The Boys' Growing Up in the Lord

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First of all I wanted to thank you for all of the information and answers you provide on your web site.

I'm 24 years old and have been addicted to masturbation since I started with it at the age of 13. I've experienced a couple of wet dreams in my teenage years in times when I abstained form my habit for a while.

I'm now trying to completely give up masturbation because it makes me feel guilty and consumes a lot of time. But it is rather difficult and recently I can think only about sex (even though I'm just on day 4 of not masturbating). Do you have anything in mind that could help me quit masturbation completely and stop the urge to have sex?

I would also really enjoy to bring back the wet dreams (even though I've only had like 2-3 in my life). Do you think I will be able to have wet dreams again? How long do you think do I have to abstain until I will release semen during sleep?

I've also started to take Propecia (1mg Finasterid) due to hair loss problems - do you think this will affect my capability to have wet dreams again?


Asking how to not have an increased sexual desire is much like asking how not to eat and not get hungry. Your body is designed to have increasing sexual desire as your seminal vesicles get full. Since you've spent 11 years masturbating frequently, you are not used to the constant nagging desire for sex, at least, not at the levels your body can achieve. You always took the edge off by ejaculating.

I suspect the problem isn't the masturbation so much as that you are tired of the trash you use to get yourself stimulated enough to ejaculate. One isn't really addicted to eating or drinking, but a person can over indulge or try satisfying the craving with things that are not righteous. I suspect a better description is that you are snared by pornography. Now that your body's sexual urges are increasing, you find yourself wanting to go back to the sinful habits that you know you should leave off.

Whether you masturbate or not is your choice. See "I'm still confused about masturbation. Is it right or wrong? What are your thoughts about it?" Pornography is a different matter. It is always wrong. See "A Look at Pornography."

The frequency of ejaculation depends on your body's speed at producing semen, and even that is variable for each man. The average male has 13 ejaculations per month (or roughly three per week). That is average -- for some it is higher and for others it is lower. See "How many wet dreams per week is normal?" Since your body doesn't have a habit of having wet dreams, it may take a while for it to develop a cycle. Typically, men who stop masturbating have a wet dream in about a month. It likely will take several months before a normal cycle develops.

Taking Propecia adds some possible complications. In less than 2% of the men taking it, there is a decrease in the amount of semen being produced and a decrease in sexual desire. I don't know how long you've been taking Propecia, but I'm assuming that it has been a while and you have not seen a decrease in either. Even when there is an effect, Propecia doesn't stop the production of semen, it just slows it down. If that happens, then you will find the times between ejaculations to be longer.

Thank you very much for your prompt response and your help with my concerns and problems.

I've been trying to continue to abstain for the last few days, but even though I tried to get myself busy and engage in social activities, the strong sexual desire still remains and my body constantly demands to take the edge off. I understand that my body's desires are natural (God created them) and I don't want to change anything about that (it feels good to feel like a man), but my problem is that since I was used to excessive masturbation. I connected this "pleasure" with pornography, which I know is a sin. Even if I abstain for a few days and then masturbate, it is still connected it to pornography in my mind even though I'm not using any means of arousal other than my thoughts. I've quit using pornography. These thoughts and imaginations, which I feel are pornography-like, make me feel uncomfortable and guilty. This is the reason for which I would like to stop masturbating all together.

I'm also having trouble dealing with what you described "the edge." How long do you think is it going to take until my body is used to the feeling of full seminal vesicles? I wish I had never started to masturbate. I immediately got addicted to it the first time I tried it.

The urge to masturbate got so strong in two nights I found myself humping the bed slightly until I reached orgasm, which didn't take longer than a minute. The strange thing was that this happened in the middle of the night (like 5 am). Could it be possible that my body is not able to release semen in the form of a wet dream and, therefore, needs to wake me up to hump the bed?

