The Relationship of Infantile Masturbation in Males and Self Esteem

Table of Content

The study identifies possible relationship between masturbation and the self-esteem of males. In such scenario, the study determines whether self-esteem decreases/increases with the restriction of infantile masturbation.


Masturbation is said to be a form of manly identification over self   and means of providing self-identified approach of pleasure and identification.   Freud exemplified that infantile masturbation are not supposed to be restricted as      it is one of the earliest signs of sexual identification of an individual and an act to      foster self-esteem. Interruptions and/or restrictions may result to the decline of           the child’s self-esteem level.

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The study utilized Rosenberg’s Self Esteem Scale to validate the          esteem levels of the 50 male samples obtained. Provide interview   questionnaires involving the inquiries on masturbation restrictions.

The results show low esteem-level are associated to restriction of          masturbation during child hood as manifested by 15 out of 36 male respondents           possesses low-esteem, and have a history, as according to interview, of infantile     masturbation restrictions by either parents, or guardians.

Introduction: Problem Statement, Significance and Hypothesis

The study will determine the relationship between infantile masturbation restriction and the self-esteem of the male individual.         Related studies implicate that masturbation and self-esteem have seemingly relationship in an increase/decrease angle. Infantile masturbation occurs during childhood around 3-7 years of age. At this point masturbation is usually exhibited by the child; however, with common notion of society branding it as immoral, restriction is said to cause decline in self-esteem.

The hypothesis of the paper will point out that restricted respondents will have lower levels of self-esteem validated by Rosenberg’s Self Esteem Scale as compared to the unrestricted respondents. The study will be significant to the field of psychoanalytic approach in terms of providing a possible alternative for etiological rationale of self-esteem decline.

Literature Review

Many sexologists, however, are interested in going beyond reducing “unease” and trying to help people enjoy and feel pleasure during masturbation. Today, there is more concern about promoting joy, satisfaction, and pride about masturbation. However, these methodologies to promote joy, satisfaction and pride have not been well described in the literature nor are there studies examining their efficacy. The fact is that masturbation is self-focused and its main purpose is to give self-pleasure. This behavior violates the ethics of many societies that require sacrifice and work for the common good (Bockting and Coleman, 2003 p.86).

Thus, masturbation is perceived to be too selfish and in addition, pleasure focused for the common good. Consequently, masturbation takes on a power of meaning within individuals and society (Levin, 1995 p.34). Due to the stigma promoted by cultural and religious beliefs, masturbation has the power to create intense guilt and shame in individuals. It can also cause conflicts in relationships. This can lead to further problems in intra-personal and interpersonal functioning, sexual and mental disorders. Because of the stigma of masturbation promoted by many of the world’s religions, this can contribute to spiritual alienation as well (Bockting and Coleman, 2003 p.89).

On the other hand, masturbation gives the individual the opportunity to learn about their body and sexual response. Since sexual pleasure is given to oneself, it has been speculated that it contributes to an individual’s sense of ownership, control and autonomy over their own body. Bodily integrity is not only a sexual right but also a key ingredient in sexual health (World Association for Sexology, 1999; ).

Contrary to the myth that masturbation would increase self-focus and selfishness, improved self-identity and self-esteem has been viewed as a critical ingredient for establishing intimacy with others. Therefore, masturbation can be a tool to improve one’s capacity for intimacy with others. Because of the traditional stigma attached to masturbation by religions of the world, approaching masturbation through a more positive approach can facilitate spiritual connectedness. These are some of the key ingredients of sexual health (Robinson et al., 2000). Therefore, masturbation can be a pathway to increasing one’s sexual comfort, satisfaction and overall health (Levin, 1995 p.35).

However, according to Freud, infantile masturbation is both compelling and guilt inducing. Often it is forbidden by parents or other caretakers, and the child comes to internalize the prohibition. A struggle ensues between a wish for instinctual gratification and the internalized prohibition. The struggle not to masturbate is usually lost; the pleasures of genital, or pregenital (oral and anal), masturbation are too great.

However, the return to masturbation is accompanied by guilt and the fall in self-esteem, that accompanies the failure to carry through a resolution. Masturbation can then be used as a way of assuaging the anxiety, and a vicious cycle is set up. This certainly sounds familiar and is indeed the pattern of much addictive behavior (Levin, 1995 p.38).

Sigmund Freud (1954) in an early letter to Wilhelm Fliess wrote that masturbation is a primary addiction and that addictions to drugs such as alcohol and morphine are mainly replacements for that primary addiction. Continuing the analogy, Freud stated that masturbation/drug use leads to guilt, anxiety, and diminished self-esteem (Bockting and Coleman, 2003 p.87). Freud postulated that repeated masturbation / drug use occurs to relieve these feelings, and the cycle continues. Addiction has more recently been related to the desire to master the loss of self-esteem resulting from masturbation (Levin, 1987; cited in Kaufman, 1994 p.5).

