Do you struggle to masturbate whilst being in a relationship or marriage? Or do you feel bad masturbating if your partner is home and like you should involve them in some way?
If you experience either of these things, you’re not alone. In fact it’s very common for people in long term, monogamous relationships to acquire the “soulmate myth” sentiment whereby you believe your partner can (and should) give you everything you need in the relationship, including sexually. If this is also you, you might have bought into the idea that self pleasure is cheating, or if you’re masturbating it means you’re having issues in the relationship. Both of these are not true.
Masturbation has been a huge area of growth in my relationship - me being an avid masturbator (umm hello I own a sex toy company) and them, not so much. So unpacking our beliefs, conditioning, boundaries and desires has been paramount to create a harmonious partner-sex life and solo pleasure connection. Especially because BOTH are important and very different experiences - not to be replaced by one or the other.
It's simple - one person cannot give you absolutely everything you need, and nor should they try. Masturbation is not only healthy, it helps people discover what feels pleasurable, create a sense of self-connection, release tension in the body, relieve stress and help with getting to sleep. It’s got nothing to do with your partner not being able to tick all the boxes or meet your needs.
Here are some ways you can incorporate in more self pleasure, whilst being in a relationship or marriage.
- Start The Conversation
First things first, have a chat about masturbation. Ask your partner some questions like what age they discovered pleasure, how they like to masturbate, what they usually like doing, how often, if they watch porn or use toys, what they like most. Your partner will only open up about this if you bring the energy of curiosity, openness and non-judgement, so make sure you are able to hold space for your partner. Switch turns and share your experience with masturbation.
- Unpack Beliefs Together
If your partner struggles to talk about masturbation with you, it might be due to cultural conditioning and sexual shame they’ve garnered from their family, religion or upbringing (who hasn’t!?). Some questions you could ask each other here is “Do you believe masturbation is cheating?” “Do you believe masturbation is its own thing and separate from sex?” “Do you believe its important to self pleasure even in a relationship?” “Do you believe one person can give you everything?” The reality is, masturbation is not cheating and cannot be likened to partner-sex - it's a totally different experience with different intentions, for example partner sex is usually for an intention of both connecting emotionally as well as intimately. Warning: If a partner makes you wrong for masturbating or blatantly shames you for getting yourself off, it's a red flag sis.
If you’re wanting freedom to masturbate within the dynamic of your relationship, it’s best to cover boundaries first (i.e what’s OK and what’s not OK). For example, if you like to have a clitoral orgasm to help you get to sleep at night, you can check in with your partner if they don’t mind if you masturbate in the bed next to them while they are asleep or awake. Your partner might like to a) continue sleeping and not be bothered b) watch and be a voyeur (if you’re an exhibitionist you will love this!) c) join in and help you, d) masturbate alongside you or e) your partner might think it’s weird or uncomfortable to have you masturbating next to them in bed and prefer you to “get a room”. (Side note: If this conversation brings up triggers-ville, refer to #5.)
The main point here is to talk about what you’re comfortable with and uncomfortable with. Are you comfortable with porn consumption? Are you ok with your partner masturbating whilst at home together? Do you need a code word or sign (sock on the door) for when you want to self pleasure? Do you prefer to know or not know if your partner masturbated? We have a whole entire module (6) dedicated to self pleasure inside The Golden Yoni Membership. Learn more here.
- What’s Your Intention?
It’s important to discuss your ‘why’ so your partner understands deeper your desire to practice solo self pleasure. For example, if you’re masturbating every night because your partner isn’t able to make you climax during sex, this is an entirely different conversation to have around what pleasure you need to receive in order to have an orgasm. Or if you’re not having any sex with your partner and only making time to masturbate, it might mean there are some sexual blockages or a time issue within the relationship that need working on.
However if your intention is to have a good night sleep, to connect deeper with yourself, do a self pleasure ritual for releasing trauma, release some steam or just have some solo fun - share this with them and be honest and open. Sometimes you just want to get off with yourself, and there is nothing wrong with that. Besides, we often know the quickest and easiest route to have an orgasm, which is handy if we are time poor and just seeking a release.
- Debrief Your Triggers.
Let's be honest, unpacking the topic of masturbation with your partner can take you to trigger city! It might make you question: “Am I good enough?”, “Am I not giving my partner what they need?”, “Am I not attractive enough to them anymore?”, “Are they not fantasising about me?” and the list goes on.
If you have insecurities and fears around your partner self pleasuring alone, bring it to the surface to heal. You might have these worries because in a previous relationship you walked in your partner watching porn or doing something you never expected. Having your triggers spoken about and validated, helps to overcome them. This might also be true for your partner, in which case you may need to reassure them of them of your why.
If you feel bad, uncomfortable or awkward self pleasuring whilst being in a happy relationship or when your partner is home, open up this dialogue to help you figure out why. You might have this experience as an adult because maybe you were caught touching your genitals when you were a kid and shamed for it, or maybe your big sister walked in on you and told your parents, embarrassing the heck out of you! Or perhaps a housemate told you to shut up after hearing you orgasm in the other room. Many of us have the belief that masturbation needs to be quick and quiet because as a kid or teen we wanted to hide it from parents. However as an adult, it’s nice to be able to make sound and take as long as you want, so share this need with your partner.
Share your desire.
Once you have unpacked your past, beliefs, boundaries, intentions, triggers, now you can talk about your juicy desires. What do you desire to experience within the loving container of your relationship? It's totally natural to desire a healthy, regular sex life with your partner AND healthy, regular masturbation practice. For some people masturbating solo may actually ignite more arousal and desire for partner sex, rather than depleting the desire.
Give yourself permission to express your sexual desires in relation to masturbation. For example, do you desire to be able to self pleasure shame-free with your partner in the room or in the house? Do you desire to be able to make sound when masturbating? Do you desire to make yourself squirt (if so join our online course Squirt School to learn how)? Do you desire to be intentionally walked in on while masturbating and get your partner to join or watch? Or do you desire your partner to leave the house to give you space to connect with yourself. Do you want to watch porn together or is this something you only want to do alone? Do you wish to discuss what porn is watched and what turns you on or off? The list goes on...
Remember there is no right or wrong and we are all so different when it comes to our fantasies and desires around self pleasure. Never assume that we are all the same or that we all masturbate in the same way or with the same frequency. What you consider as "normal" may be completely "abnormal" to your partner, and vice versa. It depends on how much sex or masturbation was discussed in the home, at school, with friends etc.
Has this article been helpful in releasing shame around self pleasure? Remember its totally normal to want to masturbate even if your'e in a happy relationship or marriage. It's something that should be encouraged and spoken about openly. What's your experience with this? Comment below.
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Love Rosie x
This topic is discussed in workshops, meditations and guest interviews inside The Golden Yoni Membership. Join for $40 per month with no lock in contracts.