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Why we masturbate: Kenyan men and women reveal struggle

In Summary

• The different reasons for masturbation include search for pleasure, low self-esteem issues, stress or even idleness

Idleness and low self-esteem cited as some reasons Kenyans masturbate.
Idleness and low self-esteem cited as some reasons Kenyans masturbate.
Image: FILE

At the age of 22, Hance* could not approach a girl since he was afraid of rejection. Having a low self esteem, he slowly got into masturbation.

“ My face got burnt from a pressure cooker’s steam when I was 12 years and it got distorted. I could not even recognize myself anymore and I believed that I was ugly. I thought no girl would accept me,” he said.

Sinking in an inferiority complex, Hance started reading pornographic content to satisfy the curiosity that was building up from his rapidly changing physique.

 

“ Pornographic novels that I got from my friends became my safe space, a cocoon where I felt accepted,” Hance said in a low tone.

As he frequently consumed the explicit content, sex obsession got a better part of him coercing him into masturbation.

“I could masturbate behind closed doors in boarding school and I felt better about myself,” he narrated.

Having masturbated for four years, he was withdrawn and always looking for a hiding place to escape the human eye so as not to be caught in the act.

STRUGGLE

Having masturbated for four years, he was withdrawn and always looking for a hiding place to escape the human eye so as not to be caught in the act.

Everyone inquired on his visible antisocial behavior and lack of interest in girls as opposed to his peers but his obvious answer was “I am not that type”.

Everyone inquired on his visible antisocial behavior and lack of interest in girls as opposed to his peers but his obvious answer was “I am not that type”.

At the back of his mind, he established that his burnt face was the fundamental reason but he kept it a secret.

Regularly, Hance reminisced  how his primary school classmates joked and jested about his ‘badly-shaped face’ further injuring his self esteem and self-acceptance.

 

While attending high school, the antisocial boy approached a girl  he had schooled with in primary school but she simply sneered at him.

“ That hurt me really bad. Those I had once called my friends were now rejecting me and it catalyzed my masturbation habit which became my escape from the worries of the world,” Hance emphasized.

Amid  rejection and low self esteem, Hance worked diligently in secondary school and finally managed  an A plain in his Kenya Certificate of Secondary Education(KCSE) examination.

“ That marked the whistle of my esteem stabilization journey  but still I only talked to men since they accepted me as I am… at 23, I started talking to my female classmates as they admired my smartness in class,” he said smiling broadly.

Speaking to the Star, Hance said that he has not yet conquered masturbation but he is almost there.

“It has been a struggle but I know that I will finally conquer. I can now speak to ladies and I am proud to have found a woman that is in love with me. There is no more need for masturbation,” he added.

Low self esteem is just but one of the reasons why men and women are indulging in masturbation. For some of the youth, masturbation has been termed a safer sexual act compared to others.

For Pleasure

 Having been introduced to masturbation by her long distance relationship boyfriend, Anita is hooked and in a fight to get out of the addiction.

“ We were miles apart and masturbating gave me the pleasure I was looking out for,” Anita said.

Brian*, a father of two got into masturbation after his wife got ill with the notion that he did not want to cheat on his beautiful wife.

Two months into masturbation, his wife bounced back to good health but he could still masturbate behind her back for pleasure.

“I had gotten used to masturbation in just two months and there was no more satisfaction in my wife. I was hooked,” he said with tears swelling up in his eyes.

Brian was ashamed of his addiction and  could not speak out with fear of being dumped by his wife.

 He could also not open up to his friends who dubbed him a ‘holy Joe’ since they did not expect him to indulge in such ‘dirty’ acts.

With this in mind, he sought to keep it to himself until it got out of hand 2 years later when his wife observed his great lack of sexual interest in her.

“ I did not find women attractive anymore, not my wife, not any other woman. I began secluding myself and that sank my wife further into depression,” Brian added.

At the peak of his addiction, the father of two became very introverted making his wife constantly accuse him of being an unfaithful husband and an absent father.

As time passed by, Brian began empathizing with his wife who was then seeing a psychologist.

I did not find women attractive anymore, not my wife, not any other woman. I began secluding myself and that sank my wife further into depression
*Brian

Her depression was his greatest trigger to speak out to his wife who accepted his situation and referred him to a renown psychologist.

“ Since then,our relationship has greatly improved and I now see her as beautiful as i did before,” Brian said.

Stress reliever

Unlike most girls at the tender age of 10, Hannah* was getting worried why she was still not getting attention from older men. At the same time, her father, who was an absentee parent, never gave her attention.

“ I slowly drifted into a string of thoughts on why even the boys in my class never showed interest in me,” she said.

After school, Hannah would watch Sop Operas that she blamed for her ‘corroded’ mind. She always wanted to be the center of attention just like the main characters in the programs she watched. Unfortunately, that was what landed her in masturbation.

