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  • Narda Skov

Masturbation: How much is too much?

Is there such a thing as too much masturbation? Quick answer - possibly. But, how much is too much masturbation? Some people are worried that they may masturbate too much or too often, but this is unlikely.

There are many myths about the “risks” of masturbation, (you lose testosterone, you will go blind, hair will grow on the palm of your hand, etc.) It is totally safe! Masturbation isn’t physically or emotionally harmful in any way. In fact, masturbation is the ultimate form of safer sex — there is no risk of pregnancy or STDs.

There is also no direct link between frequency of masturbation and any negative side effects or psychological distress. Masturbating is only considered “too much” if it gets in the way of your ability to get to school, work, or be with friends or family — and that's a very rare problem. Some people masturbate more than once a day, some people masturbate once in a while, and some people never masturbate — all are completely normal (Planned Parenthood, July 2020).

There is no comprehensive data on masturbation frequencies among males, or females, but most data is on males (!). It's important to know that what we do have is self-reported statistics - which means it is possible that some people underreport their behaviors. A 2023 study of young adult males from the National Institute of Health asked participants about their self-pleasure habits and found that answers were not consistent.

  • About a third of respondents said they hadn't masturbated in the last year.

  • About 20% did it a few times a year.

  • About 15% did it one or more times per month.

  • About 20% did it once a week or more, up to daily.

Using pornography to masturbate is the bigger issue and a message that young tween and teen boys need to hear. Let them know that masturbation is an extremely private behavior are the key messages - not shame or guilt - but a healthy understanding of their bodies and the values around taking care of themselves. Your child needs to understand that if (when) they watch porn it can affect their heart, mind, and, possibly his penis/genitals. Watching pornography can often be too much for them to process emotionally and psychologically because they are not mature enough to fully understand the ins-and-outs of sexuality. It may also cause potential future difficulty for males if they become dependent on pornography for masturbation that when he actually engages in real sexual intercourse, he can't enjoy it (or sometimes even do it) because it is not stimulating enough.

It is possible to get skin irritation from the friction if you masturbate a lot. But using plenty of lube can help prevent this from happening. If you do have pain or irritation from masturbating, just avoid rubbing that area until it feels better. If any of these symptoms resonate, you can probably guess that you are doing it too much, too often or too hard.

The bottom line: Let them know that they are doing it too much if he's hurting himself, is doing it a lot (more than 5 + times per day) or finds himself masturbating rather than doing other things, like hanging out with his friends, playing sports or playing video games or other hobbies.


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