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Real Talk: Masturbation And A Healthy Relationship

Blindness, insanity and infertility. These are not consequences of masturbation. In the past, myths about the effects of masturbation were propagated as a form of religious and social control. Whilst most of these myths are no longer accepted, one that perseveres is the idea that masturbation is a selfish endeavour, and will lead to a breakdown in intimacy. 



A woman with her arms around a man during an intimate moment


But this is incorrect. If masturbation becomes a regular replacement for sex with your partner, this needs to be addressed, however, if this is not the case, then there is no reason why it cannot occur within a healthy relationship. 


Ask yourself how you feel about masturbating, or your partner masturbating. What are your fears? Some people worry that their partner will be fantasizing about others, and this can lead to a sense of betrayal. 


However, just as you need time to yourself to pursue your own interests and relationships, so too do you need time to explore and satisfy your sexual needs. Masturbation in relationships doesn’t mean something is wrong in your relationship. It can be used to address a difference in sexual desire, without leading to conflict or one party feeling they have to have sex more often, and the other feeling frustrated. 


Masturbation also allows us to learn about what we find pleasurable. If we don’t know what feels good for our body, how can we expect a partner to know? It also makes us more comfortable and confident with our bodies, making us feel less inhibited during partnered sex. It can be used when one or either partner has physical issues, such as poor mobility, or pain.


Couples can also consider mutual masturbation, which in itself can be a bonding experience. In fact, many people consider the idea of their partner masturbating as a turn-on.



Dr Maria Ali, Counselling Psychologist, Psychosexual Therapist



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