5 Reasons to Masturbate in a Relationship

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5 Reasons to Masturbate in a Relationship


For a society that really, really seems to like sex, we sure do have a whole lot of misconceptions about it. There are so many things that people believe about sex, sexuality, and even specific sexual activities that are informed by emotion, judgment, and fear rather than fact. One of the biggest sexual misconceptions that comes up time and time again is that masturbation is solely the domain of single folks.

So many people believe that once someone is in a relationship, they no longer “need” to masturbate. This misconception is born out of a couple of other sexual misconceptions:

  1. Masturbation is a substitute for partnered sex, so if someone has access to a sexual partner, masturbation isn’t included in their sexual needs.
  2. That our romantic/sexual partners should be the sole source of our sexual pleasure, some people take this one so far as to imply that masturbation is a form of cheating, as if our pleasure belongs to our partners and exploring/experiencing it without them is somehow wrong. 

When we put those two ideas together, we can see why so many people don’t believe masturbation has a place in relationships or that masturbation during pregnancy isn’t possible. Today, however, I would like to change all that. We’re going to challenge all the misconceptions, talk about what is actually true, and give you a bunch of reasons why it’s actually a great idea to maintain a masturbation practice when you have a sexual partner. 


How to make room for masturbation in your relationship 

When you are in a relationship, and you have been exposed to all the misconceptions we just talked about, there’s a good chance you --or your partner-- might think that masturbation has no place in a partnered couple. When we think of the physical intimacy that can come with a relationship, it can seem like that precludes masturbation, as if hugging, kissing, and having sex with another person means one doesn’t “need” masturbation (with or without adult sex toys). I get it. Sex and masturbation both carry a lot of stigma, and with that stigma comes a reluctance to talk about them. Consequently, a lot of folks don’t actually know much about masturbation beyond thinking of it as a substitute for partnered sex, and so, when we are in a sexual relationship, it can be a little difficult to see where masturbation fits into the picture. 

Additionally, there are some fairly unhealthy thoughts and ideas that can make it hard for folks to understand why their sexual partner masturbates. In the last section, we mentioned the misconception that one’s sexual pleasure somehow belongs to their partner, thus making masturbation a form of “cheating”. Not only is that not true, but it is also incredibly toxic. A partner who feels that you maintaining a sexual relationship with yourself is somehow unfair to them is a partner who wants control over you more than they want a healthy relationship. 

On the other hand, sometimes partners feel like the need to masturbate indicates that their partner doesn’t find them attractive and doesn't get any sexual satisfaction from them or prefers masturbation to sex with them, which is, generally speaking, not the case at all. Think of it this way: if someone loves hamburgers but also occasionally eats ice cream, it doesn’t lessen their love for burgers. It just means that they enjoy two different things. Masturbation can be a totally different experience from partnered sex and a lot of folks enjoy both.  


Why do we masturbate?

To understand the role masturbation can play in a relationship, we need to first understand the role it can play in our lives in general. Not only is it a totally normal, common thing that a whole lot of folks do, but it can also be a healthy thing to do with several benefits. What are those benefits? Masturbation can:

  • Improve our mood
  • Relieve tension and stress
  • Help us get to sleep and enjoy restful sleep
  • Give us on-demand sexual pleasure and orgasms

All of those benefits, separately or all together, mean that masturbation can be a powerful form of self care and not at all an indicator that anything is wrong or lacking in your relationship. Think of masturbation as you would anything else we do to take care of ourselves, be it resting, taking our medications, eating a certain way, or indulging in things like massages. We don’t expect to not “need” those things anymore once we have a partner, so why take masturbation off the table? 

Still not sure? No worries, I have some more fun stuff to tell you about why it’s a good idea to masturbate while you are in a relationship. So, if you are looking for another reason to do it, buckle up because I’ve got FIVE more reasons! 


5 Reasons to Masturbate in a Relationship

We know that masturbation can be beneficial to each of us personally, but why might it be beneficial to our relationships? Well, I could give you the broad stroke answer and tell you that happy, healthy, satisfied people are more equipped to create happy, healthy, satisfying relationships and that leaving room for self care like masturbation is a good way to work towards that but I think we should get a bit more specific. Now let’s take a closer look at a whole bunch of reasons (okay, 5 reasons) why masturbation can be beneficial for people who are in relationships.


It’s important to take care of yourself.

Relationships can be lovely and the feeling that there is someone who is excited to help take care of you and make you feel good is wonderful. That said, a lot of people abandon taking care of themselves in favor of taking care of their partners and, consequently, expect their partners to do the same. This is a bad idea! Keep that self care going, even when you have a partner. Now, as we know that masturbation can be a very powerful form of self-care, we can easily see why we would want to keep it around. From relaxation to the reduction of stress and pain, from the immune system boost to the release of mood lifting hormones like dopamine, oxytocin and endorphins, masturbation is a powerful tool for taking care of yourself. 


Boost that body image

Did you know that masturbation can have a huge impact on your body image? True story. I don’t know about you, but I feel like everyone I know could benefit from a more positive body image. Masturbation gives you a chance to devote some time and space to loving your own body and all the pleasure it can provide, ultimately helping you become more confident. 


Learn what feels good for you

Unfortunately, a whole lot of folks don’t actually know what feels good for their body, and they end up waiting for their partners to figure it out which, often does not work. Regular masturbation can help you learn what works (and does not work) for your body. Knowing what gives you pleasure can not only give you a big confidence boost in the bedroom, but it can also help you have a more satisfying sexual experience.  


Get more intimate

Okay, so after masturbation has taught you stuff about your body, you are ready to do something very cool: tell your partner that stuff! Now you have increased communication as well as a more satisfying sexual experience (hopefully for both of you!). What a terrific way to deepen your intimate connection. 

This last benefit is actually a bit different. We’ve talked a lot about the benefits of solo sex or masturbation but another exciting way for masturbation to enhance our relationships is to do it together! 


Explore mutual masturbation

This is a big one and it really challenges the whole “we masturbate when we can’t have sex” idea. Mutual masturbation is when partners masturbate together, either in the same place or virtually. A lot of folks (especially after the last couple of years) understand the virtual part, but why do it if you are in the same place? Well, here are a couple of reasons: 

  • Take away the pressure to have penetrative sex: Sometimes, we can fall into the trap of thinking all sexual interactions must lead to penetrative sex and this isn’t the case. 
  • Builds arousal: If you do, however, want mutual masturbation or guided masturbation to be how you kick off your sexual interaction before moving on to other stuff, it can be a powerful turn on
  • Fosters intimacy: what’s more intimate than watching and learning what pleases your partner?
  • Allows you to explore voyeurism and exhibitionism in safe ways: Those things can be hot and sexy but also, you know, illegal. This is a safe way to scratch that itch.

Now we can see that masturbating in a relationship is not only normal but can be beneficial! If you are thinking of upping your masturbation game or exploring mutual masturbation with a partner, Check out our selection of dildos and vibrators. No matter what you are looking for, Pink Cherry has you covered!


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Written By: JoEllen Notte

JoEllen Notte is a writer, speaker, sex educator, and mental health advocate whose work explores the impact of depression on sex and relationships. Since 2012 she has written about sex, mental health, and how none of us are broken on her award-winning site The Redhead Bedhead as well as for Glamour, The BBC, Bitch, PsychCentral, and more. JoEllen is the author of The Monster Under the Bed: Sex, Depression, and the Conversations We Aren’t Having.