How to Overcome Masturbation Addiction

How to Overcome Masturbation Addiction

Searching for resources to overcome a masturbation addiction online can be an incredibly invalidating experience. Plenty of websites claim that there is no issue with frequent masturbation, and that masturbation addiction (referred to in a clinical sense as the more general “hypersexuality disorder”) is little more than your own values going against a practice that is ‘harmless’.

The truth of the matter is, if you feel like you’re addicted to masturbation, you may be. It is not the harmless practice that many people paint it to be. But you can overcome it! It will take getting to know your brain a little better, as well as discipline and commitment, but with a little bit of work, you can leave behind the habits that make you feel bad about yourself… for good!

In this article, we’ll talk a little bit about the realities of what makes masturbation feel addictive, some signs you may truly be addicted to this behavior, and how to overcome it. You don’t need to feel defeated or discouraged in the face of an addiction to masturbation—you can quit this habit for good!


Is Masturbation Addiction Real?

If you’ve been struggling with masturbation so much that you feel like you’re addicted to that orgasmic high, you may feel like you’re losing your mind a little bit. Most sites on the internet encourage masturbation as a “healthy outlet” to deal with sexual desires, claiming that there are no negative side effects—how are you supposed to wrap your head around this when you feel like you are suffering the negative side effects?

Trust your feelings. If you’ve been feeling like masturbation is a habit that has gotten out of your control, then it’s time to educate yourself about where this is stemming from, and start working to overcome it! One of your best resources in doing so will be support groups filled with people who understand you—we’ll talk more about this as we go over some steps to overcoming a masturbation addiction.

First, let’s review some of masturbation addiction’s red flags. Regardless of what you’ve read, whether or not you meet the “qualifications of addiction”, if you feel like you have a problem, it is best to deal with that problem.

What Makes Masturbation Addictive?

Masturbation releases dopamine and serotonin, “feel good” chemicals that can reduce stress, and, in some cases, improve mood. Many people use masturbation as a way to cope with stress, but alleviating feelings of stress does little to solve the problems causing you stress. The problem with masturbation is that the brain releases huge amounts of these chemicals, but afterwards is left with a deficit, leading to lower mood and increased stress a little while after an individual engages in masturbation.

This “stress-relief” is what makes masturbation a behavior that people can get hooked on. The high of an orgasm can be habit-forming, as it tricks the brain into thinking your problems are less than they are. But, as we’ve learned, this is an illusion.

A better way of dealing with stress is to address the issues that are causing it, and online support groups can be a great way to do that! Make time to talk to the people you love about what’s bothering you—it will help way more than trying to “deal with” stress in a way that leaves you feeling guilty and ashamed.

Another reason people warn so much about the habit-forming nature of masturbation is how closely it is linked to pornography, which is designed to addict the brain. If you’ve been using pornography as a part of a masturbation addiction, now is time to overcome that.

Am I Addicted?

There are a few warning signs to be aware of when trying to decide if you have a masturbation addiction. Addiction itself can be nebulous, and hard to diagnose, even in a clinical setting. But, being able to put the appropriate label on your problem can be key to overcoming it. An addiction will require more time and energy to overcome, while a habit may be a little simpler.

These are some earmarks that can inform you of whether you are truly suffering from an addiction, or have a bad habit that is getting out of hand.

  • Do you find yourself changing your behavior, activities, and relationships, in order to be able to masturbate more?
  • Do you masturbate in inappropriate places, or at times that are really not okay to do so?
  • Do you find yourself caring less and less about the consequences of your behavior, or taking bigger and bigger risks?
  • Do you feel stress—or even anxiety—if you know you’ll be in a place where you won’t be able to masturbate?
  • Has masturbation affected your relationships, finances, or job status?

If you were able to answer yes to these questions, then you’ve come to the right place. Here at Relay, we are committed to helping you find a way out of addiction that yield lasting results. Whether or not you truly qualify as “addicted,” we’ll go over some steps that you can follow to start your recovery in the right direction.

Some Benefits of Quitting a Masturbation Addiction

Overcoming this addiction won’t be easy, so it might be helpful to keep in mind some of the benefits you can see as your eliminate masturbation from your life. Focus on what you can accomplish, instead of allowing yourself to be dragged down by all the times you might stumble and slip up again as you try to overcome this.

