Dear Suzie, For personal reasons i want to abstain from masturbating, but recently am finding it increasingly difficult to control my thoughts, especially when i am in bed or alone. I’m only 13 and I’ve not been able to find any advice as most websites say it is OK and I don’t agree. Please help.
I’m not sure why you might have got the idea that you should abstain but whatever has effected you I’m sad and sorry about it. You say you’ve not been able to find “any advice” because most websites say masturbation is OK. And I’m not going to be any different. Masturbation is OK. It’s normal, healthy and harmless. It helps you explorer, discover and get to know your body and its reactions and that’s a very positive part of your development.
The one time when masturbation may be problematical is when people are so miserable about other aspects of their lives that they retreat into constant self-pleasuring as a way of giving themselves some comfort and release. If that’s the situation, then counselling to deal with the problems is the key, not avoiding masturbation. But I don’t think that’s your issue, is it?
If you had been looking for “advice” 50 or 100 years ago you might have found the sort of thing you seem to be saying you want. In the bad old days, ignorant and prejudiced bigots scared the life out of young people by spreading lies and misinformation about something so utterly natural and undamaging. Kids were told masturbation would drive them mad or make them unable to have sexual relationships later in life. All sorts of ridiculous methods were suggested to stop it – none of which really worked but all of which made people feel frustrated, guilty and confused.
The irony is that the more you try to stop, the more obsessed you will probably become about the issue. I suspect you spend much of your time thinking about it. If you just relaxed and accepted this as a very normal part of being a 13 year old you could give yourself some relaxed pleasure in a few minutes and then put the whole issue aside until the next time. Self pleasuring several times a day is perfectly normal for teenage boys of your age. You’re not going to harm yourself – there’s a natural limit to how often and how much you’ll want to do it. Bu there doesn’t, sadly, seem to be a limit to how miserable you can make yourself by trying to hold back.
You say you ‘don’t agree’ it’s OK. Well – if you’re saying you disagree that it’s harmless and normal and natural – you’re wrong, and that’s that. If you’re saying you feel it’s wrong for you, that’s your right. but I think you need to ask yourself why you are denying yourself something so common and even necessary for a teenager. If you’re abstaining for religious reasons, then all I can say is that that’s your choice and you’ll have to deal with it. It’s one of the reasons I have little respect for some religions; their strictures on sexuality and sexual expression are cruel, stupid, mindlessly out of date and have no connection to real people and real lives. Masturbation is something that people of both sexes and all ages (but especially 13 year old boys!) enjoy and so they should.