Even though most people choose not to discuss their masturbation habits with others, the practice of sexual self-gratification seems to have an accepted place in our modern society. Many parents joke about learning to knock on their teenager’s bedroom door because we all know what teenagers do behind closed doors. Comedians often make jokes about masturbation, knowing that most adults in the audience have tried it at least once. Though there are some religious groups that consider masturbation a sin, most people would consider someone who has never masturbated abnormal.
The problem with the mass acceptance of masturbation is that those who become addicted to the behavior aren’t always taken seriously when they seek help. While some people can use sexual stimulation as a natural way to meet their sexual needs on occasion, others are driven to masturbate in inappropriate places or to an unhealthy extent. The need for self-stimulation and sexual release is just as strong as cravings for a drink in an alcoholic, and masturbation can overtake the addict’s life.
Whether you believe that there are valid reasons to masturbate or not, it’s important to understand the dark side of the practice. The more parents and other adults understand about this addiction, the easier it will become for addicts to receive the help that they need.
The Mind-Body Connection & Masturbation
The connection between the human mind and body is incredible. The actions that you take daily have a direct impact on your physical well-being, and your mental state is impacted and changed according to how well you take care of your body. It also works in reverse, so your mental state could alter how well you care for your body. This runs in a circle, with your mind and body constantly influencing one another to determine your overall mental and physical health.
The power of a positive mindset and joyous outlook on life is tremendous, but it’s difficult to maintain positivity when you’re no longer in control of critical aspects of your life. This is why masturbation addiction has the power to unravel the life of even highly successful individuals. Knowing that they have no control over this one aspect of their life is enough to change how they view themselves, and that has a negative impact on their mental health. As their mind grows more unhealthy, physical side effects are often experienced.
To understand how this works, imagine the life of a successful banker. He has a positive outlook on life and is accustomed to achieving his goals. He has built a high level of self-confidence over the years by maintaining control over his body and mind in order to succeed. When he experiences sexual urges with no partner to help bring relief, he falls into the typical pattern of masturbation addiction:
- He masturbates in a moment of weakness. That moment leads to many others, and he soon realizes that he’s no longer in control over his sexual urges.
- His weakness for masturbation leads to feelings of embarrassment, shame and disappointment. Since self-confidence comes largely from the mastery of self-control, the lack of control dissolves his personal confidence a little more with each act of self-pleasure.
- As his confidence lowers, he struggles to put on a smile even though he’s conflicted inside. He’s no longer living an authentic life and starts to suffer emotional turmoil that can lead to anxiety, depression and a variety of physical symptoms.
This path of addiction can vary from one person to another, but it often plays out just like this example. The longer the addict goes without seeking help, the more their sexual secret can interfere with their daily life. For instance, many masturbation addicts experience marital problems because they spend more time selfishly fulfilling their own needs than caring for the needs of their spouse. Others lose contact with friends because they want to masturbate more than they want to spend time with others. Eventually, lowered confidence can impact spiritual and professional lives in tragic ways.
The Invisible Line of Acceptability
Many health professionals consider masturbation healthy as long as you don’t do it too often. The problem is that no one knows how to identify the line between acceptable frequency and problematic frequency. Since sexual stimulation and release is pleasurable, most people will experience increased drive to do it again and again. This makes occasional masturbation difficult to maintain, leading many people in the direction of an addiction.
When you consider how the human body is designed to function, you realize that masturbation isn’t natural. Sexual arousal is achieved by the release of the dopamine hormone, and the body is triggered to relax in pleasurable satisfaction when the prolactin hormone is released upon orgasm. Studies have proven that 400 percent more prolactin is released when orgasm is achieved through a loving encounter with a partner than through masturbation. Humans were simply designed to enjoy this experience together.
Since a satisfying amount of prolactin isn’t released after masturbating, many people are overtaken by dopamine and the resulting arousal shortly after pleasuring themselves. This drives them to masturbate again in search of that prolactin release. This continues until masturbation is more of a chore that they must do to feel comfortable rather than a pleasurable moment of bonding with someone they love.
The more the addict is driven to masturbate, the more they sink into that vicious cycle of shame, guilt and disappointment. They will need help to overcome their addiction and regain control over their mind and body, and that proves that masturbation is far more troubling than most medical professionals and members of our society wish to believe.