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Can you masturbate too much?

Posted on Monday, January 31, 2011 in Happiness, Honesty, Kat, masturbation, Men, Relationships, Sex/sexuality, teens/teenagers, Women

It was 2 a.m., but I couldn’t sleep. After tossing and turning for what seemed like hours (but was only about a half-hour), I turned on the light and started reading.

That’s when I heard a mini-commotion in The Kid’s room.

“Good Lord; I think I heard The Kid masturbating this morning,” I said to Sara, calling her on my lunch break.

“I’m surprised you haven’t heard him before, given his age,” Sara observed. “Was he doing it to porn?”

“How should I know? I certainly not going to ask him!”

“Well, did you hear any other moaning, like a woman’s?”  

“Not really.”

“Because you know he’s watching it, too.”

“Duh! He’s a guy.”

“Just don’t let him watch too much porn, or no girl will ever satisfy him.”

“Do you really believe that?”

“I do, don’t you?”

I don’t know. My gut (a little looser than usual lately but, hey — it’s a post-holiday gut) says no: How can a guy prefer to watch porn and whack off  instead of having a real-live naked babe writhing all over him? I watch porn and as nice as it is to see hard-bodied men with rather, uh, generous members going at it, I’d much, much rather have a guy with a member of normal size (oh, OK, I’ll accept larger, too) naked in front of me.

So this fear about porn seems silly to me. But now sexuality counselor and author Ian Kerner warns that guys are masturbating way to much, and women are suffering because of it:

(M)en are masturbating 50 to 500% more than they would normally without Internet porn. So if a guy normally masturbated once a day, he might now be doing it two or three times a day. …

(T)oday’s woman faces more challenges to her sexual satisfaction than ever before. An increasing number of men are suffering from a syndrome I’ve dubbed Sexual Attention Deficit Disorder. Just as people with real ADD tend to be easily distracted, guys with SADD have become so accustomed to the high levels of visual novelty and stimulation that Internet porn provides that they’re unable to focus on real sex with a real woman. Men with SADD tend to find themselves getting bored or impatient during sex, and suffering from mechanical “male-functions”: They may be physiologically aroused and even have an erection, but they’re not at peak mental arousal. Guys with SADD may also simply lack the mojo for real sex because they’re depleted from masturbation. They’re not running on a full tank, physically, mentally, and certainly not sexually.

“Depleted from masturbation?” What a great way to be exhausted!

But I’m not sure about this SADD thing. I’ve been bored and impatient during sex from time to time — haven’t we all? That’s why women fake orgasms; they just want the guy to get it over already so they can go to sleep!

My problem with porn addiction isn’t the porn; it’s the addiction. Anything in excess — drinking, drugs, gambling and, yes, porn — is unhealthy. But, it’s the “excess” part that’s unhealthy, not the activity.

So, what’s the “right” amount of porn to watch? 15 minutes a day? A week? And how many times should guys be jacking off? Daily? Weekly? Kerner doesn’t say, and maybe that’s the problem — there’s no right amount for everyone; it depends how it’s impacting your relationships, if it’s impacting your relationships.

At least Kerner gives teen guys a buy; a few times a day isn’t excessive for them, he says. I’m sure The Kid will be relieved.

  • Is porn a big problem fin your relationships?
  • Are men masturbating too much?
  • Are women?
  • Would you rather watch porn and jack off, or have a willing naked person in bed with you?
  • Have you ever been bored and impatient during sex?

© Cristian Ilie Ionesc –

Bring on the comments

  1. Steve says:

    When I saw the title in my RSS feed I was wondering how you were going to work Sara into a story about men masturbating too much.

  2. Chopper Papa
    Twitter: chopperpapa

    Kat, I can personally attest that pornography can damage and and even ruin intimacy in a relationship. Men become attracted to pornography for multiple reasons, loneliness, wanton attention they imagine that the girl on the screen is giving him, affection, the list goes on. Unfortunately, once he starts down that path he soon enough finds that what once ‘satisfied’ him now doesn’t and he must find something more hard core and on the fringes to get him to that point. And breaking the habit becomes even harder.

