Q&A: Boyfriend Masturbates Even Though We Live Together

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QUESTION: I know that all men masturbate but I'm bothered by the fact that my boyfriend does it. I just moved in with him and we have different work hours and our sex life is great when we have I, but sometimes we can't because of our schedules. Is it normal for him to still be masturbating even though we're living together and having sex?

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Most women and men have masturbated at some point in their lives. And although some myths suggest that only single or lonely people masturbate, research has consistently found that masturbation is common not only among people who are single or dating, but also among people who are in committed relationships or marriages.

This is particularly true for men who tend to have higher rates of masturbation than many women. People masturbate for various reasons including pleasure, enjoyment, stress reduction or to help oneself fall asleep.

A Common Occurrence

So the short answer is that yes, it is common for people to masturbate even when they are living with a partner and sexually active with that partner. It is perhaps even more common for partnered people to masturbate when they don’t always have access to their partner.

You two may be incredibly in love and attracted to each other, but given that you have different work schedules, he may find that he’s home alone sometimes, feels aroused, and feels like masturbating.

And A Common Reaction

And while it’s important to understand that your boyfriend’s masturbation behavior is common, it’s also important to understand that your reaction is common, too.

You are certainly not the only woman (or man, for that matter) who has felt uncomfortable about their partner’s masturbation. Some people worry that if their partner masturbates, that it could indicate that their partner doesn’t love them or lust after them as much as they hoped.

Others worry that it signals a decline in their relationship. Another concern sometimes relates to the circumstances around their partner’s masturbation, like what they are thinking about when they masturbate or whether they are watching porn.

If you are feeling hurt, or blaming yourself, or if you’re just plain curious about your partner’s masturbation, it’s okay to bring it up and talk about it in gentle, caring, respectful ways. Keep in mind, too, though that men and women have a right to have a private experience of sexuality, even when they are in relationships, and it can be a delicate area to discuss.

Learn More

To learn more about masturbation and how partners can incorporate it into relationships, check out The Guide to Getting It On or The Good Vibrations Guide to Sex.

Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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