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Published on 15 Sep 2013 | over 3 years ago

Question: For the past 10 years, I have been addicted to masturbation. Please how can I stop because I hate myself when I do it.

The urge to masturbate is a natural one and as adolescents, it signifies an interest in sex before embarking on adult sexual relationships. But when it becomes an obsession, or a reason you hate yourself, then it is time to cut down on the self serving.

Follow these 5 steps to help you quit;

1. Stop punishing yourself. Remember, you're human. Humans make mistakes, and they have sexual urges. Neither of these things makes you a bad person. Resist the urge of sinking into despair by remembering the times spent feeling sorry for yourself when it could have been spent relinquishing your addiction.

2. Remove anything that tempts your urge to masturbate. Like access to pornographic materials etc. Also, if you notice you get the urge to masturbate at certain times of the day, try to keep busy with other things at those time. You could try exercising as this will give you a release and leave you too exhausted to do much else. If you masturbate frequently because you feel lonely, find ways to limit your solitude. For instance, instead of watching the match at home by yourself, watch it at a sports bar. Even if you're not hanging out with friends, you will not be alone, ultimately having no time for masturbation.

3. Find another outlet: Find another outlet for your time and energy. Fill your life with engaging activities. The excitement of doing something different can help replace the urge to masturbate, and you'll have a go-to distraction next time you're tempted. Try some of these options:

Get creative. The process of turning sexual urges into creative output (called sublimation) is something on which monks and sages have relied upon for centuries. Start writing, learn to play a musical instrument, paint, draw, or do whatever else makes you feel like you're doing something productive.

Do sports. It takes discipline and persistence to excel at a sport. Develop an interest like running or swimming, or a group sport like soccer, football, basketball, or tennis.

Eat healthy. Fruits and vegetables have healthy effects on the body and provide nutrients necessary to increase your energy to be more active throughout the day.

Find a new hobby, or cultivate a skill. Learning something that takes a while to master can refocus your brain on the delayed gratification of achieving goals instead of the instant gratification of masturbation. Try skills like cooking, woodshop, archery, baking, public speaking, or gardening.

4. Be persistent and patient. Stopping a masturbation addiction won't hit you like a lightning bolt. It's a process that requires commitment, and you might make mistakes or relapse on occasions. The real struggle is persevering, so commit now that you won't let little mistakes stand in your way. You can try setting up a reward system. Bribe yourself to stay on-track with rewards for good behavior. For instance, if you can go two whole weeks without masturbating once, treat yourself by doing something else you love.

5 Seek help: If you've tried everything and just can't seem to get your addiction under control, it might be time to tell someone else about your problem and ask for assistance. Don't feel ashamed, and remember that many people have similar problems like an addiction. Seeking help is a brave action, and most people you ask will see it as such.

Ask your religious leader for guidance. If you belong to a church, consider asking your local clergy for help. Keep three things in mind: First, these people become part of the clergy because they're dedicated to helping their congregations. Second, they've probably already assisted someone with a masturbation addiction before. Lastly, they're bound by strict confidentiality. Request a private appointment with your pastor, bishop, imam, rabbi, or other religious leader, and see if his or her advice can help you.

Good luck.

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