Upon analyzing the literature review, the prime topic of interest, specifically masturbation and its relationship to self-esteem, have identified a significant gap on the effects of restriction on self-esteem of an individual. As exemplified by Freud and other researchers (Kaufman, 1994; Bockting and Coleman, 2003 p.87; Levin, 1987), restriction of infantile masturbation should result to the decline of self-esteem among males upon their development. Hence, the research aims to validate this hypothesis through the use of qualitative research design involving Rosemberg Test to acquire self-esteem evaluation and key informant interview among samples obtained.


Research Design

The study will be a cross-sectional descriptive design since it studies variables of interest in a sample of subjects that shall be assayed once and the relationships between them are determined. The study will be oriented in a descriptive and quantitative design, which utilizes numerical validation of the qualitative data obtained from descriptive analysis. The research design shall examine and identify the cause and effect relationship of the dependent and independent variables. The main purpose of descriptive study will be to observe, describe, and document aspects of situations.

Sampling Respondents

The respondents of the study will be males ages 12 to 18, who are under the stage of adolescent period. The locale of the study shall revolve in a particular University with approval and ethical consent to personnel concerned. Simple Random Sampling will be used in this study specifically the simple random sampling since it is more appropriate and practical to use. Random Sampling shall be use to prevent the possibility of a biased or erroneous inference. The researchers will use this sampling method to reach a sample frame of 36.

Instrumentation and Procedures

The authors of this study shall intend to conduct an interview with the help of a questionnaire to guide the researchers thru the interview. The study shall also utilize the Rosenberg’s Self Esteem Scale in order to determine the self-esteem levels of the sample, and questionnaire interview to obtain the data in terms of the history of restricted masturbation and self-esteem relationship.


The results that shall be obtained in table 1 will show the difference of esteem levels between restricted males and unrestricted males. The samples shall have been categorized into three criteria, namely high and low. The results for restricted shall be 10 (27.78%) for high esteem, 26 (72.22%) for low self-esteem. On the other hand, unrestricted respondents shall show that 25 (69.44%) respondents have high esteem, 11 (30.56%) respondents have low self esteem. The results shall show that the restriction of masturbation resulted in the decline of self-esteem among males involved.

The statistical treatment that shall be utilized in the study involves paired T-test in order to test the validity and significance of hypothesis. Using the results of respondents in the test of statistics as a result of the learning outcome, the hypothesis of significant difference in between the mean esteem levels of restricted and unrestricted males shall be rejected at p=0.5, and 95% confidence level. Indicating that the hypothesis is true or concluding that there shall be indeed significant difference in the esteem levels of respondents.


Results contradictory to previous findings related to incidence of male masturbatory behavior, frequency of masturbation by married respondents, and mean frequency of female masturbation. Frequency of masturbation and self-esteem shall not be significantly related, and it shall suggest that the instrument to be used in measuring self-esteem may have been distorted. Issues surrounding masturbation shall have been commonly traumatic. Many clients report shall have been severely disciplined for childhood masturbation or carefully watched to prevent masturbation from occurring (Coleman, 1998 p. 127).

As for the findings of the research, the majority of restricted males shall manifest low self esteem, while those with unrestricted masturbation shall incur higher self-esteem levels. Considering the statistical treatment, 95% confidence level shall prove that the hypothesis is indeed acceptable. However, the study shall not consider other variables, such as cultural, demographical, social, and familial origins of the respondent, and the sample size shall be low to validate the statements; hence, these are the limitations of the study. For future searches, the study shall recommend the incorporation of the said variables in conducting the methodology. Furthermore, the study shall recommend the research on relationship of masturbation against the other human domains, such as emotional, physical, spiritual, etc.


  1. Bockting, W. O., & Coleman, E. (2003). Masturbation As a Means of Achieving Sexual Health. Haworth Press.
  2. Coleman, E. (1998). Chemical Dependency and Intimacy Dysfunction. Haworth Press.
  3. Greenberg, J. S., & Archambault, F. X. (1973, February). Masturbation, self-esteem and other variables. Journal of Sex Research, 9, 41-51.
  4. Hesselhund, H. (1976, March). Masturbation and sexual fantasies in married couples. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 5, 133-147.
  5. Kaufman, E. (1994). Psychotherapy of Addicted Persons. Guilford Press.
  6. Keitlin, S. (2004). The Psychology of Self-Esteem. Media Creations.
  7. Levin, J. D. (1995). Introduction to Alcoholism Counseling: A Bio-Psycho-Social Approach. Taylor & Francis.



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