Can a man masturbate too much

What Happens if You Masturbate Too Much?

Looking back on the pandemic, when social distancing and stay-at-home orders took IRL sex off the table, you might have started masturbating more than you ever have before. (What else was there to do?) While there are clear benefits to masturbation—you’re not going to get a sexually transmitted infection (STI) or accidentally impregnate your partner—you may now be wondering if you're in the habit of masturbating “too much.”

After all, excessive masturbation doesn’t have the best connotation. When we think of guys who masturbate every day, we think of pubescent boys hiding out in their locked rooms, attempting to break their daily “high record.” We don’t think of successful, grown men in loving relationships.

The truth, however, is there’s really no such “thing” as excessive masturbation. "Some people masturbate more than others," according to the International Society for Sexual Medicine. "There is no 'normal' frequency. Some do it daily, some weekly, and some rarely. Some never do." While 27 percent of 30-to-39-year-old men masturbate once a week to a few times a month, that number varies quite a bit by age, according to a 2009 survey of 2,500 American men.

“However often you masturbate, it’s not a problem until it starts affecting your life in negative ways,” says Dan Drake, MFT, LPCC, a certified sex addiction therapist and clinical counselor.

But that doesn't mean that it can't pose a problem, particularly if it interferes with your everyday life.

So when does a harmless masturbation habit turn into an issue? Here are the physical and psychological signs that you may need to give your boner a bit of a breather.

1) You hurt yourself.

Some guys masturbate so often that they actually hurt themselves, says Tobias Köhler, M.D., a urologist at Southern Illinois University. These injuries could be mild (e.g., skin chafing) or a more serious condition like Peyronie’s disease, or scar tissue buildup in the shaft of your penis that can result from using too much pressure while stroking, Köhler explains.

This may sound obvious, but if you’re masturbating so often that you're hurting yourself, you need to cut back, he warns.

2) Your job suffers.

If you can’t complete a work task because you can’t stop thinking about masturbating, that’s when it becomes an issue. If you’re consistently watching porn at work or are you’re late to a meeting because you were masturbating in the bathroom, then you likely have a problem.

3) Your friendships suffer.

Do you cancel on friends because you'd rather stay home and masturbate? Are they getting annoyed by your constant flakiness? Then your masturbation habits could potentially be an issue.

We want to be clear: There's nothing wrong with reserving a night to get down with yourself. That's all well and good, and in fact, feel free to mark that in the calendar now! The cause for concern is when your need to jerk off has a clear negative effect on your relationships.

4) Your sex life suffers.

Some guys who masturbate a lot use one specific type of stimuli—say, certain categories of porn coupled with specific hand movements. When it comes time for them to actually have sex, they find that they can’t recreate the same type of excitement, Dr. Köhler explains.

Basically, if you watch the same porn or use the same hand motions every time you masturbate, it teaches your brain and body to get off that way and that way alone. If you're having sex with a real-life partner, this could cause serious problems, both in terms of keeping it up and getting erect in the first place. “If that happens, you have a problem that needs to be addressed,” says Köhler.

5) You always think about masturbation.

You wake up wanting to masturbate. At lunch, your mind wanders to your favorite porn scene. Your commute home is almost unbearable, because you just want to sit on the couch with a beer and PornHub.

If any of this sounds familiar, and you often find yourself distracted by thoughts of when or how you’re going to yank it next, that’s a strong indication you have a problem, Drake says.

Pekic//Getty Images

If you realize you have a masturbation problem, what should you do about it?

“There’s nothing unhealthy or problematic with masturbating,” Drake says. “But if it becomes detrimental to your life, then you need to treat it like you would any other harmful habit.” That means doing one of two things: a) cutting yourself off cold turkey, at least for the time being; and b) adopting more of a “harm reduction” approach by setting limits for yourself—for example, making a rule to only masturbate at night.

Considering you probably don't want to give up solo orgasms for the rest of your life—masturbation is, after all, an integral part of any healthy sex life—you'll probably want to opt for the latter approach. Set rules for yourself and see if you can adhere to them. If you can't, and you find yourself slipping back into harmful old habits, consider seeing a therapist, as there might be a deeper psychological issue at play.

Bottom line? Indulging in a little self-love every now and then is fine. It's only when it gets in the way of your actual life—or your actual sex life—that it becomes a problem. But if it’s not negatively interfering with anything, then go ahead and masturbate to your heart’s content!

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Melissa Matthews

Health Writer

Melissa Matthews is the Health Writer at Men's Health, covering the latest in food, nutrition, and health.

Zachary Zane

Zachary Zane is a Brooklyn-based writer, speaker, and activist whose work focuses on lifestyle, sexuality, and culture. He was formerly the digital associate editor at OUT Magazine and currently has a queer cannabis column, Puff Puff YASS, at Civilized.

