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is it ok to masturbate while in a relationship

Is it ok to masturbate while in a relationship?

Relationships

Is it fine or a passion killer, or even cheating? Anouszka Tate answers another question about modern sexual mores

Where do you stand on masturbation in a relationship? My partner and I have opposing views… Yes? No? Only if the other one isn’t home?

Masturbation in a relationship? It’s a big yes from me.

I don’t know who that means I’ve sided with, but let me try to convince the losing party.

I prefer calling masturbation ‘solo sex’. Why? Well, indulge me while I narcissistically quote myself from a previous column

“It reframes masturbation so it’s not either just a lame last resort, or a threat to partners, but a legitimate, pleasurable sex act in its own right. In this buffet of sex, wanking isn’t better or worse than any other exploit, just one of many wonderful different options that you might choose to engage in for different reasons at different times.”

Pitting masturbation directly against partnered sex suggests that one has more benefits than the other. I don’t think that’s true. They just have different benefits, so understanding what you want out of sex in this particular moment is key.

Sometimes the purpose of sex is to feel emotionally intimate with another person, sometimes it’s just to have a quick orgasm and be done with it, sometimes it’s for sensual exploration of your body. Think of partnered sex as connecting with others, and solo sex as connecting with yourself. Both are equally important. Which sex act(s) will best satisfy what you’re craving right now?

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If your partner sometimes has a wank instead of having sex with you, please do not worry – they are not unfulfilled. They don’t suddenly find you desperately unattractive. Your relationship is not crumbling. It likely just means that they’ve got to go to work in five minutes and don’t have time to get sweaty and change their clothes. In this situation solo sex is the most efficient route to orgasm.

In the same breath, knowing that you both have a right to masturbate might also make you feel less pressured when you’re not really in the mood for partnered sex. Let your partner know you still care about their pleasure, so you’re happy for them to touch themselves. Perhaps you don’t feel up for physically engaging yourself, but you don’t mind being present if they’d like that.

Crucially, for whichever one of you it is that isn’t keen on masturbation now that you’re together, wanking will better your partnered sex. When you’re present and mindful during masturbation you’re able to take what you’ve learnt back to your partner. I’m quite sure they want to do whatever it is that brings you most pleasure; you’re now able to point out precisely which parts of your body you most like being touched, so they’re not wasting their time doing stuff you’re entirely unbothered by.

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