How Much Masturbation Is Too Much?

How much masturbation
Medically approved by
Dr Earim Chaudry
Last updated
30th July 2020

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Masturbation is a normal practice for men and women of all ages. It even has its health benefits. But how much masturbation is too much?
There are no rules on how often to masturbate. Some men do it daily and others hardly ever. The important thing is not how often, but rather how you feel about self-pleasure. If it makes you feel guilty, or you can’t get it off your mind throughout the day, for example, something might be wrong.
The same applies if masturbation is disrupting your life or if it is affecting your relationship with your partner. Finally, if it hurts physically, you’ll want to think about easing off.

Can You Masturbate Too Often?

Masturbation should be an enjoyable experience – and there are no limits to the frequency with which you can do it healthily. Despite the many myths surrounding masturbation, pleasuring yourself, in itself, has no adverse effects on your body.

In fact, masturbating can be incredibly good for you. It helps you to sleep, reduces your stress levels, and it can improve the health of both your sperm and of your circulatory system too. Further, a study[i] went so far as to say that masturbating 21 times a month is even optimal for your prostate health.

However, that’s not to say that there is no such thing as excess when it comes to masturbating. But how much masturbation is too much masturbation? In this article, we are going to find out.

How Often Do Men Masturbate?

It is difficult to say how often to masturbate – and how much masturbation constitutes too much. This is because everyone is different, and the rates at which different men at different ages pleasure themselves vary tremendously. There is not really any “normal” frequency at which to masturbate.

A number of studies have sought to discover how much we satisfy ourselves, however. One from 2007 [ii] found that nearly three-quarters of men had masturbated in the four weeks prior to the study – which suggests that they masturbate at least monthly. Half reported having masturbated in the last seven days.

More specific, though, were the findings of a 2010 study of nearly 3,000 men between the ages of 18 to 94.[iii] To the question, “how often do you masturbate?”, responses ranged from “not in the past year” to “more than 4 times a week”. The most common response across all ages was “a few times per month to weekly”, while over a fifth of men in their late twenties reported masturbating four times or more a week.

Whereas most men over fifty reported to not having masturbated in over a year, a 2011 study [iv] of adolescents found that over 40% of seventeen-year-olds masturbate more than twice a week. These things differ dramatically by age, as much as they do from person to person.

How Do I Know if I Masturbate Too Much?

Unhealthy habits of masturbation do not strictly come from the frequency with which you do it.

Rather, the way you do it is much more important than how often.

There is no right way how to masturbate; everyone has their own preferences. Yet, there are things that shouldn’t happen as a result of your self-pleasure. “Too much” masturbating in this way becomes mainly a problem of attitude or mindset.

Here are some of the signs that the amount you masturbate is becoming too much.

You Are Always Thinking about It

Masturbation can become a problem if it’s always on your mind. If you wake up and want to masturbate, find your mind wandering at work, and feel like you want to get home immediately to get it on, this might be a sign that it is becoming too much.

While it is more than okay to get aroused, spending your day waiting to masturbate suggests that it is becoming too much.

Your Work or Social Life Suffers

In some cases, the desire to masturbate can affect your wider life. If you are skipping social occasions in order to masturbate, this might mean that you are doing it excessively. If you are late for work or you leave meetings early because you want to masturbate, the same applies.

Similarly, doing it in public is a sure sign that your relationship with masturbating has become unhealthy.

Sex or Your Wider Relationship Suffers

You may feel like your masturbation is getting in the way of your relationship with your partner. This could be sexual – as in, you would rather masturbate alone than have sexual contact with them – or emotional.

While it is perfectly normal to masturbate while you are in a relationship, if your relationship suffers because of your habits, something might be up.

It Hurts You Physically

No matter what it is that brings you pleasure, masturbation shouldn’t cause you physical pain or damage.

Ways in which you can hurt yourself while masturbating vary. Aggressive or frequent masturbation can cause oedema, a mild swelling of the skin. However, it can also cause more serious conditions too, such as Peyronie’s, which involves the build-up of scar tissue within your penis.

Masturbating shouldn’t hurt, but it can if you do it to excess.  

Masturbating Comes with Negative Feelings

Masturbation shouldn’t cause you to suffer emotionally either. However, it is possible that it becomes associated with negative emotions, including guilt, shame, and unhappiness. While this is not a sign that you are masturbating too much necessarily, it can be a sign that your attitude to masturbation is unhealthy. 

It is important to be honest with yourself about what these feelings might mean. 

What to Do If You Feel Like You Masturbate Too Much

If you feel like you are masturbating too much, there are ways to reduce your frequency. Interrupting the habits that surround masturbation – being alone, sitting in bed, or using your laptop in your bedroom, for example – can be a good start.

Exercise too can reduce your desire to masturbate. Firstly, it makes you tired, which replicates the sleepiness that people seek from masturbation. It releases the same endorphins as masturbation too, meaning that it is similarly effective in helping you de-stress.

Finally, professional help might be necessary. At its worst, compulsive masturbation can be serious – and there are doctors who are trained to help you through it.

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Key Takeaways

So, how much masturbation is too much? Unfortunately, there is no magic number when it comes to how often to masturbate. Meanwhile, the signs that your habits are becoming unhealthy are not strictly related to frequency either.

If masturbating is affecting your wider life – for whatever reason – you might want to consider cutting down.

References

  1. Jennifer R. Rider, Kathryn M. Wilson , Jennifer A. Sinnott, Rachel S. Kelly, Lorelei A. Mucci, Edward L. Giovannucci (2016). Ejaculation Frequency and Risk of Prostate Cancer: Updated Results with an Additional Decade of Follow-up: https://www.europeanurology.com/article/S0302-2838(16)00377-8/abstract/ejaculation-frequency-and-risk-of-prostate-cancer-updated-results-with-an-additional-decade-of-follow-up
  2. Makeda GerressuCatherine H. MercerCynthia A. GrahamKaye Wellings & Anne M. Johnson (2007). Prevalence of Masturbation and Associated Factors in a British National Probability Survey: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10508-006-9123-6

  3. Debby Herbenick PhD, MPH, Michael Reece PhD, MPH, Vanessa Schick PhD, Stephanie A. Sanders PhD, Brian Dodge PhD, J. Dennis Fortenberry MD, MS ( 2014). Sexual Behavior in the United States: Results from a National Probability Sample of Men and Women Ages 14–94: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1743-6109.2010.02012.x
  4. Cynthia L. Robbins, MDVanessa Schick, PhDMichael Reece, PhD, MPH (2011). Prevalence, Frequency, and Associations of Masturbation With Partnered Sexual Behaviors Among US Adolescents: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapediatrics/fullarticle/1107656

While we've ensured that everything you read on the Health Centre is medically reviewed and approved, information presented here is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. It should never be relied upon for specific medical advice. If you have any questions or concerns, please talk to your doctor.

Further reading

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