“Every time I was stressed up, I coiled into masturbation which I subconsciously learnt from the sexual innuendos I consistently watched,” Hannah revealed.

Hannah never realised she was addicted until she got into university. Even after realization, she confessed that masturbation had been her Savior anytime she is stressed up.

“ I know I am now addicted to masturbation but I am not sure I want to overcome it. Over the years, my tensions and my stresses have been relieved through it. I can not undermine the fact that I would be a depressed person were it not for masturbation,” she admits.

In her narration, Hannah told the Star that every time a friend has complained of depression, she has advised them to masturbate.

“ Surprisingly, the magic has always worked,” she expressed.

Idleness

“ I wish I could spend the free time I had, to indulge in more productive activities,” Stella* a University student regrets.

With the four-months long holidays and the recurring lecturers’ strikes in 2017, Stella had so much free time in her plate with so little to do.

Stella would sit at home and spend her entire day googling about anything and everything on the internet.

“ One link led to another and the other to another until I landed myself in a site with a short clip on masturbation. At this point, my curiosity levels shot up,” she said.

Full of curiosity, Stella aped what the clip illustrated and that was her hugest step in the addiction journey. She got pleasure from masturbating.

Attributing her addiction to idleness,Stella revealed to the Star that she had gone against her christian beliefs and had to find a solution to end masturbation.

“ I decided to confess it in church and later, I sought a shrink’s intervention. I have been seeing a shrink for three months and just like any other addiction, it will be reversed,” Stella said.

Other cases the psychologist has encountered have been alleged to have emanated from witch craft and other spiritual institutions.

“Even though we cannot fully comprehend, there are very lucrative spiritual explanations on the cause of masturbation,” Silas Kirinya, a psychologist and CEO at Amazon Counseling Center said.

 

FACTS ON MASTURBATION

It can be presumed that young people are more affected by masturbation but the statistics show that it is practiced by people of all race, age, and gender. It is hard to tell who masturbate more than the other.

Masturbation is addictive and the more one masturbates, the more one is likely to get addicted. This form of addiction is as severe as any other forms of addictions such as gambling, alcoholism, among many others.

A research conducted in US found out that among the adolescents aged 14 to 17 years, 74 per cent of males and 48 per cent of females confessed that they masturbate.

 

The same study found out that among the much older adults, about 63 per cent of men and 32 per cent of women between 57 and 64 years also masturbate.

Using this, we can infer that men masturbate more than women.

Why masturbation?

Different people masturbate for different reasons. Some of the cases of chronic masturbation I have encountered in my experience of therapy reveal that the most common cause is the desire to enjoy sexual pleasure where one does not have a sexual partner.

There are those who want to release sexual tension may be after watching a pornographic movie or after any other sexual fantasies.

I have seen clients who confess having used masturbation as a stress reliever.

Some people will masturbate because they have social anxiety problems and low self-esteem issues thus they cannot face a sexual partner. According to them, the only way to relieve sexual energy is by masturbating.

 

Some masturbate purely out of curiosity which at times may develop into addiction

There is a small fraction of people who masturbate because their sexual partners are either sick or cannot have normal sex due to an impediment of whatever nature.

To many young people, masturbation seems like a safer sexual act which makes one worry less about pregnancy, sexually transmitted illnesses or any other responsibility.

Even though we cannot fully comprehend, there are very lucrative spiritual explanations on the cause of masturbation such as demonic possession, curses and sexual bonds. This should not be ignored as it is an area that requires thorough exploration.

The Side effects

Like any other sexual behavior, masturbation has more emotional side effects than physical.

It leads to serious guilt and especially where one is a believer or practices faith which is against the behavior of masturbation.

Masturbation may cause depression in that a victim of this behavior grapples with helplessness after constantly trying to stop the behavior without success.

It may lead to immense shame and especially if one is caught masturbating and sometimes it could result in relationship breakup if one partner dislikes the behavior.

Those who use vibrators to aid masturbation are in danger of overly stimulating themselves such that if stimulated by an actual sexual partner, the stimulation is less thus affecting partner's sexual life.

For those practicing spirituality, it can feel dirty and sinful.

With masturbation, a perception of what is asexually attractive and desirable changes. One may tend to love having sex with a toy like 'Samantha' more than an actual female sexual partner.

Working Solutions

Reversing the behavior depends on the cause and reasons why people masturbate. If it is a spiritual cause, then a spiritual intervention and therapy is helpful.

Seeking professional support helps a lot in dealing with problematic masturbation.

One should also stop watching phonographic materials and one should find suitable and profitable ways of dealing with sexual energy such as involving oneself with intense physical activity like swimming, running, aerobics, house chores, socializing with real people, reducing use of social media.

One should stop sexting and believers should praying and read scriptures.

Silas Kirinya is a psychologist and CEO at Amazon Counselling Center