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Overcoming Prone Masturbation

On the main page of is outlined the sexual dysfunctions that are likely to result from a male masturbating in the prone position. This page details how a male can give up prone masturbation and learn to masturbate the conventional way and become more successful sexually.


Although about 90 percent of males masturbate by hand, about 5-10 percent masturbate by lying face down and thrusting the penis into or against the bed, pillow, or something else. Although masturbation is normal, healthy, and fun, prone masturbation causes severe sexual dysfunction in most males who practice it. This web site describes prone masturbation and the problems of its practitioners and offers case studies and approaches to becoming cured.

Part of this page can be printed as a PDF brochure. (If printing 2-sided, use the setting "flip on short edge" under Options.)

How does one unlearn prone masturbation?

One has to stop masturbating in prone fashion and learn to do it the conventional way. This might take a bit of time and practice. Many practitioners can masturbate the conventional way if they haven't had an orgasm for an extended period of time, perhaps a week. By limiting masturbation to only when they can do it without resorting to their old (face-down) habits, they can learn to masturbate conventionally. Most males who find out about the dangers of prone masturbation and decide to give it up are able to masturbate by hand while lying on their backs within a week.

These are the steps to overcoming prone masturbation:

Decide to give up prone forever

Take a week off from all sexual activity including masturbation

After the end of that week, masturbate to orgasm using only your hand

Then masturbate by hand daily for a month

At the end of that month, you'll be ready to try sex with a partner

Three to four months after quitting prone, you will notice an improvement in your erections

I've been masturbating every day since middle school, and I can't conceive of quitting now!

No one is asking you to quit masturbating, only to stop masturbating prone. Most males who masturbate prone do it daily. (Many normal males -- and most younger ones -- masturbate daily too.) You can quit for days at a time. Your penis will be more sensitive after a period of abstinence and this will make it easier for you to learn to masturbate manually.

I masturbate to help me sleep at night. This makes me reluctant to quit even for a week.

Perhaps half of male masturbation happens at bedtime. But one must forego daily masturbation at least as long as is necessary to habituate the penis to regular masturbation. It might be necessary to use other means of falling asleep in the meantime. A prescription or non-prescription sleep aid might be helpful.

I masturbate prone and I'm a virgin. I have no problem getting a nice, firm erection whenever I want one. Why should I believe that I'll have sexual problems someday?

First of all, it's not possible to will yourself to have an erection. That fact is well established. If it seems like you can, it's because when you're young

  1. Spontaneous erections are frequent; and
  2. Erections come easily with very little stimulation.
But as you age, these things change, regardless of your sexual experience and masturbation style. If you're under 20, you're probably used to awakening with an erection almost every morning. When you get to be 21 or so, you'll find that spontaneous erections -- which come as often as every 90 minutes during the teen years -- will be much less frequent, and eventually waking up hard will also be a rare rather than common thing.

This is something every man has to deal with, and the change is compounded in the male who masturbates prone. As you become more and more habituated to the feelings you get from prone masturbation, you will have a more difficult time achieving an erection without that level of stimulation. Many men first realize their masturbatory position is a problem when they find they don't have an erection when they start a masturbation session -- and sometimes they don't even have one when they reach orgasm.

The good news is that if you're young and sexually inexperienced, you can cure yourself more easily than an older man can, and you can be cured before you ever have to explain your difficulties to a partner.

I masturbate prone regularly and I'm not a virgin. I don't have any problems having sex with women at all.

Consider yourself lucky. You might be one of the minority of males who masturbate prone who don't experience sexual dysfunctions, or you might be young enough that you're not experiencing them yet. Why take unnecessary chances? Masturbating prone isn't worth the risk of sexual dysfunction. Why not give up prone masturbation before you experience any sexual trouble? Your situation is a lot like that of a smoker your age. You don't have lung cancer, emphysema, or heart disease, so why should you believe that smoking causes those things?

Some women like it that I can make love for a half hour without orgasming. Isn't this an advantage of prone masturbation?

No, it isn't. If a man can refrain from ejaculating until a woman is satisfied, it can be a good thing, but only if the man is controlling it. It is not a good thing when a man has to have sex for half an hour because he doesn't know how to finish.

Is it necessary to masturbate at all?

Yes, it's necessary for males to masturbate.

Let's take a step back from masturbation and talk about ejaculation. It's necessary for males past puberty to ejaculate. The male sexual organs produce a number of fluids that have to be eliminated periodically. Doctors specializing in sexuality generally agree that a male must ejaculate (at a bare minimum) once every two weeks to avoid damage to his sexual functioning. However, more than 98% of males under the age of 60 ejaculate much more often than this. A team of doctors led by Dr. Graham Giles published a study in 2003 that found that males who ejaculated most often when they were young had the least incidence of prostate cancer later. They state that masturbation is healthier for the prostate than having intercourse, because masturbation doesn't expose the prostate to STDs. Dr. Giles recommends that younger males masturbate at least six times a week.

