Am I Jerking Off Too Much?

Am I Jerking Off Too Much?

Let’s be honest. A little bit of jerking off (or masturbation, as it’s more commonly called) is pretty normal as kids and teenagers grow, change, and discover how their bodies work. However, falling into a habit of jerking off frequently can be an incredibly negative thing, especially as you grow out of the ‘discovering how your body works’ phase. Too much jerking off can impact your sexual functioning, self-esteem, and even mental health.

In this article, we’ll go through some of the warning signs that can let you know you’ve crossed into the ‘too much’ territory, and how you can cut back on jerking off. It might be a challenge, but you’ll feel so much better about yourself once you’ve changed the behavior that is stressing you out.


How Much is Too Much?

Although this is one of those questions that can vary depending on who you ask, the truth of the matter is if you feel like it’s too much, then it’s too much.

Looking online for help if you feel like you’re jerking off too much can be really invalidating. Many websites portray jerking off as a healthy and normal practice, but it only takes a little bit of searching to learn about how habit-forming this can really be, and how fast it can get out of your control.

Jerking off might seem harmless or feel good, but it's crucial to understand that it can be habit-forming and potentially dangerous. Although it’s nice to feel good, jerking off can still pose serious risks, especially if you’re using it as a way to deal with stress. This can affect your health, relationships, and overall well-being. If you feel like you’ve been jerking off too much, odds are, you have been.

Warnings From Your Brain: Guilt & Shame

The biggest red flag that can indicate that you’ve been jerking off too much is how you feel. Do you feel guilty after you jerk off? Are you ashamed of your behavior? These feelings can be warning signs from your own brain that you’re doing something that doesn’t align with your values, or might be dangerous or bad for you. Guilt is healthy. Shame, however, is not.

Guilt is like an internal compass that can guide us towards making positive choices. When we feel guilty about something, it's usually a sign that we need to evaluate our actions and their potential impact. Instead of ignoring or suppressing guilt, it's essential to reflect on it and think about it we need to change our behavior. Guilt can lead us towards getting help, if we let it.

Shame is like guilt’s evil little cousin. Instead of saying, ‘I’ve done something wrong, so I need to change,’ shame says, ‘I’ve done something wrong with means that I’m a terrible, awful person, and need to hide what I’ve done. If anyone I love found out what I’m really like, they wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore.’

Can you see why shameful thinking is unhealthy?

Shame leads us to isolate ourselves away from others, and sexual issues—like jerking off too much—tend to be more shame-inducing than other issues. Shame usually is one of the reasons that people who struggle with jerking off, pornography use, or other negative sexual coping mechanisms, tend to wait so long before getting help. According to research from the Cleveland Clinic, most people wait an average of 19 years before getting help.

So if you’re looking around online to figure out if you’re jerking off too much, and how to stop, pat yourself on the back!! There is no reason for you to struggle and stress for 19 years. If you’re jerking off too much, you can totally move past it.

Warnings From Your Behavior: Some Red Flags

If guilt and shame haven’t been a big part of your struggle with jerking off, then it might be more helpful for you to take an honest look at your behavior to decide if you’ve been jerking off too much. Since classifying jerking off as an “addiction” is still controversial within the mental health community, the following list is not necessarily to diagnose you; it’s more to help you evaluate how much of a problem you really have with jerking off.

As you read through these questions, honestly ask yourself if they apply to you. You might relate with all of them—or none of them. Either way, it’s smart to get help for an issue like this, no matter what shame might tell you. This list will help you determine just how bad your jerking off habit has gotten. You can see more in this article from the Mayo Clinic.

  • Do you have repeated sexual urges or fantasies that take up a lot of your time, and sometimes feel like they’re out of your control?
  • Do you use jerking off as your main way to deal with stress, loneliness, disappointment, or depression?
  • Do you keep jerking off, even though it’s causing problems? (For example: the skin in your genital area might be irritated and sensitive; you might be spending way more time jerking off and watching porn; you might be lying about jerking off, etc.)
  • Do you find yourself jerking off when you’re really not supposed to be, or in places where it’s inappropriate because you’re not able to wait until you get home? Some examples of this are the bathroom at work, school, or even during online meetings or classes.
  • Do you feel a little bad about yourself after jerking off?
  • Have you tried to stop jerking off before, without any luck?
  • Has jerking off affected your relationships? (For example: you might be less satisfied with real sex with your partner; you might find yourself lying to your friends about what you’ve been doing; you might have unrealistically high expectations for sex, etc.)

If you feel like you meet these qualifications, it’s a sign that you've been jerking off too much, and it may have gotten out of your control. This doesn’t mean that you’re a bad or gross person, it just means that it’s time to make some lifestyle adjustments to help you change your behavior.

Will Jerking Off This Much Affect Me?