Another problem could also be that my body apparently produces a lot of semen. At least, when I was seeing the doctor for my hair loss problem he told me that my hormone levels were high (androgen, testosterone, etc.). That's why he prescribed Propecia, which by blocking the conversion of testosterone to DHT also increases the free testosterone levels. I also work out frequently and take protein shakes and amino acid supplements to help muscle growth.

Is it possible that for these reasons my body needs to release semen almost daily even though the average is 13 per month?

Also, do you know why it may take up to a month before I might experience a wet dream? Does my body have to learn to have wet dreams? Is it possible for a 23 year old to develop a normal and regular wet dream cycle? 

I heard from people who masturbate just once a week that they also have frequent wet dreams. Does that mean their bodies need more release?

I know this is a lot of questions, but I really thank you for taking the time to respond. There is nobody else I could talk to about this.

Also I want you to know that I'm a believing Christian and that God has always been there for me in difficult situations, for which I'm more than grateful. This is also one of the reasons why I want to give up the sinful habit of masturbation. In addition, I'm saving myself for marriage.

The best time to take care of a bad habit is now. Waiting until later never makes a bad habit easier to deal with. And the best time to remove sin out of your life is now for the same reason.

While you've connected masturbation with pornography, I would like you to keep the two distinct in your mind. Wet dreams and masturbation are male bodily functions that are neither right nor wrong by themselves. Pornography is a visual form of lust (passion) that is sinful. I want you to keep in mind that you are getting rid of pornography out of your life. If in doing so you don't masturbate as often, so be it. But if you focus on trying not to ejaculate while awake, you are going keep beating yourself up for "failing." Eventually Satan is going to convince you that you can't be "good" because have the boundary between good and evil in the wrong place. I don't want you to give up in the battle against sin.

Nearly 100% of all males eventually masturbate. So wishing you didn't is much like wishing you never learned to walk. The problem isn't the fact that you are walking, but where you let your legs carry you. It isn't productive to dwell on the past. You need to focus on learning to manage your bodily functions without sinning. "Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 3:13-14).

Basically, you are already beginning to experience wet dreams. The problem at the moment is that your body is more comfortable with ejaculating while you are awake than when you are asleep, so you are waking up in the process of masturbating that began while you were asleep. You mentioned that you wake up humping the bed and in a few strokes are ejaculating. My guess is that you were actually humping the bed for a while and just woke up right before the end. The reason that it is happening in the early morning hours is because every healthy male has erections just before waking up. Your body is taking advantage of what is already there to get rid of your excess semen.

Since it is the thoughts you need to control and not your body's function, what I would like you to do is find a different, non-sexual topic to think about when you find yourself masturbating. Do the times tables or recite a non-erotic poem any time you catch yourself starting to think about pornography. What will happen is that either your erection will fade, or you will end up ejaculating anyway because the need is too great. Either is fine, so long as you are not thinking lustful thoughts. A side-effect of getting your thoughts under control is that your semen production will decrease a bit. However, it may not be enough for you to notice.

While the average is 13 ejaculations per month, the range is far greater. It is not at all unusual for a young man to ejaculate nearly daily. And, yes, men who have frequent wet dreams while masturbating infrequently are still producing excess semen.

Getting used to fuller seminal vesicles doesn't mean you'll be ejaculating less. I meant that you will be getting your thoughts under control while at the same time experiencing stronger urges to ejaculate. It would have been easier to do when you were a bit younger, but it certainly isn't impossible for for a twenty-something year old man to accomplish. The one thing to keep in mind is that while you learning self-control, you are more vulnerable to sexual temptation, so be extra careful.

It's been a while since I wrote to you with my concerns about obsessive masturbation.

I just wanted to thank you for your help again and let you know that I've been able to cut down my masturbation frequency to once a week. I've also managed to abstain for a period of three weeks to see if I'll have a wet dream. 

