How Often Do Men Masturbate & When Is It Considered Too Much?

Research studies show that most men (60.1%) masturbate monthly, if not weekly (8.9%) – or even daily (9.9%). If excessive, however, it could be a problem.
abstract colored pencil illustration depicting male hand squeezing a large sausage, male masturbation concept
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Updated:February 2024

Despite a long history of puritanical stigma around masturbation, jerking off has remained an integral part of the male human experience — 89.6% of men aged 18 and older have done it at some point.

(And 60.1% of them have masturbated at least once in the past month!)

Key Takeaways:

  • 89.6% of American men aged 18 and older have reported engaging in masturbation at some point in their lives.
  • Among those, 60.1% have done so within the past month.
  • Masturbation frequency varies among American men, with 9.9% doing it almost every day during the past year compared to 17.1% who reported masturbating 2-3 times per week and 8.9% who reported masturbating once per week.
  • 24.2% of American men aged 18 or older reported not masturbating at all during the past year.
  • Masturbation is perfectly natural and a healthy activity to enjoy — regardless of gender — and there are a lot of ways to jerk off.
  • It is actually possible to masturbate too much if pain or irritation occurs, and too-frequent (compulsive) masturbation can be a sign of compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD), often referred to as “sex addiction,” although less than 6% of the population is estimated to have this condition.

Look, most of us masturbate.

Maybe you did it more often when you were a teenager compared to now — or during COVID-19 lockdowns to ease sexual loneliness — but there is no sense in denying that folks like to rub one out.

Some men masturbate more often than others, but your personal preference when it comes to frequency is nothing to be ashamed of either way.

Still, is it possible to have too much of a good thing?

Sometimes.

How Often Do Men Masturbate?

bar graph depicting masturbation statistics on how often american men aged 18 and older masturbated during the past year: 17.% a few times, 6.4% once per month, 16.1% a few times per month, 8.9% once per week, 17.1% 2-3 times per week, 9.9% almost every day

One study took an in-depth look at the masturbation habits of American men aged 18 and older and found that:

  • 89.6% report that they’ve masturbated at some point during their lifetime.
  • 60.1% have masturbated at least once in the past month.
  • 24.2% reported not masturbating at all in the past year.
  • Among American men aged 18 and older, 17.2% reported masturbating a few times in the past year and 6.4% reported doing so once a month during the same period.
  • 16.1% reported masturbating a few times per month in the past year and 8.9% reported doing so once per week during the same period.
  • Among American men aged 18 and older, 17.1% reported masturbating two or three times per week in the past year.
  • 9.9% reported that they masturbated almost every day in the past year.

Only 10.4% of men said they’d never masturbated — ever.

“There are many reasons why someone may report having never masturbated,” Dr. Susan Milstein, a human sexuality health educator on our medical review board, said. She continued:

“Some may be lying, which is often the joke, but there are others who just aren’t comfortable with the idea of masturbating. It may be that it goes against their morals, ethical or religious beliefs. They may feel that doing so is cheating on their partner.”

A few factors at play here — such as age, libido, or a willingness to disclose such information honestly — can shift those percentages, but overall, the majority of men do masturbate with some regularity, alone and with a partner.

This study also looked at the coverage of masturbation as part of sex education.

In the US, for instance, only 28% of respondents cited masturbation as being addressed in sex ed classes.

This is an important thing to note, considering that masturbation is a practice that often starts early in a male’s life.

Considering all age groups collectively, one study found that 73.8% of teenage boys report engaging in masturbation.

By the age of 14, 62.6% of males have masturbated at least once, with the number jumping to 80% by the age of 17.

Is It Normal For Men To Masturbate (Often)?

donut graph depicting masturbation statistic that 89.6% of american men aged 18 and older have masturbated at some point during their lifetime

Yes. There are no two ways about it, it is normal for men to masturbate and there are plenty of ways to do it.

Even without the studies to support the idea that it’s normal for men to masturbate, common sense should dispel any notion that someone is “weird” or “pervy” for masturbating.

When asking if it is normal for guys to masturbate “often,” what do we mean by that?

Are we saying once a day or more than 4 times a day?

The term is subjective, to a degree.

What occurs “often” for me might mean “occasionally” to you.

For what it’s worth, there probably wouldn’t be so many ways to say “jerking off” if it wasn’t normal for guys to do it.

Why Do Men Masturbate?

bar graph depicting statistics on the reasons why men masturbate (respondents could select more than one): 65.6% do it for pleasure, 54.3% do it because of horniness, 36.7% do it for stress relief, and 26.6% do it for relaxation

Men cite multiple reasons for masturbating during the past year (respondents could select more than one): 

  • They find it pleasurable: 65.6%
  • They felt horny: 54.3%
  • Stress relief: 36.7%
  • Relaxation: 26.6%
  • To help fall asleep: 21.4%
  • To enjoy fantasies: 27.6%
  • Relieve sexual frustration: 16.9%
  • To explore their own sexuality: 7.4%

What Is “Too Much” When It Comes To Male Masturbation?

