I wake up twitching if I go too long without ejaculating

Last updated on October 11, 2020


Hi Jeff,

I am a 23-year-old man, and I have some questions for you. First of all, I want to say that I am a Christian committed to living in obedience to God’s word. Also, I have read many of the answers you have given to the questions others have asked, and I appreciate what you are doing. My questions are about nocturnal emissions and masturbation, and I hope you can give me some good advice. Basically, one of my older brothers (who I’m pretty sure has a lower sex drive than I do) told me that he was able to stop masturbating, and since I sometimes have trouble controlling my thoughts, I decided to try to stop also. I did manage to have a wet dream after 26 days without ejaculating, but getting there was extremely miserable as you often warn. I kept trying off and on for about a year after that and had a few more wet dreams, but I never succeeded in establishing a true cycle of them. I don’t really try anymore because the stress was just not worth it for me.

However, my body did establish a pattern of involuntarily or semi-voluntarily humping the bed. Oftentimes when it has been a few days since I ejaculated, I will wake up around an hour after I fall asleep and start humping the bed without really thinking about it. Sometimes I can fall back asleep, but I almost always ejaculate by either humping the bed for a few minutes or using my hands to masturbate. I’m not too concerned about that, but what bothers me more is that on many nights my body will start moving in pelvic thrust motions either before I fall asleep at all or just as I start to fall asleep, which wakes me back up. Sometimes the twitching can be pretty violent, and it seems like resisting it only makes it worse. It’s very rare for me to fall asleep when this happens because the twitching causes me to become aroused, which in turn intensifies the twitching.

My question is, have you heard of this happening, and is it normal or acceptable? I feel like I have tried everything but hopping in circles on one foot while patting my head and rubbing my stomach to break this pattern, but nothing works. I have tried staying up late to make myself tired, using over-the-counter sleeping pills at a reasonable dose, drinking coffee to stay up really late to make it easier to fall asleep, getting up and reading for a long time when I start to twitch. I don’t know what to do. I have managed to force myself to fall asleep a few times, but that’s it.

My greatest concern is that if I get married, I feel like I should be able to go without sex for a while (hopefully a week at least) if my wife isn’t available, and right now it looks like this would keep me from “holding it” for more than about 3-4 days unless my sex drive is at a temporary low point. I have just gotten the impression from what I have read and heard that a woman can find it humiliating if her husband masturbates, instead of waiting until she is available again. Is this true? Should I invest the effort to break this pattern, or could it go away on its own eventually? If I need to break it, what is the best way to do it? I have not yet resorted to staying up the entire night, but that seems a bit extreme. I just wouldn’t want to drive my poor wife crazy with feeling obligated to have sex when I would start twitching in bed.

Anyway, I welcome your advice in this matter.


Let’s first define what is happening. You wanted to have wet dreams, and you have succeeded in getting them. Unfortunately, you are the type of person who wakes up when having a wet dream. That actually is very common. What you are calling “twitching” is nothing more than you having a wet dream. Wet dreams are a form of sleepwalking where you masturbate or hump in your sleep.

Instead of fighting it, the simple answer is when you wake up from it, finish off what was started, and go back to sleep. Consider such episodes as having a wet dream — just one that you were unable to sleep all the way through.

Women are naturally upset if their husbands masturbate instead of having sex with them. If you are not with your wife because you are traveling, sex is not an option and if you need to ejaculate, you take care of it. When you return home you resume your normal sexual activities.

The Scriptures teach: “The husband must fulfill his duty to his wife, and likewise also the wife to her husband. The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does; and likewise also the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does” (I Corinthians 7:3-4). This means that when your wife wants sex, you provide it for her; regardless of how tired you might be. If you need to have sex, then your wife’s obligation is to provide the opportunity. That means if you wake up in the middle of a wet dream, you lovingly whisper in your wife’s ear and ask if she would mind having sex.