Sex Life of the American Male

How new technology, new mores, and current events impact male sexuality.

An Unacknowledged Harm of Masturbation

Masturbation is generally a healthy sexual behavior. Still, it can lead to longstanding sexual impairment and even a diagnosable psychiatric condition when paired with particular fantasies. Read More

You stated a couple of times

You stated a couple of times that masturbation does reinforce and strengthen a paraphilia, but I wasn't clear on what the evidence for that was. Does the paraphilia disappear if you force yourself to never think about it? Or does it just go underground, the way emotions like anger will go underground if you force yourself ignore them?

Personally, being someone who enjoys transvestic fetishism myself, I don't find that particular paraphilia harmful or something I need to hide. It depends on what social circle you're in. I'd never mention it at a book club, but I'd feel comfortable discussing it at a BDSM conference. I've had several partners who've enjoyed exploring that game with me and, provided it occurs between consenting adults (I mean, jeez, how are you going to force someone to put on opposite-gendered clothes? Joan of Arc's trial notwithstanding), I don't think there's anything wrong or shameful about it.

You didn't state that there is something wrong with cross dressing, but it did get included in the same list with pedophilia and I felt that its inclusion lumped it together with paraphilias that maybe ought not to be reinforced. I think what I want to say here is that cross dressing doesn't need to be shameful, because there's nothing about it that harms another person and the social stigma doesn't exist in all parts of society.

doesn't this apply to any fantasy

Doesn't this effect apply to masturbation with any kind of fantasy? This article seems to suggest that your brain innately knows what's paraphelic or not. That seems absurd. So I would think that fantasies considered "appropriate" in our society are just as well reinforced by masturbation.

And wouldn't that go for "appropriate" partnered sex as well? I wouldn't think your brain cells innately know the difference between masturbation and partnered sex.

Simple reinforcement by pleasure.

One thought, does this theory suggest that early partnered sex of the appropriate kind could keep some people from developing paraphelic obsessions?

Well, yes, your brain cells,

Well, yes, your brain cells, which includes all of your cognitive functions, do know the difference in ways that matter to your sexual functioning. For example, it is one thing to supplement partnered sex with masturbation. But someone who only masturbates for many years and never has partnered sex, will likely develop their sexual response a little differently, and possibly to an extent that it would be a real learning experience to actually be with a partner. And this can happen even if the fantasy during masturbation is to be with a partner.

It's like playing baseball. You can fantasize about playing baseball all your life, but if you've never played it, your experience and performance on the field is going to be a lot different from someone who has actually played baseball all his life.

statistically significant?

Millions and millions of men masturbate .. often at least once a day. What is the frequency of these problems that you cite as "dangers of masturbation"? If masturbation were a drug, based on the anti-masturbation arguments that I have read, it would not have a black box warning.

What is the purpose of warning about issues that it appears to me are more tied to other experiences than to masturbation?

I would say it has to do with

I would say it has to do with the intensity and if masturbation is the only thing you do, as opposed to supplementing.

Likewise, millions and millions of people drink beer and wine and have no problem. Yet clearly some people have serious problems with alcohol. And sure, there are other contributing factors, but that doesn't make it useless to warn about alcohol.

Hi.... Guys. Good evening.

Hi.... Guys. Good evening. First of all I would like to say that this topic very informative. But I would like to add some practical phenomenon on it. My name is Ms. Limma William. I am 27 years old married lady. One thing I would emphasis that Man or Boy should refrain from frequent Masturbation. The reason is not far to seek .. because the Sperm or semen of Man is very very vital and precious . You can not call as it only liquid but is very essential after all. I have read from many books that the sperm is contains a lot of Protein , vitamin , mineral and carbohydrate e t c.... Truly it has no alternative . And it is also considered as greatest boon by the GOD.... In my personal case I am very much worried about my dearest Husband... Because since my marriage to till today I have eaten sweety and cream sperm of my Husband. I am totally mad for His sperm.. I am habituated to suck sperm every day. Every body in my family knows that how thin and weak I was before marriage. My weight was only 40 Kg. Now I am 64 Kg within 2 years///// and definitely it is due to the precious and valuable sperm of my dearest Husband. On other hand guys are unlucky because they are weak and thin due to loss of huge quantity of sperm every day. Believe it or not this is the bare truth about boys masturbation and their sperm.. . That is why I never wasted a single drop of sperm from my Husband. But His powerful sperm is coming to my use.... So it is my sincere request to all guys please do not allow your partner to suck your sperm ..... otherwise you will be weak and thin. Thank you.

This is completely false.

This is completely false. While sperm does contain roughly 5 grams of protein per gloob, a man can replenish that amount be eating a whole 2 chicken nuggets. Frequent masturbation is not going to malnourish anyone who has access to McDonald's quality food or higher.

Masturbation is an important piece of variety in the sex life my boyfriend and I have. I think how you view or use masturbation can be harmful in some cases, but the act itself is not intrinsically harmful.

Yes, of course. Posts like

Yes, of course. Posts like that one above make me wonder about the intellectual capacity of some of the people posting here.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • You may quote other posts using [quote] tags.

More information about formatting options

Michael Shelton is a writer, therapist, and educator focused on male sex and sexuality issues.

more...

Subscribe to Sex Life of the American Male

Current Issue

Let It Go!

It can take a radical reboot to get past old hurts and injustices.