Should I Stop Masturbating?

Masturbating is a habit. How do I get myself to stop?
– Jordan*

Most teens masturbate at some point. Masturbation is part of the way people explore their bodies and learn about their sexual feelings. Because masturbation is a private thing, sometimes people feel embarrassed or worry if they should stop.

Although doctors know that masturbation is common (and even considered a healthy thing to do by many), there are lots of old myths about how it can cause problems. The truth is that, in almost all cases, masturbation doesn't cause problems. So it's not a habit you have to break, like smoking.

So when is masturbation a problem? If masturbation feels like a constant need and a person can't stop thinking about it — or when it keeps someone from doing other things like homework, getting to school, etc. — it's probably time to talk to a therapist, doctor, or nurse.

Reviewed by: D'Arcy Lyness, PhD
Date reviewed: October 2010

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