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The Zero Masturbation Guide to More Sex

The Zero Masturbation Guide to More Sex: DON JON / Relativity Media

DON JON / Relativity Media

After my girlfriend told me for something like the 15th time how unhappy she was with how infrequently we had sex, I knew something had to change. It’s not that I don’t like sex. I do. But I was way too into masturbating.

I had tried to curb my habit many ways ⎯ only masturbating on certain weekdays or cutting out porn for months at a time. But nothing seemed to help.

The solution may sound simple – obvious, even – but it took me a long time to figure out.

After a previous girlfriend dumped me for choosing porn over her one too many times, I swore I’d never abuse the stuff again.

And I didn’t for a while. When I met my current girlfriend, in 2007, I was more or less porn-free.

But I love porn ⎯ always have ⎯ and if porn isn’t available, I have almost as much fun masturbating to my imagination. Soon into my new relationship, I found myself slipping.

But slipping, I felt, was unacceptable, or at least abusing porn was. So in an effort to curb masturbation to a point where I could still do it and still have enough “gas in the tank” for my girlfriend, I got very creative.

I would only watch porn on Mondays and Wednesdays, or I’d only watch it if my girlfriend was away on vacation or having her period. If I felt I was again beginning to abuse porn, I’d cut it out entirely, sometimes abstaining for six-month stretches. I allowed myself to masturbate to my imagination much more liberally, but when I began doing that too frequently, I only allowed myself to do it after my girlfriend and I had had sex, as a type of reward.

Though all my efforts to curb masturbation helped somewhat, I noticed I wasn’t winning the war. My habit was in fact interfering with my sex life.

For example, I wouldn’t initiate sex as much, or I’d reject my girlfriend’s advances a little too often.

I knew I was harming my sex life, but I still wanted the relationship to work. So I kept trying to come up with different strategies that would allow me the best of both worlds. Probably the most elaborate: for two months I said yes to anything my girlfriend suggested. I thought by saying yes more often I’d be more inclined to say yes when she requested sex.

Obviously, I was desperate.

Here’s the question I need to answer: Why do I love porn and masturbation so much in the first place?

I asked Virginia Sadock, MD, who runs the Human Sexuality Program at New York University’s Langone Medical Center.

Dr. Sadock said I am probably “extremely vulnerable to stimulation,” and masturbation was important to me “as a relaxer.”

OK, makes sense. But might a deeper reason also exist?

“When people masturbate so much,” she said, “it usually means something is missing in a relationship.” But, she added, that “something” should be worked out with a partner, not a screen.

Masturbation, or rather unbridled porn consumption, she said, can be devastating to relationships.

“Not only are many women these days being cheated out of sex,” she said, “they are not getting what is a very important turn-on to them ⎯ being really desired.”

Which brings us back to that initial argument my girlfriend and I were having about not having enough sex. She had been upset mostly because my lack of interest made her feel ⎯ bingo! ⎯ undesired. When I mentioned that masturbation might be the root cause of the sexual problems we were having, she recommended I cut it out entirely.

So I did.

And, wow, has masturbation abstinence paid off.

My desire to have more sex quickly increased; I began wanting to do more kinky things with my girlfriend. Our fights about sex vanished. My girlfriend seems happier.

Zero masturbation abstinence hasn’t been easy, but it does get easier as time goes on, which is how addiction recovery works, says Robert Weiss, a sex addiction therapist in Los Angeles and author of several books on sexual dysfunction.

The more time one spends masturbating, Weiss said, the more one reinforces the desire to repeat the behavior. But when one masturbates less, the body begins seeking out other sources of pleasure.

Which is great, because I’ve got someone I love right next to me.


Chad Smith is a freelance writer originally from Queens, N.Y., now living in Hamburg, Germany.

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