Masturbating in a Relationship: Deal Breaker or Relationship Builder?

Dec 3, 2021

Masturbating in a relationship can be a tricky subject. Masturbation is typically a solo act, and well, a lot of partnered sexual acts aren’t. To make it even more tricky, many people were raised to think about sex differently. How much masturbation is normal may vary from one person in the relationship to the other. And some partners may be questioning, “Is it normal to masturbate while in a relationship at all?” Let’s work to clear the air and figure out just how masturbation fits inside a healthy, happy relationship. 

Benefits of Masturbating in a Relationship

To be honest, there’s a huge quantity of benefits of masturbation- both in and out of relationships. Masturbation has been shown to help people develop sexually, help you learn about your body, and even reduce stress levels by releasing endorphins.  There’s even some science to support that it can act as a bit of a pain reliever.  

In addition to the benefits to your body, it can also bring the sexual relationship you have with your partner to another level. If you haven’t masturbated a lot prior to being in a relationship, masturbation is actually a great way to learn about your body before sharing it with someone else. It can be challenging to know which way you like your body being touched if you’re unfamiliar with it yourself. 

And there are no strict guidelines for how much masturbation is normal either. Some people see the benefits of their self-love sessions quickly. Others need more practice to learn what they like. Masturbating in a relationship gives you both an opportunity to grow more in touch with your bodies wherever you are sexually. 

Disadvantages of Masturbating in a Relationship

Just like anything, there are two sides to the coin. Some people get a triggered jealous reaction when they aren’t the only ones pleasing their partner. And that can make it hard for your partner, who may need the time to take care of themselves sexually without your interference. The result? The potential for some relationship drama. 

Similarly, when a couple connects for the first time, they may just be in different places sexually. While some come to the table with consistent masturbation practices, others may be unfamiliar with sexual self-love- and especially that of masturbating in a relationship. And while being different from your partner isn’t a bad thing, it can certainly cause some tension. It can be hard to understand people who have lived different experiences than ourselves. 

masturbating in a relationship

The Verdict

While masturbating in a relationship can be tricky to navigate, ultimately, we think it’s worth the work. Masturbation is a great way to actually connect better sexually with your partner. By learning more about your own body, we’re more able to share them with others in informed ways. And as sex is a pretty essential part of a lot of relationships, it makes sense that masturbating in a relationship should be treated as essential as well. After all, masturbation at its core is just another type of sex. 

Roadblocks and Solutions

Now, if that verdict leaves you horrified, it’s OK. Let’s go through some common roadblocks to masturbating in a relationship and how to work through them together with your partner. 

Roadblock: It doesn’t feel good. 

Solution: If masturbation doesn’t feel good, it’s just an excellent opportunity to keep learning. It makes sense that it may feel overwhelming in the initial stages of getting to know yourself sexually. Being truly present with your body and enjoying it isn’t an easy task for anyone. And it can be incredibly challenging if you’ve had negative sexual interactions in the past or none at all. The good news is there are tons of ways to masturbate! Whether it’s trying a sex toy, dry humping, looking at porn, or even an erotic self-massage- there’s no right way to play with your body and learn just how it works for you. 

Roadblock: It makes you jealous. 

Solution: Well, first, let’s just let that land. It’s nothing to be ashamed of to be jealous sometimes. It’s a normal human emotion- and better yet- it’s actually helpful. Frequent jealousy works to tell us that we have some unmet needs. The solution, then? Scan for how you have been treated sexually by both yourself and your partner. Are you getting your needs met? This could be a great time to work on building your sexual relationship with one another or maybe even your own masturbation practice. What once may have made you jealous may just be an inspiration to play with your own body in a similar way. 

Roadblock: It’s happening too often. 

Solution: There’s no real guideline for how much masturbation is normal as it varies greatly from person to person. But the potential exists that if you think it’s “too often,” that it may be taking away from time you and your partner normally connect otherwise. The solution then is simple, taking more quality time for one another can help you both feel connected more. Be specific with the amount of quality time you’d like to have with one another and what you’d like that to look like. Work with your partner to get everyone’s needs met- sexual and otherwise. 

Roadblock: It’s a coping mechanism.

Solution: Anything that is great for anxiety and stress relief can be overused if someone in the relationship is going through a lot of anxiety and stress. Just like everything, balance and moderation are key. At its core, masturbation should still be fun rather than necessary. How much masturbation is normal? The amount that you still can encounter life’s problems without it. If you or your partner is using it to cope, dig into what you’re coping with. Are there more direct ways you could address this problem together? 

Roadblock: It’s limiting sexual intimacy with each other. 

Solution: Whoever spread the rumor that masturbating in a relationship “takes away” sexual energy when the two of you are together wasn’t telling the truth. A healthy masturbation practice enhances the sex life between you and your partner. When you learn more about what makes your body feel good, you should be better able to explain that to your partner. If this isn’t the case, it would be worth working with a relationship counselor or therapist. They can help diffuse and unpack any surrounding issues that may be causing your sexual relationship to struggle. 

Roadblock: It makes you uncomfortable. 

Solution: If all of the above isn’t the case and you still just feel uncomfortable, that’s worth looking at too. If you’ve had a different view of self-love from growing up, it can be hard to even begin to imagine masturbating in a relationship as a healthy sexual practice. This feeling may resonate with you like the “heebie-jeebies” or “icky” when you think of your partner’s masturbation. Working with a relationship counselor or therapist may be another great option here. They’ll have the resources to help you learn about sex from a less shameful approach. 

There you have it. Is it normal to masturbate while in a relationship? YES! 

And if that isn’t an easy pill to swallow just yet, that’s OK. We all are on our own journeys of self-acceptance. You deserve to both enjoy a healthy self-love masturbation practice and a joyful sexual relationship with your partner. 

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