Can You Masturbate Too Much?

Reviewed by our clinical team

Masturbation isn’t a topic that most of us talk about on a day-to-day basis – but it’s definitely something that most of us do.

Rubbing or stroking your genitals to get sexually aroused and have an orgasm is a safe and healthy way to enjoy sex and get to know your body. For men, it can be a good way to control ejaculation. For women, it can be a good way to find out what’s pleasurable during sex.

As an added bonus, it’s the only form of sex that doesn’t come with a risk of STIs or pregnancy! 

Of course, for some people masturbation is a tricky subject – often because they worry they do it too much, or not enough. Feeling that masturbation might be outside the cultural or religious norms can also be an issue. 

The good news is that, for the majority of people, masturbation is completely harmless. As with anything pleasurable, masturbation can become addictive and may start to have a negative impact on your social life and relationships – but this is rare.

If you’re worried about your masturbation habits, read on for some straightforward answers to commonly asked questions.

What happens if you masturbate too much? 

The first thing to know is that the physical effects of masturbating frequently are pretty minor. Doing it a lot may make your genitals feel a bit sore, and if you have a penis, you might notice some swelling. If there has been a lot of friction, the skin can become sore and red and occasionally this can lead to a skin infection. Other than that, you shouldn’t feel any negative physical effects. It certainly doesn't make you go blind or give you hairy palms!

However, frequent masturbation can cause other problems. If you find it’s getting in the way of your daily life and relationships, or if it’s causing you to carry out risky behaviours, you’re probably masturbating too much. There is currently a relatively lively debate amongst the medical community on whether there is such a thing as porn addiction, or whether it is a form of compulsive behaviour:  CSB (compulsive sexual behaviour). What we do know though from looking at men's experiences on a forum or self-help groups is that men have been affected by excessive masturbation in many ways: 

  • Inability to concentrate 
  • Brain fog 
  • Depression 
  • Anxiety 
  • Worsening performance at school, work or college 
  • Aggression 
  • Relationship problems  
  • Inability to have sex with their regular partner 
  • General disinterest

Women's experiences are less well documented, but this doesn't mean that excessive masturbation can't affect women in similar ways.

If you’re worried about your masturbation habits, chat to your GP or visit a sex therapist. You can also read this article: What could happen to your sex life if you watch porn? Or look at some of the self-help groups online, or sites such as Reboot Nation or this video. 

Does too much masturbation cause infertility?

No, masturbating too much won’t cause infertility. In fact, you might find that masturbating a lot actually increases your sex drive, making it easier for you and your partner to have regular sex. However, if you are addicted to porn, you might no longer be able to have sex with your regular partner, because the sex you used to have is no longer fulfilling.

Although frequent or excessive masturbation usually means frequent ejaculation, this doesn't mean the supply of sperm will run out or that it will reduce the quality of your sperm.

Can too much masturbation cause testicle pain?

There are lots of things that can cause pain in the testicles – but masturbation isn’t one of them. Unless you’ve injured yourself while masturbating, it’s very unlikely that this is the cause of your pain.

In fact, it’s more likely for testicle pain to be caused by the opposite problem! “Blue balls” – or epididymal hypertension – is a common, harmless condition that can happen to a man when he’s sexually aroused but unable to orgasm and ejaculate. In this case, masturbating should actually help relieve feelings of pain and tension in your testicles.

How much does the average person masturbate?

Every person is different when it comes to masturbation. Some people might do it once or twice a day; others might do it every few weeks or months. Remember: you’re only doing it too much if it’s having a negative impact on your social life or relationships.

Is it a problem if I don’t masturbate?

Not at all! You should masturbate as much – or as little – as you want to.

However, if the reason you’re not masturbating is because it causes pain or discomfort, you should see your GP. Pain around the genitals during sex or masturbation can be a sign of conditions like vulvodynia and prostatitis.

Can masturbation help with premature ejaculation?

Yes, masturbation can help if you’re experiencing premature ejaculation (PE) i.e. you feel that you’re ejaculating too quickly during sex. There are two masturbation methods that can help “train” your body to ejaculate less quickly: the squeeze technique, and the stop-start technique.

Get help for your sex life with Online Doctor

If you’re having issues with your sex life for any reason, you could consider mentioning this to your GP.  This may seem awkward at first, but GPs are a good first point of call as they can put your mind at rest and organise tests or treatments if necessary. For problems like erectile dysfunction and premature ejaculation you can also use Online Doctor’s  online clinic.


How many times a day can you masturbate? Urologist debunked men's myths


Anastasia Ospanova, a urologist and andrologist, doctor of the highest category, winner of the "Altyn dariger" award, maintains a popular blog on Instagram, where she shares tips on men's health. In an interview with EK, she debunked some myths.

