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The Role of Masturbation in Committed Relationships

The Role of Masturbation in Committed Relationships

Masturbation is often seen as something people do alone, symbolizing solitude. Therefore, it’s not a topic that arises frequently in discussions about relationships.

However, masturbation doesn’t cease when a relationship begins. By keeping our solo sexual activities hidden from our partners, we may miss an opportunity for sexual communication and improving our sex lives.

Even within a relationship, engaging in solo sexual activities is normal and can lead to more shared sexual experiences. Surprisingly, a study by Das in 2007 found that individuals in sexless relationships actually masturbated less, with those in partnered relationships being the most frequent masturbators.

Do People in Relationships Still Masturbate?

While research on this topic is limited, studies dating back to the 1970s have surveyed individuals in relationships about their masturbation habits. These studies indicate that people in relationships do not significantly reduce their masturbation frequency compared to single individuals.

Despite this, there’s a common misconception that masturbation serves as a substitute for partner sex and becomes unnecessary once someone enters a relationship.

Research suggests that many individuals continue to incorporate masturbation into their sex lives even while in relationships, whether or not they disclose this to their partners.

Some people mistakenly believe that if their partner masturbates, it indicates dissatisfaction with partnered sex, although this is rarely the case.

Why People Hide Masturbation in Relationships

Unfortunately, research indicates that most individuals don’t discuss masturbation with their partners. In a small study of married couples, less than 30% of couples where both partners masturbated were aware of each other’s regular masturbation habits.

But why do people keep their masturbation habits secret from their partners? There are several reasons:

  • Some view masturbation as a sign of dissatisfaction with their partner, which they perceive as insulting.
  • There’s a belief that using sexual energy for masturbation will leave less for partner sex.
  • Feelings of shame and guilt about masturbation contribute to secrecy.
  • Some individuals want to maintain a private aspect of their sex life.

Benefits of Discussing Masturbation with Your Partner

While there’s no definitive answer to whether you should talk to your partner about masturbation, there are compelling reasons to consider it:

  • Masturbation can help address differences in sex drives, enhancing rather than replacing partner sex.
  • It’s an opportunity to learn about your partner’s preferences and habits, fostering understanding and intimacy.
  • Sharing masturbation experiences or discussions can deepen intimacy in the relationship.
  • Masturbation can improve sexual skills and enjoyment in partnered sex.
  • Understanding how to pleasure oneself can lead to more satisfying sexual encounters with a partner.
  • Masturbation is increasingly recognized as part of self-care, promoting relaxation, body positivity, and better sleep.
  • It can boost self-esteem by satisfying physical needs and desires.
  • Masturbation releases neurotransmitters that provide relaxation and pain relief.

Is it Worth Discussing Masturbation with My Partner?

Ultimately, the decision to talk about masturbation with your partner is yours to make. You should prioritize what feels right for you, rather than simply conforming to perceived expectations. While masturbation is often criticized as not constituting “real” sex, it can be considered the longest-standing sexual relationship in our lives, deserving of respect.

It’s important to recognize that masturbation may hold different significance for you and your partner. While you may view it as a positive aspect of your sexual relationship, your partner might perceive it differently and feel threatened. However, this shouldn’t discourage you from discussing it; rather, it’s a consideration to keep in mind before initiating such a conversation.

If both you and your partner are comfortable with the idea, masturbating together can be a stimulating form of foreplay, particularly beneficial for many women in achieving orgasm.

Observing your partner masturbate while you do the same can instill confidence in the bedroom and intensify excitement. Sharing this experience can enhance mutual pleasure.

Introducing sex toys can further enhance sexual experiences, even in long-distance relationships. For instance, you could each use toys such as a rabbit vibrator or a g-spot massager, communicating your actions through an online app for mutual enjoyment.

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