I was in a long-term relationship for nearly five years. Things were very tumultuous and we finally called it quits just over a year ago. It was a bad end, and I've had a challenging time getting over it. In fact, I still don't feel like I can even really process it and have yet to open up to my friends. I haven't dated in a year or had sex since we broke up. Instead, I've been masturbating once almost every day. I don't think my friends masturbate that much, and it's not like me too either. I'm concerned that my behavior isn't healthy. Is there something wrong with me?
— Concerned Crissy
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Dear Concerned Crissy,
There is no limit on what constitutes a normal frequency of masturbation as it can greatly vary from person to person. A far greater concern than the number of times you masturbate per week is whether or not your level of masturbation or need for self-pleasure is affecting your daily life. In your case, it doesn't sound like your sexual habits are necessarily impeding your ability to remain functional; however, I'm concerned that self-pleasuring might be taking the place of dealing with the pain you have yet to process from your relationship.
I think it's time to reveal your feelings about your past to your friends and yourself. Look into talking with a therapist who can work closely with you to delve into some of those darker places. And don't be shy about bringing up your masturbation practices either. A therapist can help you figure out if this new habit is OK for you or if it's a manifestation of some of the issues you have yet to grapple. Most importantly, recognize that the sooner you can begin working through the past, the sooner you can start feeling better.