In the olden days, or so I am led to believe, it was considered wrong for boys and men to masturbate. No doubt heavily influenced by Roman Catholicism, this view seemed to be received wisdom throughout much of the 19th and 20th Century’s. Then came the 60’s. With the sexual revolution, masturbation became good, almost compulsory. Received scientific thinking, led by the great sexologist Kinsey, ‘normalised’ masturbation, so that it became, if not immoral, then at least acceptable.
Of course boys and most men masturbate, but is there any reason to think you could be masturbating too much? I think there is.
First, masturbation results in the emission of semen from the body. In order to achieve this, the body’s nervous and endocrine system is activated which stimulates the acetylcholine/parasympathetic nervous system. This, in turn, creates an excess of sex hormones and neurotransmitters which alters the body’s biochemistry and nerve function. The emission of semen itself results in many vital nutrients being released from the body.
Research is beginning to suggest that this combination of endocrine/nervous system overstimulation, and emission of semen, can have negative impact on a man’s health. The researchers found that the more men masturbate, the more they are likely to suffer from memory and concentration problems, fatigue, back pain, hair loss, a poor erection and even premature ejaculation.
Second, men who masturbate can begin to suffer from psychological problems. In my experience of working with men, I have seen that excessive masturbation can reduce the ability to orgasm with a partner, encourage more elaborate and sometimes unhelpful sexual fantasy, and can lead to unrealistic expectations on sexual partners. Sometimes this can even prevent men from finding and maintaining a sexual partner. Furthermore, masturbation, especially over internet porn, is often a participatory factor in sexual addiction.
It seems, then, that excessive masturbation is not the neutral blank cheque that some people led us to believe. But what constitutes ‘excessive’. Depending on your habits, you might be relieved or disappointed to learn that masturbation to completion more than three times a week is the threshold at which these negative side effects start to take hold. This is a ball park figure, as every man is different, but it is a sobering statistic ... at least for me!
Dr Phil Tyson is a Men's Psychotherapist based in Manchester in the UK. He offers:
- Group therapy weekends for men in London and Manchester
- Beginners meditation weekend retreats for men in London and Manchester
- Counselling for men in Manchester
- Psychotherapy for men in Manchester
- Cognitive behavioural therapy for men in Manchester
- Telephone and online counselling for men wherever you live
- Mediation for conflict resolution at work in London
- Mediation for conflict resolution at work in Manchester and the North West
- Supervision and consulative support for therapists in Manchester