How often we masturbate is not a typical topic of conversation with friends and family over the dinner table, so what constitutes ‘too much’ masturbation really depends on everyone’s personal outlook on the matter.
Naturally, there are certain factors to consider when defining the ‘normal’ frequency such as age, health and whether or not one has a sexual partner. For some, once or twice a week might be normal, whereas others might do it once or twice a day.
But if you are masturbating too much, your body will almost certainly tell you about it, as you will eventually start experiencing some health problems.
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First of all, before encountering any physical side effects, you might want to consider what masturbation addiction is doing to your psychological well-being and personal relationships.
Like everything that gives us pleasure, masturbation can become an addiction, and it could affect you to the point that you are no longer able to get on with your normal daily activities.
Masturbation can be used to relieve yourself of sexual frustration, but at the same time could take up time that you might have otherwise spent socialising and actually meeting potential new sexual partners.
When you do occasionally meet new sexual partners, you may find yourself unable to experience pleasure in having intercourse with them, as you grow so accustomed to pleasuring yourself that you’re no longer able to enjoy sex with another person.
If you’re a man, sex might not be very fun for your partner either, as masturbating too much is associated with premature ejaculation. This might make it difficult for you to develop a romantic relationship and also knock your confidence.
It might also distract you from work or generally staying on top of your affairs, thus preventing you from progressing in your professional life and financial situation.
Furthermore, if you are resorting to masturbation as a form of mental escape whenever you encounter a stressful scenario, you could actually be lowering your threshold for dealing with stress instead of working to build it up.
Although masturbation is a form of stress relief in the short term, doing it to the point that you become addicted could therefore have the opposite effect long term.
The addiction could trap you in a cycle of stress that you’re unable to handle, and of course stress can lead to all sorts of physiological health problems as well, such as panic attacks, heart palpitations and high blood pressure.
It also often results in irritated skin on or around the genitals.
Psych Central reports these are the most commonly reported signs of masturbation addiction:
- masturbating so frequently that it interrupts other aspects of your personal or professional life
- difficulty waiting to get home to masturbate, resulting in self-pleasuring in uncomfortable or inappropriate places
- engaging in masturbation as a response to stressful situations or emotional discomfort
- genital irritation or other symptoms of injury
- difficulty reaching orgasm with a partner due to a loss in genital sensitivity
- feeling overwhelming guilt or shame after masturbating
- inability to reduce or stop masturbating even though you want to
If it becomes an obsession for you or is affecting your daily life, it could be time to speak to your GP or sexual health professional.
If you're experiencing panic attacks, heart palpitations and high blood pressure, it could lead to a number of other, potentially life-threatening health complications in the future, including heart attack, stroke and organ failure.
In terms of bringing on a sudden heart attack or stroke during masturbation, the chances of that happening are slim to none unless you already have an underlying health issue that makes you prone to suffering one, such as masturbating while in the midst of a hypertensive crisis.
But saying that, a 2021 study revealed an otherwise healthy 51-year-old man in Japan who was a self-professed serial masturbator did almost die from a stroke shortly after pleasuring himself.
The man took himself to hospital after experiencing a severe headache and nausea after ejaculating, where he was told he had suffered a subarachnoid haemorrhage – a type of stroke caused by bleeding on the surface of the brain that can be fatal.
Speaking to theMailOnline, Dr Daniel Walsh, a consultant cerebrovascular neurosurgeon at King's College Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, said the patient's stroke is thought to be linked with a sudden increase in blood pressure, which is 'something characteristic' in sexual activity.
He added that sexual activity, including masturbation, has been linked to between 3.8 and 14 percent of all subarachnoid haemorrhage cases, of which there are 4,800 cases every year in the UK.
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