By Floyd Godfrey, LPC, CSAT candidate
It is not uncommon for children and teens to discover masturbation as they are growing up. Most kids will pass through a phase of self-awareness. And although this is very common it can also be an indicator that something else is going on.
The story of an adult sex addict is depicted in the white book written by Sexaholics Anonymous, and says: “No wonder so many of us found masturbation to be infinitely more than childhood experimentation. It got us high on ourselves, short-circuiting any meaningful connection with others and God.” He describes how masturbation became a drug. At times of loneliness, stress, anxiety or depression he would turn to masturbation for escape the discomfort. This behavior continued into adult life and marriage. He goes on to say: “Another substitute connection within ourselves was masturbation, which often continued through marriage and other relationships as the ‘normal’ experience” (White Book, Sexaholics Anonymous, pp. 52, 55).
How can you tell if masturbation is becoming part of a bigger problem – a possible sexual addiction? Are you worried it’s becoming a drug? The following are a few possible considerations.
1. You feel out of control with it. You simply can’t stop.
2. You keep masturbating even though you believe you should stop.
3. You often masturbate when you need to escape from stress, anxiety, loneliness or some other discomfort.
4. You masturbate even when you have a committed partner with whom you could be sexually intimate.
5. You attempt to hide what you are doing due to embarrassment.
6. You anticipate or plan the next opportunity to masturbate.
7. You imagine masturbating at inappropriate places like work or school.
8. Masturbation interrupts activities such as work, school or family time.
9. Masturbation has begun to change your interaction with loved ones or friends, often creating a sense of disconnection or emotional distance.
10. You feel moody, irritable, or regret after masturbating.
The previous list depicts statements I’ve heard from sex addicts about the escalation of the problem. The list comes from things they describe about masturbation preceding their sexual addiction. It doesn’t necessarily classify someone as a sex addict but gives some guidelines to consider.
If you think you or your child might have a problem with masturbation, or other sexual behaviors, give us a call for a free 15-minute consultation. We have a specialized program for sexual addictions in Mesa Arizona and can discuss your individual situation. (480) 668-8301.