- In The Wolf of Wall Street, Matthew McConaughey's character advises a newcomer, the character playing Leonardo DiCaprio, to masturbate twice a day so he doesn't "get his threads off." But in the CIS there are entire "online sects" calling for refraining from masturbation. So how do you deal with this thorny issue? nine0007

– Yes, indeed, there are such myths that masturbation can lead to male infertility, blindness and other diseases, says Anastasia Ospanova. Some people think it's a big sin. As for doctors, we consider this the norm during certain periods of puberty. That is, when the boy begins to mature and hormones boil in the blood, he begins to masturbate. And this is the absolute norm. There are no specific limits on how many times you can do this, and how many you can’t. It depends on temperament and hormonal activity. Over time, masturbation should be replaced by sex, when the boy becomes a guy. In some cases, when sexually mature men do not have the opportunity to have sex, we allow and even recommend masturbation. But, of course, when a mature man lives with his wife in the same house and is fond of masturbation, then this is not normal. nine0009

In general, masturbation is the norm for a certain period of a man's life. Basically, this is a youthful period and when there is no permanent partner.

- In the latest ranking, Kazakhstan ranked 63rd in the world in terms of the size of the genitals. The average length of our penises was 13.46 cm when erect. Do urological problems depend on the size of the "little brother"?

- In 2012, the average length of Kazakhstani penises was 12. 7 cm. What can I say that we have grown a little in nine years. This, of course, pleases, but Asians in general cannot boast of the larger size of their genitals than, say, citizens of African republics. But I want to assure you that there is no difference whether it is very long or less long; this does not affect urological diseases in any way. Equally often or rarely, both large male dignity and small ones get sick. Therefore, whatever the size, the main thing is that the sexual organ be healthy. nine0009

- We live in Nur-Sultan and it's quite cold here. I personally spent the whole winter in two underpants. Am I doing the right thing? Because there are men who reject them, supposedly it makes them fat.

- Regarding the cold season. My main recommendation is to always dress appropriately for the weather. If it's -25 outside, and you are wearing light sneakers and thin jeans, then there is a very high risk of chilling your manhood.

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Publication from UROLOGIST-ANDROLOGIST ASTANA (@urolog_androlog_astana_)

And the majority of patients who come with complaints of prostate disease sin that hypothermia has taken place. Therefore, those who do not wear underpants in winter should understand that there is a high risk of developing prostatitis. Therefore, do not look at fashion, but look at the weather. Dress warmly.

- You blog a lot about problems with premature ejaculation. Does such a problem exist? nine0007

- Yes, indeed I write about this on my blog a lot, because this is a very popular question. The duration of sexual intercourse worries many men and young guys. This is a very important factor in the development of a guy as a man who begins to have sex. The fact is that by the duration of sexual intercourse, women judge the experience of men.

Premature ejaculation is divided into three categories. The first is when a guy is just starting to have sex, of course, there is a factor of excitement. Firstly, the head of the penis is very sensitive, plus he has little experience. I always compare this to the fact that when you are hungry, you immediately pounce on food. The same thing happens in sex - young guys very quickly reach orgasm due to an overabundance of sensitivity. In the process of regular sexual life, the duration of sexual intercourse will increase. nine0009

It also happens that the duration of sexual intercourse suits you, but suddenly at some point it becomes short. This is due to external factors. It can be stress, worries, inflammatory diseases, for example, of the thyroid gland. Therefore, it is worth considering when everything was fine with you, and suddenly it became very fast. Then you need to see a doctor.

And the third option is when, regardless of experience, sexual partner and the regularity of sexual life, sex, alas, is short-lived. This suggests that the glans penis is a very erogenous zone. One has only to touch it - and it turns out an orgasm. In such cases, urologists intervene and carry out a number of certain procedures in order to reduce the sensitivity of the head and increase the duration of sexual intercourse. nine0009

– There are very few public toilets in the capital. Isn't it bad for men and women to endure home?

- Indeed, there is one big problem in the capital - a small number of public toilets, and in some places - their complete absence. To endure sufficient time is harmful for both men and women. Urine is a waste product of the body, it must be excreted on time, so this problem must be solved. Many women start going to the toilet in advance, because they know that on the way they will not meet a public toilet anywhere, which is quite harmful for their body. People should go to the toilet on call. nine0009

- Lately it has become very fashionable to talk about prostate massage. Glamorous women's magazines write about him, some dubious massage parlors provide such a service. Is it a panacea for men's ills?