But unfortunately it didn't happen, and I fell back to masturbating once a week. Do you think that there's a chance that I will never experience wet dreams again, even if I quit masturbation? Do you think it will take more than three weeks get get my body to the point to release semen by itself? I desperately would like to have wet dreams again – and never have to masturbate again. Do you think there's a chance that I can make this happen? Do you think after abstaining for a really long time I will be able to have nocturnal emissions more than once a month?

Thank you once again for your help. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

I understand your desire not to masturbate at all, but my question for you at the moment is are you able to avoid using pornography or lustful thoughts?

Typically it takes about a month of not masturbating for wet dreams to start again. For many young men that is longer than they can handle because of the rising sexual desire. Once the wet dreams start they will eventually fall into a frequency that right for your body. So the question is: do you want this bad enough to put up with feeling like you're going nuts for several months while things settle back down. And are you prepared for strong sexual temptations while you readjust?

I've managed to completely get rid of the use of pornography for a while (four months) but then fell back into watching porn again since the urges got too strong. I'm now trying to quit again. The only problem is that if I'm abstaining from masturbation I'm going crazy about week two. Then everything turns into something sexual, and I keep getting erections for no reason, like all the time. My penis gets all sensitive, and I sometimes have the impression that my glans is so sensitive that I might ejaculate without even toughing anything. Luckily that has never happened.

How do you think is it possible to not masturbate for a month? Will it get easier after a certain amount of time? How will I know if I'm close to having a wet dream; and what if it will never happen?

If I don't masturbate for long I get this feeling of fullness in my lower stomach area. it's similar to the feeling of a full bladder. Do you know where this comes from?

How will my body learn how to release semen in a wet dream? Will a wet dream happen through persistency? Like trying not to masturbate even though I keep waking up in the middle of the night because the urge to masturbate got so strong? And eventually my body will give up and release the excessive semen by itself before the seminal vesicles are overflowing? Or do you think it has also something to do with my body getting more sensitive, like what I described earlier when my penis and glans get more sensitive, and therefore being able to ejaculate very quickly by, for example, my penis touching the blanket during sleep?

Can I keep writing you and check in with you until I managed to completely give up pornography and masturbation? Can you help me to quit masturbation?

You are completely welcome to write as often as you want. I don't mind the questions.

Male AnatomyLet's go back to basics for a moment. It sounds like you almost understand what is going on, but not quite. Your body has two seminal vesicles, which are located just below and behind the bladder. These vesicles constantly produce semen and eventually they get full. That is what you are feeling when you try to go without ejaculating for several weeks. As they get full, your body gets more sensitive to sexual touch. Your mind also tends to move to sexual ideas and that is where you start feeling like you are going crazy.

The design of the male body is to get rid of older semen to make room for fresh material. If you happen to produce semen very slowly, the body is able to get rid of a little bit each night through a drip method. When you have erections, the pathway to the ejaculatory duct and the seminal vesicles open up, allowing a small amount of semen to drip down. It then is flushed out of the body the next time you urinate. Unfortunately this method doesn't keep up with the rate of production for most men. To get rid of the excess, you actually have to ejaculate.

One way that excess is taken care of is an instinctive response by the body when your seminal vesicles get full. During the dream stage of sleep (also known as the REM or Rapid Eye Movement stage), your body automatically gets an erection. You have four to six erections every night, but you only notice the last one when you wake up in the morning. Since your penis and glans are hypersensitive because the seminal vesicles are full, your body responds by rubbing your penis. Eventually you reach orgasm and ejaculate. For some men, they sleep so soundly that don't realize it happened until they wake up in the morning. Others semi-wake while it is going on, but fall right back to sleep when it is over. Others come fully awake, which appears to be what happens to you.