Now that you’ve decided you might have a problem, it’s time to decide whether or not you want to take action against your jerking off habit. Since it can be hard to find candid, real information about jerking off on the internet, in this section we’ll discuss some of the effects that jerking off too much can have on your life. Next, we’ll go over some steps that can help you as if you decide to try and quit.

1. Long-term Guilt and Shame

We discussed the feelings of guilt and shame earlier, but we didn’t spend much time addressing the effects that these emotions have on mental health. If you’re repeatedly doing a behavior that makes you feel guilty, or are frequently listening to feelings of shame, this can have a negative impact on how you see yourself.

Self-esteem is impacted by guilt and shame. What makes this concerning is that self-esteem is one of the biggest indicators of mental health. Many different kinds of mental health concerns can be triggered by a lowering in self-esteem. Depression and anxiety are two of the most common, but others may include obsessive-compulsive disorder or even dissociative identity disorder.

2. Relationship Strain

If you’ve been jerking off too much, you might notice yourself becoming isolated, easily irritated, and distant from those who care about you—like friends and family. The feeling that you need to hide parts of yourself and your life can prevent you from being fully open with those who care about you. Especially in dating or partnered relationships, jerking off can lead to a lack of trust if it’s misunderstood.

3. Change in Sexual Functioning

For those whose jerking off has gotten out of control to the point where you’re jerking off even if you don’t want to, or when you’re not aroused, this can impact your sexual functioning. There is a risk of losing the pleasure associated with jerking off if you’re doing so excessively, and this can carry over into your real sex life, leading to difficulty climaxing at all, even during partnered sex.

4. Entrenchment in Pornography

We all know that jerking off is often tied to porn use. One of the tricky things about pornography is that it is designed to be habit-forming, even addictive. The way the brain is wired, instead of requiring more to get the same effect (like in a drug addiction), a pornography addiction wants different. You may find yourself watching porn that goes against your morals, is violent, or is expensive. If you’re pairing jerking off with watching porn, it will negatively effect your sex life.

Keep in mind that none of these effects have to happen to you. It might be challenging, but you really can stop jerking off too much. If you’re mindful about your sexuality and how you choose to recover from a habit of jerking off, you can live a life free from these negative consequences. Don’t give up on yourself!

What to Do If You’re Jerking Off Too Much

If you feel like you’re jerking off too much, you probably are. Now is the time to adjust your behavior so that you can feel less guilt and shame, and live the kind of positive life that you deserve. While it is never easy to get yourself out of a habit, armed with the right tools, you can make this change in your life.

Trust us, it feels great!

Get Rid of Shame

We’ve talked a lot about how damaging shame can be for your brain and your mental health. As you set to work on reducing how much you’re jerking off, you’ll need to have conversations about it. And that can get awkward.

You’ll need to train your brain to ignore the shameful feeling telling you to run away and hide.

Try to notice times when you feel shame, and identify how your mind and body react. One of the best ways to get rid of shame is to talk to other people who’ve had the same experience that you’re having, like in an online support group. This can help you to learn to talk about jerking off without it feeling gross and weird.

Find Outside Help

This part is important. Most of the time, if you’ve been jerking off too much, it isn’t a sexual issue, but is instead an issue with how you’re processing difficult negative emotions. One of the best resources to change how you deal with difficult emotions and situations is therapy, or an online support group. For most people, jerking off isn’t the problem itself, but more a symptom of another problem.

This link will take you to a page where you can find a therapist near you.

You should also check out Relay’s support-group based recovery program. We’ve built a system that we wish we could’ve had when working through these issues ourselves! You’ll be sorted into a group of anonymous friends who are working through the same issues you are, and then you’re able to set your own goals and work on them together as a team. So far, our users are having great success!

Make A Game Plan and Stick to It

With your therapist or Relay group, identify the times of day you feel the most like jerking off, whether you want to or not. Here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • What triggers your desire to jerk off?
  • What mood are you in when you do?
  • What kinds of feelings are you using jerking off to deal with?

Once you’ve identified these factors, make a plan for what you can do instead of jerking off when these triggers arise. Instead of simply trying to eliminate the negative, replace jerking off with something positive! Does your room need cleaning? Is it the perfect weather outside to go on a walk? How long has it been since you last called your best friend or your grandparents? Does your spouse/partner need help with anything?

The most important part of this game plan is that you stick to it. There will be times when you mess up and jerk off, even if you’re trying not to, but don’t let these times get you down! Your therapist or your Relay group can help you stay accountable, and help you know what to do if times arise when you fail.


Changing your behavior is never an easy thing to do. But, as you get rid of shame, get some help, make a game plan and stick to it, you can truly make lasting change. You are totally capable of living a life where you’re free from jerking off too much.

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