Masturbation Addiction: What Is It?

Masturbation addiction occurs when a person can no longer control their psychological needs to masturbate and, as a result, engages in such conduct obsessively. The existence of such an addiction is debatable, as there is insufficient evidence to establish it as a separate diagnosable disorder. Due to social stigma and personal guilt, it’s understandable that study is restricted.

Because this isn’t a usual, everyday discourse, we have a limited understanding of the scope and severity of the problem. As a result, it is not classified as a mental condition in the current Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Problems (DSM-5), and many experts refer to it as “compulsive masturbation,” which can be a symptom of other disorders.

Although masturbating in moderation is healthy behavior, excessive masturbation can have a number of detrimental implications.

It is a relatively taboo topic in any scenario, healthy or sick, “often tied to the familial, cultural, or religious guilt associated with the act of masturbation.”  Surprisingly, 78 percent of adults masturbate, according to the results of the world’s largest masturbation survey. Regardless, the stigma has led to “internalized messaging around masturbation that the act itself is ‘dirty,’ ‘shameful,’ or ‘sinful,’” according to those suffering from the illness.

According to what we know, the evolution of masturbation addiction resembles that of other officially recognized addictive illnesses (chemical and process). Masturbating more frequently and for longer lengths of time than anticipated, being more distant from daily life, doing so despite personal and societal implications, and feeling compelled to do so even when one would rather not are all examples of this. If you don’t masturbate, you could get cravings or withdrawal symptoms. It is constantly in one’s thoughts. It’s important to remember that what constitutes “normal masturbation” differs from person to person, and that daily masturbating does not necessarily signal a problem.

woman in white tank top lying on bed

The Effects of Masturbation on the Brain

The majority of people like the sensation of masturbation. This is true even without an orgasm, yet for a climax experience, the orgasm is desirable. Masturbation has a relaxing effect and stimulates more senses than most other natural pastimes.  As a result, it produces a joyful response in the brain. It secretes mood-enhancing hormones including dopamine and oxytocin, as well as cortisol, which aids in immune system modulation and maintenance.  It also has the added benefit of boosting self-esteem and mental wellbeing.

Several brain pathways linked to masturbation addiction have been discovered.

The arousal neuropathway, which encompasses pleasure and intensity, is the first. The numbing neuropathway, on the other hand, “produces a calming, relaxing, soothing, or sedative process.” The fantasy neuropathway, which “focuses on escape through obsession, preoccupation, and ritualization,” is the third neuropathway. As a result, the combination of the three produces a significant incentive for people to keep masturbating.

The brain craves more of something pleasurable, just like it craves more of other addictions. Obsessive thoughts and compulsive activities are exacerbated by this. Furthermore, the pleasure decreases as one masturbates more. It may also reduce the chance of orgasm and other forms of sexual enjoyment. Frustration, perplexity, hopelessness, worry, sadness, and a variety of other negative feelings may result as a result of this. As a result, physical and cognitive changes take place in the brain of someone suffering from masturbation addiction.

What to Look Out For If You Have a Masturbation Addiction

Although research has shown that masturbation is less common in younger children and seniors than it is in adolescence and early adulthood, it is nevertheless a behavior practiced by people of all ages.
The presentation of such indicators may differ depending on the age group.

The following are some of the most prevalent symptoms of obsessive masturbation:

  • Masturbating consumes a significant amount of your time and energy.
  • Masturbation is wreaking havoc on your home, job, and personal life.
  • You may be late for meetings, cancel gatherings, or leave social engagements early in order to masturbate.
  • Because you can’t wait to get home, you masturbate in public or in awkward settings.
  • Even if you don’t feel stimulated, sexual, or “horny,” you masturbate.
  • Masturbating for comfort is your go-to response when you’re experiencing unpleasant emotions like anger, worry, tension, or despair.
  • After masturbating, you may feel guilty, worried, or upset.
  • Even if you don’t want to, you masturbate.
  • It’s impossible for you to quit thinking about masturbation.

It’s crucial for young children and adolescents to understand the difference between “normal” and “atypical” sexual conduct. Even at an early age, sexuality is an essential component of the human experience. The warning symptoms listed below are relevant to poor sexual conduct in general, but they could also be indicators of potential masturbation addiction.