Brain Science And Masturbation
In the midst of the battle with masturbation, struggling individuals don't usually stop to consider the brain science—why is masturbation so powerful, addictive and hard to stop?
Masturbation triggers the brain into releasing a flood of internal chemicals like dopamine, endorphins and serotonin. These natural "drugs" can give a quick, temporary escape and relief from stress, insomnia, difficult emotions and other struggles. Masturbation rapidly evolves into a "drug of choice" for instant pleasure, self-medication and escape.
Contrary to the false claims of popular culture, RECLAiM will teach you the truth about masturbation—the brain science, underlying causes, and how to break free.
Our culture gives the impression that masturbation is a "healthy release", but the Catholic Church teaches that masturbation is wrong. If you've found yourself struggling to be rid of the habit, you know the negative impact masturbation can have on your life. People all over the world, ask our RECLAiM team all kinds of questions in their struggle to understand the negative effects of masturbation.
"Is there some amount of masturbation that's OK?"
"If I don't masturbate, what can I do for relief?"
"If my spouse won't or can't have sex, is masturbation an acceptable alternative?"
Recent brain science reasearch gives us new insight into this complex topic. From your brain's perspective, masturbation is literally "self-sex" which can create three challenges:
- The neurochemical rush triggered by sexual experiences can turn masturbation into a convenient drug of choice for pleasure, escape, and self-medication from loneliness, boredom, insomnia, negative emotions, and the stresses of life. Over time, the brain's highly efficient powers of habit-formation turn masturbation into a chemical dependency--an addiction.
- Masturbation interferes with healthy sexuality in a marriage. The same neurochemicals that, during marital intimacy, enhance your relationship with your spouse, redirect your desire toward your self rather than your spouse. Over time, "self-sex" becomes your brain's preferred method for achieving sexual gratification.
- Masturbation is contrary to God's plan for sexuality to be self-giving with love. As an act of self-gratification focused on lust, masturbation cheats both the individual and the spouse out of the powerful potential God built into human sexuality. Habitual masturbation can lead a person to look at all of life from a selfish and lustful point of view.
Are you interested in stopping this habit before these negative affects impact you? Do you depend on masturbation to get to sleep, acheive climax with your spouse, or relieve stress? Have you tried to stop masturbating but can't? Has masturbation caused problems in your marriage?
Avoidance and will power may bring temporary relief, but they often fail - this failure is not because the person struggling with masturbation is weak or bad. Through repetition over time, the pleasure center of your brain has learned to escape to masturbation as one of its favorite outlets for self-medication.
Success can be found in working with your brain rather than fighting against it. All of the tools you need to change are already built into the very structure of your brain—what got you into this behavior can help get you out. Learn the truth about masturbation—the brain science, underlying causes, and how to break free. The RECLAiM resources can teach you how to implement the Brain Science of Change, faith practices and Theology of the Body to break free from the Masturbation Avoidance Cycle.
Through the RECLAiM Online Recovery Program, you can learn how to recognize your "triggers" early—the people, situations and emotions that drive you to seek escape through masturbation. You can use the tools provided to choose healthy pleasure outlets and literally "retrain" your brain so that masturbation ceases to be a problem in your life. (Also, see podcast excerpts from the Reclaim Online Recovery Program titled "Is Masturbation OK?" in the video section of our website.)