Although regular and frequent masturbation isn’t necessarily harmful, it can be considered “too much” when it’s causing physical harm (such as chafing or penile irritation and pain) or if the activity becomes such a focus that it hinders other aspects of a man’s life.

The signs that you may be stroking the salami too much are less about your body and more about your life.

There are no hard and fast rules for what counts as “too much” masturbation.

It depends on the individual and can vary from person to person.

Masturbating regularly is not a problem.

In fact, it has been linked to numerous health benefits and frequent ejaculation has been linked to a reduced risk of prostate cancer.

Like anything fun, there is the danger of that activity becoming an obstacle to overcome rather than an activity to enjoy.

When the need to masturbate gets in the way of living your everyday life, that could be a sign of compulsive sexual behavior disorder (CSBD).

CSBD is often referred to as “sex addiction,” but the latter is not a recognized diagnosable condition.

What To Watch Out For

When masturbating feels more like a compulsion than a spike in horniness or sexual desire, that could be an early warning sign that frequent masturbation is becoming harmful.

There are physical signs, too.

Your penis can become chafed, irritated, or sore from too much friction — or even from using the wrong lube — like soap, for instance.

You might also experience numbness or pain if you beat your meat too hard and too often.

If you’re ignoring responsibilities or loved ones because you’re too busy masturbating, or you’re continuing to masturbate despite physical pain and/or a lack of pleasure, that might be a sign of compulsive sexual behavior disorder.

Speaking with a licensed professional and getting the help you need to stop the compulsion may be warranted in such cases.

FAQs About Male Masturbation

donut graph depicting masturbation statistic that by age 17, 80% of teenage boys have masturbated at some point during their lifetime

People have lots of questions regarding male masturbation, and we’ll cover some of the most popular.

Does Too Much Masturbation Lower Your Sperm Count?

It might — if you’re ejaculating every day.

One study examined daily semen samples over the course of two weeks and found that both sperm count and overall semen volume (per ejaculation) decreased — and stayed that way for the entire duration of the study.

Although daily ejaculation didn’t have a negative effect on sperm motility, vitality, or function, it did lower the total sperm count temporarily.

Another study discovered that despite the lower sperm count caused by daily ejaculation, other aspects of sperm (and semen) quality improved.

Does Masturbation Affect A Man’s Testosterone Level?

Yes and no.

There is a spike in free testosterone concentrations when you’re horny or masturbating, but there are no long-term effects on your overall testosterone levels or hormone ratios.

However, this article by James Cunningham of Total Shape notes that frequent or aggressive masturbation increases the risk of decreased penile sensation.

This condition can adversely impact sexual motivation and activity, potentially contributing to elevated cortisol levels.

As a result, your body’s ability to produce testosterone may drop.

Will Frequent Masturbation Cause Premature Ejaculation?

No.

In fact, penis-root masturbation can be used as a form of therapy to counteract and treat premature ejaculation.

Instead of firing off a load as quickly as possible, you can take your time and practice delaying your orgasms during masturbation.

How Often Should A Man Ejaculate?

There are no studies that say how often a man should ejaculate.

As mentioned above, one study found that regular ejaculation can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer.

When it comes to masturbation (or even sex, for that matter), there is no “should” — go with the ejaculation frequency that feels right to you.

That said, daily ejaculation can decrease sperm count and volume so if you and your partner are trying to conceive, that might be a consideration.

Dr. Susan Milstein, the human sexuality health educator we spoke with earlier, said it’s important to note that frequent ejaculation to lower sperm count and volume is NOT an effective form of contraception.

Can A Man Ejaculate Twice?

Although it may not be considered common, yes — men are capable of ejaculating twice.

Is It Healthy To Not Ejaculate At All?

It is neither healthy nor unhealthy to not ejaculate.

Despite what some corners of the man-o-sphere online say, there are no verifiable health benefits to semen retention.

There is also no evidence that abstaining from ejaculation will cause bodily harm, either.

“Your body may ejaculate even if you decided not to, as is the case with wet dreams,” Dr. Milstein pointed out.

Closing Thoughts

Worrying about how often men masturbate is not something you should waste your mental energy on.

As long as you’re okay with it, masturbation is a normal, natural, and healthy way to enjoy yourself and there’s nothing wrong with having a tug o’ war with Cyclops, even if it is a daily event.

If you are struggling to balance your masturbation habits with your day-to-day life, however, that could be related to compulsive sexual behavior disorder — and worth seeking professional support from a licensed doctor or therapist.

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Based currently in Atlanta, I'm a comedian and featured journalist for Philadelphia Weekly's Dating, Sex, and LGBTQ+ sections, and I obsess over the societal...