I don't masturbate, but she does twice a day

Dear Alice,

As far as I know, I am the only male alive who has never masturbated. I have no problem with this, but my girlfriend does. She masturbates at least twice a day and she insists that I watch. I think that this is abnormal behavior. She says that I'm abnormal because I never masturbate. What do you think?

—Smooth hands and 20/20 vision

Dear Smooth hands and 20/20 vision,

There are many myths and misconceptions about masturbation that continue to persist (see related questions below). Among them, that all men masturbate and that women don't. To give you a quick answer, both you and your partner are quite normal. Masturbation is healthy!

The decision to "get in touch with yourself" is entirely personal. While it's true that many men and women do it — or at least say they do — certainly not everyone does. Now when it comes to the frequency of watching a partner masturbate, that may be a different story. Some partners enjoy watching the other masturbate, while some consider it a very private and personal experience. What may be most important is for you and your partner to have an open and honest discussion about your masturbation views.

You might consider if this difference in "normal" approaches to masturbation is evidence of other problems in your relationship? If yes, think about the context and work on that together. If not, and it is only sexual, do you get turned on watching? Are you just objecting to the number of times, or the rigidity of having to do this? Are you totally opposed to masturbation? Could you think about mutual masturbation — where both people are together while masturbating her/himself? Are you even tempted to try masturbation in private? Is there any sort of compromise possible in this situation (i.e., you each masturbate once a day, or you agree to maintain status quo but not to pressure each other)? Or, are you just sexually incompatible? Regardless of the answers to these questions; neither of you are right nor wrong. There may simply be a difference of beliefs. In any case, communicating with your partner, establishing mutually acceptable behaviors and boundaries, along with trust and respect for each other's position is necessary to maintain a healthy relationship.

Last updated Dec 20, 2013
Originally published Oct 01, 1993

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