3. It is interfering with your relationships. Are you single and use masturbation as a way of avoiding intimacy or putting yourself out there romantically? Are you married or in a committed relationship and find masturbation preferable to engaging your partner for sex? Have your partners expressed concern about your masturbation habits? For some, it can feel far less threatening to turn to masturbation rather than intimacy, fears of rejection or abandonment, and connection. If used in this way, masturbation can sidetrack relational intimacy.
4. Masturbation negatively impacts how you feel about yourself. When you masturbate, are you more in touch with your body, your sensations, and your spirituality, or do you feel more numb, lonely, and spiritually disconnected? If you feel less connected after masturbating, you might want to take a look at what role masturbation is playing for you.
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5. You feel shame about it. Whether the shame is surfacing because of your religious beliefs, societal messages, or family views, shame can be extremely damaging. Shame frequently leads to even further secrecy and maintaining a double life where you look good on the outside but don't feel so good on the inside. It is really important to talk to someone about this shame, since it typically deepens over time.
6. You have tried to cut down or stop masturbating but you continue anyway. One main criterion that a behavior has become addictive is loss of control over the activity. If you have made repeated unsuccessful attempts to stop, or if your behaviors have escalated in the amount of time spent, the frequency, or the intensity of the behaviors, it'd be a good idea to talk to a professional who can help.
7. You have become obsessed or preoccupied with masturbation. If you have become preoccupied with thoughts about when and how you will be able to masturbate, there's a good chance it might be a problematic behavior for you.
These seven signs are by no means exhaustive, but my hope is to provide a few indicators where masturbation might have moved into an unhealthy place for you.
If you identified with one or more of these warning signs, I would encourage you to reflect on your use of masturbation and what it means to you. If you have a safe person who you can trust, talk to them about it. If you feel like you might be masturbating compulsively, it's really important to talk to a professional who can help. Addictive behaviors don't get better on their own, so talk to someone who has been properly trained to deal with sex addiction or compulsive sexual behaviors. I am available to answer any questions and/or to help link you to someone who might be able to help you.4 Reasons Why Women Should Masturbate More Often
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And for any of you who were wondering how many times I used the word masturbation in this article? Wait for it ... 34 and I am not ashamed of it! If you have any questions or comments, feel free to email or call me.