Learning communication for sex, learning communication for life

When is a Masturbation Actually a Problem?

Photo by Valeria Boltneva from Pexels

If you haven’t seen yesterday’s post on the Benefits of Masturbation yet, read that first. Go ahead. It’s okay. I’ll wait…

So! After all those amazing benefits you might be thinking, “but Lex, I’ve always heard that doing it solo is a bad thing. Is it all good or are there any bad side effects?” Great question! Many people have been told myths which were made to demote masturbation. These include masturbation causes acne, loss of eyesight, hair on the palms of your hands, and that masturbating too often, as a teenager, will cause infertility later in life. These are all nice stories, but ‘NO’ they aren’t true.

You might still be thinking, “Alright, that’s nice, but you still didn’t answer my question?.” Well, here it comes, are you ready? There are no inherent negative side effects of masturbation. That’s right, masturbation itself is a totally healthy activity. In fact, it’s probably at least as good for you as taking a brisk walk.

All that in mind, I would like to take this opportunity to address a few negative effects that aren’t inherent to masturbation, but that can be associated.

First, you might be doing it wrong. While there are endless ways to do it right, there are a couple of ways to do it wrong. The most common one is specifically for the penis owners reading this. It’s commonly referred to as using a “death grip” while jerking it. Many people will grab their phallus too tightly, which can actually lead to a loss of sensitivity. This gets worse if you combine it with the fact that the same crowd is also likely to not use any lubricant while masturbating. Don’t worry – it’s temporary, and you can relearn how to enjoy self pleasure so that your sensitivity will return.

Others will tell you that masturbating is addictive. I’m gonna take this time to quickly state that sex addiction is not a thing. At best the use of this term is a misnomer used to lead folks to proper care. At worst it is an intentional attempt to add more shame to sex in “unsanctioned” contexts. This is a much deeper topic with a lot of nuance and if you want to hear more, drop me a line and I’ll write a full post about it. The short version is masturbation won’t lead to an addiction. Rather it is sometimes used as an outlet for anxiety and other more serious mental illnesses. What you need to look out for in these situations is not whether you are doing it, but if you are doing it with such a frequency that you are not able to fulfill your other responsibilities, or it is getting in the way of living your regular day to day life.*

Here is the number one most common negative side effect associated with masturbation: shame and guilt. Neither shame nor guilt are inherent to masturbation, which is a completely natural act. We are taught that something is wrong with us or that the act itself is wrong. I’m here to tell you it’s not. Partaking in self pleasure is likely one of the healthiest things that most people do. It helps with self esteem, physical health, and our interactions with others.

So I say, enjoy yourself! And lend yourself a hand 😉


P. S. Is there a piece of advice you want me to cover? Send it my way.

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*Please note I’m not a licensed mental health professional, but I’m happy to provide resources if you are searching for a sex-positive one.