Q&A: I Live With My Partner—When Do We Masturbate?

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QUESTION: I'm a gay male and I am going to be living with my boyfriend soon. How do gay couples masturbate alone without being secretive but still respecting each other? We both are okay with each other masturbating but feel like sometimes we just want to masturbate alone. We’re going to live in a studio or 1 bedroom so going to another room may not work. Also, we have our own porn on our computers and would still like to get off and watch our own porn.

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bumper sticker that says i'd rather be masturbating

Photo: bjo_ (Flickr)

After you move in with a partner, there may be some adjustments you need to make to your masturbation routine.

While it’s true that men are more likely to masturbate than women, and more likely to masturbate more often than women, how to manage private masturbation time is something that many couples—regardless of their gender and sexual orientation—sometimes have to deal with.

Be Open About It

The benefit of you two both being men is that you’re more likely to have some level of comfort knowing that each of you masturbates and that each of you has porn and watches your own porn.

Many women are raised to have negative feelings about masturbation and about porn, which can make it difficult to have comfortable conversations about these topics.

Because you said that you’re both okay with each other masturbating, it sounds like you have at least some comfort discussing this with each other.

So, what’s holding you back from taking it one step further and talking with each other about how it will actually play out in real life?

Make Small Adjustments

There may be some adjustments you need to make. For example, if one or both of you are used to masturbating in bed before sleep, that may need to change if the movement or shaking of the bed bothers a partner who is trying to fall asleep.

One or both of you may find it more pleasurable to masturbate in private, such as in the shower. Or you may find that while your partner is in the bath, or out at the gym or grocery shopping, it’s a good time to masturbate alone with or without your preferred porn.

Living with a partner has many joys—and it also comes with complications. You two will need to figure out how to make it work for you.

It may be less than ideal to feel like you can mostly just masturbate when there’s opportunity—such as when your boyfriend is out running errands or still at work—rather than when you naturally feel the desire to do so.

But perhaps the fun parts of living together, including more regular access to each other for partnered sex as well as for hugs, kisses, cuddles, and just hanging out, making dinner, or watching a movie, will outweigh the tricky parts.

Good communication  which involves sharing your thoughts and feelings, and also listening closely to your partner’s thoughts and feelings—will make it easier to figure out.

Next Question: Boredom and Expressing Desire For More Variety In The Bedroom

I have been with my fiance for four years and we have sex 2 to 3 times a week – however, he has no interest in anything but quick foreplay and vaginal intercourse. He’s made it clear that everything I enjoy – oral sex, using toys, foreplay, talking dirty, using restraints – is off limits. How do I get him to understand that it’s not that he’s inadequate, but just who I am and that sex can be even more fun for us?

Read Dr. Debby Herbenick’s response.

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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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