Five Ways Masturbation Could Hurt Your Relationship

bedside-lampIf you walked in on your partner masturbating, what do you think you would feel? Most people don’t ask themselves this question until it happens. They may assume that their partner has no need to masturbate because they believe they have a “healthy” sex life, while others avoid the thought of their partner masturbating because it may lead to other questions: Who is the person thinking about? What is he or she looking at?

Have you asked yourself what is healthy and unhealthy regarding masturbation in your relationship? Do you and your partner even discuss masturbation? Some couples wonder whether masturbation can hurt their relationship. Other couples don’t even discuss the topic.

Here are five ways masturbation could, in fact, hurt your relationship:

  1. You are looking forward to masturbating more than being with your partner. Your partner could feel neglected or not desired if you prefer to masturbate rather than sexually connect with him or her.
  2. You masturbate to the point of self-injury. If you are at the point of self-injury, you may be experiencing compulsive masturbation, which can lead to other challenges in your relationship.
  3. You feel shame regarding your masturbation. Shame can present itself because of religious/spiritual beliefs, media messages, or family views. It can lead to secrecy or even maintaining a double life of sorts around your sexual behavior.
  4. It interferes with work. People who use masturbation as a coping mechanism for stress may masturbate privately at work. Aside from possible ramifications professionally, this can lead to other possible unhealthy stress-management behaviors. If you are turning to nonrelational relief as a form of dealing with stress versus relational relief, you may be inclined to hold in difficult feelings and not share them with the people who care about you most.
  5. You tried unsuccessfully to decrease or stop masturbating. One of the criteria for addictive behaviors is an unsuccessful attempt to stop the behavior. Masturbation may increase in frequency, and you may feel helpless to stop. You may want to consult a professional if you relate with this.

These points are not about whether masturbation itself is healthy or unhealthy, but rather when it could potentially damage the relationship. Either together or with the help of a therapist, couples should discuss their views on masturbation in their relationship and come to an agreement that both parties feel comfortable with.

If you think you are engaging in addictive behaviors, consult a trained professional who has experience working with sexually compulsive behaviors.

© Copyright 2013 GoodTherapy.org. All rights reserved. Permission to publish granted by Janie Lacy, LMHC, NCC, CSAT, therapist in Maitland, Florida

The preceding article was solely written by the author named above. Any views and opinions expressed are not necessarily shared by GoodTherapy.org. Questions or concerns about the preceding article can be directed to the author or posted as a comment below.

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  • Laura

    Laura

    July 16th, 2013 at 2:32 PM

    I hear conficting information about this issue so I guess that’s one big reason that I feel so conflicted too! I understand the points that are made here but don’t you in some ways think that masturbating is a way for you to figure out what feels good to you and then you can take that information into the bedroom with your partner and in a way create a better sexual relationship for the two of you together? I don’t mean that you would want to do this to the exclusion of your partner, but if you masturbate and discover the things that you like you could then tell your partner and then he or she could then replicate that for you. I would be kind of weirded out for my boyfriend to find me doing it but if it helps me to explain to him what I like, is there really all that much harm in it?

  • Joel

    Joel

    December 29th, 2014 at 12:40 PM

    Laura, the point is that you and your partner discover what eachother like together. It is a beautiful thing to make these kinds of discoveries with your partner. Masturbating alone simply causes a break in your connection. It is the selfish way of finding out what you like, and getting your partner to then do it.. that’s almost rude: ‘I like this, look, I found out whilst I was having sex without you.’
    Think about it! How much more intimately are you connecting when you tell your partner they have just done something new that has given you pleasure and you really like it? This will fill them with affirmation and confidence and really intwine you both.

  • A lesbian :)

    A lesbian :)

    August 7th, 2018 at 1:46 AM

    Pretty selfish for you to say this some women have a hard time consentating and getting past their insecurities so best believe it is better if we figure out what we like on our own and educate our partners on what we like and how we like it! It’s people like you that make women feel shamed for doing something that’s totally natural like you walk in and out of the shower without touching yourself! Smells like insecurity I personally love when my partner guides me and tells me how and where!

  • Former Addict

    Former Addict

    July 16th, 2013 at 10:56 PM

    Used to master ate compulsively in my teen years.It was to a point where I would avoids meeting friends and social getaherings because I wanted to stay alone and masturbate.

    Not so anymore. I’m 24 and this stopped at around my 19th birthday.I didn’t work on it by I guess the maturity levels increasing helped the cause.For me it messed with the social connections.For those in a relationship it could well mess that up.

  • anonymous

    anonymous

    July 17th, 2013 at 4:18 AM

    It becomes like this addiction like any other addiction that you read about. I want to do this instead of be with my wife. I know that’s not normal but I am just too mortified to even talk to somebody about it. She knows and she is so embarassed that I don’t want to be with her that I would suspect that she has a foot out the door already.

  • Seth

    Seth

    August 25th, 2013 at 2:10 PM

    “You tried unsuccessfully to decrease or stop masturbating.”

    For me this has been the case since I was 12. I’m now 30. The biggest help has been Celebrate Recovery. I’ve been attending a group for about 18 months. I’m currently on Principle Four. There is hope out there if you are like me and couldn’t stop despite changing lifestyles, locations, habits, partners, and everything else you can think of.

