If 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:
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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