Overcome Masturbation Addiction: How To Recover

Last Updated: May 21, 2024

David Levin Reviewed by David Levin
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Masturbation is a natural human activity associated with safe sexual behavior, enabling more pleasurable sexual practice and leading to better body awareness, enhancing sexual agency, boosting self-esteem and minimizing sexual issues, which can start as early in life in most children before 2 years of age.

Yet, as with any pleasurable activity promoted by feel-good hormones, masturbation can get out of control and become compulsive or addictive for some individuals. Excessive masturbation can interfere with daily tasks, relationships and well-being.

Continue reading to learn about the signs, causes and best therapies to overcome masturbation addiction and regain control of your life.

Why Does Masturbation Addiction Occur?

Understanding the medical manifestations of masturbation addiction requires an examination of the interaction between psychological, biological and social factors such as:

Psychological Factors

  • Masturbation may serve as a way to cope with anxiety, stress or other difficult emotions
  • Masturbation could be a means to regulate mood or deal with psychological distress
  • The reinforcing nature of pleasure associated with masturbation can lead to addiction

Biological Influence

  • Changes in hormonal levels (i.e., high levels of testosterone) can influence sexual desire and behavior
  • The release of dopamine and endorphins during masturbation can reinforce a cycle of dependence

Social and Cultural Factors

  • Upbringing in environments where masturbation is taboo or stigmatized may lead to guilt or shame
  • Some societies encourage and accept excessive masturbation

Self-Help Tips to Overcome Masturbation Addiction

The best strategy for this addiction is a holistic approach, acknowledging masturbation is a natural activity that needs to be regulated when out of control.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to breaking free from this behavior:

Reset Your Mindset

Don’t feel ashamed or inadequate. Always remember that experiencing sexual urges is a natural aspect of being human. Avoid dwelling in despair and instead focus on constructive actions to address the addiction.

Remove Triggers

Take proactive steps to remove pornographic content from your surroundings and try to control access to it. Identify your triggers and soft spots of temptation and switch to alternative activities during those weak times.

Reduce Time Alone

Limit solo time by pursuing social interactions and participating in activities in public settings. By minimizing opportunities for isolation, you can decrease the likelihood of giving in to the urge to masturbate.

Find Hobbies

Redirect your energy towards creative pursuits such as writing, playing an instrument or engaging in physical exercise. By channeling your focus into productive activities, you can reduce the desire for masturbation.

Practice Persistence

Understand that overcoming addiction is a gradual process that requires commitment and patience. Rather than becoming discouraged by setbacks, celebrate your progress, recognize little progress, and keep moving forward.

Embrace Healthy Habits

Implement a balanced lifestyle by maintaining a nutritious diet and including regular exercise in your routine. Make modifications to your nighttime habits, such as wearing additional clothing, to reduce stimulation and control the urge to masturbate.

Professional Treatment to Overcome Masturbation Addiction

If, after implementing self-help tips, the addiction continues, consider seeking support professional help. The options are:

Counseling and Support Groups

Support groups foster a supportive environment to overcome the addiction without judgment, and typically, they offer a 12-step approach. These support groups are:

  • Sexaholics Anonymous (SA)
  • Sex Addicts Anonymous (SAA)
  • Sexual Compulsive Anonymous (SCA)


While no FDA-approved drugs target compulsive sexual behaviors, some medications can help with this addiction:

  • SSRIs, especially for patients with co-occurring psychiatric disorders
  • Naltrexone to reduce cravings and urges
  • Mood stabilizers like Lithium and Valproic acid for patients with bipolar disorder
  • Anti-androgens (medroxyprogesterone acetate or cyproterone acetate) to lower testosterone levels


Therapeutic approaches such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and motivational enhancement therapy help in modifying thoughts and behaviors associated with addiction, promoting healthier coping mechanisms and self-regulation.


Titles like How to Stop Masturbating (The Easy Way) by James Smith offer insights into overcoming addiction, offering professionals additional support and guidance and practical strategies for addiction recovery.