Almost 100% of men discover at some point how to masturbate and trigger an ejaculation. The feeling of pleasure that comes with orgasm and the relief of ejaculating is so intense that it is common for young men to pursue it. But again, the design of the body is that it is easiest to ejaculate when the seminal vesicles are full, but harder when they get close to empty. However, if the mind is focused on sex, it can raise the hormone levels up so that ejaculation is possible again. Understanding this, the pornography industry uses this to tempt men with sexual images and a vicious cycle is produced. Many men get trapped by pornography to the point that they can't ejaculate without thinking of pornographic images. This is what happened to you.

God never states that masturbating is sinful, not by itself. See Is masturbation unacceptable? and Is masturbation sinful or not? The real problem is breaking the link between ejaculating and pornography that you formed in your mind. I'm going to give two techniques to use to help manage your sexual urges and teach yourself that you don't need pornography to ejaculate.

First, since you would like to just have wet dreams take care of the matter, you have to let them happen. What is happening with you at the moment is that you wake up when you are about to have a wet dream. Once you are awake, you stop yourself from ejaculating because you are convinced that masturbating is wrong. Yet, all a wet dream really is is masturbating in your sleep. Thus your body is trying to start the process, but you keep ending it before it is done. So the first thing I will suggest is that you let it happen when you awake at night. No getting out of bed. No looking for porn. Just go ahead and let your body do what it wants. To further encourage this, when you start feeling like your seminal vesicles are getting full, I want you to sleep for the next several nights in the nude until you have an ejaculation. The reason for this is that every small movement while you sleep will simulate your penis and you will reach orgasm sooner. Now, it will make a bigger mess to clean up in the morning since your semen will get on the bed sheets, but for the moment it will be worth the extra effort.

Eventually your body will relearn what it instinctively knows and you will see yourself falling into a cycle.

The second thing is to be able to mange your sexual urges. There are going to be times when waiting for a wet dream is not going to be convenient or you know you need to cut the urge because of some situation you might be facing. Masturbation is going to be your only route for these times, so you need to learn to masturbate without pornography or lustful thoughts. The "training" is really simple. Wait until you feel like you can't stand it any more and then go take a shower and masturbate while you are in there. Purposely keep your mind on non-sexual ideas, but you will find it easy to get to orgasm because your body is so keyed up, it is ready to explode anyway. After doing that for a while, you will soon realize that you don't need trash in order to ejaculate.

Thanks much for your quick response.

So this means that I can actually feel my seminal vesicles accumulate with fluid and the feeling of fullness (and the urge to go to the bathroom frequently) is related to it. What happens if I don't have a wet dream and don't release any fluid through the ejaculatory duct? Could this be dangerous for my health? I have the impression that my seminal vesicles get full very quickly since I get this feeling like I'm crazy already after a week.

Once, a couple of years ago I managed to abstain for three weeks and then slipped but in that night I had a wet dream. This was a really weird dream and I couldn't really get the message of it but I ejaculated during it – just weird. But what I'm trying to say is that I now won't get passed day 15 of abstaining. I always slip up. If I could only get passed these three or four weeks, Like yesterday, I had managed to not masturbate for seven days but couldn't fall a sleep. Some sort of lucid dreaming happened and I started humping the bed again until I ejaculated (I wasn't really asleep yet though). I felt really bad and depressed after I had reached orgasm.

When you talk about masturbating during sleep (during the REM stage), do you mean that men actually subconsciously masturbate by using their hands or rubbing the penis against the blanket while they dream? Or does the body just release semen by inducing an orgasm in you head? And also when you talk about the process of having a wet dream, what do you exactly mean?

When I awake at night close before having a wet dream, do you also suggest masturbating (with my hands) until I ejaculate?

I've tried to sleep in the nude before. It feels kind of nice and it's true that I feel my erections more intensely. I've also tried to sleep on my back since I have the impression that wet dreams tend to happen more likely if you're in this position for some reason. I'm going to follow your advice and start to sleep in the nude as soon as I've reached day seven again.