- I want to say that back in 2005, the European Association of Urology issued a resolution in which it was clearly and clearly stated that there is no evidence base for prostate massage as a medical procedure. That is, the best and most effective for a man is when the prostate gland is completely emptied during intercourse. Therefore, the doctor's task is to establish the patient's sexual life. And now modern urologists no longer do prostate massage. nine0009

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Publication from ASTANA UROLOGIST-ANDROLOGIST (@urolog_androlog_astana_)

As for the prostate massage offered by various masseuses who do not have a medical education, this is a kind of sex service. I think that this is not necessary. Yes, it may be present as some kind of sexual game, but in moderation. You don't need to abuse it. It is possible to damage the rectal mucosa or the prostate gland by improper handling and doing it without indications. Moreover, this cannot be done during an acute inflammatory process. nine0009

A man who agrees to a prostate massage, even as a sexual foreplay, must be sure that his prostate is absolutely healthy.

Scientists have found out which men struggle with masturbation

Religiosity, distrust of science and conservative views are associated with men's refusal to masturbate, German scientists have found out. Such men tend to seek support on the forums and even formed their own movement to stop masturbation.

Looking for something to do in quarantine, people began to masturbate more, show the results of the American survey from the condom manufacturer Trojan. The need to stay away from other people has led to the fact that more than a third of young people 18-24 years old began to masturbate more often.

19% of those surveyed were doing it remotely with someone else.

Of these, 19% masturbated with a regular partner, 25% with those they met online already during the quarantine, and another 21% out of desperation contacted their ex.

However, some men tend to abstain from masturbation, according to German scientists from the University of Mainz. This is more common among those who do not trust science and tend to adhere to conservative political views, they found. The study was published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior .

“One of my students approached me about this topic,” says Professor Roland Imhoff, one of the authors of the paper. “He became interested in sites that offer support to men who want to fight what they perceive as porn addiction, and one of the recommendations of many of these sites is to abstain from masturbation, even if only for a short time.”

Researchers point out that the rejection of masturbation dates back to the distant past, when it was considered a sin against nature. In the 18th century, this idea spread especially widely, first through the anonymous pamphlet Onania, which was distributed around London, and then through the introduction of the Swiss physician Samuel Tissot and his work L'Onanisme. Then it was believed that masturbation causes gonorrhea, epilepsy, blindness, physical and mental exhaustion. These ideas were supported by the culture of that time, despite the fact that even then there were studies that refuted them. nine0009

To date, there are no scientific data on the negative impact of masturbation on health, the researchers note, as well as on the benefits of not using it.

However, some men use not to masturbate as a measure of control over their sex life. In the last decade, the NoFap movement has even formed on the Internet, promoting this method of abstinence. Its participants believe that in this way they will gain self-confidence, increase concentration, get rid of erectile dysfunction and become generally happier than before. Some men claim that giving up masturbation has improved their lives and well-being, but many complain about the lack of change and ask like-minded people what to do next. nine0009

Researchers found 1,063 adult male volunteers on the popular Reddit website. Study participants filled out an online questionnaire, reporting average monthly masturbation frequency, sexual dysfunction, trust in science, conservative tendencies, religiosity, healthy lifestyle ideas, and how strong their motivation for abstinence was.

“We were wondering if we could learn more about what is involved in a man's decision to abstain from masturbation,” explains Imhoff. nine0009

As it turned out, 64% of respondents tried to refrain from masturbation at least once.

Researchers found that stronger beliefs about the social consequences of masturbation, less trust in science, more conservative attitudes, more pronounced religiosity, and an unhealthy view of masturbation were associated with greater motivation to abstinence.

Participants who agreed with statements such as "My attempts to change my sexual behavior have failed" were also more likely to try not to masturbate. Motivation, however, was not related to frequency of masturbation. nine0009

“We saw that the motivation for abstinence was not the strongest in people who reported the most severe sexual problems (such as hypersexuality or erectile dysfunction), says Imhoff. “More significant factors were opinions about masturbation as something that reduces productivity, and as an unhealthy behavior in general.”

Researchers note that this is a correlation, not a causal relationship. Therefore, it cannot be said with certainty that certain beliefs lead to attempts to abstain from masturbation. Perhaps, on the contrary, the search for motivation to stop masturbating results in adherence to certain views. Or some third-party, yet unknown factors are intervening in the matter. nine0009

The authors of the work also point out the limited nature of the sample: these were men visiting certain sections of the entertainment site. Perhaps for those who visit sites dedicated to not masturbating, the results will be different.

Already in the course of the study, scientists discovered that there are heated discussions between the ideologues of the rejection of masturbation and those who have nothing against it, in which the former stigmatize the latter as porn agents. They hope that their work will help to better understand the motivation of the “refuseniks”. nine0009

As shown by earlier studies, 95% of men and 71% of women have masturbated at least once, the authors note.

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