Reader’s Request Fridays: How To Incorporate Masturbation Into Your Relationship
Welcome to Reader’s Request Fridays. Each Friday, I alternate between The Weekend Sexperiment and Reader’s Request Fridays. On Reader’s Request Fridays, I address one reader email. If you have a specific question you’d like answered or a topic you’d like covered, please email me. If you’re interested in counseling, call (415) 658-5738 or visit my Appointments page to schedule a consultation.
This week we’re addressing another aspect of masturbation, in honor of May being National Masturbation Month. Our question comes from Jake* who writes, “my girlfriend doesn’t like that I masturbate. She thinks that I shouldn’t need to do it anymore now that I’m in a relationship. How can I convince her otherwise?”
Thanks for the question. I hear variations on this topic all the time. Women object to their partners’ masturbation habits for a host of reasons. Some women believe that masturbation of any kind is wrong, others feel that it’s a kind of cheating, and some see it as a sign that the man is not sexually satisfied by his partner.
It’s unfortunate that masturbation gets such a bad rap because it can be a wonderful complement to any relationship. The key is to use masturbation in a way that brings you together, rather than pulls you apart.
Fear of being shut out is at the root of most women’s negative opinions of masturbation. You can address this in a few simple ways:
- Don’t be secretive about your masturbation. Declare what your intentions are when you head into the shower, or share what you were really up to when she went to the grocery store. You can be fun and lighthearted about it!
- Don’t masturbate excessively. Like just about any other behavior, masturbation can be addictive. Some people use masturbation as a way to soothe fear, anxiety, or even loneliness. If you find yourself masturbating more frequently than you’d like, you may want to consider talking to a licensed professional.
- Don’t masturbate the same way every time. Most adults have been masturbating for decades, and learn very specific ways that they like to get off. Unfortunately, if you always use the exact same technique to masturbate, your body can start to require that type of stimulation. In particular, using excessively tight or strong grips can make it more difficult to orgasm with a partner.
Here are some specific suggestions for incorporating masturbation into your relationship in fun and healthy ways:
- Use masturbation to help get better at sex. I’ve said it time and time again – we don’t get taught how to have good sex. The best way to learn what your body likes and needs is to masturbate. Women who have never orgasmed can teach themselves how to through masturbation. Men who have premature ejaculation or erectile dysfunction can use masturbation to start resolving these issues.
- Teach each other how you masturbate. This helps you learn how to truly satisfy your partner. Share your masturbation histories with each other. Tell and/or show your partner your usual technique.
- Explore new ways of masturbating with each other. Experiment with different speeds, levels of pressure, and types of touch.
- Watch each other masturbate. It can be extremely arousing to watch your partner pleasure himself or herself. Being watched can be just as appealing.
- Build sexual tension with masturbation. Make a rule that the only sexual contact allowed for one whole week is masturbation. Or declare that you can masturbate, but not to the point of orgasm. Imposing these kinds of temporary restrictions on your sex life is a fun way to drive yourselves crazy with desire.
- Use masturbation to balance mismatched sex drives and decrease sexual pressure. Your sexual drive is always going to be at least slightly mismatched with your partner’s. Many couples fight about how often to have sex. In fact, it’s the most frequent reason my clients come in to see me. Instead of arguing over your mismatches or trying to force yourselves into being on the same page, be clear about the fact that you can use masturbation to help even things out. If you want sex but your partner isn’t in the mood, masturbate to (at least partially) satiate your desire.
Hopefully these suggestions will help make masturbation more comfortable and fun for you and your girlfriend!
*Names changed for privacy