Q: I have an active sex life with my partner, but I still like to masturbate. I know this makes my partner uncomfortable and feel like she is not meeting my needs, but I just like to do it. She has suggested that it is not good for the relationship or for my health. Is self pleasuring wrong in the context of a healthy sexual relationship? She says she doesn’t need it, but I think it would be good for her. What do you think?
A: This is a timely question, as May was declared National Masturbation Month in 1995 when Good Vibrations launched the idea to protest the firing of Clinton-appointed U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Jocelyn Elders. Conservative members of the administration blasted Elders when she responded to questions regarding safe sex by saying that, “Masturbation is something that perhaps should be taught.” This was a remarkably bold statement at the time and although masturbation is considered one of the most common sexual acts on the planet, the silence and shame that shadow masturbation have long and deep roots.
Beyond the religious condemnation that has long been associated with self pleasure, the practice was not long ago considered an affliction for which medical doctors used the cruelest of instruments and techniques to control young boys from experiencing any pleasure at all.
So it is not surprising that the self reporting of this behavior still hovers between 30-70 percent depending on gender and age. Even with all of the benefits that this practice can bring to a couple’s sex life, this is still a behavior that many people are not comfortable sharing with their partners.
Next: 6 benefits of going solo