Is It OK To Masturbate Everyday? | Q&A With Dr. Stanton Peele
Dear Dr. Peele,
I have a question that I believe you may be able to provide some guidance on: is it okay to masturbate every day?
As a topic that is often shrouded in stigma and misconceptions, it can be challenging to find reliable information about this. Some sources suggest that regular masturbation is a normal and healthy part of human sexuality, while others argue that excessive masturbation can lead to various issues such as addiction or negative effects on relationships.
Given your expertise in human behavior and addiction, I would greatly appreciate your perspective on this matter. In your opinion, is daily masturbation considered normal and healthy, or could it potentially lead to negative consequences? Are there any specific factors that one should consider when evaluating the impact of their masturbation habits on their overall well-being?
Your insights would be extremely valuable in helping me and others better understand this sensitive subject. I eagerly await your response and look forward to benefiting from your wisdom.
Dr. Peele’s Response
We’re in the business of dealing with people’s behavior, not telling them what to do. This covers not only drugs and alcohol, but love, sex, eating, screen time, etc. So, yes, that covers masturbation and pornography. In fact that is one of the major topics people contact us for.
We also follow the principles of harm reduction. Here is how Wikipedia describes HR:
Harm reduction, or harm minimization, refers to a range of intentional practices and public health policies designed to lessen the negative social and/or physical consequences associated with various human behaviors, both legal and illegal. Harm reduction is used to decrease negative consequences of recreational drug use and sexual activity without requiring abstinence, recognizing that those unable or unwilling to stop can still make positive change to protect themselves and others.
The question becomes not how often you masturbate — just like addiction is not necessarily about how often you drink or take drugs. The question is “What are the consequences?”
Here are five criteria to assess whether your masturbation is addictive:
- Is your masturbation hurting you physically or medically? Is it interfering with your other activities — like your work or necessary life tasks?
- Do you enjoy masturbating? Or are you doing it so often or frequently that you no longer derive pleasure from it? That is, has it become compulsive?
- Very important: Does it make you less able to conduct real life sexual encounters? That is, do you avoid trying to deal with real people in favor of simply pleasuring yourself?
- How do you feel about your masturbation? Are you worried about your answers to some of the above questions? At the same time you ask yourself this, we try to make sure that you are not channeling other people’s disapproval or your religious training into unnecessary guilt. Try simply to assess how it is affecting your life.
- Finally, a broader question. What are you doing to make your overall life better: improving your health, dealings with other (like friends and family), education or work prospects, your neighborhood or community?
Because, ultimately, the potential addictiveness of anything is determined by the larger force field of your life. That is where your major attention should be.
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