Reviewed by Wendy Boring-Bray, DBH, LPC
In the past, people have talked about masturbation as a negative activity. Decades ago, people frowned upon masturbation much more than they do now. This led to some people linking masturbation and mental health issues without there being any real reason to do so. For the most part, masturbation and depression are not linked in any way. Can masturbation cause depression? Well, that topic could be a little bit more complicated when you get into the nuance of things.
It’s possible that someone could wind up feeling guilt or shame because they masturbated. Despite masturbation being touted as a healthy and natural practice, it’s still something that many religions categorize as a sinful activity. Depending on which religion you adhere to, if indeed you are religious at all, you might feel ashamed for masturbating on occasion. Feelings of guilt and shame can lead you to become depressed over time, and this is the only real way that masturbation and depression are linked together.
Why Masturbation Is Healthy
Masturbation is a healthy activity because it helps people to stay in-tune with their sexuality. People who are just getting used to themselves sexually can explore their feelings using masturbation. It’s a private activity that makes you feel good while also helping you to alleviate stress. One of the biggest benefits of masturbation is stress relief. People need to be able to reduce stress levels for the sake of their mental health, and you can use regular masturbation as a way to do this.
Many people simply masturbate when they feel like it and when they have enough private time to do so. Others will specifically masturbate before they go to sleep because they feel that it is helpful. People have noted that masturbating has helped them get to sleep faster, and you can say that doing so is conducive to healthy sleep patterns. You don’t need to masturbate to get a good night’s rest, but it is something that could be positive for you if you struggle to get to sleep at night.
It might be so helpful because it’s an easy way for you to relax before you try to go to sleep. Most people have stressful things that they need to deal with throughout the day. This can make it tough to unwind enough to feel as if you’re calm enough to go to sleep. Masturbating could be a good tool to utilize when you’re feeling wound up and need to get some relaxation. Other things could help you relax before bed, but masturbation is a healthy option that could put you in a better mood overall.
Women who masturbate might even be able to alleviate some of the symptoms of menstrual cramps and other types of cramps. It’s something that can make you feel better in a number of different ways. If you feel like you’re in the mood at night, then there is nothing wrong with taking the time to masturbate. It’s a pleasurable activity, and it can even help you to understand yourself sexually. Many people learn more about what they like as far as sex goes by experimenting with masturbation, which could be appealing to you.
It’s also worth noting that sexual activity such as masturbation could give you a mood boost to help depression symptoms. If you’re feeling down, then masturbating is something that will release endorphins into your bloodstream. This can give you a little boost to your mood that might help mild depression symptoms to fade away for a time. Masturbation certainly isn’t a treatment for depression, but it can help you feel better when used as a normal practice.
Masturbation And Your Sexual Identity
Your sexual identity matters, and masturbation could help you to better understand yourself as a sexual being. This is true no matter what gender you happen to identify as. People who masturbate can better understand the physical actions that will help them to achieve climax. It’s also a way to learn what types of things excite you and cause you to feel aroused. For some people, it can even help to alleviate issues with sexual desire and stimulation.
Some women have problems getting aroused enough to have sex, but this can turn around through regular masturbation sessions. Some women have sensitivity issues that cause their genitalia to not feel sensitive enough to achieve orgasm. Many have noted that masturbation has increased sensitivity over time so that they can experience greater sexual pleasure. This means that masturbation has been used as a tool by many women to experience better sex with their chosen partners. The same can be said of men, too, although men's issues are a little bit different.
Men might actually learn how to increase their sexual stamina using regular masturbation practices. It’s very common for men to be nervous or anxious about having an orgasm too early during sexual encounters. When you learn about yourself through masturbation, it’s possible to build up some resistance that will allow you to hold out longer. Practices like this can make it easier for someone to enjoy sex with a partner for prolonged periods of time. This can also sometimes lead to men not being able to orgasm as easily as they would like, though.
For instance, those who masturbate with a very tight grip might have issues with orgasm when actually having sex. They get too used to how tight the grip was during masturbation, making it more difficult to achieve orgasm while having sex with a partner. Thankfully, this can be turned around by altering masturbation habits. Loosening grip when masturbating as a male will help you return to normal sensitivity levels so that you will achieve a climax.
Knowing all of this, you can see that many practical sexual benefits are associated with masturbation. It also just helps you to gain a sexual identity that you can be comfortable with. Exploring your sexuality by yourself allows you to be that much more comfortable in sexual situations with others. Many religions are against masturbation, but the facts state that it is a healthy activity with many benefits. You can decide for yourself whether it’s a positive activity or something that you wish to avoid.
When Masturbation Is Problematic
You know the benefits of masturbation now, but there is a potential downside to masturbation that should also be addressed. Some people wind up getting addicted to masturbation because of how good it feels. This often goes hand-in-hand with pornography addiction, too. In modern times, it’s very easy for a person to get access to pornography, and this could cause you to want to masturbate more often than you should. If you get addicted to the action of masturbating, then you could even get yourself into trouble.
Some sex addicts wind up masturbating in public and doing other things that they should not be doing. Such actions are illegal, and they could even cause you to get put on a sex offender list depending on the situation. Other masturbation addicts have missed going to work or school because they were too caught up masturbating. This might sound comical to you if you don’t have a problem like this, but it is a serious issue that some people struggle with. Those who are addicted to masturbation need to be able to seek help.
When someone is depressed, they might also try to use masturbation as a crutch. Instead of facing their problems or trying to get better, they might start masturbating as a coping mechanism. As mentioned earlier, masturbation is a generally healthy action to take. However, it’s not going to be good if you’re masturbating too much because you’re trying to make yourself feel better. It’s going to be necessary to deal with your depression and seek treatment so that you can truly get better.
Depression treatment will allow you to get through depression issues that are holding you back in life. If you’re unsure about whether you’re depressed or just going through a tough time in life, then you should take this depression test. It’s a good way for you to be sure that you’re dealing with a depression problem. Once you’ve taken the test, it’ll be easy to make an appointment with your doctor so that you can get diagnosed properly. Depending on what type of depression you’re dealing with, your doctor will be able to make treatment decisions that will make sense for you.
It’s possible to live with depression and thrive once you have received treatment. You might wind up taking antidepressant medications, but you could also wind up going to therapy to get help for your depression. All of these treatment options are very good at helping you to get to a better place. Masturbation generally shouldn’t factor into your worries about depression, but if you are having issues with guilt, then you can get help by talking to a dedicated therapist.