Does frequent masturbation lead to lunacy or any psychological problems?
This concern reflects the state of medical information of the early 1900s, which resulted from the unscientific sex research of that time, which was conducted on patients in insane asylums. This research was in the form of observational studies by well-intended physicians who observed the sexual behavior of people in mental institutions. Such studies led to the conclusion that people with mental illness masturbated a lot, and often had little inhibition about “doing it” in front of others. In those days, many mentally ill people did not receive appropriate treatment for their disorder, which may have resulted in cognitive impairment and led to disinhibition about masturbation. This association has made the unscientific connection between psychological problems and masturbation.
We have come a long way from these days, and there is simply no evidence to support the claim that self-pleasuring (such as masturbation) leads to any kind of mental illness. Current thinking is that there is no such thing as “too much masturbation.” It has been well established that most human beings, male and female, masturbate throughout all their life stages and throughout their lives, regardless of age, although most persons do not admit this and do not discuss such personal behavior. It is also believed that masturbation does not interfere with relationships or any life activities.
However, if a person is compelled to self-stimulation to the exclusion of any other sexual behavior that includes a partner, such a person is suffering from some type of social, developmental, or obsessive-compulsive disorder and should probably be seeking help.
– Judith A. Seifer, PhD, RN
Professor of Clinical Sexuality
Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality