Q&A: My Boyfriend Masturbates Over Porn. What Should I Do?

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QUESTION: I have been with my boyfriend for about year and a half, living with him for the last 6 months. He says he loves me and does not want to be with anyone else. My problem is that for a while he didn’t want to have sex with me – he’s 21 and I’m 20 – he said he just lost his sex drive. This hurt me as I felt there was something wrong with me because he still masturbated over porn all the time, and he would try to hide it! Now we have sex 2-3 times a week but nearly every day he takes his phone into the bathroom. I completely understand men masturbate but when I'm home with him? I don’t understand what’s wrong with having sex with me instead of going to the bathroom to watch porn on his phone. I feel insecure, and we have spoke. I told him how I feel when he masturbates at home when I'm there, and he hasn't stopped. He says I'm being stupid and I'm being a psycho. What should I do?

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It sounds like you and your boyfriend are dealing with several issues that it might be helpful to talk about together and maybe even with a counselor.

Many couples find it tricky to navigate how to be their own person while still being close with their romantic partner. Some people think that once they are in a serious relationship, their partner’s sexual experiences should be entirely with their partner.

His Routine

Although you said that you understand that many men masturbate, you seem distressed by the fact that he does it when you are in the house. But since you live together, that probably means that you are often in the house when he wants to masturbate.

He may have a long-standing routine, possibly even since he was a young teenager, that includes masturbating in the bathroom or shower. Many young men start masturbating there because it may have been the one place in their childhood home where they were likely to have privacy away from their parents or siblings.

Why Does Your Boyfriend Watch Pornography?

It’s also often the case that many men, and some women, see watching porn as a way to quickly achieve an erection and then have an orgasm. They may simply want a quick orgasm in order to release tension or help themselves fall asleep or feel relaxed for a long day ahead.

I don’t know why your boyfriend watches porn but this may be a conversation to have with him. You might talk about how you were raised, whether your feelings and values are similar to or different from how you were raised, and what you want from your sex life as a couple.

A Conversation Could Help

Every couple gets a chance to create a type of sexual intimacy that works for you. Try talking together and learning more about what you each like.

Try, too, to be kind to each other. You mentioned that he’s called you stupid and psycho and that can be difficult not to take to heart. You might ask yourself if you have also called him names or said things to hurt him.

Learn Together

Finally – even though you are not married – I think you both might find it helpful to read the book Passionate Marriage which addresses issues around communication, sexuality, masturbation and partnered sex for couples in committed relationships.

Next Question: My Vagina Tightens Up And I Can’t Have Sex

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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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