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?

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?

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

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