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Chronic and compulsive masturbation is often a core behavior of those seeking treatment for sexual addiction. For many sex addicts, masturbation is a primary means of dealing with stress. Often fueled by sexual fantasy, compulsive masturbation may take up inordinate amounts of time, interfering with occupational, academic, domestic, or social obligations. Sometimes injury to the genitals is the result.

The sex addict seeking treatment for chronic masturbation is often isolated, crippled with shame and self-loathing. Feeling depressed, hopeless, or unworthy following a masturbation episode is common for the compulsive masturbator. With proper therapy, the cycle of shame and addiction is broken and the addict adopts healthier ways to cope with stress and/or uncomfortable feelings.