How Often Should You Masturbate?
After a year trapped indoors due to COVID-19, anything home-related started to lose its luster—including masturbation. It’s not surprising that in an already isolating year, such a solitary activity might seem less appealing. How often should you masturbate as a man, even if you don’t feel like it?
What are the benefits of masturbation?
“Sexual desire is one of those things that if you don’t use it, you lose it,” Britney Blair, clinical psychologist and co-founder of Lover, a sexual wellness app, said. “Sometimes you need to prime the pump in order to keep your sexual brain engaged.”
Obviously, this can feel difficult during times of high stress.
“The number one libido killer is stress,” Blair explained. “Which is sad, because sex, whether it’s solo or partnered sex, is a great way to relieve stress, emotionally and physiologically.”
Orgasms release a number of hormones and endorphins that relieve stress and increase feelings of relaxation and happiness—so in a time when many of us are running on low emotional reserves, masturbation is an important practice to keep in our repertoire.
Orgasms release a number of hormones and endorphins that relieve stress and increase feelings of relaxation and happiness.
How often should men masturbate?
Of course, masturbation, like any other sexual activity, shouldn’t feel like an obligation. But it may be worth reframing how we view it: as a self-care practice, instead of something to only do when you’re turned on (or when you’re bored and have nothing else to do).
“I would recommend people prioritize engaging in some sort of erotic activity regularly, almost like you would working out or having some downtime,” Blair said. “The erotic mind is a muscle that needs to be worked like any other.”
For men, Blair recommended limiting doing so to every 36 to 72 hours, as masturbating more frequently may lead to sexual dysfunction. Women can partake daily, or at least every other day.
Is masturbation healthy?
So what do you do if you want to get off, but aren’t feeling turned on? The first thing to do is to consider the question from a different angle.
“What most people don’t realize, either solo or in long-term relationships, is that sexual desire follows arousal,” Blair said, instead of the other way around.
In other words, you don’t have to wait until you’re turned on to get off.
Here are other some tips to consider:
- Change it up. Masturbating using one consistent method can train you into only being sexually responsive to that specific method, and thus limit your options. So if you usually head straight for the penis or the clitoris, try exploring other erogenous zones. Or shift positions—if you usually masturbate lying down, try standing up or on all fours. “I like to think of it as choosing between the high road and low road,” Blair said. “The low road is using the exact same stroke and coming quickly; the high road is focusing on your arousal and building pleasure and sensation over time, and less on the outcome.”
- Try a new location. In the same way vacation sex always seems a little better, so too can masturbating in a different locale, even if you don't leave home. To gain a new perspective, try the guest room if you have one, the backyard if you're daring, or, hell, lay across the kitchen counter (assuming you politely wipe things down afterward).
- Consider alternatives to porn. According to recent studies, Blair said, there is an uptick in delayed ejaculation and erectile dysfunction (ED) for people who watch porn more than once a week. So maybe take a break from porn, and explore other avenues of arousal: a romance novel, an erotic audiobook or just your own filthy mind.
- Find a teammate. If you have access to a sexual partner, try masturbating together. Blair recommends all her couples clients introduce mutual masturbation to their sex life. “You might not feel like swinging from the rafters on a weeknight,” she said, “but you might just want to masturbate together.”
How you masturbate is up to you; the important thing is to not stop trying.