    Most men know, within their hearts, that looking at pornography isn’t natural especially when they are in a relationship with someone. Most feel dirty and guilty afterwards (as most addicts do after they binge).

    I can assure you that pornography is a much bigger issue than most want or care to admit. It’s estimated that 90% of all men look at pornography on a consistent basis.

    Personally looking at pornography is never a good idea and begins a path that many find they can never get off of (especially men and their nature of being visible). I could go on about this but will shut up now..:-)

    Great post!

  3. Mike says:

    I agree with Poppa Choppa. What I see is that guys that a lot of watch fall into 2 categories. 1- They expect the world and women to be like the porn movies which they try to inflict on the rest. 2- they truly have a problem. The porn and masturbation is an attempted way to fill the hole inside of them. Porn is everywhere and you would be surprised by who watches it.

  4. Edgar says:

    With perhaps the exception of “Emmanuelle,” heterosexual pornography seems to be mostly about the objectification of women and the reduction of sexuality to the mechanics of getting one’s rocks off (yes – mostly focused on the male release). Masturbation often is similarly utilitarian – releasing some urgent sexual energy. So as a result, at least for me, pornography is limited in attraction and usefulness.

    As you note, Kat, real sex with real people is about so much more – it’s about the warmth, the tastes, the interplay of energy and affection, the sounds and smells, and ideally the love between you and your partner – none of which is available in pornography (well, maybe those fake sounds on the soundtrack.)

    I suppose one downside to pornography these days is not just unique to pornography – it’s endemic in the rest of our lives, too – and that’s the immediate access to vast amounts of information and stimulation. That’s the challenge – being able to control that firehose (to use an analogy that might be appropriate here) in a way that keeps one sane and human and in touch with what’s ultimately important, namely, living life with integrity, compassion and love.

    As for answering your questions, pornography is not a problem for my relationships, because it doesn’t factor in at all. And now that I am over 50, masturbation has waned as well – partly because of less desire for it, but also because of a desire to reserve that energy for making love with my partner. I compare that to my 20’s, when I would masturbate sometimes to take the edge off before lovemaking, so I could last longer when we got busy. Ah, to have the knowledge and desires of this stage of life, with the performance abilities of my 20’s!

  5. Janet says:

    I think Edgar’s on it when he says it’s not just about porn. I think about all visuals we see every day, most of them promoting sex/sexiness to sell product. Although some of it can be laughed off as silly juxtaposition, because it’s so prevalent I think it can skew everyday relationships. When I say “everyday” I don’t mean boring whatsoever, I mean in-the-moment with real people and their lovely unique features. Even in my 40’s I see that Darn Leggy Doll haunting women of all ages- look at all the plastic surgery that’s done now.

  6. A dude says:

    While I personally think porn is boring and ridiculous (give me a racy R-rated movie any day), I don’t think it’s as damaging as some of the commentators indicate for *most* men (there are always substance abusers). Most couples I know have healthy sex lives and if the figures above are correct many of the men at least in those relationships look at porn (although I think the 90% figure is probably high for “regular use”). They know the difference between reality and fantasy, just like kids don’t shoot up schools or commit suicide if they listen to Marilyn Manson.

    In fact, Kerner’s study seems to be a regurgitation of this repudiated idea. I honestly doubt porn leads to more masturbation anyway- it’s just a more graphic substitute for the lingerie section of the Sears catalog we had when we were kids. The urge to have sex (with one’s self or others) seems internally, rather than externally, driven.

  7. Henway says:

    Yep, as a man, I can say men are masturbating way too much these days, and the effects are worse performance in the bedroom – it makes sense logically, and there’s really no way to say it’s not that case. When you masturbate, you drain energy, sexual desire, etc.. and your motivation to have any sex goes down.

  8. The Observer says:

    Gotta think this is one of your juicier blogs, eh,Kat? And you’re all over the page with this one…from fear and shame about talking to your son about a natural function to wondering if, for some, partnered sex is boring or leaving folks impatient. On the first item I’d bump it up to his dad to “have the talk” but keep in mind your son will know you finked on him. Its gotta be an “eeww” moment. Soldier on through it.

