Masturbation

Pleasure and/or grief
Image by Nicki Varkevisser CC BY 2.0 Cropped

You will need to deal with this

No guys escape

Today

Masturbation is a word which polarizes people. On one hand medical, education and some church organizations treat masturbation as normal for guys.

On the other hand, some church organizations and counsellors see the results of uncontrolled masturbation and therefore condemn the activity as always being 'bad'.

I don't believe a loving God would put a raging fire in an immature kid and then damn him for doing what he can't help doing.

Definitions

Masturbation
It's sex-by-yourself, it's 'solo-sex'. Stimulating (usually rubbing) the penis to achieve orgasm and ejaculation. (slang - wanking, jerking off, jacking off, beat the meat, beating off, whacking off, spanking the monkey, toss off, crack one off, flog the log, jerking the gherkin, rub one off, yank it, tug... and lots of others)
Semen
The fluid that comes out your penis during ejaculation. Sperm live in this fluid (slang - cum, jizz, spooge, load, wad...)
Ejaculation
In old Latin language it meant 'a little something shot out' and refers to semen coming out of the erect penis. (slang - cum, shoot your wad, spooge, blow your load, blast, jizz, shoot, skeet, splooge, wad...)
Orgasm
Intense feelings and muscle contractions associated with ejaculation. The 'high-point' of feelings during masturbation or sex.
Lust
Feelings toward others of sexual: craving; eagerness; desire; passion; urges
Fantasy
Imagining sexual acts with others in order for you to achieve ejaculation

The worries

  • Do other boys do it too?
  • Will people know I've been masturbating?
  • Why do I feel guilty after I've masturbated?
  • Why can't I stop doing it?
  • How often is too often?
  • Does masturbating mean I'm gay?
  • Will I go blind from masturbating?
  • Will I use up all my semen from masturbating too much?
  • Will I go to hell because I masturbate?
  • Will God punish me for masturbating?

How many teenage boys masturbate?

Surveys have consistently shown that more than 95% of males engage in masturbation, particularly during adolescence (puberty). (Some say the remainder are lying!) Dr Dobson of 'Focus on the Family' notes that there is absolutely no controversy on these figures from any source.

Some surveys went on to say there was no difference in the rate of masturbation between boys brought up in a Christian environment compared to those brought up without Christian influence. The boys from Christian backgrounds did, however, feel more guilt over masturbation.

Boys cannot fail to know about masturbation at a young age since it is a regular topic in the school yard and everywhere they go. (A 1998 Internet survey (3) claimed 50% of boys had masturbated by their 13th birthday and 84% by their 14th birthday)

Will others know I have been masturbating?

I feared my friends would be able to tell. I thought I might act different or walk differently the next day after masturbating. I remember my peers accusing me of doing it, and I didn't say anything to defend myself, because I knew it was true. I tried to quit altogether a few times, although quitting never lasted more than a couple of days or a week at most.

Age 16 Chicago [1]

If you clean up after masturbating, then no one will be able to tell - including a doctor. The only clue would be if your penis was red and sore from too much masturbation.

Why do I feel guilty afterwards?

After I'm done masturbating I usually feel guilty and don't know why. I know that almost 95% of all men do it, but I still feel guilty. It's like I'm hiding something.

age 12, Canada [1]

How come whenever I'm done masturbating, I feel like I was being stupid and have the urge to put on my clothes immediately?

age 14, New York [1]

That is an extremely common reaction, and it's almost certainly physiological (i.e., physical rather than mental) in origin. For most guys, something just shuts their brain off to sex when they're done ejaculating. For many, this manifests itself in the form of guilt - that you were 'being stupid' (as you put it), or they ask themselves, 'Why did I just do that?' This is all normal, and you'll probably outgrow it as you get older. [1]

Some guys find less problem with the 'blah' guilt feelings if they only masturbate before they go to sleep at night. That way, the body, mind and hormone levels have many hours to chill out before tackling the outside world again.

There are studies that show after you cum from masturbating, your hormone levels change dramatically causing the 'blah' feeling. Prolactin (the feel good hormone) takes over from Dopamine (the horny hormone) during orgasm. The problem for young guys is that masturbation only releases a quarter of the feel good Prolactin that real sex would release. That also means that the rapid drop in Dopamine is not properly cancelled out by the smaller rise in Prolactin - you feel crap!

What happens to your hormone levels after you orgasm (cum).