In terms of the use of pornography I think I'll be able to manage to stop using it as a sexual outlet. What I feel is more dangerous are my lustful thoughts which I cannot control at all. Around day seven of not masturbating everything gets a sexual connotation. I start looking at people and my mind makes up weird fantasies. I get an erection more easily and more frequently (it's sometimes almost as bad as when I was in my teenage years). I've even noticed myself to look at other guys in the showers in the gym during these times, which freaks me out. That's why I hope to get to a cycle of one wet dream per week – I just want to prevent this from happening.

Is there another way I could train my body to release semen through a wet dream or do I just have to manage to get passed these magical three to four weeks until it's going to happen? In one of your other emails you said that the average male has up to 13 ejaculations per month. This kinda means that I should be able to have nocturnal emissions like at least four times a moth, right? But you also said it might take a long time until I fall back into this habit again. Maybe I'm already to old for wet dreams? Or are there 24 year old guys who still have wet dreams like every week?

Oh dear, I have the impression I will never make it to completely give up masturbation – I wish I had never really learned it in the first place and started using it as a sexual outlet but rather let my body handle it the natural way.

It would mean a great deal to me if I could report back to you from time to time – maybe I'll be able to quit masturbation with your help forever.

I'm grateful that you take the time to answer my emails and that you're trying to help me.

Not releasing semen is not dangerous to your health. But what you will find is that it will happen regardless. I would rather that you learn to manage it than to let things build to the point that you are an easy target for sin. That is why I'm trying to get you to see that ejaculating isn't the problem, it is the sinful ways you might chose to ejaculate that can be the problem.

Calling having an ejaculation "slipping up" is looking at the matter the wrong way. Ejaculating is normal, and the way God made you. It is only when you use sin to ejaculate, such as pornography or fornication, that there is a problem. So, rather than allow temptation get the upper hand, I rather you learn to ejaculate with control of your thoughts or through weird dreams.

The dream you described is very typical of a wet dream. They almost always are weird in some way. There isn't a buried message in the dream. Your brain responded to signals that you needed a sexual situation and it supplied bits and pieces of different memories strung together that somehow got filed in your mind under the category of "erotic."

The design of the body is such that you can't just ejaculate by thought alone. There has to be physical stimulation of the penis to trigger the ejaculation. Your body responds by both erections and a strong desire to rub your penis against something, whether it is your hand or your bed.

Humping the bed is basically what most men do when they have a wet dream. Yes, the last few times you were basically wake, or at least aware, but that doesn't mean you were doing anything wrong. But what happened is what is called a wet dream, even if you weren't deeply asleep. Clearly you aren't too old for wet dreams. They even sometimes occur when you are older, married and having regular sex (though not very often).

The 13 times a month includes those who masturbate. But it isn't unusual for young men to ejaculate once or twice a week, even thorough wet dreams.

So you think I'm already experiencing wet dreams? Even though I'm almost awake when they happen?

It happened to me yesterday again that I orgasmed in a translucid stage of my mind. Strangely, only three days after the last ejaculation in the exact same situation. When I went to bed but for some reason I couldn't really enter deep sleep for hours. I was just drifting and felt a couple of strong erections and a ticklish feeling. My erect penis was bouncing a few times - this went like for about three hours. There were times when I though I was close to ejaculating - but at some point in my lucid stage I decided that I couldn't take this anymore and helped by moving my pelvis up and down. Right after this happened I fell asleep immediately. In the morning I woke up really tired with my still soaked jammies. If this is what having a nocturnal emission is like, I have to tell you it meant a great deal of stress to me.

Do you think there's going to be a time when my body just does this without me even noticing? Is my body still learning at the moment? Do I always have to be humping the bed or do you think that a slight stimulation from a bouncing erect penis might also be enough to trigger the ejaculation?

And what is even worse is that even after the relief yesterday I felt hornier than ever today. This doesn't make any sense to me.

The other wet dream, I described you in my last email, happened after abstaining for almost three weeks just happened without me helping or humping the bed. I just felt this pressure and woke up while I was ejaculating. What do you think might have triggered this one?

