The “M” Word – Yes, Masturbation

Okay, they say 99 percent of men do it and the other one percent lie.  Yes, the “M” word: MASTURBATION. This is a normal and healthy thing! Yes, even women do it! Couples come into therapy for a variety of reasons. Most are able to discuss their relationship, their financial matters, their children, their careers and certainly their complaints.  Many, however, are unaware of their spouse’s masturbating behavior.  For example, many wives do not think that their husbands masturbate.  Also, many husbands are not aware of their wives masturbating.  Now, if you and your spouse are comfortable discussing this, and possibly even masturbate in front of each other, than read no further.  Congratulations on being so open! But for those out there who are somewhat uncomfortable with this, read on.

Remember the HBO series, “Six Feet Under”?  Well, there’s a scene that describes just how uncomfortable discussing masturbation can be.  The character of the mother, a woman in her 50’s, words for a florist.  She is trying to deal with her son’s homosexuality and tries to ask her obviously gay co-worker for advice. He responds, “Why don’t you tell me the most private, vulnerable and difficult thing you’ve ever experienced?” She decides to, and shares, “I was married to my husband for thirty years and he had been the only sexual partner I had had. After he died, I impulsively began dating my hairdresser.  When he asked me to pleasure myself so he would know what I like, I was dumfounded. I had never pleasured myself and didn’t know what to do. My hairdresser had to teach me.”  The point is that many women in particular are certainly not taught and/or even encouraged to masturbate. If anything, the only myth says that you will go blind if you do so.

The Rose Relationship Learning CenterWith such negativity around masturbation, many people feel guilty when they do masturbate. Some choose not to. Yet this is such an important part of relationships. Your relationship with yourself is primary.  It is necessary to know how to make yourself feel good. How is your partner supposed to know what feel good in your body?  You have to be able to show, guide and tell your partner what you like. If you do not, you will find that your sexual relationship suffers. I have worked with couples who come in complaining about  their sex life. For example, the husband might say his wife is not as sexually available to him as he would like.  She might say that she could be happy with sex once a week and/or even once a month. I have heard several women say they could live without sex altogether. It is often that these women do not know how to bring themselves to arousal and orgasm or to even touch themselves.

Let’s say that you have never cooked a meal in your life. You have been to many restaurants, you have had others cook of you, but you are not really sure you would know what todo in the kitchen. The kitchen could then become very scary to you. Those appliances seem foreign and you are unsure you would even know where to begin. At some point, there may not be someone else there to do it for you. You need to learn how to cook. Here’s a different version of “Cooking 101”.

“Masturbation 101”

  1. find a time when you are totally alone and will not be distracted. Put on the most relaxing music you have
  2. Take three deep breaths. Inhale through your nose, exhale through your mouth.
  3. Touch every part of yourself. “Explore the kitchen.”
  4. Notice what feels good, what does not feel good.
  5. Just relax and observe. The goal here is not to have an orgasm, (although if you do, good for you) but instead to become comfortable with your body.

Masturbation is a normal, healthy behavior. When done in moderation, you may find that you have more sexual desire for your partner.  Just like sex, masturbation is a stress reducing behavior. The orgasm gives you a feeling of relief and release from the stress you may have been carrying around .

Enjoy yourself and your relationship!