Symptoms of Masturbation Addiction

To accurately diagnose an individual with masturbation addiction, at least 3 of the below signs and symptoms of masturbation addiction need to be present in a 12-month period:

  • Engaging in masturbation excessively, interfering with daily activities, relationships or responsibilities
  • Constantly thinking about or planning masturbation sessions
  • Difficulty controlling the frequency of masturbation, despite efforts to cut down or stop
  • Hiding or lying about masturbation habits and feeling shame or guilt
  • Using masturbation as a coping mechanism to deal with stress, anxiety, depression
  • Evidence of skin irritation, chafing, or abrasions on the genitals
  • Mood swings or emotional instability, particularly when attempting to stop
  • Feeling ashamed or guilty about masturbation habits
  • Diminished self-esteem due to perceived failure to control the behavior
  • Conflicts or difficulties in intimate relationships, neglecting partner needs
  • Withdrawing from social activities or spending excessive time alone
  • Negative consequences in work or school due to preoccupation with masturbation

Health Risks of Masturbation Addiction

While science describes the health benefits of masturbation, excessive activity can cause various health risks, as outlined in the chart below:

Health Risks of Masturbation Addiction Physical Health Psychological Health Social Health Overall Well-being
Genital Irritation Skin irritation, chafing, abrasions, urticaria Guilt, shame, low self-esteem Social withdrawal, isolation Disrupted sleep patterns
Decreased Sensitivity Reduced genital sensitivity Emotional dependence Stigmatization Negative self-image
Repetitive Strain Injuries Tendonitis, carpal tunnel syndrome Dependence on coping mechanism Impact on work/education Difficulty in seeking help
Guilt and Shame Conflicts with personal beliefs
Dependence Poor development of coping strategies
Relationship Strain Conflict, misunderstandings

Overcome Masturbation Addiction − Key Takeaways

The accessibility of the internet has led to a rise in masturbation addiction due to the easy access to pornography and cybersex. Parents and adults must be mindful of online interactions and strive for a healthy balance with real life.

Healthcare professionals should approach masturbation addiction diagnosis with an open mind, considering family history, nutrition, habits and mental health for better long-term recovery. If your addiction worsens over time, seek professional help as soon as possible.

People Also Ask

Is masturbation addiction real?

Yes, excessive masturbation can lead to compulsive behavior, impacting daily life and relationships. While not classified as a disorder in itself, it can manifest addictive patterns for some individuals, affecting their well-being.

Why am I addicted to masturbating?

Compulsive masturbation can result from stress relief, boredom, and hormonal fluctuations or coping mechanisms. Seeking professional guidance for diagnosis and establishing healthier habits is the first step.

How can I stop a masturbation addiction?

Consider therapy, support groups and healthy distractions. Identify triggers and develop coping strategies. Establish boundaries and engage in fulfilling activities. Seek professional help if needed to address underlying psychological or emotional factors.

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Page Sources

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  2. Ajlouni, H. K., Daoud, A. S., Ajlouni, S. F., & Ajlouni, K. M. (2010). Infantile and early childhood masturbation: Sex hormones and clinical profile. Annals of Saudi Medicine, 30(6), 471-474. https://doi.org/10.4103/0256-4947.72271
  3. Rasul, T. F., Schwartz, K. R., Qureshi, F., Eachus, E., & Henderson, A. (2022). The Potential Cutaneous Effects of Pornography Addiction: A Narrative Review. Cureus, 14(12). https://doi.org/10.7759/cureus.33066
  4. Castellini, G., Fanni, E., Corona, G., Maseroli, E., Ricca, V., & Maggi, M. (2016). Psychological, Relational, and Biological Correlates of Ego-Dystonic Masturbation in a Clinical Setting. Sexual Medicine, 4(3), e156. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.esxm.2016.03.024
  5. Rodríguez-Nieto, G., Dewitte, M., Sack, A. T., & Schuhmann, T. (2021). Individual Differences in Testosterone and Self-Control Predict Compulsive Sexual Behavior Proneness in Young Males. Frontiers in Psychology, 12. https://doi.org/10.3389/fpsyg.2021.723449
  6. George, M., Maheshwari, S., Chandran, S., Rao, S. S., Shivanand, M. J., & Sathyanarayana Rao, T. S. (2018). Psychosocial intervention for sexual addiction. Indian Journal of Psychiatry, 60(Suppl 4), S510. https://doi.org/10.4103/psychiatry.IndianJPsychiatry_38_18
Retrieved on April 17, 2024.

Published on: August 2nd, 2016

Updated on: May 21st, 2024

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