    As to the ugly porn raising its head, so to speak, its possible some are satisfied with what used to be called “self-abuse” vs partnered sex. I have always craved a warm, generous, wanting partner…and I’ve not seen even an HD/3D replacement that could compete.

    But the “Good in Bed” website does cover this subject with regularity…the SADD aspect. But this week you managed to skirt the real matter–your son and being a young man full of hormones. I think some education is necessary for him. So that he doesn’t attach shame to his masturbation, and that your un-ease around your discovery doesn’t provide him unspoken disapproval. You’re too good a mother to not want to protect and guide him to healthy and rewarding partnership in the future. You don’t really think that he’s unaware of your sexual relationship with your man do you? Time to woMAN-up and either get this into discussion with your son, or outsource it to the father to get some educatin’ done.

    I became a father at 16 because I was ignorant, unprepared, and rebellious. I’d love it not to be duplicated with anyone I know. It broke my heart at the time. There must be lots of recommendations for books or kindle downloads on teaching teens about sex and relationships. Check the Good in Bed site and others like it. Cheers!

  9. KC says:

    You GUYS, crack me up!! After reading your notes, I’m going to burn all of my Porn Movies and read the bible instead. Thank you for showing me the error of my ways… I’ve decided to enter the Priesthood. I’ll no longer be masturbating and I’ve asked my girlfriend to move out and take her lingerie, her sex toys and all of her lube with her… I’ve called all of her girlfriends and told them that I will NO LONGER be partaking in those 3somes and 4somes….
    I can’t wait to follow the path of purity!

    I’m having a book burning this weekend, Please bring all Playboys and Penthouses!

    Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord !

  10. M says:

    I could probably challenge any man in the self love olympics I think… Yes I am that sad.

    The thing about porn is that if you watch it so much… okay let’s take that stat of using porn to masturbate 2/3 times a day (as opposed to 1) well then that’s 3 times a day you’re watching a porn clip. The problem with normalising porn is that it’s not only completely unrealistic in terms of normal girls but then it starts to affect the way we live. I don’t have any fancy schmancy stats or research about it but I’m pretty willing to bet my life that women engage in more anal sex now BECAUSE of porn.

    “Normal” porn now isn’t like porn in the 80s or even 90s it’s pretty full on. If that’s normal… and men are watching it 2/3 times a day to jack off then wow… we’re normalising an abnormal kind of ‘normal porn’. I don’t have a problem with people don’t WHATEVER they are into..and yes I pretty much mean whatever.. pretty open minded but normalising porn doesn’t quite sit right with me. I also kinda think it makes men angry… It’s not about love at all… That’s a whole different theory..

  11. Kat Wilder says:

    Steve — Sara wouldn’t have it any other way. 😉

    Chopper Papa — is it worse now than, say, 30 years ago, when all you had was Playboy and Hustler? Didn’t men feel creepier when they had to go to one of those seedy sticky-floor moviehouses to see a porn flick?

    Mike — I’d expect almost every man, and many women to watch it — at least once or twice. I think most happens in the red states …

    Edgar — aren’t men being objectified, too? I agree with you and @Janet; the images we’re bombarded with daily are pornographic. Look at the ads in any woman’s magazine (or men’s, for that matter). Sex sells, right? Don’t even get me started on TV/movies/video games. Even Disney!

    Dude — The urge to have sex (with one’s self or others) seems internally, rather than externally, drive. I agree. The external may trigger something, but we are biologically driven to procreate.

    Henway — When I masturbate (alone), sure, I’m relaxed but many times I’m wishing the BF were next to me!

  12. jim
    Twitter: mobilene

    I’d trade the porn in a heartbeat for a best friend and lover to share my bed with.

  13. Kat Wilder says:

    TO — Whoa, there; I don’t have any “shame” about talking to my son about sex (because we have), nor do I think he feels shame. It’s a bit awkward, mom to son, but I’ve tried as best I can. I’ve left books around and I know he’s read them.