So ejaculation is necessary. If a male doesn't ejaculate by having intercourse (or wet dreams, which are uncommon in boys who have learned how to masturbate) -- then masturbation is necessary. So as a practical matter, yes, it's necessary for males to masturbate. Very few males claim to never masturbate, and some authorities say there are no males past puberty who never masturbate.

The average male masturbates well over 1000 times before he ever has sexual intercourse.

How often is it normal to masturbate?

Considerable variation exists among males, even in the same age group. The average male has an orgasm about once a day from puberty to age 24 and even then the frequency only drops slightly.

Can anything be done to prevent boys from starting to masturbate prone in the first place?

Yes. Prone masturbation could be prevented if boys could learn the conventional way to masturbate when they're about 11-13. It would also be useful if males that age could learn the proper way to masturbate in sex ed and also that prone masturbation is dysfunctional.

Is professional help an option in dealing with prone masturbation?

It might be useful, but it's not necessary. Any competent sex therapist who knows about the hazards of masturbating prone will tell you the behavior has to cease. If it's easier for you to stop masturbating prone because a sex therapist tells you to rather than because you read it here, then by all means hire a sex therapist.

Informal help is available from other males who have practiced prone masturbation and suffered from its dysfunctions online. A support group has been online since 2002. Previously it was a Yahoo group and now it is a bulletin board on To join, click here.

How can I stop masturbating against the bed (prone)?

Remember, you don't need to quit masturbating. You only need to modify the way you practice it. You taught yourself how to masturbate face-down, and now you can teach yourself to masturbate face-up. It'll be easier this time around because you already know which erotic buttons to push, but it'll be harder too, since you have to set aside some of the shortcuts to orgasm you've been taking.

What follows are some exercises to help you quit masturbating prone. Please note that they are really parts of the same program rather than separate strategies.

Here is a one-page guide to quitting prone masturbation suitable for printing. It contains no embarrassing text or illustrations: One-page guide

Prone masturbation cessation exercise no. 1: Will Power

Abstain from masturbating until you can do it using only your hand while lying on your back. You might already know how many days of abstinence will let you masturbate with your hand. If so, pick that as a target. Let's say it's seven days. (If you've never masturbated the conventional way, start by abstaining for seven days.) Pick a date and time seven days from your last orgasm (which in this example was Tuesday at 7 AM). Make a chart that looks like this:

Day Time Hours elapsed Hours to go
Tue. 8:00 AM 1 167
9:00 AM 2 166
10:00 AM 3 165
11:00 AM 4 164
12:00 PM 5 163
1:00 PM 6 162
2:00 PM 7 161
3:00 PM 8 160

Ending like this:
Day Time Hours elapsed Hours to go
Tue. 12:00 AM 161 7
1:00 AM 162 6
2:00 AM 163 5
3:00 AM 164 4
4:00 AM 165 3
5:00 AM 166 2
6:00 AM 167 1
7:00 AM 168 0
Click here to make a complete weekly chart.

NOTE: If you have a partner, you also have to abstain from sex with them during the abstention period. It's really abstention from ejaculation as much as from masturbation.

It really makes it easier to go that time when you can look at the chart (hourly, if your will power needs that much boosting) and see how many hours left. There's an enormous sense of satisfaction at the four day point when there are more hours elapsed than hours to go. Remember, if you yield to temptation and masturbate before the period is up, you will have wasted that many elapsed hours and have to start over again.

Here's a tip -- sleeping with more clothing on will make it more difficult to start masturbating in your sleep, whether accidentally or not. Try wearing underwear and pajama bottoms, or underwear and sweat pants. It's a lot easier to get stimulated in bed when you're naked (which is probably why people sleep naked).

Here's another tip -- if you're used to masturbating against your bedding, replace your bedding with something less comfortable. Get rid of silky, satiny sheets and put on something new and rough. Get rid of that slick nylon comforter and put on a heavy, itchy blanket. Go to a thrift store and buy something so uncomfortable that you would never want your naked erection against it.

It's a good idea to leave your penis alone as much as possible during the abstention period. Any masturbating, even short of orgasm, is counterproductive during this period.

When the end of your abstention period arrives, proceed to masturbate using only the conventional method. It is easiest to masturbate lying on your back because there is nothing pressing downward on any part of your body. Try to use as little force as you can (i.e., don't grip very hard). Do not resort to prone masturbation if the conventional method doesn't work right away! After a week without an orgasm, even the most veteran practitioner of prone masturbation should have no trouble masturbating to orgasm using the standard method.

