“Compulsive Masturbation? I just like porn –a lot!”

While many people with sexual problems race to therapy the moment they have serious relationship, legal, work or health problems related to their sexual behavior, the solitary nature of those who compulsively masturbate often leaves their actions less subject to obvious problems. The compulsive masturbator will more often seek out therapy for relief from his depression, loneliness and relationship problems and not necessarily for sexual issues as compulsive masturbation carries some of the most shame, secrecy and isolation of all problem sexual behaviors– in both men and women.

Often avoidant of intimate sexuality and healthy intimacy in adult life and frequently raised with extensive histories of childhood abuse and/or neglect, compulsive masturbators are often the last to seek help as they don’t see or relate to their solo sexual behaviors as being an underlying source of their adult unhappiness. Many attend psycho-therapy for long periods of time unfortunately never discussing (sometimes never being asked to discuss) masturbation, thus their problem remains underground and untreated.

Compulsive masturbators do eventually have negative life consequences caused for example by viewing inappropriate materials i.e. child porn, physical injury or by masturbating in inappropriate places i.e. the workplace or car. However, the most frequent the long-term negative consequence of compulsive masturbation (with or without porn) is a life devoid of closeness, longstanding feelings of detachment, removed from deep emotions and relationship connections. Compulsive masturbators constantly live with hidden, isolation and shame along with an inability to work through the deeper psychological issues that are often the engine driving these addictive sexual behavior patterns.

What is Compulsive Masturbation?

There are several forms of compulsive masturbation but like any additive behavior the presenting symptoms are typical of all addictions:

  1. Negative consequences related to the compulsive masturbation – such as non-existent or decreased sexual intimacy with others, relationship problems, social isolation, depression, long hours- sometimes whole days or work time lost to online porn use or self-stimulation and fantasy, physical self-harm due to abrasive masturbation techniques, drug use/relapse along with the masturbation.
  2. Continuing problem patterns of adult masturbation despite a related history of personal or relationship consequences and broken promises to self or others – to stop.
  3. Escalation – in terms of increasing amounts of time spent masturbating or viewing progressively more arousing, intense or bizarre sexual content.
  4. Living a secret or double sexual life –likely known fully only to themselves.

Healthy vs. Compulsive Masturbation

Some adult men and women see daily masturbation as a part of their morning or evening routine and don’t consider it as a choice. Jake, in specific treatment for sex addiction for several years now has the following to say about his experiences:

“Looking back now I can see that I had huge denial about how compulsive and driven an experience masturbation was in my life. Because it was so built into my daily routine I viewed masturbating multiple times daily in the same way as I did washing my hands or brushing my teeth. I never thought of it as something that could interfere with my attempts at sexual relationships, intimacy or self-esteem. And I NEVER thought it had anything to do with the physical and verbal abuse I experienced as a child.

My association with masturbation was simple, every morning when I showered I masturbated to fantasy and every night before I went to sleep I masturbated to porn to help me relax before sleep. I never questioned it, even after many attempts at therapy. By 37-years old I had a 24-year history of this behavior pattern before I found out about sexual addiction treatment and was asked the question by my therapist, ‘Just how often do you choose to masturbate and what encourages you to masturbate when you do?’ Choose? Encourage? I never chose. Masturbation is just what I did.”

Not surprisingly, by the time Jake entered treatment to stop having multiple sexual affairs and to resolve relationship challenges – it had never even occurred to him that he might have to look at masturbation as an issue. He had long wanted to get married and have a family and was concluding from his life/sex/romantic experiences that it wasn’t likely to happen.

Binge Masturbation

While some like Jake compulsively masturbate in a brief, daily repetitive and routine fashion, often to relieve stress or stabilize emotions, others can be viewed more as binge masturbators. These lonely people describe losing themselves for hours or days at a time to fantasy, porn use and compulsive masturbation.

Some disappear into hotel/motel rooms or home for days on end, their sexual activity often enhanced by cocaine and other stimulants, losing days to drug and porn use along with their masturbation routines.  Unlike Jake- who incorporates multiple masturbation sessions into his daily life, the binge masturbator can literally lock themselves up somewhere, disappearing literally and emotionally into masturbatory fantasy-based escape. This type of behavior can often result in genital injury due to the amount of time and energy devoted to the masturbation and/or problems with drug/alcohol abuse. While usually the injury and pain is not sought for pleasure, the binge compulsive masturbator will actually dismiss the physical damage they are causing themselves.

Finding Help

As with all forms of sexually addictive behavior, compulsive masturbation is simply an exaggerated, problematic version of what most people experience as healthy sexual activity, which becomes over utilized as a form of escape and self-soothing. This does not mean however that those who compulsively masturbate can simply reign in the frequency or intensity of their masturbation patterns and somehow become “normal.”

Compulsive masturbation is a symptom of underlying psychological concerns and/or early trauma that often requires eliminating the behavior altogether – at least for a time – while the individual is undergoing assessment and treatment. Just as the alcoholic is likely to never again be able to drink like a healthy non-alcoholic person, those who compulsively masturbate may not be able to continue or return to solo masturbation, but will likely have to both take a time out, later re-incorporating sexuality as a part of partner/relationship intimacy. Treatment by a trained sexual addiction specialist extensive self-education support group involvement are the right steps toward bringing this shameful problem into the light while beginning the powerful process of recovery and healing.

Follow Robert on Twitter @RobWeissMSW

 


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From Psych Central's website:
PsychCentral (April 19, 2011)

EroticToyWarehouse (April 20, 2011)

Sensual Seductions (April 20, 2011)

Sensual Seductions (April 20, 2011)

EroticToyWarehouse (April 20, 2011)






    Last reviewed: 6 Sep 2012

APA Reference
Weiss LCSW, R. (2011). Compulsive Masturbation and Porn. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 24, 2014, from http://blogs.psychcentral.com/sex/2011/04/compulsive-masturbation-and-porn/

 

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