Why Are We Still Weird About Masturbation in Marriage?

Aurumie Baubo Feb 10 2020 at 11:30 AM

On a public forum, Trisha shared her concern with a few thousand people. “I got married two years ago. It’s a love marriage. The other day, I came home early from work and caught him masturbating in the bathroom. He was so shocked to see me. I just closed the door and ran to the kitchen. We did not speak to each other that night. Things are fine, but something has changed. Has he stopped loving me? Why does he masturbate and not just tell me he wants to have sex?

For many people, the act of sex must include the spouse or partner if the couple is married or in a relationship. And masturbating would be considered as something that one does outside the relationship. Plus our notion as what constitutes sex is also primitive, also adds to the idea that masturbation is bad.

In a 2018 survey by a leading condom manufacturer, nearly 45% of participants between 50-65 years of age, felt kissing amounts to sex. Kissing! So, how can masturbation be okay, when you are married that too? There are other concerns about why people don’t like their partners to get some solo pleasure. Many feel it will make the penis shrink, make one sterile, lead to impotence or give them cancer even or its simply bad for you. The fear of your partner masturbating may be rooted in your insecurity and make you feel inadequate and betrayed. But are these feelings valid?

Consider this. How many of you go for these spa massages? Does it relax your body and make you feel good? At times, sexually arouse you a little? Masturbation has the same effect on people. It makes them feel good and destresses them. The brain releases neuro-chemicals like dopamine, oxytocin, and endorphins which gives the person a natural high and a sense of satisfaction that puts them in a good mood. An orgasm from masturbation will also help the person sleep better. A good night sleep has been linked to better hormonal production, thus better health.

As such people masturbate, whether or not they are sexually active, whether they are single or in a relationship, either alone or with their partner. In research published in a leading Indian magazine, more than 50% of men and 25% of women masturbate regularly. These numbers could be on the conservative side since talking about sex socially is taboo in India.

How does one’s partner masturbating help a couple? An important factor that drives an orgasm is communication. Yes, communication! What you like or don’t like must be shared with your partner so that he or she does exactly that and brings you to an orgasm. But it’s only when you know what you like, can you tell your partner about it, isn’t it? And how will you know if you don’t explore your body? Masturbating helps a person become more comfortable with their sexuality and what can get them to orgasm. This knowledge can help a couple understand each other better leading to better sex.

Various studies have linked the use of vibrators by women for masturbation to a more positive attitude to sex and sexual health. In effect, helping women have better sex with their partner. For men then, masturbation should not be thought of as a competitive act, but a complementary one. In fact, many couples use masturbation as a sex tool to enhance their sexual experience. “When I am tired and don’t feel like having sex, I help my wife masturbate when she is feeling horny. Because it is not about me and I find myself more attentive to what she wants,” Sunny, 31-year-old software engineer.

At times the person is sexually aroused and does not want to go on the long winding road of foreplay and sex. He or she may just need to have a quick sexual release. Masturbation comes in quite handy here. For Trisha above, instead of going “how can he orgasm without me”, she should have gone up to her husband and told him it’s ok. Better still, she could have asked him to show her how he does it. That would have been a sexual kick for him too. Trying to make your partner feel like crap for wanting to masturbate never really works. All it would do is make him or her do it behind your back and in secret. And secrets are a slippery slope in a relationship.

Another reason why couples should encourage this practice of solo pleasuring is the low risk of contracting Sexually Transmitted Infections or STIs. If your partner is wanting to have sex and you are not around, would it not be better if he or she were to masturbate to a sexual release than to seek it outside the relationship, and risk both of your sexual health?

While masturbation is a completely healthy practice, all things need to be done in balance. And anything overdone deserves some rethinking and evaluation. For example, if masturbation is the only road to an orgasm and not sexual intercourse or becomes compulsive and disrupts everyday life, in such cases it would be good to seek help from a healthcare professional to understand why.

Marriage is about sharing things and doing things together. But not all things need to be done together. People in a relationship do many things independently that improve their self-worth which then positively influences their relationship. If you have a high emotional intimacy with your partner, there is no reason to fear masturbation. It’s one more thing that you can use to knit your sexual life closer and must be considered as such.

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