  • williamson

    williamson

    September 24th, 2014 at 7:33 AM

    please, i’m a masturbation addict, started since i was 14 and i really want to stop, i’m currently 18 and i live in Nigeria

  • kops k.

    kops k.

    December 25th, 2015 at 1:14 AM

    my girl enjoys mustabation than sex. what should i do to stop this…? please help me…

  • Hurt and sad

    Hurt and sad

    April 7th, 2016 at 2:52 PM

    I love my husband. I give him everything he wants. I don’t withhold sex from him unless I’m emotionally or physically in pain. That’s almost never. I told him before we got married that I can’t be with someone who doesn’t understand that masterbating is cheating because it is behind my back and doesn’t include me. He stopped for a while, then I caught him. I tried to compromise, then he stopped hiding it and shared those moments with me… Which is where I thought we were. Now, he’s going off to the bathroom to do it while I’m perfectly willing and able. It hurts so bad and it’s not fair that he doesn’t understand.
    I also suffer from bipolar, anxiety, and depression. Currently not on medication due to Pregnancy, so it’s really hard. I’m feeling paranoid, even though I Know he’s a good man and won’t step out on me. But if our marriage is built on trust and faith, whilst he lives a double life of selfish secret self pleasure, how can I feel secure?
    I feel sick right now and he doesn’t see what the big deal is. 😢

  • Alex

    Alex

    May 27th, 2016 at 9:28 AM

    Have you tried oral stuff?

  • TheNance94

    TheNance94

    May 2nd, 2016 at 4:06 PM

    I’m part of those women that feels hurt by their husband doing solo. I came home early from work and found him in the shower rubbing it out. At first I helped him out and during a break I freaked out and left the house. It’s been a couple days and he nor I brings up me leaving the house. It’s been a problem in our relationship before and I don’t know what to do

  • Chase

    Chase

    June 28th, 2016 at 7:14 AM

    Masterbation is a fairly normal thing, expecially for teens, however, when masterbating, you are totally focused inwardly, on yourself and your fantasy. It can most certainly harm you socially, emotionally and be detrimental to your real relationships. Eventually it becomes psychologically “normal” for you to feel a lack of desire or satisfaction with your significant other if they do not meet the ideal image or what you have been dwelling on in your mind, which in turn affects the heart. If a person can be responsible enough to be patient and express thier desires and sexuality with thier partner, instead of just themself.. then the “real life bond” with the other human you are supposed to be loving, and taking care of, can grow much stronger.

  • Understanding

    Understanding

    July 21st, 2016 at 5:41 AM

    So I get why guys and girls masturbate. I dont feel jealous or mad when my now husband (newly wed) does it, heck I do it! From the beginning I’ve been open about it with him and have even included porn in our sex life to spice it up. So to me its whatever. But now, I’m not sure if its because of age (late 20s) or that we’re not as physically active and exercising, but it’s starting to affect our sex life negatively when he does it solo. I guess when I do it solo I’m also less likely to “try” more foreplay on him, but we’re still atleast able to satisfy each other. Yet when he goes solo and then later during the day or maybe even the next day, he cant keep it up…Or maybe he’ll strictky want oral to get it there. Like I dont mind oral, but every single time?! And then when I see he cant get hard, I ask him if hes taken care of himself, and sure enough :| So I mean, how can he have some solo time, yet still be able to keep up in our sexual life? I dont have issues with him masturbating, I dont take it personally, but sometimes it gets in the way, and that sucks.

  • Sad man

    Sad man

    July 14th, 2017 at 3:30 AM

    I’ve been masterbating for over 14years and it really tears me up inside, i feel it has ruined my life in a huge way. Am currently living with my 6month old baby daughter and my girlfriend, i think about jerking off more than i think about making love to her or doing anything else… Am one of those people who’d rather stay indoors and masterbate than to be out in there world meeting new people and enjoying my youth..

  • Jay

    Jay

    March 22nd, 2018 at 9:00 AM

    Currently going through some hard times with my fiance due to masterbation caught him plenty of times. I’m part of those females that feel hurt from him doing that solo to me it’s like cheating doing it behind my back it makes me question myself. Like am I not good enough am I not satisfying him will enough. The worst part about it is I’ve caught him multiple of times after making love 😢 he waits till I fall asleep completely goes to the bathroom or the other room we have and locks himself to masterbate of course he denies it but it always pops up on my history on my phone we share phones by the way and im currently suffering of bipolarness , anxiety, and depression for the cause of it. He has stop numerous of times but lately he has been getting caught and its really heart breaking I don’t know what else to do am I in the wrong for getting mad ? Other than that his a really good man and from my part there’s not a day we don’t go without making love so I just don’t know I’m the female that’s like when ever you want some just tell me I’m really lost need some advice ? I’m really hurt about it.

  • RIC

    RIC

    July 20th, 2019 at 3:58 PM

    People are too uptight about masturbation. My wife and I both do it openly in front of the other. Sometimes we masturbate together, sometimes we masturbate each other.
    We both like to watch the other have an orgasm.
    It is simply a way of pleasure. Freaking out about a partner doing it is juvenile.

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