Masturbation happens in every culture, across every period of history, and it’s the way most adolescents discover what they enjoy before embarking on adult sexual relationships. However, if it’s becoming an obsession that inhibits other aspects of your life, or you belong to a religion or philosophy that forbids masturbation, then it’s possible to curb the impulse, gather your self-discipline, and take control of your urges.
Part 1 of 2: Staying Busy and Focused
Find another outlet for your time and energy. Fill your life with engaging activities. The excitement of doing something different can help replace the urge to masturbate, and you’ll have a go-to distraction next time you’re tempted. Try some of these options:
- Be Creative. The process of turning sexual urges into creative output (called sublimation) is something on which monks and sages have relied upon for centuries. Start writing, learn to play a musical instrument, paint, draw, or do whatever else makes you feel like you’re doing something productive.
- Play Sports. It takes discipline and persistence to excel at a sport. Develop an interest like running or swimming, or a group sport like soccer, football, basketball, or tennis. Also, any form of exercise will help you relieve tension, feel happier, and to make you focus on your physicality in a positive way. Yoga is another form of exercise that can help you feel more relaxed and less likely to feel the sudden urge to masturbate.
- Eat a Healthy Diet. Fruits and vegetables have healthy effects on the body and provide nutrients necessary to increase your energy to make you more active throughout the day.
- Find a new hobby, or cultivate a skill. Learning something that takes a while to master can refocus your brain on the delayed gratification of achieving goals instead of the instant gratification of masturbation. Try skills like cooking, woodshop, archery, baking, public speaking, or gardening.
- Volunteer your time. Devote your energy to helping teens who’ve been less fortunate than you, such as working at a shelter, tutoring low-income students, cleaning up blighted areas, or raising money for a good cause. You’ll get an altruistic feeling from helping others, and you’ll have less time to stray from your goals.
Make a plan for avoiding masturbation during your “go to” times of day. If you have problems before going to bed or in the shower, refrain from any temptation to masturbate. For instance, if it’s a problem late at night, drop to the floor and do push-ups until you’re too exhausted to do anything but fall asleep. If you find shower time too tempting, start using ice cold water only — you won’t want to be in there for long.
- If you always masturbate when you get home from school, make sure to have a solid plan to stave off any boredom you may feel. If you have so little to do that your mind frequently wanders to sexual thoughts, occupy your schedule. You’ll find it gets easier to avoid masturbation if you’re too busy or tired to spare any energy for distractions.
- If you’re tempted to masturbate in the morning, try to sleep with more than just one layer of clothing so touching yourself is more of an effort.
Limit your solitude. If you masturbate frequently because you feel lonely, find ways to be as socially engaged as possible. This means that you should join as many clubs or activities as you can, accept and give more invitations to people, and go out of your way to make more friends. If you want to date someone, consider asking a friend to set you up or join an online dating site.
- Another thing you can do is to limit the times when you are likely to be home alone. If you tend to masturbate in the hour or two before your parents get home from work, go for a walk during that time, or do your homework in a coffee shop.
- Even if all of your friends are busy, you can still limit your impulse to masturbate by going out in public. For instance, instead of watching the game at home by yourself, watch it at a sports bar. Even if you’re not hanging out with friends, you will not be alone, ultimately having no time for masturbation.
Stop watching porn on your computer. One of the reasons you may be masturbating so much is that you know that you can access porn within seconds if you want to. However, if you don’t have the willpower to stop looking at the porn on your own, then you may have to take other measures to get the job done:
- Consider installing porn-blocking software on your computer. Of course you will know the password to bypass the blocking function, but just having it pop up will remind you of your priorities. You can also type a random password in a text file, copy and paste it when you enter your password and verify it, then delete the text file. Then, you will not be able to know the password of your own porn-blocker. This is the best way to keep you strong and spare you the struggle.
- If you have the tendency to masturbate looking at porn on the computer, try moving your computer into a room where others can see you.
- If you have a physical collection of porn, dispose of it ASAP.
- Get Help. Porn addiction apps such as Brainbuddy are designed to rewire your brain so you crave real connection instead of porn.
Be persistent and patient. Stopping a masturbation addiction won’t hit you like a lightning bolt. It’s a process that requires commitment, and you might make mistakes or relapse on occasions. The real struggle is persevering, so commit now that you won’t let little mistakes stand in your way.
- Set up a reward system. Bribe yourself to stay on-track with rewards for good behavior. For instance, if you can go two whole weeks without masturbating once, treat yourself to a small indulgence like a new game or an ice cream cone.
- Reward systems are great; just make sure not to reward yourself with the very thing you’re trying to conquer, which, in this case, is masturbating. If you say that you’ll reward yourself with masturbation after a week of not doing it, then you’ll only be turning masturbation into something that you really, really want even more.
Part 2 of 2: Getting in the Right Mindset
Stop punishing yourself. Consider it this way: if you’re constantly dwelling on the disapproval that some may feel about masturbating, then you’re still thinking about masturbation all the time. Don’t just trade in your masturbation addiction for another one — they’re so closely related that you won’t resolve anything. Instead, acknowledge that this has been a problem for you, but you will persevere to stop the impulse.
- Remember, you’re human, and humans masturbate. Some studies show that up to 95% of males and 89% of females admit that they have masturbated. You’ll feel less shame once you realize you are not alone.
- Resist the urge of sinking into despair by remembering the times spent feeling sorry for yourself when it could have been spent relinquishing your addiction.
Don’t believe the myths about the harms of masturbation. If you want to stop your masturbation addiction, then you should do it for reasons that are personal, moral and Godly, not for reasons that are health-related. The only real health problem that can be caused is pain and rawness from chronic masturbation, but that can go away if you stop touching yourself so frequently.
Know that it will get better. If you have the faith that you can really find a way to stop your masturbation addiction, then you’ll be able to do it. Maybe your goal isn’t to stop masturbating completely, but just to limit your masturbation to a healthy amount, such as once or twice a day. That’s perfectly fine, too. If you have the belief that you really can win this battle, you’ll be much more likely to succeed than if you’re constantly second-guessing yourself.
- That being said, there may be days when you have relapses. If you find yourself masturbating one day when you planned not to, don’t think, “Oh, well, I’ve ruined this day anyway,” and then continue compulsively masturbating for the rest of the day and then starting fresh the next. This is about as logical as thinking that you should eat an entire pie because you’ve had one cookie and have ruined your diet for the day anyway.
Know when to seek help. If you’ve tried everything and just can’t seem to get your addiction under control, it might be time to tell someone else about your problem and ask for assistance. Don’t feel ashamed, and remember that many people have similar problems like an addiction. Seeking help is a brave action, and most people you ask will see it as such.
- Ask your religious leader for guidance. If you belong to a church, consider asking your local clergy for help. Keep three things in mind: First, these people become part of the clergy because they’re dedicated to helping their congregations. Second, they’ve probably already assisted someone with a masturbation addiction before. Lastly, they’re bound by strict confidentiality. Request a private appointment with your pastor, bishop, imam, rabbi, or other religious leader, and see if his or her advice can help you.
- Make an appointment with a medical professional. Counselors, psychologists and psychiatrists are all trained to help people with varying levels of addiction. Start by seeing a therapist in your area, who can assess your addiction and refer you to more specialized help if necessary. Several treatment options are available, from cognitive-behavior therapy to medication.