Archive for Compulsive Masturbation

What is Compulsive Masturbation?

Posted in Compulsive Masturbation with tags , , , , on January 14, 2008 by tellgrace

keen01.jpgThis is a question that I am constantly asked to answer on the telephone. I have decided to look at this behavior as it is presented to me and the recovery research presented by Robert Weiss, LCSW, CAS, CSAT, Leslie Fisher, MSW, LISAC, CSA

Of all the types of sexual acting out, compulsive masturbation is one of the most secret and isolating. Many clients report that their internalized messages around masturbation are that the act itself is “dirty”, “shameful”, or “sinful.”

The addict engaging in compulsive masturbation seeks therapeutic intervention for help as a last resort, seeking relief from anxiety, obsession, isolation and the inability to seek or maintain healthy intimate relationships. Some compulsive masturbators do experience consequences through the viewing of inappropriate materials i.e. child pornography or through masturbating in inappropriate places i.e. the workplace or an automobile. However, the most frequent consequence of compulsive masturbation is a life devoid of intimacy, removed from feeling and filled with hidden shame.

As to the behavior of compulsive masturbation itself this can take place in differing forms. For example there are men who masturbate daily as a part of their “morning or evening routine.” Jay, in treatment for sex addiction for several years now, has the following to say about his experiences

Looking back now I can see that before I started working on this I had huge denial about how compulsive and driven an experience masturbation was in my life. Because the behavior itself was so built into my routines and I saw it like washing my hands or brushing my teeth I never thought of it as something that could interfere with my attempts at sexual relationships or self-esteem as a man. My association with masturbation was simple, every morning when I showered I masturbated to fantasy and every night before I went to sleep I masturbated to porn to help me relax. I never questioned it and at 37 years old I had a 22-year history of this behavior. Masturbation was just what I did!

While some like Jay compulsively masturbate in a brief, routine fashion, others can act more as binge masturbators. They may be spending hours at a time “lost” in fantasy, porn use and masturbation. Unlike the routine masturbator, the binge masturbator is likely to be acting out to specific stimuli. This type of compulsive masturbator can lose hours or even days to the computer, videos, with or without drug use and masturbation. They can literally lock themselves up at home, or in motel rooms and disappear into their masturbatory escape.

For the compulsive masturbator who does so to the point of injury, the analytical aspects of self-harm are varied. Often, the person describes a sense of dissociation and depersonalization. Engaging in self-harm allows the person to simultaneously dissociate from their overwhelming anxiety and emotional pain, while at the same time feeling some sense of “aliveness” through their physical pain. Following the masturbatory self-harm episode, the person has a cathartic flood of endorphins that may provide a “numbing” effect.

One of the most common methods of stimulating arousal pathways are high-risk sex, which masturbating to the point of injury would be included in. The numbing process produces a calming, relaxing, soothing, or sedative process. Masturbation creates an analgesic experience in the brain.

The fantasy focuses on escape through obsession, preoccupation, and ritualization. At the core of such obsessions is a governing fantasy that may involve the ultimate escape from their internal psychic world flooded with pain and shame.

Combining the arousal, numbing, and fantasy pathways together creates a powerful package for the client who masturbates to the point of injury. They are able to achieve high states of arousal through the masturbation. When the physical act becomes painful through repetition, cutting, or the combination of inserting physical objects to cause pain, the client achieves a high state of arousal followed immediately by numbing and fantasy.

For the client engaging in compulsive masturbation, they often experience problems with concentration and memory. This is a dangerous side effect of compulsive masturbation and signals that the brain is being over drained of acetylcholine. This behavior can also drain the motor nerves, neuro-muscular endings, and tissues of acetylcholine and replace it with too much stress adrenalin which is where memory loss, lack of concentration, and eye floaters come from. To fight these symptoms, the chemical levels in their body needs to be balanced.

What a client seeks in their masturbatory fantasy world probably centers on sexual acts with others yet their compulsive masturbation reinforces the belief that, “I am alone, no one will desire sexually; therefore I am responsible for meeting more core sexual needs alone.”

This is such a great truth about the compulsive masturbator. I welcome you to contact me if this is something that you can relate too and require some support or understanding in.


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