How Often Do Men Masturbate & Can You Masturbate Too Much?
It can be hard to tell whether your personal masturbation habits are within the range of what's normal because people don't tend to talk about this stuff openly. So here's how often men masturbate, plus all your FAQs about male masturbation, sperm concerns, and jerking off regularly.
How often men masturbate
Some men masturbate weekly, some men masturbate daily, some masturbate a few times a month, and still others hardly masturbate at all. All of these masturbation frequencies are considered within the normal range for men.
Here's how often men between ages 25 and 29 masturbate, according to 2009 data from the National Survey of Sexual Health and Behavior, as collected by FiveThirtyEight:
- 17% had not masturbated in the past year
- 15% masturbate a few times per year to monthly
- 25% masturbate a few times per month to weekly
- 23% masturbate 2 to 3 times per week
- 20% masturbate more than 4 times per week
In comparison, a 2008 study1 of British people between ages 16 and 44 found 73% of men had masturbated in the past four weeks, compared to 37% of women. (Here's our guide to how often women should masturbate, for reference.)
"There is a ton of variation in how much people masturbate, and it fluctuates throughout our lives due to things like health, stress, schedule, desire, partnerships with others, and so forth," sex and relationship therapist Shadeen Francis, LMFT, tells mbg.
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How often you should masturbate
"There is no set standard for frequency of masturbation," board-certified urologist Jamin Brahmbhatt, M.D., tells mbg. "Daily, weekly, monthly...it's personal preference."
Masturbation is a common and very low-risk habit, and in fact, masturbation comes with many health benefits. In general, people should masturbate as often as it feels good for them. "You should masturbate whenever you want to and have the time and privacy to do so," Francis says. "Pleasure is healthy."
A 2016 study found men who ejaculate 21 times a month or more were significantly less likely to be diagnosed with prostate cancer, compared to people who ejaculated four to seven times per month. That isn't to say everyone must masturbate that often; it's just a signal that regular masturbation can be beneficial to overall health.
Can you masturbate too much?
In general, most people don't have to worry about masturbating too much. Of course, even healthy habits can become unhealthy if done in excess or in extremes, and that's as true for masturbation as it is for habits like exercise and hand-washing. How much masturbation is too much will vary from person to person.
"There is no objective measure of how much anyone should masturbate," Francis explains. "Your health is an individual consideration. If your masturbation habits are causing you mental, emotional, relational, or physical distress, that is an indicator that you may be masturbating more than is currently healthy for you."
Here are a few signs your current masturbation habits may not be serving you, according to Francis:
- Masturbation feels like a need instead of a choice.
- Masturbation no longer feels pleasurable due to pain, numbness, or a loss of pleasing sensations.
- Your masturbation is interfering with your ability to have a satisfying sex life with partners.
- You're struggling to keep up with your responsibilities or daily life because of how often you masturbate.
In general, there's no set amount of masturbation that's considered "too much" across the board. Some people masturbate several times a day without any negative consequences. If a person is satisfied with how often they masturbate and doesn't feel like it negatively affects other parts of their life, then that's the right amount of masturbation for them.
What happens if you jerk off every day?
"There are no known downsides or major side effects to daily masturbation," Brahmbhatt says. The same goes for daily ejaculation and daily sex, he adds.
The biggest risks of frequent masturbation have more to do with how a person masturbates than how often they do it, Francis explains. For example, she notes there's a chance of tissue damage or skin irritation if a person masturbates really vigorously without enough lubrication. (Soreness, tenderness, swelling, or bruising would be signs if this were the case, she adds.)
A person can also get used to a particular type of stimulation or stroke. "If a person enjoys masturbating in a specific routinized way (e.g., always sitting in a chair, or to pornography, or with a tight fist) and only masturbates in that way, they may notice difficulty maintaining their [erection] or reaching orgasm in partnered sex if it doesn't mirror what they do when they're alone," Francis explains. "To avoid this potential risk, men can try switching things up every so often in their masturbation practice, and they also could add in some of their solo play activities to partnered sex!"
Can you run out of sperm?
You cannot run out of sperm from frequent masturbation. Adults with penises produce new sperm every single day and will continue to do so their entire lives, barring any medical complications.
If you're currently trying to conceive and begin a pregnancy, masturbation can affect sperm count and quality. As Brahmbhatt explains, if you've recently ejaculated, your next ejaculation may have a lower volume of fluid, a lower sperm count, and a lower concentration of sperm because your body may not have had enough time to build back its sperm (and sperm fluids) just yet.
"When patients have to give us a semen sample, we ask them to refrain from ejaculation for two days prior to giving us a sample," he notes. "If you have a normal system, you should always have some sperm in your ejaculate, even if you have emptied five times in one day. You may just not have a high count of sperm."
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Benefits of masturbation
There are many physical and mental benefits of masturbation, including:
- Stress relief
- Improved mood
- Increased energy
- Higher pain tolerance
- Reduced risk of prostate cancer
- Relieving period cramps
- Improved pelvic floor strength
- Improved sleep
- Can improve libido
- Can help people with penises last longer during subsequent partnered sex
Benefits of not masturbating
Some people choose not to masturbate for personal, spiritual, or religious reasons. "Some feel controlling their desire to masturbate helps their mental focus and other aspects of their life," Brahmbhatt explains.
For some people, some potential benefits of not masturbating may include:
- More self-control
- More self-awareness
- Better sperm quality in your next ejaculation
- May make it easier for people with penises to reach orgasm during partnered sex if they haven't ejaculated recently
- May be linked to increased testosterone, according to some studies2
Abstaining from masturbation can be part of semen retention, a spiritual sexual practice wherein people avoid ejaculation because they believe semen is a source of "life force energy."
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There's a lot of variety when it comes to how often men masturbate. Some men masturbate daily or more, others masturbate rarely or never, and still many others fall somewhere in between.
In general, masturbation is a healthy, safe, and normal habit, and most people don't have to worry about masturbating "too much." If your masturbation habits are causing you any physical or emotional trouble, reach out to a professional who can help. You may also want to consider adjusting your masturbation frequency if you're trying to conceive, to last longer in bed, or to reach orgasm more easily. Otherwise, whatever feels good to you probably is good for you.
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Kelly Gonsalves is a multi-certified sex educator and relationship coach helping people figure out how to create dating and sex lives that actually feel good — more open, more optimistic, and more pleasurable. In addition to working with individuals in her private practice, Kelly serves as the Sex & Relationships Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a degree in journalism from Northwestern University, and she’s been trained and certified by leading sex and relationship institutions such as The Gottman Institute and Everyone Deserves Sex Ed, among others. Her work has been featured at The Cut, Vice, Teen Vogue, Cosmopolitan, and elsewhere.
With her warm, playful approach to coaching and facilitation, Kelly creates refreshingly candid spaces for processing and healing challenges around dating, sexuality, identity, body image, and relationships. She’s particularly enthusiastic about helping softhearted women get re-energized around the dating experience and find joy in the process of connecting with others. She believes relationships should be easy—and that, with room for self-reflection and the right toolkit, they can be.
You can stay in the loop about her latest programs, gatherings, and other projects through her newsletter: kellygonsalves.com/newsletter