I often have clients ask me what my thoughts are on masturbation when in a healthy and satisfying relationship. Does it make sense? Should I be doing this? Am I disconnecting from my satisfying relationship? Masturbation is not reserved only for those who lack a romantic partner. In addition to the health benefits, a moderate dose of self pleasuring while in a healthy and satisfying relationship may lead to emotional benefits in your relationship as well. Here are a few reasons why:
- The reality of a relationship is, in terms of sexual desire, there is nothing that magically pairs you up with someone that has the exact level of desire as you. More than likely, relationships will involve two different levels of sexual desires, either small or large discrepancies. Using masturbation as a way to balance the discrepancy of sexual desire can be a healthy option, if both partners are on board of how to add it into their sexual relationship. How can this lead to emotional connection in your relationship? It can create space to build respect and understanding of each other in the relationship, while avoiding tension that may arise with the imbalance of sexual desire levels.
- Masturbation allows for the opportunity to learn about your body and have more awareness of your sexual likes and dislikes. Understanding your own preferences can be valuable information to share with your partner. Taking this information into the bedroom with your partner can create stronger sexual communication and allow for a bonding experience that can be playful, sexy, and exciting! It also takes the pressure off your partner to “just figure it out” and allows for a shared sexual experience. Understanding yourself enables both partners to use each other as a fun guide.
- There are times when travel, illness, or even restrictions (such as no intercourse after childbirth) could put an emotional or even physical strain on a relationship. During this time couples can use solo or even mutual (manually stimulating each other) to nourish the relationship. This may allow for physical and emotional closeness when the traditional ways of doing this in your relationship is not available.
If you and/or your partner enjoy masturbation, it is important to give time in discussing this topic. What does masturbation mean to you and your partner? What is a comfortable balance of masturbation and partnered sex in your relationship? These may be questions that you and/or your partner can use to start this conversation.
I hope this information gives you a wider perspective on the topic of masturbation. However, it is important to keep in mind like anything, masturbation in excess or while in an unhealthy or unsatisfying relationships may have differing results than what I discussed above. Masturbation may lead to sexual and emotional benefits in a relationship, but it should not take the place of all partnered shared sexual experiences.