    KC — I’m sure you’ll make a very nice man of the cloth. Of course, many of them haven’t exactly been pure …

    M — No, porn is never really about love (although the female-made porn tends to be more romantic; still, that ain’t love) And, yeah, porn nowadays is ALL over the map. Midgets? Yep. Granny porn? Sure. BBW? Absolutely. BB granny midget porn? You bet! But, it’s too late — we have been pornified. Now what?

    Jim — Amen!

  14. The Observer says:

    Kat, thanks for providing “the rest of the story”. I should have known you, among all people, would have covered this base…but you so quickly launched into the too much porn aspect I thought I’d detected angst about this in your tone. My bad. I did credit you for being an awesome mom, at least. Mea culpa!
    That’s latin for “my bad”. I stick with the “eeww” comment. Just add lots of beach to the wash 🙂 But overall very topical stuffs, Kitten.

  15. William Belle
    Twitter: wqbelle

    Kate Wilder asks a question. I answer. Unfortunately, it took me four thousand words; a little verbose for just a comment. Gee, is there more than one thing you can do too much of?

  16. T
    Twitter: tsquest

    It’s funny because I know for a fact that my man masturbates every day at least once… and yet he has more stamina than any man I’ve ever been with. I often wonder if it’s BECAUSE his body expects to get off every day?

    And both of us watch porn. Thankfully, the way it affects him is different than (again) anyone I’ve been with before. He actually gets more aroused by seeing accidental show of skin in movies than blatant in your face pornography. If a boob accidentally falls out, he’s thrilled! 🙂

    Me? I will admit that I have to be aware of how much I watch porn because I have noticed it affect how easily I’m turned on. And if I masturbate too much, I’m less sensitive. So… you may be on to something here.

  17. VJ says:

    Q: “* Is porn a big problem fin your relationships?
    * Are men masturbating too much?
    * Are women?
    * Would you rather watch porn and jack off, or have a willing naked person in bed with you?
    * Have you ever been bored and impatient during sex?”

    Fin porn? Of all the sickest most degenerate… Well we’d still rarely know or recognize if it was a problem anyways.

    Most people with willing partners really don’t give porn much of their time. They’re too busy! It’s only when you’re bored, lonely & impatient w/o a willing partner or near one that porn usually becomes an acceptable substitute. Still, ‘classical’ economic studies have shown that porn when it was fairly rare (the 19c. frontier West) was priced Higher than the usual prostitute charged. (It was a reusable image/picture that could be easily carried).

    That’s something that might come in handy to think about today, when porn is much more ubiquitous. If the ‘barriers of entry’ into the market (pun intended) are too high or daunting for many men? They’ll opt out more often. Why go out & spend money you don’t have & can’t afford for an experience you might not enjoy, or barely endure (‘dating’) when other entertainment options are available at your finger tips for & mainly (or almost) for free? Ditto for some women too. But for much of humanity? Having a willing naked person available to them is a reasonably rare enough occurrence to make the porn industry enormously profitable. And there in lies the tale.

    Other than that? I’m with T. I’ve never seen any professional academic studies that show any sustained negative effects of porn on most relationships, Other than in the context of addiction. And that’s really not as common as many might care to believe. But still, we’ve got drunks that drive that do far more dangerous things with dramatically more deadly consequences.

    But I imagine that porn is becoming more of an issue in more relationships, simply due to it’s widespread use & enjoyment as an entertainment medium & use as everyday sexual syntax for many otherwise ‘normal’ exchanges. Other than that I think more men should be masturbating more women & vise versa. It would be a good start. Cheers, ‘VJ’

  18. The Observer says:

    Some posters have taken a less than accepting approach to the “addiction” and harmful aspects of porn…food for thought follows.

    Found some useful info about “porn addiction”. AKA porn “compulsivity”, as “porn addiction is not actually (currently) an accepted term in clinical psychology, I’ve read.

