Masterbate to 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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  • A Urologist Debunks 6 Common Masturbation Myths

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.

10 Benefits of Masturbation - How Masturbating Boosts Your Health

There’s a good chance you became obsessed with masturbation after you discovered it in your teenage years. The moment after your first orgasm, it's basically all you want to do, ever. And who can blame us? The whole routine feels good, from the moment you touch your penis. And when you finally have that orgasm? Chef’s kiss.

In addition to feeling really freakin’ pleasurable, masturbation also has several health benefits, from lowering your risk for certain diseases to boosting your satisfaction during sex with a partner. (In other words, masturbation is great for your physical and emotional health. ) That’s why masturbating, even when you’re having partner sex regularly, is still something you should do.

Gloria Brame, Ph.D., a clinical sexologist, believes masturbation should become a regular part of your personal care routine, kind of like brushing your teeth. “Masturbation is part of a healthy sex life,” Brame says. “It’s totally safe and harmless.”

Here are ten incredible health benefits to masturbation, and why you should take matters into your own hands right now. (I mean, provided you're not in public or at work or something.)

1) It can help lower your prostate cancer risk.

A 2004 study found that men who ejaculated more than 21 times a month reduced their risk of prostate cancer by roughly 33 percent, compared to guys who only did the deed four to seven times a month. In 2016, researchers followed up with that same group of guys from 2004 and found that those who ejaculated 8 to 12 times per month reduced their prostate cancer risk by 10 percent.

2) It makes you harder.

As you age, you naturally lose muscle tone—yup, even down there. Regular sex or masturbation works out your pelvic floor muscles to prevent erectile dysfunction and incontinence.

Masturbation "keeps the angle of your dangle perky,” said Brame. That's because the smooth muscle of your penis needs to be enriched with oxygen, which is delivered whenever there's a rush of blood to your member (i.e., when you get an erection). Aim for three to five times a week for rock-solid results.

3) It helps you last longer during sex.

Sometimes, guys don't last long in bed simply because they haven't had enough practice, either with a partner or solo. Regularly taking yourself to palm prom may help extend your sack sessions. “[Masturbating] an hour before a date will give you more control,” said Brame.

Train yourself by timing how long it takes you to orgasm, Ava Cadell, Ph. D., founder of the love coaching program Loveology University, told Men's Health. If it usually takes two minutes for you to finish solo, shoot for three next time, or count how many strokes you need to get to your happy place. “Most men can double the number of strokes and the time within one month,” Cadell said.

Practice makes perfect, right?

4) It boosts immunity.

Ejaculation increases levels of the hormone cortisol, according to Jennifer Landa, M.D., a specialist in hormone therapy. Cortisol, which usually gets a bad rap as a havoc-wrecking stress hormone, actually helps regulate and maintain your immune system in small doses.

“Masturbation can produce the right environment for a strengthened immune system,” she said.

Plus, a very small study from 2004 showed that guys had more white blood cells 45 minutes after they had a solo orgasm.

5) It boosts your mood.

Masturbating releases a slew of feel-good neurochemicals like dopamine and oxytocin that lift your spirits, boost your satisfaction, and activate the reward circuits in your brain.

“An orgasm is the biggest non-drug blast of dopamine available,” said Brame.

6) It can help you fall asleep.

There are many things you can do to improve the quality of your sleep, from losing weight to eating certain kinds of food (hello, turkey and cheddar cheese). Masturbation can also help: having an orgasm releases chemicals like prolactin, serotonin, and oxytocin into the brain, all of which have been linked to feelings of happiness and relaxation. So if you find that you're tossing and turning at night, paying a lil' visit to Pornhub might be worth a shot.

7) It can increase your lifespan.

Yup, really: according to a Welsh study of 1000 men over the course of 20 years, the men who had two or more orgasms per week died at half the rate of men who had less than that number of orgasm per month.

8) It can improve your skin.

Orgasm causes increased blood flow to the skin, which makes your blood vessels open up; for some people, this can result in slightly rosy cheeks, or what's better known as the post-sex glow. What's even better? The oxytocin that's released with orgasm can reduce inflammation, making zits and rashes less noticeable.

9) It helps you get to know your own body better.

Sure, you might think that you're pretty well-acquainted with your body, particularly if you started masturbating at a younger age. But it's always helpful to try new things and give yourself a refresher course in what your penis likes — and what it doesn't. (If you want tips, check out these male masturbation techniques.)

10) It improves heart health.

Contrary to popular belief that rigorous sex can up your risk of a heart attack or stroke, regular orgasms can actually help protect you against cardiovascular disease. A report from the Massachusetts Aging Study found that men who had sex once a month or less were 45% more likely to die of cardiovascular disease than men who had two or more orgasms per week. So if you cancel plans with friends to stay home and M-bate, just tell them it's for your own health. Hey, you won't be lying.

Melissa Matthews

Health Writer

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

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