  1. Less Guilt and Shame If masturbation is a behavior you feel badly about, but still find yourself doing, it will cause you to see yourself in a negative light. You’re probably already dealing with this, feeling incredibly guilty—maybe even ashamed—each time you mess up. Feelings of guilt are meant to motivate us to change, so by changing your behavior to live a life more in line with your values, these negative feelings will lessen and go away.
  2. Better Relationships This is one of the most evident benefits of overcoming a masturbation habit. Masturbating and viewing pornography lead to unrealistic expectations of what sex is and should be like. Eliminating porn and masturbation from your life will help you to experience the realities of your marriage and dating relationships, and be more present with those who love you.
  3. Less Isolation and More Connection We’ve talked about shame previously in the article, where we addressed guilt. Shame is like guilt’s evil cousin, encouraging us to hide our bad or embarrassing behavior away where no one will ever see it again. Shame is linked to isolation—where addictive sexual behaviors thrive.As you work to overcome a masturbation addiction or habit, your feelings of shame will go away, helping you to connect more authentically with your friends and family members, instead of feeling like you need to hide away.

Overcoming Your Masturbation Addiction

Changing your behavior will be hard work, but the feeling of freedom you’ll find as you achieve your goals is worth it. Here are some steps to take to get to work on tackling this addiction.

Get External Help

If your masturbation habit has truly crossed into addiction territory, you’ll need the help of trained professionals to overcome it. That may sound intimidating, but it’s okay! We live in an age where therapy is accessible and, in many cases, affordable.

If therapy isn’t for you, try out Relay’s uniquely crafted recovery experience—we put you into a small group of others who are going through the same struggle, and, using scientific and mindfulness techniques, you work together on your recovery.

Avoid Triggers

If you find yourself drawn to specific things that arouse your body and make you want to masturbate, avoid them! This can include pornography, bad influence friends, sexually explicit songs—you know what you need to cut out in order to live a lift that aligns more with your values. Having less triggers will help the feeling that you need to masturbate gradually go away.

Find New Ways to Cope With Stress

It’s no secret that masturbation can be used to lessen stress, but it is ultimately unproductive. Finding new outlets for your stress will be a huge stepping stone as you start on the path to overcoming a masturbation addiction.

Try learning a new hobby or skill, trying out a new form of exercise, or even just calling a good friend to chat. All of these release the same “happy chemicals” in the brain that masturbation does, but instead of a massive spike, followed by a huge low, they release dopamine, oxytocin and serotonin at steadier, more realistic levels. You’ll feel a little better after baking a cake or going for a run, and your brain won’t have to pay the price of a huge spike in chemical activity.

Your Relay group can be a great place to find new ways of copping with stress, as the app itself is designed to give helpful suggestions as you craft your recovery plan.

Be Honest With Yourself

A masturbation addiction is a challenge to overcome, but with the right resources, it can be done. Consider these questions as you commit to eliminating masturbation from your life.

  1. What kind of person is a masturbation addiction turning me into?
  2. What kind of person do I want to be become?
  3. What is masturbation holding me back from achieving?
  4. What will I give my time to once masturbation isn’t taking it all up?

As you consider these questions, share your answers with your therapist or Relay group. It isn’t enough to eliminate bad behavior, we must replace it with something good. Think of all the good you will be able to do once you’ve gotten your masturbation addiction under control and out of your life!

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Find Effective, Evidence-Based Treatment in the Relay Program for Compulsive Pornography or Masturbation

There is help available to you if you or a loved one has a physical dependence or psychological dependence on pornography, masturbation, or sex. These urges and compulsive behaviors can control your life, but you can take back control. Relay's addiction recovery program provides a comprehensive, outpatient approach to behavioral change - at home, at your own pace. To each new program member, we provide a personalized recovery plan, a peer support group, progress tracking, journaling, and intelligent insights about your behavior patterns, all within a simple and secure mobile app Our proven approach helps program members achieve the best chance at long-term recovery without the time or expense of rehab or therapy. Try the Relay program for free here; if you need help as you get set up, contact us now at

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