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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

Stop MUSTerbating

Not speaking from personal experience, masturbation—the sexual stimulation of one’s own genitals for sexual arousal or other sexual pleasure, usually to the point of orgasm—seems like it would be a satisfying endeavor. In fact, I’m told it’s often a delightful experience.

Be that as it may, what happens when we rub ourselves in not so pleasurable ways? For instance, if sand, menthol, and juice from a Carolina reaper pepper were added to your preferred lube, would you still proceed with the five finger shuffle or a ménage à moi?

In a critique of David Herbert Lawrence’s objection to self-stimulation, Albert Ellis, the originator of Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) described Lawrence as a “prude” and stated:

[T]here is no togetherness in masturbation. But millions of people masturbate most joyfully without any need, at that time, for togetherness, even though they find it in other sex acts. And, unlike Lawrence’s hypothesizing, these millions frequently do not find masturbation frustrating; quite the reverse – they find not masturbating highly frustrating.

It’s safe to conclude that Ellis presumably didn’t oppose self-gratification derived from the stimulation of one’s own genitals. Amusingly, it was Ellis who is said to have coined the term “musterbation.”

According to Ellis, “There are three musts that hold us back: I must do well. You must treat me well. And the world must be easy.” Whereas masturbation is largely considered pleasing, musterbation isn’t a pleasurable act.

Rather than orgasming to a state of euphoria—which I’m told can happen when choking the chicken or gliding in the valley, musterbation causes a miserable mess through the process of self-disturbance. Using the ABC Model, here’s how it works:

Action – Because you most certainly are a fallible human being, and despite the fact that you’ve received psychotherapy for a number of months, you still have irrational beliefs. Case in point, earlier today, you behaved impolitely towards your romantic partner and said things you now regret and cannot take back.

Belief – You tell yourself, “I’ve been in REBT therapy for months and I mustn’t keep making the mistake of being snippy with my partner. Actually, for as much time and money as I’ve invested in my mental health, I must be better than I currently am. And given that I’m not, Deric is a sorry excuse for a therapist, because he must fix the fact that I have outbursts. There must be an easier approach to life!”

Consequence – Because of your musturbatory beliefs about the action, you disturb yourself into anger regarding your behavior. You also experience fear concerning the future and disgust with your psychotherapist. These emotions are accompanied by the bodily sensation of a queasy stomach. Aside from these feelings (emotions and sensations), you write a scathing online review about your practitioner’s services, deflect from discomfort regarding your behavior and instead blame your partner for the argument, and lock yourself in the bathroom where you cry for hours.

Taking into account this example and how beliefs caused the consequence, because it isn’t an action that leads to how you feel or behave, does musterbation seem gratifying to you? Perhaps if your kink is masochism—the tendency to derive pleasure, especially sexual gratification, from one’s own pain or humiliation—you may want all the musturbation you can get.

However, for the rest of us, we may want to stop rubbing ourselves in uncomfortable ways. Are you prepared to learn more about how not to practice self-disturbance? I may be able to help.

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW


AEI. (n.d.). About Albert Ellis, Ph.D. The Albert Ellis Institute. Retrieved from

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Hollings, D. (2022, November 4). Human fallibility. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, November 9). The ABC model. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, December 23). The A-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Hollings, D. (2022, December 25). The B-C connection. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from

Krassner, P. (1960, May 1). The realist Albert Ellis supplement. Reveal Digital. Retrieved from

Matweychuk, W. J. (2013, October 17). Three “musts” that hold us back. REBT Doctor. Retrieved from

Rowan Center for Behavioral Medicine. (n.d.). Musterbation: The danger of shoulding all over the place. Retrieved from

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