I haven't looked at pornography lately and don't really have the desire to do so. I'm too busy trying to quit awake masturbation anyways. I can't believe how long it takes me to succeed. I've really tried since the beginning of this year. It really takes a lot of willpower to fight the feeling of full seminal vesicles. I'm hearing what you say about controlled masturbation but I'd rather not do it at all. So far I haven't masturbated while awake for over a week.

Yes, you had a wet dream. This is why some prefer the name "nocturnal emissions" to wet dreams. Even though you felt like you were semi-awake most of the night, more likely you were drifting in and out of sleep, spending more time than usual in the REM stage because your seminal vesicles were full. It was because you didn't spend enough time in the deeper stages of sleep that you woke up feeling tired today.

In the time before, you were also having a wet dream, and you were humping the bed in your sleep. You just happened to wake up in time for the ejaculation, not remembering what happened before. So in that time, you came close to not noticing it happening -- besides the result of having to clean up the semen.

Men rarely empty their seminal vesicles when they ejaculate. In fact, if you try to, you'll find yourself aching for a while. And wet dreams don't often release a large quantity of semen -- only enough to take the pressure off.

But as I mention before, it will take a few months for your body to get to a good cycle. The male body goes through periods where it produces semen more easily than at other times. But I think that at the moment your body found relief, but the levels in the seminal vesicles are still too high. You'll probably have several episodes of wet dreams in a row until you can get to a more stable level. So don't get upset about it -- nature is finally taking its course. If you want to encourage the decrease, you can always use the sleeping nude trick.

But better, notice that you are getting by without the trash of pornography in your mind. And if you don't need the masturbation, that is perfectly fine as well.

Thanks for your latest email. I've been really busy at work the last couple of weeks - that's why I'm responding so late.

I haven't been masturbating for a long time now. I actually can't remember the last time I did it awake. I noticed that my glans became very sensitive overall; up to a point that it feels ticklish sometimes (similar to what I can remember my glans felt before I stated to masturbate).

I also average on two releases of semen per week at the moment; this surprises me because I didn't think it would be that many. But I'm glad my body is finally adjusting to it's natural rhythm.

It also still happens that I wake up close before having an ejaculation. I never fully wake up though and finish the nocturnal emission by slowly moving my pelvis until I ejaculate - mostly within a few seconds. I hope I will sleep through my wet dreams soon. Do you think this is going to happen as soon as my body is getting used to having wet dreams? The sleeping in the nude method also really helps even though it's messy.

I also enjoy the feeling of full seminal vesicles a lot. I feel more confident and have better self-esteem.

Besides the unavoidable pornographic imagery in our every day life and on TV, I quit watching porn for good. Unfortunately since I did, I noticed more sexual dreams during sleep. Is that normal or does that also count as sinful?

I'm really grateful for all of your help. It took five months to achieve this and I'm more than happy that I overcame masturbation.

Whether you will sleep through a wet dream or not is something I cannot predict. It really depends on the individual.

Dreams are something you cannot control. All you can do is limit the material that your brain has to work with. But when a wet dream occurs, the brain pulls out imagery that it has filed away as "erotic" which sometimes it filing system is odd and what is pulled up as erotic really isn't when you think about it. When you dream, your brain is taking information that you experienced that day and filing it away. You are watching the various connections being made, which is why dreams often are so strange.

But sexual themed dreams are just a fact of life for men when they are having wet dreams. They aren't sinful because they aren't in your control. However, over a long period of time, limiting thoughts about sex because you aren't looking at pornography will eventually cause you to have milder wet dreams because the brain has less erotic material to work with.

What has happened is that because you stopped looking at pornography, more semen is able to build up, which triggers the need for more wet dreams, which causes you to have more sexual themed dreams. So the lack of pornography isn't really causing you to have more erotic dreams. That potential was always there.