Ask Self Serve: Masturbation in a Relationship

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Question: Is it ok that I want to masturbate even though I’m in a relationship? I’m worried my partner gets jealous. We wish we had sex more often, and sometimes it feels like cheating.

Answer: Masturbating is natural, healthy and normal. It can help you be a stellar sexual partner because you learn what you like and can directly ask for it. We think it’s healthy whether you’re single or in a relationship, it can take some pressure off your partner and give you a way to connect with yourself. As if you needed another reason to masturbate, May is masturbation month!

Because we rarely talk about masturbation, it’s common for someone to feel uneasy or jealous when their partner masturbates. If your partner’s jealous, talk with them about their feelings around masturbation. Maybe your partner doesn’t masturbate and feels jealous they don’t have the same self pleasure experience. Perhaps your partner wishes you’d have more sex together, or they think that you think solo play is more important. Try explaining why masturbation is important to you and how it positively impacts you. Masturbation is important because even folks in relationships shouldn’t have sex just because someone else wants to.

Some people aren’t fans of their partner masturbating to porn. If you’re worried that your partner wants you to look and act like a porn star, we agree this is not a kind or realistic comparison. Plus, a partner can offer you something porn can’t – they can hold you, kiss you, hug you and reassure you when you’re sad.

Remember, the best way to better know yourself and your partner is to communicate directly about what affects your relationship. If you and your partner have opposing opinions, talk about it.

Think of masturbation as a healthy activity, like exercise. Masturbation can be as simple or as elaborate as you like. You can just use some lube and your hand or you can find an exciting toy.

Email your questions to

Questions are answered by Self Serve Staff and edited by Hunter Riley.

Always seek the advice of a qualified healthcare provider for any medical condition.

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