Is It Possible To Masturbate Too Much?

Photographed by Ashley Armitage.
History is riddled with urban myths about masturbation. Once upon a time, people truly believed that masturbation led to blindness or caused hair to grow on someone's palms. While those myths seem pretty ridiculous, there are others that sound so possible they're easy to confuse for the truth.
Some myths claim that using vibrators for too long can damage your genitals, that using sex toys too much can make you unable to orgasm from sex with real people, and that you can get addicted to masturbation. But, most of these myths stem from the same worry — that it's possible to masturbate too much.
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That worry isn't totally unfounded. It is possible to have too much solo sex, says Lisa Finn, a sex educator for Babeland. But, it's incredibly rare for someone to cross that line. As long as your masturbation isn't interfering with your work or social life, then you could masturbate multiple times a day and it wouldn't be too much.
"It’s a great way to take care of your body, to de-stress, and relax," Finn says. During orgasm, blood flows to your genitals and stimulates the nerve endings that send happy feelings to your brain. So, a daily orgasm can actually help keep your sex organs engaged. For people who have vulvas, masturbating regularly can also exercise your pelvic floor muscles and lead to stronger orgasms in the future, Finn says.
Masturbation can also be educational, says Alyssa Dweck, MD, a gynaecologist in New York. It can help you figure out what makes your body tingle in all the best ways: whether it's penetrative or external stimulation (or both), or a certain pressure or rhythm. Yet, it's precisely this ability to explore so many sensations that brings up another myth — that using toys to masturbate can turn someone off from having sex with real people.
There's a tiny kernel of truth to that, Dr. Dweck says. Masturbating in the same way every time, and doing it often, can train your brain to orgasm only when your body is stimulated in that one way. That can make it difficult for you to orgasm during sex with a partner, especially if it's a high-powered vibrator that gets you off and you don't use toys with your partner. But, that situation is extremely rare, Finn says. "You should only worry if you’re masturbating in one way and doing it often and not allowing your body other sensations," she says. It's easy to switch up your routine by changing the type of toy you're using, putting the toy (or your hands) in a different place, varying the vibration setting, or tinkering with a number of other variables.
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There's also a kernel of truth in the worry that masturbating too much can actually damage your genitals, or cause your clitoris to go numb. But, again, it's unlikely. If someone uses a high-powered vibrator on their vulva for a long time, it could cause temporary numbness. But, that will go away, Finn says. "The clitoris is special. It becomes engorged with blood for arousal, but that also protects from injury," Dr. Dweck says. Using proper lubrication can keep you from injuring yourself, but causing permanent damage is extremely rare. It comes down to common sense, Dr. Dweck says. Even if pain is part of your sexual play, you know when it's going too far, and you can stop yourself.
So while it is possible to masturbate too much, it hardly ever happens. "Even if you’re masturbating every night before you go to bed and every morning when you wake up, as long as you’re doing it in a healthy way, there’s no problem," Finn says. So, go ahead and grab a vibrator. You're (probably) not going to do any damage.
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