If orgasm through conventional masturbation then occurs easily (less than 5 minutes), try abstaining for only two or three days. If it took longer than twenty minutes, abstain for four or five days. Once you've succeeded after only three days, try two, and so on. Within a month, you will likely be at the point where you can masturbate as often as you like using only the conventional method. You know you've succeeded when you've given up prone masturbation and are able to masturbate conventionally daily for a month.

Quitting masturbation is never easy, even for only a few days. This is especially true when making a conscious effort to not masturbate, as opposed to abstaining for a few days because of necessity. Orgasm is not only physically pleasurable, but it also brings a sense of comfort and security to people. So you need to deal not only with the pressures you're getting physically, but also with the psychological benefits you get from masturbating.

Prone masturbation cessation exercise no. 2: Location, location, location!

Many males associate being in their bedrooms with masturbation as much as with sleep -- and there's really nothing wrong with that. But if that automatic connection is driving you to masturbate when you'd rather be abstaining, try spending as little time in the bedroom as possible. In fact, go someplace where you know you'll never be able to masturbate.

Remember, you'll be done with these restrictions as soon as you learn to masturbate conventionally.

Prone masturbation cessation exercise no. 3: Lose the visual stimuli

When you're trying to abstain, lock up those magazines and videos that help you masturbate. Avoid watching things on TV where things of a stimulating nature are apt to appear. When it's time to masturbate at the end of your abstention period, you might not need any visual aids (and possibly you won't even need a sexual fantasy) -- although it might be useful to use them and is perfectly OK to do so.

Prone masturbation cessation exercise no. 4: Use a sleep aid

The over-the-counter (OTC) remedy Benadryl has a variety of uses. One of them is to help people fall asleep faster. Most of the OTC sleep aids contain Benadryl (diphenhydramine). Taking Benadryl while trying to abstain will not only help you fall asleep faster, reducing the amount of time you spend trying to fall asleep, it might even keep you from getting unwanted erections during your abstention period. Caution should be exercised in starting any new drug. It's a good idea to consult your doctor before trying Benadryl or any sleep aid.

Prone masturbation cessation exercise no. 5: Step down to your hand

If you're having trouble giving up prone masturbation, try thrusting into your hand instead of whatever you're thrusting into now. While still a form of prone masturbation, thrusting into your hand is less harmful than thrusting against bedding, the floor, or some other object. A male accustomed to masturbating prone ought to be able to switch to thrusting into his hand without much trouble. It helps to use a water-based lube like K-Y Liquid (not K-Y Jelly) or Astroglide. Think of this change as a transitional step to make a complete elimination of prone masturbation easier.

How long should it take for me to be cured? And what does getting cured mean?

Getting cured means you can masturbate the conventional way as often as you like and don't feel the need to masturbate face-down anymore. You will have developed a basic sexual skill. Teenaged guys seem to get cured in less than two weeks. Older guys take a little longer but can generally be done with prone masturbation within a month of resolving to do so. Once you've been masturbating conventionally for three months (and abstaining from prone), you're apt to notice more sensitivity and strength in your erections.

When I'm cured, can I have intercourse without problems?

You should be completely cured (i.e., able to masturbate daily the conventional way) for at least a month (and perhaps longer) before attempting intercourse. There might also be a learning curve as you get used to the somewhat different feeling of post-prone intercourse. Even so, you should be much more successful at making love than you were while you were masturbating prone.

It looks like the cure program will take a month, and you're saying to wait a month before having intercourse. Why can't I just have intercourse after my week of abstaining instead of masturbating?

The cure is learning to masturbate the conventional way. It is important to masturbate the conventional way on a daily basis for at least a month (maybe longer) before you will have unlearned prone masturbation. Having intercourse sooner might not only be unsuccessful but also threatens to undo the progress you've made in getting cured. So few males have succeeded in overcoming prone masturbation by having intercourse that it is more prudent to say that trying to do so is more likely to set you back than to cure you.

Can my partner and I do anything sexual during this time?

During the initial abstinence period, when you're working on learning to masturbate by hand for the first few times, do absolutely nothing with your partner, and try not to stimulate yourself either (except, of course, when you masturbate after the proper abstinence period). Once you're at the point where you can masturbate every other day by hand in a reasonable amount of time, you can stimulate your partner sexually by hand or mouth. After you're done working on your partner, you can masturbate alone. (It's probably a bad idea for your partner to watch at that point. You don't need to be self-conscious about your new method.) When you've masturbated by hand daily for a month, then you and your partner should try intercourse. (You'll like it a lot better than before!)

You say sleeping with clothes on will keep one from masturbating in one's sleep, accidentally or not. What does that mean?

Some find they masturbate involuntarily while they're sleeping. Sleep masturbation almost always happens when one is sleeping nude. The penis erects, and the person somehow starts thrusting. This is different from a wet dream because the penis doesn't need stimulation in a wet dream.

I can't wait to watch myself ejaculate! That's something I can't see when I'm masturbating on my stomach.

