, but how the behavior makes you feel. A Recent study(opens in a new tab) found four groups of people based on frequency of masturbation and sexual satisfaction.
High frequency of masturbation + Satisfaction
Low/no frequency of masturbation + Satisfied
High frequency of masturbation + dissatisfaction
Low/no frequency of masturbation + dissatisfied
For those who reported high frequency of masturbation and dissatisfaction, Melancon says this group likely consists of people who view masturbation as either bad or “less than” partner sex. “This is likely to include both individuals who use masturbation as a coping mechanism and individuals who are lonely and would prefer to see at least some of their masturbation as intimate sexual activity,” she says. what’s more SStudies have shown(opens in a new tab) that people with higher levels of religious belief are more likely to view their masturbation habits as “addictive” when the behaviors themselves are not clinically compulsive.
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If you can move from the idea that masturbation is less, gross, wrong, or addictive to a mindset where masturbation is happy, healthy, and normal, you’ll likely see a massive improvement in the way you change your habits perceive. Finally, masturbation is a healthy and permissible form of sexual activity. Enough with the shame.
Dealing with Death Grip.
As with all good things in life, you may encounter problems. Death grip is repetitive masturbation with a very tight grip around the penis. It can also refer to the clitoris being subjected to the same intense form of stimulation (often with a vibrator), resulting in a temporarily reduced effectiveness of other forms of sexual activity. The term “death grip” was originally coined by sex columnist Dan Savage in 2003. Savage was also the first to coin the term “pegging” (when a cis man is anally penetrated by someone wearing a strap-on or dildo).
Death Grip is not an official medical diagnosis – it is a recognized phenomenon that has been observed in many clinical situations. However, the goal should be to deal with it without pathologizing people. The death grip is actually highly treatable and highly subjective. It’s only a problem if you think it’s a problem and want to do something about it. There’s nothing wrong with preferring or even needing some form of stimulation in order to feel pleasure, if that’s what you want.
If you suffer from death grip and feel like you are losing sensation, change your masturbation habits. Kenneth Play, an international educator and bestselling author of Beyond Satisfied: A Sex Hacker’s Guide to Endless Orgasms, Mind-Blowing Connections, and Lasting Confidence(opens in a new tab)refers to “habitual loops that govern our sex lives.” He tells us, “The more one masturbates in a certain way, the more deeply a certain pathway to orgasm becomes ingrained and our sexual identity molds around it. Our habits create a quick route to pleasure and can be obstacles to others.” Forms of sex.
“By masturbating in different ways for a few weeks, we start rewiring our habitual loops and we can learn new ways of pleasure.”
It’s not that you’re damaging your penis/clitoris or causing permanent desensitization, it’s just that you’ve become accustomed to masturbating a certain way – and therefore other forms of sex don’t feel that way intensely. “We can break our habitual loops by turning down the volume for a while. We can put the vibrator away or loosen the death grip on our penises,” says Play. “By masturbating in different ways for a few weeks, we start rewiring our habitual loops and we can learn new ways of pleasure.”
Melancon also suggests introducing a mindfulness practice. “Mindfulness-style exercises can help expand sensory awareness, so a lighter grip can become more comfortable over time,” she says. Connecting to our bodies can help foster stronger connections between our genitals and our minds.
It’s not that you’re masturbating too much, it could just be that you’re masturbating a little too much in the same way. It could mean that you’re masturbating in a way that isn’t particularly well connected to your body and doesn’t promote a lot of awareness. The frequency of masturbation doesn’t have to cause problems if we develop a creative and positive attitude towards it. “Death Grip” is not permanent and simply means that a change might be in order.
All in all, your masturbation habits are probably perfectly fine, and we’d do better to celebrate self-love than demonize it.