What Happens When You Stop Masturbating For A Month

Amanda Chatel

I masturbate almost every day. If I’m kind of bored or feel the urge, I will do it a couple of times a day. I figure masturbation is so healthy, then I’ll be damned if I’m going to deny myself a dose of healthiness. It's better than any apple. While I do masturbate regularly, there have been times in my life where I haven’t. Extended periods of time, to be exact. In many of those occasions it was because I was coming out of a relationship and orgasms were the furthest from my brain. Or when my depression flares up and, again, orgasms aren’t exactly on the top of my to-do list; just getting through the day is hard enough.

But there have also been other times where I was completely in the right state of mind and abstained from masturbating, because of where I was physically, not emotionally. For example, my parents’ house. I can not, no way, no how, masturbate at their house. I just can’t. I wouldn’t feel comfortable, for whatever reason, so I just don’t do it.

But where the problem lies is in the fact that I do sometimes spend a considerable amount of time there, in between my travels. If I sublet my apartment for six months, but come back from Europe after five months, I hang out at mom and dad’s until my place is free again. It’s there, for a month, five weeks, six weeks, however long it ends up being, that I live a masturbation-free life, and boy oh boy, can I see and feel the difference when I don't masturbate for a month.

"Masturbation as a form of self-care is about breaking free from the taboos, taking risks, and learning to explore one’s body minus the constraints put on by society," Dr. Janet Brito, PhD, PSY, LCSW, CS, a psychologist and sex therapist, tells Bustle. "Afterwards, your body muscles will relax and you may feel a sense of bliss or pleasure."

Now think about taking that bliss out of your daily life for five weeks. Yeah... I don't want to either, but I lived it. Here’s what happens every time I’m forced to abstain from a woman's best friend, beloved masturbation.

Week One:

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

The first week is always relatively a breeze. Masturbation doesn’t really cross my mind if I don’t do it for a week. While I’m aware that I haven’t masturbated on a mental level, physically I can’t really feel a difference. I do spend some quality time wondering why I can’t bring myself to masturbate at my parents’ house though, especially since that’s where I masturbated for the very first time when I was teenager, but then I move on from analyzing that. I just accept that there are certain things I can no longer do in my parents’ home, and masturbation and sex are two of them.

Week Two:

Although I realize it’s totally cliché that one would get agitated from sexual frustration, it’s true. During week two, I become easily annoyed by people, which, to be honest, isn’t that difficult because I’m annoyed by people in general. I’m also antsy. Like I have an itch I need to scratch, but just can’t. In fact, it’s not just that I can’t scratch it, but it also feels like I’m not even sure where that itch is.

While I know what’s leading to this agitated itchiness and can recognize how I can remedy the “issue,” I still don’t masturbate. Then I get angry at myself for being a prude who doesn’t masturbate in her parents’ house for a reason she can't figure out, which irritates me more, because I hate unanswered questions. Also, I write about sex, dammit! I should be able to masturbate anywhere and be totally cool with it! Yeah… there’s a lot of chastising at this point.

Week Three:

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

By third week, I always find I’m at peace with the agitation, or, at the very least, accepting of it. But what the third week offers is the highlight of a month without masturbation: a huge amount of creative energy. It’s in these moments that I realize why some coaches don’t want their players to have sex before a big game.

There’s so much built up inside, a feverish energy that’s burning to be released, and I know if I don’t release it, I will probably, most definitely explode. So where it comes out is in my writing. It’s during this week that I plan to write not just one book, but five books, and my mind goes a mile a minute as I write down ideas and chapters for this book or that book, and I come up with title for these chapters and books that I think are brilliant and poignant, and OMG I can’t stop writing! I’m a genius! I’m the greatest! They’re going to give me awards and medals! They’re going to change the name of the Empire State Building to Chatel Tower in my honor!

Needless to say this doesn’t last. And all those “great” ideas don’t seem all that impressive when I look back at them a few weeks later.

At this point, the thought of sex or masturbating is pretty much gone. It’s like I’ve gotten into a pattern of not doing it, so why bother thinking about it? I also seriously consider pushing the no masturbation for months and months, since I’m clearly on the path to writing the next great American novel and having a building named after myself.

Week Four:

It’s during week four that, without fail, I have an orgasm during a dream. If you’ve never had an orgasm in your dreams (I think this would qualify as a mental orgasm), then you’re missing out. It wakes you up a bit, and you realize you’re having an orgasm without having to do ANYTHING. Or at least I’m almost positive I haven’t done anything. I can’t imagine I’m capable of masturbating in my sleep, although if I am, I should get an award for that (since I won’t be getting one for my writing).

For me, these wet dreams, I guess, are never the result of a sex dream. Instead, they’re the result of dreams in which I’ve smelled something that turned me on and ended up causing an orgasm. I’m not sure what this means, the fact that my orgasm is brought on by a scent I can only smell in my dreams, but hey, who really cares if it’s a free, effortless orgasm.

Although I’ve experienced an orgasm, because it was one in which I was mostly asleep, it still doesn’t quench my body’s thirst. So, the fourth week is still one of high creativity, indifference to sex, and it actually makes writing about sex seem silly, because the desire for it is non-existent.

Week Five:

Andrew Zaeh for Bustle

By the time week five rolls around, I know I’ve come to the end of my rope. I know I’m just a day or two away from heading back to my apartment in the city, and I also know that despite having considered never masturbating again, FOR THE SAKE OF ART, it will be the first thing I do when I get home… and it always is. I won’t even have unpacked before the vibrator, my favorite mode of masturbation, is in my hand and I’m making myself come. While in my daily masturbation, I usual practice edging as a way to make the orgasms stronger, my self-control is gone by that point and I just let the first orgasm that comes my way wash over me. It’s in these cases, that I orgasm in about two to three minutes tops.

Then I unpack and order pizza. To be honest, five months without New York pizza is even more torturous than a month without masturbation.

This post was originally published on January 20, 2016. It was updated on September 6, 2019