Initially, you should avoid watching. Since you're not used to seeing it, it will make you self-conscious and ironically you won't ejaculate as much as if you were not watching. Wait until you're used to ejaculating that way and then enjoy the show.

How long should it take to masturbate by hand?

Ordinarily, a male should be able to reach orgasm by masturbation in 5 to 10 minutes. Some males stretch their masturbation sessions out to last longer, and there's nothing wrong with that. The point is, a male should be able to reach orgasm within 10 minutes if he wants to. If you're very young -- or have been abstaining from ejaculation for 5 days or more -- it might not take even that long. 10 minutes is a good target time. If it takes longer than 20 minutes, that might be a sign of mental distraction that's interfering with your masturbation. Turning off distractions (TV, radio, etc.) will help you focus on what you're doing, and using a sexual fantasy (and often pictures) helps to keep you on track.

A sign that you're masturbating in a healthy fashion is that you recognize that orgasm is imminent but consciously decide to put it off for a while so you can enjoy masturbating longer. That's a skill that will be most useful when having sex with women.

Lots of young males can masturbate to orgasm in a minute or so, but that's not a skill you can use during intercourse. A woman won't be satisfied that quickly. You're doing yourself a favor if you can delay your orgasm. Even if you can't make it 10-15 minutes, even 5 minutes is better than one minute.

If you're just starting to masturbate conventionally after a history of prone masturbation, orgasms are apt to come more quickly than you're used to. Then you can develop the same kind of techniques to extend your masturbation time that you used the first time you learned how to do it.

Once I learn to masturbate conventionally, can I still do it prone on occasion?

That's a very bad idea. Prone masturbation hasn't been called "traumatic" because it's good for you. What it really is, is painful. It's damaging your sexuality mentally, and perhaps also physically. You should celebrate being cured by vowing never to go back. Most males "cheat" by masturbating prone occasionally in the first few months after switching. When you have no desire to masturbate prone anymore, that's another sign that you're cured.

Will orgasms be as good after I'm cured?

They might be different. If you think that means they're not as good, maybe you need to change your thinking. Prone masturbation might have given you awesome orgasms, but they came at the expense of having orgasms in other situations -- and with other people. More likely, they will be every bit as good, and all the more varied. When you don't have to be in the prone position to masturbate, you can do it in a whole lot of other places -- the computer desk, watching TV, the car, a bathroom, outside. It will all be up to you.

Once you're cured, you might not even remember what prone masturbation was like. You'll be every bit as sexually functional as a man who's never masturbated prone.

Overall, giving up prone masturbation and learning to masturbate with your hand will make you more whole sexually.

I read through this whole page and I'm not sure what prone means.

Supine means lying on the back, and prone means lying on the stomach. Prone masturbation means masturbating in a position similar to the prone position pictured above. (Image courtesy

Why is there nothing about the author's qualifications on this site?

I have a Ph.D. from one of the world's most prestigious research universities and am a scholar at a major research university (in a field unrelated to sexuality), and there is a question whether this web site and the survey research I do connected with it would fall under the jurisdiction of their policies on the use of human subjects in research and other matters if I identified myself with my affiliation to the university on the site.

Part of this page can be printed as a PDF brochure. (If printing 2-sided, use the setting "flip on short edge" under Options.)

Contact author

Join an online support group for males who masturbate prone. Simply click here to be taken to the forum.

Case studies from prone practioners and comments

Read case studies

Read comments from prone practitioners and others who have visited this site.

Do you have a question or comment for the author of this site?

You may contact the author via e-mail or if you wish to be anonymous, enter your questions and comments in the box below. Your question may be answered on the male or female or prone pages. It's a good idea to read the topic pages to see if your question has already been answered. The author rarely answers questions about penis size.


Lawrence I. Sank, Traumatic Masturbatory Syndrome. Journal of Sex and Marital Therapy 24(1): 37-42 (1998). For more information about this reference, see the articles page.

Josie Lipsith, Damian McCann, & David Goldmeier, Male Psychogenic Sexual Dysfunction: The Role of Masturbation, Sexual and Relationship Therapy, 18: 447-471 (2003).

Barbara Bartlik & Marion Zucker Goldstein, Men's Sexual Health After Midlife, Practical Geriatics, 52: 291-294 (2001).

Eva Margolies Undressing the American Male: Men with Sexual Problems and What You Can Do to Help Them. New York: Dutton, 1994.

Bernie Zilbergeld, Male Sexuality, Boston: Little, Brown, 1978, p. 141.

This document created February 4, 2002. Updated May 20, 2021. These pages updated daily or nearly so: Newest male questions. Newest female questions.

There are no pictures or pornography on this site. is not designed to provide medical advice and does not provide medical advice. All material is for information only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional or medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Please review the information contained on carefully and confer with your doctor, psychologist, or other health care professional as needed. Copyright 2002-2023 by