How Much is Too Much?

Posted by Beth Darling on May 20th 2024

How Much is Too Much?

Dear Beth, How do I know if I masturbate too much? I'm a 36 y/o married man, but my wife and I only have sex once every couple of weeks so I jerk off almost every day but then I feel bad about it. 



Hi T.H.,

I get it. Most of us were raised with at least some shame about masturbating, and even adults tend to scoff at the idea of a married person having a need/desire to self-pleasure.

But, please, let me assure you that it’s not only perfectly normal to masturbate, it can be a healthy part of a person’s sexual life. I encourage my clients to enjoy regular self pleasure as part of a healthy sexual life. As for what’s “too much”? Well, since everyone is different, with different libidos, I can’t give you the answer. The best I can do is tell you that if it satisfies you—without getting in the way or detracting from your day-to-day life or your relationship, it’s probably all good.

On the other hand, if it’s distracting you from work, interfering with your family time or making you less interested in sexy fun with your wife, it’s probably too much. Also, if you find yourself using porn more than you think is appropriate, or you're watching porn that doesn’t align with your own moral compass, t’s probably time to take a step back. In short, I think masturbation is problematic when it becomes the reason we stop living in accordance with our own priorities and values.

Given that you’ve reached out, I think this is a good time for you to explore why you’re doubting your actions. Is there guilt or discomfort tied to these feelings? Do these feelings come from your own beliefs, or from pressures and expectations you feel from others? Do you feel guilty about the frequency of your self-pleasure or the fact that you do it at all? Are you hiding it from your wife? Are you worried your wife won’t approve? All of these questions are important and can help you decide if you need to make changes. You deserve to do what makes you happy and healthy, but you don’t want it to detract from other parts of your life.

Of course, discussing your sexual needs, desires, and frequency with your wife can strengthen your connection and help you both understand each other’s needs better. This might also alleviate some of the feelings you're experiencing about your sexual habits. While you might not want to announce every time you masturbate, it would be nice if you don’t feel like you're hiding, either.

If you're masturbating so much that you’re not enjoying your sexy fun with your wife as much, or it’s interfering with other areas of your life, I hope you’ll take a step back. While it’s a great stress reliever, it’s not ultimately helpful if you are using it to avoid other issues. Sometimes talking these things through can help, whether it’s with your wife or a professional counselor.

As always, seeking to understand your own needs and desires is a positive step toward a healthier, more fulfilling life. So, yay you! If you have any more questions I’m here for you.

With heaps of pleasure,