As your seminal vesicles fill (with semen), hormones are released that increase your sexual desire. The primary chemical is dopamine. As it rises your interest in sex increases. When you masturbate, these hormones rapidly rise and at orgasm there is a "dopamine storm" in your brain for a brief moment. This is followed by the release of a chemical called prolactin. It, in turn, causes your dopamine levels to suddenly decrease. Without this turn-off mechanism, damage would occur from the too high dopamine levels.

This sudden decrease in dopamine is what makes a guy suddenly feel sleepy after ejaculating. But if you stay awake, the decreased dopamine level induces a mild depression that lasts for about 20 minutes. It causes a sudden loss of interest in sex, which is actually needed to give the body a chance to recover from orgasm and the ejaculation. It is typically called the refractory period. It is that sudden shift from sexual excitement to no interest and a mild depression that you are interpreting as guilt.

Growing up boys [2]

Imagine if your hormone levels did not change - you would finish masturbating and be just as horny as you were before you started. Of course you would start masturbating again and repeat the cycle and still be just as horny. Despite how attractive this scenario sounds, it would end up worse than a chinese water torture. The only thing that would stop you from masturbating would be pain from the skin you have rubbed off your penis!

Understanding why you feel 'crap' for a while from low hormones is part of understanding your 'big picture' of being a young man.

Why can't I stop masturbating

If I could go back 2 years, I would not have started to masturbate in the first place. First, I feel guilty. Second, it now takes up a lot of my time. Third, I don't think it has benefited me in any way — it has just made me less pure. I think masturbation is a waste of my time. I don't even really enjoy it, and I feel miserable afterwards. Why the heck can't I stop masturbating?

Age 17, Nova Scotia, Canada [1]

An Internet survey [1] asked the following question about masturbation:
Question: not counting your childhood, what is the most number of days you've gone without masturbating?

Time Numbers
4 or less days 28%
5 or 6 days 23%
7 to 30 days 42%
more than 30 days 8%

The results may be slanted by the background of the people answering a survey of this type, but as you can see, the trend is that half the males could not go longer than a week and less than 8% could go without masturbating for more than a month!

The need to periodically release semen is so strong, especially in a young male, that the urge to masturbate is nearly unavoidable. Even if you are able to stop masturbating for a while (like a week), your body may respond by releasing semen at night in a nocturnal emission (or 'wet dream') [1]

The biological reason you can't stop masturbating for an extended period is that the sexual pressure continues to build within you because of the hormones called dopamine and testosterone in your blood. The sexual pressure continues to build (whether you want it to or not) until you ejaculate your semen by some method. Some scientists would speculate that us guys are designed this way to ensure the human race continues to multiply. Your sexuality can't be ignored or turned off!

Men masturbate more than women - much more. Masturbation is considered by sex researchers to be one of the purest measures of sex drive, because it is not much constrained by external factors (such as the need to find a partner, or the risk of pregnancy or disease).

Weird things happen when I stop masturbating

Once during the summer after my junior year (age 16), I was too tired at night to masturbate. I went an entire week this way. Toward the end of the week, not only was I having vivid sex dreams but I was almost hallucinating — everything I saw had a sexual component or context. I was 'seeing' genitalia in all things (and in the worst possible ways). To tell you the truth, I don't recommend it.

Age 19, Australia [1]

I gave up porn a few months ago and I gave up masturbation for Lent. Well I fully intend on holding true to that promise but it's been really hard so far and it has only been 9 days! Just seeing a girl or a pic. of a girl or seeing a girl on T.V. makes me get a hard-on and not just for a few seconds. I'm talking staying hard for a good 20-30 mins at times and not only that, I'm thinking about porn more often now too.

Age 15, USA [1]

Recently I went a few days without masturbating, and to my surprise I found myself notably more attracted to girls. I suddenly found myself staring at girls I'd never noticed before, as if I were in love. Did my abstaining from masturbation lead to this at all?

Age 15, USA [1]

Probably. If you're used to ejaculating regularly, going without can really mess with your head. The results can vary - in your case it seems to have been rather pleasant, but others report almost a temporary insanity, when you're liable to do things and think things you definitely wouldn't otherwise. [1]

Dr James Dobson in his video 'Peer Pressure and Sexuality' explains that over time, the hormonal pressure inside a boy can increase to the point where even a girl simply walking into the room can trigger off an irreversible chain of events in his mind. The desire for sexual expression becomes so strong that he invariably masturbates later, resulting in the hormonal pressure then dropping again.

