If masturbation seems to have taken over your life, and you can’t control it, it may be time for you to seek masturbation therapy.
There is a difference between healthy self-pleasure habits and masturbation addiction. Understanding what causes a sex addiction and its symptoms can help you know if you need masturbation therapy.
Everyone masturbates at some time or another. It is perfectly natural and does not say anything about your morality.
Masturbation is part of having healthy sexuality. Some people masturbate once in a while, perhaps as much as every day. Just because you masturbate regularly does not mean that you have a masturbation addiction.
Masturbation addiction is when you’ve lost control of your sexual impulses and actions. Masturbation has become something you can’t control and want to do all the time.
If you have an addiction, you experience real consequences for your compulsive sexual behaviors. It begins to affect your work and relationships negatively. You start feeling guilty or ashamed of your behavior. Then you try to stop and realize you can’t.
Sex addiction is a general term for hypersexuality disorders. Masturbation addiction, porn addiction, and arousal addiction are all classified by this disorder.
Sex addictions, including those to masturbation and pornography, increased during COVID-19. The increase was because of isolation and the desire to connect with others.
Signs and Symptoms of Masturbation Addiction
You may recognize that your behaviors have become problematic, but you aren’t sure if you have an addiction. Masturbation addiction looks different for each person, but many of the signs and symptoms overlap.
Examples of masturbation addiction symptoms include:
- Thinking about and engaging in self-pleasure takes up a lot of your time
- Your work performance suffers as a result of your time-consuming masturbation habits
- Your compulsive sexual behaviors escalate, and you masturbate in public places
- You masturbate to cope with stress, anger, frustration, or any other adverse emotion
- After masturbating, you feel guilty, upset, or ashamed
- You try to stop your habits but find you’re unable to
- You have an inability or unwillingness to engage in intimate relationships
- You avoid activities that don’t involve sexual outlets
What Causes Masturbation Addiction?
Trauma and dopamine are two key factors behind masturbation addiction. Together, they create a compulsive, uncontrollable desire to seek sexual pleasure.
When you experience something traumatic, your brain and body help you survive. When there is a perceived threat, your system turns off your brain and body’s “unnecessary” functions. Emotional processing shuts down, so you can use energy to pump adrenaline to your muscles. This rerouting is the fight-or-flight response.
During and after trauma, you’re unable to comprehend or process what happened. Your body is still in a state of shock. The only way to get things running, as usual, is to give your brain a hit of dopamine.
Dopamine is the “pleasure chemical” that helps you learn what feels good. Your body releases it during pleasurable activities like eating fatty food, sharing a hug, and using drugs.
The most readily available source of dopamine is sexual pleasure. Soon, every time you experience something adverse, you use masturbation to calm yourself down. It becomes a reaction rather than a response.
When you discover explicit sexual imagery, your brain rewards you with a surge of dopamine. It is so much dopamine that your brain registers it as a kind of “overload” to the system.
In response, your brain shuts down the dopamine receptors bit by bit. Meaning every time you masturbate to experience that same “high,” it’ll be less and less intense. You’re dulling the response you’re seeking. You develop a tolerance.
Soon, you’re using masturbation to cope with stress, temper happiness, and fill boredom. Your compulsive behaviors become out of control, and your actions start to escalate over time.
Seeking Masturbation Therapy
If masturbation has become a compulsive habit for you, you likely need to seek therapy to get your life back.
When looking for a masturbation therapy program, consider:
- Is the center focused on sex and masturbation addiction therapy?
- Is your therapist a certified sex addiction therapist?
- What treatments will they use?
- Is the treatment timeline acceptable for you?
- What type of ongoing support do you receive?
Choosing the correct masturbation addiction treatment is critical for your success.
When you’re ready to start your healing journey, you should first speak with a therapist or other mental health professional. If they agree that you have a masturbation addiction, then seeking a support group also may be helpful. Having a support group of others who have sex addictions can help you on your recovery journey. You’ll have the support you need to start growing.
A Practical Masturbation Therapy Program
At Begin Again Institute, we specialize in sex and masturbation addiction. We offer an exclusive and practical 14-day Men’s Intensive set in the mountains around Boulder, Colorado. During your two weeks, you’ll have 24-hour support with a combination of one-on-one therapy and group sessions.
You’ll finally be able to reset your habits. You get control of your addiction in a reasonable timeframe.
During your 14-day Men’s Intensive, your partner can attend our Partner Support Program. This program ensures you both can heal at the same time. This program will also give them the tools they need to help support you when you’ve finished your intensive.
After completing your intensive, you’ll have the option of receiving a Continuing Care Membership every month. That way, you still have ongoing therapeutic and group support.
If you’re ready to start your recovery with the help you deserve, contact BAI today.