    Here’s an excerpt (if that’s allowed, moderator):

    “Despite being ingested through the eyes and ears instead of the mouth or bloodstream, porn stimulates the reward and pleasure centers in the brain, instantly and
    dramatically, increasing the production of dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with
    both sexual arousal and drug highs. In addition, using porn for sexual stimulation has been shown to increase production of other “feel-good” chemicals, such as adrenaline,endorphins, testosterone, and serotonin; with sexual climax, it releases powerful hormones related to falling in love and bonding, such as oxytocin and vasopressin

    Research shows that, like compulsive gambling and shopping, porn use can lead to a “process addiction,” in which a person becomes ddicted to a set of behaviors (e.g.consuming porn) that, in turn, powerfully alter brain chemistry. The Internet and other electronic devices allow porn users to click through a never-ending stream of stimulating material as they look for just the right porn site, the sexual activity of interest, or the
    ultimate fantasy partner. Like a carefully calibrated slot machine, it rewards only
    intermittently, compelling the user to stay engaged and not give up. Users can end up
    looking at porn for longer and longer periods of time, often seeking riskier content to “hit the jackpot” of landing on an extremely stimulating image.” Google Wendy Maltz and husband Larry Maltz.

  19. VJ says:

    Dear O, We’re getting into Reductio ad absurdum territory here. Look at vintage porn of the 70’s. About half of it’s content is now in mainstream ads, almost everywhere. Certainly late night cable TV. Goodness help you if you had an ordinary, ‘all stations’ access via a Big dish in your backyard, and/or the wherewithal to just decode some of the ‘regular’ content. TV in Italy or many S. American countries might shock you. But nudity, especially female nudity for simply entertainment & ratings boost abounds. And mostly? That’s what’s porn has been about for 100’s of years. Just the mere suggestion of ‘fun & frolic’ with a young comely lass. And that? Your kids can and do consume with their dinners, if the TV is on. Daily. Hourly.

    But if the ‘process’ you describe is to be considered anywhere near a real addiction, or very common? Then we’re also pretty addicted to TV, and our consumerist culture too. So get to the back woods to protect you & yours, because it’s a pretty hopeless cause. No one will agree with the kind of surveillance or enforcement anymore of such nonsense ‘blue laws’. They never worked, and worked counter productively against women & women’s health issues in particular. (See Anthony Comstock).

    This is not to say that it, as well as most other more salient issues (money, kids, sex frequency, etc) are not real issues in many marriages or relationships. It’s just to say that as an issue? It’s not typically cited as the top 3-4 in marital dissolution. Finding love/solace/good sex via Face Book, or an old ‘handy’ GF/BF? Much more of a serious issue than just mere masturbation. No matter how much lipstick you put on that pig. Which BTW? Is another story! Cheers, ‘VJ’

  20. The Observer says:

    VJ, thanks for your input. I’m not anti-porn, just have seen posts on other blogs & discussion forums that talk about porn addition. I certainly don’t favor curtailing the pursuits of those who advocate it…everyone’s sex is different as to content, I know a person can die from consuming too much water, but we need it to live. I’ve seen a lot of women reporting or posting questions about why can their partner cum through masturbation but not come while having sex with her, and usually she reports a very abundant use of porn as his other mistress. Some women, alternately report loving porn and being aroused by it and watching with hubby/SO. Like the song goes…”different strokes for different folks…”. A person can get addicted to anything. Sex will always, always sell. Cheers

  21. William Belle
    Twitter: wqbelle

    Why There’s No Such Thing as Sexual Addiction — And Why It Really Matters

    Dr. Marty Klein – March 1998

    If convicted mass murderer Ted Bundy had said that watching Bill Cosby reruns motivated his awful crimes, he would have been dismissed as a deranged sociopath. Instead, Bundy has said his pornography addiction made him do it–which many people treated as the conclusion of a thoughtful social scientist. Why?

    Pornography: Is it an addiction?

  22. Brian says:

    “Would you rather watch porn and jack off, or have a willing naked person in bed with you?”

    Numberone, those are not mutually exclusive propositions. Number 2, the reason I watch porn and jack off is because I do not have a willing naked person in bed with me. (Can you think of a better reason?). Number 3, could you please send a willing person (female, please) over so that I can more easily answer the question?