Over time, the sexual pressure builds again and the boy will feel compelled to express the sexual pressure in his body again no matter how strong his determination was to 'never do it again'. (paraphrased from the video)

No masturbation

It's really easy for me to put off masturbating. When I was 13, I masturbated for about a year but haven't done so since. I don't need to masturbate and I don't have a girlfriend. The buildup is expelled in my sleep about once every 2 months. ...it seems that I am the only person who does not masturbate.

Age 22, Australia [1]

I recently tried to quit masturbation and in the process I ended up sleeping with my girlfriend. While trying to quit I got together with her and I went so nuts that I lost my virginity with her. Regular masturbation had controlled my passion in the past when I was with her. I thought I was stronger and when I quit masturbating the passion got too strong. Right now I am facing a lot of mental anguish and have had thoughts of suicide.

Age 19, Florida

What about the fantasy (lust)?

I point out to men that if they have a problem with sexual fantasies or sexual temptation, they are not weird or oversexed as some think; they are very normal. This doesn't mean that this universal temptation is a license to sin.

Every boy, without exception, will find the connection between lust and sexual turn-on, whether they are looking for that connection or not. This connection often begins with a wet dream, which obviously is totally outside the control of any boy.

After that connection has been established, it is permanently resident in every boy's brain. The next step is 'how do I handle this new side of my personality'?

You've got two options:

  1. Control the fantasies and lust as best you can and masturbate when the internal hormonal pressure causes the sexual pressure to build. This option keeps your sexual nature as an important part of your personality in the context originally designed.
    'You can't stop the birds from flying over the tree, but you can stop them from building a nest there.'
  2. Feed the fantasies and lust and cultivate a sexual desire increasingly out of control and dominating every aspect of your life. This option leads to much more masturbation and then bigger problems with guilt and poor self image. This option usually involves pornography and sometimes leads to violating other people in an attempt to gratify the lust that increasingly dominates your personality.
    The more frequently you masturbate, the more fantasy you require to get an orgasm each time. This option becomes a vicious circle - the more you feed your lust, the more it demands to be fed!
Dad advice

You should delay masturbation until the hormonal pressure naturally builds inside you (you become horny) - then very little fantasy at all is required to produce ejaculation and you don't feel so bad about yourself afterwards. Delaying will mean you are more likely to 'shoot' your semen. Managing yourself this way and 'shooting' semen feels like MASTURBATION+.

Image from Negative Space on PEXELS CC0 1.0

You cannot keep birds from flying over your head but you can keep them from building a nest in your hair.

How it all fits together

Male hormone (testos-terone) released into your blood
↓ ↓
Puberty starts: your sexuality comes alive (ready or not!)
↓ ↓
Lust wakes up
↓ ↓
Control lust
Your choice
Feed lust
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
No pornography Pornography
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Feeling horny - brought on regularly by normal male body function Feeling horny - brought on more often by porn and lust
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Regular masturbation No masturbation Compulsive masturbation
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Fantasy: as low as it gets for most guys Fantasy: high hormone levels increase fantasy Fantasy: porn dominates - always demands more
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Wet dreams: unlikely Wet dreams: very likely Wet dreams: unlikely
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Erections: normal Erections: often won't go down Erections: trained to images
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Sleep: normal Sleep: can't sleep when horny Sleep: may need to cum to porn to get to sleep
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Self control: good Self control: fair Self control: poor
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Self esteem: good Self esteem: OK (fantasies cause concern) Self esteem: poor
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Guilt: none or some Guilt: none or some Guilt: lots
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Passion: controlled Passion: dominates Passion: out of control
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
Relationships: normal Relationships: Hormone (lust) driven Relationships: poor (see others as sex objects)
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
GOOD: a balance that all guys can achieve Some guys say they can do this, but most fail and feel condemned NOT GOOD: causes many problems now and later

Every guy will be somewhere between the two extremes when it comes to controlling lust and managing their masturbation. Your position on the scale will also vary a lot from time to time depending on circumstances, moods and hormone levels. The idea is to keep heading toward the left hand (green) column to control your lust as much as you can.

Not one guy will be able to say he has arrived at the left hand column 'control lust' lifestyle and doesn't have to try any more. It's a daily thing for all guys because of the way we are made up, so don't be too disheartened if you find yourself drifting back toward the right hand column from time to time.

