For many young adults, it is absolutely normal to masturbate one to two times every day. Although, the number of times one masturbates in a week can vary from every person to person, it is okay to masturbate three to seven times a week. But for those in their 30s and 40s, the masturbation sessions can drop to two to three in a week. However, for many, masturbation can become a compulsion; they start showcasing an obsessive behaviour towards it. They start preferring masturbating over socializing, cannot stop thinking about masturbating next and it starts affecting their everyday habits and chores. Though the exact number of times that can label one as a masturbation addict is a very subjective matter, experts have agreed on masturbation addiction as over seven to eight times a week.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is considered as the bible of mental health conditions and diagnoses, recently added the category of behavioural addictions under the general heading of addictive disorders. These addictions don’t require the use of any chemical substances but can be just as addictive as chemical substances. Masturbation is one among them as it can be just as addictive as addiction to chemical substances.
Understanding Masturbation Addiction
Addiction is caused by two brain chemicals, Dopamine and endorphins. Dopamine is a neurotransmitter which helps you experience pleasure. While, endorphins are the hormones which are released during the times of stress and physical activity. Endorphins help you in recovery process.
When you masturbate, the body releases dopamine, the chemical that enables you to feel sexual pleasure, and endorphins, once you are done masturbating. Over time, this release of brain chemicals is needed by your body more frequently.
Endorphins and dopamine are stress relievers. So, those who experience more stress than usual or are suffering from any mental health problems are most likely to become addicted to masturbation and the release of these chemicals. Hence, masturbating more than ideal is a reflection on a bad coping mechanism. It makes you avoid your problems rather than facing them head on.
While masturbation is known to be an important part of a healthy person’s sexuality, any behaviour in excess is problematic. If you are a chronic masturbator and masturbate several times a day, your body is more likely to become addicted to these stress-releasing chemicals. Also, as times passes by, your body will need more and more of these chemicals to feel the same kind of effect, making you masturbate more.
When your brain releases dopamine, you experience similar feelings like a heroin addict does.
How to know if you are addicted
If masturbation is a part of most of your thoughts and if it has started affecting your everyday life, you must check yourself for the following symptoms:
• Do you seek increasingly graphic or violent pornography?
• Do you feel ashamed of masturbating frequently?
• Are you facing trouble in any relationship because of your masturbation habit?
• Have you or do you masturbate at inappropriate places such as in public places, at work, at relatives, etc.?
• Do you feel frustrated, sad or depressed when you can’t masturbate?
• Do you face trouble spending time with your family or children, or in enjoying the activities you previously enjoyed?
If you exhibit some or all the above symptoms, don’t worry. There are many ways in which you can control your habit of masturbating frequently:
– Stay busy and focused
– Find other outlets to spend your time and energy
– Play sports, be creative, eat healthy and sleep well
– Limit your solitude
– Remove everything that can stimulate you in any way to watch porn
– Consume fruits and vegetables that increase energy
– Find someone to counsel you through your addiction
– Be motivated and never feel ashamed