Make the overall 'big picture' theme of your life one of pushing toward managing masturbation rather than let masturbation control you. Don't get hung up on the small picture 'failures' on the way.

Guys in early puberty

Young guys in the early stages of puberty often report that it is difficult for them to regulate their masturbation. They can't see how they are different to the red 'compulsive masturbation' (right) column. This is possibly because their immature bodies have been flooded with with up to 30 times more male hormones that they haven't had time to adjust to yet.

My advice to guys in this situation, is that if you aren't feeding the lust with porn and deliberately filling your eyes with other peoples' bodies then this is probably the best you can do at this stage. Keep aiming to live on the green (left) side of the chart as you get older and you'll be OK.

Be smart where you masturbate

Recently there was an unfortunate incident where a boy Matthew Burdette was secretly recorded masturbating (the court case found he was actually being funny making noises and movements as though he was masturbating) in a toilet stall at his school. When the video was circulated Matthew was so embarrassed by weeks of merciless taunting that he ended up taking his own life. Read about Matthew's story

This incident shows that those who were doing the taunting were immature and had not come to terms yet with their own sexuality. Even if Matthew knew this it would not have made it any easier for him to cope with. So learn from Matthew's experience and be smart when you choose where you masturbate (or to be funny by simulating masturbation).

Masturbation with other guys?

Masturbation should be an experience you do alone.

Masturbation with other males strengthens the link of sexual excitement directed toward males that might direct your sexuality in a direction you don't want it to go when you are an adult.

Many young guys compare erections and masturbate with other young guys out of curiosity. My advice is to quit doing this!

If you have been involved in 'comparing notes' then let the phase move on - don't get locked in to having the presence of another boy with you as your method of getting turned on. It doesn't necessarily mean you are homosexual/gay because it turned you on. It is generally more a passing curiosity phase for most guys, but some will get locked in to this method of sexual excitement during their teenage years which they may regret later.

Q & A

How much masturbation is too much?

14 year old, Saudi Arabia

Every boy is created with a different temperament so it is difficult to define 'too much' masturbation. A few boys never masturbate (so they claim), others do it occasionally and at the other end of the spectrum, others do it several times a day.

Almost everything can be overdone. I mean, one cookie is great, five are probably okay, but a hundred? Now, the problem (the sin) here isn't the cookie and it isn't the eating, it's the excess! Remember that old saying, 'everything in moderation'? In 1 Corinthians 5:6, Paul is talking about sex and he writes, 'I will not be mastered by anything'. If masturbation is controlling you, 'mastering' you, then it's out of control. Boys need to learn to master their sexuality and not let their sexuality master them! (37)

My penis gets red and sore from masturbation - it is so annoying the next day. What can I do to stop that happening (other than stopping masturbation)

14 year old, Australia

Some guys use lubrication when they masturbate - such as Vaseline or hand cream or KY Jelly. Don't use soap or shampoo because they will irritate the skin on your penis and inside the pee hole of your penis. Lubrication also produces different sensations during masturbation.

I heard a singer from a big Christian rock band urging boys not to masturbate because of the lust associated with the activity. I've tried to quit before and I can't - what can I do to stop?

15 year old, Canada

It is a balancing act for every male: every teenage boy has fantasies and lusts and will explore the connection between these, their sexual nature and masturbation.

Lust, however is something that every boy must learn to control as he grows older. (The bible advice is to 'flee youthful lusts' (flee youthful cravings, passions and urges)

Even if you were able to stop all lust and totally stop masturbating, the hormonal pressure would still build steadily inside you to the point where all sorts of people become sexually attractive to you. People you never even gave a second glance before. At this point the act of masturbation requires very little or even no fantasy. This is probably the ideal compromise situation to aim for as an unmarried teen/adult.

If you are one of the many males who don't experience wet dreams, then masturbation is actually a means of self control. Masturbation reduces the forced sexual attraction associated with the increasing levels of hormonal pressure inside you (time bomb effect). After masturbation, mental life then returns to normal for a period of time.

Even if you know it's normal and all that, you still lock the door! You don't go around advertising that you're doing it..... Everybody does it, but they sort of pretend they don't.

References

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  1. Adult site (used with permission) Address available on request.
  2. http://growingupboys.info/Answers2012/01-12.html